Get a taste of northern Spain's culture, cuisine and charisma

Come on a short but sweet tour through the north of Spain and get to know the people, landscapes, customs and cuisine that combine to make this part of the country so fascinating. From delighting in the seaside charms of bustling Barcelona and enjoying the lively tapas bars of San Sebastian, to sipping delicious Rioja in Logrono and pulling up a seat in an atmospheric square in Madrid - this will be one eight-day adventure you won't forget.

Start
Barcelona, Spain
Finish
Madrid, Spain
Countries
Spain
Themes
Explorer
Code
ZMSN
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
114kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • It's easy to be consumed by the architecture, culture and vibrant nightlife of Barcelona, but the food available for consumption is just as good. Traditional Catalan dishes such as fideua (similar to seafood paella) and botifarra amb mongetes (haricot beans served with sausage) taste a little like heaven. The wine isn't bad either; Barcelona is renowed for sparkling wine.
  • The fortified medieval city of Pamplona is a great place to discover on foot. Weave through the city's winding alleyways to the immense Gothic Cathedral and walk down the street of the famous bull run.
  • Logrono is bursting with delicious local produce and wine, just waiting to be enjoyed on an included tapas crawl. Delicioso!
  • Take a long siesta on the golden beaches of San Sebastian, one of Spain's most scenic coastal destinations. As the sun goes down, join the crowds as they come out to play among the city's exciting nightlife
  • The Art Walk in Madrid is every art lover's dream. In one small stretch you can browse the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, one of the world's most celebrated galleries

Itinerary

Hola. Welcome to Barcelona, Spain. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at around 7 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place and confirm the time. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details, passport information and next of kin information and phone number at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

If you arrive early, use free time to get your bearings of Barcelona. There are plenty of galleries, cafes and historic corners to keep you busy. If you have time, Gaudi's bizarre La Sagrada Familia Cathedral is possibly the most iconic landmark in this city and well worth a visit. In the evening, join your fellow travellers for dinner so you can get to know them.

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).
Leave Barcelona behind and travel by train to Pamplona, the heartland of Basque country (approximately 4.5 hours). On arrival into Pamplona, venture out on an orientation walk and explore this well-preserved fortified medieval town. It is here where famous around the world running of the bulls happens annually. Interestingly, the festival became well known in the world after publication of ‘The Sun Also Rises’ by Ernest Hemingway.

Pamplona, named after its founder, Pompey the Great, has served for centuries as both a military stronghold and an important point on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. The Gothic Cathedral is also another highlight to visit if you have the time.

Your evening is then free to do as you wish.
After breakfast this morning, take the short journey by public bus to Logrono.

The city is rich in history and traditions preserved well since middle ages. It was also one of the important points on Santiago de Compostela route, which has left an interesting monumental legacy closely linked to the passing pilgrims.

After checking in to your accommodation for tonight, the balance of the day is then free to do what you like. A great idea is to go out and check out the famous Tapas. Logrono as a small, friendly town known for its red wine seems to be a perfect place to do that with the rest of the group. The town has certainly plenty of tapas bars to explore.
No other city then Logrono feels to have such an importance to the wine industry in Spain. The city is not only surrounded by vines, but has always treated wine with great respect. It is hard to imagine, but in 1635 the traffic of metal-wheeled carriages was forbidden in Old Town by law, as it was feared that vibration caused would disturb the wines resting in cellars below.

Today you will head out on an included winery tour to enjoy a day of grazing on delicious local produce, sampling wine and basking in the sunshine. Visit the wine museum (July to September) to learn more about this region's famous tipple. When the museum is closed, your group leader will take you on a visit to a local winery.

In the evening, head out on an included tapas crawl around the town and enjoy yourself grazing on delicious local produce and sampling wine.
Take a bus from Logrono to San Sebastian today, which usually takes about two 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. The town created almost to perfection for those who wish to relax. Playa de Gros is another interesting place to visit. It’s often full of surfers riding the waves of Biscay Bay. For a different perspective of the most central beach, La Concha, climb or catch a cable car (included) to Monte Igueldo.

San Sebastian is also being recognised as world food scene, with its tapas culture almost unmatched anywhere else in Spain. Perhaps evening is the time to go out and enjoy one of the world’s best places to eat?
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 (there is never enough of tapas!) in San Sebastian before heading to Madrid tomorrow.
Journey on the bus or train to Madrid this morning, which should take between four and five hours. On arrival, after checking in your hotel, we will set off for an orientation walk. There is plenty to do and see in madrid, so instead, you may choose to go out and discover on your own. Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) gives a great 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 stay few extra nights to see the highlights of the city. Our reservations team can help with booking accommodation (subject to availability).
Your 'North Spain Discovery' adventure ends this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
1 breakfast
Transport
Bus, Metro, Public bus, Train
Accommodation
Hotel (7 nights)
Included activities
  • Pamplona Orientation Walk
  • Ciudadella fortress
  • Ontañon winery visit - Logrono
  • Tapas Crawl - Logrono
  • Monte Igueldo Cable Car - San Sebastian

Dates

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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.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our North Spain Discovery trips score an average of 4.85 out of 5 based on 47 reviews in the last year.

North Spain Discovery , November 2015

North Spain Discovery , October 2015

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