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13 Day France & Spain: History, Culture & Wine

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13 days

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

20 people




Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.


  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Visit Gaudi's masterpiece, the unfinished fanciful La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
  • In the Catalonian city of Figueres, visit the Dali Theatre-Museum, designed by the artist
  • Visit the impressive fortified walled city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Specially arranged wine tasting at a local vineyard of fabulous Bordeaux wines
  • Stay at a Chateau in the countryside near the UNESCO World Heritage village of St. Emilion
  • Visit the stunning seaside resort of San Sebastian, called the "Pearl" of northern Spain
  • In the Basque city of Bilbao, visit the inspirational and glittering Guggenheim Museum
  • Tour a traditional Spanish winery and cellar in the Rioja region and enjoy a wine tasting
  • Visit the renowned Prado Museum - stand before masterpieces by Goya and El Greco


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DAY 1, Tuesday - Depart for Spain

Depart for Barcelona, Spain

DAY 2, Wednesday - Arrive in Barcelona

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Barcelona! Transfer to your hotel. Time to rest and relax, or spend the day getting acquainted with this vibrant city. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Drink and orientation meeting at approximately 7 PM with your Tour Manager and fellow travelers, followed by a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 PM on Day 2 of the itinerary, or earlier if possible
Overnight: Barcelona
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Thursday - Visit Montjuic, Cooking Class

The day starts with a visit to the Montjuic recreational area housing the National Palace, built as the central pavilion for the 1929 International Exhibition. Montjuic is home to the Olympic complex, a number of sports facilities built for the 1992 Summer Olympics, and at its center is the impressive Olympic Stadium. Afterwards, take part in a step by step paella cooking class to prepare a meal in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. For lunch, savor your own creation! The afternoon is at leisure
Overnight: Barcelona
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4, Friday - Discover Gaudi's Architecture

This artistic city is renowned for the famous works of Gaudi, the master architect. Visit Gaudi's legendary and still unfinished fanciful masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, a colossal church that was first started in 1882. Along the Paseo de Gracia, view the unique La Pedrera (Casa Mila) with its stone like facade and Casa Batllo, which appears to have been constructed from skulls and bones. Visit Parc Guell, where the colors and expressions of Gaudi’s work are boldly displayed. Afterward, stop at the Els Encantes, the largest flea market in Barcelona and one of the oldest markets in Europe, dating back to the 14th century. Over 500 vendors display their wares, ranging from antique furniture to secondhand clothes. Balance of the day is at leisure
Overnight: Barcelona
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5, Saturday - Girona, Figueres Dali Museum, Travel to Carcassonne

Depart for Girona, northern Catalonia’s largest city. The historic quarter, with its ancient arcade houses and cobbled streets, is crowned by a magnificent cathedral on the eastern bank of the River Ter. In the Old City, Arabic-style bathhouses and the preserved Call (medieval Jewish Quarter) are all enclosed by defensive Roman walls. Continue to the small Catalonian city of Figueres, where Salvador Dali was born, and visit the famous Dali Theatre-Museum, designed by the artist himself. The extended collection of his work covers Dali's entire career and highlights some of his most outstanding artistic creations. Departing Spain, cross into France, skirting the Mediterranean coast to the Pyrenees. Arrive at the impressive fortified walled city of Carcassonne. This evening, dinner is at the hotel
Overnight: Carcassonne
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6, Sunday - Carcassonne City Tour, Local Game of Petanque

This morning, explore enchanting Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, perched on a rocky hilltop surrounded by ancient towers and turrets, with expansive views of the city below. A guided walk takes you along the cobbled streets to the St. Nazaire Basilica, adorned with magnificent stained glass and intricate carvings, featuring both Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Play a local game of Petanque with your fellow travelers and browse the tiny shops selling medieval wares. Later, depart the city and drive east to the medieval town of Mirepoix. View the 14th century fortified gate and some remains of the town's walls. Marvel at one of the finest surviving arcaded market square, bordered by colorful half-timbered houses dating from the 13th to 15th centuries. Admire the facades of some of the houses, featuring typical medieval wood carvings. Afterward, drive back to Carcassonne
Overnight: Carcassonne
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 7, Monday - Toulouse Sightseeing en Route to St. Emilion

After breakfast, depart for St. Emilion. Along the way, stop for an orientation tour of Toulouse, the regional capital. Known as the Pink City, on the river Garonne, Toulouse is known latterly for its modern aircraft and space rocket manufacturing. View the Capitole Square and City Hall, which is organized around the Henry the fourth courtyard, adorned with the French king’s statue. Visit the Saint-Sernin Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built from the 11th to the 14th centuries, and a major stop on the pilgrimage route of St. James. It is one of the largest Romanesque churches in Europe. After lunch, continue the drive that takes you to the French wine country around Bordeaux. In this fertile area, viticulture was first introduced by the Romans and further intensified in the Middle Ages. The tradition was carried on by the monk Emilion who was the very first to begin commercial wine production in Bordeaux. Arrive in St. Emilion for dinner and overnight
Overnight: St. Emilion
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8, Tuesday - Bordeaux City Tour, Wine Tasting

Today discover Bordeaux nestled on the Garonne River. Distinguished for the wines that bear its name, Bordeaux is considered by connoisseurs to be among the best wine producers in the world. This bustling city with its 18th century buildings has been totally revitalized with a lively waterfront area with chic boutiques and cafes. A guided tour will show you the gargoyle adorned La Fleche St. Michel tower, one of the tallest medieval stone towers in France. At the vast Place des Quinconces, view the inspirational Girondins Monument. In the historic Old Town, view the Grand Theatre and continue to the Triumphal Arch, a monumental landmark erected to celebrate the reign of the Roman Empire. There will be time to independently explore the cosmopolitan city and perhaps stroll the Rue St. Catherine. After a specially arranged wine tasting of fabulous Bordeaux wines, return to the town of St. Emilion. Stroll among Romanesque churches and fascinating historic ruins stretching along the narrow streets and ramparts. Spend free time to wander on your own in this delightful town before returning to the chateau for dinner
Overnight: St. Emilion
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9, Wednesday - Biarritz, San Sebastian

Journey to the elegant coastal town of Biarritz. Once a whaling and fishing town, it was totally transformed into a resort for royalty and the rich and famous when Napoleon III and his Spanish wife Eugenie built their palace here. Continue to the stunning seaside resort of San Sebastian, encircled by leafy mountains and sandy beaches looking out onto sparkling bays. Often called the "Pearl" of northern Spain, in this coastal gem, view the gorgeous architecture and the lovely plazas and flower-filled parks that dot the city. Then, travel west to the extraordinary Basque city of Bilbao, home to the glittering Guggenheim Museum
Overnight: Bilbao
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10, Thursday - Bilbao's Old Quarter, Guggenheim Museum

In Bilbao, visit the heart of the Casco Viejo, the city's charming Old Quarter, with its original seven streets dating back to the early 1400s. View the 14th century Gothic Cathedral de Santiago with its impressive Renaissance entryway. The day's highlight is your visit to the astonishing Guggenheim Museum. Designed by architect Frank O. Gehry, the structure is dominated by his inspired use of flowing canopies, ship shapes, towers and flying fins, all gleaming with titanium tiles. Considered one of the 20th century's most influential architectural masterpieces, the museum houses the world's most important collections of avant-garde art
Overnight: Bilbao
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 11, Friday - Wine Tasting in Rioja, Madrid

Marvel at the scenery of green fertile valleys, dramatic mountains and picturesque villages as you approach the beautiful wine region of Rioja. Here, visit a traditional Spanish winery (bodega) and walk through the lush vineyards. At the cellar, enjoy a wine tasting followed by a delectable lunch. Then, travel to extraordinary Madrid
Overnight: Madrid
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 12, Saturday - Madrid City Tour

Your introduction to Madrid's striking architecture begins at grand Plaza de Cibeles Square, a neoclassical complex of marble sculptures and spectacular fountains that have become an iconic symbol for the city. View the ornate 18th century Royal Palace, Europe’s second largest. Then, on to the world-renowned Prado Museum, one of the finest art museums in the world - you'll stand before masterpieces by Velazquez, Goya, El Greco and other important Spanish artists. Afternoon is at leisure or join the optional tour of Toledo. Take a walking tour among the most famous monuments, visiting the St. Tome Church with its El Greco masterpiece and Santa Maria la Blanca Synagogue with its beautiful Moorish architecture, the oldest synagogue in Europe still standing. Tonight, bid adios to Madrid and your newfound friends at a Farewell Dinner
Optional: Tour of Toledo (PM)
Overnight: Madrid
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 13, Sunday - Depart Spain

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast


  • 11 nights First Class accommodations
  • 3 nights Barcelona
  • 2 night Carcassonne
  • 2 nights St. Emilion
  • 2 nights Bilbao
  • 2 nights Madrid
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 19 meals: 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners (including welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Wine, coffee and tea served with all meals
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

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