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From the heights of the Pyrenean mountains to the depths of red Rioja wine, this 6-day small-group tour lets you discover the highlights of Northern Spain.
Monday - Welcome on board! Today you will marvel at sculptures and mountainous scenery at the monastery of Montserrat before delving into Lleida, one of the most ancient towns in Catalonia. It’s time to contrast the bravado of Barcelona with the serrated peaks of Montserrat. This majestic mountain with strangely shaped crags is home to a Benedictine Monastery and one of Spain’s most venerated statues of the Madonna and Child. At your stop here, you can enjoy lunch, contemplate the life of monks and hermits, and explore the magnificent basilica. Continue deep into the mountains of Catalonia and visit Lleida. This is one of the oldest towns in the region and is steeped in Roman history. It’s a little off the beaten track and you have time to discover its castle and cathedral. As the evening settles in, you arrive in Huesca. You overnight here for two evenings and have plenty of time to amble around the medieval streets discovering the many churches and façades of this hilly town.
Optional Activities: Entrance to Montserrat Monastery. A choice of activities at Montserrat include a cable car to the top of Montserrat and the opportunity to watch the performance of the Montserrat Boys Choir.
Tuesday - Let the perfect panoramas of the Pyrenees take your breath away then step back in time and discover the ancient walls of Jaca. Put on your adventure hats and get ready for nature. This morning, you travel to Torla-Ordesa, the gateway to the Monte Perdido National Park. From here, you can explore crumbling cliffs, forests of oaks and pines, and vertical views up to 1,700 metres tall. There may be a little walking involved, so make sure you’re wearing good footwear. It’s worth it to see a few of the most scenic views in all the Pyrenees. Leaving Torla behind and heading through the mountains to Jaca. Here, you can explore the perfectly preserved ‘star-shaped’ fortress, find out about the regional cuisine of Aragón, and tick off more quintessential Spanish cathedrals. At the end of the day travel back to Huesca to arrive in the early evening. (B)
Wednesday - Survey a fusion of Islamic and Gothic style architecture at the Aljafería Palace then gaze at gorgeous Goya paintings in Zaragoza. Zaragoza in Aragón looks as enchanting as it sounds. You travel here in the morning and have tickets to the 11th-century Aljafería Palace included in your tour. After you’ve admired the patterned porticos of the beautiful palace, you have free time to explore the city. Art lovers can search for Goya paintings; history geeks can seek out Roman remains; and foodies can sample chireta, a local and delicious haggis type dish. You then travel to Tarazona. This town boasts medieval Mudéjar style architecture: a glorious fusion of the ancient Muslim and Christian aesthetic ideals. Your neck will ache from all the staring up in wonder. Finally, you arrive in Haro in time for your first glass of local La Rioja red wine. This wine-soaked village is your overnight location for three evenings. (B)
Included Activity: Entrance to Aljafería Palace
Thursday - Today, you'll explore the Basque country, a land of curious customs, incredible coasts, and fabulous flavours. Today's first stop is in San Sebastián, a foodie heaven with the highest number of Michelin-star restaurants per capita. Here you will have time to grab lunch and check out the beautiful blonde beach. Then travel back inland to Pamplona. This town is famous for San Fermin, ‘the Running of the Bulls’. Fortunately, you aren’t going to have to run anywhere, instead, you can stroll around the town’s splendid fortress walls and relax. In the early evening, you'll travel back to Haro. (B)
Friday - Today take in the rustic villages and rolling green hills of the La Rioja region and sample famous La Rioja wine from the place it’s produced. In the morning, you embark on a scenic ride amongst the gentle hills of La Rioja region to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where you can wander the network of medieval streets or take the opportunity to visit the cathedral. A visit to the La Rioja region wouldn't be complete without sampling the local produce and your next stop is a family-run winery, for wine tasting and snacks. From here you continue to the village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra. Cross the medieval bridge over the Ebro river and take in the amazing views over the valley from the castle. In the afternoon, arrive back in Haro with time to rest and do whatever you please. (B)
Included Activity: Visit & wine tasting at Bodegas Lecea, Rioja winery.
Optional Activity: Entrance to Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Saturday - Wave goodbye to La Rioja and travel to the region of Castile and León. Your first stop is in Burgos, where you have a few hours to admire one of the most spectacular cathedrals in all of Spain, the Cathedral of Burgos, and check if the local flavours can compete with your favourite dishes from La Rioja and the Basque regions. You'll have free time for lunch in Aranda de Duero, a paradise for lovers of fine wine and food., before heading further south to the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso. Your included ticket to this stunning structure lets you wander through the rooms of Spain’s ‘mini-Versailles’ and wonder how much the gardening bill must be for its gorgeous grounds. As the sun sets, you arrive in the country’s capital, Madrid where your tour end. (B)
Included Activity: Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso
Tour departs on Monday - May 15 & 29; June 12 & 26; July 10 & 24; August 07 & 21; September 04 & 18 & October 22 & 16, 2023.