Barcelona, Andorra & the Spanish Pyrenees

May 20-29, 2018 • 10 Days • Approx $3500

With New Traveler Discount: Approx $3100**

Starting in charming Barcelona, we walk the principality of Andorra, experiencing dramatic mountain scenery and the remote enclaves of the Pyrenees en route to Basque country in San Sebastian. From San Sebastian we make our way to Madrid, where travelers can depart for home or extend their stay to explore this cosmopolitan center of Spain!

Madrid Extension

May 29-31, 2018 • 3 Days • Price TBA

This extension offers activities in Madrid and Segovia.

** NEW Traveler Discount: New Travelers receive up to $200 off domestic trips and up to $400 off international tours! 

Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this potential 2018 tour! If 25 Early Birds are received for this departure, we’ll add it to the official 2018 Schedule. An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!

View Daily Itinerary

Barcelona holds a treasure trove of fascinating architecture, from ancient Roman (under the current city), to medieval Gothic, to 20th century Modernist. It also offers a wealth of cultural surprises linked to its position as capital of Catalan Spain. Andorra, one of the world’s smallest countries, yields its own surprises tucked away in the Pyrenees. From Andorra, we spend several days exploring the fascinatingly remote Pyrenees communities of Catalan and Aragon. Aran Valley charms us with scenic beauty and strikes a recurring theme of this Adventure—linguistic and cultural regionalism. Ordesa National Park is simply stunning, boasting breathtaking monolithic massifs and beckoning trails through sun-dappled beech forests. Finally we arrive in San Sebastian, the center of Basque culture, which is distinguished, among other things, by a passion for great food and quality cooking! En route to Madrid, our last stop lies in Burgos, historic capital of the Kingdom of Castile. Here, you have the opportunity for a relaxing lunch break in the picturesque old town, or join us for a visit to the Cathedral of Burgos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelers can extend their stay for a couple more days in the Madrid area on our optional Madrid Extension.

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Barcelona, Andorra & Spanish Pyrenees

Including:

  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations (3 or 4 star)
  • 15 meals: 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 5 dinners as denoted (BLD)
  • All listed walks
  • Fees for walking credit in Spain and Andorra (if IVV approved)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of local and national guides throughout program
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for national and local guides and coach drivers

Activities/Visits to:

  • Parc Güell (Barcelona)
  • Montjuïc teleferic (gondola) (Barcelona)
  • Museo de Areny-Plandolit (Andorra)
  • Ordesa National Park
  • Loarre Castle
  • San Juan de la Peña Monastery
  • Mount Igueldo funicular (San Sebastian)
  • Cathedral of Burgos (Burgos)
  • Plus more fun and educational stops than we can list!

Optional Excursion:

  • San Sebastian Cooking Class & Dinner

Madrid Extension

Including:

  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations (3 or 4 star)
  • 3 meals: 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner as denoted (BD)
  • Fees for walking credit (if IVV approved)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of local and national guides throughout program
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for national and local guides and coach drivers

Activities/Visits to:

  • Madrid Walk
  • High Speed AVE Train between Madrid and Segovia
  • Segovia Aqueduct & Alcazar Trail
  • Alcazar (Segovia)

Optional Excursion:

  • Bullfight (Madrid)

“My first group travel, will not need to look for other company. This trip was beyond my expectations.”

-Linda P; Seattle, WA


“How different the North of Spain is from Madrid South. Loved it all… [Your] Trips are always new and appealing; fellow travelers make traveling comfortable; guides from WAI and local guides are always exceptional. Dan is terrific—makes each traveler feel ‘special.’…Cesar is fun but awesome in his breadth of knowledge and patience.”

-Valerie N; Camano Island, WA


“More opportunity to travel w/the same people and travel w/guides we’ve come to know—it is like family, as cliché as that sounds.”

-Diane H; Renton, WA


“It was the usual terrific tour! Thanks for all the effort to put the trip together!..[We enjoyed] Your effective organized program, the fantastic places you visit, meeting new and seeing old friends. Having fun.”

-John & Judi B; Goodyear, AZ


“Quality of content: Leaders, Guides, Hikes, etc.”

-Candace S; Albuquerque, NM


“Cesar is one of the best country guides we’ve had… [You offer a] Great mix of big city, small town and national parks/outdoor experiences. Excellent guides who provide overviews of history and culture. Flexible sturdy co-travelers. Action-packed schedules with lots of exercise.”

-Shirley M; Tacoma, WA


“Pre-planning, excellent organization, small and friendly groups, comfortable accommodations, good guides, great leadership, unique experiences—not too touristy…Interesting variety describes this trip—regions, history, scenery, food, wine and walks.”

-Jim & Donna S; Ventura, CA


“It was better than expected. Cesar is a keeper! The locations of walks were varied and beautiful!..Once again, knowledgeable in-country guides combined with organized, experienced WAI Guides have provided a rich cultural, historical and gastronomical experience. Add to that beautiful walks and hikes and it is the only way to travel to new foreign and exotic places!”

-Rick L; Lakewood, CO


“Each hotel had its own charm. Most were in a good location to walk to sights of interest…Good balance of city and country walks. Loved the country walks…Guides were awesome. WAI and local guides did everything possible to make the tour a success…WAI is a premier outfit and meets my expectations of how I prefer to tour. I’ve enjoyed every tour we’ve taken…[Walking Adventures features] Small groups; doesn’t follow large tour itineraries.”

-Judi B; Goodyear, AZ


“The tour quality, good camaraderie, great guides (WAI and Country) brings us back.”

-Mike N; Seattle, WA


“Great mix of walks and hikes. Great mix of city and country. Great mix of ancient and more recent history. Result: A very good and balanced insight into this region of Spain/Andorra.”

-Jean O; Vancouver, WA


“Visiting places ‘off the beaten path,’ interacting with local people, and learning about different cultures brings me back to WAI…Andorra was beautiful. Walking in the Pyrenees was ‘breath-taking.'”

– Tink M; Centerville, OH


“Just a great time learning, exploring and feeling like I really got a ‘taste’ for the places we visited.”

-Rod S; Oskaloosa, KS


“Loved the itinerary! Appreciated the thought devoted to seeking out special places and restaurants off the beaten path.”

-Diane S; Seminole, FL


“I like the fact that the tours are so well planned and that the WAI guides are well prepared and do an excellent job of meeting the needs of the travelers”.

-Karen H; Portland, OR

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class (3 star) hotels or better

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners. Letters BLD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

Not Included. Start point is our hotel in Barcelona, finish point is our hotel in Madrid.

Transportation

Included. We use full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 45+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

wai-guides-roger-jana-dorway

Roger & Jana Dorway have always appreciated the experiential, paradigm-expanding value of travel, and have been privileged to explore destinations on 4 continents. Since retirement, they’ve increased their commitment to discovering the world, fostering a growing desire to share cultural and historical insights as part of the WAI guide team.

Local Guide César Higueras Sanz on the Northern Spain Tour 2016

César Higueras Sanz: Along with an exceedingly dry sense of humor, César brings a knowledge of languages (Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Italian), culture, and history to our Spanish experience. César is a highly qualified guide who has been leading our Walking Adventures in Spain since 2007 – he is looking forward to sharing the culture and history of Spain with you!

Itinerary

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Barcelona, Andorra & the Spanish Pyrenees

DAY 1: Arrive Barcelona, Spain (D)

Upon arrival at the Barcelona-El Prat International Airport, taxis are available for convenient transportation to our hotel near Barcelona’s historic center. Travelers arrive throughout the day so our first group activity is a Welcome Orientation this evening followed by dinner.

DAY 2: Activities in Barcelona (B)

Barcelona, Medieval to Modern Walk – 10 km, rated 1B

This morning we visit our first UNESCO World Heritage Site – a whimsical creation of early 20th century modernist architect, Antonio Gaudi. Parc Güell is a delightfully strollable blend of garden greenery and Disneyesque structures. Later this morning, our Barcelona walk showcases a sizeable chunk of this remarkable city on the sea, incorporating a bird’s-eye view gondola ride up Montjuïc. Along with a plethora of uniquely Catalan delights, we walk the lively waterfront beach, through the old fishing neighborhood of Barceloneta, and up into the Gothic Quarter, oldest section of Barcelona supported in places by ruins of the 2000-year-old Roman settlement here.

DAY 3: Barcelona – La Massana, Andorra (BLD)

Route of Iron Walk – 4 km, rated 1B

Leaving Barcelona, our destination is the tiny principality of Andorra, one of Europe’s smallest countries. Along the way we enter the rugged Pyrenees Mountains, ancient geographic barrier between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. We enjoy time in the tiny village of Os de Civís, including a cultural lunch experience in this time-forgotten corner of Spain reachable only through Andorra. En route to our hotel, we explore a tributary valley on a lovely nature path along a stream where iron has been mined in centuries past.

DAY 4: Andorra – Vielha, Spain (BD)

Val d’Incles Walk – 4 km, rated 2A

The morning’s walk takes us into the Incles Valley, awash with spring wildflowers of the Pyrenees. Following the walk, we enter one of the small but beautiful Romanesque stone churches that dot the hillsides of the Pyrenees. Before leaving Andorra, a visit to Museo de Areny-Plandolit provides a fascinating glimpse into life of the relatively isolated Andorran upper class between the 17th and 19th centuries. Our afternoon drive snakes along the foothills of the Pyrenees into the Aran Valley.

DAY 5: Vielha – Torla (BD)

Aran Valley Villages & Vistas Walk – 12 km, rated 2C

The Aran Valley has been virtually independent for much of its history, and retains a high degree of autonomy in governing local matters. Tucked away in the mountains next to the French border, the valley developed its own language, Aranese, a variant of the southern French tongue known as Occitan. Our walk connects several delightful, traditional villages along the valley floor, each with its own photogenic Romanesque Church. More Pyrenees panoramas are in store for us this afternoon as we make our way into the province of Aragón to Torla – our base for the next two evenings.

DAY 6: Activities from Torla (B)

Ordesa National Park Walk – 10 km, rated 2C

Ordesa National Park opens a window onto some of Spain’s most stunning scenery. The walk returns us to our hotel just outside Torla, a charming and durable village built of granite, the stone that seems to provide the very building blocks of life in the Pyrenees. The afternoon is free to enjoy the solitude and scenery of our hotel, or wander the picturesque village of Torla.

DAY 7: Torla - San Sebastian (BD)

One of Spain’s most impressive fortresses sits just above the village of Loarre, in Aragón. Built defiantly on a mountainside by the king of Aragón and Navarra nearly 1000 years ago, the castle served as command post for his resistance against the Moors. San Juan de la Peña Monastery, a one-hour scenic drive north, was the final resting place of Aragón and Navarre nobility, and preserves some of Spain’s best examples of Romanesque carving. We finish our day with a lovely drive north to San Sebastian, our base for the next two nights.

DAY 8: Activities in San Sebastian (B)

San Sebastian on the Sea Walk – 10 km, 1B

A morning walk starts from our hotel and includes a funicular ride to Mount Igueldo for dramatic panoramic vistas of the city and its famous beaches. We continue along lovely La Concha Bay and up into the large city park on Mount Urgell, bordered by the sea. The afternoon and evening are free to explore this delightful city on your own. Spaniards have developed an art form of preparing and consuming delicious hors d’oeuvres, and San Sebastian boasts Spain’s best pinchos (called tapas in other parts of Spain). Tonight is your first chance to explore this culinary delight!

OPTIONAL EXCURSION: San Sebastian is a center of world-renowned Basque cooking. In fact, two of Michelin Guides’ top ten restaurants of Europe are located in San Sebastian, and male Basque cooking clubs are a legendary component of local Basque culture! To sample a bit of this local culture and cuisine, we are arranging a cooking class this afternoon, followed by an evening meal to consume the fruit of our well-guided efforts. 

DAY 9: San Sebastian - Madrid (B)

We’ve enjoyed the stunning scenery of the Pyrenees, bookended with two of Spain’s most appealing cities – Barcelona and San Sebastian – with tiny little Andorra sandwiched in between. En route to Madrid, our last stop lies in Burgos, historic capital of the Kingdom of Castile. Here, you have the opportunity for a relaxing lunch break in the picturesque old town, or join us for a visit to the Cathedral of Burgos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelers have the option to return home tomorrow, or extend their stay for another two days of activities in the Madrid region.

DAY 10: Depart from Madrid (B)

We bid fond farewells to our walking comrades this morning at the close of Barcelona, Andorra & the Spanish Pyrenees, and return home with fond memories of fascinating regional differences, breathtaking scenery, fun culinary experiences, and a generous portion of food for thought.

Madrid Extension

Day 1: Madrid – Segovia (BD)

Madrid Walk – 5 km, rated 1A

A morning walk through the highest capital in Europe introduces us to the charms of one of Spain’s youngest large cities (500 years old). May is a month of bullfights in Madrid, and pending schedule information, this iconic and controversial Spanish form of entertainment and bravado will be offered on an optional basis. This afternoon we take the high speed AVE train north to Segovia, one of our favorite Spanish towns. We spend a relaxing night here, where a stroll along the pedestrian area during the evening paseo is the best way to observe the relaxed flavor of local life.

Day 2: Segovia - Madrid (B)

Segovia Aqueduct & Alcazar Trail – 10 km, rated 2B

Today’s walk in Segovia showcases the city’s many architectural delights – a Roman aqueduct, a pervasive Mudejar (Moorish) influence, and a gothic cathedral of stunning proportions. The refreshing nature trail outside the city walls offers views of the many-turreted Alcazar (palace) looming over the valley, which we’ll explore later this afternoon. Our day ends with a return train ride to Madrid in preparation for our flights home tomorrow.

Day 3: Depart from Madrid (B)

After a fun and educational exposure to the Spanish capital and Segovia, we say goodbye to Spain. Thanks for joining us for Madrid Extension!

More Details

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

Call or mail in your Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted on this Adventure.

First Time Traveler Savings

In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $400 credit on international tours!

Group Travel Credit

Start a Group of 5 or more to receive a discount on this Adventure!

Check out more information on the Group Travel Program.

How is airfare arranged?

The official start point is our hotel in Barcelona, Spain (airport code BCN) and the end point is our hotel in Madrid, Spain (airport code MAD). More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be made available after this itinerary has been finalized.

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Several walks on this trip are oriented towards history and culture, and therefore take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Walks with less commentary generally continue at a steadier pace. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below.

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

What happens next?

We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.

If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.

Now is a great time to begin planning your travels through breathtaking Pyrenees panoramas, among charming Basque villages, and through the breathtaking scenery of Ordesa National Park! Be prepared to get off the coach with us and experience a walking program that will open your eyes to a side of Northern Spain few travelers experience! We look forward to exploring the countryside, cathedrals, culture, and cuisine of the Iberian Peninsula with you!