Gastronomic Spain    *alt*

9 days, from £1995
Great Rail Journeys
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Discover the extraordinary food and wine of Spain
Discover the extraordinary food and wine of Spain on our gastronomic journey from the Mediterranean city of Barcelona, the pulsating heart of Catalonia, into the world famous Rioja wine region, and ending in the glamorous resort of San Sebasti'n, famed for its tapas bars and Michelin stars.

Tour Highlights
* Stay in a historic hotel in La Rioja wine region, in the delightful wine town of Haro
* Guided walking tour of Haro
* Lunch at Marques de Riscal
* Excursion to the vineyards & villages of La Rioja
* Lunch at a Michelin star restaurant in Ezcaray
* Tour of Tastes in Barcelona
* Pinxtos Cooking Class in San Sebastian, at San Sebastian Food

What's Included
* First Class Rail
* 4* Hotel Accommodation Breakfast Every Day
* Optional Bag Concierge


 Day 1 To Barcelona

Our holiday begins today at London St Pancras International, where you meet your Tour Manager at Great Rail Journeys' dedicated departure office. We depart on the Eurostar service, enjoying a light meal and drinks on board as we travel to Paris. From here, we change trains, travelling to Barcelona. Tonight we dine in a local restaurant, close to our hotel. Includes:DinnerEurostar Meal

 Day 2 Discovering Barcelona

Today we are treated to a 'Tour of Tastes' through Barcelona. This unique experience combines the beauty of Barcelona's bustling streets with local flavours and culinary delights. We visit the magnificent Placa de Catalunya, the busy square at the heart of the city, discover the tree-lined Las Ramblas, and sample delicious produce at the vibrant Boqueria Market. Our gastronomic tour takes us through the labyrinthine Gothic Quarter, with its glorious architecture, where we enjoy tapas and a glass of cava in one of the local bars. With free time this afternoon, why not take in one of Barcelona's highlights, the exquisite Sagrada Familia? Gaudi's as yet unfinished masterpiece has been under construction for 130 years, yet even incomplete, it has earned UNESCO World Heritage status. Includes:BreakfastExcursionTour Tastes

 Day 3 At leisure

Today is free for you to take in the attractions of Barcelona independently. Packed with cultural monuments and fantastic restaurants, the Catalan capital offers something for everyone. From hearty paella enjoyed al fresco to tapas and fresh seafood enjoyed with a view of the Old Harbour of Port Vell, Barcelona has a rich and varied palate for you to explore. Enjoy simple ingredients packed with flavour, or perhaps seek out one of the famous Adria brothers' restaurants in the city, to explore their modern take on Catalan cuisine. After gorging on Barcelona's finest fare, perhaps lap up the city's other cultural offerings, ranging from stunning architecture to an enviable artistic heritage. Art enthusiasts will be particularly drawn to the city's Picasso Museum, which is home to the world's largest collection of the iconic artist's work. Includes:BreakfastFree Day

 Day 4 Haro

Leaving Barcelona behind, today we board our train for the westward journey into the heart of La Rioja, Spain's premier wine-producing region. Known as 'the province of seven valleys', La Rioja is home to several of the world's best wines. It is a region of compelling contrasts, with mountain peaks and deep valleys, lush forests and wild plains. Our destination is Haro, a graceful town in the heart of the region, which boasts a lively Old Quarter scattered with rustic mansions and atmospheric wine taverns. Wine is central to Haro life. It is the driving force of the regional economy and cultural expression in the area. Vines are an important fixture of the local scenery, stretching across the undulating landscape. We spend three nights at Los Agustinos Hotel, a beautiful former convent dating back to the 14th century. The rooms are arranged around a breathtaking covered courtyard, one of the many highlights of this fine building. Includes:Breakfast, Dinner

 Day 5 Laguardia & Marques de Riscal

Our morning begins with a visit to the charming walled village of Laguardia, a medieval settlement built in honey-coloured stone and surrounded by rolling vineyards. Once a defensive fortress town, the town's strategic underground escape tunnels are now used by many residents as private wine cellars. Later, we continue to Marques de Riscal, one of the best-known Rioja producers, where we explore their perfect blend of tradition and innovation. The winery dates back to 1858, but in 2006 a hotel was added, designed by architect Frank Gehry. After a tour of the vineyards and a tasting, we enjoy a superb lunch in the winery's famed restaurant. This afternoon, we visit Logrono, the capital of Rioja. Whilst here, we take a tour of Bodegas Franco Espanolas, a long established winery in the heart of the city. Includes:Breakfast, LunchWine-tasting

 Day 6 Michelin-starred La Rioja lunch

The little-changed Bodegas Lopez Heredia is our first destination today, as we travel to the winery for a tour and tasting. Family-owned, the winery was founded over 130 years ago, and still operates in much the same way today. We have the pleasure of sampling the wellaged wines Bodegas Lopez Heredia is famous for, and are treated to a bottle of wine as a delicious souvenir. Later, we visit the charming village of Ezcaray, where we enjoy one of the highlights of our tour, lunch in the Michelin-starred El Portal restaurant at Hotel Echaurren. The first restaurant in Rioja to be awarded a Michelin star, Echaurren is very much a family affair. Currently run by the fifth generation of the Garcia family, the restaurant's cuisine draws on the surrounding landscapes to craft its superb menus. After our exquisite lunch, we travel to the picturesque medieval town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where we visit the cathedral. Named for its founding saint, Dominic of the Causeway, the town and its cathedral are important points on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim's route. Includes:Breakfast, LunchMichelin-starred La Rioja lunch

 Days 7-8 San Sebasti'n

Leaving Haro behind, we transfer to Mirando de Ebro by coach, where we take the onwards train to San Sebasti'n. This captivating coastal city boasts the second-highest number of Michelin stars per resident worldwide, making it an ideal stop on our gastronomic journey. From tapas bars to Michelin stars, the city is considered one of the best places to eat in Europe, with typical Basque dishes featuring smoky paprika, fantastic seafood and rich cider served straight from the barrel. On Day 8 we are treated to a cooking masterclass of typical San Sebasti'n food. In small groups, learn to make several Basque specialities. San Sebasti'n's most iconic variety of pintxo is the Gilda, a delicious skewer of olives, chili and anchovies. This popular snack was named for Rita Hayworth's eponymous character in the film 'Gilda', since both are considered to be 'green, salty and a little spicy.' Other popular varieties of pintxo use fish, meat, bread and peppers as ingredients, skewered together in flavourful combinations that delight the palate, as we learn during our expert cooking class. For lunch today, we feast on the wonderful pintxos we have created, savouring the fresh produce and authentic flavours of this cornerstone of local culture. Includes:Day 7 - Breakfast, DinnerDay 8 - Breakfast, Lunch, Cooking Masterclass

 Day 9 Return to London

Today we say goodbye to beautiful Spain. We transfer from our hotel to Hendaye train station, travelling by TGV to Paris. Here, we take the Eurostar to London, where our tour concludes.