Enjoy a unique travel experience through the unforgettable France and Spain

Join this adventure from romantic Paris to cosmopolitan Barcelona and be captivated by the culture and history of France and Spain. Visit castles, cycle through the Loire Valley and hike in the majestic mountains of the Pyrenees. Peruse paintings, admire Gaudi's quirky architecture and marvel at an illustrious Moorish past in Spain's byways and boulevards before partying the night away. This trip will make sure you come away with the best memories of two of Europe's most-visited countries.


Start
Paris, France
Finish
Barcelona, Spain
Countries
France, Spain
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
AMSQC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Be romanced by Paris, the City of Love. The Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees are unforgettable when lit up at night

  • Enjoy a day of cycling through the Loire Valley, and tour the exquisite 16th-century ornamental gardens of the Chateau Villandry

  • There's nothing like tasting wine from the source. Visit one of the many wineries in Bordeaux to gain insight into the wine-making process

  • Canoe down a calm river in the unspoiled Dordogne region of southwestern France

  • Hike through the forests and slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains. This mighty range separates the Iberian peninsula from the rest of Europe

  • Experience the Basque way of life on the sandy shores of San Sebastian. Indulge at the local pintos bars and throw yourself into northern Spanish 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

  • Experience the fiery passion and rhythm of a traditional flamenco dance performance in Seville

  • It's a pretty special thing to chill out on a beach in Andalusian Spain, knowing North Africa is just across the water. Explore the scenic Costa de la Luz, and kick back with some tapas and sangria in Tarifa

  • The town of Ronda is split in two by a deep rocky chasm. Follow in the path of the Romans, as you cross from one side to the other along an ancient bridge

  • Discover Cordoba's great mosque - the Mezquita, one of the most accomplished examples of Moorish architecture in the world. The lavish gardens and opulent rooms of Granada's spectacular Alhambra Palace aren't bad either

  • Witness a spectacular Spanish sunset on a beach in Valencia, while feasting on a bowl of the world's best paella.

  • The cosmopolitan city of Barcelona pulses with culture, art and an outstanding drinking and dining scene. Discover the eccentric modernist architecture of Antonio Gaudi, who made Barcelona his artistic playground. The unfinished masterpiece of La Sagrada Familia is particularly mind-blowing

Is this trip right for you?

  • As this is a combination of 2 trips, your leader and the composition of your group may change in Madrid.

  • In Sarlat, the group will take a kayaking trip, which is a great way to discover the area. To participate, you'll need to be comfortable with canoeing on calm water. The activity will be supervised by your tour leader, but if you wish to skip it and do something else instead, there are other optional activities to choose form. These can be organised locally, so please speak to your leader at the beginning of the trip.

  • In Tours, the group will take a bike ride to the beautiful gardens of Chateau Villandry. To do this, you'll need to be comfortable with cycling for about 30 kilometres at an easy pace on flat ground. If you'd like to skip this activity and organise an alternative mode of transport, please speak to your leader at the start of the trip.

  • If you want to hike through the Pyrenees mountains, you'll need to be fairly fit and healthy, and will need to bring sufficient footwear and clothing. If you don't want to hike, you're welcome to simply relax and take in the breathtaking scenery.

  • The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. European trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning. Toilets are always available. Some of the trains have snack bars (or vending machines) and power points next to the seats but that cannot be guaranteed on every journey. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Please note that you will have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, and also up or down few flights of stairs as unfortunately some of the stations may not have lifts. In that case it is recommended to bring a backpack instead of rigid wheelie suitcase. Make sure the luggage doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.

  • Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 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 carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

  • As accommodation on this trip is multi-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. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Bonjour! Welcome to Paris. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting which is usually 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. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you have all these to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, get out and explore this 'City of Light'. Perhaps go for a wander around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter and the bohemian Montmartre. This will give you a good feel for the city. Arriving earlier to see Paris' iconic sights is highly recommended.

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).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Eiffel Tower - EUR17
  • Louvre Museum - EUR15
  • Musee d'Orsay - EUR14
  • Palace of Versailles - EUR18
  • Palace of Versailles Gardens - Free
  • Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR65
  • Arc de Triomphe - EUR12
  • Catacombs - EUR12
  • Centre Pompidou - EUR14
  • Napoleon's Tomb & Les Invalides Army Museum - EUR11
  • Notre Dame Towers - EUR10
  • Picasso Museum - EUR12
  • Rodin Museum - EUR10
  • Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR15
  • Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR25
  • Fat Tires bike tour - EUR32
  • Urban Adventures - Secret Paris: Cheese, Art, and Local Life - EUR59
  • Urban Adventures - Experience Bohemian Paris - EUR59
  • Fragonard Perfume Museum - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Say au revoir to Paris this morning and travel by train to Tours (approximately 3 hours). On arrival, the day is yours to spend as you please. This city is based on the lower reaches of the River Loire. Being a crucial frontier between northern and southern France, it held many feudal strongholds, country seats and even some of the posh playhouses of many of the French nobles. You'll soon see why the city of Tours is acclaimed as a town of art and history. 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. This is also a great place for a tipple, as the city is well known for its wines.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cathedrale St-Gatien - Free
  • Hot air balloon - EUR250
  • Musee des Beaux-Arts - EUR5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There are many ways to discover the beauty of Loire Valley, but cycling is perhaps best for exploring this rolling countryside and its historic chateaux. Enjoy a day's cycling and tour the Chateau Villandry, which has a beautiful ornamental garden dating back to the 16th century. This is where French and English kings used to discuss peace. It was brought to today's shape by Joachim Carvallo in the 20th century. You'll see just by looking at it what an enormous amount of money and time it took. It's known to many as one of the most beautiful set of gardens in the world. In the late afternoon or early evening, the rest of your day is then free.

Notes: The cycling trip is a mostly flat 35 kilometres, but you will need appropriate footwear (no flip-flops) to cycle in. Bring a day pack for your essentials such as water, sunglasses, sun cream and a camera.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chateaux Villandry & Gardens
  • Cycling tour - Tours
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Journey south by train to the small medieval town of Sarlat, located in the Dordogne region (approximately 6 hours). This is a great area to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life, known for its rich cuisine and prehistoric history. 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 its 14th-century state. On arrival, check into your hotel and use your free time getting to know the town. Simply enjoy the atmosphere of Sarlat by sitting in one of the roadside cafes and watching locals going about their everyday tasks.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Gabarre tour - EUR8
  • Domme Caves - EUR9
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today's a fun, active day. Head out on the Dordogne River, where you'll paddle a canoe down the river for around 15 kilometres. This is a picturesque setting, and you'll be able to take in sights such as the gorgeous Chateau de Beynac. It sits atop a limestone cliff, dominating the townscape and north bank of the Dordogne River. Another option for later in the day is to hire a bike, which is the ideal way to get around in this pretty region. Check with your leader for timings, though, as often it may be difficult to fit both canoeing and cycling on the same day. The evening is yours to spend as you please.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Canoeing - Sarlat
Optional Activities
  • Bike hire per day - EUR25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by train to the capital of the Gascony region, Bordeaux (approximately 3 hours). On arrival, drop your luggage off at the hotel and start to get a feel for the place. Famed for its wine, this region has some fascinating history, and most of the architecture visible today in Bordeaux dates from the 18th century (which is considered its golden age). Perhaps scale the Gothic bell tower of the Tour Pey-Berland for great views of the city. Visit famous Cathédrale St-André, as well as its many fine and contemporary art museums and 18th- and 19th-century mansions. Public gardens line the curving river quays, and grand Place de la Bourse opens to the water, with the Three Graces fountain at its centre. The rest of your day is then free to do as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Musee des Beaux-Arts - EUR4
  • Pey Berland Tower - EUR6
  • CAPC Musee d'Art Contemporain - EUR5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Discover why Bordeaux wines are so popular all over the globe. Venture out on a wine museum tour to learn the history of the region and its famous wines. Train your palate as you're taken through some of France's most celebrated grapes varietals. Enjoy some free time in the evening. Perhaps head out for some more wine tasting at certain wine bars only the locals (and our leader!) know about. Finish the day with a dinner at your own expense. Bordeaux has a long list of excellent places to dine so ask your leader for the best recommendations. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Wine Museum Bordeaux
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by train and bus to the French Pyrenees and the spa town of Bagneres de Luchon (approximately 6 hours). The French Pyrenees stretch from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and form a natural 450-kilometre barrier between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. As well as their spectacular natural beauty, they are also famous for their thermal springs; curistes (those seeking a cure) have been coming here for centuries. Luchon is one of the spa towns, 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 before you head out for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is another active day. Kick things off nice and early as you take to the hills for a day of hiking in the Pyrenees. Be prepared for some steep ascents through the forest. You'll arrive at a fantastic vantage. If the weather is clear, you'll see some incredible mountainous vistas from up here. These surrounds are well and truly alpine, so try not to forget your camera! The terrain can be quite unpredictable, so remember to bring appropriate footwear. Sturdy trainers or light hiking boots will suffice. Pack your waterproof items, plenty of water, and energy bar or two so you can be in peak condition to enjoy the beautiful hills.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hiking in the Pyrenees
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a private transfer across the border to Spain and continue to the coastal town of San Sebastian (approximately 5 hours). With its family friendly beaches, innovative gastronomy and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is an ideal place to take it easy. Stroll along the promenade, shop, feast on pintxos (Basque-style tapas) or simply laze on the sand and soak up the sun. If you’re up for a different perspective of La Concha (the most central beach), climb or catch a cable car to Monte Igueldo. The panoramic views form the summit makes one feel like a hawk.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Grab Your Pintxo UA - EUR65
  • St. James Way Adventure - EUR55
  • Royals, Stars and Surfers - San Sebastian UA - EUR41
  • Basque by Bike- San Sebastian UA - EUR43
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
You have a full day to explore San Sebastian today. Perhaps catch the one-hour local bus to Bilbao. If you do decide to head there, the world-famous and architecturally sublime Guggenheim Museum is well worth your time. If you have enough time in the afternoon, the San Telmo Museum displays a good collection of history, art and photography of the Basque country. Otherwise, San Sebastian has still plenty on offer. An interesting thing to see is the well-known Aquarium, which is proud to be the first natural science museum founded in Spain. Since opening in 1928 it has hosted 12 million visitors, and though it has undergone some remodelling over the years its original character and principles has remained true. In the evening, it might be a good idea to enjoy one more night of tapas in San Sebastian.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Aquarium - EUR13
  • Catedral del Buen Pastor - Free
  • Guggenheim Museum - EUR16
  • Monte Igueldo Cable Car - San Sebastian - EUR3
  • San Telmo Museum - EUR6
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Say goodbye to San Sebastian and head to the remarkable walled town of Segovia. You'll get there by train and bus (approximately 6 hours). There's plenty to do and see in this town, which is located in the heart of mountainous Castile. There's stunning scenery, twisting alleyways and delicious local cuisine, not to mention the world's highest concentration of Romanesque churches. Check out the aqueduct – the largest and best-preserved of its kind. For something different, there are two rivers bordering the medieval walls, and an extensive green belt park with miles of shaded walks. Enjoy your evening relaxing and taking in the atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you'll take a sightseeing walk of the World Heritage-listed old town, visiting the spectacular fortified castle of 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. Alcazar rises out on a rocky crag above the river and, due to its interesting shape, looks a bit like the bow of a ship. You'll have plenty of time to explore this most distinctive Spanish landmark, so make sure you take comfortable footwear for your walk. Rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Alcazar Segovia
Optional Activities
  • Casa de los Picos - Free
  • City walls Segovia - EUR2
  • Esteban Vicente Museum - EUR3
  • Segovia Fortress - EUR5
  • Segovia Museum - EUR2
  • Zuloaga Museum - EUR2
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Journey by train to Madrid this morning (approximately 1 hour). On arrival, perhaps 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. Sports fans, if you're lucky enough for your trip to fall on match day, you can don a white t-shirt and head to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to watch the mighty Real Madrid.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR27
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
  • Museo del Prado - EUR15
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR4
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
  • Madrid Tapas Adventure - Urban Adventure - EUR82
  • Markets of Madrid - Urban Adventure - EUR47
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is free for you to enjoy as you please. Set out to discover Madrid in more detail.With great restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on offer, Madrid is a world-class city exuding confidence and style through every pore.

As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a bus to Granada today (approximately 4.5 hours). Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is packed with Moorish architecture, great tapas bars and natural beauty. Take a walk around the old Arab quarter of the Albaicin, a labyrinth of crooked alleys, fountains, plazas and whitewashed houses, or the 'Alcaiceria' (old silk market area) and observe the craftworks on sale that include ceramics, marquetry and leather goods. If you're feeling energetic, climb the steep streets up to the Mirador de San Nicolas for sunset views over the famous Alhambra. If you have time, perhaps check out the historic Renaissance Catedral and Capilla Real. Granada is the kind of city to leave your guidebook behind and trust your intuition. Discovering the narrow streets of Albaicin and the white-walled house garden of Realejo quarter may lead your adventurous spirit to find something that you have long been looking for. For the best view of Granada at sunset try the Mirador de San Nicolas at the very top of the city's steep streets. In the evening, perhaps head to one of the small flamenco taverns around the city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today make a visit to Granada's impressive Alhambra Palace. An entrance ticket is included in the trip and grants you the visit of Nasrid Palace and the Gardens. Audio guides in multiple languages are available on the day for EUR 4. The Alhambra was first built by the Moors as a fortress during the Muslim rule of Spain. A walk through the compound's luxurious rooms and gardens gives you an idea of the decadent lifestyle of the Moorish kings. The Alhambra is made up of three parts: the Alcazaba, the 11th-century Muslim wing which features spectacular views from its towers; the Palacio Nazaries, the centre of the complex; and Generalife, the summer palace of the sultans. This evening, unearth the restaurants in the tangled streets of the Albaicin and dine with the best views of the Alhambra.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Alhambra entrance
Optional Activities
  • Jose Guerrero Centre - Free
  • Mirador de San Nicolas - Free
  • Catedral de Granada - EUR4
  • Science Park Planetarium - EUR2
  • Science Park - EUR7
  • Capilla Real - EUR4
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel approximately 2.5 hours by bus and train to the vibrant city of Seville. If the legends are to be believed, Seville was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. To the Romans it was Hispalis, to the Moorsm Isbiliya. After the Christian reconquest, it became thought of as the portal to the 'New World', and is today the capital of Andalucia and the largest city in southern Spain. Known for its important monuments and fascinating history, Seville is universally famous for being a joyous town. Sevillians are well known for their wit and sparkle, and the city itself is striking for its vitality and flamboyance – the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro. Seville is also famous for its oranges, tapas and flamenco, all three of which are ingrained in the fabric of the city and its proud people. As the rest of the day is free for you to explore, why not go and experience it all in person. Barrio Santa Cruz, with its multicultural history, is a great place to start. This shaded warren was designed in medieval times to provide refuge from the great Andalusian heat. Or maybe spend your evening San Jacinto, the bustling main street of the Triana quarter, and discover the interesting and adventurous food on offer.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Guided tour of Seville including Alcazar Seville - EUR13
  • Archeological Museum - EUR3
  • Art and Popular Customs Museum - EUR2
  • Catedral and Giralda Tower - EUR8
  • Museum of Fine Arts - EUR2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day to discover Seville. Checking out the world's largest Gothic cathedral is a must. You can also the climb the cathedral's adjoining Moorish tower, known as La Giralda. While you might have to line up, it's well worth it for the views over the city. Visit the magnificent Alcazar, a complex of palaces used by Moorish and Christian rulers through the ages, and now gaining international fame as a shooting location for ‘Game of Thrones’. Wander through the fragrant gardens and examine the Moorish and Mudejar architecture. If you feel like an injection of culture, explore Seville's Museum of Fine Arts or the Archaeological Museum, or head to the Real Maestranza Bullring for insight into the Spanish tradition of bull fighting. As Seville is the tapas capital of Spain, be sure to sample some of the tasty morsels on offer in one of the city's many tapas bars. In the evening, catch a local flamenco performance with the group (included). Charged with emotion and drama, this powerful, fiery show is a real highlight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Flamenco performance
Optional Activities
  • Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre - EUR3
  • Casa de Pilatos - EUR8
  • Indias Archive - Free
  • Santa Paula Convent - EUR3
  • Torre del Oro - EUR3
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today travel south to the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) (approximately 3 hours). On the western side of Andalusia, the coast faces the Mediterranean and North Africa. Your base for the next two nights is Tarifa, a laid-back beach town endowed with spectacular rocky scenery, a sea fortress, a lighthouse and plenty of character. The afternoon is free to relax. Perhaps catch a bus to the 10 kilometre-long sands of Playa de Los Lances – a haven for kite surfers – or hole up at a beach bar on Playa de Valdevaqueros. One of the best ways to appreciate the area is simply to wander, along the promenade under the old castle, past restaurants brimming with fresh seafood, and appreciate this rare underdeveloped stretch of Spanish coastline. The surfers lend the old town a laid-back, international vibe, along with hints of the North Africa that lies just across the water. In the evening, why not grab some dinner in town and join in Tarifa's vibrant nightlife.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today there are plenty of optional activities to choose from today. Perhaps head out on a whale and dolphin watching expedition on the Iberian Peninsula. At this unique place, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and where Europe meets Africa, you will get the chance to see seven different species of whales and dolphins. Alternatively, take a day trip to Northern Africa and the town of Tangier in Morocco, just 45 minutes away by ferry. Once a hotspot for artists, secret agents and millionaires, Tangier has been going through something of a renaissance of late. The city's medina and kasbah are well worth exploring, as are the cafes and patisseries around the Place de la France in the Ville Nouvelle. You can unwind and take in the charms of the city on the recently reconstructed beach promenade. Another interesting option is a day tour across the border to the British territory of Gibraltar, home to the famous Rock of Gibraltar. Here you can take a cable car up to the rock’s peak, explore formation-filled caves, a Moorish castle, and wander the main street, discovering the interesting blend of old British life and Spanish flavours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Morocco day trip - EUR60
  • Whale watching - EUR35
  • Gibraltar day trip - EUR48
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave the coast and head inland by bus and train to the town of Ronda in the Andalucian hills (approximately four hours altogether). Arrive in Ronda by lunch time, enjoy an orientation walk with your leader, and the rest of the afternoon is then free. Ronda is the birthplace of bullfighting in Spain. The Plaza de Toros is one of the oldest bullfighting rings in the country. Adjoining the bullring is the Bullfighting Museum, which displays relics of Ronda's bullfighting history. The highlight of the town is the spectacular Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), one of the most photographed structures the country. Built in 1751, it bridges the 100-metre deep gorge that splits the town in two. Check out the old Moorish town on one side, home to many historic buildings including the House of the Moorish King, and the newer El Mercadillo on the other side. East of the town are well-preserved Arab Baths and of course, the famous Plaza de Toros. In the evening find a spot from which you could enjoy a scenic sunset; this won’t be a problem in Ronda.
Note: While bullfighting is a significant part of Spanish culture and history, its practice is contrary to our Responsible Travel philosophy. Intrepid does not support or attend bullfights, as the bulls are subject to torment and fear and are often killed inhumanely. Long a controversial issue in Spain, a landmark decision in July 2010 banned bullfighting in the state of Catalonia from January 2012
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
If you haven't done so yesterday, take your chance now to visit the spectacular gorge in Ronda. In the afternoon, hop on a train headed to Cordoba. On arrival, take part in an orientation walk and then the evening is free to enjoy at your leisure. Perhaps head out and sample some delicious Spanish cuisine, including salmorejo (a cold soup made of tomatoes, bread and olive oil served with chopped up boiled egg and cured ham) or rabo de toro (oxtail soup), which are specialties of Cordoba. There are also plenty of good-value eateries in the Juderia (Jewish Quarter).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ronda Gorge Walk
Optional Activities
  • Bandits Museum - EUR4
  • Santa Maria la Mayor Church - EUR4
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Muslim, Jewish and Christian influences are present in Cordoba's architecture, culture and cuisine. Today the group will visit the famous Mezquita - once the third largest mosque in the world and one of the most beautiful. It was consecrated into a Roman Catholic cathedral in the 13th century when the Christians reconquered Cordoba. Later on you are free to enjoy Cordoba as you wish. You might like to discover Casa de las Cabezas (House of Heads), magnificent example of an aristocratic house from Middle Ages. The most thrilling legend of Cordoba about Seven Infants of Lara, was born here. Legend has it that the mansion was a stronghold of Almanzor who held nobleman Gonzalo Gustioz captive here. His seven sons, known as the infants of Lara, were killed in an ambush while trying to free him. Their heads were speared in the lane, one head per arch, therefore the name of the house. In the late afternoon, perhaps stroll along Rio Guadalquivir and cross the Puente Romano. Capture a great view of the Mezquita from the Torre de Calahorra before heading out for a dinner (at your own expense) in one of many great restaurants in the city. Salmorejo and flamenquín: a thick, creamy soup of tomato and garlic, served cold with chopped boiled egg, and a roll of ham and veal, bread crumbed, fried in olive oil and cut into pieces is something you will never regret trying in Cordoba.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of Cordoba & Mezquita visit
Optional Activities
  • Palacio Museo de Viana - EUR8
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a train and head east to the coastal town of Valencia (approximately 5 hours). Known for being the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, Valencia has a large port, beautiful beaches, restaurants and a beach promenade along the waterfront. The old town is set back from the seafront through, and in the centre you will find the beautiful monuments and historical buildings. Busy markets, clean beaches, spectacular mountains and a fascinating mix of old town and new town makes up the best of Valencia. Over the next couple of days, you have a lot of free time to wander around the city and see the sights. Perhaps rent a bike from one of the many bike stations that are dotted around the city. Cycle through the park that runs through the centre of the city to the impressively designed Museu de les Ciencies Príncipe Felipe (Arts and Science Museum). Valencia is also built with separate cycle paths, so it's really easy to get around. This evening perhaps head out to bar-hop and eat tapas in the Ciutat Vella (old town).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Picnic in Valencia
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take the day to explore. Why not do as the locals do and start the day with a breakfast of tortillas or churros at the colourful stalls of the Mercado Central. Then, visit the 13th-century cathedral, which houses what's claimed to be the Holy Grail, and climb the 207 steps of the Miguelete tower for the best views of the city. For something a little quirkier, head to the Museum of the Fallas, which contains a history of the Valencia fire festival and giant papier mache figures that have been spared from the burning. The Museo de Bellas Artes has Spain's second-biggest art collection, housed in a beautiful 17th-century convent. There are also many fine parks and gardens, or you may want to head to the beach of Playa de la Malvarrosa to soak up some sun. To try the paella that Valencia is famous for (rabbit and chicken), do as the locals do and head to the restaurant area of Las Arenas for a hearty and reasonably priced lunch. Tonight, maybe head south to Ruzafa, one of the city’s coolest areas, where the locals only start to head out as the clock strikes midnight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cycling in Valencia
Optional Activities
  • Fallas Museum - EUR2
  • Gonzalez Marti Museum - EUR3
  • Miguelete Tower - EUR2
  • Principe Filipe Science Museum - EUR8
  • The Silk Exchange - EUR2
  • Valencian Institute of Modern Art - EUR2
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today take the train up the coast to Barcelona (approximately 3.5 hours). Barcelona's quirky character and fabulous Catalan cuisine mixes seamlessly with a groundbreaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife, making it a city you won't soon forget. In the afternoon, there are plenty of options to keep you busy. Wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter and navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona's famous tree-lined boulevard. Maybe grab a fresh juice at the colourful La Boqueria market while you're there. Perhaps pay a visit to the Picasso Museum, the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. Take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. The heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre and so this evening perhaps head out to taste the reputation for yourself. You can take a tapas crawl through rustic Catalan dishes in the funky neighbourhood of El Born.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Casa Batllo - EUR22
  • Guell Palace - EUR12
  • Museum of City History - EUR7
  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
  • Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR10
  • Picasso Museum - EUR14
  • Cathedral visit - EUR6
  • Barcelona Tapas Tour - EUR69
  • Snapshots of Barcelona - EUR47
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Join your leader on an orientation walk around Barcelona today. See some of the city's main sights, including a visit to Antonio Gaudi's incredible La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. The architect worked on this hugely ambitious project for decades until his death, and it remains in constant construction. Along with the Camp Nou football stadium, it is possibly the city's most iconic landmark. Gaudi was the master of the unique Catalan Modernista architecture for which Barcelona is famous, and his work is dotted all over the city. Perhaps check out the Neo-Gothic mansion of Guell Palace, or the wave-inspired structure of Casa Batlo. For more insight into the artist himself, head to the Gaudi House Museum inside Parc Guell, which is home to more colourful sculptures, including a long mosaic-covered bench overlooking the city. For something a little different, perhaps have a poke around the Old Santa Creu Hospital. For your final night, perhaps finish the day with a sip of red wine from a porro – a traditional glass pitcher.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today your Spanish adventure comes to an end in the morning. There are no more activities planned and you're free to leave the accommodation at any time. If you'd like to spend a few more days in Barcelona, then our reservations team can help book accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

7 breakfasts

Transport

Bicycle, Bus, Kayak, Metro, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (28 nights)

Included activities

  • Chateaux Villandry & Gardens
  • Cycling tour - Tours
  • Canoeing - Sarlat
  • Wine Museum Bordeaux
  • Hiking in the Pyrenees
  • Alcazar Segovia
  • Alhambra entrance
  • Flamenco performance
  • Ronda Gorge Walk
  • Guided tour of Cordoba & Mezquita visit
  • Picnic in Valencia
  • Cycling in Valencia
  • La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our France & Spain trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

From 1st of January 2018 this trip will start in London. There will be an overnight stay with some activities included on the following day, before traveling to Paris on Eurostar train. We have also decided to cut one day short in two destinations; Bordeaux and Segovia. This change was suggested in feedback of many previous travellers as well as our leaders.

A single supplement is available on this trip with the exception of the following nights:
Day 20-21 Tarifa.

In addition, on the following departures we are unable to secure single supplement in San Sebastian at the time of booking, but it is likely it will be available when the group arrives at the destination. If you are planning to book a single supplement, we will charge a full price, but should the single room be unavailable in San Sebastian, you will be refunded the equivalent locally. Affected departures are: AMSQC170805 and AMSQC170916

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

Our France & Spain trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

France & Spain, July 2017

Richard Blundell