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1 / 70

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 Region’s culinary capital. From pilgrim sites to palaces, from 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

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

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

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, where the 1992 Olympic Games took place, and stroll Mirador de l’Alcalde Park

• Pass Plaça d’Espanya and the soaring monument to Christopher Columbus

Enjoy a free afternoon in Barcelona or add an excursion.

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

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

Day 4: Free Day in Barcelona

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Barcelona or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Montserrat $69*pp 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 monastery, where you may have a chance to see the iconic Black Virgin of Montserrat, Catalonia’s beloved and miraculous Madonna statue. 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 Madonna 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 $109*pp 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: $119)

San Sebastian 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: San Sebastian via Zaragoza & Pamplona

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel north into the heart of Spain’s mountainous Aragón region.

• Stop in Zaragoza for a tour of the main square and the Basilica del Pilar

• In Pamplona, walk the route of the famous Running of the Bulls

• Continue through the unique Basque region to ocean-side San Sebastian

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of San Sebastian

Included meals: 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

• Walk through Plaza de la Constitución

Santander 1 night Hotel info

Day 7: Santander via Bilbao

Included meals: Breakfast

Travel west along the scenic Costa Verde to Bilbao, then Santander.

• In Bilbao, visit the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, a showplace of modern and contemporary art, and take a walking tour through the Old Town

• In Santander, take a walking tour to visit the cathedral and 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 $89*pp Details

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.

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 $79*pp 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 $75*pp 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. 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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

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 $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

• 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 $79*pp Details

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.

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

Optional Excursion - Traditional Spanish Evening $99*pp Details

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.

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.

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

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, where the 1992 Olympic Games took place, and stroll Mirador de l’Alcalde Park

• Pass Plaça d’Espanya and the soaring monument to Christopher Columbus

Enjoy a free afternoon in Barcelona or add an excursion.

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

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

Day 4: Free Day in Barcelona

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Barcelona or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Montserrat $69*pp 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 monastery, where you may have a chance to see the iconic Black Virgin of Montserrat, Catalonia’s beloved and miraculous Madonna statue. 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 Madonna 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 $109*pp 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: $119)

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 region to ocean-side San Sebastian.

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of San Sebastian

Included meals: 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

• Walk through Plaza de la Constitución

Santander 1 night Hotel info

Day 7: Santander via Bilbao

Included meals: Breakfast

Travel west along the scenic Costa Verde to Bilbao, then 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 $89*pp Details

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.

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 $79*pp 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 $75*pp 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. 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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

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 $369 pp

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

• 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 $79*pp Details

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.

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

Optional Excursion - Traditional Spanish Evening $99*pp Details

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.

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

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.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. 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 detailed information regarding luggage 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 internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

We recommend packing light, loose-fitting clothing that is convenient for layering. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are also recommended, as well as a lightweight jacket and emergency rainwear. If you plan to visit an upscale restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you might want to bring more formal attire. Also, please be respectful when visiting churches or other religious sites and refrain from showing bare legs or shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).

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

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.

The best way to explore the beautiful mountain towns of Northern Spain is on foot. Travelers should be in reasonable shape and be prepared for walking on some uneven and rugged terrain. A pair of sturdy, comfortable walking shoes or sneakers are recommended.

Electricity

Spain operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time zones

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

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.

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

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.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. 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 detailed information regarding luggage 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 internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

We recommend packing light, loose-fitting clothing that is convenient for layering. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are also recommended, as well as a lightweight jacket and emergency rainwear. If you plan to visit an upscale restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you might want to bring more formal attire. Also, please be respectful when visiting churches or other religious sites and refrain from showing bare legs or shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).

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.

The best way to explore the beautiful mountain towns of Northern Spain is on foot. Travelers should be in reasonable shape and be prepared for walking on some uneven and rugged terrain. A pair of sturdy, comfortable walking shoes or sneakers are recommended. 

Electricity

Spain operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time zones

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

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.

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

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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!

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1 / 9

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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/

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1 / 5

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 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.

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1 / 3

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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!

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1 / 7

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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.

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