Northern Spain & the Pyrenees Tour
17 Superb Days
- Leisurely 2 and 3 night stays
- Small group size from 10 to 28
- Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
- Character hotels in superb locations
- Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
- 'My Time' guaranteed
- Stay 3 nights in an 800 year old Parador hotel in the Rioja region
- See the walled medieval city of Laguardia and beautiful Haro
Enjoy a tasting at the fabulous Marques de Riscal winery
Stay 3 nights in Santander on the Atlantic Coast
- Take the spectacular cable car ride up to the summit of the Picos de Europa
- Stay 3 nights in Spain’s culinary capital of San Sebastián
- Explore Bilbao and enjoy lunchtime in the grand old quarter
- See the world famous Guggenheim Museum
- Visit Saint Jean de Luz and the dramatic French coastal resort of Biarritz
- Stay 3 nights in the heart of historical Carcassonne
- Sip bubbly where it was actually first invented
- Visit the medieval time capsule of Mirepoix
- Visit Figueres, once home to Salvador Dali
- Spend your final night in the very heart of Barcelona
A peek at two peaks!!
Why do we include 2 cable car rides on this trip? Because the days are so different. You see, it is not just about the dramatic views from the top of each, it is about the journey, the mountain experience – it is about the whole day itself. Take the Picos de Europa ride. Our journey takes us up through the dramatic gorges and villages, deep into the wild Picos National Park. Here we also enjoy a ‘Fabada’ mountain lunch
(included, of course, after all this is Albatross). So the cable car itself is not the destination, but an excuse for a great day out. And in the Pic
Du Midi, in the French Pyrenees? Much higher, much bigger views, and a huge observatory at the top like something out of a James Bond
movie. And the journey? We follow a part of the famous Tour de France bicycle route over the Tourmalet Pass, an experience enhanced by
the struggling cyclists we pass up hill. Albatross always include those extra days to really experience additional, unusual, sensational sights. There’s more to travel than simply ticking highlight cities off a list. There’s also the experiences. Whether travelling from peak to peak, or visiting the cliff top citadel of Minerve, or the cafés by the Canal du Midi, we do these extra things because they simply can’t be missed!
Day 1: Madrid welcome
Day 2: Burgos El Cid and the Rioja Region
Day 3: Ancient Pamplona and Olite
Day 4: Haro, Laguardia and Marques de Riscal vineyard
Day 5: Elegant Vitoria and coastal Santander
Day 6: Picos de Europa
Day 7: Santander ‘My Time’, Altamira Caves and Santillana de Mar
Hand Selected Experience
Altamira Caves, so close, so real
admire them in the amazing replica cave built beside the cave entrance, as part of a fascinating museum. So close, so real,
our local guide will breathe life into the ancient story
Day 8: Castro Urdiales, Bilbao and San Sebastián
Day 9: San Sebastián sightseeing and ‘My Time’
Day 10: Seaside Saint Jean De Luz and Biarritz
Day 11: City of Pau, Lourdes and Tarbes
Day 12: Hautes-Pyrenees and Pic du Midi cable car
Day 13: Mirepoix and Abbey of St Hilaire in Limoux
Hand Selected Experience
Sip bubbly, where it was first invented
Everyone thinks ‘bubbly’ was invented in the Champagne region. Not so! A full 100 years beforehand, the monks of St Hilaire
Abbey created this celebratory brew, and they did it so well too! Known as ‘Blanquette de Limoux’, it tastes terrific. Maybe that is because the abbey and cloisters where it is made is a 600 year old jewel of Romanesque architecture, or maybe because sipping it, where bubbly was first invented, adds dreaminess and nostalgia to the flavour. Or maybe because it is just so good!
Day 14: Carcassonne sightseeing and ‘My Time’
Day 15: Minerve, Le Somail and Canal du Midi
Day 16: Figueres and Barcelona
Day 17: Barcelona
Incredible Value Inclusions
- ALL excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
- Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
- Travel in a first class air-conditioned touring coach
- 16 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
- Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
- 27 meals – including breakfast daily (B), 2 lunches (L) ‘Fabada’ mountain lunch in Potes, and beside the Canal du Midi and 9 dinners (D)
- Tea, coffee and a complimentary beverage with all included dinners
- Hand Selected Albatross Experiences - cable car rides Picos de Europa and Pic du Midi, barge cruise on the Canal du Midi
- Local guides as described in the itinerary
- ALL tips to your Tour Manager, Driver and Local Guides
- Personal audio system whilst on tour
- Free WiFi on most coaches and at hotels
- Albatross Tours App
- Albatross Memories Photobook
Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Rioja- 3 nights
As defined by the Paradores Hotel organisation, a ‘Parador’ is a “kind of luxury hotel, usually located in a converted historical building such as a monastery or castle”. Our first class hotel for these three nights, the Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, will not disappoint. Dating back to the 12th century and sitting in the heart of the old town, this former hospital building was built to house pilgrims on the Way of St James. It now boasts stone gothic archways and magnificent lounges and grand hallways.
Hotel Hoyuela, Santander - 3 nights
Mercure Monte Igueldo, San Sebastian - 3 nights
Set on Mount Igueldo overlooking the Bay of La Concha, this modern 4-star hotel is connected to the city by a fully functional 100-year-old funicular railway. The air conditioned guest rooms are spacious and functional. Enjoy panoramic ocean views from the hotel’s restaurant which specialises in Basque cuisine.
Le Rex, Tarbes - 2 nights
In a fantastic location right in the heart of town, ‘Le Rex’ is a superb first class, modern designer hotel.
The Best Western le Donjon, Carcassonne - 3 nights
Albatross you have done it again! I waited for this tour for 2 years and it has exceeded all expectations. From the wonderful countryside we travelled through to the small villages with so much character, all handpicked I'm sure. It was a gastronomic event unsurpassed, wow such delights! The tour was run at a leisurely pace and I still love the 3 night stops. It was so well organised you wouldn't believe it was an inaugural tour. The coach was excellent, the USB ports for each seat are terrific and WiFi exellent. Our coach driver Jose was superb driving in those small rural towns, missing by a whisker sometimes. He was always cheery and helped us with our bags and entering and leaving the coach, a cool customer indeed. Darren our tour manager was amazing. Extremely well organised. We knew what was happening all the time. His commentary was expansive and captivating. How he does it all amazes me. On top of that he is a very kind, courteous and caring person. I loved it all and shall treasure the memories always!
This tour exceeded all expectations. It was great to relax and have full confidence in both the tour manager and the coach driver as they handled their roles professionally, efficiently and calmly. On pre-arrival into our stops we were given a history of the area and optional activities which was extremely helpful for us to manage our time to it's full potential and our energy levels at the time. There were moments of free time as we strolled beside the beaches that it felt more like a holiday than a tour, then there were other times that it felt more like an adventure. I loved the mix of cultures that we experienced and the variety of countryside, and of course, the food. For the inaugural tour I felt it ran very smoothly only for the exception of Biarritz when it was a public holiday weekend and very busy.
We had a fabulous time. Thank you!!
We had 4 main reasons for choosing an Albatross tour:
- Size of groups
- Quality of the hotels
- Quality of the food
- No tipping
In each of these areas we were extremely happy.
Darren, our tour manager, was exceptional, very knowledgeable, extraordinarily talented and fluent in languages, helpful and caring. The tour was extremely well organised considering it was the inaugural tour. It was a wonderful tour, thank you very much.
I booked this tour with confidence having travelled with Albatross Tours on two previous occasions. Once again the varied itinerary, inclusions, high standard of hotels, restaurants, coach and driver was synonymous with Albatross. Pre and post-tour information (including the Travel app) was helpful but above all, our efficient and thoughtful multi-lingual Tour Manager was invaluable. I believe Albatross Tours deliver value for money and a reliability you can depend upon.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Three night stays in most places was really appreciated. Our guide, Darren Wheatley, was informative, caring and attended to the needs of us all. The mix of guided tours and free time was ideal. Pic du Midi excursion was the highlight for me. It was a wonderful day and the weather was perfect!
Lynette Paige, July 2018