The Gourmet and Culture of Northern Spain
9 nights / 10 days
- Explore Madrid’s Literary Quarter and Old Town with an expert guide
- Visit Toledo Cathedral and take lunch in an historic palace
- Be guided around the stunning Guggenheim Museum
- Enjoy the cuisine and wines of the famous Rioja region
- Finish overlooking stunning San Sebastian bay
Day 1: Upon arrival at the airport in Madrid, a private luxury minibus will drive you to the Westin Palace hotel in the city centre. In the evening, an expert guide will accompany you to Madrid’s literary quarter and Old Town, where you will learn about the history and way of living, and will enjoy some of the most delicious tapas and drinks you’ve ever tasted! Visit renowned havens such as Cafe Chicote or Plaza Sta. Ana, where you will try traditional tapas compete with gastronomic delicacies with a modern twist.
Day 2: Just steps away from the Westin Palace stands the best known Museum in Madrid, and one of the greatest Museums in the world – El Prado Museum. Explore this iconic museum with an expert guide during the morning. In the evening, we recommend a hearty dinner at the oldest restaurant in Madrid and reputably in the world, featured in “The Sun Also Rises”
Days 3: This morning, take a private transfer to Toledo. Your expert guide will unveil the secrets of this beautiful city during an unforgettable day exploring the Jewish quarter, the memorable Cathedral and the church of St. Tome, with the masterwork by El Greco “El entierro del conde Orgaz”. We suggest lunch at the most exclusive and dreamlike setting: Palacio de Galiana, a unique historic Palace, built in the XI century by King Al Mamun, and open only for special events, that you will enjoy in exclusivity
Day 4: Free day to enjoy the wonderful city of Madrid at your own pace and leisure.
Day 5: From Madrid, a short flight will take you to the beautiful city of Bilbao. Enjoy a panoramic tour of the town including a visit to the Guggenheim museum with an expert guide. After the visit, and on your way to San Sebastian, enjoy a unique gastronomic experience – lunch at Restaurant Azurmendi – one of the 4 restaurants currently awarded with 3 stars by the prestigious Michelin guide. Its chef Eneko Atxa, one of the youngest and most innovative chefs in Euskadi and one of the most influential chefs in the world – is at the avant-garde of a new movement based in impeccable technique, local product and sustainability. After lunch continue to one of the most enchanting cities in Spain, San Sebastian. Check-in and overnight at Maria Cristina.
Day 6: Today, discover San Sebastian’s Old Town in the most entertaining and delicious way, by visiting some of its most emblematic taverns, and sampling their “pintxos” the delicious local “fingerfood” that the mastery of the Basque chefs have elevated to the category of art. The afternoon/evening is free to continue enjoying the city at your own pace and leisure.
Day 7: In the morning, with an English speaking driver, tour the local wine region. Your first stop will be at Vivanco’s wine museum – the most interesting museum about wine culture in Spain, that you will explore at your own pace and leisure with the help of an audio-guide. After learning about the ways and traditions of wine-making, it will be time for discovering one of the most charming and long standing traditional wineries in La Rioja – Bodegas Eguren Ugarte. During the visit, enjoy a tasting of 3 different wines and a Pintxo, then your driver will take you to the nearby town of Laguardia, where you will enjoy a delicious traditional lunch (paired with wine, of course). Then visit Ysios wineries – a flagship of modernity and quality in La Rioja, before returning to your hotel for the evening and overnight.
Day 8: After breakfast, with an expert driver guide you will depart from San Sebastian to the mountain village of Oñati, with incredible natural landscapes, awe-inspiring caves, and the oldest university in the Basque country. After the visit, proceed to Arantzazu, where you will enjoy a taste of the local lifestyle, visiting a traditional “caserío” (local farm), where they will get to sample the delicious local cheese (D.O. Idiazabal), and also see the work of the Shepherd dogs. Next you’ll visit the shrine of Arantzazu, a unique blend of Middle age and contemporary architecture. Rest of the day and evening at leisure.
Day 9: This morning, board a luxury vessel to sail the waters of San Sebastian bay, and into the open sea to admire whales and dolphins with some luck. Cruise along the Basque coast to discover new and enchanting locations, such as the breathtaking San Juan de Gaztelugatxe – featured as Dragonstone in Game of Thrones. Dinner and overnight at Maria Cristina 5*GL.
Day 10: Transfer by private car to Bilbao airport for your flight home.
OUR SUGGESTED ACCOMMODATION:
The Westin Palace, Madrid: Once the largest hotel in Europe, it has welcomed guests into its splendorous halls for over 100 years. The grand property has 470 rooms and is less than a five-minute walk from the Museo del Prado. Carefully renovated in a style of classical elegance to provide every modern comfort, its rooms feature soft duvets and Egyptian cotton sheets, sleek marble bathrooms, flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi. Breakfast is served in the central atrium where the La Rotonda restaurant also offers dinner and an opera brunch on Sundays.
Maria Cristina, San Sebastian: A favourite with celebrities, luxuriously elegant rooms and suites at Maria Cristina feature plush beddings, flat-screen TV, A.C, complimentary Internet access and marble bathroom with rain-effect shower. Rooms offer garden, terrace or river views. Visitors flock to the nearby Michelin-starred restaurants – there are no less than six bearing one, two or three stars in the city centre and the concierge can assist with hard-to-get reservations.