Northeastern Spain is one of the most storied culinary destinations in Europe—there are 48 Michelin Stars in Basque Country alone. This food-forward tour starts with visits to an underwater winery and the Basque Culinary Center before moving on to La Rioja for wine tastings and vineyard tours. End with architecture, cooking classes, and cava in vibrant Barcelona.

Highlights

  • Hop between tapas and pintxos tastings in Bilbao and San Sebastian
  • Visit La Rioja's famous (and lesser-known) wineries
  • Learn about Gaudí’s masterpieces during a guided tour in Barcelona
  • Explore the Mediterranean in the medieval villages of the Costa Brava

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Madrid Madrid
Day 2 Madrid's culture and cuisine Madrid
Day 3 Madrid to Bilboa Bilbao
Day 4 Basque country and the coast Bilbao
Day 5 Bilbao to San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 6 San Sebastian by eBike & Basque Cuisine San Sebastian
Day 7 San Sebastian to La Rioja region La Rioja
Day 8 Famous wineries of La Rioja La Rioja
Day 9 La Rioja to Barcelona Barcelona
Day 10 Gaudí's Barcelona & Catalan Tapas Barcelona
Day 11 Day Trip to the Mediterranean and the Costa Brava Barcelona
Day 12 Barcelona - Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Madrid

Madrid
Madrid

Get settled in your Madrid hotel and meet your private guide for a walking tour of the city. Visit Madrid’s most beautiful spots including the Plaza Mayor, the Puerta de Alcalá and the fountain and square of Cibeles. Spend the rest of your evening at your leisure.

Day 2: Madrid's culture and cuisine

Streets of Madrid
Streets of Madrid

Experience the best of Madrid’s culture and cuisine at its two most famous landmarks—the Prado Museum and Sobrino de Botín, the world’s oldest restaurant.

Spend the morning walking through the Prado. Your 1.5-hour tour will cover 20 masterpieces that highlight Spain’s storied past. From Velazquez and Goya to Bosch and Titian, your expert guide will give you a firm footing to appreciate and understand each painting. Then, take a stroll through the gorgeous Literary Quarter, the stomping grounds for many of Spain’s literary greats. Pop into a century-old tavern to enjoy Madrid’s most traditional aperitif.

Finally, head to the world’s oldest restaurant—Sobrino de Botín—for a Spanish feast. Your expert guide will walk you through hidden escape tunnels and other history-filled secrets before sitting down to a three-course meal. You’ll enjoy roasted suckling pig made in 300-year-old ovens, market-fresh vegetables, and dessert. All of this, of course, washed down with plenty of Rioja red wine.

Day 3: Madrid to Bilbao

Bilbao at night
Bilbao at night

Start your day with a 5-hour morning train ride to Bilbao. In the afternoon, meet your private guide for a tour of this beautiful town and all its undiscovered corners. You'll also have a guided visit to the masterpiece of architecture that changed the evolution of Bilbao: the Guggenheim Museum. Spend the rest of the evening on your own.

Day 4: Basque country and the coast

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Today you have an off the beaten path excursion along the Basque coast. Start with a visit to a little-known medieval castle, followed by San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a historic town in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. Then head to Mundaka, full of local charm and far from any tourist traps. Finish the day in Gernika, home to one of the oldest Parliaments in the world and an important site for the Basque people.

Day 5: Bilbao to San Sebastian

San Sebastian
San Sebastian

It´s time to say goodbye to Bilbao. You will be picked up at the hotel for your private transfer to San Sebastian. Get settled in your hotel and pay a visit to the Basque Culinary Center for a private tasting of local olives, olive oils, sausages, ham, and wine accompanied by one of the teachers from the center. This evening, enjoy a night of pintxo-hopping with your local host to taste the classic flavors of the city.

Day 6: San Sebastian by eBike & Basque Cuisine

Enjoy Pintxos and Tapas in San Sebastian
Enjoy Pintxos and Tapas in San Sebastian

Explore San Sebastian in a unique way with an electric bike tour. Go all around San Sebastian, traversing both the Old Quarter and the more modern parts of the city. In the evening, you will be treated to a private dinner in the “secret” kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant. The chefs will prepare a special menu in front of your eyes, a once-in-a-lifetime way to experience Basque cuisine.

Day 7: San Sebastian to La Rioja region

Logroño
Logroño

Transfer to Logroño in the wine region of La Rioja. Your first destination is a Michelin-starred restaurant hidden in a tiny Rioja town, where you will enjoy a local aperitif and help the chef collect seasonal ingredients for your meal. Enjoy a fabulous lunch straight from the garden, with a wine pairing, of course! After lunch, enjoy wine country on your own.

Day 8: Famous wineries of La Rioja

Vineyards in Rioja
Vineyards in Rioja

Get to know the famous wines of La Rioja with today's tour. Visit three favorite wineries, sipping different varietals and learning about the process used to make some of the best wines in the world. You'll also enjoy a fabulous lunch and wine pairing at a top hotel. Stop in Laguardia on your way home to see the Ysios winery, an architectural marvel.

Day 9: La Rioja to Barcelona

Sagrada Família
Sagrada Família

Take the train to Barcelona where you will be picked up and taken to the hotel. Meet your private guide to stretch your legs and explore Barcelona’s historic quarter. You will be introduced to the medieval and modern gems of the city, with visits to the Gothic, Born, and Raval neighborhoods, along with the Jewish Quarter and Picasso Museum.

Day 10: Gaudí's Barcelona & Catalan Tapas

Discover Modernisme with Gaudí
Discover Modernisme with Gaudí

This morning, your expert guide will take you along the luxurious Passeig de Gracia to see the famous Gaudí houses and other architectural landmarks. Then, on to the Sagrada Familia for an in-depth look into the artist’s life and most intricate work. End your morning at Parc Güell with incredible views of the city.

In the evening, embark on a journey into Barcelona’s tapas scene. Visit three of Barcelona’s best tapas bars as you wind your way through the medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter. Kick things off the city’s oldest and most traditional food store turned tapas bar, where things have hardly changed since the 1930s. The second stop is a true Barcelona establishment—with only a few spectacular tapas on the menu, its nearly always overflowing with locals. Finally, dine at another beloved tapas spot with a selection of traditional Catalan dishes, red wine, and traditional Spanish desserts. 

Day 11: Day Trip to the Mediterranean and the Costa Brava

Coast Brava, Catalunya
Coast Brava, Catalunya

Catch a taxi to the train station for the high-speed train to Figueres. There your local guide will wait for you for a tour of the incredible Dali Museum. You will stop for lunch and continue to explore the Mediterranean in the medieval villages of the Costa Brava, including Peratallada and Pals.  After, transfer to Girona to hop on the high-speed train back to Barcelona for an evening in the city on your own.

Day 12: Depart from Barcelona

Adios, Barcelona!
Adios, Barcelona!

Adios Spain! You will be picked up for your transfer to the airport for your return flight.   

Map

Map of Culinary Journey Through Spain - 12 Days
Map of Culinary Journey Through Spain - 12 Days