Taste your way through northern Spain's culture, cuisine and charm

Come on a signature tour through northern Spain and get to know the people, landscapes, customs and cuisine that make this part of the country so fascinating. From sipping delicious Rioja in Logrono and delighting in the seaside charms of bustling Barcelona to enjoying the lively tapas bars of San Sebastian and pulling up a seat in an atmospheric square in Madrid – this is an eight-day adventure that packs the essentials of Spain into one. Spain is full of culture, charisma and extraordinary cuisine, and this tour up north is no different.


Start
Barcelona, Spain
Finish
Madrid, Spain
Destination
Spain
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
ZMSN
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Begin in Barcelona, sporting fabulous food, stunning coastline and a vibrant atmosphere that has attracted worldwide acclaim. You’ll want to spend more time here beforehand!

  • The fortified medieval city of Pamplona is a great place to discover on foot. Weave through the city's winding alleyways to the Gothic Cathedral and walk down the street of the famous running of the bulls.

  • Logrono is bursting with delicious local produce and wine, just waiting to be enjoyed on an included pinxtos crawl and winery tour. 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.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be very high in these regions (over 40°C), which can make things 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.

  • It’s bunking 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. Space is at a premium in Europe and your hotel is no exception. Rooms are often small, but usually the central location makes up for that. For those travelling as a duo, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. Please note that only selection of our hotels will have air-conditioning in all rooms.

  • It's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack instead. It will make it easier when walking around metro or train stations with your bag. Sometimes lifts aren’t available, and you would need to walk up and down some stairs carrying your luggage. Please make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the Essential Trip Information.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Hola! Welcome to Barcelona, where fabulous Catalan cuisine, a ground-breaking art scene, Gothic architecture, and a non-stop nightlife are just some of the many highlights. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 7 pm. After the meeting, head out for an optional group dinner for you to get to know your fellow travellers. As Barcelona is so big and you’ll be leaving on your adventure tomorrow, we recommend you arrive a day or two early to see the city for yourself. See great works of art in the Picasso Museum, head to the waterfront for a bowl of traditional paella, soak up the festive vibe of Las Ramblas, or catch the funicular to Montjuic for sweeping views of the city. While in Barcelona, be sure to find time to absorb the bizarre beauty of La Sagrada Familia – one of Gaudi’s most iconic creations.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cathedral visit - EUR7
  • Guell Palace - EUR12
  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Casa Batllo - EUR24
  • Museum of City History - EUR7
  • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
  • Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR10
  • Picasso Museum - EUR14
  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • Cable car to Montjuic (one way) - EUR8
  • Contemporary Art Museum - EUR10
  • Barcelona Tapas Tour - EUR70
  • Snapshots of Barcelona - EUR48
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. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

If you would like to visit La Sagrada Familia, it’s best to pre book your tickets before the tour. To do so, please check https://tickets.sagradafamilia.org/site/SagradaFamilia/ for updated information on availability and times of the visit. On this tour, best time to visit is today, ideally in the morning or early afternoon so you don’t miss welcome meeting at 7 pm.
Lave Barcelona behind and travel by train to Pamplona, the heartland of the Basque country (approximately 4.5 hours). On arrival into Pamplona, head out on an orientation walk and get acquainted with this well-preserved fortified medieval town. 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. It’s also world famous as the home of the annual San Fermin, a weeklong festival that features the running of the bulls. Meander down winding alleys and step inside ornate buildings like Pamplona's Gothic cathedral – one of the most important religious structures in Spain. The city has also recently opened a museum of modern art designed by a prize-winning architect, inspired by the cultural renaissance achieved by Bilbao and its Guggenheim. Your evening is then free to do as you wish – the quality of pintxos (Basque tapas) is incredible, so be sure to tuck into some tasty morsels.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pamplona Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Gothic Cathedral - EUR5
  • Ciudadella fortress - Free
  • Taconera Park - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, take a bus to the stunning seaside city of San Sebastian – a jewel of the Basque country and a place obsessed with food (approximately 1 hour). With its family friendly beaches and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is a fantastic place to stroll along the promenade, shop, or just to soak up the sun. When you arrive, get an overview of the most central beach, La Concha, with an included cable car journey to Monte Igueldo. Then, why not wander around the Parte Vieja (Old Town), a mix of alleyways wedged between the bay and the Urumea River? Otherwise, head to Playa de Gros and watch the surfers riding the waves of Biscay Bay. This evening, you could hit the neighbourhood streets for a txikiteo of pinxtos: a Basque-style tapas crawl that will fill your senses (and stomach) with the unique tastes of the region. Don’t forget to wash them down with a signature fizzy white wine, known as a txakoli.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Monte Igueldo Cable Car - San Sebastian
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You’ll have a full day to explore San Sebastian, giving you plenty of time to catch the 1-hour local bus to Bilbao, if you’d like. 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 another night of delicious food. San Sebastian is home to some of the world’s best restaurants, most experimental chefs and a distinct food culture, so be sure to get your fix tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Catedral del Buen Pastor - Free
  • Aquarium - EUR13
  • Grab Your Pintxo UA - EUR73
  • St. James Way Adventure - EUR63
  • Guggenheim Museum - EUR16
  • San Telmo Museum - EUR6
  • Basque by Bike- San Sebastian UA - EUR43
  • Catamaran Boat trip - EUR10
  • Royals, Stars and Surfers - San Sebastian UA - EUR50
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take the short journey by public bus to the prized vineyards of the Rioja wine region and Logrono (approximately 2 hours). The town sits on the banks of the Ebro River and is the capital of Spain’s most renowned wine region. The city is rich in history and traditions, preserved since the Middle Ages. It also boasts one of the most distinguished culinary traditions in the county, home to some of the best tapas bars in the whole of Spain, all crammed into its small medieval centre. After checking in to your accommodation for tonight, the rest of the day is free to explore. Stroll the streets of this favourite stop for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela, a handsome city of medieval fortifications, where much work is being done to restore it to its full glory. In the evening, head out on an included pintxos crawl around town, as tapas bars right around the medieval Old Town compete to get your business. This means incredibly high standards, so be ready to eat well.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pintxo Crawl - Logrono
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Logrono is central to Spain’s wine industry, and their tradition of winemaking dates back to the first Phoenician settlers back in the 11th century BC. 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’ll head out on an included winery tour to enjoy a day of grazing on delicious local produce – all grown or made within a few kilometres of town – sampling wine and basking in the sunshine. Visit the wine museum (season depending) 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. If the weather is on your side, stroll through enchanting vineyards and learn what goes on behind the scenes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Winery visit - Logrono
Optional Activities
  • Museo de la Rioja - Free
  • San Bartolome church - Free
  • Logrono Cathedral - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Journey on the bus or train to Madrid this morning, which should take between 4 and 5 hours. On arrival, after checking in your hotel, set off for an orientation walk with your group leader. There is plenty to do and see in Madrid and you’ll have time to explore at your own pace. 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, you could don a white t-shirt and head to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to watch the mighty Real Madrid.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR30
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR6
  • Museo del Prado - EUR15
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR10
  • Royal Palace-Madrid - EUR11
  • Markets of Madrid - Urban Adventure - EUR47
  • Madrid Tapas Adventure - Urban Adventure - EUR82
  • Museo Taurino - EUR15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned for the final day, you're able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid, it's recommended that you make arrangements to stay an extra couple of days to see all you can in the city. We’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

4 breakfasts

Transport

Bus, Metro, Public bus, Train, Cable Car

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Pamplona Orientation Walk
  • Monte Igueldo Cable Car - San Sebastian
  • Pintxo Crawl - Logrono
  • Winery visit - Logrono

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. Please note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent.

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.

View Essential Trip Information

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