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Trace the treasures of the north on this grand expedition from Barcelona to Madrid, easing yourself into la buena vida as only the Spaniards can. Delve into centuries of history and the cosmopolitan culture of Barcelona, rambling up Las Ramblas, people watching in Plaça de Catalunya and admiring the whimsical architecture of Gaudí. Later, you'll meet up with your fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and evening drive to see the city's iconic sights.
The unfinished La Sagrada Família is our first stop this morning. We join a Local Specialist to explore the Plaça de Catalunya and pay tribute to Christopher Columbus at the monument that bears his name. Later, spend the rest of the day on your own to explore the city's enchanting barrios, or consider joining an Optional Experience to the mountain-top monastery of Montserrat to see the shrine of the Black Madonna - affectionately known in Catalonia as La Moreneta.
The feisty former capital of Navarre takes centre stage today. We follow in the footsteps of thousands of exhilarated runners and hot-blooded bulls, see Pamplona's ancient city walls and Plaza del Castillo, the heart of the city where markets, tournaments and even bullfighting have taken place.
Today, we journey to the sophisticated culinary capital of San Sebastián. See the beautiful Bahía de la Concha beach or stroll along la calle 31 de Agosto in the Old Town. Our next stop is Bilbao to view the modern Guggenheim Museum, designed by talented architect Frank Gehry. We arrive in Santander later this evening for a two-night stay.
Spend the day at leisure in elegant Santander. Relax on the sun-kissed shores of one of the nearby playas, amble through the charming Old Town or perhaps join an Optional Experience to the coastal town of Comillas, with its cobbled streets and castle. Here you will explore Gaudí's El Capricho, built in the late 19th century as a summer villa, then the museum dedicated to the Altamira Caves.
Spectacular scenery awaits today as you travel through the dramatic Picos de Europa which sits between two main pilgrim routes along which you will encounter several quaint historic market towns. Visit the grotto of ‘Our Lady of Covadonga', a famous Marian pilgrimage site, and the pink-hued basilica made from the marble of the surrounding hills. Later we’ll 'Connect With Locals' and enjoy a traditional Be My Guest lunch and cider tasting with the Castañón family at their Cider Mill. This evening is free for you to explore Oviedo at leisure.
The Asturian fishing village of Luarca is our first stop today. Soak up its seafaring atmosphere en route to the pilgrim city of Santiago de Compostela, renowned as the end of the 'camino' pilgrimage route that has its origins dating as far back as the 9th century.
Join a Local Specialist who will share insights into the 'Way of Saint James' and why thousands of people attempt the life-changing pilgrimage annually. Visit the vast Cathedral, reputed to be the final resting place of Saint James the Great, and the Praza do Obradoiro, a square dominated by four architectural styles. Consider an Optional Experience to the Rías Baixas for soul-stirring views of the Galician coast. The region has long waterways stretching inland that are said to be the mark left by God's hand when he cleansed himself after creating the world.
Journey through the lush Galician landscape and Castile-Leon to Zamora, a veritable open-air museum of Romanesque art. See the 12th-century Cathedral, with its richly sculptured Bishop's Door and the scaled Dome, before departing for Salamanca - its golden-hued façades providing an air of mystery and majesty. We join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour including views of Spain's oldest university and the Cathedral, as well as a walk through the imposing Plaza Mayor, built in the Spanish Baroque style.
Travelling east, we arrive in the fiery Spanish capital, Madrid, for an afternoon of sightseeing with a Local Specialist. We'll visit the Prado Museum, which houses the largest collection of European art in the world, see the Plaza de España, Gran Vía and the neoclassical Cibeles Fountain that has become an iconic symbol for the city of Madrid. Tonight, join your Travel Director and fellow companions for a memorable Farewell Dinner with wine, toasting to a magnificent journey through northern Spain.
For now it's a fond hasta luego to your newfound friends as our Spanish adventure comes to an end. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.
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