Itinerary Highlights
    • Hunt out the best pintxos (Basque tapas) in San Sebastian
    • Hike through the Divine Gorge in the Picos de Europa
    • Sample some of the finest port in Porto
    • Relax among vineyards overlooking the serene Douro Valley

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This 16-day itinerary explores the best of northern Spain and Portugal. From the vibrant Basque cities of San Sebastian and Bilbao to the natural beauty of the Picos de Europa and lush Douro Valley, you’ll never want this European adventure to end.

Beginning in charming San Sebastian, you’ll sample some of the best food in the Basque country and learn how to surf like a local. It’s on to Bilbao next for a couple of days of art and culture, before exploring the spectacular mountains of the Picos de Europa National Park. After hiking glorious trails and an epic canoeing adventure, you’ll head to the final stop on the Spanish leg of your trip, the historic city of Santiago de Compostela.
Say farewell to Spain as you embark on the Portuguese part of your journey: first stop, Porto. A tile-clad city steeped in culture and history, you’ll discover Porto’s many wonders on a fascinating city tour. For the final leg of your holiday, you’ll head inland to the beautiful Douro Valley, where strolls among the vineyards, wine tastings, boat trips and relaxation await.


Everything is 100% tailored to you

San Sebastian Bound

There are several two-hour flights to Bilbao daily, so depending on which one we have booked for you, you'll arrive between late morning and mid-afternoon. Once you have collected the keys to your hire car, you'll make the hour-and-a-half drive to your first stop, the coastal city of San Sebastian, the Basque capital. Alternatively, jump in the car on a classic road trip from the UK to Europe, enjoying the delights of France on your way to San Sebastian.

Once you have dropped your bags in your room and got your bearings, you'll meet your expert local foodie guide for a tour of San Sebastian's best pintxos (Basque tapas) spots, an essential part of any day in Donostia (the Basque name for San Sebastian). As you make your way between the best bars in the city – be prepared to squeeze in, as most of them are four stools and 400 bottles behind the bar affairs – you’ll hunt out the freshest prawns, line-caught baby squid and perfectly charred steak, pairing each with a complementary drink. Our local Concierge will recommend their favourite haunts so there's no danger of FOMO.


Catch Some Waves

After a morning spent exploring the city at your own pace, you'll make your way to a local surf shop to experience the other essential part of life in San Sebastian - surfing. Under the instructions of an expert, you'll work up an appetite for a hearty Basque supper as you learn to pop up, carve and maybe even hang ten on the perfect city beach break that is Zurriola Beach. After your lesson, you'll have some time to relax on the beach before dinner. Consult our Concierge again for their favourite spots.


Bilbao Bound

Today, spend another lazy morning in San Sebastian before hopping in your car and making the short return journey to Bilbao, the next stop on your road trip. After you have dropped your bags in your room, we recommend going for a wander around the compact city before dinner.


Bilbao City Tour

This morning your expert local guide will meet you at your hotel for a walking tour of the city. You'll visit the old town, as well as the ultra-modern area around the iconic Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum. And if you fancy it, you can dip into the titanium-clad museum and learn more about its permanent collection, which includes work by Yves Klien and Andy Warhol. Suitably art-sated, you'll move on to the Mercado de la Ribera, where you'll enjoy lunch (more pintxos) and local wine tasting. Afterwards, you can spend the afternoon discovering the 'Guggenheim-effect' - the recent surge in art-related tourism to Bilbao, including Louise Bourgeois' spider sculpture 'Mamma.'


Picos de Europa National Park

Spend your final morning in Bilbao strolling around your favourite spots in the city and enjoying your last few pintxos. After lunch, you'll make the two-and-a-half-hour drive to your country estate hotel in the beautiful setting of Fuente De, Picos de Europa National Park. Settle into your home for the next four nights and spend the rest of the day exploring your stunning surroundings before dinner.


Canoeing the Deva River

It’s your first full day in the picturesque park, so rise and shine this morning for an active day spent outdoors. After breakfast, you’ll be met at your hotel and privately transferred to the launch point for your canoeing adventure along the majestic Deva River. The next three hours will be a visual delight, as you glide down small currents and calm stretches of water, past river beaches and abundant wildlife. You’ll enjoy a private guided tour and a picnic lunch in a secluded riverside beauty spot. At the end of your trip, you'll be privately transferred back to your hotel – just make sure you don't forget to leave a towel and some dry clothes in the car!


Hike to Vega de Urriellu

This morning, make sure you have a hearty breakfast and plenty of coffee as today, you’ll embark on a five-hour-long hike. Led by a private tour guide, you'll hike from your hotel with the aim of reaching the Vega de Urriellu mountain refuge hut. First, take the Fuente Dé funicular to the small village of Bulne, which is unreachable by car. The views back across the valley from here are beautiful, and once you’ve drunk your fill, you'll continue on the well-trodden path towards Torre de Horcado Rojos. You can admire the clear blue waters of the Lloroza lakes along the way, and continue hiking up to the iconic Naranjo de Bulnes limestone peak. Reaching the Vega de Urriellu hut in time for a well-earned mountain lunch, you can appreciate the spectacular views before descending and being privately transferred back to your hotel mid-afternoon.


Hike along the Cares River

Running into the Picos de Europa National Park is the Cares River. Also known as the Divine Gorge, running along the river is one of the most breathtaking trekking trails in Europe, carved out of the mountains over millennia. You’ll be transferred via off-road taxi to the start of the route and led by an expert guide along the hiking trail, which meanders for almost eight miles through the most beautiful parts of the gorge. Explaining the flora and fauna alongside the geological history of the area, your guide will keep you distracted from aching legs on this four-hour walk. Post-hike, you'll return to your hotel for a well-earned rest and a bite to eat.


Onwards to Santiago de Compostela

After your last lazy morning in the mountains, you'll make the five-hour drive west towards Santiago de Compostela, your base for the next two nights. Your stylish hotel is a beautifully renovated convent located in the heart of the city, blending historic character with contemporary furnishings. Once you’ve settled in, we recommend consulting our Dossier of recommended eateries for dinner.

DAY 10

Explore Santiago de Compostela

Enjoy a filling buffet breakfast at your hotel before exploring Santiago de Compostela at your own pace today. The city is the capital of Spain's Galicia region and the beautiful cathedral is said to be the last resting place of the remains of the eponymous St James, making this one of the key pilgrimage sites in Europe. We recommend embracing the slow pace of life and wandering the picturesque streets before relaxing in the main square, drinking coffee and munching on churros.

DAY 11

Portugal Calling

After breakfast this morning you will make your way to Ourense, about an hour-and-a-half away, to drop off your hire car before a two-and-a-half hour private transfer to your hotel in Porto, Portugal. Your modern, cosy hotel has a bold retro feel and is located in the historic downtown of the city. Once you've settled in, head out to explore this charming city, hitting a few of our favourite bars for a glass or two of port wine before dinner. This time it’s our Portuguese local Concierge who will be there to advise on where to eat.

DAY 12

Discover Porto

Today, you have a full day to discover Porto. This morning, you’ll be met by your guide for a half day walking tour – lasting four hours – of this fascinating city. You will begin in Boavista and Foz, two of the city’s trendiest areas, where the Atlantic meets the Douro River, and wander around the city's best museums. In the historic city centre, you will explore the Church of Sao Francisco, whose simple gothic exterior belies an astonishing interior dripping in gold. After taking in the Sao Bento train station, the Stock Exchange building and the city's Cathedral, you’ll cross the river to Vila Nova de Gaia. Here, you’ll visit some of Porto's best port houses to learn about the fortified wine's production, storage methods and the secrets that make it one of the most popular post-dinner drinks in the world. Don’t worry, you’ll also get to sample some port for yourself at a wine tasting in one of our favourite cellars.

DAY 13

The Douro Valley

It’s time for the final leg of your journey today, so pick up your hire car (which will be with you for the next three days) and drive two hours inland towards the Douro Valley. You’ll be spending the next three nights in an elegantly transformed quinta or country estate overlooking the Douro river below. The rest of the day is yours to explore the serene estate grounds, half of which are dedicated to wine, and bask in the sun on the terraces.

DAYS 14 & 15

Decompress in the Douro Valley

The next two days are yours to do with as you like in this peaceful place. There’s plenty on offer at your hotel, so you needn’t leave the grounds to enjoy a wine tasting, walking trail or gastronomic delight. You can also venture further afield for more activities, including river cruises and visits to local vineyards. If you’d prefer something more zen, we can book you in at the hotel's salubrious spa or you can spend your days lounging by the tranquil outdoor pool while enjoying spectacular views over the valley.

DAY 16

Head Home

Savour your final breakfast out on the terrace this morning, before hopping in your hire car and driving back to Porto. After dropping off your trusty vehicle, it’s time to check in for your two-and-a-half-hour flight back to the UK this afternoon. Make sure you allow enough time to pick up some bottles of your new favourite drink (port) from duty-free.

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
The estimated cost for this trip starts from £3,405 to £5,435 per person. The final cost of the trip depends on the way we tailor it especially for you. The final cost varies according to several factors, which include the level of service, length of trip and advance booking time. The exact price will be provided on your personalised quote. The average starting price for this trip is £4,345 per person.
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