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Thursday 16 May 2024

Walking and eating: an insider look at undiscovered Spain

A couple of decades ago Ben Groundwater and I worked together on the sub-editing desk at a major metropolitan newspaper.

That was in the day when newspapers cared about facts, grammar, accuracy and honesty.

Our job was to turn some appalling drivel into stories that could grace the pages of the paper.

Ben, however, had serious wanderlust and over the past 20 years he has become known as one of Australia's best travel writers - with a serious focus on food.

He's also a tour guide, who has led successful epicurean tours with World Expeditions, including two sold out food trips to San Sebastian and an almost fully booked Japan food tour.

Now he is hosting ‘Picos and Pintxos’, a tour of the Asturias and Basque regions of Northern Spain, in May 2025.

If you fancy sampling the region’s fine wine, cheese and seafood you can combine it with three guided coastal walks, including the Camino del Norte, and three days guided hiking in the Picos de Europa mountain range.

Ben knows his stuff, having lived with his family in San Sebastian.

“I am so excited to share the Basque culinary experiences that were most memorable during my time living in this unique area, along with the beauty of what I consider to be Europe’s most underrated region, Asturias," he says.

“The wilderness we will be hiking through is some of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen, the food in both Asturias and the Basque Country is incredibly good, and each night we will be sleeping in hotels and boutique guesthouses that ooze charm and character.”

This trip will incorporate Ben’s favourite parts of his sell-out San Sebastian tour with World Expeditions, including the market tour, wine tasting and a pintxos tour through San Sebastian's Old Town. 

New elements include a Michelin-starred dining experience at Ayalga in Ribadesella, a guided tour of the Guggenheim museum, and two walks on the ancient pilgrimage path, the Camino del Norte, part of the Camino de Santiago.

This ‘foodie’ trip is not suitable for Vegans or vegetarians, as substitutes at some places are simply not possible.

The tour runs from May 21-June 1 and will cost $6590 per person twin share.

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