Exquisite Regions of Spain 14-Day Discovery Tour

A 14 day trip to Spain 
5
5 out of 5 stars
1 reviews

No two regions are the same in Spain, and you will be warmly welcomed into a jigsaw puzzle of culture and style.  Be it language, history, cuisine or art, nearly all the proud traditions are being kept alive. On this handcrafted tour Spain, you may feel as though you have visited a half dozen countries and taken several vacations in one as superb local guides bring you a very authentic, local experience through Catalonia, Basque, Rioja, Navarra, Madrid, Castilla y Leon, and Andalusia.

Customize This Trip For Me
Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Catalonia, Barcelona, Barri Gotic, Museu d'Historia de Catalunya, La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, Barri Gotic, Montserrat, Montserrat Monastery, Sitges, Penedes, Bilbao, Basque, Guggenheim, La Rioja, Laguardia, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Madrid, Prado Museum, Toledo, Avila, Segovia, Salamanca, Seville, Seville, Alcazar of Seville, Casa de Pilatos, Hospital de la Caridad, Torre del Oro, Seville Cathedral, Seville Giralda, Santa Cruz Quarter, Cordoba, Mezquita

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Barcelona – Start the Journey on the Coast

Barcelona seduces from the first glance. A castle peers down on the Mediterranean, where yachts lull in a harbor. Exotic sounds drift through the Gothic Quarter, where wine bars occupy Romanesque buildings and boutique stores entice almost all who pass. This is Catalonia, and it is not Spanish you hear on the streets, nor Spanish you will find in the traditions. Catalonia is something proudly separate, from the spires of Gaudi’s cathedral to the cafes down by the beach. Touch down and transfer to your central hotel before making up your own impressions with so much to see and hear in the streets nearby your accommodations. Although a large city, Barcelona is easy to get around and it is worth staying up until dusk when the Barri Gotic falls under the spell of soft light.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Day 2: Barcelona – A Handcrafted Day in Barcelona

Mosaics and curves fill the corners in one part of Barcelona, examples of how the Modernists honed their craft on residential buildings. This architectural extravagance grows stronger in the Catalan music hall and La Sagrada Familia, icons of a city that has always designed things differently. Getting a sense of Gaudi is one way to explore Barcelona, but there is much more here, not least Picasso, Dali, and other artisanal favorites. Then there are small local neighborhoods, where you can escape from the tour buses and see how the Catalans live day by day. A local guide meets you this morning and plans out a handcrafted day, focusing on the parts of Barcelona you most want to see. This is a famous city, so it is best not prescribe a set route when you only have one full day as there is too much to enjoy for that.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Barcelona – Montserrat, Sitges and Penedes Wine

Beyond Barcelona an entire region awaits, and what treasures it supplies! Drive to Montserrat with your guide and take a peek inside its sacred monastery, just as choir songs fill the nave with harmony. Travel through the Penedes wine region, stopping for lunch with a view over beautiful vineyards. Penedes is where Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine is produced, a lovely complement to Catalan cheeses. After a platter and plenty of tasting, you might drift off on the short onward drive. But do not worry, as Sitges is not a place where you need energy as it is a quiet, coastal town, full of color and charm an hour from Barcelona. So dip your feet into the sand and enjoy the place where Catalans go to relax.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Bilbao – Three Eras and the Guggenheim

A short flight north and the language changes, the culture is distinct and the architecture a vast shift in style. Welcome to Basque and welcome to Bilbao, a city built across three impressive eras. Start in tomorrow’s world, where the Guggenheim is just one contemporary ode along the river. Travel back into Bilbao’s late 19th-century heyday, as showcased by elegant rows of townhouses and tree-lined boulevards. Move next into the city’s medieval core as fountains and statues dot cobbled streets, a small plaza hides in the maze, and the food you see is pintxos and not tapas. Your guide will explain that this Basque tradition and takes you on a tour of the tavernas, where you pick one or two pintxos from the bar and wash them down with the one thing that isn’t Basque here, the wine.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Bilbao – Spending the Day in La Rioja

They have never been that big on cultivating wine in Basque, and why should they be given that La Rioja is next door? Within an hour, you will be in the famous wine region visiting two world-renowned vineyards. Although big on production, these producers remain full of charm, and they can take you on a vertical tasting through La Rioja wine. You will taste various vintages, appreciating how they change quite drastically year on year, even if the grape varietals and production methods hardly differ. After the vineyards, you will settle into Riojan culture – which means drinking wines and eating delicate bites in small little bars. Laguardia is the picture-perfect destination, where almost every building is also a wine cellar. Today’s tour leaves around midday and stays out into the evening, so you will get a good sense of La Rioja after dusk.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: San Sebastian – Gastronomy and Grandeur

San Sebastian is seaside bliss, a resort town that has been exciting aristocrats since before Napoleon. Glamorous hotels stand above the shell-shaped beach, nearby restaurants reflect Basque’s culinary expertize and the main plaza is an epicenter of medieval allure and youthful enthusiasm. This popular town is the pride of the Basque people, and while there are a few standout attractions, it is the atmosphere that really grabs your attention. Spend two hours on a walking tour with a local guide, learning how the city changed through the ages, and then spend the evening at one of the world’s top 50 restaurants, a dozen courses of organic Basque produce served with a timeless sea view.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: San Sebastian – A Day Trip to Pamplona

Head through the interior, and then out of Basque towards the region of castles. Navarra harks back to a time of medieval conflict, with ruined fortresses and ghost villages dotting many hills. At its heart lies Pamplona, an enormous regional capital that feels very much like the 14th or 17th century, dependent on exactly where you are. The famous San Fermin festival, the Running of the Bulls, is just one piece of tradition here. Step inside the fortress walls, and there is so much more with an art museum inside a cathedral, street musicians playing impromptu to large crowds fortress walls that have become cafe terraces and churches connected by footsteps along the Pilgrim’s Way. Navarra is perhaps the most fiercely independent Spanish region, even if it has been swallowed up somewhat by its neighbors.  Your local guide will introduce you to Navarra’s history and its future.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Madrid – Museums and Highlights in the Spanish Capital

It will be a quick transfer back to Bilbao before your flight to Madrid, the European capital that takes almost every visitor by surprise. Most are expecting crowds and chaos, like central London or Paris, but instead, it is laid-back and languorous. Others expect an enormous city, but Madrid is easy to get around and relatively compact. Perhaps most surprising, central Madrid remains very authentic. It is occupied by locals, from those that chatter on restaurant terraces to families on their evening paseo, or walk. Travel to most European capitals can be hectic, but in comparison, Madrid is a place for taking things slowly and recuperating while on a longer tour.

Touch down, and your guide will plan the day to your interests. The museums are fantastic, particularly the Prado, which is up there with the Louvre as Europe’s pre-eminent gallery. The palace is extravagant in the extreme, and also the largest in Europe, yet it is far lesser known or celebrated than those in neighboring countries. Another Madrid highlight comes in the evening as you walk the streets where artists and authors made their name many centuries ago. After dark, it will be time for dinner at either one of the traditional outdoor eateries close to Plaza Major, or something more contemporary and in keeping with Madrid’s role as a culinary hub.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Madrid – A Day in Toledo

Wake and catch the train, and in just 30 minutes you will reach Toledo, where spires rise and bridges connect you to a medieval era. Churches, mosques and synagogues have all stood side by side through the centuries, despite religious quarrels nearby. Such harmony is also shown in the architecture, the choice of stone consistent as the style brings subtle changes. El Greco provides a lens to appreciate it all, the artist’s finest works housed in Toledo’s churches. Once again, it will be your local guide showing you around, leading you down streets of cobblestone and intrigue. Spend a full day in Toledo, and then whizz back to Madrid on the train, perhaps ending the day at the Plaza Major, a grand people watching spot if ever there was one.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Avila to Segovia to Salamanca – Exploring Castilla y Leon

Enormous white walls dominate the vista in Avila, formidable and eye-catching in their reflection of a medieval era. Standing beneath these walls, you will get a sense for pre-Spanish Spain when the land was a collection of warring kingdoms. In Segovia, you will come to understand how far back this country goes, the majestic Roman aqueduct an indication of what came before and after the different kingdoms. Today’s final destination is Salamanca, a sleepy city that is almost completely pedestrianized. You will not need a guide to appreciate the charm, as you can just take a walk and watch how the sandstone changes color at dusk, golden hues complemented by a cold beer or steaming coffee on the main square.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Salamanca – A Very Relaxed Day Amid a Sandstone Old Town

Thousands of sculptures act like Salamanca’s guardians including the Spanish monarchs on the main square, biblical figurines outside a church, and an astronaut and monkey on the cathedral facade. For over eight centuries, architects have sculpted figures onto the side of buildings, their repertoire including everything from allegories to heaven and hell to contemporary heroes. This style is one element of the Salamanca harmony, while Sandstone is the other. While the buildings take you on a journey through six centuries of change and through the Romanesque, Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance and neoclassical everything is constructed from the same golden rock. These harmonies make Salamanca the jewel of Castilla y Leon, and you can spend the full day getting to know its history and wealth.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Madrid to Seville – Historic Wealth and Vibrant Tapas Culture

Take the train to Seville via Madrid, swapping the arid plains for an Andalusian vibe in just under four hours. Disembark into a city made in the New World as when Spain plundered the Americas, the conquistadors returned to Seville, pouring wealth into the city. The cathedral grew larger, the streets flourished with villas and townhouses, and the gold found its way into churches. So touring Seville is not just a look into Andalusia and its history as it is an insight into 16th-century power. Tapas is newer than that, and it is one of Andalusia’s proudest traditions and enjoyed in its truest form throughout old and new parts of the city. After a guided city tour, you can take part in a tapas crawl, savoring the little bites and the piece of culture for which the region is best known.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Seville – A Day in Cordoba and a Night of Flamenco

Andalusia is forever memorable thanks to the Moorish art and history. There was once a great civilization here, one that led the world in design. The Mezquita in Cordoba is a grand memoir to those times and a worthy of the half-day trip from Seville. Take the train and jump straight into this old mosque, admiring the calligraphy, symmetry, inscriptions, and idiosyncrasies as of all the old buildings in all of Spain, there is nothing to rival this one. Back in Seville, you can spend the evening amid the music, enjoying a flamenco performance in the Triana neighborhood. Voices soar, dresses twirl, feet tap and you feast on this pure Andalusian tradition.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 14: Seville – Departure

After breakfast, you will depart from Spain from Seville’s international airport to connect with your flight.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$3,355
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.