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Northern Spain (Premium)

Operated by: Insight Vacations

11 Days from $2,678 per person

Countries Visited

Spain ...more Spain

Locations Visited

Madrid, Santiago de Compostela, Oviedo, Santander, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Pamplona ...more Madrid, Santiago de Compostela, Oviedo, Santander, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Pamplona
  1. Day 1 Welcome to Madrid.

    On arrival at Madrid airport, your airport transfer leaves for your hotel at 09:00, 11:30, 13:30 or 16:00. Relax and settle in before meeting your Travel Director at 17:30. Your Welcome Dinner is at a local restaurant and provides the opportunity to mingle with your fellow guests over a pleasant evening of good food and wine.(Dinner with Wine)

    meals Dinner with Wine
    hotel Barcelo Torre de Madrid/Hyatt Regency Hesperia Madrid.
  2. Day 2 Madrid of the Bourbons.

    Enjoy sightseeing with your Local Expert as they take you along the main historical areas in the Capital of Spain known as Madrid of the Bourbons. Your drive continues through the Old Quarter discovering the origins of the city. A highlight of your escorted journey will be to visit the Prado Museum. Discover countless works by Velázquez, Goya, Titian, Rubens and others as you are guided by a local art historian. The afternoon is free for you to relax at a cafe or shop in the boutiques.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Barcelo Torre de Madrid/Hyatt Regency Hesperia Madrid.
  3. Day 3 Through the Guadarrama Mountains to Santiago.

    Journey through the Guadarrama Mountains to the infinite horizons of Old Castile and pass the impressive Castillo de la Mota. Some of Spain's most fashionable white wines are produced in Rueda and this morning we have the opportunity to learn how they are made and sample the delights of the Verdejo grape. Continue past historic Tordesillas, and on to Santiago de Compostela.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel NH Collection Santiago de Compostela.
  4. Day 4 Saintly Santiago de Compostela.

    Explore Santiago de Compotela with Insight Choice. Choose between joining a city tour with a Local Expert and visit Praza do Obradoiro to admire the cathedral facade festooned with architectural frills. Alternatively, embark on a scenic walk on a part of the Way of St James, through parks and gardens that transform with the seasons. Relax during your free time or explore the narrow streets and old squares of this city.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel NH Collection Santiago de Compostela.
  5. Day 5 Along the Costa Verde to Oviedo.

    Pass through the ancient forests of Galicia and cross to the Green Coast of Asturias - one of Spain's most beautiful, named after the colour of the sea and the pine and eucalyptus trees that line the shore. Meet Flor, a local who will invite you to join her for lunch. Hear about daily life in this seaside city as you enjoy a delicious meal that Flor has prepared from locally-sourced ingredients, accompanied by delicious local cider. Your route reveals glorious coastal vistas before turning inland to travel through old villages and deep valleys en route to Oviedo. Continue on to Oviedo where a Local Expert will show you the 9th century churches built when the city was the capital of Christian Spain. Visit the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour in the stately square of Plaza Alfonso II. Admire the incredible altarpiece, one of the finest in Europe.(Breakfast / Lunch with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Lunch with Wine
    hotel Barceló Oviedo Cervantes.
  6. Day 6 Picturesque Santillana del Mar and on to Santander.

    See the unique Roman bridge in Cangas de Onís as you head into the foothills of the Picos de Europa, a national park encompassing spectacular mountain and gorge scenery. Visit the Holy Cave of Covadonga, a shrine to Pelayo, who achieved the first Christian victory over the Moors in 722. Enjoy views of the Costa de Cantabria while travelling to Santillana del Mar, arguably the most beautiful village in Spain. Stroll through the rustic cobblestone streets, admiring stone houses decorated with carved, heraldic symbols and reach the delightful church square. Continue on to the sophisticated beach resort of Santander where you have free time in the evening to enjoy this luxurious hotel. Why not take the time to explore the hotel terrace with stunning views of the bay below or relax with one of the many therapy treatments offered at the hotels spa?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Eurostars Hotel Real, Santander.
  7. Day 7 Bilbao, Costa Vasca and San Sebastián.

    In nearby Bilbao, admire the striking modern architecture of the Guggenheim Museum, one of the world's most spectacular buildings. Enjoy the views as you are driven along part of the Costa Vasca, dotted with small coastal fishing villages. Pause in Getaria, at the mouth of the Urola, to see El Ratón, the mouse-shaped rock. Continue to San Sebastián, pearl of the Cantabrian coast, set on its shell-shaped bay. Admire its beauty as you walk with your Local Expert through the Old Quarter. See the numbered balconies of the Plaza de la Constitución, a reminder of the days when bullfights were held in the square. Head to Monte Igueldo for breathtaking views of the town and La Concha Bay.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Barceló Costa Vasca, San Sebastián.
  8. Day 8 San Sebastián, Pearl of the Cantabrian Coast.

    Enjoy a day at leisure to stroll along San Sebastián's boardwalk and with the city harbour filled with fishing boats and pleasure crafts, you can enjoy a number of sporting activities on its large sandy beach. Perhaps you'll want to explore the nearby French villages of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, also known as Little Paris and Biarritz? Maybe stroll the promenade of the famous La Concha bay or enjoy the boutiques of the Old Town?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Barceló Costa Vasca, San Sebastián.
  9. Day 9 Pamplona and on to Barcelona.

    Journey to the famed town of Pamplona, known for its Running of the Bulls festival. With time free for you to explore, perhaps take a stroll to the famous Estafeta Street or visit Café Iruña, immortalised by Ernest Hemingway in the 'The Sun Also Rises.' Your travels continue to Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, a land that retains its own distinctive language, culture and traditions.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Hesperia Barcelona Presidente.
  10. Day 10 Barcelona, City of Gaudí.

    Wake up ready to embrace the city’s artistic heritage. Join a Local Expert in the heart of the Barri Gotic, the Gothic Quarter, and walk through the Roman Gate to see its narrow lanes and old squares. You are driven along the Passeig de Gràcia, adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district to behold Gaudí’s extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Família. As you venture inside, look above to see its giant, tree-like pillars and spectacular vaulting. Admire the wonderful rainbow of the incredible stained-glass windows. With the afternoon at leisure, you are free to relax or continue your exploration on your own. In the evening, join your Travel Director and newfound friends at a local restaurant. Raise your glass and toast your travels during your delightful Celebration Dinner.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Hesperia Barcelona Presidente.
  11. Day 11 Depart Barcelona.

    After breakfast departure transfers arrive at Barcelona airport at 07:00, 09:00 or 11:00.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
route_map
Price Includes

Included Insight Services

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.

Authentic Dining

  • Rueda: Some of Spain’s finest wines hail from the Rueda region. During your tasting, learn about the Verdejo grape and what to look for in a fresh white.
  • Oviedo: A stay in Oviedo would not be complete without a stop in at a Sideria to relish in the taste of their locally made Asturian cider.
  • Gijón: Meet Flor, a local of Gijón, to join her for a delicious meal of locally-sourced produce that she has prepared just for you.
  • Barcelona: At a typical Catalan restaurant, savour a delicious Celebration Dinner that incorporates classic cooking with the freshest produce.
  • Dining Summary: 10 Breakfasts (B), 1 Lunch with Wine (LW) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Insight Experiences

  • Madrid: Witness the world’s finest collection of Spanish paintings, plus an impressive foreign collection, as you tour the Prado Museum with an art historian.

Top Rated Highlights

  • Madrid: With your Local Expert, see the Royal Palace, the monument to Cervantes in the Plaza de España, the grandiose Cibeles Fountain, Parliament and Puerta del Sol.
  • Oviedo: Led by your Local Expert, see 1,000-year-old wall paintings in some of Europe’s oldest churches. Admire the incredible altarpiece, one of the finest in Europe, when you visit the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour.
  • Picos de Europa National Park: Venture into this magnificent national park to admire the stunning picturesque scenery and rocky trails.
  • Picos de Europa National Park: Visit the holy cave of Covadonga and see the tomb of Pelayo who is celebrated for winning the Battle of Covadonga against the Muslim Moors in 722 and later became the first King of Asturias.
  • Santillana del Mar: Step back in time when you visit this perfectly preserved and ‘most beautiful village in Spain.’
  • Bilbao: See the spectacular modern Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry and sites of this Basque region gem during your orientation with your Travel Director.
  • Getaria: See the rock known as El Ratón, or the mouse.
  • San Sebastián: Led by your Local Expert, enjoy a guided walking tour of the Old Quarter including Plaza de la Constitucion.
  • San Sebastián: Ascend Monte Igueldo to marvel at the views of the town and La Concha Bay.
  • Pamplona: Spend free time exploring this city, known for its annual Running with the Bulls festival.
  • Barcelona: Explore the medieval maze of the Barri Gotic, the Gothic Quarter, with your Local Expert and travel along Passeig de Gràcia to see the elegant wrought-iron street lamps and flamboyant Modernist buildings.
  • Barcelona: Venture inside Gaudi’s extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Família and marvel at the contrasts of architecture. Above see its giant, tree-like pillars and spectacular vaulting. Admire the wonderful rainbow of the incredible stained-glass windows.
  • Scenic Drives: Experience the gorgeously green beauty of Spain's northern coast as you drive through Asturias and witness colourful fishing towns on the coast. You'll enjoy some of Spain's best scenery as you travel through the Rueda wine region, through Picos de Europa, along Costa Vasca and Costa de Cantabria and through the La Rioja region.

Dates & Prices
Airfare is not included, but can be added to quote upon request
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Optional Add-Ons

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Madrid

Madrid By Night

An evening drive to the most historic area of Madrid including stops for wonderful views of the city and a walk through the lively streets and squares of old Madrid. Enjoy free time for dinner in one of the many restaurants and return home along the grand Avenida Castellana with its spectacular fountains.
Adult Price: € 19

Excursion To Segovia

Drive to the fortified city of Segovia where a local expert leads you through the medieval streets from the ancient aqueduct to the magnificent Alcazar, one of the inspirations for Walt Disney's Cinderella castle. Inside this 14th century palace, experience the paintings, tapestries, weaponry and armoury of the Spanish medieval era. Then take a panoramic drive outside the walls to admire stunning views over the Eresma valley, the Roman aqueduct and picturesque buildings of this medieval jewel.
Adult Price: € 45

Madrid By Night With Dinner

Enjoy an evening out in the nation's stately capital city. Tonight we'll enjoy a wonderful dinner out on the town in a carefully chosen venue, accompanied by Spanish wine and great local entertainment. What a wonderful introduction to Madrid.
Adult Price: € 61

Santiago De Compostela

Rías Baixas

Southward to the Ría de Arousa, one of the deep fjord-like estuaries of Galicia. Beautiful coastal scenery with beaches, vineyards, palm trees, grand villas and old stone houses. Visit a typical Galician granite 'Pazo' grand manor house of the old aristocracy, the island of A Toxa and the port of O Grove.
Adult Price: € 35

Dinner in Galicia

Tonight we have the chance to sample a wonderful variety of typical Galician dishes, all complemented with fantastic locally produced wine. Later in the evening, we'll listen to local musicians and experience the Celtic influences in their traditional music - played using authentic Galician Instruments. A truly wonderful evening.
Adult Price: € 59

San Sebastian

Donostia by Night with Dinner

View the beach and fishing port as we head to the lively heart of the old town of Spain's gourmet capital for a sumptuous supper in one of the city's boutique restaurants. Wine and soft drinks included.
Adult Price: € 61

Saint-Jean-De-Luz, Jewel Of The Basque Country

With your local expert, explore Saint-Jean-de-Luz, jewel of the Basque Country and visit the church where Louis XIV "The Sun King" married the Spanish princess Maria Teresa. An extra surprise awaits us next as we drive to the famous Biarritz summer residence of Napoleon III with its sophisticated spa resort.
Adult Price: € 40

Barcelona

Gaudí's Park Güell and the maritime front

Enter a strange fantasy world at Parc Güell, Spain's most impressive public park! Here Gaudí designed mushroom-like houses, "bird nest" pillars and a stunning mosaic dragon. The huge central terrace is enveloped by a ceramic-encrusted serpentine bench (reputedly the world's longest seat) and offers panoramic views of Barcelona and the bay. We then head to the coast and Port Olympic, built for the athletes of the 1992 Olympics, where we'll have free time to try one the numerous waterfront restaurants.
Adult Price: € 40

Montserrat & The Black Madonna

Ascend the sacred mountain of Montserrat, Catalonia's most important pilgrimage site for a thousand years. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic views before entering the dark, ornate “Basílica Real” and reaching the mystical Black Madonna, surrounded by an altar of gold.
Adult Price: € 40

Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Brian Buroker
Monday, November 12, 2018
Service
First class attention to keeping us informed and knowing what to expect in the next few hours and next day.
Response from Grand European Travel:
That is so great to hear! Our Travel Directors do an amazing job and we appreciate you acknowledging that. Thank you!
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Vacation
Good value for what we paid for.
Bernadotte Loomis, 2nd
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Service
Virtually everything about this trip to Northern Spain was great. The service was wonderful and the hotels were very very nice. GET supplied four included dinners with this tour and the only one that was good was the last one, the farewell dinner. Our tour guide and the local guides were wonderful as was our driver. I would never be able to get that big bus through all those narrow streets. He drove very safely and was always on time.
Vacation
Very nice tour. Just needs better included dinners.
Ingrid Moore
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Service
The tour director was superb. The electives were great, except they started too soon in the trip. Also it would be nice to have a little down-time in the middle of the trip. I appreciate the geographic and the historical information provided by the tour director as well as the local guides, the best of them was in Barcelona.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We're so glad to hear you loved your Spain vacation! The Tour Directors and local specialists really do add so much to your experience. We'll be sure to share your comments with our team and the Quality and Planning teams for future trips. Thank you for sharing your experience. Happy travels!
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Vacation
The informaation entered above was intended for the NORTHERN TOUR ONLY.
Trusted Customer
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Service
Quick and professional service.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We're so glad you enjoyed your Northern Spain trip! Thank you for sharing and happy travels. 
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Vacation
Great itinerary. Excellent tour guide.
Trusted Customer
Monday, October 30, 2017
Service
This was my 4th trip booked through you and Generally speaking, the trip to Northern Spain booked through Grand European and led by Insight Vacations, was Good. I was surprised to receive the Travel Documents and find that only one of our 5 flights had proper flight seat assignments. We had to pay extra to the airline ahead of time to achieve the desired seats. The other issue was with our hotel in San Sebastian. The hotel was not one listed on the itinerary, rather what would seem an ideal location, the hilltop Hotel Monte Igueldo. However, upon entering our room it was clearly a smoking room, complete with ashtrays. We immediately returned to Reception only to be dismissed rudely by the only person working the desk that we had no alternative, the hotel was fully booked. To our tour director's credit, he produced the contract for our group's stay showing ALL rooms to be Smoke Free, and persisted for nearly 45 minutes with the woman who kept disappearing behind the closed door only to return saying there was nothing else available. Finally Dominic asked if there could be another room available tomorrow (as it was a 2 night stay) and she said, "No! It's even busier tomorrow!" to which I replied, "Then there IS a room available tonight". She ultimately broke down and gave us a smoke free room (for Both nights) but she was clearly unhappy about it and persevered for much longer than we should have had to deal with have had to deal with. Kudos to our Tour Director for sticking with it and supporting us !
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for your detailed review and we do apologize for what you experienced in San Sebastian.  We are happy to see that it was eventually sorted out, but it should have never happened in the first place and for that we are truly sorry.
It appears you flew on American and British Airways. American is one of the many airlines who are now charging a fee for advance seat assignments. This is unfortunately out of our control as it applies to any passenger who flys with them, regardless of whether they purchase the ticket through the airline directly or through a tour operator/travel agent. 
Monday, October 30, 2017
Vacation
Tis was answered in box #1
Trusted Customer
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Service
I have had two wonderful experiences with Grand European Travel with my family in Spain. We did the Amazing Spain & Portugal trip and I thought the itinerary was great and the optional excursions all exceptional. On our most recent trip, Northern Spain, I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Santiago de Compostela and San Sebastian - I almost wish we had an extra night in each at the expense of Oviedo, Santander, or Madrid. My only complaints about the Northern Spain trip are the included dinners - two were at the hotel and the other two were at mediocre restaurants without air conditioning which was difficult. I wish we had spent more time on the coast and maybe spent a night in a small village right on the coast. The trip was wonderful overall, just a bit rushed and included dinners disappointing. I would absolutely recommend the tour to anyone wishing to see the northern coast of Spain in comfort and with a large group. Thank you!!
Vacation
I have had two wonderful experiences with Grand European Travel with my family in Spain. We did the Amazing Spain & Portugal trip and I thought the itinerary was great and the optional excursions all exceptional. On our most recent trip, Northern Spain, I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Santiago de Compostela and San Sebastian - I almost wish we had an extra night in each at the expense of Oviedo, Santander, or Madrid. My only complaints about the Northern Spain trip are the included dinners - two were at the hotel and the other two were at mediocre restaurants without air conditioning which was difficult. I wish we had spent more time on the coast and maybe spent a night in a small village right on the coast. The trip was wonderful overall, just a bit rushed and included dinners disappointing. I would absolutely recommend the tour to anyone wishing to see the northern coast of Spain in comfort and with a large group. Thank you!!
Trusted Customer
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Service
The Northern Spain trip was awesome...however, they're were an entire family that was sick that came on the trip & made quite a few of us sick as well. This is the THIRD time I have gone on a tour of some sort and gotten sick due to fellow travelers. Please tell your clients not to come if they are sick! it's not worth it. I would suggest leaving out the Pamplona stop and taking a speed train from San Sebastian to Barcelona to spend more time in that city. The optional excursions were pretty expensive; therefore, only did one of those. I would recommend this trip to anyone altho there is considerable time spent on the coach--the two long days of 8 hrs. made very long days. The best hotels were in Santander & San Sebastian even tho they were not located conveniently. Was happy there was time for Bilbao Guggenheim; that's all we did there. Would like more time in Barcelona for museums; there was a holiday there so all the shops were closed.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you so much for your suggestions and feedback.  We're sorry to hear that you and other guests became sick during your trip. We hope it didn't spoil the time you spent in beautiful Spain.

Thursday, July 6, 2017
Vacation
Good value--great hotels. Not so much on the optional excursions.
Bonny Schwartz
Sunday, June 4, 2017
Service
Itinerary excellent. Tour Director very good and nice at all times. Food at all hotels very poor,dinners were terrible, breakfasts were poor, cold food that should have been hot or at least warm. Need more free time at sites, not the free time per se. Hotels were excellent as far as rooms and location. More dinners should be provided on the town areas for the price of the trip. Options good but a little high price for their content and dinners. Local experts very good.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We're glad to hear you enjoyed the services of our Travel Director and Local Experts.  We will pass your comments on meals to our Product Planning team.  Thank you for the feedback.
Friday, June 9, 2017
Vacation
Already answered this see statement
Trusted Customer
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Service
The trip was well planned. The hotels were excellent. The tour guide was very knowledgeable about Spain and its history. The tour bus was very comfortable and helped to make the travel more pleasant. The only negative is that we arrived in Barcelona late in the day. And then went on a bus tour of the city when the city was mostly in the dark. Which of course made it difficult to see many of the visual attractions.
Vacation
The price for the trip was fair and the accommodations excellent.
Trusted Customer
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Service
Grand EuropeanTravel is great and have had pleasant experiences until now. We had been spoiled and did not expect discourteous guide
Vacation
Need more time between towns, Could have stayed at same hotel more than one day. Our guide was very rude first 3 days, did not formally intruduced to us until 3rd day. Initial contact was meeting us at hotel lobby and harshly asking group "Are you with this group then come to front now we need to check in." then gave his name. Blamed our group for been late when it was bus driver that over slept, and as result missed first optional tour. last night we were moved to a different hotel that was less the desirable.
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