Cultural and gastronomic heights know no limits in Northern Spain because culinary prowess and cultural capital are paramount in the daily lives of the inhabitants of this inspiring land of passionate effort and lifestyle. Feed your soul and your inspiration as you visit the prideful and independent regions of Asturias, Galicia, and the Basque Country. Pintxos, seafood, cider, and cheeses await as master chefs are ready to delight you with otherworldly techniques that set a gold standard in the...
San Sebastian – Arrive in the Culinary Capital of the Basque Country
On your first day, you will arrive at San Sebastian Airport in the Basque Country of Northern Spain. You will be met by your driver who will escort you to your luxurious hotel in the city.
You are finally here at a destination that food enthusiasts have worshiped with tales of scrumptious pintxos, Txakoli, and Idiazabal cheese. Welcome to San Sebastian and the Basque Country, which are culinary meccas with food that is unlike any in the world and is evident by holding the title of possessing the most Michelin-starred restaurants per capita in all of Europe. As you travel onward to the hills and land that surrounds you, you can look at the scenery from the car for some luscious views as this area has grown the produce that the Basques have been cultivating for centuries. The history of these people is filled with mystery, and their language is entirely unrelated to any in Europe and holds traditions that are independent of the rest of Spain.
You will arrive at your hotel in the old quarter of San Sebastian. As you get out of your car, you will be able to smell the fresh seafood that has just arrived at the restaurants from the morning’s early catch. Salted cod or Bacalao will certainly be on the menu tonight as you will soon become acclimated with the region’s delicious cuisine. You will enjoy the sights around you as you visit the Plaza de Gipuzkoa. You can also venture to the city hall and take a walk along the beach of Playa de la Concha. You will finish your first day with a dinner at one of the city’s famed Michelin-starred restaurants where the pride of the Basques is infused into the dishes that are prepared before you. This is only the beginning as you have many more tastes to uncover on your trip around Northern Spain.
San Sebastian – Pintxos Tasting Tour in San Sebastian’s Old Quarter
San Sebastian is a cultural paradise with history at every corner. Your private guide will meet you at your hotel lobby to take you on a pintxos tasting and history tour throughout the most cosmopolitan city in Northern Spain. You can look around and see the wealth that has helped decorate this city with opulent neoclassical and gold-tinted buildings. Your guide will inform you of the history of San Sebastian and what led to an era of cultural revival. Monuments of old shape the outline and mark the walkways for the daily life of San Sebastian inhabitants. The Miramar Palace, Maria Cristina Bridge, and San Sebastian’s Cathedral are all displays of this city’s age of enticing grandeur and allure. You will have the opportunity to taste the delectable pintxos or savory morsels that are more elaborate and flavorful than the Spanish tapas. Squid, egg yolk, and curious condiments are typical toppings in this innovative city. The sun shimmers like it does almost every day in San Sebastian, and a heavenly feeling will absorb you in with a pintxo in one hand a glass of wine in the other. This seductive quality has cultivated a hotspot of culture, and you will realize why this city is host to the San Sebastian International Film Festival. San Sebastian is also a very popular destination for surfers all around the world.
The sun will be setting by now, and with it, you will feel the atmosphere change around you as Michelin-starred restaurants prepare their tables and seats for the incoming audience of international critics, food enthusiasts, and connoisseurs. Tonight, you will dine in elegance and style at one of San Sebastian’s premier Michelin-starred restaurants.
Pamplona – The Chosen City of Ernest Hemingway and the Running of the Bulls Festival
On your third day in Spain, you will receive a private transfer to Pamplona, which is the destination Ernest Hemingway decided to go to that inspired him to write The Sun Also Rises. The San Fermin Festival is the city’s claim to fame, which is where bulls are set free to run down a cobblestone street and chase red bandana-wearing men. During this time, the city is more hectic, but during the rest of the year, it retains a calmer atmosphere with timeless buildings and vestiges of old.
Breakfast will await you at your hotel, then your private guide will take you around the city and tell you of the unique history that exists here. You will hear tales of the beginning of the El Encierro event and how it came to be. Do not worry as you walk down the stone steps because there will not be any bulls chasing you. Your guide will also take you to see the different areas that made Hemingway fall in love with Pamplona when he lived here and what inspired him to write one of his most famous novels. You can then take a break at the elegant Cafe Iruna, which is an art deco cafe that was founded in 1888. Entering, you will notice that this cafe seems to have remained unchanged since its opening with its immaculate, golden trim and columns. Matriarchs and beret-sporting elders will be elegantly dressed to showcase the sophistication of Pamplona that is often overshadowed by its famous festival.
At night, you will enjoy more scrumptious cuisine at a Michelin-starred restaurant and taste the innovative difference that is expected in the Basque region where local and nearby ingredients are prized, ensuring a different experience than that of San Sebastian.
Haro – Century Old Wineries and Delectable Tours
Today, you will arrive in La Rioja, which is the wine country of Spain that has helped to launch Spain as the world’s leading wine producer. It is a region that is characterized by its rows of grape vineyards and warm climate that seemingly intoxicates its visitors without even a single sip of wine. The moment that you arrive, you will be able to smell the rich fragrance of the grapes as you feel the breeze and check-in to your luxurious accommodation that overlooks the hilly vineyards. This idyllic setting has wineries that date back over a century, and families oversee and operate the secretive winemaking process that is unique to their bodegas or wineries before handing them off to the subsequent generation.
Your experienced sommelier will meet you at your hotel, and you will proceed with them on a wine tasting tour of La Rioja where you will visit stone-made wineries as well as newly constructed modern ones. You will also meet with guides who will unveil the dedication and sophistication that is poured into the winemaking process and the particularities that each of them gives to their cherished creations. As you sit down for a rest, you can oversee the romantic and bright colors that stand out against the beautiful backdrop before you. Paradise does not get closer to this, and at night, you will dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant in this up and coming food destination. During dinner, you can sip on wine that was made nearby and ponder with a greater knowledge of how this drink came to be.
Oviedo – Ancient Hermitages and Cheese Caves
On your fifth adventurous day, you will take an exciting road trip to the city of Oviedo, but you will have several stops along the way. Your driver and guide will pick you up at the lobby of your hotel, and your first destination will be the Monumento Natural de Ojo Guarena. This mysterious and soul invoking place is a wonderland of caves that has been preserved in time. As you get off your vehicle, your guide will take you deeper into the hiking trail. As you arrive at the Hermitage of San Bernabe, a Baroque façade that has been melded together with the rock formation and cave will greet you. You will enter inside and explore the caves as your guide leads the way.
Your next two stops will be to cheese-making facilities that double as stores. You will arrive in Asturias, which is a relatively unknown foodie paradise that revels in creating artisanal products. If you roll down your window, you will be awed by the magnificent setting and beauty of Sotres, which is a picturesque village that is situated at the base of an awe-inspiring mountain range called the Picos de Europa national park. Your eyes will not want to leave the colorful sight of this village and its magical surroundings, and your guide will take you to the Queseria Main so you can receive a detailed tour of how to craft the cabrales cheese. Next, you will venture to the nearby Cueva de los Quesos, which is an old cave with its own offerings of cheese that you will be able to try.
You will then arrive at your hotel in Oviedo after your excursion and settle in. Tonight, you will have the unique experience of having dinner prepared and delivered to your room so you can enjoy a delicious meal in the comforts of your luxurious suite. Your hotel will be located near the beautiful San Francisco Park.
Oviedo – Artisanal Foods and Cider Tasting Tours
On your sixth day, you will start in the Asturian province with its capital of Oviedo. This sophisticated city’s life has served as an inspiration for writers that site its pedestrian-friendly promenades and pristine character as sources of sophistication. Woody Allen once referred to Oviedo as “a fairy-tale city.” Arriving at this delectable place, you will notice the beautiful landscape that surrounds this town, and after enjoying breakfast, your private guide will meet you to take you on an artisanal food tour of Oviedo, where you will try its pastries, chocolates, and candies, including carbayones and casadiellas. You will then delight your senses as you walk and smell the warm chocolate and fruity aromas that surround you.
People of all ages walk around Oviedo in search for food products of high quality, and your guide will inform you of the historical roots of the different types of specialties that are consumed here. You will then also go to the Fontan Market, which is a typical Spanish style market hub that serves many kinds of products that local Asturians enjoy. You will be received by the vendors whose charming take on welcoming visitors will delight you as they offer their best products for you to try.
In the evening, you may stroll Oviedo at your leisure and explore the eccentric art sculptures that dot the town and speak of the laid-back mentality of the citizens of Oviedo. Back at your hotel, your guide will meet you so you can become better acquainted with the region's famous ciders. Your guide will order some of the best bottles that are served in the different sidrerias in the city. Bars were not cider focused enough for Asturians, so they created these brick and mortar establishments to center primarily on the ciders that they love to drink. If you stand back from your server, you can watch as they pour the drink from high up in the air to down below in a process called escanciado. This allows for the cider to catch air and form bubbles in your glass.
Santiago de Compostela – Pilgrims and Pulpos in the Mecca of Spain
On your seventh day, you and a few hundred pilgrims will arrive in the ethereal city of Santiago de Compostela. This was the chosen destination for the burial of Saint James, who was an apostle of Jesus and whose remains are buried in the stunning and imposing Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. You will check-in to your hotel and then meet your guide who will take you on a tour of the city and church.
You can enter the cathedral, and your eyes will soon land on the golden altar and its elaborate swirls that convey a grandiose divinity. You can take your time basking in the impressive architecture, and your guide will inform you of the history and significance of many of the cathedral’s treasures before taking you to see the tomb of St. James.
In the afternoon, you will spend the day wandering and souvenir browsing the town, and Santiago de Compostela is a cultural center point where you will see young men playing the gaita or regional bagpipe and golden scallop shells can be seen on pilgrims’ backpacks, storefronts, and on buildings. For dinner, you will enjoy some of Galicia’s best food at a restaurant that is sure to serve pulpo, or octopus, which is the region’s trademark dish that is served with paprika and oil.
Pontevedra – Ancient Ruins and Seaside Fare
On your last full day, you will arrive by private transport to the not too distant city of Pontevedra, which is a seaside city that specializes in dishes that serve food that has been freshly caught from the nearby ocean. In terms of culture and cuisine, this city certainly holds its own against its nearby rival: Santiago de Compostela. Check-in to your hotel where breakfast will be provided and a view of the bay can be seen. Pontevedra is made unique by the city’s cathedrals and ruins as well as the banning of cars in the city center. What you hear as you walk around will not be beeping or engines running but, instead, will be the sound of Spanish or Gallego being spoken with the sounds of sea birds overhead.
You will spend the day at your leisure in this tranquil city, making sure you explore the ruins of a 14th-century, gothic cathedral. You can explore and become enchanted by the city’s many cathedrals, squares, and interesting monuments. No vehicles will disturb you, and this will be a fitting end to the busy journey that you have just taken. Serenity is a prized value for the citizens of this town and will be able to reminisce about what you have seen and experienced on this trip. Children may play in the plazas, couples may walk around hand in hand, and the elderly may stroll through streets in an amicable manner. Dinner will be arranged for you and your party at a Michelin-starred restaurant, where you will have your last opportunity to delight your taste buds with this local cuisine.
Pontevedra – Depart for Home
Rejoice and know you have left Northern Spain with new flavors to your culinary palate. The fare here is celebrated all over the world, and its star is only shining brighter as travelers are becoming more aware of this often overlooked gastronomic paradise. You will leave as one of the few who have tested the high-end cuisine that is at the forefront of this region’s pioneering status. You will enjoy your last day here at your leisure and eat a tapa with a glass of cider. Your checkout will be arranged, and your private transfer will see you to the airport and make sure that you are ready for your departing flight.
- Embark on a Pintxos tasting tour of San Sebastian, which is the culinary capital of Europe
- Immerse yourself in an artisanal food and cider tasting tour in the writer-beloved city of Oviedo
- Discover Ernest Hemingway’s beloved destination of Pamplona and the history of the running of the bulls tradition
- Delight in a tour of the Cathedral of Santiago De Compostela, which is the burial site of an apostle of Jesus and the final destination for thousands of pilgrims each year
- Explore the Hermitage of San Bernabe, which is an ancient dwelling place within a cave that is complete with an immaculate, natural setting
- Venture to the cheese holding caves of Asturias and receive a lesson of the prized calabres cheesemaking process
- Unwind and dine in La Rioja, which is the leader in Spain’s wine production as experienced sommeliers teach you the intricacies of this area’s winemaking
- Indulge in the delicacies of the Galician province and its trademark dish: the pulpo and seafood fare
- Traverse the ruins of a 14th-century gothic cathedral in the seaside city of Pontevedra
Northern Spain has become a witness to its own testimony as a world-leading destination for food. An appreciation of craft is a requisite when traversing here as your guides will be ready to indulge and enlighten you on the historical roots and tradition that goes hand in hand with the food that will reach your taste buds. You will taste the different flavors as they come to life on your tongue and explore the backstage craft of the culinary hubs of the Basque Country, Asturias, and Galicia. You will begin day one in the Basque Country, which is said to possess some of the most delicious foods in the world. You will also explore the world-class culinary scene in San Sebastian, which is a city that emphasizes eating well before other expenditures. Here, you will dine and sip down wine like a true local at a Michelin star restaurant. The following day, you will receive a private tour of the city’s best pintxos, which are the delectable appetizers in which this seaside city specializes. A private car will then take you to the famed city of Pamplona where the running of the bulls festival is synonymous with the city’s celebratory ideals. You will then receive a tour of the town and stop along Ernest Hemingway vestiges.
On your fourth day, you will arrive in the country’s prized La Rioja region, which is Spain’s leading wine producing valley. Once you arrive in this tantalizing region, you will become immersed in its wine tradition and technique that dates back to ancient Roman times. You will receive a grand tour of the area’s best bodegas or wineries, including ones that have been in a family’s care for over a century. On your fifth day, you will arrive in Oviedo but not before stopping in surreal and unique cultural sites on your way. You can stop at the Monumento Natural Ojo Guarena, which is a stunning series of caves that have been converted to hermitages in a majestic setting. Later, your driver will take you on a small cheese tour as you enter the artisanal Asturian province. You can marvel at the Queseria de Main and La Cueva de los Quesos. Both of these cheese stores are unlike any that you will ever visit. You will receive backstage access to the caves that store cabrales cheese, and your guide will acquaint you with the cheesemaking process that has been in place for generations.
On your sixth day, you will wake up in Oviedo and settle in this opulent town that holds treasures around every corner and where quirky sculptures are paired with sophisticated artisan products that have been made here in Asturias. Your guide will lead you on an artisan tasting tour of the city, visiting its charming stores. In the evening, you will then go on a cider tasting tour of the area’s best ciders, which is Asturias’ most treasured, cultural export. On your seventh day, you will travel to the nearby Santiago de Compostela and delight in meeting other travelers who have just made a similar trip like you around North Spain. A golden scallop-shelled path has led them to this location on a cultural journey unlike any other in the world. European travelers will arrive here with a look of astonishment as they lay their sight on the Cathedral of Santiago De Compostela.
On your eighth and last day, you will arrive in the tranquil city of Pontevedra, which is an ancient and refined city that has been made distinguishable by its open-air museum and old cathedrals. You will spend your day at your leisure and explore the timeless ruins of the Church of San Domingos before finishing your last night of this trip at a Michelin-starred restaurant where freshly caught seafood is sure to be on the menu.
Looking for more recommended Spain travel inspiration? Consider browsing our Spain travel reviews page.
$2,155 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.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.9 stars based on 2000 reviews
Reviewed By Sally S.
Reviewed By Sunil N.
Reviewed By Ellen Z.
Reviewed By Judith S.
Reviewed By chrissy a.
Reviewed By Nirvi B.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era