Atmospheric monasteries, pintxos food bars, ghoulish architecture, and medieval fortresses are all abounding as Spain is overflowing with local experiences and living history especially in the Basque and Catalonia. No other regions are as authentic or inimitable, able to take you on a journey through sights, sounds, foods, and the ambiance of bygone eras. Handcrafted to celebrate these enduring destinations, this two-week Spain tour is all about going local and beyond the typical sights.
Barcelona – Relaxing in Barri Gotic
Touch down in Barcelona, and almost immediately, you will be in the thick of its beauty. Roman lanes are punctuated by boutique stores and chic wine stores as cathedral spires stand above cobbled streets and tapas bars. Salty air comes in off the coast, past the huge statue of Columbus. Nothing is planned for today, so you can go for a stroll and make up your own first impressions. You may start down by the coast where the beaches are wide, and the atmosphere is indulgent, or through the city’s heart with La Rambla and Barri Gotic stuffed full of intriguing little sights. In the evening, you are spoiled for choice with literally hundreds of places to dine close to the hotel.
Barcelona – Historic Barcelona Highlights and Beach Time
Barcelona – The Best of the Modernista Movement
Figueres – Choir Song and Monasteries
Figueres – The Life and Times of Salvador Dali
Tarragona – Cava Wine and Coastal Charm
Tarragona – Immersed in the Roman History
Burgos – Off the Beaten Track in Medieval Burgos
Pamplona – Rioja Wine Cellars and Navarre Fortresses
San Sebastian – Gourmet San Sebastian
San Sebastian – Day Trip to Saint Jean de Luz and Hondarribia
Bilbao – The Best of Three Cities In One
Bilbao – Day Trip to Guernica and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
Bilbao – Departure
- Uncover three evocative eras during a two-night stay in Bilbao, from an early medieval core to a Guggenheim-like future
- Discover Barcelona with a local guide, from the Modernistas to the Gothic quarter
- Get off the beaten track with a day in UNESCO World Heritage-listed Burgos
- Listen to the choir sing as you explore ancient monasteries in Montserrat and Poblet
- Dive into the wine cellars of La Rioja, particularly in Laguardia, and taste the best Cava of Penedes
- Escape to the coast with a day trip to Basque fishing villages
- Explore the life and times of Salvador Dali with two nights in his hometown of Figueres
- Stroll along a historical stone wall to the dramatic San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
- Enjoy plenty of time on the beach, in Barcelona, Tarragona and San Sebastian
- Indulge in the food, especially in the Basque region
- Spend a day in Navarre, surrounded by medieval walls and thick stone fortresses
A visit to Spain engages all of your senses, and for many travelers, it’s the aromas that are remembered most. Musty in a Navarre fortress or Laguardia wine cellar, indulgent in Bilbao and San Sebastian pintxos bars, salty and fresh along the coast, you will be totally immersed in every destination. Others reminisce about the sounds as choir songs ring through the Montserrat Monastery, strange echoes are heard in the Guggenheim, and the strangely euphonic silence of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe stay with you. Of course, visitors also remember the sights many years on, from Barcelona’s Modernista architecture to the medieval allure of places like Burgos and Pamplona. You will also be taken in by the tastes, especially all over the Basque, known to many as the world’s greatest culinary region.
Spain presents a multi-sensory vacation experience, and no two regions celebrate this more than Catalonia and Basque. Although these regions have many well-known destinations – Barcelona is one of the world’s most visited cities – but it is rare that visitors really explore them in depth. So while it is busy in the Salvador Dali Museum or Barri Gotic, these two regions have remained wonderfully authentic elsewhere. As you may already know, both have a fervent separatist movement, seeing themselves as independent rather than part of Spain. Whatever the political situation, there’s no doubt that culturally, Basque and Catalonia are absolutely distinct from ideas of Spanish culture. Experiencing the contrasts is integral to the experience.
This handcrafted tour will take you on an immersive journey through Catalonia and Basque, with roughly a week in each region. Three days in Barcelona eases you into all the inimitability, Gaudi and the Modernistas just one side to the city. Travel next to spiritual Montserrat and Ripolli before two nights in Figueres, the birthplace of the mustachioed hero Salvador Dali. Days six and seven are spent south of Barcelona as you explore the Penedes wine region, lounge on the Sitges beaches, and find Roman history in Tarragona. Then head back through Poblet, where there’s another fabulous monastery to discover.
From Barcelona, you will fly to Burgos, a complete medieval city that misses almost all tourist itineraries. From here, there is a lovely overland route towards San Sebastian, your private guide taking you to La Rioja and a night in Pamplona, before you indulge on the Basque coast. San Sebastian has been wowing visitors since Napoleon fell in love with it, and there is stunning food along with great beaches and an elegant atmosphere. Take a day trip to the fishing towns of Hondarribia and Saint Jean de Luz, in French Basque, before your final two nights are spent in Bilbao. This delightful city has three eras to explore, and you will also get to spend a day at Basque’s two most important destinations of Guernica and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Consider learning more about our travelers’ best Spain travel experiences by reading their Spain travel reviews.
$3,355 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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