Highlights of Northern Spain (Oct ’24)

11 Days

10 nights from Bilbao to Barcelona with Back-Roads Touring

Overview

With cosmopolitan cities and ancient villages, rolling vineyards and rugged mountains, Northern Spain is as unforgettable as it is eclectic. Discover awe-inspiring sights, tantalising flavours and fascinating culture as we leave the traditional tourist trail behind on our journey through the mesmerising Basque, Navarre and Catalonia regions.

Trip Highlights

  • Master the art of Spanish cuisine with a traditional cooking class in Pamplona
  • Explore the magnificent Olite Royal Palace – the medieval seat of the Court of Navarre
  • Experience the coastal charm and gastronomical delights of San Sebastián

Map

Itinerary

Architectural allure, natural beauty and rich culture – we’ll meet the group in Bilbao and get to know each other over a sumptuous welcome dinner. Here’s to the incredible adventure ahead! Accommodation: Catalonia Gran Vía Bilbao Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Dinner

After breakfast, we’ll kick things off with a locally guided city tour. A hub of contemporary architecture – we’ll wander Bilbao’s lively Old Town and receive an authentic insight into this industrious city. Then, it’s time to visit the captivating exhibitions of the Guggenheim Museum for an education in art. After some free time for lunch, it’s all aboard the mini-coach as we continue on to San Sebastián. As one of the gastronomic capitals of the world, we’ll have the rest of the afternoon to discover the array of bars and restaurants this charming coastal town is famous for. Accommodation: Catalonia Donosti Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Before setting off for Laguardia we’ll make a scenic stop at the Monte Igueldo Mirador lookout, which offers breathtaking views of San Sebastián. Timing dependent, we may have the opportunity to sample some local pintxos before arriving at our hotel in the heart of the Basque country. Finding ourselves surrounded by acres of vineyards and breathtaking landscapes, here we’ll settle in for an included dinner. Accommodation: Hotel Eguren Ugarte (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

This morning, we’ll make the short drive to the medieval city of Laguardia. Here, we’ll wander the ancient walled quarter with our expert Tour Leader and uncover the fascinating history behind the town’s underground tunnels. We’ll continue our journey to La Rioja – where we’ll be lucky enough to visit a distinguished winery to enjoy a tasting session. Back at our accommodation, we’ll have the evening to spend at our leisure enjoying the scenic vistas from the hotel’s terrace or exploring the surrounding area on one of the nearby hiking trails. Accommodation: Hotel Eguren Ugarte (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Our road leads to enchanting walled town of Olite this morning. Here we’ll explore magnificent Olite Royal Palace: the medieval castle that was once the seat of the Court of Navarre. Afterwards we’ll have time to stroll the cobbled streets and settle in for lunch – the town’s local restaurants boast exceptional Spanish fare, so we’ll be spoiled for choice! Later we’ll continue on to Pamplona, where an included dinner awaits. Accommodation: Hotel Maisonnave (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 6 :
Pamplona

The capital of Navarre is ours to discover today! We’ll spend some time admiring historic landmarks such as Pamplona Cathedral and the Plaza del Castillo on a stroll with our Tour Leader. Then we’ll roll up our sleeves for a Spanish cooking class – with our very own creations on today’s lunch menu. Later it's time to delve into this handsome city at our own pace. Explore the atmospheric lanes, verdant parks and grand Gothic churches. Or indulge in a spot of retail therapy in the Old Town, lined with buzzing shops and cosy taverns. Accommodation: Hotel Maisonnave (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Our first stop of the day will be the Monastery of Leyre; one of the most historic religious complexes in Spain. Here we’ll delve into the fascinating history of the region as we explore St Virila Abbey, the ‘porta speciosa’ doorway and the coffer – which holds the remains of the first kings of Navarre. We’ll then continue our journey to Jaca – where we’ll have the chance to stroll around the charming old town and lay eyes on the 11th-century Romanesque cathedral. The picturesque hilltop village of Boltaña is our home for the night – and setting for this evening’s delicious included dinner. Accommodation: Barceló Monasterio de Boltaña (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Today, we’ll turn back the hands of time with a visit to La Seu Vella – a magnificent hilltop fortress-cathedral that looms over the city of Lleida. Here we’ll discover the medieval chapel, 14th-century Gothic cloister and bell tower with a local guide, before returning to the charming Old Town for some free time. Later, we’ll continue to Cardona – where we’ll explore the imposing castle that stands watch over the town. This evening is ours to spend at our leisure. Accommodation: Hotel Bremon (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Before departing Cardona, we’ll have the opportunity to visit the Salt Mines – where we’ll explore the old mine shafts and underground museum with a local guide. Afterwards, we’ll set our sights on the medieval village of Besalú – a hidden treasure filled with Romanesque architecture. And this afternoon? A unique insight into the rural culture of Catalonia awaits at a traditional farm in Siurana. We’ll be shown around before having the opportunity to sample some of the farm’s delicious cheeses. Our last stop for the day is Girona, where we’ll have the evening to explore at our own pace. Accommodation: Hotel Museu Llegendes de Girona (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 :
Girona

This morning we’ll seek out the likes of Girona’s landmark Cathedral, the Esglesia de Sant Feliu and the medieval Sant Pere de Galligants on a locally guided walking tour, before having the remainder of the day to spend as we please. There's plenty of time for a leisurely lunch and a wander along the ancient city walls. Tonight, we’ll regroup and reflect on our unforgettable journey with a farewell dinner. Accommodation: Hotel Museu Llegendes de Girona (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Before we say our final goodbyes, we’ll pay a visit to the Salvador Dalí Museum-House in Cadaqués – where we’ll see the surrealist artist’s workshop, library and gardens. This afternoon, we’ll make our way along the sun-kissed Costa Brava to Barcelona – where our tour will come to an end.
Meals: Breakfast

Departures & Prices

  • Travel dates: selected departures in October 2024
  • Prices from: R70,159 pps

Includes / Excludes

Inclusions

  • Accommodation: 10 nights
  • Meals: 10 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 5 Dinners
  • Transport: Premium mini-coach
  • Staff/Guides: Experienced Tour Leader and Driver

Exclusions

  • International flights and taxes
  • Visas (if required)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals and drinks not specified
  • Activities & services not specified
  • Anything of a personal nature

Terms & Conditions

  • Prices are per person, capacity controlled, subject to availability and further subject to rate of exchange fluctuations at time of booking.
  • For standard booking terms and conditions see Back-Roads Terms & Conditions
  • Valid for sale until 31 May 2024.
From R70,159
/ Person
  • Currency
  • Pricing

Summary

  • Selected departures in October 2024
  • 10 nights
  • Spain
  • Back-Roads Touring (BHSBX3)