COACH TOUR: Take in the best of northern Spain on this 13-day coach tour which also spends two nights in Porto. Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Madrid, experience wine tasting in Basque Country and stroll along La Concha beach in San Sebastian at leisure. Visit the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, cruise the Spanish Fjords and marvel at the historic city walls in medieval Avila before returning to Madrid.
Today we take an all-encompassing coach tour of Madrid. Highlights of the excursion include the historic Barrio de la Morería region, Habsburgs District, Puerta del Sol central square, Plaza Mayor and the Neptuno Fountains. These are dedicated to Neptune, a Roman water god. In the more modern part of the city we see the Salamanca district, Plaza Castilla and Parque del Oeste. We also see the Santiago Bernabeu, the football stadium of Real Madrid, the most successful European club.
After the tour, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. There's an included Welcome Dinner this evening at an authentic Tapas restaurant.
Overnight: Madrid | Breakfast, Dinner
Madrid - Burgos - Haro - Bilbao. Leaving Madrid after breakfast, our first stop is in Burgos. There is free time here to admire the towering 13th Century Gothic Cathedral, the third largest in Spain. Then we travel into wine country and Haro, where we visit a traditional winery. Head into the wine cellar and try some of the region's famous Rioja red. Our final destination is Bilbao.
Overnight: Bilbao | Breakfast
Bilbao & San Sebastian
Bilbao - San Sebastian - Bilbao. After breakfast at the hotel we enjoy a Bilbao city tour, taking in the city's main highlights. The port city of Bilbao is surrounded by green mountains, and the de facto Basque capital is one of the prettiest cities in Spain.
Later, we head to nearby San Sebastian, an exclusive resort town known for hosting the International Film Festival and for La Concha, one of Spain's finest beaches. We will admire the view over San Sebastian and the Bay of Biscay from Mount Igueldo and enjoy some free time before returning to Bilbao for the evening. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant, where you can try pincho, the Basque version of tapas.
Overnight: Bilbao | Breakfast, Dinner
Bilbao - Santander. Leaving Bilbao, we head into the green mountainous region of Asturias, admiring the view en route to the fishing town of Castro Urdiales. There's free time to wander around, and you will be able to see the castle which dates back to the Middle Ages. Then it's onto Santander, a coastal city known for the popular Sardinero Beach.
Overnight: Santander | Breakfast
Santander to Oviedo
Santander - Santillana del Mar - Covadonga - Oviedo. Our first stop today is Santillana del Mar, known for its Renaissance palaces, medieval towers and the beautiful Romanesque Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana. We then have a short stop in Covadonga before arriving at our destination, Oviedo. There is free time to explore the many pedestrianized streets and you can see the hilltop Saint Maria de Naranco Church overlooking the city. The UNESCO-listed Cathedral is also worth a visit. We enjoy a group dinner tonight at a traditional cider house.
Overnight: Oviedo | Breakfast, Dinner
Mondonedo, Lugo & Santiago de Compostela
Oviedo - Mondonedo - Lugo - Santiago de Compostela. Today we head into Galicia, Spain's north-westernmost region. Our first visit is Mondonedo, where you can see the 13th century Cathedral and sample the local delicacy. Mondonedo Cake is made with puff pastry, sponge, almonds and fruit.
Stopping in Lugo, you will have time to admire the historic Roman city walls before we arrive in Santiago de Compostela. The UNESCO-listed Old Town is home to one of the most important pilgrimages in Christianity. It marks the end of the Camino de Santiago Route, which was constructed during the Roman Empire.
Overnight: Santiago de Compostela | Breakfast
Santiago de Compostela
We spend this morning on a city tour of Santiago de Compostela. We will see the Praza do Obradoiro main square and enjoy included entry to the Cathedral, which is dedicated to the Apostle Santiago.
After our tour, the rest of the day is free to lose yourself down some of the Old Town's cobbled streets.
Overnight: Santiago de Compostela | Breakfast
Santiago de Compostela - Porto (Portugal). Today we cross from Spain into neighbouring Portugal. First, we travel to the Rias Bajas fjords and enjoy an included cruise, with tasting of local mussels and wine. Back on dry land, we cross the border into Portugal and complete our drive to Porto. One of the oldest cities in Europe, Porto is located along the Douro River estuary and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Overnight: Porto | Breakfast
Today we are exploring Porto and there are a number of included activities. We enjoy a guided city tour, taking in highlights such as the Cathedral, Stock Exchange and Santa Clara Church. We also take a cruise on the Douro River, which runs through the heart of Porto. And we visit one of the riverfront Port Wine Cellars, with included tasting of this local drink.
Overnight: Porto | Breakfast
Porto - Salamanca (Spain). Departing Porto, we cross back into Spain and make a short stop in Ciudad Rodrigo, which is dominated by medieval walls and the imposing 14th Century Castle of Enrique II.
Continuing to the university city of Salamanca, we enjoy an included farewell dinner with the guide and rest of the group.
Overnight: Salamanca | Breakfast, Dinner
Salamanca - Avila - Madrid. Today we return to Madrid, but with one incredible final stop. We enjoy free time in Avila, a Middle Ages city with some of the most intact city walls in all of Spain. Avila's walls are home to more than 80 towers and 9 gates, including a fortress. It was also the birthplace of one of the most revered Catholic saints, Theresa of Avila. After some time to explore, we board our coach for the final time and return to Madrid.
Overnight: Madrid | Breakfast
Enjoy a final breakfast in the hotel before our tour comes to an end. There is an included transfer to the airport.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 8 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The Single Room price applies for solo travellers who require their own room.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Hotel Riu Plaza Espana, Madrid
Housed in the striking red and white Edificio Espana building in the centre of Madrid, the 4-star Riu Plaza Espana boasts an outdoor swimming pool on the 21st floor, free Wi-Fi throughout, a fitness centre and a sky bar offering sweeping vistas of the city. All rooms come equipped with ensuite bathrooms, mini-fridge and air-conditioning. Buffet breakfast is served in the onsite restaurant and travellers can tuck into authentic Tapas at the El Eden Gastrobar a la carte restaurant. This hotel is located on the Gran Via, often referred to as the 'Spanish Broadway', with a host of shopping and dining opportunities at hand. It is also an easy walk to the Royal Palace.
Barcelo Bilbao Nervion, Bilbao
The riverside Barcelo Bilbao Nervion is located on the edge of the city centre, a short walk from the Old Town, Calatrava Bridge and the Guggenheim Museum. The air-conditioned guest rooms offer free Wi-Fi connection, satellite TV, minibar, desk and private bathrooms. Guests can dine at the onsite Ibaizabal restaurant, where a selection of regional Basque and international dishes are offered. There are also a number of pintxos tapas restaurants within walking distance.
Hotel Santemar, Santander
Conveniently located just 150 metres from Sardinero beach and featuring a peaceful Japanese Garden, Hotel Santemar is a great place to stay when visiting coastal Santander. Modern rooms are elegantly decorated, with some offering a sea view and nautical themes. Amenities include air-conditioning, minibar, pillow menu, private bathroom and complimentary Wi-Fi. The Rincon de Mouro restaurant serves an array of Cantabrian dishes with an international twist, including a selection of fish and seafood dishes. A daily buffet breakfast is also served.
AC Hotel Oviedo Forum, Oviedo
The AC Hotel Oviedo Forum is housed just a short walk from the city's historic centre, including the impressive cathedral and the San Francisco Park. The hotel's 155 guest rooms are well-appointed, with wood panelled flooring, ensuite bathrooms, minibar, free Wi-Fi and TV. There is an onsite fitness centre and dining in the form of the AC Lounge, which fuses local cuisine with today's gastronomic trends. There is also a rooftop bar serving drinks and snacks with a view over the city.
Eurostars Gran Hotel Santiago, Santiago de Compostela
Located a 20-minute walk from the city centre and cathedral, Eurostars Gran Hotel Santiago is housed in beautiful gardens and has an impressive atrium with plants hanging from balconies and throughout the classically decorated interior of the hotel. There is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and rooms come equipped with ensuite bathrooms, TV, minibar and safe. A buffet breakfast is served daily, and the onsite restaurant is also open for dinner and evening drinks.
BessaHotel Boavista, Porto
Located in Porto's popular Boavista district, the BessaHotel Boavista is just a few minute's walk from the Casa da Musica concert hall and other attractions. Bright and spacious guest rooms offer private bathrooms, tea and coffee making facilities, air-conditioning and TV. There is an onsite gym and dining options include the BRestaurant & Bar, where Head Chef Vitor de Matos serves impeccable Iberian cuisine. Breakfast is served buffet style and there is also an outdoor terrace serving an array of cocktails and regional Douro Valley wines. Complimentary Wi-Fi is also offered.
Hotel Catalonia Plaza Mayor, Salamanca
The recently refurbished Hotel Catalonia Plaza Mayor is located right next to the city's Plaza Mayor and the cathedral, offering easy access to Salamanca's main highlights. Local Villamayor stonework is visible throughout the hotel, which offers complimentary Wi-Fi connection. All guest rooms feature ensuite bathrooms, wood flooring and smart TV's, which are equipped with the Chromecast app. The rooftop pool and sun terrace is a great place to unwind with a drink and there is an onsite restaurant, with plenty of authentic tapas restaurants on the doorstep too!