To follow the road-less-traveled is a common goal for visitors, and nowhere are the benefits of such a strategy more abundant than during this tour of Northern Spain. This 9-day adventure includes explorations of Cathedral rooftops, daring voyages upon the same waves that carried Basque whalers, and intimate portraits of some of Spain’s most cherished artists. Upon the conclusion of your journey, you will carry with you the sights, smells, and sounds of some of the most underappreciated treasures...
Santiago de Compostela – Guided Tour of the Cathedral of Santiago and Old Town
As your private transfer leads you swiftly from the convenient, domestic airport of Santiago de Compostela to the heart of the city, it will feel like you are speeding back in time, shedding centuries with each passing block. Finally, by the time you reach your luxurious hotel in the city center, you will be surrounded by artifacts from different times, and now your tour of Northern Spain can commence.
After settling into your luxurious accommodation, your knowledgeable guide will meet you at your hotel, where you will depart. Your guide will lead you past cozy eateries and trendy shops toward one of the landmark locations of this magnificent city. The Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela dates from the Medieval period but still celebrates daily masses in its vaulted interior. Your guide will lead you past the crowds and toward the two massive towers, which is where you will begin your private tour of a unique side of the site that very few ever get the opportunity to see. The roof tour of the Cathedral will allow you a bird’s eye view of the many city plazas and surrounding neighborhoods. As you catch your breath from the mild climb to the top, you will be distracted by the unique, red-tiled roofs of the charming buildings that clash with the distant green of the luscious, Galician countryside.
After your brief journey to the penthouse level of Santiago de Compostela, you will return to ground level for an introduction to the Old Town. Walking is the best way to absorb the numerous sights, smells, and sounds of this antique neighborhood. Your footsteps will echo off the ubiquitous stone pavement and will be interrupted only by the distant tolling of bells and the occasional fluttering of a passing pigeon. Before departing, your guide will offer some suggestions of local restaurants before you will be left to your own devices on how to conclude your first evening in Spain.
Santiago de Compostela – Open Air Market Visit and Galician Cooking Class
Bilbao – Basque Museum and Private White Wine Tasting
Bilbao – Guggenheim Museum Tour and River Walk to Old Town
San Sebastian – Guided Excursion to Monte Igueldo Overlook
San Sebastian – Tavern Hopping Tour of Pinchos Eateries
San Sebastian – Boat Outing and Visit to Santa Clara Island
Barcelona – Guided Tour of Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia
Barcelona – Picasso Museum and Tibidabo Mountain Sunset
Barcelona – A Catalan Sendoff
- Immerse yourself in your new surroundings from the summit of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and enjoy a guided tour of the Old Town
- Feast your eyes on the bountiful harvest from local farms and fisheries as you explore the stalls and shops of the Mercado de Abastos de Santiago
- Bask in the smells and tastes of Galicia through a guided cooking class that will introduce you to Spanish favorites and local ingredients
- Uncover the timeless and troubled history of the Basque culture through a tour of Bilbao’s Basque Museum
- Savor various flights of Northern Spain’s Txakoli wine, which is a gentling sparkling wine that is native to the Basque country
- Venture across the famed Monte Igueldo and enjoy some spectacular views of San Sebastian from its summit
- Indulge in a private boat tour on the Bay of Biscay where you can survey the rugged Basque coastline from afar
- Orient yourself with the architectural genius of Antoni Gaudi through a guided tour of Sagrada Familia
- Survey the countless works from famed Spanish artist Pablo Picasso through a private tour of his museum in the center of Barcelona
- Watch the sunset on your Spanish excursion by enjoying a rare view of the city from Tibidabo mountain
From Galicia to the Bask Country and Catalonia, this tour of Northern Spain will introduce you to the intricate pattern of cultures, histories, languages, and the landscape that make up much of modern Spain. It is the local and regional features of Spain that fill this 9-day excursion with vibrant memories and experiences that cannot be had in some of Spain more popular destinations. Travel will occur through short, domestic flights and train services to offer you the best accommodations available to ensure that no discomfort distracts you from the beauty in which you are immersed.
At the Northern and Western terminus of Spain, Galicia remains an underexplored part of Europe even for the most thorough traveler. The green landscape and sandy beaches clash strongly with the impressive and sometimes violent Atlantic Ocean, causing it to appear more akin to its Atlantic cousins further North. Likewise, the region is an epicenter for excellent wine cultivation, and your palate will enjoy the product of the fertile vineyards that can be found here in addition to the varieties of ciders and wines they produce. Santiago de Compostela is believed to boast more bars and restaurants than any city in Spain, each offering a different take of Spanish cuisine in general and Galician cooking in particular.
As you make your way east, you will be enamored with the rugged countryside and the unique cultures that are found here. In Bilbao and San Sebastian, the reputation of the Basques will come alive as their quality of food is surpassed only by the culture and history that is found here. August is an excellent time to avoid this part of Spain because it becomes a destination for many European who are seeking shelter from the heat in the coastal climate. Spring and early fall are always reliable times to avoid the crowds and they also allow you to enjoy refreshing dips in the water.
Your excursion of Northern Spain will conclude when you reach the Mediterranean at the energetic seaport of Barcelona. Between the Basques and the Catalans, your introduction to these regions will expose you to some of the most unique cultures of Spain and all that comes with them. Catalonia contains a profound concentration of artistic achievement that you will experience through the works of Picasso, Gaudi, and others as you survey the art scene of Barcelona. This city will be the closest that you get to the beaten path because you will enjoy a unique perspective of a country that is brimming with reasons to visit.
Consider learning more about our travelers’ best Spain vacation experiences by reading their Spain travel reviews.
$3,115 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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