Galicia & the Basque Country

12 days, 11 nights

Average number of participants on tour is 16 (max. 20)

price 20194,500 price 20204,600

currency converter Single supplements

Galicia & Basque Country

Tour Overview:  Northern Spain, or Green Spain as it is sometimes referred to, offers some of the most picturesque landscapes of the Iberian Peninsula.  The topography ranges from lush green valleys to dramatic coastlines with steep mountain cliffs plunging into the sea.  Colorful seaside towns dot the vast coastal area from Galicia east through Asturias and Cantabria to the Basque Country. Unique to the rest of Spain, these regions remained almost untouched by Moorish culture by their remote location and climate allowing for long lasting cultural preservation. Its diversity is particularly evident with the Celtic sounds of Galicia’s bagpipes and their Gallego dialect to the Basque regions’ Euskera idioma, considered the oldest living language in Europe.

Our tour begins in Santiago de Compostela, the iconic finale to the famous Christian Way of St. James and considered the third-most important pilgrimage site after Rome and Jerusalem. South of Santiago we’ll board a sailing vessel for a trip downriver and visit a fortified winery in Cambados. On the border between Galicia and Asturias we stop in the seaside town of Ribadeo where we’ll discover the many Indiano mansions. Oviedo offers itself as a cultural capital with Asturian cheese and cider houses. Cantabria is a lush, green coastal region with a mountainous backdrop and pretty seaside villages. Bilbao is one of the planet’s loveliest towns and boasts two world class museums – the Guggenheim and the Bellas Artes. In La Rioja we’ll experience a day with Spain’s best wines. Our trip finishes with two spectacular beach towns – San Sebastian and Biarritz.

Day 1

When the Apostle St. James was beheaded in Jerusalem his body was to be thrown to the lions. Instead, according to legend, he was rescued by disciples who brought his body brought to Spain where it is now buried inside Santiago de Compostela’s cathedral crypt.  Most pilgrims begin El Camino, the spiritual walk, in France’s Saint Jean Pied de Port and travel west across northern Spain to Santiago

Arrival to Santiago airport, where you will be transferred to one of the most well-known Paradors in all of Spain, the former hospital of the pilgrims, El Parador de Santiago (3 nights). From the hotel balcony overlooking the famous Praza Obradoiro, you’ll witness pilgrims conclude their trek by touching the scallop shell commemorating the end of their journey.

At 6:30 we meet in the cloister for a welcome drink and orientation meeting, followed by a short guided tour of the hotel where we will learn its rich history and experience a decadent introduction to Galician cuisine in the former hotel stables.

santiago di compostela

Day 2

This morning begins with an introduction to the history of Santiago in Obradorio Square followed by a journey through the maze-like stone paved streets of the casco antiguo.  Visits include the University Fonseca and Santiago’s most important monument, the cathedral, where pilgrims perform the ritual of embracing the statue of St. James as they exit the tomb.

Afternoon free.  This evening’s included dinner will delight your senses with a creative Galician fusion tasting at a Michelin starred restaurant!

Praza de Obradoiro

Day 3

Morning departure for a sailing trip on an historical schooner through the Ria Arousa Estuary. Mussels, tapas and on-board refreshments will accompany an explanation of Galicia’s importance to Spain’s seafood industry and mussel cultivation.

Cambados, the center of Albariño wine production, is a delightful Galician town with granite homes, pleasant streets lined with shops, restaurants, bars and wine merchants. Located on the grand square is the 17th century fortified Palacio de Fefiñanes which has been producing wines since 1904. We’ll have a midday guided visit here followed by an ample tasting of their Albariño.

Lunch on your own in Cambados. Late afternoon return to Santiago.  Evening free.

Sailing trip Ria Arousa Estuary

Day 4

Ribadeo is best known for its picturesque La Pancha lighthouse and the Playa de las Catedrais, considered one of the most beautiful stretches of sand on the Galician coast. Our visit to the historical quarter includes the many colorful mansions built by Indianos, emigrants to the Americas who returned to Spain wealthy in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The notable Tower of Moreno was designed by a disciple of Antonio Gaudi, Argentine architect Julian Garcia Nuñez.

Included lunch at a portside restaurant.

Prior to arriving to Oviedo we’ll visit the pre Romanesque 9th century Santa Maria Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo churches, UNESCO World Heritage sites.  Santa Maria was originally constructed in 848 as a recreational palace for the King of Asturias.

Our lodging for the next two nights is the Baroque style Hotel De La Reconquista which has been hosting Asturian nobility and Spanish royals for over 500 years.

Evening on your own.

Ribadeo Playa Catedrales

Day 5

Oviedo, given the role as the Principality of Asturias is the administrative, economic, and judicial center of the region and is also home to the region’s largest university.  Each year the Princess of Asturias Foundation awards those in the fields of the sciences, technology, arts and letters.

Oviedo is a town made for walking, being home to one of Spain’s first pedestrinization movements. In recovering the streets for its citizens and visitors, parking garages were placed underground and car access was forbidden inside the old walls. Oviedo’s successful transformation now serves as an example for cities aspiring to make similar changes in Spain.

Our morning tour begins with a walk through the historic district where we can admire the influence of art noveau architecture and the over 130 statues placed throughout the city – a quirky artistic touch with characters from Spain’s literary past as well as those of modern figures.

The 14th century Gothic cathedral, dedicated to San Salvador, is Oviedo’s most visited monument and especially significant for it’s well known Shroud of Oviedo.

The morning concludes with an Asturian cheese tasting.  Known as the land of the cheeses Asturias produces more than 100 varietals and is known throughout the world for this culinary wonder.

Included dinner.

Oviedo

Day 6

Morning departure for the colorful Cantabrian Villages.  Our first stop is Comillas. We’ll walk through the Plaza del Corro de Campios, the oldest part of town surrounded by ancestral mansions and have a guided tour of El Capricho, a 19th century Art Nouveau creation by well-known Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, and one of only three of Gaudi’s designs found outside of Barcelona. Free time and lunch on your own.

Often referred to as the “prettiest village in Spain” Santillana del Mar is a collection of 15th-17th century stone houses.

Afternoon arrival to Bilbao where our lodging will be the Gran Hotel Domine situated on the Nervion estuary and across from the Guggenheim museum. (3 nights)

El Capricho

Day 7

Situated on the Bay of Biscay and bordering France to the east, Spanish Basque country is divided into 3 provinces, Vizcaya, Alava, and Guipuzcoa.  While the origins of the Basque people are unknown, they are considered the oldest pre-indo European ethnic group on the Iberian Peninsula. Their remote mountain location allowed for its inhabitants to preserve their native language Euskera and other distinct traditions for centuries up until present times.

The morning tour begins just in front of the hotel where we can observe what some now refer to as the Bilbao effect.  A term coined to describe the transformation of Bilbao’s depressing industrial port into an inviting green space with one major attraction, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum. While the museum’s contents and collections are of importance, more noticeable is the exterior with its giant mirrored steel space ship like twists and turns. The museum has promoted a buzz of activity where outdoor cafes decorate the sidewalks, musicians perform and pedestrians stroll along the footpaths.

Stepping away from modernism we go back in time with a visit to the Casco Viejo, the old quarter situated on the right bank of the river and the 19th century boulevards of the Ensanche, Bilbao’s business district situated on the left bank.

Afternoon visit to the Guggenheim.  Evening dinner included.

Guggenheim museum

Day 8

Guernica was the inspiration for Pablo Picassos’ most well known painting depicting the horrific turn of events on Monday April 26, 1937 when German and Italian war planes bombed a farmers market killing hundreds.  Hilter wanted to experiment with a new war strategy and was given the opportunity when Franco, frustrated by the Basque resistance, allowed the bombing as a test run. The short stop consists of a visit to the Basque General Assembly House.

Bermeo is one of the most important fishing villages on the Basque coastline. It features an old port, colorful homes and a lovely park surrounded by bars and restaurants. Inside the medieval Ercilla Tower is housed the wonderful multi-media Fishermen Museum where we spend part of our morning. The museum details the work, customs and lifestyle of the fishermen and their families, their fishing techniques, how they constructed their boats and made their nets.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a picturesque small island on the Bay of Biscay that is connected to the mainland by a stone bridge and 241 steps that we are not going to climb. On the island is a church that was originally built in the 9th or 10th centuries. We’ll have lunch at a great restaurant overlooking the island.

Late afternoon visit to the not-to-be-missed Bellas Artes Museum in Bilbao, featuring works by Goya, El Greco and Gauguin.

Dinner on your own

Bermeo Spain

Day 9

This morning we embark on an adventure into La Rioja, Spain’s most acclaimed wine region. Situated along the Ebro River and protected from the elements by the Cantabrian mountains, the clay and limestone soil has produced vineyards that have thrived here since Roman times. The most common grape varietal is the tempranillo and the garnacha. Rioja wines can be red, white, rose and are classified as Riojas, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva depending on their age.

The Vivanco Wine Museum– An introduction to La Rioja begins this morning with a stop at this world famous museum. A 4,000 square meters facility dedicated to the 8,000 year relationship between man and wine.  Travel through time following the history of wine production through this interactive museum and finish off the visit with a glass of Tempranillo.

LaGuardia is perhaps the most attractive village in La Rioja. It’s name, meaning “the guard”, came about for its promontory location in watching for potential invaders from the North. We’ll stop in a 17th century palace for a tour of their wine cellar, an exquisite tasting and lunch.  Then a short walk following the walls of the 8th century village for a photo op of the Ebro river and surrounding vineyards.

Afternoon arrival to the luxury Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian. (3 nights). Dinner on your own. We recommend one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants or, more simply, an evening of pintxos in the old town.

La Rioja

Day 10

San Sebastian, called Donastia in Euskera has been the long time favorite vacation spot for Spanish Royalty. The city gained its notoriety in the 17th century when doctors thought the salt sea waters would help cure Queen Isabel II from a skin ailment and she began making frequent visits to the city. Now it is a lively resort town scattered with pintxo bars and swanky hotels.

The city is divided into four districts or “barrios” and each district has its own personality. Our morning guided tour takes us through the Area Romantica, the commercial and shopping district with its elegant 19th century architecture and La Parte Vieja, the old fishing village. Two important churches are found within the old town, the Church of Santa Maria and the Church of San Vicente, the oldest building in San Sebastian.

Afternoon on your own to enjoy the 1.5 kilometer Concha Beach and walk to the Comb of the Wind, the iron sculptures located at the end of Santa Clara Beach.

Pintxos are the Basque version of tapas, only better. Evening free to participate in local culture by visiting the old town packed with bars serving the most abundant collection of delicious pintxos in all of Basque Country!

san sebastian

Day 11

The final excursion of our tour takes us across the French border to Biarritz, famous as an elegant 19th century beach resort for European and Russian nobility. Sporting 6 km of sandy beaches, in recent times, it has been home to Europe’s best surfing. Today it is a delightful mix of grand houses, palatial structures – notably the Hotel du Palais and the Casino Municipal – and a relaxed surf scene. A stroll through the old port, where whaling ships once docked, and down the Rue du Port-Vieux will lead to restaurants, bars and shops.

Farewell dinner in San Sebastian

Biarritz

Day 12

Morning transfers at scheduled times to Bilbao (BIO) and San Sebastian (EAS) airports

San Vicente

2019 Single supplements price € 4,500

May 17 - 284 spaces left
August 23 - September 310 spaces left

2020 Single supplements price € 4,600

May 15 - 26Available
August 28 - September 8Available

Principal towns & villages

Santiago de Compostela
Cambados
Ribadeo
Oviedo
Comillas
Santanilla del Mar
Bilbao
Guernica
Bermeo
LaGuardia
San Sebastian
Bayonne
Biarritz

Included

  • Day 1 transfers from Santiago de Compostela Airport
  • 11 nights’ five-star hotel accommodations
  • Tourist accommodation tax
  • All breakfasts, 5 dinners and 2 lunches. Beverages included.
  • All ground transportation Days 2-11
  • All activities and admissions listed in Highlights
  • Full time professional tour manager
  • Day 12 morning transfers to San Sebastian and Bilbao airports at scheduled times

Highlights

  • City walking tours with local guides in: Santiago, Ribadeo, Oviedo, Cantabrian Villages, Bilbao & San Sebastian
  • The famous Parador of Santiago de Compostela
  • A sailing cruise along the Ria Arousa Estuary
  • A visit to a Galician Pazo Mansion and vineyard with Albariño tasting
  • Las Casas de los Indios in Ribadeo
  • Gaudi’s El Capricho in Comillas
  • Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao
  • Bellas Artes Museum at Bilbao
  • Museo del Pescadore at Bermeo
  • Vivanco, world’s best wine museum in La Rioja
  • Wine tasting in LaGuardia
  • San Sebastian’s La Concha Bay and the Comb of the Wind
  • The French Basque town of Biarritz

Getting there

Purchase a multi-city ticket into Santiago de Compostela SCQ and out from San Sebastián EAS airport.

Transfers from the Santiago de Compostela Airport to El Parador Hotel are included.

The last day included transfers to San Sebastian are as follows:
05:30, 07:50 and 11:30 maxi van transfers to San Sebastian airport. Trip takes 30 minutes.

Transfers to Bilbao airport on request (€100 supplement required). Trip takes 80 minutes.

Day 1 — Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Day 2 — Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Day 3 — Cambados, Spain

Day 4 — Ribadeo, Spain

Day 5 — Oviedo, Spain

Day 6 — Comillas, Spain

Day 7 — Bilbao, Spain

Day 8 — Bermeo, Spain

Day 9 — Laguardia, Álava, Spain

Day 10 — San Sebastián, Spain

Day 11 — Biarritz, France

Activity level

There is a lot of walking on this tour and you will be on your feet several hours each day. This tour is not suited for anyone who has problems with knees, back, heart, obesity or those who cannot manage steps and moderate inclines. Age is not important as long as you are reasonably fit and a good walker. If you have mobility issues this is not the right tour for you. Please call us if you have questions.

1. PRICES, DEPOSITS, PAYMENTS, REFUNDS

  • Prices shown are per person, double occupancy, in euro.
  • The deposit is 400 euro per person.
  • Balance payments are due 70 days prior to tour start.
  • Deposits and balance payments are accepted by Visa and Master Card or by bank wire. After your deposit has been accredited we will send you an invoice with the due date and amount for the balance of payment. Should you fail to make final payment by the date specified on your invoice, we reserve the right to cancel your booking without refund.
  • Cancellations and refunds: in the unlikely event that we would cancel your tour, you would be entitled to a 100% refund within 2 weeks after the tour’s cancellation.

If you cancel your tour reservation:

Deposits

  • are 50% refundable up until 180 days prior to tour start date.
  • are 100 % non-refundable less than 180 days prior to tour start date.

Balance payments

  • are 98% refundable 70 days or more prior to tour start date.
  • are 48% refundable 70 to 31 days prior to tour start date.
  • 30 days or less prior to tour start date: no refund.

Physician documented emergency medical reasons or police documented cases of accident, flood, fire or crime are required for refunds.

We do not provide refunds for: non-medical personal problems; air carrier delays or cancellations; inability to obtain passports; business problems or emergencies; etc.

2. TRAVEL PROTECTION

We strongly recommend that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, go to www.travelexinsurance.com or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 40-0072.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex Insurance Services, Inc CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 11.17 E7N

It is not possible for Amber Road Tours, Inc. to provide protection coverage of any sort and you agree to buy insurance or travel at your own risk.

3. INCLUDED

Transfers from Santiago de Compostela Airport to El Parador de Santiago hotel..

All ground transportation Days 2-11.

Morning transfers on Day 12 to San Sebastian and Bilbao airports at scheduled times.

11 nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast.

5 dinners and 3 lunches including beverages (wine or beer or soft drinks and water).

Admissions to all sites visited as a group, as listed in bold on the tour itinerary.

4. NOT INCLUDED

Air transportation, all meals not listed above, room service, phone calls, etc.

5. ARRIVALS

If you are visiting Spain only for the 13 days of our tour you will want to purchase a multi-city flight into Santiago de Compostela and out from San Sebastian or Bilbao. Transfers will be scheduled after we receive the arrival times of all the tour participants. Your tour manager will be expecting you in the hotel lobby for a welcome meeting at 6:30pm prior to our welcome dinner.

6. DEPARTURES

Morning transfers to San Sebastian and Bilbao airports at scheduled times.

7. LUGGAGE

You are allowed one suitcase and one carry-on bag. If you exceed this limit there may not be space in the coach to transport your excess luggage and it will be at your own expense to have it transported throughout the tour. We suggest that you bring a daypack for carrying water, guide books, jacket, rain gear, etc.

8. WALKING ON TOUR

There is a lot of walking on this tour and you will be on your feet several hours each day. This tour is not suited for anyone who has problems with knees, back, heart, obesity or those who cannot manage steps and moderate inclines. Age is not important as long as you are reasonably fit and a good walker. If you have mobility issues this is not the right tour for you. Please call us if you have questions.

9. TRANSPORTATION

Day 1 by sedan or maxi van taxi

Days 2 – 11 by air conditioned coach

Day 12 by sedan, maxi van taxi or coach

10. HOTELS

Are located in quiet locations within historic districts. European hotel rooms are generally smaller than those in the U.S., and have one queen/king bed or two twin beds, with private bath.

11. SINGLE TRAVELERS

We have space available for two or three singles on each of our tours. They are provided with single-use double rooms. The additional single supplement cost is 1100 euro. Please contact us for availability prior to booking.

12. PRICES

Package tour prices, as listed on our web site, are guaranteed. We do not sell optional excursions or take you on shopping expeditions. Your additional expenses will be for non-included meals, moderate tipping where appropriate, and personal sightseeing or shopping.

13. EASY TRAVELERS

For the enjoyment of all our guests on tour we ask those who choose to travel with Amber Road Tours to be congenial, lighthearted and to take small issues in stride. Should you have any issues please address them to your tour manager – he or she is your Amber Road Tours’ representative during your time on tour. Once your tour is finished you will be emailed a link to our website where you can leave comments about your experiences and suggestions about how we can improve our services.

14. NO SMOKING / NO CELL PHONES

We have a no smoking policy on all tour buses, at group meals and at all sites visited. The same policy applies to the use of cellular phones.

15. LIMIT OF LIABILITY

No responsibility is accepted for any loss, expense, accident, injury, or damage to any person or property due to the actions or omissions of any person, or any cause, including but not limited to acts of God, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, defects in machinery, breakdown of equipment, weather, quarantine, negligence, loss of baggage, or other causes beyond our control, such losses being the responsibility of the guest.

16. MEMBERSHIP ON TOUR

Amber Road Tours reserves the right to accept, reject, or not retain any person as a tour participant whose condition or general deportment impedes the operation of the tour or, in the opinion of the tour manager, affects the rights and enjoyment of other guests. A guest not retained on tour shall have no cause for complaint or refund, and shall bear any and all extra expenses that ensue.

17. TOUR CHANGES

All information on this website is, to the best of our knowledge, correct. However, we reserve the right to make changes in accommodations, visits, and itineraries at any time should it become necessary or desirable. Delays or itinerary changes caused by strikes, bad weather, traffic, or other unforeseen circumstances are beyond our control and we are not obliged to pay guests compensation.