Barcelona & Northern Spain

13 days
With rolling green hills, rugged coastal cliffs and delectable cuisine, this region offers a remarkable contrast to the rest of the country. Sample Barcelona’s one-of-a-kind architecture and nightlife, soak up rich history in the cities of Galicia, then journey to San Sebastian, the Basque Country’s culinary capital. From pilgrim sites to palaces and Gaudí to Gehry, the north coast of Spain will surprise and intrigue you.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 18 - 35 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 1 hour daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with some hills.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of Spain

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Overnight flight

Board your overnight flight to Spain today.

Barcelona 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Barcelona

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Spain! At an included welcome dinner, meet your fellow travelers.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Barcelona

  Included meals: Breakfast

Discover why the Catalan capital is touted for its unparalleled architectural landmarks, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

• Step inside La Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s famous masterwork-in-progress

• Drive along Passeig de Gràcia, past Gaudí’s “House of Bones”

• Stop at Montjuïc, site of the 1992 Olympic Games took place, and take in the panoramic views at Mirador de l’Alcalde Park

• Pass Plaça d’Espanya, one of the city’s most important squares, and stroll past the soaring Columbus Monument, dedicated to the legendary explorer

Enjoy a free afternoon in Barcelona or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Park Güell & La Pedrera $85pp* Details

Discover the magnificent works of Antoni Gaudí, the famed Spanish architect known for his bold, distinct designs. Take a guided tour of Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera, built by Gaudí between 1905 and 1910. Everything about the building is visually unique, from the wave-like stone structure and grandly designed roof to the apartment that reflects the style of the 20th- century bourgeoisie. Next, you’ll head to Park Güell, also designed by Gaudí. Your guide will lead you through the park, which contains stunning buildings, intricate stonework and colorful mosaics. At the top of the park, marvel at the brilliant views of Barcelona.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Day 4: Free Day in Barcelona

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Barcelona or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Montserrat $69pp* Details

Journey to the ninth-century Monastery of Montserrat, which inspired the composer Richard Wagner as he wrote Parsifal. Ride a high-flying cable car up the mountain and enjoy magnificent views of the Llobregat River Valley and—if skies are clear—the Pyrenees. A local guide leads the way to the secluded Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, where you may have a chance to see La Moreneta, Catalonia’s miraculous and beloved statue of the Black Virgin of Montserrat. Take some time to explore the monastery before descending the mountain by bus and driving back to Barcelona. Please note: Due to the ever-changing schedule of church activities, a viewing of the Black Virgin of Montserrat statue cannot be guaranteed.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $79)

Optional Excursion - Flamenco Dinner Show $115pp* Details

The clapping, the singing, the stamping—experience the dramatic art of flamenco dancing, one of Spain’s most celebrated traditions. Expressive and colorful, this Andalucian style of dance combines guitar playing (toque), song (cante) and rhythmic handclaps (palmas). Dinner will be served before the performance.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

San Sebastian 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: San Sebastian via Pamplona

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel by high-speed train through the heart of Spain’s mountainous Aragón region, stopping in Pamplona to walk the route of the famous Running of the Bulls. Then, continue through the unique Basque Country to oceanside San Sebastian.

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of San Sebastian

  Included meals: Breakfast

A local guide leads this morning’s tour of San Sebastian, a town bordered by green mountains and an expansive bay. 

• Pass by Playa de la Concha and stroll through the town’s Old Quarter

• Walk through Plaza de la Constitución and view the Church of Santa Maria del Coro, a beautiful Baroque-style basilica 

• Stop at a bar to enjoy a tasting of txakoli, a white wine made in Basque Country

Santander 1 night Hotel info

Day 7: Santander via Bilbao

  Included meals: Breakfast

Travel west along the scenic Costa Verde to Bilbao, then continue on to visit the port city of Santander.

• View the unique architecture of the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, a showplace of modern and contemporary art 

• Take a guided walking tour through Bilbao’s Old Town

• In Santander, take a walking tour of the cathedral and the Plaza Porticada

Oviedo 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Transfer to Oviedo

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Head toward Oviedo, stopping to visit the seaside town of Comillas to view Gaudí’s whimsical El Capricho building. Then, a local guide shows you the highlights of Oviedo, including entrance to the San Salvador Basilica.

Day 9: Free day in Oviedo

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Oviedo or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Picos de Europa $89pp* Details

Begin your morning exploring the Covadonga Sanctuary, where you’ll enter the sacred caves and basilica to see the famous shrine to the Virgin of Covadonga. After a short drive, you’ll arrive at the Picos de Europa, or the “peaks of Europe,” so named because they were often the first sight of land for sailors returning to Europe from the Atlantic. Take in panoramic views before setting off on a guided tour of Cangas de Onís, the former capital of the Kingdom of Asturias, including a visit to the ancient Roman Bridge. You’ll also sit down to an included lunch, featuring a typical Asturian stew. Afterward, enjoy free time to explore on your own.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Santiago de Compostela 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Santiago de Compostela via Lugo

  Included meals: Breakfast

En route to Santiago de Compostela, stop in Lugo to explore the UNESCO-listed Roman walls.

Enjoy a free evening in Santiago de Compostela or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Traditional Galician Dinner $79pp* Details

For a true taste of Galicia, sit down to a succulent dinner at a local restaurant in Santiago de Compostela. Savor the freshest seafood and meat specialties Spain has to offer as you choose from a variety of menu options. As you dine, enjoy some of the region’s finest wines including Ribiero, Godello or Albariño. At the end of the meal, observe the preparation ritual of Queimada, a drink of distilled spirits blended with herbs, fruits and spices.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Santiago de Compostela

  Included meals: Breakfast

An expert local guide shows you the city that marks the end of the Way of St. James. 

• View the twin-spired cathedral, the 9th-century monastery and the sprawling Praza do Obradoiro

• Stop at the 17th-century fountain in the center of the Praza das Praterias

Enjoy a free afternoon in Santiago de Compostela or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Rías Baixas Cruise $65pp* Details

Travel to the tiny fishing town of O Grove for a cruise of the Rías Baixas, the coastal inlets and estuaries of western Galicia. Sailing through the town’s harbor, you’ll discover this region’s maritime heritage. Get a taste of local cuisine; you’ll be treated to all-you-can-eat local mussels while you’re onboard. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)

Madrid 1 night Hotel info

Day 12: Flight to Madrid

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Fly to Madrid, where you’ll gather with your group for a farewell dinner.

Day 13: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore Madrid.

Add Madrid Starting from $369 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Madrid celebrates around the clock. After spending much of the 20th century sequestered at the center of a totalitarian regime, Madrid has burst back onto the world stage with an energy reminiscent of its 16th-century golden age, when painters and playwrights swarmed to Spain's royal court. A vibrant crossroads for Iberia and the world's Hispanic cultures, the Spanish capital has an infectious appetite for art, music, food and fun.

Madrid 2 nights Hotel info

Day 13: Guided sightseeing tour of Madrid

  Included meals: Breakfast

Get an overview of the Spanish capital on today’s guided sightseeing tour.

• Make a photo stop at the Royal Palace, Spain’s largest royal residence

• Explore the Prado, a world-class art museum that began as the private collection of the Spanish monarchy

Day 14: Free day in Madrid

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Madrid or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Toledo $79pp* Details

Discover Toledo, the cliff-top city often referred to as La Ciudad Imperial (“The Imperial City”). Upon arrival, you’ll have some free time to explore. Later in the afternoon, your guided tour begins at Toledo Cathedral, a massive, Gothic structure that houses 750 medieval stained glass windows and a treasure trove of golden artifacts. Gaze upon the cathedral’s sacristy, containing masterpieces by the likes of van Dyck, El Greco, Rubens and Titian. After exploring the labyrinth of medieval alleyways at the heart of the city, you’ll visit the Church of Santo Tomé and one of Europe’s oldest synagogues, Santa María la Blanca. Please note: This tour involves some walking over uneven terrain. Also, depending on the day of the week, the sites visited are subject to change. If the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca is closed, you’ll visit the Synagogue of El Tránsito instead.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Optional Excursion - Traditional Spanish Evening $99pp* Details

On your way to dinner, walk through the illuminated streets of Madrid, taking in the local neighborhood ambiance in the evening light. Then, enjoy conversation, camaraderie and live music at one of the oldest restaurants in the city. Between traditional Castilian courses, you’ll be entertained by tuna music, an artistic tradition with its roots in Spain’s universities.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Day 15: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • San Sebastian, Spain
  • Santander, Spain
  • Oviedo, Spain
  • Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Madrid, Spain
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter Spain, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry. 
  • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.    

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 1 hour daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with some hills.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of trains.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Barcelona and depart from Madrid. A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. 
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
  • A train ride from Barcelona to Pamplona and a flight from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid are included in the price of your tour. 
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. 
  • Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights. 
  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance. 
  • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Spain. 
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to My Account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.

Cuisine

  • In Spain, breakfast like a local with just a pastry and coffee. Then, tuck into a three-course lunch featuring a Spanish staple like savory seafood paella or grilled meat and fried potatoes. Dinner is less hearty than lunch and is served late, between 9pm and midnight. Snack on small plates called tapas any time of day.
  • Catalan cuisine, which can be found in Barcelona, is markedly different from food in other parts of Spain. Nearly every restaurant will offer pa amb tomàquet—toasted bread with tomato and olive oil. Fresh seafood, hearty meat dishes, cheeses and locally grown vegetables, such as wild mushrooms, are culinary mainstays.
  • Pintxos, small snacks that are usually spiked with a toothpick to a piece of bread, are an especially popular sort of tapas in the Basque Country.

Electricity & air conditioning

  • Spain operates on the European standard 220-240 volts and uses Types C, E or F plugs with two small, round pins. 
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.  
  • The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel. 
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. 
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches. 
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

  • Spain is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). 
  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm on tour.

Currency

  • You will use the euro in Spain. 
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. 
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. 
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. 
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. 
  • Tips can only be paid in cash. 

Purchasing excursions on tour

  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for excursions. 
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. 
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 11/3/2016

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: OK

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fun trip

Overall this was a very good trip. It rained too much but not much can be done about that. Itinerary seemed to be well thought out. Food was good on most included meals (much better than the trip to Southern Spain I took last December). Had plenty of free time to explore most places. It would have been handy to have had a list of food items with both Spanish and English. It was a little hard at times to order food. We were given such a list late in the trip. Another thing that would have been helpful is if we could be given a city map the moment we reached each 'new' city. Still - a good trip overall.

 

Hi Terry! We’re glad that you had a good time overall. We are sorry to hear the weather didn’t always cooperate, as we know how much this can impact the trip. We’re happy you feel the itinerary was well-designed and that you enjoyed the included meals. We’re also pleased you feel the itinerary strikes a good balance between guided and free time. Our Product Development team will be glad to hear it! We appreciate your feedback on circulating a list of food items in Spanish/English, as well as your suggestion to provide a city map. We will be sure to share both of these comments with our teams internally. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, Terry! We look forward to welcoming you on your next tour soon.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 07, 2016

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 9/8/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Location, Location, Location

I've entitled my review by the well-known evaluation of real estate. It's all about location, location, and location. Although the hotels on this tour were quite nice in terms of creature comforts, they were not in the best locations. This required taxis, buses etc. to reach the attractions in the cities visited.

 

Dear Bruce, We regret to learn that the locations of your hotels did not meet your expectations. We choose our accommodations based on a variety of criteria, including but not limited to reputation, quality, location, and availability for groups. Our Operations team strives to choose the best option available with these criteria in mind, but we are sorry that you did not feel these accommodations met your needs. We will be sure to share your feedback on the matter with our Operations team, so that they may use it to evaluate our hotels for future use. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | September 27, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/12/2016

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Northern Spain

I recently returned from a terrific tour of Northern Spain including Barcelona, the Camino de Compostelo and Madrid. I loved the tapas, the seafood, and of course the wonderful chocolate. Spain has the best. We were very lucky to have only 1 shower, and no heat. I loved all the Gaudi architecture. I developed some breathing issues while on tour, but our guide, Luis, and another Go Ahead person, Kelsey, were extremely helpful. This was my 10th trip and I am looking forward to Nova Scotia in September.

1 / 4

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 9/24/2015

Number of Past Tours: 8

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Magical History Tour

The bus rolled up and took us away, across the mountain highways along the northern seacoast of Spain. Bernardo, our guide, kept us entertained with historical facts about the stops along the way, information about current events in Spain, and humorous anecdotes. Magic moments for me included the view from Monserrat, listening to the ocean waves from my hotel room in Santander, finding the square in San Sebastian where I experienced a fireworks display decades ago when I was 23 years old, and finding that the shop where I bought a fan on the Puerto del Sol in Madrid, was still open after all these years. I was surprised to learn that they play bagpipes in Lugo and Santiago de Compostela. I was thrilled to walk the route of the running of the bulls in Pamplona. I'm inspired to read more about the history of this area, about artists Goya and Velasquez, and of course, re-read Hemingway.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: AZ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director

I have been on many tours with different companies but I have never had a better guide than Fernando. He was warm, witty, and well informed and treated us as if he really cared about us like family or close friends. I also thoroughly enjoyed the route we took from Barcelona to Santiago de Compostela. The scenery was gorgeous and the guides in each of the towns we visited gave me the information I wanted. The fact we were in Santiago on Sunday, the day the pilgrims celebrate the end of their trek on El Camino, was an excellent way to wrap up our time in Northern Spain. The visit to Madrid and extension to Toledo were also highlights of my trip. While I have studied art history, the guide in The Prado taught me so very much about Goya. Toledo, the walled city, was a treat to remember, and again, the guide was very informative. My only slightly negative comment is that the optional dinner in Madrid was overpriced. Once again, the trip was a good value as well as an excellent opportunity to get to know Spain

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/1/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Don't Miss This One!

We travelled to Northern Spain on May 1, 2014, and it was the most enjoyable trip ever! There was not a thing we had to think about and all arrangements were taken care of. We met our Tour Director, Fran and he was the most enjoyable, entertaining and informative tour guide we have ever had. He made the day to day adventures come to life. Every city that we saw was extraordinary. The history, sights and tastes are unforgettable and imbedding in our minds forever. We met such lovely people from all over to share the experience with. We were blessed to share the tour with 2 wonderful young ladies from GoAhead, which resulted in a perfect trip. Our driver was wonderful and we felt safe at all times, and the extra tour guides in each city, brought their own spice to the mix. We loved that we were never on the bus for more than 3 hours, and the additional stops were well chosen. We loved Barcelona, San Sebastian, Santilano de Mar, Oviedo, Santiago de Compostela, and of course Madrid. The weather was perfect and loved the time we chose to go. This is our 3rd GoAhead Tour, and we are already looking into what we will do next. Don't Miss This One!

1 / 9

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/13/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Excellent Tour!

Tour had the right balance of planned activities and free time, allowing opportunities to explore. Tour director, Fernando, was knowledgeable and helpful. Blogged the trip, which has all the details including videos; http://psalmboxkey.com/travel-adventures/autonomous-kingdoms-of-northern-spain-june-2013/

1 / 5

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 6/13/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

99% Perfect

A picturesque, atmospheric and informative tour enhanced by a wonderful tour Director (Fernando) and a diligent and devoted driver (Carlos.) BUT, get PLENTY of sleep BEFORE you begin as the many one night stayovers and two flights in less than 2 days departure schedule will leave you "recovering" at home for a week after the tour.

1 / 3

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/2/2013

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Barcelona and Northern Spain

This was my 6th Go Ahead tour and I find that the company keeps improving, with better hotels and food options, and that they will work with you regarding flight itineraries. Barcelona and Northern Spain is definitely a journey for travelers who have done the ‘big’ European sites. Aside from the bookends of Barcelona and Madrid, most of what we saw was not touristy. It is so hard to pick favorites, but my top three places were San Sebastian, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and Santiago de Compostela. Santillana del Mar was a unique step back in time. . Perhaps the best thing about this trip was the amazing diversity we found as we traveled west along the northern coast. It’s always a dilemma whether to do the optional excursions or further explore the place where you are staying. This time I participated in all of the optionals and was not disappointed. Particularly enjoyable was the Galician dinner in Santiago de Compostela – the restaurant did an incredible job of introducing us to a wide variety of Galician seafood specialties and the mysterious beverage Queimada. The Rias Baixas Cruise was a delightful afternoon with beautiful weather cruising the fjords of Galician where they farm mussels. Our guide Luis was a dynamic guy who is passionate and knowledgeable about Spain. Having lived in the states, he definitely understands Americans. As I learned on my previous trip to Spain, the Spanish people are incredibly friendly. Knowing some Spanish is very helpful. Can’t wait to go back to Spain!

1 / 7

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/2/2013

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

northern spain

Tour guide Luis worked very well with the group. He loves Spain & is especially knowledgeable about northern Spain. It is very different, in many ways, from southern Spain.The hotels, for the most part were excellent. We especially liked the Catalonia Diagonal, Zaragoza El Pilar, Silken Amara Donostia, Ayre Ramiro Oviedo, Gran Hotel Santiago & even the quaint & lovely Altamira/Santillana*. The sites visited were, for the most part, exceptional My favorite excursion was the the Rias baixas mussel farm boat tour . Fresh mussels & vino blanco plus a beautiful sunny day. Ria Baixas is a gem. The Flamenco show in Barcelona was not an over hyped, over produced extravaganza. It was real, nitty gritty, great flamenco. Bravo! The dinner was good too. The Altamira cave (repro) gives you a good idea of the scale & conditions that the cave artists encountered. Donostia was my favorite place of all. What a beautiful setting, beautiful city, and the best variety of pintxo bar food. Pamplona up close & personal was fun too. I would actually like to do this tour again sometime.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 5/2/2013

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: FL

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Barcelona and Northern Spain

When Go Ahead warned that this would be a very active trip, it was true. I would go a bit farther and say is extraordinarily tiring. We were able to experience cultural differences in the northern regions of Spain. It gave me an understanding of the diversity of the country. However I think the walking tours could have been shortened. For instance, instead of 1 1/2 hr walking tour in Zargoza, it could have been cut to include a summary of the highlights. I would like to see Goahead schedule this tour, so travelers would not be in Montserrat and Santiago de Compestela on a Sunday. Montserrat was extraordinarily crowded, and we were unable to see the Madonna because of the church service. Highlights included the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I recommend that visitors try to also see the inside of the church. The inside is not included in the GoAhead tour, but it is awesome in architecture and play of colors of the stained glass windows. The museum had interesting displays of Gaudi's designs for the church. The Guggenheim Museum is another awe-inspiring building. The artwork inside is not worth the visit; but the building itself is magical. The little village of Santillana del Mar with its ban of most motor vehicles had a wonderful ambiance of what life was like when the medieval pilgrims made their journey. The star of the trip was, of course, Santiago de Compostela - the culmination of the ancient and modern pilgrims' journey. We saw many travelers along the way with the symbolic scallop shells. We had to admire their endurance. While we traveled by bus, they were on foot - some of them came all the way over the Pyranees.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/2/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Sooo awesome!

This was our first tour with an adult group and every aspect of the trip was better than our expectations. The pace was perfect. The food was fabulous. Luis, the tour director, was experienced, professional, informative, a great guy! Local guides were delightful. Bus driver, Carlos, was capable, professional, and helpful. Bus was clean and comfortable. Hotels were top notch. I'm running out of superlatives but the trip was just awesome. The day we came home we started looking for our next tour! So, many thanks, and we'll be in touch soon.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 3/14/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Spain 2013

Definitely worth it. The only issue is that it is very hectic, and did not have room for one or two relaxing days. The tour director was very organized and dedicated to the safety and comfort of the travellers. The itinerry was excellent. The food was great most of the days.

1 / 5

1 / 5

Tour Date: 11/1/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 1 / 5

northern spain

I'll be concise. It was one of the best lead and organized tours that I've been on. Luck played a big hand in that the weather was beautiful almost throughout and the group of 13 well traveled members of the group were delightful and fun. But I would highly recommend this trip to people who have done the usual Spanish highlights and want to see fewer tourist and more countryside - it was beautiful.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 9/27/2012

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: WI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Barcelona to Madrid

My wife and I enjoyed the itinerary - and the many experiences in this well deigned package. The only areas that were less than memorable were: 1) The failure of the tour in Barcelona to actually enter Gaudi's Sagrada Familia cathedral. It was going to be a highlight, and instead we as a group merely stared at this marvelous edifice from a distance of 60 feet. We felt badly. This was NOT the fault of the tour director (who was uniformed great). 2) The last hotel in the heart of old Madrid that we stayed at (an Hoteles Catalonia). Not very clean room, very boxy and the air conditioning unit seemed to spew dust in all directions. However, having said that, we had good value for the dollar - and a great (repeating myself) tour director - and thus would recommend the tour to future others (if those two above negatives were corrected!).

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 9/25/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Spain - Fall 2012

This was our first Go Ahead Tour after going with several other companies and to many countries. My suggestions to consider for improving GAT: Smaller group - the group was large, 42 and two GAT staff. It took over 45 minutes for a short restroom stop. Even with the audio whispers, the tail end of the group missed the documentary from the local guides. Buffet dinners instead of set meals - with so many different tastes and dietary needs, eating at a buffet as opposed to a set menu makes sense. Less waste and more variety. Diversified itinerary - the itinerary was only focused on the "tourist" highlights but even then not in depth. We missed many opportunities to get to know Northern Spain because we drove by in the bus instead of getting out and exploring this beautiful country. More vigorous pace - more walking - our tour brochure noted that the pace of this trip was a 4 of 5, which to us meant an active trip with walking and vigorous activities. This was not the case at all, it was very leisurely and sedentary. Bus in better repair - our bus was not old, but in surprisingly poor shape. Many of the seats were broken and reclined automatically. Many of the daily drives were over two hours and with no-on bus facilities as were advertised this was not acceptable. Our TD, Laura was wonderful and is to be commended for keeping our group together. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for Spain was spectacular.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 9/25/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

CHURCHES, BASILICAS, and CATHEDRALS

POSITIVES: Tour Guide Laura was superb, knowledgeable and interested/concerned in all 42 of us. Laura kept everyone on time and EVERYONE kept to the schedule. Not one exception. Pace - very easy, little walking, late departures (9 AM). The use of Whisperers. Two to three hour lunches. Buffet dinner was excellent. Wine served in all GAT meals. Very good tour or Zaragoza with Carlos. Eduardo's tour of San Sebastian was the best of the trip. Side trip to Biarritz, France was fantastic and should be part of the schedule. The village of Santillana del Mar was first-rate and great to visit and explore. Encompassing tour of Bilbao. Optional Picos de Europa was invigorating and the views were expansive. Seeing the film "The Way" set us up for our visit to Santiago de Compostela Optional dinner in Oviedo - food was magnificent and the little extras made it a great night. The Farewell Dinner at The Galopin Restaurant NEGATIVES: 42 tour members. Pace - very easy, little walking, late departures (9 AM). Many of the Whisperers did not work. Two to three hour lunches. Set menu meals were very large and wasteful. Bus had narrow seats with many people taking two seats for one person. Many of the seats were broken and reclined. Would not remain upright. Suggest Tour Director give options or directions for finding restrooms as there were none on the bus for emergencies. Our exploration of Barcelona was 4 hours - mostly in the bus. In San Sebastian, 2 hour walk up Mount Urgull lasted only 30 minutes and went to the first overlook. Tour Guide Maria in Oviedo spent over an hour giving us every detail of Cathedral of San Salvador The least effective of the "optionals" was the Rías Baixas Cruise - not a cruise - went out 15 minutes and then stopped. Mussels all you can eat lunch was very disappointing for the cost. Suggest TD give options or directions for using the rest rooms as there were non on the bus for emergencies. Many stops had limited rest room facilities, took over 30 minutes just for bathroom stops. From the itinerary we did not see or do: Moorish Aljaferia - Zaragoza. Gothic Santa Maria La Real Cathedral - Pamplona Thermal Springs - Lugo Final day itinerary says "A Go Ahead representative escorts you to the airport for your flight home." None did. Overall the trip was good but could have been much better. Most of our concerns center on issues that relate directly to such a large group of 42 people. Fortunately we had a superb tour guide that made Spain come alive. The number of churches and the depth of those with which we visited bothered many on the tour especially with the number of Jewish members on this trip. Why not visit wineries, other museums, small markets, Spanish lessons on the bus, would have diversified the trip a bit. Having been on 60+ bus tours, GAT did a better job overall of breaking up the bus rides with stops and sightseeing. For an in-depth day by day description of the trip, please go to: http://garciatrips.com/journals/trip/64

1 / 10

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 9/22/2012

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: NJ

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Northern Spain

I believe one of the best highlights of the trip was reuniting with friends we met on a former Go Ahead trip to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. The other highlight was the side trip to thePeaks of Europe. It was a perfect weather day and we saw some of the most beautiful views of the country. It would have been perfect if we had a picnic lunch after we hiked to the top. Our tour guide, Laura was very knowledgeable and passionate about her country. I enjoyed her stories. The downside of the tour was the size of the group . This was the largest we have ever experienced. Also, the bus was the most uncomfortable bus we have ever been in. Many of the seats were broken and very little Leg room. I am 5'2 and felt cramped. This was a very common feeling among the group. However, the buses we used for side trips were great. We wondered d what happened when they assigned a bus we would be in for 13 days! We also felt tat we could have down home from Santiago. To fly to Madrid one day and then leave e next is not a good Way to end a trip. Te real plus to the beginning and ending of the trips were the dinners. These actually were the best we ave had on Go Ahead trips. Our foursome spent a week in Barcelona before the tour started. Go Ahead should consider doing a tour of the "inside" of the Sagra Familia . To do a tour of just the outside of the building misses a lot of the history etc. we toured the inside prior to the tour start when we found out we were not going inside. I also was able to attend mass in Santiago at noon that celebrated the pilgrims journey. That was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. In ending, Barcelona should be the extension at the end of Northern Spain tour. It is so much more connected to the north than Madrid. .

1 / 7

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 6/21/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Barcelona and Northern Spain:AMAZING

This was the first trip I have taken with Go Ahead Tours would highly recommend this trip for anyone interested in the art and history of Spain. The tour director, Rafi, was exceptional. Her knowledge, professionalism and most importantly her love and enthusiasm for her country was contagious. Considering the large size of the group (40), everything ran smoothly. The Meals and hotel accommodations were satisfactory . Some meals had no choices available which could be disappointing for some. I highly recommend taking the excursion to Picos de Europa while in Ovideo and going back to view the interior of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Go Ahead should arrange for the tour to include entrance into the Catherdal. It would avoid having to wait on long lines and go back to the Catherdal. Having traveled to Spain before I was pleased to see many of the "off the beaten" path towns included on this tour. Some unexpected stop were made along the way which were nice surprises.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/21/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Northern Spain Tour Available!

I picked this tour after researching everything available because I thought it had the best itinerary (in my opinion). I had taken a tour of Southern Spain years before and there are plenty of Southern Spain tours but not so many of the North. But you haven't really seen Spain if you have only seen the southern part. The north is very different in sceneary (very green ) , language ( three different regional languages spoken besides Spanish) , food ( a seafood lovers dream) and people ( Celtic history) . I had high expectaions and this Go Ahead tour lived up to them. We started in Barcelona which is a delightful city with so much to see that one could easily spent a week there. Our tour director was awesome - had a warm and lively personality, was very knowledgeable and highly organized - and made the trip fun. The tour had a good mixture of big cities and small villages, old and modern. I enjoyed reading Ernest Hemingway novels (some of them set in Spain) and now have a picture of me at Cafe Urina which he frequented in the 1920s. I especially loved the boat tour in the Galicia region. We were with locals and Portugese day trippers who sang and danced in the aisles! It was delightful. All in all an awesome trip!

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