The following 10-day excursion allows the traveler to experience two regions of Spain's Northern Coast, Cantabria and Pais Vasco. Along with Asturias and Galicia, this area, referred to as "Green Spain" is a privileged expanse of incredible beauty with nature being one of its main features. Craggy mountains loom over the Atlantic Ocean and Cantabrian Sea, which have chiseled spectacular cliffs, producing small sheltered ports, beaches of fine sand and secluded coves. Not only rich in natural features, this area offers many other choices; museums such as the Guggenhiem, historical medieval villages, small towns to explore, monumental cities with a treasure of Gothic and Romanesque art, and a gastronomic fare that is world-renowned.

INTINERARY

Day 1
Departure from New York on Iberia's transatlantic flight to Santander.

Day 2
After you arrival, check-in to Hotel Rhin, whose sea view captures the magnificent natural beauty of the surrounding Sardinero area.
Day 3

After breakfast, visit Santillana del Mar, the most important historic site in Cantabria. Experience its remarkable architecture dating back to the 12th century while strollling down its many cobblestone streets, visiting the Cloister and museums. Nearby is the Museum of Altamira, whose replica of the original caves demonstrate why they are considered the “Sixtine Chapel of Palaeolithic art.” Upon returning to Santander, dine at the Cupula Restaurant.
Day 4
Today we suggest you consider the Liebana/Picos de Europa excursion deatiled below.Upon returning to Santander, enjoy the local cuisine at one of the city’s many fine restaurants.
Day 5
This morning after breakfast, depart for Vitoria-Gasteiz. Along the way, stop to take in the panoramic view that demonstrates how this city has harmoniously combined its rich historical monuments with its present-day status as administrative capital of Pais Vasco. Continue towrds the region of Rioja Alavesa, stopping at the banks of the River Ebro to discover its vineyards as well as experience its art and gastronomy. In Laguardia visit a wine cellar, to taste its quality wine and to observe first-hand how a Rioja Reserva is produced. Return to the Hotel Rhin where you might relax before dinner at the restaurant.
Day 6
Visit the nearby town of Castro Urdiales, a unique fishing village,where you can experience some of the various seafood specialties of this region. Weather permitting take a sightseeing cruise along the coast. After returning to Santander, you might decide to end your day with a relaxing walk along the promenade of the Sardinero.
Day 7

After breakfast, drive to the town of Puente Viesgo where you will check-in. Relax at the spa, enjoying the calm atmosphere of this establishment nestled near a natural spring. In the afternoon walk to the nearby caves of Mt Castillo, a remarkable Paleolithic site, whose prehistoric paintings are similar to those of nearby Altamira. Enjoy dinner at the spa.
Day 8
Today we suggest you visit Bilbao. Explore the city’s Old Quarter as well as its’ ‘Ensanche’. Visit the Guggenheim and/or the Fine Arts Museum, which is considered to be one of the country’s best. Return to the spa where you might consider one of the many treatments to relax before dinner.
Day 9
Today would be ideal for another of the recommended excursions of Pais Vasco. Return to Puente Viesgo and enjoy dinner at the spa.
Day 10
After breakfast depart to Santander’s Parayas Airport for your return to New York.

RECOMMENDED EXCURSIONS

 

Urdaibai Biosphere/Guernica:
Visit the breathtaking natural reserve of Urdaibai, whose protected ecosystem offers you an abundance of flora and faura. Afterward, visit the historic town of Guernica, whose park ‘La Paz’ is decorated with the works of the famous sculptor Henry Moore. Along the way stop at Elantxobe , a typical fishing port of the area, as well as the beautiful seaside resort of Lekeitio.

San Sebastian/Fuenterrabia:
From Santander travel along the Cantabrian coast to San Sebastian. Visit the Old Quarter, where you can enjoy the museums, religious buildings and squares. After, visit the city’s Palace and Gardens of Ayete. You will witness beautiful panoramic views from Mount Igeldo and be abel to walk along the promenade of ‘La Concha.’ After, visit the fishing village of Fuenterrabia for lunch followed by a walk through this beautiful city’s Old Quarter.

Liebana/Picos de Europa:
Witness some of the best examples of Roman architecture in villages unchanged by the passage of time. Visit Santo Toribio, whose 6th century monastery houses the Lignum Crucis (the largest preserved piece of Christ’s cross), and Lebena, whose church is the best example of Mozarabic architecture in Northern Spain. Continue on to Potes, a village of bridges, towers and narrow streets. It is essential to try local specialties such as orujo (a liquor made from grapes), cheeses, chorizos and the best honey in the region. All this this with the truly unforgettable views of the Picos de Europa..

 

 
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