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12 nights tour Barcelona, Basque Country, Cantabria & Madrid

12 nights tour Barcelona, Basque Country, Cantabria & Madrid

Prices from 3423 EUROS PER PERSON

MAP OF THIS ITINERARY

Trip Overview:

This 12-night tour begins in Barcelona, the lively mediterranean capital of Catalonia. In addition to seeing the city and prime Antoni Gaudi sights, you’ll take a day trip to see Montserrat and visit a local winery.  You'll then travel overland by self-drive car to the Rioja wine region where you visit traditional and modern wineries...

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Trip Summary:

BARCELONA (3 nts) - LAGUARDIA RIOJA (2 nts) - SAN SEBASTIAN (2 nts) - SANTANDER (2 nts) - MADRID (3nts) with sidetrips to MONTSERRAT and TOLEDO ...

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Access:

Daily Departures.

Flying into Barcelona International Airport. Departure from Madrid Airport.

Totally Spain does not arrange International Flights so you have the flexibility to book the flights you prefer. We can recommend a US travel agent with whom you can book your international flights if required. Otherwise a website such as Skyscanner is very useful for checking up-to-date flight schedules and prices.

 

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Tour Itinerary

Barcelona, Spain

Arrive in Barcelona airport and be met in arrivals by your private driver who will transfer you directly to your centrally located 4-star hotel.

Barcelona is without doubt one of Europes most exciting cities.  It is a place of extraordinary architectural dazzle, achieved by what has been called both Catalán Art Nouveau and Modernisme, by architects Gaudi, Domenech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch.  Monumental sculptures by local masters like Joan Miró adorn public spaces, and museums house extraordinary treasures ranging from works of the ancient Romans to those of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.  The city is further enhanced by brightly colored outdoor markets, a magnificent Mediterranean port and a plentiful array of stylish restaurants.  Needless to say, the nightlife is splendid.

This afternoon is at leisure to settle in to Barcelona and enjoy time to yourself. Go for a stroll in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) and walk along the bustling Las Ramblas boulevard, with its many street entertainers.  This lively tree-lined pedestrian mall stretches for 1.2 kilometres and is popular with both tourists and locals alike.  Also just off of the Ramblas you can enter the famous Boqueria Food Market.

Activities & Services Included today

  • Private transfer from Barcelona airport to your Barcelona hotel
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on request


Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast

 

Barcelona, Spain

Enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast before meeting your expert private guide and driver.  Today you’ll see why Barcelona is the heart of architectural modernism and experience the work of Antoni Gaudi, the maximum exponent of this spectacular artistic movement.

You’ll visit the remarkable Sagrada Familia - one of the most famous and spectacular of Gaudi’s works. It’s a Christian temple where Gaudi worked on fulltime from 1915 until his death in 1926 – even living on-site in the year leading up to his death. His remains are buried in the crypt. Work continues to this day on the building!

You’ll also visit Parc Guell – adored for brightly coloured mosaic tiles in animal forms and its great views over the city. Gaudi lived here from 1906 until 1925 – his former residence is now the location for the Gaudi Museum. Finally you’ll see the private residences Gaudi worked on in downtown Barcelona including Casa Mila- La Pedrera  on the Passeig de Gracia. This last building - Casa MIla - you will visit the interior on your own.

Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

This evening you’ll take part in a guided small group tapas tour with all food & drinks included. It’s a great way to experience Barcelona's most interesting and authentic bars and restaurants without the research or guesswork. Your guide will recommend the wines and other drinks to try and order the speciality tapas at each bar or tavern. Your guide will talk about the history of tapas, the types of tapas served in Catalonia and elsewhere in Spain and will also give you a history of the neighbourhood you are visiting as well.

Activities & Services Included today

  • Private Half-Day tour in Barcelona with expert, English speaking guide
  • Private driver and transport for half-day
  • Pre-Booked Entrance tickets for Sagrada Familia
  • Pre-Booked Entrance tickets for La Pedrera (Casa Mila)
  • Pre-Booked Entrance tickets for Park Güell
  • Guided Gastronomic walking tour with a small group. Includes delicious tapas and drinks ( 10 people maximum)
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on request


Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast
  • Tapas style dinner

Barcelona, Spain

Today you'll enjoy a daytrip in a small group (16 maximum) from Barcelona to visit the Monastery of Montserrat and afterwards, a charming winery.  You'll make your own way to the departure point which is very centrally located although a transfer can be arranged if required..

Montserrat is the most important mountain in Catalonia. A unique massif, famous for its gothic shapes and beautiful views. On the way to Montserrat your guide will introduce you to this “magic mountain” where Mother Nature meets religion, history and the identity of the catalan peopple. Enjoy the stunning landscape of this Natural Park. The guided tour includes a short walk to the monastery where you can enjoy spectacular views and get a true feel of spirituality Montserrat has to offer.

After Montserrat continue to the winery, just a few minutes away from Montserrat, one of the most important and beautiful wineries in the region.  Learn how the wine is created there, enjoy a tasting with tapas and time exploring the castle and seeing where the wines are aged.

Return to Barcelona in the late afternoon.  Rest of the day at leisure.

Activities & Services Included today

  • Guided excursion to the Monastery of Montserrat and afterwards a charming winery with a small group. Includes guide, transport, delicious tapas lunch and drinks (16 people maximum)
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on request

Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast
  • Lunch

Laguardia, Spain

Today after breakfast you'll be transferred from your Barcelona hotel to Barcelona train station to board the high speed train to Logroño - capital of Rioja - where on arrival you'll pick up your hire car required for the next days in the wine country.  Drive a short distance to your hotel in Laguardia.

Laguardia is the quintessential hamlet dating from the 13th century.  A beautiful medieval walled town, it’s honey-coloured streets are both cinematic and, around meal time, so enticingly aromatic. What makes Laguardia extra special is what lies beneath the cobbled streets: it’s underground network of 300 or so ancient wine caves which cover an area larger than the town above! To protect the Emmental-like structures below – the only vehicles allowed into the centre are the tractors delivering the grapes to the caves at harvest time in September – so it’s very pedestrian-friendly!  Laguardia is surrounded on all sides by vineyards.

 

Activities & Services Included today

  • Private transfer from Barcelona Hotel to Barcelona train station
  • Train from Barcelona to Logroño - Tourist class
  • 6/7 days car rental. Standard size (Opel insignia or similar) Manual transmission
  • Basic CDW/LDW unlimited mileage and theft waiver
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on request


Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast

 

Laguardia, Spain

Today you have the full day to embrace the Riojan wine culture and gastronomy.

Begin with a visit to a traditonal winery in Laguardia located in an ancient wine cave situated beneath a house once owned by a famous Spanish writer of fables. 

Afterwards visit a second, modern winery situated roughly 10 kms from Laguardia where following your tour you'll enjoy a relaxing and delicious wine-pairing lunch

Return to Laguardia at your leisure.  You might also like to take a scenic drive to the Balcon de La Rioja (Rioja Balcony)  where on a clear day you can enjoy splendid views over the wine country.

 

Activities & Services Included today

  • Car Rental as described previously
  • Visit & wine tasting to a traditional winery in Laguardia
  • Visit with wine pairing lunch at a modern winery
  • Pre-Booked Entrance tickets to Villa Lucia wine museum
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on request

 

Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast
  • Lunch

San Sebastian, Spain

Today after breakfast you drive through the Basque Country to San Sebastian, a splendid city set on one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

SAN SEBASTIAN or Donostia in Euskera (the Basque language), is gloriously situated around the shell-shaped La Concha Bay, protected from the ocean by a wooded islet, the Isla de Santa Clara. San Sebastian has for a very long time been one of the most elegant and fashionable Spanish seaside resorts, since it became the summer retreat of the Spanish aristocracy in the late 19th century. Of late the city has firmly proven itself to be one of the gourmet temples of Europe.

San Sebastian´s old town, the Parte Vieja, is quite lovely though none of the buildings predate 1813, when it was reconstructed after a devastating fire.  Of note are the 19th century Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), the Museo San Telmo and the Plaza Mayor.  This vibrant  area is famous for being the home of pintxos (pin-chose) the generic name given to  the deliciously elaborated Basque gourmet tapas which seem to overflow on every bar counter.  Just deciding which one to devour is probably the most difficult decision you´ll have to make while in San Sebastian.

La Concha Beach and the promenade are perfect for a relaxing stroll and people watching. This is after all where locals, young and old, come to stretch their legs daily and connect with their friends and family. At the western tip of the bay stands one of the greatest monuments of modern Spanish sculpture, Eduardo Chillida’s "Peine de los Vientos" (Wind Comb). From near here you can ascend in the charming old funicular railway up Mount Igueldo for stunning views across the city and bay.  Later, if you feel like some downtime, head to the La Perla Thalassotherapy Spa right on the La Concha beach.  The indoor seawater pools with their many hydrojets and such are a great way to relax.

San Sebastian offers without doubt some of the finest and most innovative gastronomy to be found anywhere in Europe.  The city has numerous Michelin Starred restaurants although dining anywhere here in general is a pleasure.  Legendary chefs like Juan Mari and Elena Arzak (ARZAK), Martin Berasategui, Pedro Subijana (AKELARRE) and more all have restaurants in San Sebastian.

This elegant city hosts a number of internationally recognised events annually including the International Jazz Festival every July and the International Film Festival every September.
 

Later today you'll meet your expert local guide for a small group pintxos tour in the Old Quarter. Pintxos (Basque tapas) line every bar in San Sebastian’s famed Old Town, but knowing exactly where to go for the best, freshest, and most exciting pintxos takes local knowledge.  You'll enjoy a night out in San Sebastian like a local, led by our friendly and knowledgeable guide. We dive straight into the culinary heart of the city for a night of eating and drinking unlike any you’ve ever experienced. From fresh prawns to line-caught baby squid to perfectly charred steak, the pintxo hunt changes nightly but always features a mix of traditional taverns and chic, avant-garde bars. Come thirsty, too, as you’ll be pairing each pintxo with the perfect pour, from Basque apple cider to local whites and reds.

Activities & Services Included today

  • Car Rental as described previously.
  • Guided Gastronomic walking tour with a small group. Includes delicious tapas (pintxos in the Basque language) and drinks (10 participants maximum)
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on request

Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast
  • Tapas style dinner

 

San Sebastian, Spain

Today you can look forward to a great gastronomic experience as you have included a Basque cooking class.

The sea and the mountains that surround the Basque capitals of Bilbao and San Sebastián are rife with ancient traditions as well as providing the freshest ingredients.  On this culinary journey, you will learn to prepare famous Basque dishes typically found in the coastal fishing villages and the mountainous interior of the provinces of Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia. The history and traditions of Basque Country will be brought to life in this hands-on cooking class

Each Basque Cooking class ends with a delicious lunch and carefully chosen wine pairings around a rustic wooden dining table with your fellow classmates.  Each participant will receive printed recipes to take away.

 

 

Activities & Services Included today

  • Car Rental as described previously.
  • Tutored Basque Cooking class with a professional local chef and in a small group.  Includes tuition, market visit before class, dining and drinks.
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on-request

Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast
  • Lunch

 

Santander, Spain

Today, check-out from your hotel and first proceed to Bilbao, an easy drive of just over an hour. 

Enjoy touring the city at your leisure and for ease of access, we have included entrance tickets to the Guggenheim museum. When you emerge from the museum, you might enjoy a stroll along the wonderful pedestrianised riverbank to the Old Quarter where you can have lunch at your leisure.  BIlbao is a lovely city to walk in and due to it's compact size, it is quite easy to get around on-foot.

In the late afternoon continue further west into Cantabria and it's capital city Santander, where you'll be staying for 2 nights. Like San Sebastian, Santander too was a favourite summer retreat for Spanish royalty who would stay in the Magdelena Palace near Sardinero beach.  Santander bay is also recognised as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

 

Activities & Services Included today

  • Car Rental as described previously.
  • Pre-Booked entrance tickets for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on-request


Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast

Santander, Spain

The Cantabria region has many appealling, world class attractions to offer visitors.  Today you'll experience one of those attractions recognised by UNESCO and given world heritage status.

After breakfast drive inland to the pretty spa town of Puente Viesgo.   

Here you will tour one of the Monte Castillo Caves which overlooks Puente Viesgo; El Castillo . El Castillo was discovered in 1903 and here it has been possible to determine how homo neanderthal and homo sapiens lived, fought, hunted and dressed themselves. The cave visit covers about 275m and contains 225 animal figures including horses, bison, stags, goats and mammoths, and another 50 references to the human figure. It is dated back as far as 40,800 years ago. 

After your visit we suggest having lunch in Puente Viesgo and then continuing to Comillas, a very nice town on the coast where you can visit El Capricho one of the few works by Antoni Gaudi  to be found outside of his native Catalonia.

Returning to Santander you will drop off your rental car in the city before returning to your hotel.

Activities & Services Included today

  • Car Rental as described previously. Car returned this afternoon in Santander.
  • Pre-Booked entrance tickets for El Castillo cave in Puente Viesgo
  • Private guided visit at El Castillo cave (1 hour duration) with expert, English speaking guide
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on-request

Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast

Madrid, Spain

Today you'll be transferred to Santander train station and proceed to Madrid by train.

 

Arrive in central Madrid. You’ll be met at the train station by your private driver who will transfer you directly to your centrally-located Madrid hotel for 3 nights.

Madrid stands at the very centre of Spain –geographically, culturally and politically. This capital not only offers the culture and good times of a sophisticated, modern city but it also retains the charm and elegance of its early years. Among the splendid attractions of Madrid are the Prado Museum; home to masterworks of Goya, Velazquez and El Greco: the 19th century Villahermosa Palace now the Thyssen-Bornemizsa Museum; the Reina Sofia Art Centre showcasing more than 300 modern works by Dali, Miro & Picasso among others; the 18th century Royal Palace on the lovely Plaza de Oriente; the bustling Puerta del Sol with its many shops, restaurants and tapas bars; Rastro Market on Sundays one of the oldest outdoor markets in Europe; and Retiro Park for strolling while admiring local artists and buskers.

For Madrid and for all the other places on this tour, we’ll provide you with our Totally Spain City Guides which highlight the best cafes, bars, restaurants along with museums, parks and other cultural spaces you can explore in your free time.  Your Totally Spain agent will also make personal recommendations based on your final choice of hotel and the size of your party.

We can also assist with restaurant reservations and booking other attractions to avoid queues.

 

Activities & Services Included today

  • Private transfer from Porto Hotel to Porto airport
  • Private transfer from Madrid Airport to your Madrid hotel
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on request

Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast

 

Madrid, Spain

After a delicious buffet breakfast you’ll be met at your hotel by your expert local Madrid guide who will take you on an private tour of the historic city centre. You’ll enjoy visiting such places as the principal streets and squares including the Plaza del Sol, Plaza Santa, Plaza Mayor as well as the Mercado San Miguel, one of Madrid’s famous food markets.  Remember this tour can be tweaked if you have other special interests. You only need to let your Totally Spain representative know this.

You will continue with your guide to Plaza de la Villa and the Plaza del Oriente. Visit the Royal Palace that stands on the site of an old alcazar fortress and a former Moorish castle. The current building was completed in 1764. With 3,418 rooms there’s something to represent every style (and every monarch) since its construction.

This afternoon visit the Prado Museum at your leisure as we have included pre-booked tickets for you that avoid lining-up.  The museum is a wonderful space dating back to 1785 that now houses art from the 12th to the 19th century including large permanent collections by Goya, Velazquez, El Greco, Bosch, Titian, Van Dyck and Rembrandt.

This evening you’ll take part in a guided small group tapas tour with all food & drinks included. It’s a great way to experience Madrid’s most interesting and authentic bars and restaurants without the research or guesswork. Your guide will recommend the wines and other drinks to try and will order speciality tapas at each bar or tavern. Your guide will talk about the history of tapas, the types of tapas served in Madrid and elsewhere in Spain and will also give you a history of the neighbourhood you are visiting as well.


Activities & Services Included today

  • Private Half-Day Walking tour in Madrid with expert, English speaking guide
  • Pre-Booked Entrance tickets for the Royal Palace
  • Pre-Booked Entrance tickets for the Prado Museum (open date & entry time plus skip-the-line)
  • Guided Gastronomic walking tour with a small group. Includes delicious tapas and drinks (10 people maximum)
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on request

Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast
  • Tapas style dinner

 

Madrid - Daytrip to Toledo, Spain

Today your destination is Toledo. You'll be transferred from your hotel to Madrid train station to board the high speed train to Toledo.  Upon arrival you’ll meet our expert local guide who will first take you by taxi to the Cigarrales area for some magnificent panoramic views of Toledo city over the Tagus River.

The city of Toledo is the capital of the province of the same name, and is also the capital of the Autonomous Community called Castilla-La Mancha. The city is located at 529 metres above sea level, in the Castillian meseta (plateau), practically in the centre of the Iberian peninsula. and just 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Madrid.  The monumental city centre sits atop a craggy rock, which is almost entirely encircled by the Tagus river.  UNESCO declared Toledo a World Heritage city in recognition of its uniqueness and its past as a host to Christian, Islamic and Hebrew culture which the splendid architecture of the city still relects - being almost impossible to walk its streets without stumbling on a Gothic or Mudejar church, an ancient mosque, a Romanesque or Visigothic structure, a former synagogue or a Renaissance palace.

Your guide will lead you on a walking tour exploring the old city while you learn about the three cultures that lived side by side during the Middles Ages and see the most important sights in Toledo including Zocodover Square, Alcazar of Toledo, Santo Tome Church,Transito Synagogue, Santa Maria La Blanca and cathedral (entrance included).

Free time for lunch and sightseeing at your leisure before returning to Madrid by high speed train where you will be met by your driver and transferred back to your hotel.

Activities & Services Included today

  • Private transfer from Madrid Hotel to Madrid train station
  • High speed train from Madrid to Toledo - Tourist class
  • Private Half-Day Walking tour in Toledo with expert, English speaking guide
  • Private transfer from Toledo train station to the city center with panoramic views along the way
  • Pre-booked entrance tickets to the cathedral.
  • High speed train from Toledo to Madrid - Tourist class
  • Private transfer from Madrid train station to your Madrid hotel
  • 4 star hotel accommodation in a standard room. Upgrade available on request
     

Meals Included today

  • Full Buffet Breakfast

Departure,

After breakfast you’ll be collected at your hotel by a private driver who will transfer you to Madrid International Airport for your departure.

 

 

 

Activities & Services Included today

  • Private transfer from your Madrid hotel to Madrid Airport

Please remember that this tour can also be done in reverse starting in Madrid and finishing in Barcelona.  It can also be used as a template for a custom trip should you wish to modify, add or subtract days to suit your schedule.

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What's included

 

Accommodation (based on 2 people sharing)

  • 12 nights accommodation in quality 4-star hotels in a standard room. Upgrade options available on request.

Meals

  • Full Buffet breakfast daily
  • Tapas style dinner in Barcelona. All food and drink included.
  • Tasting lunch menu at a winery in Rioja. Include paired wines.
  • Tapas style dinner in San Sebastian. All food and drink included.
  • Tapas style dinner in Madrid. All food and drink included.

Transport

  • All private transfers from airport / stations as indicated above
  • Half-day private driver in Barcelona (Day 2)
  • Car hire as described above
  • Trains (tourist class – upgrades available on request)
    Barcelona to Logroño
    Santander to Madrid

Private Guided Tours

  • Private Walking tour in Barcelona with expert English speaking guide (includes transport + private driver)
  • Private Walking tour in Madrid with expert English speaking guide

Pre-Booked Entrance Tickets

  • Barcelona – Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera (Casa Mila) & Park Güell
  • Bilbao – Guggenheim Museum
  • Puente Viesgo – El Castillo cave
  • Madrid – Royal Palace & Prado Museum

Group Guided Tours

  • Gastronomic guided tour with a small group in Barcelona. All food and drink included.
  • Gastronomic guided tour with a small group in San Sebastian . All food and drink included.
  • Gastronomic guided tour with a small group in Madrid. All food and drink included.

Special Highlights

  • Cooking class in San Sebastian with a small group (4 hrs approx)
  • Two winery visits in Rioja with tastings
  • Special tasting lunch menu at one of the wineries including paired wines
  • Private tour at El Castillo cave (1 hr duration)

Other

  • Comprehensive personalized trip documentation including local maps, guides and tourist information
  • Totally Spain's specialist trip planning service and support
  • Spanish Government tax


NOT INCLUDED
Flights, Personal Travel Insurance, Porterage (not commonly available in Spain), Tips, Meals, drinks or hotel extras other than those described above. Anything else not specified above.

 

 

 

Prices from

3423 EUROS PER PERSON

Customer Reviews

Dear Belen, Thank you so much for all your arrangements and help. Everything went smoothly. My only disappointment was not winning the lottery for Altamira. Albert was fantastic. He was very enjoyable company. I learned much about the local food a...

Loeta Tyree, Knoxville, TN, USA
2019-03-24

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