Passions of Spain
13 day tour

  • Seville
  • Alhambra
  • La Rioja
  • San Sebastián
  • La Mezquita

A journey that takes you from the top of the Pyrenees, through the Moorish legends of Spain, and onto the Portuguese coastline.

Tour Highlights

Wine
Roman Ruins
National Parks
Walks
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Beaches
Palaces
Art

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

Burgos - Walk in the shadow of the soaring Gothic cathedral and admire this majestic city, once the capital of the old kingdom of Castille

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

Córdoba - This ancient Andalucían city will take your breath away with the marvels of La Mezquita and the Palace of the Christian Kings

Granada with Alhambra and Sierra Nevada Mountains - Be mesmerised by the lavish palace built by the Moors and wonder at the rugged mountains of the Sierra Nevada National Park

Pueblos Blancos - Fall in love with beautiful white villages built on hilltops overlooking Spain’s wild landscapes

Seville - Be dazzled by the history, spectacular architecture and magic of Flamenco in the city influenced by a number of civilisations

Madrid - Experience the tapas bars, world-renowned art, and amazing architecture in the city that really knows how to live

 

Your journey

 

From the gaudy streets of Barcelona to the Arabesque mystique of Spain’s southern palaces, this trip takes you through the passions of Spain.

You learn about the strength of the Roman Empire on forts atop the Pyrenean foothills. You discover the 3,000-year-old wine-making traditions of La Rioja. And you admire the ornate Moorish architecture of the Alhambra.

Take this trip from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean and learn about the cities, loves, and flavours of Spain.

 

Tour Details

Starts
Check-in closes at 08:45 (tour departs at 09:00) - Barcelona Abba Sants Hotel, Abba Sants Hotel, Barcelona,
Finishes (approx.)
19:00 - Lisbon Drop Off, Hotel Zenit, Lisbon,
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.
Discounts
Important information
  • This journey combines two of our tours and a free day in Madrid. This means you may swap your bus and guide during the journey
  • Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a luxury mini-coach with a local driver
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking guide
  • 12 nights in a 3-4 star hotels with continental breakfast
  • Entrance to Aljafería Palace
  • Visit and tasting at Bodegas Lecea, a Rioja winery
  • Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso
  • Entrance to La Mezquita
  • Entrance to an olive oil production site
  • Entrance to the Alhambra with audio guide included
Tour exclusions
  • Meals, unless listed above
  • Attractions, unless specified above

Itinerary

Day 1

  • 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
  • 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 2

  • 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.

 

Accommodation

Hotel Pedro I de Aragón or similar, Huesca

Day 3

  • 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.

 

Included Activities

  • Entrance to Aljafería Palace

 

Accommodation

Hotel Eurostars Los Agustinos or similar, Haro

Day 4

  • 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.

 

Accommodation

Hotel Eurostars Los Agustinos or similar, Haro

Day 5

  • 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.

 

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 6

  • 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.

The 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. 

Next, 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.

 

Included Activities

  • Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

 

Accommodation

Hotel Porcel Ganivet or similar, Madrid

Day 7

  • Marvel at the opulence of the Royal Palace in Madrid
  • Try tapas in one of the La Latina district’s local bars

You have a free day in the golden metropolis of Madrid and can decide how you want to spend it. Packed with tapas bars, world-renowned art, and amazing architecture; this city really knows how to live.

To get around town, you can use Madrid’s fantastic public transport or jump on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Begin your exploration with the oldest part of Madrid, home to the lavish Royal Palace. It boasts a staggering 3,418 rooms decorated with paintings by world-renowned artists. Then, stroll around the city’s grand plazas; the portico-lined square of Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol.

Next, fuel your batteries in one of many restaurants before an exciting afternoon. For art lovers; there’s Prado Museum lined with Spanish, Italian and Flemish masterpieces. For nature lovers; there’s El Retiro Park, a green oasis in the heart of the city where you can row a boat.

And in the evening head to La Latina; the city’s top district for tapas, mojitos, and terraces. But don’t get carried away too much by the city’s energy, because tomorrow you join the next leg of your tour.

 

Optional Activities

  • Ticket for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus

 

Accommodation

Hotel Porcel Ganivet or similar, Madrid

Day 8

  • Uncover the fusion of cultures that shaped Toledo, the former capital of Spain
  • Travel through Castilla-La Mancha, the backdrop for Don Quixote’s adventures

You leave the heart of Spain and head south to the former capital of the country, Toledo.

Sitting atop a hill and overlooking the Tajo River, this city used to be known as the ‘City of Three Cultures’. To get the real feel of the place, wander through the cobbled streets and try to spot the Muslim mosques, Jewish synagogues, and Christian cathedrals.

You travel through Castilla-La Mancha, the setting for the adventures of the literary hero Don Quixote. Next, you stop on the way through the Despeñaperros Natural Park, the gateway to Andalucía.

Córdoba, your home for the night, welcomes you with its bustling squares and delightful architecture.

 

Accommodation

Hotel Eurostars Conquistador or similar, Córdoba*

*Please note that if your tour departs after 1st April 2024, you will instead stay at NH Cordoba Califa or similar.

Day 9

  • Explore La Mezquita, an immense mosque-cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage site

In the morning, you visit La Mezquita, one of the most spectacular mosques constructed by the Moors in Spain. This world-famous construction boasts countless rows of decorated arches, a serene interior, and is large enough to have a cathedral built inside it!

Next, we travel through rolling hills blanketed with the silvery-grey-green leaves of olive trees. It’s a sign you’ve entered the oil-producing province of Jaén.

We continue our journey south to the ruined hilltop fortress of Fortaleza de la Mota and arrive in Granada early evening, our base for two nights.

 

Included Activities

  • Entrance to La Mezquita
  • Entrance to Fortaleza de la Mota

 

Accommodation

Hotel Porcel Alixares or similar, Granada

Day 10

  • Become entranced by the ornamentation of the Alhambra Palace
  • Uncover the unique neighbourhood of house caves in Gaudix

You wake up in a city adorned with the most sensual palace of Europe, the Alhambra.

Your morning is blessed with a visit to this famous monument. When you look at it, you’re transported to the tales of 1,001 Nights. Originally a fortress and then a palace, this UNESCO World Heritage site will seize your imagination.

In the afternoon you'll uncover the unique Barrio de las Cauevas of Gaudix (neighbourhood of house caves in Gaudix). Choose to learn more about the history and evolution of this intricate maze of homes at the Gaudix Cave Dwellings Interpretation Centre, located inside several original cave dwellings.  

There may be time for a photo stop of the Sierra Nevada mountains before you head back to Granada.

Use your evening in Granada to discover tapas restaurants and more of the culinary delights.

*Sometimes this day will be reversed, and you will visit the Alhambra in the afternoon.

 

Included Activities

  • Entrance to the Alhambra with audio guide included

 

Optional Activities

  • Entrance to the Gaudix Cave Dwellings Interpretation Centre

 

Accommodation

Hotel Porcel Alixares or similar, Granada

Day 11

  • Discover the charm of Ronda, the most stunning of the pueblos blancos

Today is all about exploring the other faces of Andalucía; the beautiful wilderness and iconic pueblos blancos.

You travel west to El Torcal de Antequera, a nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range. You'll be amazed by the stunning limestone formations that have been formed over millions of years. 

Your adventure then takes you through the landscapes of Malaga’s ‘Lake District’ before you reach Ronda. Precariously clinging to a steep cliff of the El Tajo Gorge, this commune captures your imagination with its literary connections and history full of outlaws. Stroll along the city walls, explore picturesque plazas, and enjoy your lunch.

Before making your way to Seville, you'll have the chance to learn how Spain’s ‘liquid gold’ is made at an olive oil farm.

Cast a last glance over the Andalusian countryside and start your journey to Seville, your home for two nights.

 

Included Activities

  • Entrance to an olive oil farm

 

Accommodation

Hotel Macia Sevilla Kubb or similar, Sevilla*

*Please note that if your tour departs after 1st April 2024, you will instead stay at Hotel Exe Sevilla Macarena.

Day 12

  • Soak up the grandeur as you stroll through the Plaza de España
  • Try the finest sherry in Jerez de la Frontera

Seville signifies the essence of Spain. This city will seduce you with its rich Moorish heritage, the orange trees, tapas, and passionate flamenco.

Today it’s up to you to decide how to spend the day.

You can dedicate your time to discover the best gems of the city’s 80 chapels at the Seville Cathedral and marvel at La Giralda. Or go for a stroll along the bank of the Guadalquivir to admire the iconic Torre del Oro, a military tower dating back to the 13th century.

Alternatively, you can join our half-day tour and travel to Jerez de la Frontera. This elegant town is the heartland of sherry and Spanish brandy.

Whichever option you choose, spend the evening strolling through the shaded arches of the grand Plaza de España. Warning: with the hypnotic Flamenco performances, delicious tapas, and buzzing bars, this city can keep you entertained till the small hours.

 

Optional Activities

  • Sherry winery visit in Jerez with wine tasting and snack

Accommodation

Hotel Macia Sevilla Kubb or similar, Sevilla*

*Please note that if your tour departs after 1st April 2024, you will instead stay at Hotel Exe Sevilla Macarena.

Day 13

  • Soak up the sun in Huelva on the Costa de la Luz
  • Wander through Tavira, one of the most charming towns of the Algarve

Say farewell to Seville and enjoy the last glimpses of the Andalusian countryside as you travel west towards the Costa de la Luz, a land of bright sunlight and golden sandy beaches.

You stop in the seaside city of Huelva, where Christopher Columbus planned his trip to find a western sea route to China and India. Here you'll visit the waterside exhibition, Muelle de las Carabelas, where you can see life-size replicas of Columbus's three ships.

Next, you cross the Portuguese border and stop at Tavira in the Algarve. Set on the River Gilão, this town exudes an irresistible charm and makes you want to discover its hidden corners. Wander through the cobblestone streets, cross an old Roman bridge and try Portuguese cuisine for the first time.

Take in the last views of the Algarve and journey north where laid-back Lisbon awaits you in the evening.

 

Included Activities

  • Entrance to Muelle de las Carabelas

 

Accommodation

 

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay two nights in Huesca, three nights in Haro, two nights in Madrid, one night in Córdoba, two nights in Granada, and two nights in Seville.

For examples of the accommodation, please see the tour itinerary.

 

How does the accommodation work?

A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.

 

So, we’ve hand-picked three to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys.

Your accommodation is included in the tour price; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want a double room, a twin room, or a single room.

 

Are there any extra accommodation costs?

The price you see is for all your tour accommodation and for the tour itself. It also includes a tourist tax. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.

 

FAQs

Do I need a visa to take this tour?

You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.

 

Are the tours suitable for people with mobility issues?

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.

So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email tours@rabbies.com .

 

Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we start our trip from hotels located conveniently on the edge of cities. We choose hotels with good public transport connections to the city centre, so you can enjoy your evening explorations.

To make your tour more convenient, you can add an optional pre and post-departure accommodation in the hotel we use as a pick up or a drop off point.

 

When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.

 

What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this time frame, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.

We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.

Click here to view full terms and conditions.

 

What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.

 

Can routes change?

Your friendly driver and guide are passionate about the places they visit and know all the local gossip. This means your tour itinerary can change a little due to festivities, attraction opening hour changes, and spontaneous photo opportunities.

 

Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches offer a good view.

 

Are there toilets on the bus?

We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.

 

Do you take children on your tours?

We're unable to permit children under 15 years old on our Europe tours due to the nature of the activities that are included.

 

How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.

 

What are 'included activities' and 'optional activities'?

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.

 

Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.

 

What should I do if I have too much luggage?

It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.

But if you're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to the majority of our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.

 

Should I tip the driver and the guide?

Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.

 

What about travel insurance?

We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.

 

What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you book a tour with us. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

Our packages are covered by the Package Travel Regulations. For full details of your key rights please click here.

 

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com, or check out our full FAQs.


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