Barcelona & Northern Spain

13 days
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About This Experience

The communities of northern Spain are passionate and proud—and with good reason. 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, before journeying west along the coast of the Bay of Biscay. From pilgrim sites to palaces, from Gaudí to Gehry, the north coast of Spain will surprise and seduce you.

Your Tour Includes

  • Round-trip airfare & transfers

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Select entrance fees

How's the weather?

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

Overnight Flight1 night

Day1

Count the miles until you arrive in the City of Counts

Your trip begins with a regularly scheduled overnight flight to Barcelona aboard an internationally recognized airline.

Barcelona3 nights - hotel info

Day2

It only takes a day to fall in love with the Catalan capital

Breakfast (in flight), Dinner

Welcome to Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and the capital of the Catalonian region. A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and then escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to begin exploring Barcelona. This evening, meet your fellow travelers at an included dinner.

Day3

Gaudi’s inspired creations daze and delight

Optional Excursion - Park Güell & Pedrera

Optional Excursion - Flamenco Dinner Show

Breakfast

La Sagrada Familia

A local guide leads a sightseeing tour of Barcelona, featuring a visit inside La Sagrada Família (Church of the Holy Family), Gaudí’s famous landmark. Study the church’s mellifluous lines and multicolored Mediterranean-style mosaics, noting that its construction is not complete but continues sporadically today as funds allow. As you travel through the city, take in panoramic views of the Columbus Monument, the 14th-century Gothic Quarter and Montjuïc, where much of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games took place. In the afternoon, join an optional excursion to another Gaudí creation, Park Güell, a garden village nestled in the heart of the city. This evening, consider joining our optional excursion and enjoy festive Spanish traditions at a Flamenco Dinner Show.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Optional Excursions

Park Güell & Pedrera $79* pp

On today’s excursion, discover the magnificent works of Antoni Gaudí, the famed Spanish architect known for his bold, distinct designs. Casa Milà is the first stop. Take a guided tour of this building, 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 bourgeois. 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

Optional Excursions

Flamenco Dinner Show $109* pp

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.

Day4

Delve deeper in Barcelona or follow the pilgrims to Montserrat

Optional Excursion - Montserrat

Breakfast

Spend the day exploring Barcelona on your own. Consider browsing the colorful stalls at La Boqueria, sampling tapas in the bars along Las Ramblas or visiting the city’s remarkable Picasso Museum. Alternatively, you might join today’s optional excursion to the picturesque monastery of Montserrat, which inspired the composer Richard Wagner as he wrote “Parsifal.”

Optional Excursions

Montserrat $65* pp

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 monastery, where you will see the iconic Black Virgin of Montserrat, Catalonia’s beloved and miraculous Madonna statue. Take some time to explore the monastery before driving back to Barcelona.

San Sebastian2 nights - hotel info

Day5

Pamplona will get your heart pumping (even without the bulls)

Breakfast, Dinner

Basilica del Pilar

Travel north into in the heart of Spain’s mountainous Aragón region, stopping in Zaragoza, where you will have free time to explore the pilgrimage town, including the basilica. Continue north to Pamplona, the town known for its annual running of the bulls. Your Tour Director leads an informal sightseeing tour of Pamplona, highlighting views of the Plaza del Castillo, the Old Town and the Gothic cathedral. Then continue through the culturally and linguistically unique Basque region to oceanside San Sebastian, where dinner is included tonight.

Day6

Get a taste of Basque countryside and cuisine in San Sebastian

Breakfast

A professional local guide leads this morning’s tour of San Sebastian, a town bordered by green mountains and roaring ocean. Pass by Playa de la Concha and through the town’s Old Quarter, where Isabel II spent her vacations. While in the Old Quarter, notice the numbers on the balconies above, which used to be ringside seats for bullfights. Next, a two-hour walk takes you up the wooded slopes of Monte Urgull to its peak, from which you’ll have a wonderful panoramic view of San Sebastian and its surroundings.

Santillana del Mar1 night - hotel info

Day7

Art moves through time from ancient Altamira to ultramodern Guggenheim

Breakfast, Dinner

Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Altamira

From San Sebastian, travel west along the scenic Costa Verde (green coast) to Bilbao and the Altamira Cave. In Bilbao, you’ll visit the world-class Guggenheim Museum. Like its counterpart in New York, this museum is a showplace of modern and contemporary art. The building itself, a creation of titanium, limestone and glass designed by American architect Frank O. Gehry, is fascinating in its own right. After your visit to the museum, your Tour Director leads a walking tour through Bilbao’s Old Town. Next, visit the Museum of Altamira to view replicas of the ancient cave paintings. Then, head for tonight’s destination, Santillana del Mar. Dinner is included this evening.

Oviedo2 nights - hotel info

Day8

Investigate the primitive pre-Romanesque architecture in Oviedo

Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, transfer to Oviedo, stopping along the way to visit the charming seaside town of Comillas. This afternoon, arrive in Oviedo, where a local guide introduces you to the town. Dinner is included tonight.

Day9

Head for the hills to explore the landmark Picos de Europa

Optional Excursion - Picos de Europa

Breakfast

Spend today at leisure in Oviedo. Or, consider joining our optional excursion to the Picos de Europa, a mountainous ridge that earned its name from sailors during the Age of Discovery. Reaching nearly 9,000 feet above sea level, the Picos de Europa were often the first sight of European soil sailors saw on their return voyages.

Optional Excursions

Picos de Europa $89* pp

Begin your morning exploring the Virgin of Covadonga, where you'll enter the sacred caves and the basilica to see the famous Madonna statue. 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 Onis, 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.

Santiago de Compostela2 nights - hotel info

Day10

Step inside or climb atop Lugo’s ancient Roman walls

Optional Excursion - Traditional Galician Dinner

Breakfast

Today, journey to Lugo, the only city in the world that is still fully surrounded by Roman walls. You may wish to climb one of the wall’s many staircases for a memorable view of the village below or to see the remains of Roman baths. Continue on to tonight’s destination, Santiago de Compostela, where you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy local specialties at our optional excursion, a Traditional Galician Dinner.

Optional Excursions

Traditional Galician Dinner $79* pp

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.

Day11

This centuries-old pilgrimage site will inspire and amaze you

Optional Excursion - Rías Baixas Cruise

Breakfast

On this morning’s walking tour, an expert local guide introduces you to the historic features of Santiago de Compostela, which ranked as Christendom’s third most important pilgrimage site (after Jerusalem and Rome) during the Middle Ages. Stroll along the ancient city’s narrow streets, viewing the twin-spired cathedral, the Praza do Obradoiro, the 9th-century monastery and the 17th-century fountain in the center of the Praza das Praterias. Explore the town on your own this afternoon or join an optional riverboat cruise along the Rias Baixas.

Optional Excursions

Rías Baixas Cruise $75* pp

Travel to the tiny fishing town of O Grove for a cruise of the Rías Baixas, the coastal inlets and estuaries of western Galicia. On a cruise through the town's harbor, you'll discover this region's maritime heritage. Seafood lovers will rejoice on this cruise you'll be treated to all-you-can-eat local mussels while you're onboard. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.

Madrid1 night - hotel info

Day12

Exchange the green hills of Galicia for the urban bustle of Madrid

Breakfast, Dinner

Board your flight to Madrid and join your group for a farewell dinner.

Day13

Barcelona and the Bay of Biscay bid you a fond farewell

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

If you are not continuing on our tour extension to Madrid, a Go Ahead representative escorts you to the airport for your flight home.

Extend Your Stay

Add Madrid $369*

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.

Madrid2 nights - hotel info

Day13

Keep an eye out for Goya and Velázquez at the Prado

Breakfast

Prado Museum

Get an overview of the Spanish capital on today’s sightseeing tour, including a photo stop at the Royal Palace. Your tour ends with entrance into the Prado, a world-class art museum that began as the private collection of the Spanish monarchy.

Day14

Wind through Toledo’s narrow streets and grand Gothic cathedral

Optional Excursion - Toledo

Optional Excursion - Traditional Spanish Evening

Breakfast

With a free day in Madrid, you might choose to visit more of Madrid’s museums, explore its churches and parks or sip a cerveza at a sunny cafe in the Plaza Mayor. Alternatively, join our optional excursion to Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tonight, consider joining our optional excursion, a Traditional Spanish Evening, which includes a dinner of authentic Castilian specialties at one of Madrid’s most legendary restaurants.

Optional Excursions

Toledo $79* pp

Discover Toledo, the clifftop city often referred to as La Ciudad Imperial (Imperial City). Upon arrival, you'll have some free time to explore. Later in the afternoon, your guided tour begins at the city's massive Gothic cathedral, which 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 Santo Tome Church and one of Europe’s oldest synagogues, Santa Maria la Blanca. Please note: This tour involves some moderate walking over uneven terrain. Also, depending on the day of the week, the sites visited are subject to change. If the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca is closed, you'll visit the Synagogue of El Tránsito instead.

Optional Excursions

Traditional Spanish Evening $99* pp

On your way to dinner, walk through the illuminated streets of Madrid, taking in the local neighborhood ambiance in the evening light. After your walk, 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.

Day15

All good aventuras must come to an end

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative assists you with the transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Print This Page

About This Experience

The communities of northern Spain are passionate and proud—and with good reason. 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, before journeying west along the coast of the Bay of Biscay. From pilgrim sites to palaces, from Gaudí to Gehry, the north coast of Spain will surprise and seduce you.

Your Tour Includes

  • Round-trip airfare & transfers

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

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

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Select entrance fees

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

Overnight Flight1 night

Day1

Count the miles until you arrive in the City of Counts

Your trip begins with a regularly scheduled overnight flight to Barcelona aboard an internationally recognized airline.

Barcelona3 nights - hotel info

Day2

It only takes a day to fall in love with the Catalan capital

Breakfast (in flight), Dinner

Welcome to Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and the capital of the Catalonian region. A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and then escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to begin exploring Barcelona. This evening, meet your fellow travelers at an included dinner.

Day3

Gaudi’s inspired creations daze and delight

Optional Excursion - Park Güell & Pedrera

Optional Excursion - Flamenco Dinner Show

Breakfast

La Sagrada Familia

A local guide leads a sightseeing tour of Barcelona, featuring a visit inside La Sagrada Família (Church of the Holy Family), Gaudí’s famous landmark. Study the church’s mellifluous lines and multicolored Mediterranean-style mosaics, noting that its construction is not complete but continues sporadically today as funds allow. As you travel through the city, take in panoramic views of the Columbus Monument, the 14th-century Gothic Quarter and Montjuïc, where much of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games took place. In the afternoon, join an optional excursion to another Gaudí creation, Park Güell, a garden village nestled in the heart of the city. This evening, consider joining our optional excursion and enjoy festive Spanish traditions at a Flamenco Dinner Show.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Optional Excursions

Park Güell & Pedrera $79* pp

On today’s excursion, discover the magnificent works of Antoni Gaudí, the famed Spanish architect known for his bold, distinct designs. Casa Milà is the first stop. Take a guided tour of this building, 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 bourgeois. 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

Optional Excursions

Flamenco Dinner Show $109* pp

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.

Day4

Delve deeper in Barcelona or follow the pilgrims to Montserrat

Optional Excursion - Montserrat

Breakfast

Spend the day exploring Barcelona on your own. Consider browsing the colorful stalls at La Boqueria, sampling tapas in the bars along Las Ramblas or visiting the city’s remarkable Picasso Museum. Alternatively, you might join today’s optional excursion to the picturesque monastery of Montserrat, which inspired the composer Richard Wagner as he wrote “Parsifal.”

Optional Excursions

Montserrat $65* pp

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 monastery, where you will see the iconic Black Virgin of Montserrat, Catalonia’s beloved and miraculous Madonna statue. Take some time to explore the monastery before driving back to Barcelona.

San Sebastian2 nights - hotel info

Day5

Pamplona will get your heart pumping (even without the bulls)

Breakfast, Dinner

Basilica del Pilar

Travel north into in the heart of Spain’s mountainous Aragón region, stopping in Zaragoza, where you will have free time to explore the pilgrimage town, including the basilica. Continue north to Pamplona, the town known for its annual running of the bulls. Your Tour Director leads an informal sightseeing tour of Pamplona, highlighting views of the Plaza del Castillo, the Old Town and the Gothic cathedral. Then, continue through the culturally and linguistically unique Basque region to oceanside San Sebastian, where dinner is included tonight.

Day6

Get a taste of Basque countryside and cuisine in San Sebastian

Breakfast

A professional local guide leads this morning’s tour of San Sebastian, a town bordered by green mountains and roaring ocean. Pass by Playa de la Concha and through the town’s Old Quarter, where Isabel II spent her vacations. While in the Old Quarter, notice the numbers on the balconies above, which used to be ringside seats for bullfights. Next, a two-hour walk takes you up the wooded slopes of Monte Urgull to its peak, from which you’ll have a wonderful panoramic view of San Sebastian and its surroundings.

Santander1 night - hotel info

Day7

Art moves through time from ancient Altamira to the ultramodern Guggenheim

Breakfast

Guggenheim Museum

From San Sebastian, travel west along the scenic Costa Verde (green coast) to Bilbao, where you’ll visit the world-class Guggenheim Museum. Like its counterpart in New York, this museum is a showplace of modern and contemporary art. The building itself, a creation of titanium, limestone and glass designed by American architect Frank O. Gehry, is fascinating in its own right. After your visit to the museum, your Tour Director leads a walking tour through Bilbao’s Old Town. In the afternoon, head to Santander, where the Tour Director will lead a guided walking tour, featuring the Santander Cathedral and the Plaza Porticada.

Oviedo2 nights - hotel info

Day8

Investigate the primitive pre-Romanesque architecture in Oviedo

Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, transfer to Oviedo, stopping along the way to visit the charming seaside town of Comillas. This afternoon, arrive in Oviedo, where a local guide introduces you to the town. Dinner is included tonight.

Day9

Head for the hills to explore the landmark Picos de Europa

Optional Excursion - Picos de Europa

Breakfast

Spend today on your own in Oviedo. Or, consider joining our optional excursion to the Picos de Europa, a mountainous ridge that earned its name from sailors during the Age of Discovery. Reaching nearly 9,000 feet above sea level, the Picos de Europa were often the first sight of European soil sailors saw on their return voyages.

Optional Excursions

Picos de Europa $89* pp

Begin your morning exploring the Virgin of Covadonga, where you'll enter the sacred caves and the basilica to see the famous Madonna statue. 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 Onis, 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.

Santiago de Compostela2 nights

Day10

Step inside or climb atop Lugo’s ancient Roman walls

Optional Excursion - Traditional Galician Dinner

Breakfast

Today, journey to Lugo, the only city in the world that is still fully surrounded by Roman walls. You may wish to climb one of the wall’s many staircases for an incredible view of the village below or to see the remains of Roman baths. Continue on to tonight’s destination, Santiago de Compostela, where you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy local specialties at our optional excursion, a Traditional Galician Dinner.

Optional Excursions

Traditional Galician Dinner $79* pp

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.

Day11

This centuries-old pilgrimage site will inspire and amaze you

Optional Excursion - Rías Baixas Cruise

Breakfast

On this morning’s walking tour, an expert local guide introduces you to the historic features of Santiago de Compostela, which ranked as Christendom’s third most important pilgrimage site (after Jerusalem and Rome) during the Middle Ages. Stroll along the ancient city’s narrow streets, viewing the twin-spired cathedral, the Praza do Obradoiro, the 9th-century monastery and the 17th-century fountain in the center of the Praza das Praterias. Explore the town on your own this afternoon or join an optional riverboat cruise along the Rias Baixas.

Optional Excursions

Rías Baixas Cruise $75* pp

Travel to the tiny fishing town of O Grove for a cruise of the Rías Baixas, the coastal inlets and estuaries of western Galicia. On a cruise through the town's harbor, you'll discover this region's maritime heritage. Seafood lovers will rejoice on this cruise you'll be treated to all-you-can-eat local mussels while you're onboard. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.

Madrid1 night - hotel info

Day12

Exchange the green hills of Galicia for the urban bustle of Madrid

Breakfast, Dinner

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

Day13

Barcelona and the Bay of Biscay bid you a fond farewell

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

If you are not continuing on our tour extension to Madrid, a Go Ahead representative escorts you to the airport for your flight home.

Extend Your Stay

Add Madrid $369*

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.

Madrid2 nights - hotel info

Day13

Keep an eye out for Goya and Velázquez at the Prado

Breakfast

Prado Museum

Get an overview of the Spanish capital on today’s sightseeing tour, including a photo stop at the Royal Palace. Your tour ends with entrance into the Prado, a world-class art museum that began as the private collection of the Spanish monarchy.

Day14

Wind through Toledo’s narrow streets and grand Gothic cathedral

Optional Excursion - Toledo

Optional Excursion - Traditional Spanish Evening

Breakfast

With a free day in Madrid, you might choose to visit more of Madrid’s museums, explore its churches and parks or sip a cerveza at a sunny cafe in the Plaza Mayor. Alternatively, join our optional excursion to Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tonight, consider joining our optional excursion for a traditional Spanish evening, which includes a dinner of authentic Castilian specialties at one of Madrid’s most legendary restaurants.

Optional Excursions

Toledo $79* pp

Discover Toledo, the clifftop city often referred to as La Ciudad Imperial (Imperial City). Upon arrival, you'll have some free time to explore. Later in the afternoon, your guided tour begins at the city's massive Gothic cathedral, which 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 Santo Tome Church and one of Europe’s oldest synagogues, Santa Maria la Blanca. Please note: This tour involves some moderate walking over uneven terrain. Also, depending on the day of the week, the sites visited are subject to change. If the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca is closed, you'll visit the Synagogue of El Tránsito instead.

Optional Excursions

Traditional Spanish Evening $99* pp

On your way to dinner, walk through the illuminated streets of Madrid, taking in the local neighborhood ambiance in the evening light. After your walk, 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.

Day15

All good aventuras must come to an end

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative assists you with the transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Passport & Visa

In order to enter Spain, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. and Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Spanish consulate for your particular entry requirements.

Health

There are no major health risks when traveling to Spain. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements. As mentioned, this tour does include a significant amount of walking. Travelers should be in reasonable health and should be accustomed to short hikes and walking on uneven terrain.

Cuisine

One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the delightful variety of local cuisine. In Spain, breakfast is very light, usually consisting of only rolls and coffee. Lunch is traditionally a three-course meal, which can take much of the afternoon to consume. The traditional dish is known as paella and is made from chicken, meat, vegetables, seafood and saffron rice. Dinner is less hearty than lunch and is served late, between 9pm and midnight. Tapas, a series of small samples of various appetizers, is an evening staple at Spanish bars and cafes.

Transportation / Walking on tour

Round-trip flights arrive in Barcelona and depart from Madrid. There is an internal flight from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid. All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.  Barcelona has a comprehensive metro system that is connected to the bus line and serves most of the attractions. You can buy tickets in singles or, for a better deal, in a package, from most tobacconists, newstands and metro vending machines.

Northern Spain’s small cities and towns are easily walkable. If you need a break from walking, though, local buses serve most areas. 

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry- on luggage.

Clothing & Packing Tips

Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are recommended for sightseeing, especially for the walks. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable with something more formal to wear. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Currency

The euro is the currency you will be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available at your destination, although it is 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. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges. 

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/ CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

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/

review photo review photo review photo review photo review photo

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/13/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 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.

review photo review photo review photo

4 / 5

Traveled On: 6/13/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 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!

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5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/2/2013

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: VA

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.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/2/2013

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 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.

3 / 5

Traveled On: 5/2/2013

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: FL

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 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.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/2/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 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.

4 / 5

Traveled On: 3/14/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 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.

1 / 5

Traveled On: 11/1/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 1 / 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.

3 / 5

Traveled On: 9/25/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 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

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4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/25/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

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