The Mountains & Mediterranean Marvels of Spain (Starts Madrid) 2024

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1-888-597-3519

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13 Days / 12 Nights
Availability : April to November
Start: Madrid, Spain
End: Madrid, Spain

The Mountains & Mediterranean Marvels of Spain (Starts Madrid): 2 nts Cuenca, 3 nts Valencia, 2 nts Barcelona, 2 nts Huesca, 3 nts Haro

Like the best trips, this journey never goes in a straight line.

You go up, down, left, right, over, under and all around.

You clamber over the Pyrenean mountains, into medieval castles, and through Roman remains. You weave along coastlines favoured by foodies and artists. And you glide by national parks and the rolling olive fields of La Rioja as you search for the best glass of wine you’ve ever tasted.

Take the scenic route through Spain and discover the mountains and marvels on this thirteen-day journey.

13 DAYS / 12 NIGHTS / MAX 16 GUESTS

Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca to book this small group tour The Mountains & Mediterranean Marvels of Spain (Starts Madrid).

Tour Details
Places you explore

Cuenca – Marvel at the hanging houses of this medieval city stacked on a promontory between two gorges

Peñíscola – Surrounded by lavender and the ocean, the ‘City in the Sea’ is a true Mediterranean marvel

Valencia – The birthplace of Paella and one of Spain’s most liveable coastal cities

Montserrat Monastery – Feel the serenity of the old Benedictine priory perched on the slope of a magnificent mountain

La Rioja – The famously delicious wines here perfectly compliment the views of the Cantabrian Mountains

Monte Perdido National Park – Soaring peaks, glacial lakes, and cascading waterfalls adorn this biosphere reserve in the Pyrenees

San Sebastián– The top beach town in the Basque region is known as both a surfer’s paradise and a foodie heaven

Pick Up Location & TIme

Madrid  (Google Map)
9:00am – Hotel Porcel Ganivet, C. de Toledo, 111, 113, 28005 Madrid, Spain

Drop off Location & Time

Barcelona  (Google Map)
6:15pm – Hotel Evenia Rocafort, C. de Rocafort, 23, 25, 08015 Barcelona, Spain

Price Includes

  • 12 nights 3/4 star hotel accommodation
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • Daily breakfasts
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
  • Walking tour of Cuenca including entrance to the Cathedral
  • Visit Ciudad Encanada
  • Visit of the Ruins of the Roman Settlemen
  • Visit of Belmonte with Spectacular Castle
  • Visit of the winery in Requena
  • Visit to Monastery of Santa Maria del Puig
  • Tour of Xativa Castle
  • Monte Perdido National Park shuttle bus
  • Entrance to Aljafería Palace
  • Visit of the winery with wine tasting and snack
  • Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

Meals

  • 12 breakfasts
  • 0 lunches
  • 0 dinners
  • 0 teas

Price Excludes

  • Entry fees to visitor attractions/Optional Activities
  • Airfare
  • Transfers
  • Pre / Post hotel nights
  • Driver / Tour Leader gratuity is at your discretion
  • Travel Insurance
What to Expect

Explore in 16 seat mini-coaches, always taking the scenic route, you have great views through large windows, and you’re free to sample the local tipple without worrying about driving. Our driver-guides are famous for their knowledge, facts, quirky stories, history, and fairy-tales. They truly take you beyond the guidebooks and into your adventure. You make your trip your own. We provide the timetable; and you can choose where you want to eat and which attractions you pay to see. So, if you want to skip a castle and read your book by a mountain view, you can.

A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel. So we’ve hand-picked three-star to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys. Your accommodation is included in the tour price.

Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it’s worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.

We’ve arranged experiences for you on your tour. The ‘included activities’ are already booked and paid for as part of your trip, whereas you can purchase ‘optional activities’ while on your tour. You also have free time in many destinations to pick and choose which attractions you visit.

Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views. Carry swimwear and a towel for swimming spots. Your holiday’s more fun when you protect yourself from the sun.

Itinerary
The Mountains & Mediterranean Marvels of Spain (Starts Madrid)

Day 1Madrid - Villarejo de Salvanés - Cuenca

  • Arrive in a town that’s carved into the cliffs, Cuenca

You say adiós to Madrid and start your journey through Castilla-La Mancha, the heart of Old Spain. This stunning region boasts gentle landscapes, lush nature, and unrivalled Manchego cheese. It’s also where Cervantes set the fictional journeys of Don Quijote in his novel that laid the foundation for modern European literature.

Your first stop is Villarejo de Salvanés. This small town boasts an unusual castle and archaeological sites that pre-date the Romans.

You’ll make your way to Cuenca, where you’ll get the chance to learn more about this medieval town on a walking tour. Explore the cobbled streets and marvel inside the 12th-century-built Gothic cathedral (ticket included).

From Cuenca, you’ll explore one of Castilla-La Mancha’s finest nature reserves – Parque Natural de la Serranía de Cuenca, a 73,000-hectare wildlife paradise.

Your first stop in the natural park is in the ‘Enchanted City’. This location boasts some of the strangest rock formations you’ll ever see. Wander around this magical landscape and spot mushroom-shaped stones and faces glaring at you from limestone.

You continue your journey through this landscape and stop at the stunning Mirador de Uña viewpoint.

You return to Cuenca where you’ll stay for two nights so you can discover its gravity-defying hanging houses and delicious cuisine. (B)

Included Activities: Walking tour of Cuenca, Entrance to Cuenca Cathedral, and Entrance to Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted City)

Accommodation: Hotel Exe Cuenca or similar, Cuenca

Day 2Cuenca - Segóbriga - Belmonte - Cuenca

 

  • Revel in the ruins of a Roman settlement at Segóbriga

Today starts with a visit to the former Roman city of Segóbriga. Travel back in time as you explore one of the most important archaeological sites of the Spanish Meseta.

After you’ve wondered at the well-preserved ruins of the amphitheatre, public baths and temples, you’ll travel south to Belmonte.

Here you’ll have free time here to try out some local Spanish delicacies for lunch before a visit to Castillo de Belmonte. This magnificent 15th-century castle is known for its unusual design, with a triangular courtyard and a six-pointed star shape.

Back in Cuenca, you can admire natural wonders and see dinosaurs at the Paleontological Museum if it’s open. Or, you can scroll through your images from the day over tapas and red wine before enjoying a well-earned rest. (B)

Included Activities: Entrance to the Roman settlement at Segóbriga and Entrance to Castillo de Belmonte

Optional Activities: Entrance to Castilla-La Mancha Paleontological Museum

Accommodation: Hotel Exe Cuenca or similar, Cuenca

Day 3Cuenca - Alcala del Júcar - Winery in Requena - Valencia

  • Savour the flavours of the wines and cuisines of the region
  • Relish paella at its birthplace in Valencia

You leave Cuenca and travel to the fascinating town of Alcala del Júcar. Built deep into natural caves, it’s located on a rocky slope between the castle and Júcar river. Here you’ll have time for lunch.

Later on, you head to a winery in Requena for an included wine tasting which will invigorate your taste buds. The delicious beverage has been produced in this area since at least the 7th century BC, so you know it’s going to be delicious.

You then travel to Valencia; the home of paella, laid-back nightlife, awesome architecture, and your accommodation for the next three nights. (B)

Included Activities:  Requena wine tasting

Accommodation: Hotel Eurostars Rey Don Jaime or similar, Valencia

Day 4Valencia - Albufera Natural Park - Valencia

  • Learn about Monastic life at the Monastery of Santa Maria
  • Roam through the unique wetlands of Albufera Natural Park

Today, your journey takes you on a half day trip that combines monastic knowledge with fantastic nature spots.

In the morning, you’ll visit the Monastery of Santa Maria in El Puig (ticket included). This large building combines cloisters with defensive structures and has been used as a temple, a school, and even a prison.

It’s now time to explore the rice paddies that gave birth to the paella in the Albufera Natural Park. You have the chance to take an optional boat ride or spend your time spotting the unique flora and fauna around the large freshwater lagoon. You’ll also have time here for lunch.

You arrive back in Valencia in the afternoon and discover more about the city on an orientation tour.

Use the evening to either enjoy the city’s famous nightlife or prepare for the next day of your adventure. (B)

Included Activities: Entrance to Monastery of Santa Maria in El Puig and Orientation tour of Valencia

Optional Activities: Boat ride in Albufera Natural Park

Accommodation: Hotel Eurostars Rey Don Jaime or similar, Valencia

Day 5Valencia - Xàtiva - Cullera - Valencia

  • Lose yourself in the history and narrow streets of Xàtiva

Xàtiva, the town of ‘a thousand fountains’ lies upon the slopes of Monte Vernissa. A castle crowns the hills, and the location is famous for ancient paper production, educational institutions, and the notorious House of Borgia. This morning, you travel here and start off with visiting the castle, orientation tour and free time to delve deep into all this history. The ticket to the fortress is included in your tour.

You’ll then embark on a journey to the lovely town of Cullera. You’ll have free time here to soak up the sun on one of the long sandy beaches or take in the panoramic views from the castle vantage point. The emblematic medieval structure dates back to the 13th century.

Your return to Valencia in the afternoon and can join an optional guided tour of the city combined with a tasty tapas experience. (B)

Included Activities: Entrance to Xàtiva Castle

Optional Activities: Guided city walk and tapas experience in Valencia

Accommodation: Hotel Eurostars Rey Don Jaime or similar, Valencia

Day 6Valencia - Peñiscola - Sitges - Barcelona

  • Admire a fusion of artistic and architectural styles in Sitges

You depart Valencia in the morning and make your way to the seaside town of Peñiscola. This place is known as the ‘City in the Sea’ and boasts a castle built by the Knights Templar. Choose to visit the fortress, which stands on the highest point of the peninsula, and admire the panoramic coastline. Or take a dip in the tranquil seas to cool off. You’ll also have time here for lunch.

A little further along the Mediterranean coast, your journey takes you to Sitges. A happening cultural hotspot, a menagerie of modernist architecture, and a few fascinating museums make this a great preparation for the big city.

You arrive in Barcelona in the evening. (B)

Optional Activities: Entrance to the Papa Lunas Castle in Peñiscola

Accommodation: Abba Sants Hotel or similar, Barcelona

Day 7Barcelona

  • Stare in awe at the works of Antoni Gaudí, the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism
  • Let your hair down and enjoy the beach life

Today, you have a free day to explore Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. This cosmopolitan city has it all: fabled architecture, sun-drenched beaches, and a world-class dining and drinking scene.

If you’re an art lover, marvel at the eccentric style of Gaudí’s finest masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia*.

Sun worshippers can laze around in the enchanting Park Güell before taking the plunge in the Mediterranean Sea on one of the city’s beaches.

Foodies may feast on hearty paella and tasty tapas and head to Mercat de la Boqueria food market for an unforgettable gourmet experience.

The evenings and nights hold limitless possibilities in Barcelona. But don’t get too carried away in bars and clubs because you continue your tour tomorrow. (B)

*This UNESCO-heritage site is very popular, so please book your ticket in advance.

Optional Activities: Ticket for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus

Accommodation: Abba Sants Hotel or similar, Barcelona

Day 8Barcelona - Montserrat - Lleida - Huesca

  • Marvel at sculptures and mountainous scenery at the monastery of Montserrat
  • Delve into Lleida, one of the most ancient towns in Catalonia

It’s time to contrast the bravado of Barcelona with the serrated peaks of Montserrat. This majestic mountain with strangely shaped crags is home to a Benedictine Monastery and one of Spain’s most venerated statues of the Madonna and Child. At your stop here, you can enjoy lunch, contemplate the life of monks and hermits, and explore the magnificent basilica.

You continue deep into the mountains of Catalonia and visit Lleida. This is one of the oldest towns in the region and is steeped in Roman history. It’s a little off the beaten track and you have time to discover its castle and cathedral.

As the evening settles in, you arrive in Huesca. You overnight here for two evenings and have plenty of time to amble around the medieval streets discovering the many churches and façades of this hilly town.

Optional Activities: Entrance to Montserrat Monastery and a choice of activities at Montserrat including cable car to the top of Montserrat and opportunity to watch the performance of the Montserrat Boys Choir

Accommodation: Hotel Pedro I de Aragón or similar, Huesca

Day 9Huesca - Torla-Ordesa - Jaca - Huesca

  • Let the perfect panoramas of the Pyrenees take your breath away
  • Step back in time and discover the ancient walls of Jaca

Put on your adventure hats and get ready for nature. This morning, you travel to Torla-Ordesa, the gateway to the Monte Perdido National Park.

From here, you explore crumbling cliffs, forests of oaks and pines, and vertical views up to 1,700 metres tall. There may be a little walking involved, so make sure you’re wearing good footwear. It’s worth it to see a few of the most scenic views in all the Pyrenees.

You leave Torla behind and head through the mountains to Jaca. Here, you can explore the perfectly preserved ‘star-shaped’ fortress, find out about the regional cuisine of Aragón, and tick off more quintessential Spanish cathedrals.

You travel back to Huesca and arrive in the early evening. (B)

Accommodation: Hotel Pedro I de Aragón or similar, Huesca

Day 10Huesca - Zaragoza - Tarazona - Haro

  • Survey a fusion of Islamic and Gothic style architecture at the Aljafería Palace
  • Gaze at gorgeous Goya paintings in Zaragoza

Zaragoza in Aragón looks as enchanting as it sounds. You travel here in the morning and have tickets to the 11th-century Aljafería Palace included in your tour.

After you’ve admired the patterned porticos of the beautiful palace, you have free time to explore the city. Art lovers can search for Goya paintings; history geeks can seek out Roman remains; and foodies can sample chireta, a local and delicious haggis type dish.

You then travel to Tarazona. This town boasts medieval Mudéjar style architecture: a glorious fusion of the ancient Muslim and Christian aesthetic ideals. Your neck will ache from all the staring up in wonder.

You arrive in Haro in time for your first glass of local La Rioja red wine. This wine-soaked village is your overnight location for three evenings. (B)

Included Activities: Entrance to Aljafería Palace

Accommodation: Hotel Eurostars Los Agustinos or similar, Haro

Day 11Haro - San Sebastián - Pamplona - Haro

  • Tantalise your tastebuds with the regional flavours of the Basque Country

Today, you explore the Basque country, a land of curious customs, incredible coasts, and fabulous flavours.

Your first stop is San Sebastián, a foodie heaven with the highest number of Michelin stars per capita. You have time here to grab lunch and check out the beautiful blonde beach.

You travel back inland to Pamplona. This town is famous for San Fermin, ‘the Running of the Bulls’. Fortunately, you aren’t going to have to run anywhere, instead you can stroll around the town’s splendid fortress walls and relax.

In the early evening, you travel back to Haro. (B)

Optional Activities: Entrance to La Rioja Museum

Accommodation: Hotel Eurostars Los Agustinos or similar, Haro

Day 12Haro - Santo Domingo de la Calzada - San Vicente de la Sonsierra - Haro

  • Take in the rustic villages and rolling green hills of La Rioja region
  • Sample famous La Rioja wine from the place it’s produced

In the morning, you embark on a scenic ride amongst the gentle hills of La Rioja region to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where you can wander the network of medieval streets or take the opportunity to visit the cathedral.  

A visit to the La Rioja region wouldn’t be complete without sampling the local produce and your next stop is a family run winery, for wine tasting and snacks.

From here you continue to the village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra. Cross the medieval bridge over the Ebro river and take in the amazing views over the valley from the castle.

In the afternoon, you arrive back in Haro with time to rest and do whatever you please. (B)

Included Activities: Visit and tasting at Bodegas Lecea, a Rioja winery

Optional Activities: Entrance to Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Accommodation: Hotel Eurostars Los Agustinos or similar, Haro

Day 13Haro - Burgos - Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso - Madrid

  • Cherish the stunning Cathedral of Burgos
  • Stroll the exquisite grounds of the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

You wave goodbye to La Rioja and travel to the region of Castile and León.

Your first stop is in Burgos, where you have a few hours to admire one of the most spectacular cathedrals in all of Spain and check if the local flavours can compete with your favourite dishes from La Rioja and the Basque regions.

You’ll have free time for lunch in Aranda de Duero, a paradise for lovers of fine wine and food. 

You head further south to the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso. Your included ticket to this stunning structure lets you wander through the rooms of Spain’s ‘mini-Versailles’ and wonder how much the gardening bill must be for its gorgeous grounds.

As the sun sets, you arrive in the country’s capital, Madrid. (B)

Included Activities: Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

Accommodation: Hotel Porcel Ganivet or similar, Madrid

Dates and Prices - Hotel accommodation
Departure Dates and Days Double/Twin (pp) Single Rate
2024: April 22 $5,690 $7,010
2024: May 6, 20 $5,920 $7,120
2024: June 3, 17 $5,920 $7,290
2024: July 1, 15, 29 $5,690 $7,010
2024: August 12, 26 $5,690 $7,070
2024: September 9, 23 $5,920 $7,230
2024: October 7, 21 $5,690 $7,110
2024: November 4 $5,620 $7,120

All guaranteed departures.

Pricing

Pricing is per person (pp) based on twin/ double occupancy.
Rates are in $ CAD.

 


Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca  to book.

Ask us for the best available pricing for your dates & choice of airline.

 

Notes
Mobility: All of our tours involve walking and require our guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility.

Luggage: You’re restricted to 20kg (44lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items.

Want to extend your stay in Madrid?  Ask us for a hotel package. 

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