EAST TO WEST THROUGH ALL THE NORTHERN COAST & THE CASTILLES

by / Friday, 22 February 2019 / Published in Custom tours

Please scroll down to get additional information on this custom tour, inclusions and prices.

 

Punta_del_Dichoso_Suances_Cantabria

 

Description

This trip was organized for 2 couples from different countries what made it a little more difficult to customize trying to match each of their requirements. They were two marriages from different countries, USA and UK, that had met for the last 15 years to visit different parts of the world. They said they were physically fit and active though over 65 and wanted to visit the northern coast arriving in Barcelona and departing from Madrid. They had a special request since they wanted to photograph the mills in Castille La Mancha, popular for the world famous Cervantes work, El Quijote de La Mancha. They were willing to drive and visit towns/cities on foot or with local transportation. They enjoyed day hikes in the country and mountains. Interested in good, local food and wine. Enjoyed museums and historic architecture. They were not looking to have all days arranged with different activities because they wanted to enjoy their time together. Finally there were looking for 3* - 4* hotels with charm and good location, nor necessarily SPA or pool. Also, they had 20 full days for the trip itself. After all that I suggested different areas to visit, places not to miss, charming boutique hotels along the way and great experiences as you can see below.

Route map

When they arrived in Barcelona a private transfer was waiting for them to take them to their accommodation. They had arranged a 4* hotel in the middle of the popular gothic neighborhood of Barcelona where you can find the popular Boqueria market, to the cathedral of Barcelona, among many other monuments and interesting places. In the afternoon I had arranged a small premium group tour (no more than 12 - 15 people) in an open sky luxury minibus to visit the Sagrada Familia and the Park Güell, including tickets skip the line for the two of them. Those are 2 of the main works go Gaudi in Barcelona. Information of many of the others was included in their personalized guide book and they were able to visit them at their own pace.

After enjoying their breakfast they had arranged a private guided tour to the monastery of Montserrat including listening to the Boy’s choir and enjoy the views from there. Later they were taken to a family run winery in the Penedes area (not the touristy ones) and after visiting it they tasted some white wines or cavas upon their selection. To finish this wonderful tour they had arranged a traditional catalan lunch at the same winery. They went back to their hotel by 17:00H.

Today they had arranged small premium group tour (no more than 12 - 15 people) to visit the city of Barcelona from 3 different perspectives: Land, Sea & Air: First in an open sky luxury mini bus that took them from Passeig de Gràcia to Sagrada Familia and back by the Arc del Triomf. Later they took the aerial perspective in an helicopter flight where they had the opportunity to enjoy the best points of view of the city after enjoying a glass of cava. Finally they got a sail boat and enjoyed the “sea” perspective and enjoyed the splendorous harbour of Barcelona and the skyline from the sea

A private transfer was arranged to take them to the airport to get the domestic flight to Bilbao. There I had booked a car hire for them so they could move the following days. Their hotel, requested out of the city if Bilbao, was located in Getxo, a neighborhood of Bilbao where the oldest hanging bridge of Europe still in use is located. Their 4* hotel had views over the estuary and it was very convenient. After checking in and having a rest after lunch they drove to Bilbao and my partner there, Jon, was waiting for them to take them to the old quarter and do a “pintxos” (small portions of food) tour as we spanish people do, hoping from bar to bar having something to drink together with the pintxo.

Today I had arranged tickets for the Guggenheim museum but they didn’t want to have a guide with them all the time so I included, as an extra, audio guides to be used whenever they wanted. The rest of the day and the following one was time for themselves and visit the city at their own pace, as they requested.

Free day

Day to drive west toward the province of Cantabria. As they were interested in history I suggested a visit to different prehistoric caves. So I told them to drive to Punete Viesgo, a small village in the heart of the Nansa Valley, and arrange a private guided tour through 2 different caves in the area, El Castillo and Monedas caves. Later I suggested a visit to Santillana del Mar, a wonderful pedestrian village part of the “Camino del Norte - northern Camino” full of monuments and history. After lunch I had arranged tickets to visit the Altamira cave, probably the most popular of all of them though only 5 people can visit the real cave, all the others visit the replica which is exactly the same. After the visit they drove to Cosgaya, a tiny village in the heart of the Picos de Europa mountains (National Park) where there’s a boutique family run hotel owned by 4 sisters and built of wood and stones respecting the style of the buildings of the area. It is amazing to open the window in the morning and see the Picos de europa just in front of you. Beside this hotel offers great quality service (all the employees are worn in the traditional clothes) and superb local food.

After a great buffet breakfast they had a couple of days for themselves, as requested. In the guide book I sent them there were tens of recommendations to do while being there. Some of them were driving to Fuente Dé (10 minutes far) and get the funicular to the top of the mountains, visit the head of the area, Potes and its pedestrian old quarter, a charming small village. Also visiting Mogrovejo from where they could hike many routes for all levels in the middle of Picos de Europa and/or visiting Camaleño and the very small local cheese factory producing 5 types of cheese they’d love. The rest of the time was for relaxing and eating, two things this place and specially this hotel offer.

Today they drove along the north coast and entered the province of Asturias. It is a pity because they didn’t have 4 or 5 more days because this province have many things to offer. You can see other custom tours that passed through this region and the many things you can see and do. After a visit to some coastal villages in the way such as Llanes, Lastres and it lighthouse from where you can get some of the best views over the ocean and Gijon, the largest city of Asturias, though not the capital, with a beautiful old quarter and tremendous beach promenade to walk they moved to Aviles, the 3rd largest city of Asturias where they visited the Niemeyer’s museum and the old quarter full of colored houses. I had arranged a night at a 4* SPA hotel in Soto del Barco so they didn’t have to drive all day long to reach Galicia.

They drove toward Santiago de Compostela, finish point of the Camino de Santiago, where they requested a hotel outside the city. Int heir way there I suggested a visit to the beach of the cathedral’s, so called because of the rock formations in it, and Ribadeo where there’s a small restaurant I suggested to stop at to eat some of the best local specialities such us the boiled octopus and the fired calamari. After the visits they reached their hotel outside the city and had the rest of the day for themselves.

They had a free day. I suggested a visit to Coruña, the largest city of the province which has a wonderful old quarter and its magnificent Plaza Mayor square and a great beach promenade you can walk. My recommendation of a local restaurant in the Plaza Mayor was accepted and they had lunch there local specialities and spanish food cooked like person can do at its house. Some of the best spanish omelet, croquettes and a stew of meat with vegetables was enough to make them happy, always accompanied by a good wine. Later they walked the city before going back to Santiago in less than 40 minutes.

A private tour to the coast of the death, some off the villages around and the popular Finisterre was arranged. They were picked up at their hotel by a private driver and a private guide and were taken to visit the most impressive area of the province, visiting amazing small waterfalls, huge cliffs and Finisterre, what was called the end of the world before Columbus discovered America. They were stopped for lunch in a local restaurant (lunch was not included so they could eat what they preferred) and taken back to the hotel after 8 hours.

Time to drive toward Avila, a small city in Castille y Leon, that has an amazing Roman Wall surrounding the city. In their way there they were suggested to take a slightly longer route to visit Las Medulas in the province of Leon, an UNESCO heritage site. It was the largest open sky gold mine of the Roman empire. They mineral dyed the land in beautiful brown colors and the hand of the man shaped it in wonderful shapes and it is all an spectacle. It is called mars on earth. The drive to Avila takes 5 hours so it took them the whole day to arrive.

Free day

Today they drove toward Toledo, a city in Castille La Mancha, called the city of the Three Cultures since Christians, Muslims and Jewish lived there together and that can be noticed in the buildings styles, the customs and even the food. Beside it has a great cathedral and some amazing museums such as the Greco museum. A privare guided walking tour through the old quarter had been arranged in the evening.

Free day

Today it was time to drop off the car near the train station and get the high speed train to Madrid. I arranged this this way because there’s no need to have a car in Madrid and drive in a big city unless you plan to do day trips, which was not the case. They arrived in Madrid where a guided tour had been arranged. The selected hotel was the oldest one in Europe having more than 400 years. It was completely renewed and has a perfect location.

Free time. They could visit the city with all the recommendations given in the personalized guide book they had with them. Also choose different restaurants based on the recommendations included in it.

After having breakfast at the hotel Pascual, my local private driver picked them up to take them to the airport. End of trip.

When they arrived in Barcelona a private transfer was waiting for them to take them to their accommodation. They had arranged a 4* hotel in the middle of the popular gothic neighborhood of Barcelona where you can find the popular Boqueria market, to the cathedral of Barcelona, among many other monuments and interesting places. In the afternoon I had arranged a small premium group tour (no more than 12 - 15 people) in an open sky luxury minibus to visit the Sagrada Familia and the Park Güell, including tickets skip the line for the two of them. Those are 2 of the main works go Gaudi in Barcelona. Information of many of the others was included in their personalized guide book and they were able to visit them at their own pace.

After enjoying their breakfast they had arranged a private guided tour to the monastery of Montserrat including listening to the Boy’s choir and enjoy the views from there. Later they were taken to a family run winery in the Penedes area (not the touristy ones) and after visiting it they tasted some white wines or cavas upon their selection. To finish this wonderful tour they had arranged a traditional catalan lunch at the same winery. They went back to their hotel by 17:00H.

Included

4* hotel in the gothic quarter of Barcelona very close to the cathedral. Centered location for an easy walking access everywhere.

4* hotel in Getxo, just outside Bilbao. Great location with extraordinaire views to the estuary.

3* boutique hotel in the heart of the Picos de Europa.

4* palace reconverted into hotel. Located in Asturias with wonderful views ad offering a SPA to relax.

4* accommodation outside Santiago de Compostela, a Relais & Chateau hotel with SPA built in stone with all the commodities in a fantastic environment.

4* hotel in Ávila. This one belongs to the popular Paradores of Spain, a chain of historical buildings belonging to the Government that were renewed and reconverted into hotels.

4* boutique hotel in the middle of the city of Toledo. Dedicated to El Greco. 2 superior bedrooms with private Spa were arranged.

4* boutique hotel in Madrid. It is the oldest hotel in Europe with more than 400 years of history. Recently renewed has a perfect location to reach the old quarter in a short walk.

Small premium group tour: Gaudí. In an open sky luxury mini bus they are taken to visit 2 of the most emblematic works of Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. Includes tickets skip the line for both. It also visits the exteriors of Casa Milá and Casa Batlló, 2 other works of Gaudí.

Private tour: Montserrat monastery & Penedes winery. In a private van they were taken to visit the monastery of Montserrat and listen the Boy's choir. Later they were taken to a family run winery in Penedés to visit it and taste some of its wines/cavas before having a traditional catalan lunch included.

Small premium group tour: Land, Sea & Air. The bets way of visiting the city from 3 different perspectives: LAND: from Passeig de Gràcia to Sagrada Familia and back by the Arc del Triomf. AIR:Later they took the aerial perspective in an helicopter flight where they had the opportunity to enjoy the best points of view of the city after enjoying a glass of cava. SEA:Finally they got a sail boat and enjoyed the “sea” perspective and enjoyed the splendorous harbour of Barcelona and the skyline from the sea.

Pintxos tour. Jon, my partner in Bilbao, took them to the old quarter to hop from bar to bar tasting some of the best pintxos (small portions of food) in the best bars while enjoying some great wine.

Tickets for the Guggenheim museum and audio guides were arranged.

Tickets for the Altamira Cave were arranged. Also a private guided tour through Monedas & El Castillo Caves.

Private tour to the coast of the death and Finisterre, what was believed to be the end of the world before Columbus discovered America. The coast of the death is full of charming small villages and amazing cliffs. They also visited a small waterfall and de wonderful Finisterre. At the end they were taken back to their hotels.

A private guided walking tour through Toledo was arranged.

A private guided walking tour through Madrid was arranged.

Privare transfers from/to airports were arranged. Also train/bus/domestic flight tickets and car rental when needed.

Complete and comprehensive guide with their route, maps, what to see, etc.. so they missed nothing. 24/7 emergency contact number.
 Good-bye pack

Price

Price on sept/oct 2018

€3971,25per person

Final price will depend on dates, final destination and services required

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