Highlights of Northern Spain

Spain is one of Europe’s most diverse and visually spectacular countries. From futuristic architecture to historical and religious monuments, from flamenco to succulent tapas, there are numerous wonders to behold.

This 13 day itinerary takes you to Spain’s capital, Madrid, as well as to the picturesque North of the country, lined with historical villages, and Barcelona’s soothing coastline and works of art.

Most importantly, you will enjoy the laid-back spirit instilled in all Spaniards, a relaxing change from the stress of city life.

Day 1: Arrival into Madrid

Upon arrival into Madrid Barajas Airport, you will be transferred to your accommodation, Palacio del Retiro, facing the famed Retiro Park and a 5 minute walk to the Prado Museu, the Thyssen Bornemiza Museu, and the shops of Serrano.

The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. We recommend taking a stroll in the vicinity as there are numerous sights to behold.

Stay: Palacio del Retiro

Day 2: Historical and artistic tour of Madrid

Today, you will be taken on a historical and artistic tour of Madrid with an art expert. During this tour, you will learn more about the city’s urban and architectural evolution since its foundation by the Moors in the 9th century. You will also discover Madrid’s most famed museum, El Prado, and be introduced to some of Spain’s most recognized artists – Velazquez, Goya, El Greco to name a few

In the evening, enjoy a flamenco show, the traditional song and dance of the Gypsies.

Day 3: Day excursion to Toledo

After breakfast, you will be driven to the city of Toledo, an hour drive away from Madrid, for a full-day excursion.

Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Spain’s most culturally charged cities where Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures co-existed and continue to do so.

You will return to Madrid in the early evening.

Stay: Palacio del Retiro

Day 4: Madrid to San Sebastian 

Depart Madrid.

You will be transferred to Atocha Train Station to catch your train to Pamplona, the capital of Navarra. Upon arrival, a local expert guide will take you on a historical tour of the city.

In the late afternoon, you will be driven to your next destination, San Sebastian (one hour drive) and be transferred to your accommodation, Hotel Maria Cristina. The rest of the evening is at leisure

Stay: Hotel Maria Cristina

Day 5: Discover San Sebastian

San Sebastian, once a small fishing village, is now one of Spain’s most beautiful cities, an ideal starting point to discover the Basque Country.

After breakfast, a local expert guide will show you around San Sebastian and you will discover the city’s history and beautiful beaches.

In the evening, you will enjoy a night out on the town with a local. Do as the locals do and indulge in some pintxos (local tapas) and try out 3 – 4 local watering holes.

Stay: Hotel Maria Cristina

Day 6: Day excursion to La Rioja

Today, you will be taken to La Rioja – a 2 hour drive from San Sebastian – for a full day excursion.

La Rioja is Spain’s wine-country and whilst in the area, you will go on a wine-tasting tour and discover the numerous site the city has to offer: Santo Domingo de la Calzada and its cathedral, San Millan de la Cogolla, sites of the monasteries of Suso and Yuso…

In the afternoon Laguardia awaits; a medieval town full of charm and history. After a tour of the town you will be transferred to Marques de Riscal Winery and Hotel for lunch and a tour of the winery.

Return to San Sebastian in the evening

Stay: Hotel Maria Cristina

Day 7: Day at leisure in the Basque country

For your last day in the region, you will continue your explorations of Basque country with your guide: Pasajes San Juan, Hondarribia, and Biarritz (France).

Stay: Hotel Maria Cristina

Day 8: From the Basque Country to Bilbao

In the morning, you will depart San Sebastian, en route to Bilbao (one hour drive), main economic and cultural hub in northern Spain, internationally recognized for its architecture.

Your next accommodation is Hotel Gran Domine. After your check-in, you will spend the afternoon enjoying a walking tour of Bilbao with your local guide.

Stay: Hotel Gran Domine

Day 9: From Bilbao to Barcelona

Check out of your hotel and catch your flight to Barcelona. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to Hotel Arts, a landmark on the Barceloneta boardwalk.

The rest of the day is at leisure

Stay: Hotel Arts Barcelona

Day 10: Guided tour of Barcelona

After breakfast, enjoy a guided tour of “Modernist Barcelona” which will showcase the best of Gaudi’s works – Torre Bellesguard and La Sagrada Familia amongst others.

The rest of the afternoon will be at leisure

Stay: Hotel Arts Barcelona

Day 11: Day excursion to Gerona

Full day excursion to Gerona, Medieval Villages and Dali Museum.

Depart in the morning after breakfast to Gerona, which you will tour upon arrival. After visiting Gerona, you will be taken to medieval villages – Bisbal, Peratallada, Pals oir Foixa.

Mid-afternoon, you will arrive at the Dali Museum for your guided tour.

Return to Barcelona in the early evening.

Stay: Hotel Arts Barcelona

Day 12: Day at leisure in Barcelona

Enjoy your day at leisure. You can choose to relax by the beach, do some shopping or explore the countless museums the city boasts.

Stay: Hotel Arts Barcelona

Day 13: Departure

You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrival into Madrid Palacio del Retiro
Day 2: Historical and artistic tour of Madrid
Day 3: Day excursion to Toledo Palacio del Retiro
Day 4: Madrid to San Sebastian  Hotel Maria Cristina
Day 5: Discover San Sebastian Hotel Maria Cristina
Day 6: Day excursion to La Rioja Hotel Maria Cristina
Day 7: Day at leisure in the Basque country Hotel Maria Cristina
Day 8: From the Basque Country to Bilbao Hotel Gran Domine
Day 9: From Bilbao to Barcelona Hotel Arts Barcelona
Day 10: Guided tour of Barcelona Hotel Arts Barcelona
Day 11: Day excursion to Gerona Hotel Arts Barcelona
Day 12: Day at leisure in Barcelona Hotel Arts Barcelona
Day 13: Departure

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Excursions
  • Transfers or car hire
  • Activities with guides
  • 24 hour emergency contact

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Visa if necessary
  • Personal expenses
  • Hotel early check in / Late check out
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (please note that this is required for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)

Map

Madrid Pamplona San Sebastian Bilbao Barcelona

Price available upon request

Notes on our prices

  • This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
  • Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
  • Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
  • This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant