Jump aboard this unforgettable trip through France and Spain

From the romantic capital of France to magnificent Madrid, this adventure is packed with art, nature, culture and history. Enjoy the sparkling lights of Paris, visit the royal Chateau at Villandry and hike among the towering peaks of the Pyrenees. Cross into Spain and kick back on a sunny beach to recharge before perhaps embarking on a big night out. Finally, hit the Spanish capital to discover a multitude of chic boutiques or lose yourself in the wonder of the world-famous Prado and Reina Sofia museums.

Paris, France
Madrid, Spain
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12
Carbon offset
214kg pp per trip


  • Get swept up in the romance of Paris
  • Visit the exquisite Chateau de Villandry
  • Enjoy wine-tasting in Bordeaux
  • Revel in the relaxed pace of the Dordogne region
  • Hike in the mighty Pyrenees Mountains
  • Experience the vibrant north of Spain
  • Discover a lively bar scene in San Sebastian
  • See a fairytale castle in Segovia
  • Explore Madrid's character-filled neighbourhoods


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2015 - 31 December 2015

Bonjour. Welcome to Paris, France. Your 'Paris to Madrid' adventure begins with a welcome meeting, which is usually at around 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early into the city, Paris offers a wealth of major sights and things to do. Wandering around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter and the bohemian Montmartre will give you a good feel for the city. As there's limited time for sightseeing in Paris, we recommend you make arrangements to arrive a few days early to see the highlights of this beautiful city. Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend the meeting. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Say au revoir to Paris this morning and travel by train to Tours, which is in the Loire Valley (approximately three hours). Located between the Loire and Cher rivers, Tours is acclaimed as a 'town of art and history'. It's easy to see why as you explore the narrow streets, the outdoor cafes and bars in the main square, and the Rue Colbert and Rue Grand Marche, lined with half-timbered houses. On arrival, the rest of your day is free to explore this quaint city. If you have the time, a hot air balloon ride (extra cost) is one of the highlights of the visit to Tours.
Bicycles are a great way to explore the rolling countryside of the Loire and its historic chateaux. Enjoy a day's cycling and tour the Chateau Villandry with its beautiful 16th-century ornamental garden. The trip is a mostly flat 36 kilometres, but you will need appropriate footwear (no flip-flops) to cycle in. In the late afternoon/early evening, the rest of your day is then free.
Journey south by train to the small medieval town of Sarlat in the Dordogne region, which should take you around six hours. Known for its rich cuisine and prehistoric history, this is a great area to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life. Time seems to have stood still in Sarat-la-Caneda itself, with a slow winding river and a town so impeccably preserved that it still resembles how it once looked in the 14th century. On arrival, check in to your hotel and use your free time getting to know the town. Try and make time to visit La Roque’s magnificent Troglodyte Fort, as it looks like something out of middle-Earth.
Today you'll head out on the Dordogne River, where you'll paddle kayaks down the river for around 15 kilometres. This is a picturesque setting and you'll be able to take in sights such as the Chateau de Beynac. Another option for later in the day is to hire bikes, which is the ideal mode of transport for getting around this pretty region. The rest of your evening is free.
Travel by train for around three hours today to the capital of the Gascony region, Bordeaux. Once an important port and trading centre dating back to pre-Roman times, most of the architecture visible today in Bordeaux dates from the 18th century and was considered the golden age of the city. On arrival, drop your luggage off at the hotel and start to get your bearings. Scale the Gothic bell tower of the Tour Pey-Berland for great views of the city. The rest of your day is then free to do as you wish.
Venture out on a day tour this morning, as you head to a nearby vineyard for a tasting of famous Bordeaux wines. Sample local varietals and perfect your palate, as you're taken through some of France's most celebrated grapes. In the evening, you're free to do as you wish. Perhaps pop out for dinner with the group.
Today, head for the French Pyrenees and the spa town of Bagneres de Luchon by train and bus (approximately six hours). The French Pyrenees stretch from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and form a natural 450 kilometre long barrier between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. As well as their spectacular natural beauty, the Pyrenees are also famous for their thermal springs, where curistes (those seeking a cure) have been coming for hundreds of years. Luchon is one such spa town, and a great base for exploring the surrounding trails. There won't be too much time to explore today, so perhaps take a brief walk around town and head out for dinner.
This morning, take to the hills for a day of hiking in the Pyrenees. Be prepared for some steep ascents, climbing up through the forest to a fantastic viewpoint of the mountain peaks (weather permitting). The surrounds are truly alpine so try not to forget your camera, as the scenery is amazing around this neck of the woods. As the terrain is quite unpredictable is this area, please remember to bring the appropriate footwear with you. Sturdy trainers or light hiking boots will suffice.
Today, take a private transfer across the border to Spain and continue onto the coastal town of San Sebastian (approximately five hours). With its family friendly beaches and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is a fantastic place to stroll along the promenade, shop, consume pintos (Basque-style tapas) or just to soak up the sun. For a different perspective of the most central beach, La Concha, climb or catch a cable car to Monte Igueldo.
You have a full day to explore San Sebastian today, which also gives you plenty of time to catch the one-hour local bus to Bilbao. If you do decide to venture to Bilbao, the world-famous and architecturally sublime Guggenheim Museum is a must visit. If you have enough time in the afternoon, the San Telmo Museum displays history, art and photography of the Basque country. In the evening, it might be a good idea to enjoy one more night of tapas in San Sebastian.
Say goodbye to San Sebastian, and travel by train and bus to the remarkable walled town of Segovia, which is in the heart of mountainous Castile (approximately 5.5 hours). With its stunning backdrop of mountains, twisting alleyways, the highest concentration of Romanesque churches in the world and delicious local cuisine, Segovia is atmospheric, photogenic and memorable. With the largest and best preserved Roman aqueduct of its kind anywhere in the world and a towering 16th century cathedral, there's plenty of history to discover during free time in Segovia. For something different, there are two rivers bordering the medieval walls, and an extensive green belt park with miles of shaded walks. Your evening is free to relax.
Today you'll take a sightseeing walk of the World Heritage-listed old town, visiting the spectacular fortified castle of the Alcazar. As an inspiration to the iconic Walt Disney structure, this is where Queen Isabel met with Columbus before he set sail on the epic journey that led to the discovery of the Americas. You'll have plenty of time to explore this landmark on arrival, so make sure you take comfortable footwear for your walk.
Journey by train to Madrid this morning, which takes around an hour. On arrival, while away the hours on the Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) for a panoramic perspective of western art history. Perhaps wander through the pristine gardens of Real Jardin Botanico and then delve deeper into the art of the city at Museo Reina Sofia and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. If you're lucky enough for your trip to fall on match day, possibly don a white t-shirt and head to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to watch the mighty Real Madrid. Notes: As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid, it's recommended that you make arrangements to arrive a few days early to see the highlights of the city. Our reservations team can help with booking accommodation (subject to availability).
Your Paris to Madrid adventure ends after breakfast today. There are no more activities planned and you're able to leave your accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


4 breakfasts
Bicycle, Bus, Kayak, Metro, Private vehicle, Public bus, Train
Hotel (14 nights)
Included activities
  • Alcazar
  • Chateaux Villandry & Gardens
  • Cycling tour
  • Kayaking, Sarlat
  • Wine tasting Bordeaux


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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Our Paris to Madrid trips score an average of 4.7 out of 5 based on 44 reviews in the last year.

Paris to Madrid , October 2015

Paris to Madrid , October 2015