Northern Spain Real Food Adventure
Enjoy authentic, affordable food experiences as you visit Santa Catarina Market, whip up Catalan specialties in a cooking class, tapas-hop in Logrono, discover the wine caves of Laguardia and indulge in pinxtos and traditional cider in San Sebastian.
From £1,800 (maximum group size 12)
Northern Spain Real Food Adventure
Days 1-3 Barcelona
Welcome to the irrepressible city of Barcelona. Ease into the rhythm of the city on a mouth-watering tapas crawl, which visits some of Barcelona’s best bars and bodegas. Meet the next morning at the quirky Santa Catarina Market and be introduced to the feisty flavours of Catalonia. Wander the stalls, tasting jamon (ham) off the bone, local olives and traditional cheeses, and pick up some ingredients for today’s cooking class. Spend the afternoon whipping up local specialties, like oven-baked chorizo and breaded fresh sardines, over a glass of local wine. The rest of the day is open to an array of wonderful possibilities. Take off on a gourmet tour of the city’s best produce stores, visit Gaudi’s curious Sagrada Familia or discover the city of Barcelona’s rich art history in museums and hole-in-the-wall galleries. Spend the next morning at the incredible La Boqueria, a market that has been in existence since the 1200s. Pull up a stool and munch on ensaimadas (pastry scrolls) as a flurry of trade fills its halls. Amply sated, take a walking tour around Barcelona’s Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter), which is bustling with people and filled with architectural treasures. Then, perhaps spend the day learning – and participating in – the process of cava making, which is the local sparking wine. Run at an enchanting family-run vineyard in the Penedes wine region, choose a favourite blend and make a bottle to take home. Choose to lunch at the 1000-year-old farmhouse before heading back to Barcelona. Spend the final night in Barcelona dining at one of the city's atmospheric restaurants.
Days 3 Logrono
Ride the rails east to the prized vineyards of La Rioja wine region and Logrono (approximately 3.5 hours). The town sits on the banks of the Ebro river and is the capital of Spain’s most renowned wine region. It also boast one of the most distinguished culinary traditions in the county and is home to some of the best tapas bars in the whole of Spain, all crammed into its small medieval centre. Stroll the streets of this favourite stopfor pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. Logrono is a handsome city of medieval fortifications, where much work is being done to restore it to its full glory. This evening you’ll go on a walking tour of the Old Quarter, wandering down Calla del Laurel and the 60 or so taperias (tapas bars) that line the way. This is the perfect opportunity to sample the regional delicacies. Each bar has its own speciality. Snack on grilled chorizo or wild mushrooms, and wash them down with a glass of the region’s famous red.
Days 4-5 San Sebastian
day 4 Eat breakfast among the fresh fruits and cured meats of Logrono’s San Blas Markets before travelling to San Sebastian, the stunning seaside city in the north of Spain’s Basque Country. Freshen up then amble through the Parte Vieja (Old Town), admiring its wonderful architecture and traditional shops selling mouth-watering local fare. This evening, either explore San Sebastian’s culinary wonders on your own terms or join a txikiteo, a Basque-style tapas crawl that will fill the senses – and stomach – with the unique tastes of the region. Visit local haunts rather than touristy bars, munch on pinxtos (tapas) and perhaps sample txakoli, the local sparkling white wine. The sagardotegias (cider houses) of the Basque Country are a real treat, with the tradition of filling glasses straight from enormous chestnut barrels going back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. This morning, experience the history and beauty of a traditional cider house and savour Basque dishes complemented by a glass or two of nectareous cider. Spend the afternoon discovering San Sebastian’s beaches, shops or charismatic streets before getting ready for a final Spanish feast. Choose to join the group for a taste of traditional Basque cuisine with a modern twist and enjoy an evening of food, wine and conversation.
day 5 One of the secrets to the success of San Sebastian’s food scene is the obsession with high quality, local, seasonal ingredients. The best way to experience this first-hand it to visit the traditional food markets of La Bretxa or San Martin, and you’ll do just that this morning as you collect ingredients for a masterclass in Basque cuisine. In this hands-on cooking class you’ll learn how to prepare some of the signature dishes of the region, and you’ll also taste iconic Basque products including idiazabal, a local Basque cheese, and txacoli, a lighly sparkling dry white wine. The afternoon is free you to explore the town or surrounding area more. Perhaps catch a cable car to Monte Igueldo for some truly spectacular views or take a trip along the winding coast to the nearby small fishing village of Getaria. Maybe discover San Sebastian’s beaches, shops and charismatic streets, or dive into pinxtos bars that range from the traditional to the experimental. If feeling indulgent then perhaps treat yourself to one of San Sebastian's world class restaurants featured in the Michelin guide and World's 50 Best list, where the food is built on the foundation of the region’s bounty but brought up to date with dazzling technique and invention.
Day 6 Picos de Europa
Continue east to Bilbao (approximately 1 hour), a city that was revitalised by the arrival of the Guggenheim. Spend some free time visiting Frank Gehry’s iconic sweeping metal building and the artistic treasures housed inside and out. The skyline here has changed rapidly since the arrival of the museum, this industrial city now boasting over 40 landmarks for architecture and design enthusiasts. After lunch, climb by bus (approximately 3 hours) up to the Picos de Europa National Park. The park is not what many people picture as Spain; it’s an Alpine landscape, high, cool, lush and green, with forests, deep gorges through the cliffs, and grassland dotted with photogenic toffee-coloured cows. Covering some 647 square kilometres, Picos de Europa is Spain's second largest national park and spans across the three provinces of Asturias, Cantabria and Leon. The park is made up of the three large massifs - Andara, Urrielles and Cornión. Work up an appetite for tonight’s meal with a walk through this stunning landscape (approximately 2 hours). For dinner, a classic Cantabrian dish is on the menu - Cocido Labeniego. Cocido Labeniego is a rich, hearty stew of black pudding, pork shoulder, chorizo and locally grown chickpeas. Enjoy a cooking demonstration followed by your own cocido tasting. Be sure to enjoy your dinner with some crusty bread and a glass of cider.
Days 7-8 Oviedo
day 7 This morning take a short trip to the beautiful small mountain town of Potes, nestled in the Picos de Europa National Park in the Cantabria province. Bordered by stunning ancient monasteries, Potes is brimming with centuries of history, and is a quaint tapestry of bridges, narrow winding streets and splendid old houses. You will arrive in time to experience the wonderful weekly food market. With some documents dating the market back to 1291, this is considered one of the oldest markets in Spain. Enjoy a market brunch of Cantabrian products purchased from the stallholders. Depending on the season, you may get to savour locally grown apples, pears, cherries, walnuts, chestnuts and Cantabrian cheeses such as 'Picón Bejes-Tresviso' and 'Quesucos'. On the way to Oviedo, the ancient capital of the region, drive to the charming hillside village of Arenas de Cabrales (approximately 1 hour). Here there’s the opportunity to taste famous Cabrales cheese, a natural blue cheese produced by rural farmers using a traditional artisan method. Enter the otherworldly caves of Arenas de Cabrales and discover the art of making cheese beneath the earth. Next, stop past an Asturian cider house, the traditional drink of the region. It is made from locally-grown apples and has been since the Roman era. Enjoy a glass in the traditional local style, from a bottle held high over the head into a glass at the knee to produce natural carbonation. You will then arrive in Oviedo by later afternoon
day 8 Take a guide walk around the handsome city of Oviedo, with its unique personality, quaint pre-Romanesque churches, elegant streetscapes, fine monuments and grand houses built by those who sailed to the New World and returned wonderfully rich. At the heart of the town sits the impressive Gothic San Salvador Cathedral, built between the 14th and 16th centuries and home to a staggeringly elaborate altarpiece. You’ll also enjoy an introduction to wonderful local products of Asturia at El Fontan market, home to excellent fish stalls beneath a canopy of wrought-iron and glass. This afternoon is free for your own exploration. Perhaps take a trip up to the port city of Gijon for fresh seafood and sweet-filled bakeries, or the attractive fishing village of Luanco for a relaxing drink on the promenade. For dinner, consider heading for Calle de la Gascona, which is lined with lively sidrerias (cider houses) serving a wide range of raciones (tasting plates) of dishes like seafood, ox T-bone, local lobster or red sea scorpionfish mousse.
Days 9-10 Santiago de Compostela
day 9 This morning, take a bus to A Coruna in the region of Galicia (approximately 3.5 hours), taking in some of the spectacular Galician coastline. A Coruna is an important port city. Here you will visit the impressive fish market in the Praza de Lugo, learning about the Galician mussel industry from a local seafood expert. You’ll then lunch on delicious fresh mussels at a nearby café (there will be alternate meals available for non-seafood eaters). Then, like thousands of pilgrims before you, end your journey in the capital of Galicia, believed to be the final resting place of the apostle St James (approximately 30 minutes). The beautiful old city of Santiago de Compostela holds many delights within its walls, all overseen by the mighty cathedral. Take a walk around the Old District lit up at night, through the arcaded stone streets, the spacious Praza del Obradoiro and past the Archbishop’s imposing palace. Santiago is home to more than just pilgrims, with the large population of students from the university enhancing the city’s nightlife. Perhaps spend the final night of your adventure in one of the cafes, bars or tapas restaurants in the old town.
day 10 You will finish this Northern Spain adventure on a gastronomic high with a morning tasting tour around some of the city's best foodie gems, including the celebrated Mercado de Abastos. Toast the end of the trip with a glass of wine. The Real Food Adventure Northern Spain will conclude at midday. You may leave your luggage at the hotel until the conclusion of the trip. If you wish to extend your stay in Santiago de Compostela, additional accommodation is available. Please contact your booking agent for further information.
Alternatively, you may wish to continue your trip with the Real Food Adventure Galicia and Portugal.
What price includes
- Accompanied by tour leader who knows all the food hotspots
- Includes 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
- Includes cooking class, cider-tasting, tapas crawls
- Includes guided tours, wine experience in La Guardia
- Hotel (9 nights)
- Carbon emissions offset 270kg pp
Plan your journey by train
Transfer to meeting point:
Guests make their own way to meeting point
How to get there:
London to Paris and then change to the Barcelona overnight train.
Plan your journey by train
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Transfer to finish point:
Guests make their own way to station
How to get back:
Santiago de Compostela to Paris, then on to Eurostar back to London