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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

Step back in time on a journey that spans centuries and borders... and creates an authentic sense of place. Northern Spain captivates with a diversity of landscapes and cultural riches... Nature lovers revel in the majesty of the spectacular Pyrenees and Picos de Europa. History buffs marvel at San Sebastián, and art and architecture aficionados find paradise in Barcelona and Bilbao. Pilgrims seek miracles along the Camino de Santiago; visitors, Hemingway included, have been invariably moved by the traditions of Pamplona; and lovers of food – and fun – savor the taste of tapas in neighborhood bars and cafés tucked in narrow medieval lanes from little rural towns to the modern metropolis that is Madrid. Linking people and places with history and charm, Spain’s unique historic paradors and elegant resort hotels offer a legacy of genuine hospitality and service along the way.

  1. Day 1
    Arrive Barcelona

    Tour begins: 5:30 PM, Le Méridien Barcelona. A transfer is included from Barcelona Airport or the Barcelona Franca train station to Le Méridien Barcelona, ideally located on Las Ramblas. Join us for a private welcome reception and dinner tonight at the hotel as you get your first taste of life in Northern Spain.


    Meals: Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Art and Architecture in Barcelona

    Walk along the tree-lined pedestrian promenade of Las Ramblas this morning with a local guide who leads you through the cobblestone lanes of Barcelona's 14th-century Gothic quarter, Barri Gòtic, a medieval warren of Roman relics, hidden courtyards, shops and alfresco cafés, to the Plaça de la Catedral.  Set apart from other churches, Barcelona’s Cathedral was built between 1298 and 1460 – although its richly decorated façade, guarded by gargoyles, was added in 1870. Go inside to see its medieval origins, from its exquisitely sculpted choir stalls and elegant pillars to the fine workmanship depicted on the pulpit and the alabaster sarcophagus of the crypt of Santa Eulàlia. Your city tour continues with a drive through hilltop Montjuic, rewarding with panoramic views, and a visit to Gaudí’s unfinished cathedral, la Sagrada Família, artistically and architecturally unique, and awe-inspiring in every detail. Spend the rest of the day exploring Barcelona as you wish.


    Meals: Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Country Roads of Catalonia

    Venture into the mountains today, stopping at the saw-toothed mountain of Montserrat, just northwest of Barcelona, to visit the Benedictine monastery and see the shrine of la Moreneta, the Black Madonna. According to the legend, the statue was discovered in the year 880 by shepherds who saw a strange light in the sky and heard music coming from a cave in the mountain. Since then, it has become one of the most famous pilgrimage sights in Spain. Continue on to Cardona for a visit to the Romanesque Church of Saint Vicenç, consecrated in 1047. Enjoy lunch in the medieval dining room at 9th-century Parador de Cardona, holding court over the countryside from its hilltop perch. Drive through the snow-capped Catalonian Pyrenees to your hotel in La Seu d’Urgell for a memorable two-night stay. Dinner tonight is at the hotel, with wine included.


    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  4. Day 4
    Pyrenees Pleasures in La Seu d'Urgell

    A morning walking tour on the cobblestone lanes of La Seu d’Urgell brings you to the 12th-century Romanesque Cathedral, renowned as the finest in the Pyrenees. Following an included lunch, you have a choice of activities this afternoon – a hike with a local guide; a Catalan cooking demonstration in the kitchen of your castle hotel; a round of golf on a nine-hole course, with all equipment provided; or a 30-minute massage in the hotel’s on-site spa. Feast on a seven-course wine-tasting dinner in a medieval 9th-century castle tonight.


    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  5. Day 5
    On to Elciego in the Rioja Valley
    Depart La Seu d'Urgell this morning and head to the town of Elciego in the province of Álava in the Basque Country of northern Spain, part of the renowned Rioja wine-producing region. After stopping en route for lunch at a parador in Zaragoza, you'll arrive late afternoon in Elciego (Eltziego in Basque), home to the Marqués de Riscal winery and the remarkable five-star hotel that will be your home for the next two nights – the visionary Hotel Marqués de Riscal, designed as a 21st-century chateau by world-famous Canadian-born American architect Frank Gehry, which opened in 2006. After settling in, enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Wine Tasting & Haro in the Rioja Valley
    Begin today's explorations in the Rioja Valley wine region (La Rioja) with a tour and tasting at the Marqués de Riscal winery, founded in 1858, whose "City of Wine" includes your ultra-modern hotel and the surrounding winery and vineyards. Next, head to Laguardia in Basque Country for a guided visit, where a walking tour reveals this old town's wealth of historic features, including its medieval ramparts, many Romanesque churches, and the Church of Santa Maria de los Reyes with its well-preserved Gothic tower. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Laguardia, Pamplona & San Sebastián

    Leave Elciego this morning and drive to famous Pamplona, immortalized in Hemingway’s famous book, The Sun Also Rises; where you'll have the opportunity to walk the route followed during the town's celebrated annual running of the bulls. Then it’s on to coastal San Sebastián in Basque Country, where your first view of this popular oceanfront town is from the top of Mt. Igueldo. Regarded by many as Spain’s culinary capital, this ancient town also boasts great surfing beaches, stunning architecture and myriad pintxos bars tucked into the maze of medieval lanes in its Old Town (Parte Vieja). Have dinner at your elegant Belle-Époque hotel tonight.


    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  8. Day 8
    A day in seaside San Sebastián

    Join a local guide for a walking tour along the cobblestone streets of the historic Old Town before spending the rest of the day and evening exploring more of seaside San Sebastián on your own as you please... perhaps sampling typical Basque food and enjoying the town's many waterfront activities, including world-class surfing.


    Meals: Breakfast
  9. Day 9
    Bilbao, The Guggenheim & Oviedo

    Visit the iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao this morning, discovering its collection of modern art as you wish. Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry (who also designed the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, where you stayed in Elciego), the museum is a showcase for large-scale, site-specific contemporary works of art by international and Basque artists, as well as exhibiting a selection of modern art from the Guggenheim Foundation’s collection. Continue on to the Cantabria region, stopping for lunch and time at leisure in the perfectly preserved medieval town of Santillana del Mar. Wind your way through hills and valleys to Oviedo this afternoon for an overnight stay at a restored 18th-century hospice that was featured in the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant this evening.


    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  10. Day 10
    A Pilgrimage to Santiago

    Explore Oviedo on a walking tour this morning, seeing a mix of historic and artistic monuments from various periods across the centuries. Stop for lunch along the coast en route to the world-famous pilgrimage town of Santiago de Compostela – where, upon arrival late this afternoon, you'll have an opportunity to join your Tauck Director to walk the final stretch of the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) before checking in to your hotel, the historic Parador de Santiago de Compostela (also known as Parador de los Reyes Catolicos). Considered to be one of the oldest hotels in the world, it has welcomed travelers since the 15th century. Dine tonight at your choice of restaurants in the parador.


    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  11. Day 11
    Sights of Santiago de Compostela

    When what was believed to be the grave of St. James the Greater was discovered in this region of what is now northern Spain in the ninth century, hundreds of thousands began making the arduous pilgrimage along El Camino de Santiago – the Way of St. James – on foot to visit it. Legend has it that a bright star led a shepherd boy to the forgotten tomb of the apostle; today your local guide leads the way on a guided walking tour of the town's historic quarter and a visit to the world-famous 11th-century Romanesque Cathedral of St. James, home to the relics of the saint. Following lunch at your historic parador, the rest of the day is free to spend as you like, walking in the footsteps of pilgrims who have made their way here from around the world for centuries.


    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  12. Day 12
    Fly to Madrid for a Two-Night Stay
    Depart Santiago de Compostela this morning and fly to Madrid for a two-night stay in Spain's historic capital city. Upon arrival, follow an orientation tour of the city with a guided lunch tapas tour through the historic Barrio de las Letras, a neighborhood that was home to Cervantes and other great Spanish literary lights during the Golden Age. Later, check into your genteel hotel, set within a former 19th-century palace within walking distance of Madrid's Royal Palace and the Teatro Real Opera House. Spend the remainder of the day and evening exploring Madrid on your own and enjoying dinner as you please. 
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  13. Day 13
    Exploring Madrid & The Thyssen
    Join a local guide for a morning tour of Madrid's landmark sights that includes a walking tour of the vast Plaza Mayor and the Mercado San Miguel. Then enjoy a guided visit to the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, whose exhibits span the history of art from the 13th through 20th centuries. The remainder of the afternoon and evening are yours to spend as you wish in Spain's storied capital city. We invite you to join us this evening for a farewell reception and dinner at your stylish Madrid hotel, converted from a 19th-century palace and boasting spectacular, historic gardens in the very heart of the Spanish capital.
     
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  14. Day 14
    Journey home

    Tour ends: Madrid. Fly home anytime. A transfer from the Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques to Madrid–Barajas Airport or Madrid Atocha train station is included. You should allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in at the airport.


    Meals: Breakfast
Countries Visited

Spain

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Inclusions

Step back in time on a journey that spans centuries and borders... and creates an authentic sense of place. Northern Spain captivates with a diversity of landscapes and cultural riches...Nature lovers revel in the majesty of the spectacular Pyrenees and Picos de Europa. History buffs marvel at San Sebastián, and art and architecture aficionados find paradise in Barcelona and Bilbao. Pilgrims seek miracles along the Camino de Santiago; visitors, Hemingway included, have been invariably moved by the traditions of Pamplona; and lovers of food – and fun – savor the taste of tapas in neighborhood bars and cafés tucked in narrow medieval lanes from little rural towns to the modern metropolis that is Madrid. Linking people and places with history and charm, Spain’s unique historic paradors and elegant resort hotels offer a legacy of genuine hospitality and service along the way.

  • TAUCK'S YELLOW ROADS - Cultural charms and spectacular scenery entice during stays in a Frank Gehry masterpiece, an authentically restored castle, a former palace and a historic parador
  • Explorations, winery tours and tastings in the famed Rioja Valley wine region
  • At El Castell de Ciutat, a choice of a spa treatment, cooking demonstration of Catalan cuisine, or a round of golf

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Accommodations


Parador de Santiago de Compostela
El Castell de Ciutat
Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques
Hotel Maria Cristina
Le Méridien Barcelona Hotel
Hotel Marqués de Riscal
Hotel de la Reconquista

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Tauck Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.5
Accommodations
4.4
Itinerary
4.6
Professional Staff
4.7
Repeat with Operator
4.5
Value for Money
4.3

Ratings based off 811 reviews about Tauck Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

Our goals were met and exceeded by Affordable Tours.

Wonderful Tauck Tours..we will travel with them again..thank you for the suggestion..

This is our 7th Tauck tour/river cruise and they have never disappointed.

Our trip was amazing and we had to he most amazing guide Leah she went above and beyond

Ms Lawren Farias was our agent. She went out of her way to make sure that everything went smoothly and it did I would defiitely use her again. She was outstanding.

Maya was absolutely wonderful! I only want to book with her for any future travel.

The Tauck tour exceeded our expectations.Our tour director was exceedingly well informed and organized.She was the best.

The tour was one of our best. Tauck's attention to detail and covering nearly 100% of our costs or fees and booking 5* hotels is why we liked the trip.

Fantastic vacation! Exceeded all our expectations! Trip of a Lifetime!!!

Tauck delivered as promised and more. The tour director was very helpful and knowledgeable. We wouldn't hesitate to book with them again.

Tauck provides great tours. This is our 4th with Tauck. They provided transport for us even when our itinerary was different than usual. The Tauck tour director was wonderful.

The Tour director (Mark) is excellent, the accommodation were first class and convenient and most included meals were very good. We also were blessed with a wonderful group of fellow travelers which I believe is due to Tauck's reputation.

Tauck does a wonderful job in providing a variety of great travel experiences in a worry free environment where every small detail is taken care of.

Both AffordableTours.com and Tauck are very professional organizations who ensure your traveling experiences are exceptional. Highly recommend both and we keep coming back to book with both.

Very professional and well done!


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