The Cantabrian Coast : Cultural Tour

18th – 24th September 2018

Image : Castro Urdiales, Cantabria

Our third tour celebrating the brilliance of the Paradors takes us to a wonderful corner of Spain and two of the original members of the Parador chain; the Castle of Carlos V in Hondarribia, which is very near the frontier between the Spanish Basque Country and France, and the legendary Parador de Gil Blas in Santillana del Mar which has been a Parador since 1946.

DAY 1, 2 & 3 : Flying to Bilbao we start our coastal tour in the attractive resort town of Hondarribia. Hondarribia combines much of what makes northern Spain so attractive. Its large and attractive medieval quarter is set in a stunning location with the splendours of the Cantabrian coast on one side and the first views of the Pyrenees on the other.

Our hotel is one of the great historic buildings of the Basque Country, reflecting the historical and cultural significance of the Region. Our visits include a day in incomparable San Sebastian, the most elegant coastal city in Spain and – of course – one of the capitals of European gastronomy. Needless to say, our visit will include lunch at one of the world-famous restaurants. On Day 3, our itinerary takes us away from the coast and into the rolling hills of the interior. We shall spend some time on the outdoor display of sculptures and installations by Spain’s most celebrated modern sculptor, Antonio Chillida, and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes of the Natural Park of the Peñas de Aya.

DAY 4 : Leaving Hondarribia, our journey takes us along the glorious coast road through picturesque fishing villages to the immortal town of Gernika, where we pause to relive the events that brought eternal notoriety to the town and inspired the most significant single work of art of the 20th century. Spanish Art continues to be our focus today; we spend much of the afternoon in the brand-new Botín Centro de Arte in Santander. This magnificent building, designed by Renazo Piano and spectacularly set overlooking the Cantabrian Sea, contains the wonderful collection of Modern Art assembled by the Botín Foundation.

Our final destination is Santillana del Mar, rightly one of the best-known villages in Spain. This exquisite medieval village is authentic and intact despite the popularity that it has always enjoyed among day visitors. It is fair to say that Santillana is best enjoyed between 6 pm when the day-visitors leave and 10 am when they return. Our three nights in the incomparable Parador Gil Blas ensure that we shall experience Santillana at its most engaging

DAYS 5 & 6 : We are in the heart of Cantabria for the second half of the tour. There are a variety of unique attractions to be found here. Spain has a wealth of prehistoric sites, and many of them are in Cantabria. We shall spend a morning in the Cave of Tito Bustillo, a perfect place to appreciate the beauty of the art of Neolithic man. We shall take the charming narrow-gauge railways along the coastline as far as the picturesque fishing villages of Castro Urdiales in one direction and San Vicente de la Barquera in the other. We will explore the unique architecture of Comillas, which boasts one of the earliest creations by Antoní Gaudí.

DAY 7 : We return to Bilbao for our flight back to London.

Tour details

Tour dates : 18th – 24th September 2018

Number of days : 7

Price : £2275 (Prices are per person based on 2 sharing a twin or double room).

Single supplement : £220

Fully inclusive : Flights, transfers, accommodation and meals are all included.

Number in party : 12 – 16

Tour leader : Chris Pollard and Moses Laachiri

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