This complete nine-day cultural itinerary features the vibrant and eclectic city of Barcelona, the quaint villages along the rugged Costa Brava coastline, as well as a day trip into the Montserrat mountains. You'll experience a broad range of cultural tours covering the history, architecture, and ancient and current traditions at the hands of knowledgeable private guides, with free time to go at your own pace. You'll drink wine, eat authentic Catalan fare, and swim in the Mediterranean.

Highlights

  • Marvel at the ornate detail of Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia
  • Take in the sunset over Barcelona from eccentric Parc Guëll
  • Discover the layers of history in Girona's Old Quarter
  • Lose yourself in Salvador Dalí's hometown, Figueres
  • Explore the Costa Brava coastline and relax on a quiet beach

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Barcelona Barcelona
Day 2 Half-day city tour Barcelona
Day 3 Antoni Gaudí architecture tour - Market visit Barcelona
Day 4 Day trip to Santa Maria de Montserrat; Wine tasting Barcelona
Day 5 Train to Girona and Figueres - Explore Costa Brava Begur
Days 6-7 Free days: Explore the Costa Brava  Begur
Day 8 Visit a winery on the Costa Brava Begur
Day 9 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain waterfront
Stroll along La Rambla passing by the monument to Christopher Columbus

Welcome to Barcelona! Upon your arrival in Barcelona, you'll be greeted by your driver before transferring to your hotel in the heart of the city. Settle in before heading out to explore the neighborhood.

Day 2: Half-day city tour

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
Marvel at the  Sagrada Familia church, under construction since 1882

Meet your guide this morning for a half-day walking tour of Barcelona and its most popular attractions, including the iconic, La Sagrada Familia church. You will visit some of the city's most emblematic spots and hidden corners, as well as learning all about Gaudí and his jaw-dropping masterpiece which are under construction to this day. Enjoy lunch at a recommended tapas bar or restaurant before taking the rest of the afternoon to explore at your leisure.

Day 3: Antoni Gaudí architecture tour - Market visit

Gaudi's iconic Casa Mila
The undulating Casa Milà

Your guide will collect you from your hotel and together you'll embark on a tour of Antoni Gaudí's masterpieces. Begin in Parc Güell, taking in performances by the local buskers who further add to the park's whimsical nature (expert tip, come here again in the late afternoon to catch the sunset over the city). From here, you’ll make your way to the early 20th-century Dr. Seuss-esque  Casa Milà, one of Gaudí's most exemplary works of civil architecture. Next, you'll visit a couple of Barcelona's most lively markets for a colorful experience as well as to taste the goods on offer.

Day 4: Day trip to Santa Maria de Montserrat - Wine tasting

Montserrat Monastery, Catalonia, Spain
The 1000-year-old monastery in the Montserrat mountains overlooks Catalonia

Meet your guide this morning and set off to discover the impressive Santa Maria de Montserrat, an abbey with commanding views over the Catalan lowlands. From there, you'll have the opportunity to listen to Montserrat's Boys' Choir, Escolania, one of Europe's oldest, before visiting the Moreneta de Montserrat and the Santa Cova shrine and chapel that houses the black Madonna. 

Leaving the mountains behind, you'll enjoy typical Catalan lunch in a traditional restaurant followed by a guided visit and tour of one of the premier boutique wineries of the region. There will be a chance to taste some of their wines and cavas before returning to Barcelona.

Day 5: Train to Girona and Figueres - Explore Costa Brava

Girona's intriguing centre.
Girona's colorful buildings on the Onyar River

Early this morning you will board the train to Girona (40 minutes) in Catalonia's northeast where you'll meet your private guide for a walking tour of this ancient city.

Founded nearly 2000 years ago, Girona is a delightful amalgamation of ancient cultures, from the Greeks and Romans to the Visigoths and Moors. Feel its history as you work your way through its historic Barri Vell or Old Quarter, down its winding streets passing charming houses, churches, and gardens. Climb the 86 steps leading you to Girona's world famous Gothic Cathedral, an excellent example of Catalan Gothic architecture, before moving on to the Jewish heritage Centre Bonastruc ça Porta near the historic remains of Girona's former Jewish community. 

Continue further northeast to the small town of Figueres (and Salvador Dalí's hometown). With your guide, you will learn of its high and low points in history as well as enjoy an intimate look at some of Dalí's most important work at the Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dalí, designed by Dalí himself. Stop for lunch at a recommended restaurant and carry on to your accommodation in Begur on the Costa Brava ("Wild" or "Rough" Coast).

Days 6-7: Free days: Explore the Costa Brava 

Sea landscape with Calella de Palafrugell, Catalonia, Spain near of Barcelona
Lie out on the beach of Calella de Palafrugell

The Costa Brava runs from the Spanish and French Mediterranean border down to just north of Barcelona. It is renowned for its stunning coastal villages, rugged coastline with numerous idyllic coves, ports and beaches and hosts a superb offering of cultural and leisure activities.

Take the next two days to explore the coast and its beautiful beaches as well as the inland towns and villages, like Pals, Peratallada, and Calella de Palafrugell. Stop for lunch in a beachside bar or local restaurant and take in the views over the Mediterranean, the quaint ports and the quintessentially Spanish squares or plazas

Day 8: Visit a winery on the Costa Brava

Wine tasting in a small boutique bodega.
Sample the region's best in a boutique bodega

Today you will venture out to a local boutique winery in the Empordà region for an in-depth wine tour as well as tasting. Explore the vineyard, meet the winemakers, and relax in the bodega as you sample full-bodied reds and flavorful whites with the guidance of your host. Enjoy lunch in a nearby town before returning to your accommodation in Begur.

Day 9: Depart

Carrer del Castell street in the Historical Center of Begur. Girona, Costa Brava
Carrer del Castell street in Begur's historic core

Meet your driver in the hotel reception area and transfer to the Barcelona airport or train station for your onward journey.

Map

Map of Best of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 9 days
Map of Best of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 9 days