Spain self drive holiday, Rioja & Pyrenees

“Dreamy 15 day self drive itinerary from Bilbao to Barcelona, taking in the Pyrenees and the Rioja region, with plenty of guided tours along the way. ”

Highlights

Tailor made Spain self drive itinerary | Bilbao | Guggenheim Museum | Logrono | Guided tour of Rioja region | Walk section of the Camino de Santiago | Ordesa | Stay in converted Pyrenees monastery | Guided hike in Ordesa National Park | Aigues Tortes National Park | White water rafting | Castelladral | Barcelona | Guided tour of Barcelona

Description of Spain self drive holiday, Rioja & Pyrenees

Bilbao – La Rioja - Pyrenees Mountains – Barcelona – Ordesa National Park - Aigües Tortes – self drive freedom - premium small hotels - privately guided excursions - vineyards and great cuisine - active exploration

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.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This holiday is suitable for any time between April and October.
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Responsible tourism

Spain self drive holiday, Rioja & Pyrenees

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

As an Anglo-Spanish company we are passionate about the areas of Spain our clients visit, and our ethos is firmly fixed in preserving the destiations on our holidays here, a large number of which are remote, natural landscapes. One of our founders, Diego, lives and guides in the mountains and was instrumental in setting up a charitable foundation aimed at protecting and conserving the bearded vulture as well as preserving the traditional rural, mountain lifestyles which support and nourish the ecosystem.
The properties we use on this holiday are carefully chosen, small hotels which reflect their natural environment and are committed to preserving this in its beautiful state. Some of them grow their own produce, and employ sustainable techniques to harness energy. For example, in the Pre-Pyrenees, our hotel generates much of its electricity by solar power, collects rainwater to irrigate its organic vegetable garden, and uses geothermal energy to heat the hotel in winter.

Community

As a trip aimed at getting under the skin of the real Spain, this holiday incorporates meeting local people, learning about their way of life, and supporting the local economy through the choice of hotels, restaurants and guides. We work directly with local businesses and organisations to directly benefit local economies. We use small, locally owned hotels and restaurants.
We work with local guides so that our holidays are more interesting for clients and more beneficial locally.
The hotels you stay in are all locally owned, all but one (Bilbao) is run by the owners. This means that you get a much more authentic experience as well as providing maximum benefit to the local economy.
By leading you off the beaten track, our guides are not only sharing with you a greater appreciation and understanding of your surroundings, but are also making sure that economic benefits are spread as widely as possible. Throughout the holiday our clients are provided with recommended contacts for locally-owned suppliers of excursions, restaurants and shops.

2 Reviews of Spain self drive holiday, Rioja & Pyrenees

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Reviewed on 09 Jun 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Hiking in Pico de Europa, Big festival in San Sebastian. The hotels were all great

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Know what you want from your guides so the tours can cover what you want in the time allotted

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I definitely saw the support of local people in Asturia - cheese makers and cider maker stops. Not so sure that I saw emphasis on local at other stops. Our guide Alex in the Picos de Europa area was excellent in all categories giving us lots of great information and vision of what goes on in the area. There was a desire to keep some of the best parts of rural life that are challenged by changing demographics in the village and environmental realities in the mountains.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We had a superb time. Enjoyed all parts.
We were surprised however that the tour operator never communicated directly with us during the trip. We did have 3 tour guides but we would have small suggestions on how the guides (except Alex who was outstanding in every way) could improve the experience.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Gail,

Many thanks for taking the time to post a review following your recent trip to Spain with us. We're delighted to hear you had such a good time.

It's particularly rewarding to hear that you were able to get a real insight into local life in the Picos (and it's fair to say that one gets closer to local life here than in the more cosmopolitan Basque region). I'm really pleased that Alex was able to give you that insight, he's a great guy and aside from one of our founders, our longest serving Picos guide.

Thank you for mentioning the point about not being contacted by us during your trip. That is a conscious decision on our part; the thinking being that people are generally asked for feedback so much these days that it's quite nice to have a break while you're on holiday!

Because we know our local partners look after our clients so well, and all travel equipped with our 24/7 contact in case of need, we tend to wait until after the trip to request feedback. That said, this is certainly something we can and will discuss for future trips. In any case, if you did have any other comments to share with us they would be gratefully received, so please do send them over.

Thanks again for taking the time to review, it is so lovely to read you enjoyed the holiday. I hope we might have you travel with us again some time, please do get in touch if you're planning another trip to Spain, Portugal or Latin America.

Best wishes,

David

Reviewed on 07 Jul 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


This holiday was so packed full of fantastic memories.........From the moment we arrived in Bilbao with the awesome Guggenheim Museum and delicious tapas, through to the final day when we walked down to the beach in Barcelona to paddle in the Mediterranean Sea like a couple of teenagers!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go with an open mind, and enjoy the real Spain.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All the hotels we stayed in, apart from the first night, were family run hotels. The spanish people are very proud of their cuisine, and much of the food we ate had been produced very locally. Although we had a hire car, we spent most of our days walking rather than driving.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was truly a superb holiday, with so much to offer to everyone. We were able to explore nature at its very best, along food and wine, art and culture, and also to learn a little about the spanish people themselves. Well done the operator - we'll certainly be back!

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Janet,

Many thanks for taking the time to post your review, we are absolutely delighted to hear you had such a great time in Rioja and the Pyrenees.

Your comments sum up pretty much exactly what we hope to achieve with this trip, and indeed every holiday we make, so that's lovely to hear, thank you.

It's our firm belief that it's the combination of the great outdoors, the cuisine, the arts and the people which make Spain so enriching. From the Picos de Europa, to the Camino de Santiago, to Andalucia, all of our holidays are designed to immerse our clients in the real Spain and its secrets, so we're very happy you got to experience this.

As you know, we have plenty more trips to entice you, so I hope we can help you get under the skin of Spain again
very soon!

All the best,

David

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