Northern Spain is one of Spain´s great unspoilt territories that is free from mass tourism. The dramatic coastline, the mountains, the hills and valleys all combine to make up one marvellous and breathtaking experience for the visitor. Spaniards know how wonderful Northern Spain is as many of them holiday here to enjoy the relaxed pace of life, the less harsh sun and the outstanding cuisine. This suggested itinerary allows you to discover Northern Spain while staying in some of the loveliest Paradors of Northern Spain.
Located in extraordinary natural settings or in the most beautiful historical and artistic surroundings, the Paradors Northern Spain include former palaces, ancient convents, medieval castles and monasteries. Inside a Parador you´ll encounter antiques, tapestries, paintings, and exquisite attention to detail which is revealed in every aspect. All the charm of the past combining in perfect harmony with the comfort and traditional quality of an impeccable and modern service.
PARADORS NORTHERN SPAIN ITINERARY
Arrive in Bilbao or Santander, collect your rental car and and continue south to Santo Domingo de la Calzada in La Rioja. Accomodation in the Parador of Santo Domingo, adjacent to the Cathedral and housed in a 13th century hospital, which sheltered pilgrims on the pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela. Today it offers quality, luxury and comfort, conserving its regal character in stately living rooms and bedrooms, some with four poster beds. Cuisine here includes delicious piquillo peppers, La Ribera vegetable stew and “bacalao a la riojana” (cod rioja style), and of course the wines of La Rioja.
Today discover Santo Domingo de la Calzada, which is one of the most important stops along the Road to Santiago, situated 40 kilometres from Logroño city. Founded in the 11th century by the hermit Domingo who, according to legend, devoted all of his efforts to helping pilgrims on their way to Santiago. He is responsible for building this section of the Pilgrimage road, the church and a hospital.
Tour the lovely Rioja wine region and visit charming Haro; medieval walled town of Laguardia with it´s subterranean wine cellars; the spectacular Dinastia Vivanco Winery and Museum in Briones; the Frank Gehry designed Marques de Riscal winery and hotel in Elciego and much more.
See also San Millan de la Cogolla where you will find the Monasteries of Suso and Yuso. Suso was built in the 10th century, and the church has Romanesque and Mozarabic features. Yuso, built between 16th and 18th century, features a church that is partly Renaissance with Baroque features. It was here that the first words of the Spanish language were written and these are preserved in a manuscript that dates from the 10th Century.
Day THREE - PARADOR DE LEON ( LEON )
Today depart for Leon and the Parador Hostal San Marcos. This 16th century Monastery-Hospital features a stunning Plateresque facade and inside a superb cloister, church and chapterhouse. The interior, which once gave shelter to pilgrims, is now adorned with works of art.
Leon, the capital of the kingdom of Castile in the Middle Ages, played an important role during the Reconquest of Spain from the Muslims. Its most important building is the splendid Gothic Cathedral; inspired by the French style, featuring stunning stained glass windows. Also noteworthy is the San Isidoro Basilica, which has a Romanesque Royal Pantheon superbly decorated with 12th century frescoes, and the Casa de Botines; now a bank, which is one of the few buildiungs designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi outside of his native Catalonia. Nearby Astorga is also worth seeing and it too features a building, the Pilgrimage Museum, designed by Gaudi.
Day FOUR - PARADOR DE GIJON ( ASTURIAS )
Today depart for Gijon in the province of Asturias. The Parador de Gijon occupies an antique mill and is in a parkland setting in the centre of Gijon, not far from San Lorenzo beach. Nearby a pond creates harmony and peace. The interior of the Parador is cosy and with comfortable facilities. Fine Asturian cuisine may be sampled in the Parador´s restaurant including fabada (fava bean stew), chopa a la sidra (fish cooked in cider) and casadielles (fried sweet with dried fruit).
One of its most remarkable buildings in Gijon is the 18th century Palacio de Revillagigedo containing a Roman spa and the Museo de la Gaita or bagpipe museum. Gijon also boasts three lovely beaches and a fine esplanade.
Day FIVE & SIX - PARADOR DE FUENTE DE ( CANTABRIA )
Next proceed to the Parador de Fuente De situated in the mountainous Picos de Europa national park in Cantabria.
The Parador here contrasts with the soaring Picos de Europa Mountains, in an unforgettable setting. The Parador is an ideal starting point for nature based activities, being right next to the Fuente De cable car which transports passengers high into the Picos mountains. Return by cable car or instead why not enjoy hiking back down? It´s a lovely trail with unforgettable views.
The interior of the Parador recreates the classical mountain style and offers the traveller local home-made dishes, such as “cocido lebaniego” (typical regional stew) or “solomillo al queso de Tresviso" (sirloin with Treviso cheese). Nearby is Potes, a quaint ancient town with old balconied houses and the 15th century Infantado Tower. Also the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana, which was founded in the 7th century and is one of the most revered sights in the Picos de Europa containing, what is said to be, a piece of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.
Day SEVEN - PARADOR DE SANTILLANA DEL MAR ( CANTABRIA )
From Fuente De make your way to Santillana del Mar. The beautifully preserved medieval town is a UNESCO World heritage site as are the nearby Altamira Caves with ancient drawings. Walking the cobbled streets of Santillana is like stepping back several hundred years
Here stay at the Parador Gil Blas a fine 17th century ancestral home situated overlooking the main square.
Day EIGHT - Return to your point of departure.
If you like the look of the above Suggested Tour we will gladly prepare a quote for you. The itinerary is not rigid and can be modified to suit your needs.
Below is a selection of the accommodation we would recommend for this tour. Click on the Hotel Code or symbol for photographs and detailed information about each property. If you have registered to use our Spain Travel & Holiday Planner, you need only click on to insert it into your itinerary.
|Historic Paradores of Northern Spain||Hotel Code||Classification||Information|
|2 nights in SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA||PAR10 PARADOR||Paradors|
|1 night in LEON||PAR08 PARADOR||Paradors|
|1 night in GIJON||PAR29 PARADOR||Paradors|
|2 nights in Fuente De||PAR05 PARADOR||Paradors|
|1 night in SANTILLANA DEL MAR||PAR06 PARADOR||Paradors|