Unlock the local delicacies and true character of sultry Spain.

Explore the sights, sounds and tastes of Northern Spain on this food-focused adventure. Immerse yourself in local history and culture as you sample produce at Santa Catarina Market, whip up Catalan specialties in a cooking class, enjoy myriad tapas bars in Logrono, discover the medieval streets and underground wine caves of Laguardia, and venture north to San Sebastian where beaches and a thriving food and arts scene bask together under a beaming sun. Experience a traditional Asturian sidreria (cider house) near Oviedo, attend a centuries' old farmers market in the Potes and taste fresh seafood on the coast in Galicia. With Santiago de Compostela in your sights, your Spanish food pilgrimage is a path worth taking.


Start
Barcelona, Spain
Finish
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Destination
Spain
Style
Original
Theme
Food
Code
ZMZZ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Uncover the local specialties of Asturia and Galicia, sampling true Asturian cider poured in the traditional style, and eating fresh Galician mussels straight from the sea in A Coruna.

  • Few places know how to do a farmer’s market better than Potes, so lap up all of the food traditions with an included market brunch of delicious regional offerings.

  • Learn the difference between pinxtos and tapas with a number of opportunities to crawl around town, tasting the local fare – Logrono’s Old Town has some of the best in the country.

  • In between market visits and tapas tastings, discover the medieval history and charming cobbled laneways of Northern Spain, stopping off for a glass of the local drop to soak up your surroundings.

  • See one of the many reasons why Bilbao and San Sebastian are hot on the map of Spanish travellers, with time spare to visit the acclaimed Guggenheim museum.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Spanish cuisine can be quite meat and seafood-driven, which may mean a few restrictions for vegetarians. There’s no doubt that the vegetarian dishes will be mouth-wateringly delicious too though.

  • There’s some transferring to-and-from different forms of transport. An easily transportable bag is recommended (as opposed to a big, bulky suitcase).

  • Summer temperatures in the areas visited can be very high (up to 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details, and please note that in some hotels a single supplement exclusion applies where single rooms are not available. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other travellers, so embrace it while you can.

Itinerary

Hola! Welcome to Spain. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. For those who arrive early, perhaps explore the streets of the old Gothic Quarter, check out the Picasso Museum, wander the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard of La Rambla, or take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for some wicked views. After the meeting, jump straight into your Real Food Adventure by feeling the rhythm of Barcelona, sipping a locally produced cava in a local bar then perhaps continuing on a tapas crawl, tasting rustic bite-sized Catalan dishes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Barcelona - Cava or Vermouth tasting
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning, get ready for a truly authentic introduction to Catalan cuisine with a passionate Barcelona local and respected chef. Taste your way through the stalls of Santa Catarina Market and pick up some fresh ingredients for a cooking demonstration. Hang out with the stall holders as you select the best piece of meat, feel for the crispest vegetable and choose the freshest seafood. Afterwards, your host will show you how to whip up some Catalonia specialties, like salt cod salad or crema catalana, then sit down to a leisurely lunch accompanied by a glass or two of wine from the nearby Penedes region. Spend the afternoon exploring more of the city's food hotspots or get cultural with some Gaudi at the Casa Mila or La Sagrada Familia. Maybe get lost in the mysterious alleys of the Gothic Quarter and finish the day with a sip of red wine from a Porron – a traditional glass pitcher.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Caterina Market Tour - Barcelona
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information

Ride the rails east to the prized vineyards of La Rioja wine region and Logrono (approximately 3.5 hours). The town sits on the banks of the Ebro river and is the capital of Spain’s most renowned wine region. It also boasts one of the most distinguished culinary traditions in the county and is home to some of the best tapas bars in the whole of Spain, all crammed into its small medieval centre. Logrono is a charming city of medieval fortifications, where much work is being done to restore it to its full glory. This evening you’ll go on a walking tour of the Old Quarter, wandering down Calle del Laurel and the 60 or so taperias (tapas bars) that line the way. This is the perfect opportunity to sample a bit of everything, as each bar has its own speciality – taste your way through some grilled chorizo or wild mushrooms, and wash them down with a glass of the region’s famous red.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Logrono - Tapas Crawl
Meals Included
  • Dinner
This morning you’ll stop past the Logrono market and pick up some treats for a picnic lunch. Then take a local bus (approximately 30 minutes) and go back in time in the historic walled town of Laguardia, perched atop a rock foundation. The entire centre of Laguardia is traffic free as underground lies a maze of tunnels, used to make and store wine for centuries. Here you’ll tour Laguardia's wine caves and then enjoy a guided tasting through some of the region's distinct varietals. Later in the afternoon, transfer to the stunning seaside San Sebastian – jewel of the Basque country and a city obsessed with food (approximately 2 hours). Take an orientation tour of the Parte Vieja (Old Town) – a mix of alleyways wedged between the bay and the Urumea River. This evening why not hit the neighbourhood streets for a txikiteo of pinxtos, a Basque-style tapas crawl that will fill the senses – and stomach – with the unique flavours of the region. Don’t forget to wash them down with txakoli – a slightly fizzy white that’s the region’s signature wine.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • La Guardia - Wine Tasting
Meals Included
  • Lunch
One of the secrets to the success of San Sebastian’s food scene is the obsession with high quality, local, seasonal ingredients. The best way to experience this firsthand it to visit the traditional food markets of La Bretxa or San Martin, and you’ll do just that this morning before a masterclass in Basque cuisine. In this hands-on cooking class, you’ll learn how to prepare some of the signature dishes of the region, and you’ll also taste Basque products including idiazabal – a local cheese, and txakoli – a lightly sparkling dry white wine. The afternoon is free you to explore the town or surrounding area more. Perhaps catch a cable car to Monte Igueldo for some truly spectacular views or take a trip along the winding coast to the nearby small fishing village of Getaria. Maybe discover San Sebastian’s beaches, shops and charismatic streets, or dive into pinxtos bars that range from the traditional to the experimental.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Sebastian - Basque Cooking Class
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Continue east to Bilbao (approximately 1 hour) – a city that was revitalised by the arrival of the Guggenheim. Spend some free time perhaps visiting Frank Gehry’s sweeping metal building and the artistic treasures housed inside and out. Afterwards, climb by bus (approximately 3 hours) up to the Picos de Europa National Park. The park is not what many people picture as Spain – it’s an alpine landscape, high, cool, lush and green, with forests, deep gorges through the cliffs, and grassland dotted with photogenic toffee-coloured cows. Covering some 647 square kilometres, Picos de Europa is Spain's second largest national park and spans across the three provinces of Asturias, Cantabria and Leon. Work up an appetite for tonight’s meal with a walk through this stunning landscape (approximately 2 hours). For dinner, a classic Cantabrian dish is on the menu – Cocido Lebaniego. Cocido Lebaniego is a rich, hearty stew of black pudding, pork shoulder, chorizo and locally grown chickpeas. Enjoy a cooking demonstration followed by your own cocido tasting. Be sure to enjoy your dinner with some crusty bread and a glass of cider.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Picos de Europa - Cocido Lebaniego Meal Experience
  • Picos de Europa - National Park Visit
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
If you wish to explore the Guggenheim Museum, we recommend pre-purchasing your ticket for the 11 am timeslot. This will allow you a few hours to enjoy the site before you leave Bilbao.
This morning, take a short trip to the small mountain town of Potes, nestled in the Picos de Europa National Park. Bordered by ancient monasteries, Potes is brimming with centuries of history, and is a quaint tapestry of bridges, narrow streets and old houses. You will arrive in time to experience the wonderful weekly food market, where you’ll enjoy a market brunch. Depending on the season, you may get to savour locally grown apples, pears, cherries, walnuts, chestnuts or Cantabrian cheeses. On the way to Oviedo, the ancient capital of the region, drive to the charming hillside village of Arenas de Cabrales (approximately 1 hour). Here there’s the opportunity to taste famous Cabrales cheese – a natural blue cheese produced by farmers using a traditional artisan method. Next, stop past an Asturian cider house – the traditional drink of the region. Enjoy a glass in the local style, from a bottle held high over the head into a glass at the knee to produce natural carbonation. You will then arrive in Oviedo by later afternoon (approximately 1.5 hours).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Potes - Market visit and brunch
  • Arenas de Cabrales - Cheese tasting
  • Oviedo - Asturian Cider House visit and tasting
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a walk around the handsome city of Oviedo, with its unique personality, quaint pre-Romanesque churches, elegant streetscapes, fine monuments and grand houses built by those who sailed to the New World and returned wonderfully rich. At the heart of the town sits the impressive Gothic San Salvador Cathedral. You’ll also enjoy an introduction to wonderful local products of Asturia at El Fontan market, home to excellent fish stalls beneath a canopy of wrought-iron and glass. This afternoon is free for your own exploration. Perhaps take a trip up to the port city of Gijon for fresh seafood and sweet-filled bakeries, or the fishing village of Luanco for a relaxing drink on the promenade. For dinner, consider heading to Calle de la Gascona, which is lined with lively sidrerias (cider houses) serving a wide range of raciones (tasting plates).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Oviedo - Guided walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, take a bus to A Coruna in the region of Galicia (approximately 4 hours), taking in some of the spectacular Galician coastline. Here you will visit the impressive fish market in the Praza de Lugo and marvel at the range of seafood on offer. Lunch on fresh seafood at a nearby café, with other delicious non-seafood options available. Then, like thousands of pilgrims before you, end your journey in the capital of Galicia, believed to be the final resting place of the apostle St James (approximately 30 minutes). The beautiful old city of Santiago de Compostela holds many delights within its walls, all overseen by the mighty cathedral. Take a walk around the Old District lit up at night, through the arcaded stone streets, the spacious Praza del Obradoiro and past the Archbishop’s imposing palace. Santiago is home to more than just pilgrims, with the large population of students from the university enhancing the city’s nightlife. Perhaps spend the night in one of the cafes, bars or tapas restaurants in the Old Town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • A Coruna - Fish market visit and seafood lunch
Meals Included
  • Lunch
You will finish this Northern Spain adventure on a gastronomic high with a morning tasting tour around some of the city's best food gems, including the celebrated Mercado de Abastos (Abastos Market). Toast the end of the trip with a cheeky pre-noon glass of wine. The Real Food Adventure Northern Spain will conclude at midday. You may leave your luggage at the hotel until the conclusion of the trip.
Included Activities
  • Santiago de Compostela - Market visit and tasting tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

2 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Public bus, Taxi, Train, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (9 nights)

Included activities

  • Barcelona - Cava or Vermouth tasting
  • Santa Caterina Market Tour - Barcelona
  • Logrono - Tapas Crawl
  • La Guardia - Wine Tasting
  • San Sebastian - Basque Cooking Class
  • Picos de Europa - Cocido Lebaniego Meal Experience
  • Picos de Europa - National Park Visit
  • Potes - Market visit and brunch
  • Arenas de Cabrales - Cheese tasting
  • Oviedo - Asturian Cider House visit and tasting
  • Oviedo - Guided walk
  • A Coruna - Fish market visit and seafood lunch
  • Santiago de Compostela - Market visit and tasting tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.

NOTE: The September 20, 2019 departure of this trip begins on a Friday. The usual start day for the trip is Tuesday. As a result, some of the usual local markets visited are subject to change, particularly the market in Potes on Day 7. Your leader will always find the best alternatives possible and no meals or activities will be missed.

Essential trip information

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