Northern Spain small group holiday
Description of Northern Spain small group holiday
From the iconic, other-worldly architecture of Barcelona to the sun-drenched, historic Rioja vineyards that sweep around Logrono, this eight-day small group tour uncovers a fascinating part of Spain, with unique culture and customs and delicious cuisine.
Your expert local guide will show you the tastiest tapas bars in San Sebastian and the pick of the pintxos in Pamplona. They'll take you beyond Barcelona’s tourist front into the heart of the city and the best of its lively nightlife and lead you down the elegant boulevards of Madrid to the most atmospheric of its city squares, and the finest of its world-class galleries.
This trip is all about soaking up the energy, culture and cuisine that makes this part of Spain so fascinating. And as you take your first sip of Rioja together in one of Logrono’s historic bodegas you and your fellow travellers can raise a toast to a week of sampling a taste of the real, local side of Northern Spain.
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PlanetBullfighting is a particularly controversial topic in Spain. It’s still actively followed by about a third of the country and is considered a core part of Spanish culture in those regions. The running of the bulls is a similar tradition and equally as cruel to animals involved.
On this trip we visit Pamplona, the birthplace of this activity. Pamplona, otherwise a beautiful village, is definitely worth a visit and was even the inspiration behind Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’. It’s also on the route for those completing the full Camino de Santiago walk. There’s so much to see and experience here, yet the fact that the running of the bulls takes place in this village leaves a bitter taste. We actively discourage partaking in any sort of activity that supports this cruel industry, and our leaders will always talk about this honestly with all groups. We also encourage our travellers to avoid sights that are connected with bullfighting or the running of the bulls, even museums, as the funds raised from entry fees are often pumped back into the industry. We’re clear on the animal welfare policy: While bullfighting is considered an art form or cultural event by supporters, we discourage the support of this activity by our travellers due to the pain, fear and discomfort the animals can experience during these public shows.
This is a short trip, from day one in Barcelona we travel intensively through Northern Spain and finish up in Madrid eight days later. We use different modes of transport to make travelling this route as comfortable and efficient as possible. On this tour you’ll travel by Metro, public bus, train and even cable car. We avoid private transfers on this trip, because using public transport is kindest to the environment. It helps to reduce CO2 emission hugely, something that’s very important to use as a carbon neutral company. Get ready to jump on a train from Barcelona to Pamplona, ride the public bus in Logrono, use the Metro in Madrid and take a cable car up Monte Igueldo in San Sebastian.
PeopleWe know our travellers are interested in all things local. We don’t go to Northern Spain to eat sushi and we don’t visit San Sebastian to stay in a five-star hotel chain. Instead we visit our local friends (and their neighbours) as we know this sort of interaction can provide unforgettable travel experiences for our clients. Therefore, expect to be taken on an amazing pincho crawl in Logrono, where our local leaders will show you the best locally-run bars. You’ll also visit a local winery just outside of Logrono. In other destinations on this tour we’ll be suggesting plenty more local experiences too, such as another pincho crawl in San Sebastian (never enough Spanish food) or local eateries for lunches and dinners.
On this trip you’ll visit a great mix of places, including two of the biggest cities in Spain (Barcelona and Madrid) and several smaller towns and villages. As it happens, all are fairly popular with tourists, particularly Barcelona and Madrid given that they’re the most visited cities in Spain. We believe this is the best way to show our travellers the region, but we also know that we need to be careful about our impact on local people’s lives. Remember, we’re not visiting a theme park, but real places where locals are going about their daily business.
To ease our impact, we travel in groups of no more than 12 passengers, sometimes fewer. Very different to the huge coaches with 40+ travellers onboard all flooding an attraction at once. We also tell our travellers how to dress respectfully and teach the basic language skills to be able to communicate with the local Spaniards. Hola, when visiting the local vineyard sound better than hi, just like gracias sounds politer than thanks when you receive your pincho in San Sebastian.
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