It’s always so hard to choose between Rioja, Catalonia, Ribera and the Basque region so we decided to blend their delicious wines and rich cultures into one mouthwatering tapestry. Join Capital Public Radio in the centuries-old debate over which of these regions produces the most delectable olive oil, the greatest art, and the most exquisite wine. On this journey you’ll meander through colorful markets, charming villages, world-class museums and lush vineyards as you experience (and taste) first hand the culinary heritage of España!
HERE WAS OUR TRIP AT A GLANCE
3 Nights Madrid (with Toledo & Segovia)
3 Nights Burgos (with Rioja & the Guggenheim Museum)
4 Nights Barcelona (with Picasso, Gaudi, Miro & Great Wine Estates)
Numerous wine tastings with the producers in Rioja. * Privately guided museum visits to the Prado and Reina Sofia museums in Madrid * An insider’s visit to the cutting edge Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao * Historic strolls through the medieval town centers of Toledo, Burgos & Segovia * The Picasso Museum of Barcelona * Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and Gaudi district * Overnight stays in historic charming hotels * King Phillip’s palace of El Escorial * Franco’s Valley of the Fallen * Time to make independent discoveries.
- With Capital Public Radio's Nick Brunner & Amber Leonti
- An expert Earthbound Expeditions guide
- Ten nights in charming hotels and lodges (superior three and four star)
- All breakfasts, five traditional lunches and five multi-course dinners featuring regional specialties
- Domestic flight from Bilbao to Barcelona
- All entrances as mentioned in your Flavors of Spain itinerary
- Transportation by private air-conditioned mini bus
- Gratuities for your driver and guide
- City and regional maps
- A pre-tour gathering at Capital Public Radio
- Numerous wine tastings in each region visited
12 Days / 11 Nights (when including air travel)
$ 4,375 Land Price, Double occupancy (with 26-34 guests) See below for Group air option
$675 Single Supplement (waived if you are willing to share & a roommate is found)
Group flight departs San Francisco Intl. at 3:00pm on Sunday, September 21, 2014
Trip officially began at 7:00pm on Monday, September 22, in Madrid
Journey concluded on the morning of October 2, in Barcelona / San Francisco
*Prices based on an exchange rate of .74 Euro = $1 USD
Space is limited
GROUP AIR OPTION: Provided by Lufthansa Airlines
$1,195 roundtrip to Spain via a direct flight to Frankfurt from SF International
Add just $35 for roundtrip shuttle service from Sacramento to the SF airport
NOT INCLUDED: Travel insurance and any items not listed in your CapRadio Itinerary.
DAY 1: Group Flight Departs the USA for Madrid, Spain
DAY 2: Arrive in Spain’s Capital City, Madrid!
DAY 3: The Prado Museum & Reina Sofia
Today the Reina Sofia houses masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Miro. This afternoon you may wish to visit the Royal Palace or stroll through the colorful bistro-lined streets of the Santa Ana neighborhood. This is a free evening to enjoy dinner in one of Madrid’s many excellent restaurants. Sleep in Madrid (B, D)
DAY 4: An Outing to Towering Medieval Toledo
Perched high above a winding river, Toledo looms from a distance. Toledo’s historic roots run deep. Once a Roman town, it was occupied by the Christian Visigoths in the 6th century. Later, in the 8th century, Muslim armies swept across Spain, and Toledo became a thriving commercial center where Jews, Christians and Muslims peacefully co-existed.
Finally, after several hundred years Catholic forces returned again, turning this city into their Christian capital. Together, we’ll take an in-depth look at Toledo’s historic cathedral, El Greco’s premier masterpiece The Count of Orgaz, and visit one of Spain's oldest & stunning synagogues, Santa Maria Blanca. The afternoon is yours to stroll Toledo’s many cobblestone streets or visit the Alcazar. Sleep in Madrid (B, L)
DAY 5: Depart Madrid for Burgos (the city of El Cid!)
This morning we are off to explore the wine region surrounding the city of Burgos. Along the way we’ll stop at a stark and haunting royal residence, El Escorial. This palace was once home to Europe’s most powerful monarch, Philip II. After touring this awe-inspiring place, we’ll break for coffee. Afterwards we’ll make a short drive to the emotionally moving monument created by Spain’s dictator of thirty years, General Franco. Once victorious,General Franco forced thousands to toil in this valley in order to build Spain’s largest memorial, dedicated to the soldiers killed in Spain’s bloody civil war.
Just one hour farther north lies the celebrated town of Segovia. Well known for its castle, cathedral and Roman aqueduct, Segovia is well worth exploring. In Segovia you will feast on one of the region’s most celebrated dishes …roast suckling pig. We’ll have lunch here and time to discover Segovia’s many charms before heading two hours north to Burgos.
DAY 6: Discover Burgos
The cathedral of Burgos, a Unesco World Heritage site, is a masterpiece that’s
worth the trip to Burgos on its own. It had humble origins as a modest
Romanesque church, but work began on a grander scale in 1221. Remarkably,
within 40 years most of the French Gothic structure that you see today had
been completed. The twin towers, which went up later in the 15th century,
each represent 84m of richly decorated Gothic fantasy and they’re surrounded
by a sea of similarly intricate spires. Probably the most impressive of the portals
is the Puerta del Sarmental, the main entrance for visitors, although the honor
could also go to the Puerta de la Coronería, on the northwestern side, which
shows Christ surrounded by the Evangelists.
And tucked away in the cathedral lies the body of El Cid. Few names resonate through Spanish history quite like El Cid, the 11th-century soldier of fortune and adventurer whose story tells in microcosm the tumultuous years when Spain was divided into Muslim and Christian zones. El Cid has become a romantic, idealized figure of history, known for his unswerving loyalty and superhuman strength; his exploits captured the popular imagination as expressed in an anonymous 12th-century epic poem and the 1961 film starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren.
El Cid (from the Arabic sidi for 'chief' or 'lord') was born Rodrígo Diaz in Vivar, a hamlet about 10km north of Burgos, in 1043. After the death of Ferdinand I, he entered into the murky world of royal succession which saw the king's five heirs squabbling over the throne and, ultimately, El Cid's banishment from Castilla in 1076. With few scruples as to whom he served, El Cid offered his services to a host of rulers, both Christian and Muslim. With each battle, he became ever more powerful and wealthy. Today you’ll walk past his coffin as we tour the cathedral.
Enjoy lunch in Burgos and then take some time to explore this gem at your own relaxing pace.
THE ROAD TO SANTIAGO
DAY 7: A full day of wine tasting and sightseeing in Rioja
Set in the foothills of the Pyrenees close to the French border, La Rioja produces what most people have in mind when they think of Spanish wines. The region was making millions of gallons even during the regime of the ancient Romans, and it boasts quality-control laws promulgated by a local bishop in the 9th century.
Upon our return to Burgos you’ll have time to stroll through the charming medieval
streets. Why not stop in a charming café for a glass of vino and some tapas. Sleep in Burgos (B, L)
DAY 8: Tour Guggenheim Bilbao Museum and Fly South to Barcelona
In Bilbao there is a different way of seeing the city's main museums and monuments: by boat. You will be able to see the following things while you sail down the Nervión estuary for an hour: the impressive Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, Euskalduna Palace, Zubizuri bridge, the Town Hall, Izozaki towers, Deusto University... all these are icons in a city that many describe as a laboratory of open-air architecture. Enjoy a private tour of the Guggenheim museum and lunch. In the afternoon we’ll make our way to the Bilbao airport where we’ll board our 45 minute flight to the capital of Catalonia.
BARCELONA: in the footsteps of Pablo Ruiz Picasso
DAY 9: The Gothic Quarter, School of Fine Arts & Miro
This morning we set out to discover Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. In doing so, we’ll also explore the world of Picasso’s youth. He dined here with friends and took evening strolls with family. We’ll see the Cathedral of Barcelona, known as La Seu and go underground to view a well-preserved Roman temple.
Picasso. Or you may wish to visit the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona.
The late afternoon and evening is free for you to discover the many charms of Barcelona at your own leisurely pace. Optional concerts this evening are available at the Palau de la Musica. Your guide can provide suggestions for events this evening. Sleep in Barcelona. (B, L)
DAY 10: Great Catalan Wine Estates
Just a short one hour drive from Barcelona you’ll find two of Catalonia’s greatest wine regions; Montsant and Priorat.
This fascinating beautiful outing will combine village hopping with wine tasting.
Enjoy a lunch in the countryside before returning to Barcelona.
Sleep in Barcelona (B, L)
DAY 11: A Day with Picasso and Gaudi
Your day begins at La Boqueria, the most famous market in the city, located on the lively Rambla Avenue. Accompanied by your guide, you’ll explore this bustling market, with the freshest fruits and vegetables you can imagine, and quite a unique display of fish and seafood stalls. Next, your walk continues to a nearby neighborhood bursting with early 20th century architecture designed by the world famous architect and Picasso contemporary, Antoni Gaudí. Situated on an asymmetrical corner lot, lies a large apartment building that was immediately dubbed "La Pedrera," or "the quarry," because of its cliff-like walls. This imaginative building was designed by Antoni Gaudí i Cornet and built between 1906 and 1910 for the Milà family. This is one of the main Gaudí residential buildings and one of the most imaginative houses in the history of the architecture.
DAY 12: Your wine journey concludes after breakfast Return home with a lifetime of delicious memories!
About Rioja & Catalonia Wine Regions & Dining Out
Meals and Dining Out: In Spain lunch is king. Spaniards enjoy large multi-course lunches and typically enjoy a lighter dinner at 10:00pm. Through the years we have noticed that American travelers, having just dined for 2 hours on a delicious hearty lunch, are in no mood to have a large dinner the same day. Therefore the lion’s share of meals will be beautiful traditional multi-course lunches. And we are guessing that by dinner time a tapa and a glass of wine is all you’ll be looking for.
Montsant are nestled at the base of the Montsant mountain range, just an hour and a half’s drive south of Barcelona. Priorato is known for its somewhat expensive, powerful, rich reds while neighboring Montsant produces value priced, elegant, complex wines. Both regions share many similarities; there are distinct differences in the soils and terroir that set the wines apart.