"This northern Spain itinerary focuses on giving you the best possible experience in Spain without the stress, confusion, and massive planning. Eat your way through the best restaurants in the world, stop at some of the greatest wineries in Europe, and sleep in fantastic hotels all with programming that is designed by locals. All Eat Northern Spain tours are private tours, meaning only you and those you wish to travel with are invited on this exclusive adventure"
NORTHERN SPAIN ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
Immerse yourself into the lively atmosphere of one of Spain's most elegant towns: San Sebastian
Be amazed by the beauty of the first National Park in Spain
Discover how shepherds make cheese in the mountains of the Basque Country
Savour local food with an innovative touch at the best restaurants in the region
Be prepared for some extraordinary wildlife encounters
Imagine yourself sleeping in three of the most iconic hotels in Spain.
Be amazed by the beauty of the most charming mountain villages in Spain
Picture yourself pouring cider like a local during a cider house crawl paired with delicious local tapas
Be inspired by the beauty of Santiago de Compostela's Gothic Cathedral, a stunning architectural masterpiece.
- A two-night stay in a piece of history, an impressive 5-star hotel by the sea
Upon arrival at Bilbao airport, you will start this northern Spain itinerary in style and you will be welcomed by your guide and your driver who will be waiting to help shuttle you over to the nearby city of San Sebastian. San Sebastian is one of the leading food meccas in the world. Celebrities and foodies alike from all over the world have come to enjoy the bounty that is associated with this city. Located on the beautiful Bay of Biscay, San Sebastian offers some of the best beaches in Spain. With a rich history in both fishing and farming, farm-to-table has never been more literal.
After a long day of travel you and your party will be whisked away to the Maria Cristina hotel. The leader in luxury in Spain, Maria Cristina is a beautiful hotel that stands between the sea and the sea-fed river that cuts through San Sebastian. It was designed by Charles Mewes who designed the Ritz in both Paris and Madrid, and has a lovely turn-of-the-century feel while offering amazing modern amenities that bring celebrities from all over the world back to the hotel time and time again.
After having some time to settle into paradise, you will be taken to a local favorite traditional Basque restaurant.
- An early morning private tour of San Sebastian's farmers market
- An escorted pintxos bar crawl visiting the best bars in town
- A cider house crawl paired with local tapas. You will learn how pour cider like a local.
You will wake up in the lovely Maria Cristina hotel and be treated to a world-class breakfast looking out over both the ocean and the river. From there, you and your party are whisked away for a morning tour of the fish market in downtown San Sebastian. This exclusive tour gives you a look into the ancient and historic fishing trade in the city, all led by your English-speaking local guide.
After finishing up at the fish market, you will be lead through the charming Old City that is home to various shops and bars. This area of the city is famous for its world-class tapas, or pintxos in the local language of Euskera. You and your party may spend your time site-seeing, shopping, and then bar hopping for local pintxos and beverages escorted by your guide to the best local bars in town. You will also be given time to head over to the local beaches and soak up some Spanish sun before dinner.
The Basque region of Spain is famous for their hard apple cider. While it is not as sweet as many American ciders, the Basque cider has a flavor that is more complex and pairs wonderfully with many local delicacies.
For dinner, you will be taken to a local cider house and treated to a special meal and tour. First, you will enjoy a guided visit to the traditional cider house and you will learn how cider is produced in this region.
After the visit, you will enjoy a meal consists on traditional omelettes, grilled fish and large bone-in ribeyes, Spanish Basque cheese and quince paste jellies, walnuts, and then sweetened almond cookies rolled into small cigarette shapes or left flat in tile shapes from nearby Tolosa. Of course, you will also be given all-you-can-drink access to the local ciders, straight from the barrel just as Spanish Basques have been drinking cider for centuries. Don’t forget to shout out the traditional drinking call “txotx!” (pronounced ‘choch!’) when getting refills.
- A private visit to a family-run cheesemaker in the middle of the mountains of the Basque Country
- A traditional shepherd's meal in the mountains surrounded by nature
- An unforgettable evening in Pamplona, home to the "Running of the Bulls", Spain's most popular festival, a highlight of any northern Spain itinerary
Day three of this northern Spain itinerary designed for the curious traveller kicks off with a breakfast of local favourites before saying goodbye the Maria Cristina Hotel and heading out into the countryside. The Basque region of Spain is famous for their hard sheep’s milk cheese called Idiazabal. Idiazabal cheeses are made in family-run farms that are nestled into the heart of the Pyrenees mountains. You will not only get to see the processes that lead to making a wheel of cheese, but you will also be able to get an inside look on the business personally. The farm is home to many local sheep who are treated like royalty. Local farmers will introduce you and your guests to their sheep, helping you to understand what is so unique and special about them and allowing you to get up close and personal with nature.
After having taken part in the process of cheese making, you will be invited to a private cheese and wine tasting. Idiazabal cheeses are paired perfectly with a local sweet white wine called Txakoli. You will also be given access to a truly historic lunch that focuses on presenting you with the same sort of meal that local shepherds have been eating for centuries.
From there, you and your group will head over to nearby Pamplona, home to San Fermin and The Running of the Bulls. This beautiful and historic city was also a favorite hang-out spot of Ernest Hemmingway during the Spanish Civil War. Much of the city feels very reminiscent of one of Hemmingway’s novels and fans of his work will find pieces of him scattered throughout the streets. One of the places his spirit is felt strongest is in the http://www.granhotellaperla.com/EN/hotel.htmlGran Hotel La Perla. Hemmingway, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, and many more celebrities over the years have found comfort in staying at the Gran Hotel La Perla. It has a turn-of-the-century feel that is offset with modern comforts and amenities.
Be sure to save room for dinner as you will be taken to the one Michelin star rated Restaurant Europa. Restaurant Europa focuses on bringing the best quality ingredients from Spain together to create high-quality dishes.
- A traditional lunch in a local restaurant in LaGuardia, a medieval town enclosed by walls and built on the 13th century
- A guided visit to Marqués de Riscal, a stunning winery producing one of the best wines in the world
Starting day four off right isn’t too hard when waking up in the beautiful city of Pamplona. You will be given a small private tour of the local cobblestone streets and then taken to the famous bullfighting arena of the Running of the Bulls.
After eating a delicious breakfast, you and your group will be picked up by your private transportation and whisked away to yet another of Spain’s wine making regions--La Rioja. La Rioja is perhaps one of the most beautiful and tantalizing parts of Spain, with its rolling hills and flourishing grape vines all perched around villages and cities from as far back as the 13th century. One of these 13th-century beauties, LaGuardia, will be the next stop on this northern Spain itinerary. LaGuardia is a storybook town enclosed by ancient walls and stunning landscapes. You will be able to eat lunch in the town center and then wander around the old city, stopping in various wine cellars along the way to taste the best La Rioja has to offer.
After lunch, you will be taken to one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in all of Spain, Marqués de Riscal. Marqués de Riscal has one foot in the past and the traditions that have garnered its success, and one foot in the future and the innovation that drives the art of winemaking forward. The most famous site at Marqués de Riscal is the Frank Gehry-designed winery that looks like something straight out of the future. With colorful metal sheets decorating its exterior, it stands out among the browns and greens of a typical vineyard. You will not only be given a tour of the winery but also get to sample some of the best vintages around.
After a long day of hiking around and sampling wine, getting a good night’s sleep is paramount. Hotel Viura is a stunner nestled into the heart of wine country. This hotel is located in a tiny town surrounded by the best wineries Spain has to offer and it is the perfect place to drift off to a relaxed and comfortable sleep.
For dinner, you will indulge yourself at the hotel's à-la-carte restaurant and you will try some of the most delicious wines Rioja produces in the area.
- A guided tour of one of Spain's oldest wineries
- A delicious lunch with local food in a medieval monastery
If you are a wine lover, you can rejoice as day five also has a heavy focus on local wineries in La Rioja. Todya, you will visit one of the oldest wineries in Spain, which makes wine with traditional winemaking heritage in mind. They focus on cultivating the finest grapes in the best soils in Spain, then they use a time-tested method to produce the best wine in the area. From there they contract local master coopers to build the barrels where they age their wine to perfection.
From there, you will be taken to a nearby Augustinian monastery for lunch at a place called The Claustro de Los Agustinos. At the monastery there are many different dining options for you and your party to choose from paired with delicious Rioja wines.
After driving back to the hotel, the rest of day five is free time for you and your group to explore and enjoy the vineyards that surround your room.
For dinner, the in-hotel restaurant gives you a high-quality dining experience without having to hike all over creation.
- An escorted visit to Bilbao's spectacular Guggenheim Museum
This northern Spain itinerary would not be complete without spending some time in the city where the trip began--Bilbao. Days six and seven will be spent in Bilbao, exploring one of the more cultured cities in Spain. Bilbao is home to the Guggenheim museum, designed by the same Frank Gehry who designed Marqués de Riscal. You will be escorted to visit the museum and take in modern art from all around the world.
After wandering the museum, you will be taken for another bar crawl and have more famous Basque pintxos and drinks.
After lunch, there will be free time to explore the city and then an a-la-carte dinner at a traditional Basque restaurant. Your home for the next two nights it is a modern design hotel in front of the Guggenheim museum and with spectacular views of this magnificent building.
- A guided walk to Gaztelugatxe, an impressive islet in the coast home to Dragonstone in "Game of Thrones"
- A guided pintxos bar crawl in Bilbao old town
Day seven will be a Game of Thrones lover’s paradise. You will head over to Gaztelugatxe, or the filming location for Dragonstone Island in season seven.
Everybody will enjoy learning about the location’s history as well as picking up some fun Game of Thrones facts as you hike around the spot and have lunch within sight of Gaztelugatxe. The scenery is almost unreal and feels truly other-worldly. You can hike the rocks and cliffs and explore the footbridge over the water below, just like characters in Game of Thrones.
After a exciting day of hiking, you will be taken out to local bars for dinner where you can sample the kinds of food and side dishes that are famous in all the Basque Country.
- An escorted walking tour of Santander
Day eight of this northern Spain itinerary kicks off with a great breakfast and then a quick drive through the Spanish countryside to Santander, located about an hour outside of Bilbao. It is here that you will be given a private tour of the local farmer’s market complete with local produce, meats, seafood, cheeses, and more. The bounty of nature has never been more apparent than when touring through the stalls and talking to the vendors about their products.
From there, you will be taken to the best bars in Santander to taste their specialties and learn about the local food culture. After filling up on local goodies, you will head over to the Botín Centre, an architectural wonder located on the Santander Bay. Exploring the local beauty through the various means of transportation offered has never been easier than in Santander. Feel free to head out by car, bus, or even by foot and explore local hotspots.
For dinner, you will be taken to a local historical gem that is part high-quality restaurant and part historical museum that focuses on the history of wine barrels locally. It is a stunning and beautiful place to kick back and relax and enjoy a meal in one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. At night you will be able to retire to your hotel, a beautiful building located right on the Sardinero beach.
- A walking tour of picturesque Santillana del Mar, a highlight on any northern Spain itinerary
- Comillas sightseeing tour & Gaudí's "El Capricho" guided visit
Today, you will say goodbye to Santander and your day will start off with a short trip to Santillana de Mar. It is a medieval village famous for its breathtaking towers that majestically stand above the beautiful landscape. As you tour through the city, you will be shown some of the more important and unique parts of the city before heading back out on the road to the next stop.
The next stop is the Art Nouveau city of Comillas. Comillas stands out among the coastal Northern cities because of its architecture, which borders the line between historic and modern. It is a must stop for anyone who loves the history behind Spanish buildings as well as stunning cathedrals and universities. It is in Comillas that you will be treated to a seafood feast on the coast.
Spain is known for its inspiring and historic past and perhaps one of the best places to get into contact with that is Picos de Europa. After Comillas, you will head over to Picos de Europa, the oldest national park in Spain. At Picos de Europa you will be able to tour around and take in the beauty of the nearby river as well as the mountains.
At night you and your group will be whisked away to a local former monastery to get a good night’s sleep and a full belly a the hotel's á-la-carte restaurant.
- A scenic drive up to "Covadonga Lakes" following the route of the bicycle race "La Vuelta"
- A cider house crawl paired with local tapas. You will learn how pour cider like a local.
Day ten kicks off right where day nine left off. After a bountiful breakfast, you will head up to Covadonga Lakes in Picos de Europa. The majestic lake is famous amongst cyclists and hikers throughout Spain. While hiking up around Picos de Europa you will get the opportunity to check out the sanctuary Covadonga. Covadonga is a neo-Romanesque basilica with famous statues and even the tombs of two Spanish kings on location. Covadonga is famous for its local cheese, Gamoneu, that is made right outside of the basilica.
For lunch you will head over to a local restaurant for farm-to-table food. Picos de Europa is home to one of the best restaurants in all of Spain. The best dish in the restaurant is Pitu de Caleya, free range chickens that are raised onsite, on of the food highlights of this northern Spain itinerary.
Enjoy the rest of the evening at your own leisure. For dinner, you will taste apple cider like a local paired with local tapas. You are in a region which is the main producer of cider in Spain so the cherry on the cake to this unforgettable day will be selection of local tapas paired with cider in a cider-house restaurant in Cangas de Onís.
- A visit to the only village without road access at the top of the mountains of Picos de Europa, a place with breath-taking scenery
Day eleven starts off by heading out to Cabrales. The Cabrales area famous for their cheese making, especially blue cheese making. Optionally, a cheese factory tour can be arranged. You will be taken up the mountain by cable car to the village of Bulnes.
Not long ago, the only way to reach Bulnes was through a snake-like path surrounded by rocks belonging to the third stage of prehistory. This path was walked by men on mules carrying provisions and belongings and also by postal workers. This route was not very much used during winter because it was hidden by the snow. But you will ascend to Bulnes using a cable car under the mountains.
This small mountain village nestles in a deep valley. Bulnes has a small selection of cafes and bars; short walks from Bulnes lead to the village of Upper Bulnes, and a viewpoint of Picu Uriellu.
You will enjoy a traditional lunch in one of the family-run restaurants in the village. After lunch, you will descend by cable car to Arenas de Cabrales and you will experience the Spanish "siesta" while you are driven along the coast to your next stop: Oviedo.
Oviedo is home to one of the most beautiful hotels in Spain, Hotel de La Reconquista. This three hundred year old hotel is a picturesque and stunning place to stay. You will be invited to explore the city and the hotel with an afternoon off. For dinner, you and your party can tour the famous “Cider Boulevard" of Oviedo, a highlight on any northern Spain itinerary. Octopus, squid, free range chicken, beans, and even barnacles are offered in an a-la-carte restaurant setting that is easy to pick and choose from.
- Artisan fishing-port lunch by the sea based on sparkling-fresh fish
- A unique accommodation in a historic hotel by Santiago's impressive Cathedral
After a mouth-watering breakfast, you will enjoy a tour of Oviedo's city centre, the central market, the cobblestone streets and of course its beautiful Cathedral.
At midday you will be met by your guide & driver and escorted to your vehicle to start your journey to Santiago de Compostela. This city is famous for the Camino de Santiago, a religious pilgrimage that leads pilgrims through the North of Spain ultimately landing in Santiago de Compostela.
Before you arrive, you will head out to lunch at Puerto de Vega, where you will have a fresh seafood meal near the coast. After eating lunch, you will be taken to the city itself where you can tour around and take in the breathtaking cathedral. You will be able to learn about the history of the Camino de Santiago, the city itself, and the local culture. Santiago de Compostela is now a UNESCO-protected site, and it won’t take long to see why it has earned that standing.
The cherry on the cake to an unforgettable day will be a good night sleep in the world’s oldest hotel. Situated in Santiago de Compostela’s main square, this 15th-century hotel wraps you in opulent luxury.
For dinner, you will enjoy Restaurante dos Reis--a historic royal stable in the area. It is now home to a unique cuisine that mixes both traditional recipes with modern techniques and local foods.
- An early morning visit to Santiago de Compostela's lively farmers' market to discover local delicacies
- A tour inside Santiago de Compostela's impressive Gothic Cathedral
After sumptuous breakfast with breath-taking views of Santiago de Compostela's Gothic Cathedral day thirteen of this northern Spain itinerary will be a grand finale to the perfect trip.
You will experience a unique look at the city with an early morning culinary tour of the central farmers' market where colours and aromas combine to create an intoxicating gastronomic experience. There you will find only the most succulent fruit and vegetables, freshest seafood, Galician octopus and the world famous dry-aged Galician Blond Beef.
After that, you will be part of a behind-the-scenes tour of the Cathedral which gives the context and history of the Camino, the cathedral, and religion in Spain. The afternoon is a free time for you to explore the city and relax. For dinner, you will get to sit at the chef's table of a Michelin-starred restaurant and get a behind-the-scenes look at the work of some of the most inspiring Chefs in the region.
After a reinvigorating sleep and a scrumptious breakfast of local specialities you can sleep in late or take a relaxing stroll around Santiago's lively historic centre.
A transfer to the airport on time for your flight will be the saddest experience of your memorable stay in Spain.
- about this tour
- go bespoke
This is a Private Tour available all-year-round
2- 12 people (Private Tour: only you & your group travelling together)
Santiago de Compostela's airport
What’s included? Everything you need. Plus everything you'd
want. Plus a few things you never knew you wanted until you got them.
In a word: everything. In eighty words? A private chauffeur tour following a carefully-selected northern Spain itinerary guided by an English-speaking local guide, an interesting, fun and like-minded travel companion; authentic and innovative local cuisine; world-class local wines; wine tastings; all victuals and libations; all the endorphins you can handle; new insight; a feeling of total freedom. In short: an extraordinary, hassle-free journey of discovery. Travel at your own pace: Our tailor-made holidays are very flexible, allowing you to start road journeys or sightseeing when you choose – within reason.
- All hotel accommodation
- 2 nights -- SAN SEBASTIAN - Hotel Maria Cristina, Luxury Collection 5*
- 1 night -- PAMPLONA -- Gran Hotel La Perla 5*
- 2 nights -- RIOJA -- Boutique Hotel Viura 4*
- 2 nights -- BILBAO -- Hotel Gran Domine 5*
- 1 night -- SANTANDER -- Gran Hotel Sardinero 4*
- 2 nights -- PICOS DE EUROPA NATIONAL PARK -- Parador Cangas Onís 4*
- 1 night -- OVIEDO -- Hotel de la Reconquista 5*
- 2 nights -- SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA -- Parador de los Reyes Católicos 5* GL
- Daily breakfast at all the hotels.
- All meals at Michelin-starred, signature and traditional restaurants and all other meals as indicated à-la-carte (12 lunches & 13 dinners) with wines and drinks included à-la-carte (no fixed menus, you may choose from each restaurant's public menu what you want to taste).
- All transportation from airport pickup to drop-off in a chauffeured air-conditioned brand-new vehicle: Mercedes Class E, V or luxury minibus. Your safety and comfort are paramount. You will enjoy touring Northern Spain in safety, comfort and style.
- English speaking guide during the whole trip. Translator services and assistance at restaurants, hotels & experiences. We will break the language barrier for you so you can get the most out of your experiences during your trip.
- All the experiences, visits and activities included in the itinerary.
- 24h concierge service during the whole trip.
- All baggage transportation.
- All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service.
- All currently applicable taxes.
What’s not included?
- International Flights
- Medical Travel Insurance
- Personal expenses
What to expect
- A laid-back pace with free time to relax
- Plenty of scrumptious local food and wine as well as time to really appreciate the dining experience
Do you want to change anything of this northern Spain trip to fit your needs?
More days, different accommodation, some other food yisou would like to try...?
No problem. You will have a custom trip designed exactly to your interests. Like a tailor making a bespoke suit, it will fit you perfectly.
We work to plan your dreamed trip. Click below, pick your dates, your group size and tell us what do you want to experience in Spain with us. We will exceed your expectations. Promise.