Posted: 20 October 2016
We decided to fly into Bilbao, as this small airport has direct flights from London, Bristol and Manchester, and is only one hour from San Sebastian, our hockey and football destination in this area, and two hours from Biarritz, our rugby destination. Getting through the airport was quick and hassle free, and within 30 minutes we had arrived in the centre of Bilbao. We spent a few hours admiring the fascinating Guggenheim museum, and soaking up the atmosphere in Bilbao’s old town.
We then took the short drive to San Sebastian, winding our way through the beautiful Basque countryside, to visit the hockey tours and football tours venues. Both venues are within easy reach of our Club Europe accommodation and have excellent facilities. We were particularly enamoured with the hockey training venue and the very warm welcome we received there.
The remainder of the day was spent visiting the Club Europe accommodation. This central 3* hotel is within walking distance of San Sebastian’s beautiful beaches, is well kept, very welcoming and has plenty of facilities for our young guests to use, including a gym.
In the evening we were treated to a spectacular La Liga match between local team Eibar and Osasuna. It was a thrilling match with plenty of goals but in the end, the opposition took the win 2-3.
For our second day in the area, we crossed the border into France and headed to Biarritz to check out our rugby tours venues.
We started at one of two of our chosen Club Europe hotels in the area. This stunning hotel was again well equipped for school groups, close to the beach and had the benefit of a heated outdoor pool.
We then took the short trip into the centre of Biarritz to see what the town had to offer. Like all of the towns in the region, Biarritz did not disappoint. It has glorious sandy beaches, with World Class surfing breaks and more sheltered areas for swimming, on its doorstep. The town itself is typically French with plenty of shops and lovely cafés.
Our next stop was one of the rugby training grounds that we use, which is within walking distance from both of the Club Europe hotels and within easy reach of the beach. France has a strong rugby culture and training in this region is well structured and hugely beneficial.
The final stop on our whirlwind tour was in St Jean de Luz, another stunning Basque town, to visit one of the schools that is on tour with us this week, and were enjoying some down time on the beach.
We decided to take the B roads back to Bilbao for our return flight, to soak up the last of the beautiful region, and amazingly this still only took two hours. Arriving at the airport, we reflected on all that we had seen and learnt on the whistle stop tour.
The Basque Region has so much to offer for school groups. Both the French and the Spanish parts of the area are passionate about sport, and love having the chance to share this. You are able to train in World Class training facilities, play matches against quality opposition, alongside immersing yourself in two very different cultures, making this the perfect sports tour destination.
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