Basque Country, located in northern Spain and southwestern France, is one of the most captivating culinary havens worldwide. The independent region is home to the Euskaldunak people who have their own language, culture and community centered on the appreciation of food and wine. This beautiful area has hundreds of miles of coastline along the Bay of Biscay, and our small group of travelers will spend a week in San Sebastián, a small city formed around a horseshoe-shaped beach.

Basque view

San Sebastián is a vibrant city, and you will explore it all from the local wine Txacoli to Rioja’s reds, tapas to tasting menus, farmhouse tables to farmers markets, queso Idiazabal to chocolat, sea views to cobbled streets. Our home base will be an exclusive 4-star boutique hotel located in a historical building in the center of the city and very close to the beach.

Chef Guillermo is your Guide

Chef Guillermo Delavault has been visiting San Sebastián for over twenty years and considers it his second home. He fell in love with Basque cuisine and culture and was the chef at a prestigious hotel there before moving to the United States. He will share his passion for this region with our group as he leads us through tastings that will electrify your senses. In addition to his deep knowledge and enthusiasm for the culinary world, Guillermo is an avid traveler and he makes a fun and friendly companion. Chef Guillermo will partner with a Basque colleague and close friend, Chef Lander Ganzo, to introduce us to the local cuisine firsthand.

Guillermo with ladies

Basque Cuisine

Basque cuisine is renowned worldwide for its exceptional quality and unique flavors. Pintxos, the Basque version of tapas, are a culinary highlight, often served in bars and taverns throughout the region. The “old town” is home to the largest concentration of bars in all of Europe and every night the Donostiarras (locals) head out in groups to hit as many pintxos bars as possible. Basque chefs are celebrated for their use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and Michelin-starred restaurants abound in cities like San Sebastián.

And we will take advantage of these restaurants! You will enjoy lunch at Elkano, the one-star restaurant known for creative, elegantly plated cuisine featuring seafood and fish. You will also visit one-Michelin star Restaurante Kokotxa for a seasonal tasting menu dictated by what’s fresh at the market.

The Story of Txakoli

What better wine to enjoy all of this beautiful seafood and fish than with the traditional wine of the Basque region, Txakoli (also called Txakolina, or Chacoli). You will visit a winemaker that grows the indigenous grapes Hondarribi Zuri (white) and Hondarribi Beltza (red). The wine has a natural spritz and is typically poured from high above, so it forms in the tall, flat-bottomed glasses and aerates, enhancing its youthful effervescence. Toast to your adventures while learning about this special local wine.

This time of year is harvest in Rioja so you’ll see vines heavy with grapes, mostly Tempranillo and Garnacha. The Rioja D.O.C. is Spain’s largest wine regions with more than 500 wineries in the area. The wines pair perfectly with the unforgettable views.

Wine at vineyard

Sagardotegias (cider houses) surround San Sebastián so it’s only fitting that the first stop on this tour will be at a traditional cider house for cider shot straight from the barrels and a traditional Basque feast.

Cider from barrel

Piment d’Espelette: A Legendary Chile

You’ve likely heard of or even used Espelette pepper in your cooking. This chili pepper essential to Basque cuisine and has a flavor profile that’s fresh and fruity with a hint of heat. It’s spicy without being overpowering! It’s special because it is a DOP product which means it can only be grown in the French commune of Espelette, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. We’ll visit Atelier du Piment to explore the farm and learn about the process of growing and processing the peppers.

espelette peppers

Architecture Tourism

Basque cities like San Sebastián are home to striking modern architecture juxtaposed with historic buildings. A great example of the quirky Basque architecture is St-Jean-de-Luz, a small Atlantic fishing village with a charming market which we will visit.


You will also see avant garde, contemporary buildings in the Basque Country, most notably The Guggenheim Bilbao designed by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, where you will depart for home. You’ll have the option to add another hotel night if you would like to see the art collection which spans from the mid-20th century to present day. The restaurant inside the museum also possesses a Michelin star so of course, you should dine there too!

This seven-day tour is full of delicious food, wine and irresistible photo ops. Whether you are drawn by the culinary scene or the stunning vistas that stretch from the mountains to sea, this journey will no doubt leave a lasting impression, especially when you experience the warm hospitality of its people. Basque County has countless treasures that await you!

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We are excited to announce a new tour that will marry art and food in France this fall. You will have the experience of eating like a famous artist, in the same restaurants, enjoying the same foods the impressionists did in the 19th century as you sketch your memories throughout this unique adventure.

Chef Kelly Unger of The Rooster & The Carrot Cooking Studio in Doylestown, Pennsylvania will lead this tour along with Artist and Founder of, Mandee Hammerstein. Generationally, Onward Travel has a longstanding relationship with Chef Kelly as our grandmother and mother have both attended her cooking classes and have loved each one of them. So, when Kelly approached us about preparing a tour for her students, we were thrilled to work with her. 

“I’m a Francophile, and I teach a lot of French classes. Over the years, my students have asked for guided trips to France. It was always a goal of mine, so it was really nice to hear people ask for it. Using Onward Travel to coordinate the logistics was a natural fit. I love supporting small, women-owned businesses,” said Kelly. 

This unique first tour is inspired byn a radio show that Kelly and Mandee host every other week called Eat Like an Artist on WDVR FM. You can listen to the latest episode from February 26, 2024 online here where they announce this trip to their audience. Kelly lives in the food world and Mandee lives in the arts world, so combining their talents will allow our small group of travelers to explore the food and art of the Impressionists through multiple unique lenses.  

Kelly and Mandee painting

Fifteen travelers will live and cook through the eyes and taste buds of some of our world’s prized creatives as you travel from Paris to Provence. We will reacquaint ourselves with the Impressionist artists and their works – think Claude Monet, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh although considered a post-Impressionist artist), and many more and Mandee will lead some impromptu art lessons throughout the trip. 

“Even if you aren’t a great artist, sketching your memories throughout the trip will allow you to relate more to the artist and memorialize your way through the trip creatively. We are constantly snapping photos with our phones, but sketching allows us to connect to what’s happening and savor memories in a personal and different way. It’s not about how good of an artist you are, but rather being open to a fun artistic exercise,” said Kelly and Mandee in a shared statement.. 

Kelly and Mandee at Louvre

Paris to Provence: Eating in the Footsteps of the Impressionists will kick off with three days in Paris, the City of Light. You will see Marc Chagall’s ceiling for the Paris Opera which consists of 2400 square feet of frescoes and took him a year to complete.

Opera House

You will have dinner at Au Petit Riche where many Impressionist artists and Opera staff dined. The restaurant opened in 1854 when chefs started becoming popular and dining out became fashionable. This particular spot was a favorite of Renoir, and you will enjoy the same classic French cuisine that the artists did in their day.

Kelly and Mandee Dining

Of course, no trip to Paris is complete without spending some time around the beauty of the magnificent Eiffel Tower. Tour guests will explore it both during the day and enjoy dinner at a restaurant with some of this historical monument’s most beautiful, close-up views at night.

Kelly at Eiffel Tower

Mandee at Eiffel Tower at Night

There will be a museum visit to tour the permanent Impressionists Collection at Musee D’Orsay and lunch to take in the museum’s opulence. We also have a boat ride down La Seine so you can get even more different perspectives of the city. 

The group will then move on to Provence via train where you will tour Atelier de Cézanne, a biographical museum about the painter Paul Cézanne. You will learn the secrets behind traditional Provencal cooking and prepare a hearty feast during a cooking class at La Belugue in Beaumont- de-Pertuis. This 18th-century farmhouse offers the perfect venue for a cooking lesson in dishes that could have also been prepared during the artists’ time.  

We’ll explore the market in St-Rémy, enjoy a modern immersive exhibition into the world of Van Gogh, enjoy a wine tasting and dinner at a restaurant just next to the 14 century castle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the summer residence of the popes during the Avignon Papacy. The views, food and wine in this special restaurant are unparalleled! 

On this trip, you will visit other historical sites such as the Pont du Gard,  the tallest of all Roman aqueduct bridges. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its historical importance, architectural ingenuity and exceptional preservation. We’ll also visit an abbey near a medieval town.

Pont du Gard

This trip offers experiences of a lifetime such as a truffle hunt and lunch as well as a visit to one of the most beautiful villages in France, known for its distinctive red cliffs, created by the world’s largest known iron ochre deposit.

Paris to Provence: Eating in the Footsteps of the Impressionists will commence Wednesday, October 16 in Paris and end on Thursday, October 24, 2024 in Marseille. Utilize pencils, paintbrushes and culinary tools to create a memorable experience as you follow in the footsteps of creative geniuses and create your own works of art and food along the way.

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If you fancy yourself a foodie, there are few other destinations in the world that will satisfy your hunger for delicious cuisine and wine than Tuscany in Italy. That’s why for the past six years, we have partnered with Chicago’s premiere recreational cooking school, The Chopping Block, to bring you the popular Cook Like a Tuscan tour.  

Spend seven days in Tuscany in autumn, when the olives and grapes are being picked and pressed to perfection. The weather is typically beautiful, and the scenery is full of medieval hilltop towns overlooking rolling countryside of vines and olive trees. From our stone villa in the heart of Chianti wine country, we’ll travel throughout the region for a once-in-a-lifetime culinary immersion. 


Roll Up your Sleeves and Pasta Machines

This tour is unlike others because it includes four hands-on cooking classes, so it is a true culinary vacation! You will master the techniques of pasta, pizza, focaccia, and gnocchi as you learn how to utilize local ingredients featured in Italian cuisine. Your teachers are local chefs with a true passion for their homeland and enthusiasm for its food. From rustic handmade pasta to fine-dining dishes, you will tie on an apron and learn it all! 

Pizza oven

You will also have the pleasure of visiting Antica Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano in Chianti. This butcher shop brings people on a pilgrimage to Panzano from all over the world. Most of them are hoping to meet Dario Cecchini, who is known as the most famous butcher in the world. This 68-year-old eighth generation butcher has been featured in television shows Top Chef and Chef’s Table. Dario does few butchery classes these days, but our small group of travelers is one of the few that continues to get to experience this very personalized class.


Another special cooking class happens at Badia a Coltibuono, a former abbey and home of the late Lorenza De’Medici, an internationally known cook, author, and authority on Italian cuisine. The estate is now owned by Lorenza’s three adult children and their farm and its land have been producing excellent wines and oils for over a thousand years! Today, it’s an agritourism destination with a restaurant, cooking school, boutique hotel and event venue. The cooking classes feature local Tuscan ingredients, many straight from the vegetable garden. 

In this hands-on class, you will learn how to make pasta just like an Italian nonna, ragu, focaccia and biscotti as you dine on the fruits of your labor paired with wines from the estate including their lovely Chianti Riserva.

Making pasta

Cheers to Chianti

In addition to all of the cooking you will do on this trip, there’s plenty of wine education paired during the week. From impromptu lessons with tour guide and Sommelier Viktorija Todorovska on the villa’s loggia (open air porch) to guided tours and tastings at local vineyards and wineries, you will gain a solid understanding of the beautiful wine made in this region, and just how hard it is to make! Italy’s wine laws are quite strict, and you’ll hear firsthand what farmers are up against, including drought and wild boars.

From Chianti Classico to Brunello di Montalcino to Super Tuscans and Vin Santo, (Italy’s famous dessert wine), you will taste it all and learn about these spectacular wines that will soon become part of your regular wine repertoire when you return home. You’ll also likely continue to use the casual Italian toast of “Cin cin” when clinking glasses with friends just as they do in Italy! 

Rose at villa

Cultural Immersion

Not only is this trip a food and wine lover’s dream, but you are given a true immersion into the local culture of Tuscany. You’ll see how terracotta is made in a tiny Tuscan town famous for its production, experience a taste of local olive oils, and visit outdoor markets and shops. We travel from the villa just enough to see the sights, but not too much where you feel like you are always in transport.


You’ll visit Montefioralle, a tiny, hilltop stone village with 360 degree views of the Tuscan countryside as well as Montalcino, a medieval walled hilltop city with a fortress and a 16th century vibe. You will soak in the warm therapeutic waters of Bagno Vignoni which have been bubbling since ancient times. 

A visit to Siena’s iconic Piazza del Campo where the famous Palio di Siena horse race takes place will conjure images of the crowds as you walk through this town’s neighborhoods, each rooting for its own horse. Siena’s Gothic cathedral, Duomo of Santa Maria Asunta, features mosaic floors that will blow you away! 



Explore on Your Own

Although this itinerary may sound jam-packed, there is also plenty of downtime to relax and explore on your own. Lay by the beautiful pool at the villa, explore the vineyards surrounding the villa or walk through the lovely village of Panzano whenever you like. This trip is the perfect combination of fun, education, eating, and experiencing! Whether you are an experienced cook or have never boiled dried pasta in your life, you will fall in love with Italy as you learn how to Cook Like a Tuscan. 

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One cannot think of central Italy without dreaming of a trip to the Amalfi Coast. You may have heard this enchanting area is for only the affluent and glamorous, but it is also a playground for creative and adventurous souls, as well as food and wine lovers.

Amalfi View


Onward Travel chose May for this year’s trip because it is an ideal time to explore: the tourist crowds are not at their peak yet, the lemon trees bear ripe fruit and the temperatures remain pleasantly moderate, enticing you to indulge in a refreshing dip in the sparkling, azure Tyrrhenian Sea. 

Almafi swimming

Unravel Rich History

Settlements along the coast boast a rich history dating back to the 10th century, and today, the entire coastline is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage “cultural landscape.” The dramatic scenery, characterized by soaring cliffs and endless vistas will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on your memory. 

Amalfi cliffs

The region’s incredible history comes to life as we trace the ancient roots of these coastal settlements including the 11th century Byzantine Cathedral at the area’s center, as well as a medieval paper factory still in existence today. 

Amalfi cathedral

Savoring Seafood and Zesty Lemons

But we also come for the food, where fresh seafood and locally grown lemons contribute to the area’s phenomenal cuisine. You will learn how to prepare some local recipes in a hands-on cooking class with a local family who is truly like family to us at Onward Travel. You will tour their culinary garden, whip up a delicious meal and hear fascinating stories from this multi-generational family.

Amalfi cooking class

You will also meet another close friend – Biagio the mozzarella maker, who is the last artisanal cheese maker on the entire Amalfi Coast. You will make a big batch of fresh mozzarella, learning his secrets along the way, before tasting a generous sampling of his products. You will never look at a ball of mozzarella the same again! 

Kat making mozzarella

Biagio the artisanal cheese maker and tour guide Kat


You will learn quickly why lemons are revered in this area. Amalfi lemons are sweeter, more supple, and much larger than we are accustomed to in the United States. You will visit a family lemon farm and take a lemon-centric cooking class featuring some of their best and brightest dishes. No meal is complete here without limoncello! 

Amalfi lemons


Amalfi lemon cooking class

Kat and lemon farmer

Tour guide Kat and Sal the organic lemon farmer

This trip also features a dinner at one of Onward Travel’s most favorite restaurants anywhere in the world, owned by the same family who taught our cooking class! Not only is the view amazing, but the food will blow you away. It is run by a family who assume all the roles in the operation – from chef to sommelier to Matre’d to manager to farmer and pastry chef. We will conclude the meal with another spectacular homemade limoncello. Salute!

Expert Local Guide and Scholar

One of the benefits of this trip is local interpretation by one of our favorite local guides, archaeologist, and slow food connoisseur Roberto, who will take you on a tour of the lovely little off-the beaten path villages of the Amalfi Coast. Roberto excels in bringing the history of this area alive, including stories from a villa that was established one thousand years ago. 

Roberto in Amalfi


He will also guide you through the ancient ruins of Pompeii, one of the world’s most famous archeological sites. Roberto will make you feel you are part of life in this ancient world, and you will quickly understand why the ancient city has been a popular tourist destination for over 250 years. 

Explore by Boat

A visit to Amalfi would not be complete without a private boat cruise to the world famous Isle of Capri, also known as “Blue Island.” You will enjoy a breathtaking trip along the coastal inlets of all the villages with stunning vistas at every turn. And it transforms into an aperitivo cruise on the way home! 

Amalfi boat

Amalfi boat

The Amalfi Coast is a popular tourist destination (for good reason!) but Onward Travel takes you off the beaten path and provides a truly meaningful immersion in the local area thanks to our local connections and friends. Some plans have changed and now Kat (our Amalfi “expert”) will be leading this tour – she is super thrilled to return to one of her favorite places and introduce the group to all of her friends! Single or double occupancy is currently available at our elegant waterfront accommodations, so share this experience with your partner or a friend and join us in May 2024. Just four spots remain! 

The Amalfi Coast promises a delightful and unforgettable experience. Are you ready to embark on this amazing Amalfi Coast adventure? 

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