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Northern Spain: Basque...

Northern Spain: Basque Country to Madrid

12 days |  14 days with Madrid extension
12 days |  14 days with Madrid extension
Group size1538 travelers

4.3 out of 5 stars

Physical activity
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsTraveler photosHotels, flights & FAQ
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Discover diverse landscapes, delicious food, and provinces bursting with personality.

Travelers who venture to northern Spain will discover well-preserved medieval villages, postcard-perfect mountains and beaches, and some of the best food the country has to offer. On this tour of the region, you’ll explore historical, cultural, and culinary treasures in Bilbao, San Sebastián, Santander, Oviedo, and Santiago de Compostela. Then, head south, to the Castilla and Leon region, where you’ll explore Salamanca’s 13th-century university and marvel at Segovia’s imposing Roman aqueduct before making your final stop in bustling, cosmopolitan Madrid.

Your tour package includes

  • 10 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 10 breakfasts
  • 4 dinners with beer or wine
  • 1 cider tasting
  • 1 food tasting
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Included highlights

  • Guggenheim Museum
  • San Sebastián
  • Altamira Cave Museum
  • Oviedo Cathedral
  • Asturias cheese tasting
Read more
Start planning today

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Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Overnight flight

Board your overnight flight to Bilbao today.

Bilbao2 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Bilbao
Included meal: Welcome dinner

Welcome to Spain! Arrive in Bilbao, an industrial port city in the Basque Country that’s home to the iconic, Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, as well as a world-renowned dining scene. Get to know your Tour Director and fellow group members at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Bilbao
Included meal: Breakfast

Set off on a guided sightseeing tour of the port city of Bilbao with your Tour Director.

  • Admire the architecture in Bilbao’s Old Quarter, known as Casco Viejo.
  • Enter the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, a showplace of modern and contemporary art, and admire the unique architecture alongside a local guide.

Spend a free afternoon in the city or add an excursion.

Guernica, the Basque Coast & Pintxos Dinner

From $105 per person

Santander2 nights
Day 4: Santander via San Sebastián
Included meal: Breakfast

En route to the beautiful coastal city of Santander, join a local guide for a walking tour of San Sebastián, a town considered by many to be the culinary capital of Spain.

  • Pass by Playa de la Concha and make your way through the Old Quarter.
  • Wander through the city’s main square, Plaza de la Constitución, a site that previously played host to bullfights.
  • Take a moment to gaze up at the balconies of the buildings surrounding the square; they once served as box seating for bullfights held in the plaza below.
  • Walk through the city’s fish market to see a variety of fresh, local catches on display.
  • Learn from your local guide where in town to go pintxos-hopping and how to make the most of this regional dining experience.
  • Enjoy free time to explore and to grab a bite to eat.

Continue on to the coastal city of Santander, the capital of Spain’s Cantabria province. Enjoy a walking tour through the city’s center and past historic landmarks, such as the Cathedral of Santander and the Plaza Porticada.

Day 5: Free day in Santander
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Santander or add an excursion.

Picos de Europa

From $119 per person

Oviedo1 night
Day 6: Oviedo via Santillana del Mar & Altamira National Museum
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Dinner

Head toward Oviedo, stopping to take in some of Spain’s impressive historical sites.

  • Take a guided tour of the Altamira National Museum and Research Centre, which houses an exact replica of the Altamira Caves and the Paleolithic cave paintings that revolutionized archaeology when Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola discovered them in 1879.
  • Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the well-preserved medieval village of Santillana del Mar.
  • View the 11th-century Collegiate Church before enjoying free time.

Then, continue on to Oviedo—capital of Spain’s Asturias province and home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites—and take in its highlights on a walking tour with a local guide.

  • Make your way through the Gothic Quarter and enter the Roman Catholic Oviedo Cathedral, an important pilgrimage site along the Camino del Norte route.
  • Sample some local Asturias cheese to cap off your tour.

This evening, tour a cider house and learn about the cider production process from a staffer. Afterward, sample hard ciders, including some straight out of the barrel. Then, sit down for an included dinner at the cider house.

Santiago de Compostela2 nights
Day 7: Santiago de Compostela via Lugo
Included meal: Breakfast

En route to Santiago de Compostela, stop in the city of Lugo to explore its massive, UNESCO-listed Roman walls, which date back to the third century.

Continue along your way, and stop at the hilltop viewpoint known as Monte Viso to enjoy panoramic vistas of the Santiago de Compostela skyline.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Santiago de Compostela
Included meal: Breakfast

Walk through Santiago de Compostela, a town that once ranked just behind Jerusalem and Rome as one of Christendom’s most important pilgrimage sites.

  • Stroll along the ancient city’s narrow streets and stop at Parque de la Alameda.
  • Enter the Gothic Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, which marks the end of the Way of St. James.

Enjoy free time in Santiago de Compostela or add an excursion.

Rías Baixas Cruise & Galician Lunch

From $119 per person

Salamanca2 nights
Day 9: Transfer to Salamanca
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to the Castile and León region today to explore Salamanca, a city known for its ornate, sandstone architecture and its 13th-century university. Then, enjoy free time for the rest of the day or add an excursion.

Enjoy an included dinner with your group this evening in Salamanca.

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Salamanca
Included meal: Breakfast

Get to know UNESCO-listed Salamanca, whose yellow-toned, sandstone buildings earned it the nickname the Golden City, on a guided tour this morning.

  • Explore Salamanca’s historic city center.
  • Walk through Plaza Mayor as you make your way to Las Torres de la Clerecía, and to the Gothic-style, 15th-century Casa de las Conchas, whose facade features more than 300 carvings of scallop shells.
  • Explore the 13th-century University of Salamanca, including the Escuelas Menores courtyard, the “Salamanca Sky” (or “Cielo de Salamanca”) mural, the Escuelas Mayores main building, and the Arzobispo Fonseca School.
  • View Anaya Palace and the city’s new and old cathedrals.

Spend a free afternoon in Salamanca or add an excursion.

Salamanca Food & Wine Tasting Tour

From $109 per person

Madrid1 night
Day 11: Madrid via Ávila & Segovia
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

Make your way to Madrid, stopping first at a scenic viewpoint to snap photos of the Medieval Walls of Ávila, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Afterward, take a short ride to Segovia and join a local guide for a walking tour of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to a towering, well-preserved Roman aqueduct.

  • Explore the aqueduct, which was built in the first century A.D. and supplied water from the Frío River to the city into the 20th century.
  • Visit Segovia’s Gothic-style, Roman Catholic cathedral, and the adjacent Plaza Mayor.
  • Enter the Alcázar, the fairy-tale castle on the far end of the Old City.
  • Spend some time exploring the city on your own, perhaps by trying its famous roast suckling pig.

Continue on to Madrid and celebrate your trip with your fellow travelers at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Flight Home
Day 12: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

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

Extension to Madrid
Soak in more of Spain's grand architecture—and the energetic buzz of modern, urban life—in Madrid, the country's vibrant and cosmopolitan capital city. Alongside local guides, explore the city's many cultural and historical treasures, with highlights including the Royal Palace, the Temple of Debod, and the Prado museum.
Madrid2 nights
Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Madrid
Included meal: Breakfast

Get acquainted with Spain’s cosmopolitan capital city with the help of a local guide.

  • View the Royal Palace, Spain’s largest royal residence.
  • Pass by the Temple of Debod, a reassembled temple from ancient Egypt.
  • View the city’s many squares, including Plaza Colón and Plaza Neptune.
  • Explore the Prado, a world-class art museum that began as the private collection of the Spanish monarchy and is home to the works of Goya, Velásquez, and more.
Day 13: Free day in Madrid
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Madrid or add an excursion.

Tonight, enjoy a farewell drink as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members.


From $105 per person

Flight Home
Day 14: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Show full itinerary
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4.3 out of 5 stars

Overall rating 4.3 out of 5

Based on 6 authentic traveler reviews
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    5 out of 5 stars

    Nice trip.
    4/27/24 by 6th-time traveler Donalda

    Beautiful places! Above-excellent tour guide, Alberto! Great bus drivers! And --- a nice group of fellow travelers!

    3 out of 5 stars

    Poorly planned
    4/27/24 by 5th-time traveler Mary Ann

    Hotels: mostly ok but one (Santander) was terrible and way out of the city center. I always felt rushed. We were in Spain during many holidays but they were not taken into account and planned around. Included meals were satisfactory. The tour felt disjointed. Very disappointed. Guide was great.

    EF Go Ahead Tours replied on 6/5/24

    Mary Ann, thank you for your review. We are so dis...

    Read more +

    5 out of 5 stars

    Northern Spain
    4/27/24 by 1st-time traveler Regina

    It was a nice overall trip. I learned a lot about Spain. Loved learning about the history and see all the historical sights in this country. I really enjoyed the people on the trip, we had a great group of people.

    Show more reviews

    Traveler photos

    Hotels, flights & FAQ

    Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


    We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
    Mercure Bilbao Jardines de Albia
    Mercure Bilbao Jardines de Albia

    This contemporary hotel is located in Bilbao, Spain’s business district. Guests enjoy the gym, spa and wellness center, and tapas bar. Nearby you’ll f...

    Read more +
    Silken Coliseum
    Silken Coliseum

    This unique hotel is set in a former cinema in the Santander. Guests enjoy the fitness center, on-site cafe, and overall charm of the building. Nearby...

    Read more +
    Hotel Silken Monumental Naranco
    Hotel Silken Monumental Naranco

    This modern hotel is located in Oviedo's Losa de Renfe area. Guests enjoy the indoor pool, fitness center, and on-site coffee house. Nearby you'll fin...

    Read more +
    Compostela Hotel
    Compostela Hotel

    This modern hotel housed in a historic building is located in Santiago de Compostela's Plaza de Galicia. Guests enjoy the on-site restaurant, bar and ...

    Read more +
    Hotel Soho Boutique Canalejas
    Hotel Soho Boutique Canalejas

    This boutique style hotel is located in Salamanca's Old Town. Guests enjoy the stylish rooms, on-site restaurant, and delicious breakfast. Nearby you'...

    Read more +
    H10 Tribeca
    H10 Tribeca

    This industrial-inspired hotel is located close to Paseo de la Castellana in the business district of Madrid. Guests enjoy a restaurant, lobby bar, an...

    Read more +


    Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.
    Add our airfare package and you'll get:
    • Round-trip flight for your tour
    • Airport transfers at your destination
    • A great price locked in today
    • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
    • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
    • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
    • Find out more about flights


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