The best part of European travel is the abundance of beauty wherever you look, and this 14-day tour of Southern France and Northern Spain is designed to introduce you to both region's endless beauty and charm. From the fertile vineyards of the Bordeaux wine region to the tasty tapas of Santiago de Compostela, this unique tour will ensure your enjoyment of each destination.
Bordeaux – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Perched along the flowing banks of the Garonne, Bordeaux presents visitors with a mouthwatering blend of delicious cuisine, Baroque palaces, and Gothic architecture. Also, as the unofficial winegrowing region of France, the city is just a short journey away from any number of outstanding wineries that produce some of the world's best varieties of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. After your plane lands, a convenient transfer will ensure your smooth arrival to the city center and your comfortable accommodations. After unpacking your things, you will have the remainder of the day to explore the city at your leisure.
Bordeaux – Ambling Through the Ages
With an elegance that rivals that of France, it is no surprise why Bordeaux remains a top destination for those traveling along the French coast. This storybook city will be yours to enjoy as you meander the cobblestone lanes and scenic squares of the city on a guided walking tour of its landmarks. From the Triangle d'Or, the Grand Theater, and the king's palace, there is no shortage of scenery and the stories behind each location you will visit.
Bordeaux – Searching for Oysters
A trip to the Gironde region of France is not complete without visiting the Atlantic Coastline, which will only be a short journey from your comfortable hotel. Fresh seafood, stunning vistas, and white-sand beaches will all be your companion today when you embark on this adventure. After breakfast, a transfer will convey you to the placid shores of Arcachon Bay, where you will board a traditional sailing boat and take to the waves on a voyage across the bay. In the afternoon, you will be able to explore the numerous seafood spots before returning to your hotel.
Bordeaux – Sipping Through Centuries
Today, you will turn your back on the hustle and bustle of Bordeaux to enjoy a side of France that is never seen by those who remain in the big cities. After a delicious French breakfast, a transfer will ensure your smooth arrival to a world of hillsides that are textured by neat rows of vineyards and charming villages. Saint Emilion will be your first stop. Here, you can stroll through the quiet town center before making your way to the nearby winery to sip centuries of tradition.
San Sebastian – Through the Basque Country
Even though the delights of the Bordeaux region seem inexhaustible, you will make your way from the astounding beauty and elegance of the city and make your way to San Sebastian. As you make your way into the heart of the Basque country, the waves of the Bay of Biscay will be a reliable companion as will the scenic French towns and villages you pass. From Bayonne, Biarritz, and St. Jean de Luz, the history and significance of this region and the Basque culture will come to life. Soon you will arrive in the rolling hills of San Sebastian.
San Sebastian – The Charm of San Sebastian
Although politically a part of Spain, San Sebastian remains a world apart and is complete with a robust national identity, a distinctive history, and cuisine unlike anywhere else on the Iberian peninsula. You may have felt anxious to explore this unparalleled environment with its cozy town being nestled at the base of Mt. Igueldo and alongside a sublime beach. All this and much more will be yours to explore today during a guided tour of the beach, old town, and the colorful piles of mouthwatering dishes called pintxos.
San Sebastian – Finding Your Rhythm
No trip to San Sebastian is fully enjoyed without plenty of time to relax and chart your own course through this unique environment on the Atlantic coast. The rolling hills, lush landscape, and windswept bluffs offer an abundance of pastoral settings to unwind, and the city boasts an array of opportunities, both active and relaxing, to make the most of your time. After enjoying an authentic Basque breakfast from your hotel, the remainder of the day will be yours to enjoy at your leisure.
Bilbao – Diving into the Basque Country
Today, you will make your way into the heart of the Basque Country and continue your road trip across Northern Spain to the regional capital of Bilbao. As the capital of the autonomous community of the Basque Country, Bilbao has no shortage of cultural artifacts and customs, and you will have ample time to explore these and many other secrets of this beautiful city. As you make your way from San Sebastian, you can also stop in the picturesque villages along the way for an off-the-beaten-path experience.
Bilbao – Charming Walking Tour
Bilbao enjoys a privileged position between the land and the sea as well as the past and the present. This characteristic lends the city a unique character that you will be able to acquaint yourself with today on a guided tour. As you amble along the charming lanes of the old town, the charming main square, cathedral, and numerous outdoor markets, it may seem like you have stepped back in time. This feeling will not last long because you will soon enter the surreal landscape of Bilbao and explore the contemporary artwork of the Guggenheim museum in the afternoon.
Bilbao – Exploring the Rioja region
Arguably one of the most famous wine regions in Spain, The Rioja wine region's delicious flavors are produced just a short journey from your hotel in Bilbao. Today, you can enjoy a visit into the heartland of this iconic wine region. When you are ready, you will embark on a tour of the nearby regions that will be complete with stops at the picturesque wineries and tours of the traditions behind Spanish wine. As you explore the villages and wineries that punctuate the landscape, you will be able to fully appreciate Spain's thriving wine-making and wine-consuming culture.
Santiago de Compostela – Relaxing in Galicia
As you will have noticed by now, there is no shortage of holy sites in Europe, and your final destination has been a historic destination for pilgrims for centuries. Tucked into the region of Galicia at the edge of Spain, Santiago de Compostela is just one of a bright constellation of beautiful and scenic towns. Before you arrive, you can drag your feet through some of the communities you pass through after your flight from Bilbao. After arriving at Vigo airport, the coastal communities of your journey will be an excellent opportunity to encounter Galicia.
Santiago de Compostela – Exploring the City
Mornings in Santiago de Compostela are best spent outdoors when the early light illuminates the stunning facades of the numerous churches, cathedrals, and palaces. As the Galician capital, the town is an excellent ambassador for the culture and history of the region. Today, you will be able to comprehensively explore this town on a walking tour. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, you will visit the 11th-century cathedral, the famous Monastery of St. Martin, the Fonseca Palace, and a host of other attractions that dazzle the imagination.
Santiago de Compostela – Trip to the Galician Countryside
After turning your back on the bustle of Santiago de Compostela, you will make your way into the countryside in search of stunning panoramas. There is no shortage of either these in the Ourense province, and you will enjoy a tour of this scenic region as well as a boat trip on the gentle waves of the Mino River. As the river boat traces the contours of the waterway, you may even have a chance to take a dip before continuing your memorable adventure.
Santiago de Compostela – Departure
In the morning, the promise of an authentic Spanish breakfast will propel you from the sheets of your comfortable accommodations like a shot from a cannon. Your final morning in Galicia will afford you a few last moments to stretch your legs through this city that you have learned to love before a transfer conveys you to the nearby airport for your flight home.
- Amble through the ages on a walking tour of the UNESCO-listed city center of Bordeaux to view stunning architecture, award-winning restaurants, and a storied history
- Take to the waves aboard a traditional Pinasse on a voyage across the scenic waters of the Bay Arcachon to witness stunning vistas and indulge in delicious seafood
- Feel the sand between your toes during a stop at the Pyla sur Mer, where massive sand dunes overlook charming resorts and offer stunning panoramas of the countryside
- Sample the famous vintages of the Bordeaux region that put the city on the map for being a noteworthy wine region
- Witness the colorful Basque tradition of pintxos, a style of food production and consumption that involves platters of exquisite miniature dishes with a variety of ingredients
- Stroll in the footsteps of royalty during a visit to the promenade of San Sebastian, where views of the sandy beach of La Concha and the slopes of Mt. Igueldo will inspire your imagination
- Plunge into the heart of Basque country on a visit to Bilbao, where every neighborhood is an outdoor museum of this proud nation
- Stroll through the mind-bending environment of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum, a showcase of contemporary art and an abundance of interactive installations
- Explore the revitalized old town of Bilbao and peruse its outdoor markets, picturesque cathedrals, and open plazas
- Witness the historic site of pilgrims who, for centuries, walked the famous camino to reach their destination of Santiago de Compostela and its immense cathedral
$4,055 per person (excluding international flights)
- 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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