A handmade self-drive holiday showing off the best of the Pyrenees from Bilbao to Barcelona. Stay in a series of premium small hotels with lots of character. Get under the skin of the authentic Spain with private guiding in La Rioja, the Pyrenees and Barcelona. Walk in the stunning landscapes of the Pyrenees as you explore two of Spain’s oldest national parks on foot. Start your holiday with time in the cities of Bilbao and Logrono, end with time in the great city of Barcelona.
Get under the skin of the authentic Spain with private guiding in La Rioja, the Pyrenees and Barcelona. Walk in the stunning landscapes of the Pyrenees as you explore two of Spain’s oldest national parks on foot. Start your holiday with time in the cities of Bilbao and Logrono, end with time in the great city of Barcelona.
The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) of Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain although it is only used for state ceremonies. The Royal Palace was built between 1738 to 1755 and King Carlos III took up residence in the palace in 1764.
Protected from strong winds by steep cliffs and islands, La Concha in San Sebastian is said by many to be one of the best city beaches in Europe, let alone Spain. Here you can go surfing, walk along the promenade in search of good restaurants and enjoy the beautiful views of the beach.
Situated between Madrid and Valencia, Cuenca is a marvelous example of a medieval city, built on the steep sides of a mountain. The many “hanging houses” are built right up to the cliff edge, making Cuenca one of the most striking towns in Spain, a gem in the province of Castilla La Mancha.
The Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, and one of Spain’s most visited tourist attractions. It’s a design by Antoni Gaudí, a Catalan architect who worked on this project for almost 40 years until his death in 1926. The construction of the basilica began in 1882 and still as yet not finished.
Fly to Bilbao and collect your hire car. Stay tonight in a friendly first class hotel in the city centre. This evening you can head out to try one of the city’s famously good restaurants.
Take the morning to visit the famous Guggenheim Museum before the drive south to La Rioja. Relax on arrival in the town of Logrono, one of the area’s gastronomic hotspots. (b)
Private tour of Rioja. Your guide will offer you an incredible insight into the region and its justifiably famous food and drink. Explore Logrono’s covered market and try some tapas before spending the afternoon at your guide’s family vineyard, where you learn about the winemaking process and even bottle your own vintage! (b,l)
Today is yours to explore more of La Rioja. One option would be to drive to Brinas and walk a section of the Camino de Santiago, along the River Ebro. There are of course lots of opportunities to sample the fine wines and cuisine of the region. (b)
Depart Rioja for the drive up past Pamplona into the Pyrenees. For the next three nights you stay in a remote hotel, in fact a converted monastery, with stunning views along the valley. (b)
Meet up with a mountain guide this morning for your full day hike into the Ordesa National Park. Home to some of Spain’s finest walking, the hike will be adapted to your interests and energy levels. (b)
Another day to explore Ordesa, either on one of the well-marked trails, or perhaps on two wheels. There are excellent mountain biking operators in the village of Ainsa, and rafting is also a possibility. (b)
Drive east along the Pyrenees today, headed for the Aigues Tortes National Park, the highest stretch of the mountains. Stay in a lovely hotel with a small spa and its own pool. (b)
Full day to explore the National Park. Drive to a nearby village, the entrance to the park, where you enter by Land Rover taxi. Once inside, you can walk up to the pass at 2,562m for superb views over the magnificent Pyrenees. (b)
Another day to head into Aigues Tortes National Park. We will provide you with notes for a variety of walks, while the white water rafting here is amongst the best in Spain. (b)
Begin your descent to Barcelona today as you drive down from the high mountains to Castelladral in the Pre-Pyrenees. Stay for two nights in a charming, family-run small hotel, set amongst the cypress and olive trees which characterise the area. (b)
Take it easy today, perhaps with one of the lovely walks in the area, or some time by the pool. There are several villages nearby with interesting Romanesque churches which can be easily reached. (b)
It’s only an hour down to Barcelona today, it makes sense to drop off your car and complete your journey by taxi on arrival. This afternoon you spend in the company of our resident guide, who will take you on a tour of the old city. This is completely tailored to your interests, so you can get a great feel for Barcelona even if you have visited before. (b)
Having got your bearings with your guide yesterday, you have a full day to explore under your own steam. From Gaudi’s modernist architecture to the Picasso Museum, the Boqueria Market to the Rambla, ‘Barca’ has something for everyone. (b)
If you have already dropped off your car, take a taxi (payable locally) to the airport in time for your flight home. (b)