Northern Spain Highlights

Northern Spain Highlights
Get a truly authentic feel for the unique sights, sounds and tastes of Basque country. Of course, you’ll explore Barcelona, but you’ll also hit some lesser-known jewels in the Castilian crown such as Pamplona, Cantabria and Bilbao. Extend your tour to follow the Santiago de Compostela through the Medieval architecture of Burgos and Leon.
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Day 1 Start tour
Day 2 Hola Barcelona
Meet your tour director and check into hotel
Barcelona city walk
Mercat de la BoqueríaLas RamblasColumbus Monument
Details: Barcelona city walk
Flowers, pedestrian boulevards, and decorative pavement make Barcelona a great walking city, and your Tour Director will show you where to stroll. See the Mercat de la Boquería, where the bright colors of fruits and vegetables, spices, fresh seafood and meat -- not to mention about a hundred different types of cheese -- vie for space in the market stalls. In the city center you'll see the Monument a Colom, a towering statue of Christopher Columbus. Gaze at the city stretched out before you, the mountains in the distance, and the Mediterranean Sea at your back. Then it's on to the best walk in the city, Las Ramblas, a mile-long pedestrian street that offers up the carnival of urban Barcelona. Have your palm read or browse through the strip's famous open-air shops. Enough walking for one day? Pull up a chair, order a café con leche, and watch the parade of street performers from your seat.
Details: Tapas dinner
Tapas purportedly originated when bartenders set a small plate (''tapa'') over patrons' glasses of sherry and wine to keep the flies out. The bartenders starting piling the plate with cold cuts, olives, or salad, and the bite-size snack was born. (We're unsure how they kept the flies out of the cold-cuts... maybe that's how the sandwich was invented?) Over time these working-class snacks have become more elaborate, with each region adding its own specialties and cooking techniques to create unique tastes and combinations.
Day 3 Barcelona landmarks
Barcelona guided sightseeing tour
Gaudí’s Sagrada FamíliaMontjuïc HillPark Güell visit
Details: Barcelona guided sightseeing tour
See brilliant Barcelona, a city of graceful Gothic churches, wrought-iron balconies and wide, grand avenues filled with outdoor cafés. Throughout the city, daringly innovative buildings sit side-by-side with the medieval past. A licensed, local guide will show you some of the high points of this architectural showcase. First stop, the pointy spires of the La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family), a half-finished church complex that became the obsession of Barcelona's famously eccentric architectural genius, Antoni Gaudí. At the top of Güell Park, another of Gaudí's masterpieces, is a terraced area where you get a wonderful view of the park and Barcelona City. The vibrant colors of the tiles are breathtaking. Then step back to the past with a journey up to Montjuïc (Hill of the Jews), a fortress built atop an ancient Jewish cemetery. The was the site of numerous battles to control Barcelona, and also the location of the 1992 Olympics.
Day 4 Barcelona--Pamplona
Travel to Pamplona via Zaragoza
Basilica of the Virgin of Pilar visit
Pamplona city walk
Day 5 Pamplona--Cantabria
Travel to Cantabria via Santillana
Santillana del Mar city walk
Colegiata de Santa Juliana
Details: Altamira Caves guided visit
Adjust your eyes to some of the most perfect paintings by prehistoric man. (So perfect that even archaeologists wondered whether early man was capable of such a feat.) With nearly one hundred pictures of signs and animals such as bison, deer, horses and bulls decorating the walls and ceilings, it’s been given the name “The Sistene Chapel of Quaternary Art.” Because body heat and breath can damage the artwork, entry to the caves is restricted to 9,000 visitors per year. But don’t worry. A replica of the cave, true to the original, is open for all.
Day 6 Cantabria
Details: Picos de Europa National Park excursion
Visit Spain's first National Park situated between the regions of Asturias, Cantabria and León, in the heart of the Cantabrian Mountains, in northern Spain. Its history goes back to 1918, when don Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa, promoted the law to create the Montaña de Covadonga National Park, which was named Picos de Europa National Park on 30 May 1995. This natural area was awarded the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation in 2002.
Day 7 Cantabria--Bilbao
Travel to Bilbao via Guernica
Guernica city walk
Bilbao city walk
Details: Guggenheim Museum visit
Enter the home of the late Peggy Guggenheim who dedicated her life to the advancement of 20th century art and donated her home and art collection so that the public could appreciate and experience modern art. Explore this small yet important museum to see masterpieces by Picasso, Dalí and more.
Day 8 Basque Country landmarks
San Sebastián tour director-led sightseeing
Playa de la ConchaPalacio de MiramarHotel de Londresharbor & Old Quarter
Monte Igueldo Lighthouse visit
Details: San Sebastián tour director-led sightseeing
Though one of Spain’s most popular resorts, San Sebastián is not just beaches. With your Tour Director you’ll visit the old quarter, centered around Plaza de la Constitución (known to locals as “La Consti”). Look for the numbers on the balconies around the square – the plaza was once used for bullfighting, and those balconies were rented as private boxes for spectators. The nearby Saint Vincent church, built in the 1500s, is the city’s oldest standing monument.
Details: Chillida Leku visit
Dedicated to sculptor, Eduardo Chillida, Chillida Leku feels less like a museum and more like an artist’s sanctuary, just as Eduardo himself envisioned. Take in the warm Spanish sun as you stroll along grassy plains and through rich woodland dotted with Chillida’s enormous abstract artwork. (Feel free to touch!) Then cozy up inside the farmhouse filled with smaller works made from granite, terracotta, wood and paper.
Day 9 End tour

  • Or
  • Day 9 Start extension to Santiago de Compostela
    Travel to León via Burgos
    Burgos Cathedral visit
    Details: Burgos guided sightseeing tour
    Step into the Middle Ages in beautiful Burgos. The remains of a medieval castle watch over the town from above, and the original city walls still trail down the hillside. Prickly Gothic spires mark the town’s enormous and elaborate cathedral, which contains the tomb of the famous Spanish hero El Cid. Less-historic ducks and backpackers congregate along the river. Explore this picturesque town with a licensed local guide.
    Day 10 León--Santiago de Compostela
    León city walk
    León Cathedral visit
    Travel to Santiago de Compostela via Astorga and Ponferrada
    Day 11 Santiago de Compostela landmarks
    Details: Santiago de Compostela guided sightseeing tour
    Get a true sense of this historical pilgrimage site as you explore the narrow streets of the well-preserved old city that lead the way to the impressive cathedral. See the different façades of the cathedral, the historic plazas, including Plaza Praterias, and visit the Monastery of San Paio de Antealtares.
    Day 12 End tour
    Map of Northern Spain Highlights Educational Student Tour and Trip | Explorica
    Tour Includes:
    • Round-trip airfare
    • 7 overnight stays (10 with extension) in hotels with private bathrooms
    • Full European breakfast daily
    • Dinner daily
    • Full-time services of a professional Tour Director
    • Guided sightseeing tours and city walks as per itinerary
    • Visits to select attractions as per itinerary
    • Tapas Dinner
    • Tour Diary™
    • Note: On arrival day only dinner is provided; on departure day, only breakfast is provided
    • Note: Tour cost does not include airline-imposed baggage fees, or fees for any required passport or visa. Please visit our Fees FAQ page for a full list of items that may not be included in the cost of your tour.
    We are better able to assist you with a quote for your selected departure date and city over the phone. Please call 1.888.310.7120 to price this tour with your requested options.
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    2733.00 total fee
    Basic Options

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