The North of Spain is a world of superb gastronomy and sensational landscapes. Explore dramatic coastlines, taste sublime food and wine and discover the hidden gems of its sophisticated cities.
Any time of year
12 days, 11 nights
Food and wine,art, adventure,
nature and culture
The north of Spain is a beautiful place, with its dramatic coastline, sublime food and wine, and sophisticated cities. On this 12-day northern adventure, you’ll be transported to a world of gastronomy and sensational landscapes as we show you the best of this delightful part of the country. You’ll start off in Bilbao with a visit to the famous Guggenheim Museum. Then, you’ll head to the foodie paradise, San Sebastian, for some real culinary surprises. Next, it’s wine country. You’ll make your way to Rioja to visit some of the region’s most acclaimed wineries before moving on to lush and verdant Cantabria. Finally, head to Asturias and venture through the majestic Picos de Europa mountains with their snowy peaks, shimmering lakes and emblematic religious sites.
Bilbao is the beating heart of the Basque Country, a modern city famous for the spectacular Guggenheim Museum. You’ll stroll the streets tasting different pintxos (served on a small slice of bread with a toothpick piercing them through the middle, these are north of Spain’s answer to tapas) at any of the classic and modern taverns. Spend the afternoon at one of the most beautiful sights on the Cantabric coast, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, an island connected to the mainland by a bridge. No trip to Bilbao would be complete without a visit to its bright and buzzing food market – the largest in Europe – which we will make sure you get to see and taste.
Next stop is San Sebastián. Also known as Donostia in Basque, San Sebastian lies along a white sandy bay between the Urgull and Igeldo hills. Fishermen’s houses, smart suburbs and modern districts make it one of the most attractive cities on the Cantabrian coast. In San Sebastián, it’s gastronomic surprises aplenty. You’ll delve deep into the roots of Basque cuisine and food culture on a visit to the San Martín market followed by lunch at one of the city’s oldest Gastronomic Societies. Tomorrow, visit the beautiful coastal village of Getaria and taste its famous txakolí wine at a local winery, followed by the freshest grilled seafood at a traditional waterfront restaurant. The next day is all about art. You’ll explore the unique Chillida Leku, the museum of the late Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida and indulge in signature fine dining at one of the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants.
Make your way to La Rioja, a destination idiosyncratic of wine, history and fabulous food. We’ll take you to Haro, where wine is not just a product, it is the vital and cultural expression of an entire people. Try the world-renowned Rioja wines at one of the town’s oldest wineries but also at one of region’s most innovative bodega. In the evening, relax and rejuvenate at your luxurious hotel spa and get ready for an active day of biking and brunch amongst the vineyards tomorrow.
From Rioja you’ll travel to the little and lush autonomous community of Cantabria. Drive along its dramatic coastline, a sequence of soft cliffs, beautiful beaches and colourful fishing ports. Then make your way to the inland mountains which are sprinkled with sleepy villages and are a real treat for the eyes. Then it’s onto Santander, Cantabria’s lively capital, which provides a slice of urban life with its buzzing beaches and bodegas . Along the way, stop in Comillas for a taste of Modernist architecture as you explore Gaudí’s best kept secret, the Capricho.
Finally, you’ll arrive in Asturias. This gorgeously green northern region of Spain is truly a natural wonder. Its jagged coast is wildly dramatic, strung with colourful fishing ports and hundreds of beaches. Inland, the mountains (including much of the Picos de Europa) soar high, the valleys run deep and the villages are delightfully rustic. Drive along the coast stopping at the lovely little fishing villages that dot the shore, hike your way through the magnificent mountains or be blown away by the impressive landscapes from a 4×4. If it’s history or gastronomy you’re into, join one of our local expert guides on a private excursion to the breathtaking Covadonga Sanctuary amidst the mountains or spend the afternoon tasting the delicious Asturian blue cheese, Cabrales, at an artisan cheese factory.