Immerse yourself in northern Spain's cities, mountains, and beaches on this 11-day tour. First, you'll fly to one of Europe's most vibrant cities, Barcelona, to feast on tapas, cycle among Gaudí's architecture, and discover a nearby wine region. Then, spend four days hiking through the spectacular Pyrenees mountains, crossing into France and back. Finish the trip with some relaxation in the Costa Brava, exploring its beaches and coves—and snorkeling in its warm Mediterranean waters.


  • Experience Barcelona's famous tapas scene on a gourmet walking tour
  • Take a day trip to the historic Catalonian wine region of Pla de Bages
  • Hike through the Pyrenees, crossing the border into southwest France
  • Join a boat trip to Gispert Cave and swim and snorkel in the Mediterranean

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Barcelona, Wine & Gourmet Tapas Tour Barcelona
Day 2 Barcelona Bike Tour, Visit the Sagrada Família Barcelona
Day 3 Catalan Day Trip: Wine & Olive Oil Experience Barcelona
Day 4 Transfer to the Pyrenees via Montserrat Pyrenees
Day 5 Hike Circo de Colomers (Day 1) Pyrenees
Day 6 Hike Colomers to Tredos (Day 2) Pyrenees
Day 7 Hike Gavarnie to Goriz (Day 3) Pyrenees
Day 8 Hike Goriz to Prairie (Day 4), Transfer to the Costa Brava Costa Brava
Day 9 Snorkeling in the Mediterranean Costa Brava
Day 10 Boat Excursion to Gispert Cave Costa Brava
Day 11 Transfer to Barcelona, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona, Wine & Gourmet Tapas Tour

Join a four-hour wine and tapas tour for your first night
Welcome to Spain! Upon arrival in Barcelona, a private driver will collect you and take you to your centrally located hotel. Settle in and get your bearings in the country's most vibrant and creative city, the capital of the fiercely independent Catalonia province. Leafy, neoclassical streets brush shoulders with the most striking examples of 20th-century modernism and avant-garde architecture. Barcelona is a city where you can get happily lost—in its energy, culture, and cuisine.  
An excellent place to start is Las Ramblas, a sequence of promenades that runs from Plaça de Catalunya down to the waterfront. Near the opera house is the lively public market, La Boquería, which dates back to 1217 and is considered one of Europe's best food markets, providing a great introduction to Catalan cuisine. Keep your eye open for surreal, colorful buildings by architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926).

In the evening, join a guide for a four-hour wine and tapas tour around the elegant Eixample district. As you stroll, you'll learn all about tapas dining culture (small but delicious plates of food designed to share). Stopping for food at three restaurants, you'll nibble and drink wine before enjoying a dinner-sized portion at the third, a renowned high-end restaurant with an award-winning head chef. The tour aims to showcase sustainable meals and locally grown products in collaboration with local suppliers. 

Day 2: Barcelona Bike Tour, Visit the Sagrada Família

Take a self-guided tour of the Sagrada Família

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll embark on a small-group guided bicycle tour of Barcelona for three hours through a series of atmospheric neighborhoods (like the medieval Gothic Quarter and the trendy Raval and El Born barrios). Along the way, your knowledgeable guide will highlight city highlights, including Roman ruins, the grand city centerpiece of the Plaça Reial square, and the 13th-century Gothic Barcelona Cathedral.

You'll then pedal through Ciutadella Park, one of the largest green spaces in the city, all the way to Barceloneta Beach, Barcelona's main urban beach. The beach is always a hub of activity, lined as it is with cafés, beaches, bars, and discos, and riding along the promenade fronting the water is the perfect way to cap a cycling trip through Barcelona's best-known areas.

Next is a self-guided tour of the Sagrada Família, the iconic Roman Catholic basilica that embodies an impressive mix of Gothic, Catalan-modernism, and Art Nouveau architectural styles. Despite construction beginning in 1882, it's still technically listed as under construction and was only consecrated in 2010. Upon arrival, the guide will reveal insight into the Sagrada Família's fascinating history, and you'll glean even more info as you explore the striking interior. 
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Day 3: Catalan Day Trip: Wine & Olive Oil Experience

Spend the day in the Pla de Bages region

Today's excursion takes you to the heart of Catalonia's Pla de Bages region, a historic wine-growing area between the Montserrat and Castelltallat mountain ranges. You'll start with a visit to an organic, family-run winery, where fifth-generation winemakers cultivate rare and native grapes like the red-skinned mandó and the ancient picapoll. See a typical Catalan farmhouse, wander through the vines, tour the production plant and barrels room, and join a tasting, where appetizers accompany a selection of wines.

Next, discover another of Catalonia's prized products with a stop at an olive oil farm in the beautiful countryside of Vall d'Hortons. Stroll through medieval olive groves as your guide explains the cultivation of this Mediterranean staple and introduces you to varieties such as corbella and arbequina. Visit the workshop where oil is produced, then sit down to a tasting alongside locally and organically grown Catalan products like cheese, honey, and cured meats.

Day 4: Transfer to the Pyrenees via Montserrat

Visit the jaw-dropping Monastery of Montserrat

Say goodbye to Barcelona and hello to the Pyrenees! You'll be whisked into the mountains that border Spain and France via a private car. On the way, stop for lunch in the region of Montserrat, where you could choose to tour the impressive Monastery of Montserrat and take in its commanding mountain views. Founded in the 11th century, it still functions for its original purpose, as more than 70 monks call it home.

The journey then continues into the high mountains, where the hiking section of the trip begins. Here, you'll stay at a cozy family-run hotel for a first glimpse at authentic Pyrenean life.

Day 5: Hike Day 1: Circo de Colomers

Hike Day 1
Head to this stunning viewpoint on today's hike

Wake up in nature and head to the national park's entrance, the protected area of Parc Nacional d'Aigües Tortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. There's a steep ascent to tackle today, up to the Ratera Pass, in the shadow of Tuc de Còlomers mountain peak. Teetering on the French border, this is the only region of the central Pyrenees that belongs to Spain but is located north of the Garonne River. Then, descend to Circo de Colomers, where you'll spend the evening at the Colmers mountain hut, close to Lac Major de Colomers, one of the region's biggest lakes.

Day 6: Hike Day 2: Colomers to Tredos

Take a gentle hike through the Lleida province

Spend six sensational hours walking along a trail through the Lleida province of the Pyrenees. Today is a gentler hike through beautiful meadows and woodland, passing a waterfall and river. Stop for a picnic lunch, then hike from Reiau to Vielha, along a section of the Camin Reiau (designed to link the 33 settlements of the idyllic Arán Valley). You will be picked up in Tredos and driven just over the French border. Tonight's accommodation is a hotel for well-earned hot showers and soft beds! 

Day 7: Hike Day 3: Gavarnie to Goriz

A highlight of today's route is the Cirque de Gavarnie mountain valley
Get ready for another full day on the trail today. After a hearty breakfast, a driver will take you to the region of Gavarnie to start the hike. Gavarnie is the finest example of Pyrenean limestone cirques, created by glaciers several millennia ago. After hiking around the Cirque de Gavarnie, you'll reach the striking cliff formation of Breche de Roland (Roland's Breach), a natural gap measuring 131 feet (40 m) across and 328 feet (100 m) high. This is also the point at which you'll re-enter Spain, and you'll trek to the mountain hut in Goriz to spend the night.

Day 8: Hike Day 4: Goriz to Prairie, Transfer to the Costa Brava

End the day with a rewarding swim on the Costa Brava
There's another change of scene today as you hike out of the Pyrenees and head for the coast of northern Spain. Start the day by walking to a village near Cola de Caball waterfall for a picnic lunch. A driver will pick you up for your private transfer to Costa Brava, driving around three hours.
Though you might picture the south of Spain when considering the country's beaches, the Costa Brava also has a knockout coastline. With about 100 miles (160 km) of shoreline along Catalonia's coast, stretching from Tossa de Marr north of Barcelona to Port Bou on the French border, you'll be spoiled for choice. Your local guide can help you choose a beach to relax at after your hike. The coastal resorts of Calella de Palafrugell, Begur, and l'Estartit, are all popular options.  

Day 9: Snorkeling in the Mediterranean

Snorkeling in coves of Costa Brava
Explore the crystal-clear inlets around Costa Brava with snorkeling gear

During peak summer months, Costa Brava's ocean water temperatures climb above 70°F (21°C). Therefore, it's a fabulous destination for snorkeling, especially off idyllic beaches such as Platja d'Aro and S'Agaró. You could join a snorkeling tour aboard a boat to help you discover more of this rocky stretch of coast, with its cliffs, coves, and narrow passages. 

Stop at one of the best inlets in the area to enjoy time snorkeling with panoramic vision masks, allowing you to see all the excitement under the surface. You'll likely swim with an array of Mediterranean fish, such as rainbow-striped wrasse, shimmering sea bream, and shoals of little fish called salema porgy. There's also an option to kayak for part of the excursion. 

Day 10: Boat Excursion to Gispert Cave

Listen for the church bells while visiting Calella de Palafrugell 

Venture along the coastline today on a small group excursion to Gispert Cave. It's the longest and most spectacular in the Costa Brava, at almost 492 feet (150 m) in length. You'll then set sail to the cove of Cala dÁigua Xelida and its idyllic beach of only 56 feet (17 m) long and 39 feet (12 m) wide. Lapped by clear waters, you'll have some free time here to swim.

Cave tours depart from several spots along the Costa Brava, including Calella de Palafrugell. This charming seaside town features whitewashed houses, fishing boats, and peaceful coves. The atmosphere is delightfully authentic, with an old church bell sounding on the hour, every hour. After your tour, join the locals and dine in a seafood restaurant at the water's edge. 

Day 11: Transfer to Barcelona, Depart

Squeeze in one more walk in the Costa Brava before departure

It's time to say farewell to Spain! After a leisurely breakfast, a driver will pick you up at your hotel to transfer to Barcelona airport (around a 90-minute journey). Safe travels and adios!

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Map of Active Northern Spain:  Barcelona, the Pyrenees & Costa Brava - 11 Days
Map of Active Northern Spain: Barcelona, the Pyrenees & Costa Brava - 11 Days