Northern Spain creates a rich fabric of experiences and destinations, stitched together by an atmosphere of allure. Canoeing and hot air ballooning through world-famous vineyards, gothic brilliance in World Heritage cities, sensual regional gastronomy, modern art and elegant beach cities are just some of the opportunities on offer. From Madrid, this tour can be fully guided or as a self-drive tour that journeys north through the ancient cities of Castile, the wine and landscapes of La Rioja,...
Madrid – Emblematic Icons of the Capital City
Madrid is a delightful city when you’re on two feet. Compact and charming, it’s full of angled lanes and maze-like walkways, which open out onto elegant plazas consumed by the smells of hot chocolate and coffee. Today, you are greeted at the airport and transferred to a five-star hotel in the heart of the old city where you are surrounded by ornate architecture from across the centuries. The Plaza Mayor is one place to start, perhaps for a glass of red wine beneath the rustic ochre hues of the townhouses. Down at Plaza de la Villa, the atmosphere is even more laid-back and is perfect for settling into the Spanish rhythm after the international flight.
Madrid – Private Walking Tour through the Best of Madrid
Segovia – World Heritage Charm as Gothic and Roman Periods Collide
Avila to Salamanca – Behind Medieval City Walls and the Beauty of Salamanca
Burgos to Laguardia – A Gothic Cathedral and Into Medieval Wine Country
Laguardia – Private Wine Tour Through the Best of La Rioja
Laguardia – Hot Air Balloon and Horseback Ride amongst the Vineyards
San Sebastian – Baroque Basque Gastronomy in Spain’s Most Decadent Coastal Town
Biarritz to Hondarribia to Getaria to Bilbao – The Best of Rural Basque Country and Beyond
Bilbao – From the Guggenheim to Old-World Basque Glamour
Bilbao – Departure
- Explore through the rural grandeur of northern Spain and explore at leisure where you will find elegant ancient villages, dramatic mountain backdrops, and vineyards dotted with crumbling stone cottages
- Uncover the World Heritage of Spain’s old cities, discovering how Segovia, Avila, and Salamanca come from completely different eras
- Discover Spain’s legendary wine region with three days in La Rioja, where medieval villages have living wine cellars, and there is always another iconic vineyard to try
- Canoe and hot air balloon through La Rioja, as well as enjoying private wine tours that allow you to drink liberally and keep the car at the hotel
- Settle into the local atmosphere with a collection of boutique hotels, from those with ocean views to those hidden away in historic towns
- Be guided through Madrid on a private walking tour, taking in the emblematic architecture and artisan style of the capital
- Uncover why the Basque region is so proudly unique, from very special gastronomy to cute seaside villages and cities where luminaries have been vacationing for hundreds of years
- Mix old-world Northern Spain with the new world, like a visit to Bilbao’s Guggenheim and Michelin dining in San Sebastian
There’s always a fresh angle in Northern Spain, the inimitability of proudly independent regions making for a fabulous road trip. Basque has its language and cuisine, along with a coastal elegance that has been enchanting visiting royalty for hundreds of years. La Rioja is old-world, where wine writes the daily script, and the atmosphere is as relaxed as anywhere in Europe. Castile is home to the legends, dotted with World Heritage architecture and cities untouched by time. Then there is Madrid, a regal capital city that fuses together influences from all across the country. This carefully crafted 11-day tour almost feels like a journey through four different countries, such is the diversity of the regions and destinations. Yet, for travelers who want to drive, it is just one easy route south to north, on a self-drive itinerary that pieces together some of the very best of Europe.
Start in Madrid, with a private walking tour showcasing what makes the city tick, from tapas bars to the tapestry of afternoon life. The car is delivered to your hotel in the morning, and you start in Castile, exploring the old cities of Segovia, Avila, and Salamanca. Privately-guided tours introduce you to these destinations before the afternoons are free to find your own treasures, from gothic churches to Roman aqueducts, crumbling city walls to mazy streets of cobblestone and captivation. By the middle of your tour, you are in La Rioja, staying in a medieval village where houses have cellars carved into living rock.
In La Rioja, you mostly leave the car behind. Take a private wine tour to the province’s most celebrated wineries, meeting the winemakers and uncovering the breadth of a world-famous wine area. The propensity of great wine has a major impact on the relaxed atmosphere here. You will hot air balloon above the vineyards and ride horses amongst the vines, tasting all the way. In the Basque region, glamorous San Sebastian is a first stop on the coast and is a legendary culinary destination. Take a drive along the coast to Bilbao, where the Guggenheim is a dramatic contrast to the ancient city center, and you go pintxo hopping along art deco streets.
Looking for more inspiration? Browse our Spain vacation packages page to make your dream Spain tour come true.
$2,635 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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