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Explore the sights, sounds and tastes of northern Spain and Portugal on this food-led adventure. Immerse yourself in culture, history and cuisine as you taste local produce at Santa Catarina Market, whip up Catalan specialties in a cooking class and wander the stunning Gothic Quarter. Enjoy the wealth of tapas bars in Logrono, explore the medieval streets and underground wine caves of Laguardia. Venture north to one of Spain's most celebrated cities, San Sebastian, where beautiful beaches, historic buildings and a thriving food and arts scene bask together under a beaming sun. Experience a traditional Asturian sidreria (cider house) near Oviedo, taste tapas in Santiago de Compostela, capital of Spain's Galicia region and famous for marking the end of the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail. Discover the proud fish-mongering heritage of the port city of Vigo. Then step across the border to uncover the flavours of Portugal, featuring African, Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern influences thanks to centuries of invasion and trade. Sip your way around the Douro Valley, a stunning region responsible for introducing the world to port wine, and enjoy a home cooked dinner and a farm stay in the Alentejo region - fast gaining a reputation as a hotspot for Portuguese gastronomy. Finish up with glass of Ginjinha (wild cherry liqueur) in the charming city of Lisbon.
Day 1: Barcelona
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.
Day 2: Barcelona
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.
Day 3: Logrono
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.
Day 4: Logrono/San Sebastian
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.
Day 5: San Sebastian
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.
Day 6: Bilbao/Picos de Europa NP
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.
Day 7: Oviedo
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).
Day 8: Oviedo
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).
Day 9: Santiago de Compostela
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.
Day 10: Santiago de Compostela
Hola! Welcome to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. The city is famous for being the final destination on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day, as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. Have your insurance and next of kin details on hand as we'll be verifying them at this meeting. After your welcome meeting, get to know your fellow travellers over a traditional Galician meal. For seafood lovers, pulpo a la gallega (Galician style octopus) is highly recommended!
Day 11: Vigo – Porto
Travel to Vigo on a morning train, leaving around 9:30am and arriving an hour later. The vibrant city of Vigo is found on the banks of the Ria de Vigo (Vigo Bay), one of the most important bays in the Rias Baixas region. Not surprisingly, the city has a proud fishing history, with a rich bounty of seafood at its fingertips. The city is one of Europe's most important producers of shellfish. Take a ferry ride to a seafood market, then take part in a Galician cooking class, culminating in a delicious lunch. In the late afternoon, you will be transferred over the border and into Portugal. Arrive in the charming city of Porto by evening (approximately 1.5 hours) and enjoy a free evening to explore.
Day 12: Porto
Stretching along the banks of the River Douro, Porto is one of Portugal's most romantic cities. Known for majestic bridges, medieval riverside district with its cobbled streets, merchants’ houses and cafes, Porto is also well known for one more thing; surprise surprise – Porto is the birthplace of the fortified wine, port. Start your day with coffee and pastries on a guided food walk. Sample local specialties including bacalhau (cod) and finish with a sip of the city's namesake drop. The afternoon is free to enjoy. Perhaps pull up a chair in one of Porto's atmospheric tavernas.
Day 13: Douro Valley – Porto
Enjoy a full-day tour of the Douro Valley. See the beautiful landscapes of the Duoro River region on a relaxing drive around the villages of Sabrosa and Pinhao, home to the stepped terraces and vineyards where port is made. Visit two wineries, learn about port production and enjoy a tasting or two of this signature wine of the region. Enjoy a lunch at a traditional restaurant before returning to Porto in the late afternoon.
Day 14: Alentejo Farmstay
Travel south to Lisbon by train (approximately 3 hours), then take a private vehicle to an agriturismo located near Arraiolos in the Evora district (approximately 1.5 hours). Surrounded by undulating wheat fields dotted with grazing cows, this is the perfect way to experience the Alentejo. This area is renowned for its cork plantations, vineyards and celebrated products, including the coveted Azaruja sausage, made from black Alentejo pigs (more commonly known as Ibérico pigs in Spain). Perhaps take a pre-dinner walk around the property, then enjoy local hospitality with a farm-cooked dinner.
Day 15: Evora – Lisbon
Wake early and enjoy a tour of the agriturismo's on-site distillery and small cheese-making facility. Then take a trip to the UNESCO-listed city of Evora, capital of the Alentejo region. Marvel at the ancient Roman Temple of Évora and the Cathedral of Évora, a massive Gothic structure begun in the 12th century. Continue on to Lisbon, arriving by early evening. Toast your arrival with a glass of the city's favourite cherry liqueur.
Day 16: Lisbon
Get acquainted with this beguiling city on an orientation walk. Along the way, stop in at one of the city's iconic eateries for a tasting of (arguably) the country's best Portuguese custard tarts. Celebrate this final night of your Food Adventure with dinner accompanied by fado, a genre of Portuguese soul music that originated from Africa and has evolved to suit the streets of Lisbon. The show will be accompanied by petiscos, Portugal's answer to tapas!
Day 17: Lisbon
Your Real Food Adventure ends this morning. There are no activities today and you are free to leave at any time, provided you take into account the hotel's internal check-out time.
- 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
- Vigo - Fish Market Tour and Cooking Class
- Porto - City Tasting Tour
- Douro Valley - Day Trip
- Alentejo - Farm-cooked Meal
- Evora - Day Trip
- Fado Show & Dinner
6 Breakfast(s) Included
7 Lunch(es) Included
5 Dinner(s) Included
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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