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Enchanting 12-Day Tour of Northern Spain's Gems at Historic Parador Hotels

Map Enchanting 12-Day Tour of Northern Spain's Gems at Historic Parador Hotels

Nature and culture go hand-in-hand on this journey. Delicious cafés, world famous tapas, staggering mountains, this trip has it all!

Ready for an extraordinary experience? The hotels where you stay are part of the experience - and they all contribute to the history of northern Spain. Six beautiful and enchanting Parador hotels frame this tour among the largest and most beautiful sights of Northern Spain. Experience everything from the modern to the prehistoric, from beautiful mountains to delicious sandy beaches, from the green coast to the often scorched hinterland, and add to that Spain's world-renowned gastronomy. This tour takes you through five of Spain's best gastronomic regions, where you will clearly notice the difference in culture, both on the menu and in everyday life.

The journey begins at the beautiful Parador in Limpias, an ideal starting point for exploring the picturesque Northern Spain with its diversity of experiences. From the historic charm of Santillana del Mar to the majestic Fuente De, this trip combines natural beauty, culture, and architecture in a unique way. In León, a city rich in history and cultural heritage awaits, and in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, you will discover the depths of pilgrim history. Continue to Hondarribia, a city with ancient walls and a rich past.

Each stop on this journey offers its own unique highlights, and you will stay in exclusive Parador hotels, each an integral part of Spain's cultural heritage. This tour is a deep exploration of the diverse treasures of Northern Spain, not just a vacation, but a journey through history and culture.

In this blog, you can read about three of the included Parador hotels.

See the daily program below.

Spain is More is proud to be a 'selected partner' with Paradores. Our collaboration means that we can offer you accommodations and customized routes at advantageous prices at all Parador hotels in Spain

It includes
  1. 11 x nights including breakfast in 6 amazing Parador hotels.
  2. 12 days car rental - Category: Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio or similar (inclusive unlimited mileage, taxes and basic insurance)
  3. Spain-is-Mores digital travel Guidebook.
  4. Taxes.
  1. Optional: Extended stays. Transportation to starting point and from arrival point to anywehre in the world. Please ask us, we will be happy to assist you.

Enchanting 12-Day Tour of Northern Spain's Gems at Historic Parador Hotels

1.295 €/pers.
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Single room supplement: 320 €

Daily program

Enchanting 12-Day Tour of Northern Spain's Gems at Historic Parador Hotels

Detailed itinerary (view all days )
Day 1-2: Limpias

You arrive in Bilbao, known for its cozy atmosphere, delicious pinchos, and especially the impressive Guggenheim Museum. Although Bilbao does not have a Parador hotel, it is possible to extend your stay with one or two additional nights.

Once the car keys are handed over, you are ready to explore the highlights of Northern Spain. Depending on your arrival time, a walk through Bilbao is recommended. Our guide material includes a suggested route that gives you a broad impression of the city and can be completed in a couple of hours.

The first Parador hotel, where you will spend your first night, is situated in beautiful natural surroundings, a bit removed from the north coast and the area's famous beaches. Nearby cities are worth a visit and offer beautiful walking trails, excellent gastronomy, and exciting sightseeing. Our guide material highlights, depending on the weather, your mood, and your interests, where your trip could or should go. A perfect start to your journey!

Read more about the Cantabria region here

Day 3-4: Santillana del Mar

From one charming village to another, Santillana del Mar is often listed among Spain's most beautiful villages. This idyllic small town boasts historical streets, palaces, and mansions. The picturesque town also houses several museums, including Arte Religioso Regina Coelli, worth a visit.

Nearby are the famous Altamira caves with their prehistoric paintings. The area offers many exciting visits, including world-famous architecture, impressive natural parks, and countless fantastic beaches. Tips and guidance for a beautiful and interesting car journey in the area can be found in the guide material.

Day 5-6: Picos de Europa and Fuente De

Fuente Dé is situated in the heart of the stunning mountain range, Picos de Europa, idyllically surrounded by steep cliffs that rise hundreds of meters around the picturesquely located Parador hotel.

Famous for its cable car, Fuente Dé transports you in just 4 minutes to a height of 1823 meters, right into the heart of the most impressive mountain massifs of the Picos de Europa. Here, silence, views, and nature are the focus. There are countless opportunities for hiking, which we share in our guide material.

In addition to hiking and nature, several villages in the valley are worth a visit, including the Santo Toribio de Liébana monastery, an important Catholic sanctuary. This Roman Catholic monastery is one of five places in Roman Catholicism, along with Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela, and Caravaca de la Cruz, that has the privilege of issuing perpetual indulgences.

Day 7: León

Once again, the landscape undergoes a radical transformation. From the mountains, you venture further inland, reaching the high plateau and the historic medieval capital, León. On the way here, you can make a detour to the sacred lakes of Covadonga, where Spain was born. In León, you'll find one of the most beautiful Parador hotels in Spain, which is a sight to behold in itself. This place has served as both a prison and a pilgrim's hospital and is now one of the finest and newest historical Parador hotels, having undergone an extensive renovation in 2021.

The Romans founded the city and named it Legio Septima Gemina, 'the 7th legion', from which the name originates. The city's Roman influence is unmistakable when you see the impressive city wall that surrounds the atmospheric old town, El Humedo (the wet quarter).

León offers plenty of excellent restaurants where tapas are served generously. In addition to the city wall and the Parador hotel, the city is renowned for its stunning cathedral, claimed to be Spain's most beautiful, Antoni Gaudi's palace, and San Isidoro, which served as the final resting place for several Spanish monarchs and royals. Hence, it is sometimes referred to as the 'Pantheon of the Kings'.

Day 8: The Camino and Santo Domingo de la Calzada

From León, the route heads eastward, along the famous pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago, all the way to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Along the way, there are countless exciting stops to be made. Everything from excavations of impressive Roman palaces with beautiful mosaic floors, charming pilgrim villages, the impressive Burgos Cathedral, and prehistoric archaeological excavations. A perfect day trip by car, ending with a convenient stop in the beautiful Rioja region.

Not far from there, in San Millán de la Cogolla, you'll find two of Spain's most famous monasteries, which are also on UNESCO's cultural heritage list.

Day 9-11: Hondarribia

After a delightful overnight stay in Santo Domingo, it is obvious to visit one or two of Rioja's beautiful wine villages. If you are interested in a wine tasting, this can easily be arranged. Some of the vineyards in the area are architectural masterpieces, designed by world-renowned architects, while others are historical and beautifully preserved. Even if you are not particularly interested in wine, Rioja still has much to offer. The charming streets of the wine villages can captivate anyone, and the region's main city, Logroño, offers everything from shopping and markets to cozy pinchos streets.

On the way back to the Basque Country, one passes several historical small towns, including Oñati, which is hidden in the mountains, but is definitely worth a visit.

The route continues to the Spanish-French border, where one of Northern Spain's hidden gems, Hondarribia, is located.

The tour concludes with a three-night stay at one of the most beautiful hotels in the Parador chain, in Hondarribia. The magnificent castle building leaves little to the imagination, as one imagines oneself as a noble in the Middle Ages, descending the majestic staircase to greet guests arriving by carriage.

Hondarribia has it all. A lovely beach, France right in front (you can sail there in 10 minutes), a beautiful town, and fantastic restaurants. A natural sightseeing trip from here is to drive along the Camino route to the world-famous food mecca, San Sebastian. Three days of enjoyment and pure indulgence.

After the last night, there is a return journey from Bilbao.

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