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Tour highlights

  • Barcelona
  • La Rioja, wine tastings and tapas
  • Logrono
  • Marques de Riscal
  • Haro and Oyon
  • Faustino Bodega
  • Leon
  • Santiago de Compostela and the Galician coastline
  • Burgos
  • San Sebastian
  • Day 1 - London to Barcelona

    Eurostar

    We depart from St Pancras International by Eurostar for Paris, travelling in Standard Premier Class. We cross Paris to board the high-speed TGV, travelling in First Class directly to beautiful Barcelona - a city of architecture and style, art and culture, street life and parks. We check in to the Hotel Tryp Apolo, where we stay for two nights.

    Eurostar meal, dinner

  • Day 2 - Exploring Barcelona

    Barcelona

    This morning we are joined by a local guide for a tour of the city, including highlights such as Montjuïc, the Olympic Stadium and Las Ramblas, the wonderful treelined boulevard that is regarded as the beating heart of the city. Following the tour you are free to explore Barcelona at your leisure.

    Breakfast

  • Day 3 - Into La Rioja

    Barcelona

    This morning perhaps take a walk through the Gothic quarter (Barri Gotic), or discover bustling Port Vell, literally 'Old Harbour'. You could wander down Las Ramblas to soak up the bustling atmosphere. Alternatively, explore Gaudí's distinctive architecture which is dotted around the city. At lunchtime we board the train in Barcelona and travel (Standard Class) into the heart of La Rioja. Our route heads inland towards Zaragoza, continuing north-west into La Rioja, following the River Ebro to the city of Logroño. La Rioja, known as 'the province of seven valleys', is home to some of the world's best wines. It is a region of significant contrasts, with snow-capped peaks and deep valleys, lush forests and arid plains. Much of the landscape is covered in only scrub vegetation, except in the valleys and basins which are almost the exact opposite - lush, green and covered in rich vegetation. Logroño is La Rioja's busy, bustling main city and the capital of the region. The city has a fabulous, compact centre, filled with an almost overwhelming abundance of tapas bars - there are as many as 50 'taperias' crammed into a four-block area around the centre. Many of the tapas bars follow the traditional style of offering just one dish - the house speciality - served with a glass of wine; without exception a wine from Rioja! Our base among the wide boulevards and open parks is the Hotel Carlton Rioja, situated on the Gran Via.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 4 - Marques de Riscal

    Grapes

    Today we enjoy an excursion by coach to the Marques de Riscal wine estate, a pioneer wine producer of the region, famous for their masterful use of the tempranillo grape. The estate is also the location of the Marques de Riscal Hotel, a unique and unusually designed hotel, created by Frank Gerhy, the man responsible for the Guggenheim building in Bilbao. During our time at the estate we enjoy a tour of the vineyard and wine cellar, followed by a tasting of the celebrated wines. We then continue to another local wine estate where we enjoy a delicious lunch.

    Breakfast, lunch

  • Day 5 - Towns and villages of La Rioja

    Wine tasting

    Our excursion today takes us by coach to explore some of the small towns and villages in the heart of La Rioja. Our first stop is the village of Oyon, which was on the original route of the Camino de Santiago and is the home of Faustino - one of the most celebrated Rioja wine producers. We visit Faustino Bodega, where we are treated to a guided tour, followed by the opportunity to taste some of their famous wines. Finally we visit the town of Haro, which plays a central role in the region's wine production. The town is also famous across Spain for its annual wine festival, held every summer, which includes wine drinking competitions and a 'wine battle', where locals throw buckets of wine at each other. This evening you are free to dine out in one or more of the city's restaurants or tapas bars.

    Breakfast

  • Day 6 - Logrono to Leon in First Class

    Leon Cathedral

    This morning, after a relaxed start to the day, we board the train to León, a beautiful city located between the mountains and the plains. The city's crowning glory is its beautiful cathedral - another stop on the pilgrimage route. On arrival in León this afternoon, we enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide, visiting the cathedral and the Parador San Marcos, an impressive 16th century monastery. We spend tonight at the Hotel Conde Luna. For dinner this evening we walk into León's Old Town, known as 'El Humedo' ('the humid quarter'), due to the large amount of local wine consumed in its streets.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 7 - Leon to Santiago de Compostela by train

    Friendly tour managers

    We leave León by train (Standard Class) and continue along the pilgrimage route, passing through the lush countryside of Galicia. We follow the route to its end point at Santiago de Compostela, a fabulous city of Baroque squares, Renaissance courtyards and beautiful Romanesque churches. The city has a rambling Old Town centre and is famous for its many holy relics. We spend the next three nights at the Hotel Santiago.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 8 - Santiago de Compostela

    Santiago de Compostela

    This morning we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Santiago de Compostela, visiting the main sights including the majestic granite cathedral, described as a "Romanesque jewel within a Baroque case". This afternoon is free for you to explore this delightful city independently. If you return to the cathedral in the late afternoon, you are likely to see pilgrims arriving to receive a blessing; there is a mass held in the cathedral every afternoon.

    Breakfast

  • Day 9 - Galician Coast

    Tapas

    Today we explore the beautiful Galician coastline. We travel by coach to this beautiful corner of Europe, where the shoreline is peppered with 'rias' - small bays and inlets where fresh water from an estuary meets the sea. The combination of fresh water and sea water is credited as one of the leading factors responsible for the incredible seafood caught along this stretch of the coastline. During our tour we visit several of the small towns and villages which are dotted along the shoreline. Tonight we enjoy a tapas-style dinner in the centre of Santiago de Compostela.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Days 10-11 - First Class to Burgos and San Sebastian

    San Sebastian

    Today we board the train in Santiago de Compostela, travelling east to the city of Burgos, where we spend the night at the NH Palacio de la Merced Hotel. The city is dominated by its beautiful Gothic cathedral, which has UNESCO World Heritage status. On Day 11 your morning is free to explore Burgos, part of the pilgrimage route of St James. Take time to visit the cathedral and the grandiose Plaza Mayor. In the early afternoon we travel by train to San Sebastián, considered to be one of the most elegant resorts in Spain. Here we check into our hotel for two nights, the Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra. Tonight we enjoy a tapas dinner in the historic Old Town.

    Days 10-11 - Breakfast, dinner

  • Days 12-13 - At leisure in San Sebastian and home

    Eurostar

    Your day is free for you to explore San Sebastián at leisure. Perhaps stroll along the chic promenade, explore the beautiful old quarter with its many wonderful tapas bars, or simply relax on one of the town's three beaches. On Day 13 we travel by coach across the border to Hendaye in France, where we board the TGV, travelling in First Class to Paris. Here we connect with the Eurostar service to London.

    Day 12 - Breakfast
    Day 13 - Breakfast, Eurostar meal

    These meals, where shown, are included in the price of your holiday

  • Please note

    Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

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