“We hope to see a Europe where men of every country will think of being a European as of belonging to their native land, and…wherever they go in this wide domain…will truly feel, ‘Here I am at home.”
Bordeaux, Basque Country and Barcelona
This itinerary is designed to give you a taste of everything: spectacular mountains in the form of the Pyrenees, fabulous French wine from Bordeaux, beautiful beaches in San Sebastian, and a cosmopolitan, lively city: Barcelona. Not only this,but the Basque country is home to a people who were among the earliest settlers in Europe, whose language pre-dates all the Indo-European languages and who, some claim, date back to Cro-Magnon man. Europe is not, in the words of Bismarck, merely a geographical expression; there is much that binds Spain and France, not least a love of cheese and wine, a rich and varied history and a mountain range that may divide them, but is also something shared by them. This trip is designed with all of this in mind. You will enjoy the best food, wine, mountain views and spectacular beaches, to say nothing of the lovely towns and cities we will visit, all delivered with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.
“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.”
Day 1 Bordeaux
Today you arrive into wine country. After being whisked off to the hotel you will have an opportunity to settle in, perhaps enjoy a short stroll around the city before enjoying indulging in the cuisine for which France is world famous. Bon app! (D)
Day 2 Bordeaux, Cité du Vin
This morning wander through lovely Bordeaux in the company of a local expert. As it is impossible not to be enticed in by the smell of warm pastries wafting from the myriad boulangeries and cafes that line the streets, you will make a pit stop or two to sample the local goods. It is then off to be impressed at the architectural might of the Cité du Vin before enjoying a workshop about wine, with of course the obligatory tasting over lunch. It is then back to Bordeaux for a free evening. (B, L)
Day 3 Sun, sea, sailing and sand dunes
Having enjoyed a good night’s rest, today enjoy a private sail to the bay of Cap Ferret where you have a chance to swim on beaches only accessible by boat. Arcachon provides the perfect lunch location before you head to the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s largest sand dune, from where you have a truly spectacular view. After some time to freshen up at the hotel, it’s off for another lovely French meal. (B, D)
Day 4 Saying a fond adieu to France by way of wine and chateaux
Today you will have another opportunity to enjoy some wonderful French wine, this time in a rural setting; the lovely comuneof Saint Emilion, where the wine growing tradition dates back to the second century. Here you can wander through the vines, top up your knowledge (and your glass) of French wine and soak it all with a fabulous lunch. It will then be time to bid adieu to la belle France as you head down to San Sebastian where you will check in and have a free evening. (B, L)
The Basque Country
“Everyone who has visited the Basque country longs to return; it is a blessed land.”
Day 5 San Sebastian
Bienvenidos en España! Welcome to Spain! Today enjoy a guided tour of the town including the Txiquiteo, the tapas tour for which San Sebastian is so famous. The afternoon and evening are at leisure, perhaps a chance to walk along San Sebastian’s beach for which it is renowned. (B, L)
Day 6 Bilbao & Rioja Wine Tasting
This morning you are off to Bilbao, for a guided visit to the Guggenheim museum. There will then be some free time for lunch and a wander in the city. Having spent the morning working your brain cells, it’s now time to kill a few off, Spanish style, as you head to the Rioja region for a wine tasting and visit, including dinner. (B, D)
Day 7 Into the Pyrenees
Today you say adios to San Sebastian as you begin your southern trajectory towards Catalonia. En route youvisit the city of Pau, home of King Henri IV. Your first stop is Vielha in the Pyrenees, where you will be based in a parador for the next couple of nights. Paradors were set up by Spanish King Alfonso XIII as a way of promoting tourism. They are high-end hotels usually situated in converted historic buildings such as castles and monasteries. Upon arrival into Vielha, enjoy time to visit a spa, go for a walk or just sit back and enjoy this hotel with a view. And what a view! (B, D)
Day 8 Aiguestortes National Park
Today youhead out to visit the UNESCO listed Vall de Boi, famed for its beautiful Romanesque churches,one of which hides a wonderful secret. After lunch in a typical Pyrenean village, you will be driven by 4x4s to the magnificent Aiguestortes (“Winding Streams”) Catalonia’s only national park, which you will explore on foot. This evening you return via the impressive, almost three mile long Vielha tunnel to your parador for dinner. (B, L, D)
*The weather may mean that the order of this itinerary would be reversed.
Day 9 La Seu d’Urgell
This morning you continue your descent towards Barcelona, stopping at The Bonaigua Pass (more than 2000m above sea level) for some truly spectacular photos. Lunch will be taken on the way to Sort. Upon arrival in Sort, you will visit the prison which held, among others, Chuck Yeager, the famous WWII American pilot who was the first person in the world to break the sound barrier. Chuck returned to Sort in 2010 in slightly happier circumstances. Then you continue on to La Seu d’Urgell. Upon arrival you go to a local cheese factory where the focus will be less on listening and more on eating. You overnight in another parador, a former monastery, in La Seu d’Urgell. (B, D)
Day 10 Parador Stay in Cardona
This morning you have the opportunity to visit one of the oldest cathedrals in Catalonia, dating back to 1116. You then continue on your way to one of the most beautiful paradors, perched above the town of Cardona, and it is here where you will spend your final night before arriving in Barcelona. You will have plenty of free time to enjoy lunch and explore the town before you come together for a superb dinner. (B, D)
“Barcelona is a fountain of courtesy, a shelter of strangers…a reciprocator of firm friendship, a city unique in its location and beauty” (Don Quixote, Cervantes, 1605)
Day 11 Barcelona
Today after a short drive down into Barcelona you will enjoy a panoramic drive around the city, including a visit to the Sagrada Familia, before checking into your hotel and having some free time for a late lunch. Your afternoon continues with a visit to the Torre Bellesguard, a lesser-knownGaudí masterpiece in the Tibidabo area of the city. This evening you dine at a great local hotspot in one of Barcelona’s loveliest neighbourhoods. (B, D)
Day 12 Barcelona Tasting Extravaganza
This morning you have a guided walk through the Born, stopping off for a food tasting on your way, before continuing down to the neighbourhood by the sea: Barceloneta. .The afternoon is at leisure; this evening you will meet for some aperitivos and dinner with a view. (B, D)
Day 13 Hasta luego!
Time to bid adios to Spain and adieu to France, but we hope it’s more hasta luego, until the next time!
INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP:
Accommodation & Services:
- 3 nights in Bordeaux, 3 nights in San Sebastian, 2 nights in Vielha, 1 night in La Seu d’Urgell, 1 night in Cardona and 2 nights in Barcelona.
- Centrally located, upmarket hotels.
- The services of an extremely highly qualified and experienced Tour Manager who will accompany you throughout your trip.
- Transfers to and from the airport.
- Private transport, unless otherwise stated.
- All tips. For instance, tips to tour managers, local guides, restaurants and porterage (where available) are all included in the total price; one less thing to think about.
- You will be visiting: Bordeaux, the Cité du Vin, Cap Ferret, the Dune du Pilat, Arcachon, Saint Emilion, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Laguardia, Vielha, La Seu d’Urgell, Sort, Aiguestortes National Park, Cardona and Barcelona.
Food & Beverages:
- Breakfast and either lunch or dinner (unless otherwise stated) (B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner)
- When lunch and/or dinner are included, alcohol in the form of wine and/or beer is provided, unless otherwise stated.
- Aperitivi, coffee and snacks where stated.
Entrances & Tickets:
- the Cité du Vin
- Cathedral in La Seu
- Torre Bellesguard
- the Sagrada Familia
- San Sebastian
- private boat trip in Cap Ferret
- wine tasting at the Cité du Vin Bordeaux
- wine tasting in Saint Emilion
- visit to cheese factory including tasting
- wine tasting in La Rioja
- visit in 4 x 4s to Aiguestortes National Park and 2 mile walk
- An LLT Surprise as we are all children at heart after all
There are no ‘optionals’ for sale. Everything you have in the itinerary is included in the total cost.
NOT INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP:
- Flights not included. We suggest that you book flights into Bordeaux and out of Barcelona.
- Travel insurance.
- Visas, where applicable. (Please note: US and Canadian nationals do not require Visas when travelling to Europe).
Please note that in booking a trip with me, you are also contributing to charities which support young people in education. The charity I currently give to is the Malala Fund: www.malala.org , whose mission it is to help the 130 million girls worldwide, who are currently unable to access education.
Customised itinerary designed by Lucy Loves Travel Ltd.
Copyright © 2019 – Lucy Loves Travel Ltd. All rights reserved.