- Explore historic Barcelona neighborhoods like the Gothic Quarter and El Born
- Enjoy the beaches and medieval villages of the Costa Brava
- Go hiking in the Pyrenees Mountains around Val d'Aran
- Discover Spanish cuisine with market visits and a cooking class
|Day 1||Arrive in Barcelona, Private Walk in the Gothic Quarter||Barcelona|
|Day 2||Extended Visit to Sagrada Família, Local Market Visit & Cooking Class||Barcelona|
|Day 3||Drive to Girona, Food & Market Tour||Girona|
|Day 4||Game of Thrones Walking Tour, Drive to Costa Brava||Costa Brava|
|Day 5||Self-Guided Beach Day in Costa Brava||Costa Brava|
|Day 6||Self Guided Day Trip to Cadaqués, Figueres, Begur & Palafrugell||Costa Brava|
|Day 7||Drive to Val d'Aran||Val d'Aran|
|Day 8||Guided Hike of the 7 Lakes Route||Val d'Aran|
|Day 9||Drive to Barcelona, Evening Tapas Walk in Three Neighborhoods||Barcelona|
|Day 10||Depart Barcelona|
Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona, Private Walk in the Gothic Quarter
Welcome to Spain! Upon arrival at the airport in Barcelona, a private driver will pick you up and take you to your accommodation in the city center. After settling in, you'll enjoy your first excursion of the trip, a guided walk through the Gothic Quarter. As you stroll through the oldest part of Barcelona, the Barrio Gótico ("Gothic Quarter"), with a private guide, you'll learn about this district's 2,000-year history and visit important sites. The star of the neighborhood is, of course, the Barcelona Cathedral.
This Gothic masterpiece took nearly two centuries to build, with progress spanning the 13th and 15th centuries. Also known as the Cathedral of St. Eulalia, it's one of Europe's best examples of Gothic architecture, with a neo-Gothic facade and cloisters home to 13 white geese, known as the Well of Geese. Inside the cathedral, you'll notice a vast space with arches, stained-glass windows, and high ceilings highlighting the 15th-century architectural work. Climb up the bell tower for incredible views!
Day 2: Extended Visit to Sagrada Família, Local Market Visit & Cooking Class
In the morning, you'll enjoy a special visit to the Sagrada Família, a stunning Catholic church, and UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by the renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. With a private guide leading the way, you'll gain early entrance to the monument to avoid the typical crowds. Discover the church's fascinating history by perusing the detailed facades, the unique interiors with arched ceilings and stained glass, and the views from atop Torre de la Pasión.
There's a lot to see at La Sagrada Família, so a guide is helpful. Discover the stories behind the church's three facades (Nativity, Passion, and Glory), then head inside to admire Gaudí's work. Notice the architect's love of colors and the apse (the half-domed roof), which creates the shape of trees and their crowns. Other highlights your guide will show you include the altar, organ pipes, chapels, and the Crypt Of The Expiatory Temple, the oldest part of the church with a beautiful neo-Renaissance design.
Next, discover the techniques behind traditional Spanish cuisine with a professional chef and a cooking class in Barcelona. You'll start by visiting Barcelona's biggest and most important market: Mercat de la Boqueria. Your guide will lead you through the stalls where you can try a few items, learn about culinary traditions, select ingredients for your course, and purchase any artisanal goods you'd like to take home. Then, you'll start your cooking class, learning how to prepare four courses, including a classic paella dish.
Day 3: Drive to Girona, Food & Market Tour
Typically, the drive between Barcelona and Girona takes a little over one hour, but if you can make a scenic road trip out of the journey with the coastal route along the Mediterranean Sea. Tossa del Mar is one of the most historic and picturesque seaside towns, known for its beaches, fishing ports, and medieval walled town. You can also stop in Canyet de Mar, a small fishing village perfect for swimming, water sports, a hike, and/or a seafood lunch. Learn more about your drive from Barcelona to Girona here.
Day 4: Game of Thrones Walking Tour, Drive to Costa Brava
In the morning, enjoy a "Game of Thrones" walk in Girona. Even if you're not a fan of the show, this experience is a great way to discover Girona's historic Jewish Quarter, one of the best preserved in the world. Walk through the narrow, cobbled streets and learn about the incredible Roman and medieval architecture. Stop to view a few famous filming locations along the way, like the Cathedral of Girona (Great Sept of Baelor) and the Arab Baths (Baths of Braavos).
Next, say goodbye to Girona and drive to your accommodation in Costa Brava. The drive depends on where you plan to base yourself. Begur and its neighbors along the coastline or Cadaqués up north are the most popular towns. If driving to Begur, consider stopping to explore the Empordà wine region; or if going up to Cadaqués, learn about Dalí in Figueres. Read more about creating a mini road trip between Girona and Costa Brava here.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Self-Guided Beach Day in Costa Brava
Though you might picture the south of Spain when thinking about the country's beach scene, the Costa Brava is one of the most beautiful regions, with endless stretches of sand. With about 100 miles (160 km) of shoreline along Catalonia's coast—stretching from Tossa del Mar north of Barcelona to Port Bou on the French border—you have plenty of choices regarding beaches and beach towns on the Costa Brava.
How you structure your day at the beach is up to you, and you'll receive all the necessary information you need to enjoy your time. You'll have many beach options depending on your interests, whether sunbathing, swimming, hiking, kayaking, or snorkeling. Many sandy choices also come with a historic medieval village, so you can also enjoy local food and culture.
Day 6: Self Guided Day Trip to Cadaqués, Figueres, Begur & Palafrugell
Today you'll explore some of the famous villages in Costa Brava. Where you go, what you do, and how long you stay is up to you, as this is a self-guided excursion. You'll receive all the necessary information to make this decision and maximize your time in the region. Regardless, you can focus on one or more (or all) of the listed villages: Cadaqués, Calella de Palafrugell, Figueres, and Begur.
If you haven't visited already, Figueres and Cadaqués are a must for exploring the life of Dalí. Figueres is the artist's birthplace and home to his surrealist museum, the Dalí Theatre-Museum, which holds more of his paintings than any other location worldwide. The museum also has a crypt, where the artist himself lays to rest. Dalí also lived in Cadaqués for 30 years; his old house is now a museum. Cadaqués has a picture-perfect beach and sits beside the beautiful Cap de Creus Natural Park.
Begur and Palafrugell is another good pairing, with Begur being perfect for lunch (try the rockfish dish peix de roca) and roaming the city's medieval streets. You can also climb to the castle ruins and enjoy views across the countryside and coastline. Palafrugell then offers a coastal reprieve with beaches and delicious eateries set in old fisher homes.
Day 7: Drive to Val d'Aran
You'll leave the Costa Brava behind today and drive farther into Northern Spain and Catalonia's picturesque Val d'Aran area. The journey is quite long, at nearly five hours, so it's best to leave early in the morning and plan to make a stop along the way. You have two excellent choices, both perfect for a place to stretch your legs and learn a bit about the area's history and culture.
You can keep your driving time the same and stop in the alpine town of La Seu d'Urgell or take a bigger detour to Cardona. La Seu d'Urgell has a beautiful ninth-century cathedral with a museum to visit, plus a beautiful sanctuary in the mountains only accessible by train. Cardona is home to a well-preserved castle and unique sites like salt mines, a monastery, and an archaeological park.
Day 8: Guided Hike of the 7 Lakes Route
Today you'll discover the beauty of Val d'Aran and the Pyrenees Mountains with an active excursion hiking the Cirque de Baciver trail, a 3-mile (5-km) semicircular route in the Pla de Beret nature reserve. This moderate trek follows the Dolent River through a valley and meadows to the glacial lakes of Baciver, so you'll get plenty of scenic vistas and viewpoints. Because it's not signposted, a guided hike is best, and the trail is suitable even for those without much trekking experience.
Day 9: Drive to Barcelona, Evening Tapas Walk in Three Neighborhoods
Today you'll start your drive back to Barcelona, where this adventure began! The route between Val d'Aran and Barcelona is similar to the drive from Costa Brava to Val d'Aran, so you can stop wherever you missed the last time. La Seu d'Urgell is best if you'd like to visit the Catedral de Santa Maria d'Urgell or check out the nature sanctuary. Cardona is ideal for its Castell de Cardona or its unique salt mines. Again, you can learn more about your drive from Val d'Aran to Barcelona here.
Day 10: Depart Barcelona
A private driver will transfer you from your hotel to Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) in time to catch your flight. Adiós!
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