By Patti Pietschmann Travel Diva

On our first trip to Spain my husband and I stayed in wonderful paradors. We were fresh out of college and on a budget. But these government owned accommodations were anything but budget looking. There was a fabulous castle and other historic buildings.

Well fast forward to today and Tauck is enabling groups to enjoy similar experiences. The popular tour and travel company is adding a new tour of northern Spain that will include luxury hotels and paradors.

The tour explores  Barcelona and Madrid, traverses the Pyrenees Mountains, and the La Roja wine region. There’s also a visit  to the seaside town of San Sebastian highlighted by a  seven-course meal inside a 9th-century castle.

During the 14-day itinerary there is a mix of accommodations. One is the ultra-modern Hotel Marques de Riscal. Another is the centuries-old Parador de Santiago de Compostela.

Marques de Riscal  is world-famous architect Frank Gehry’s  vision of  a 21st-century chateau. It  is located  amidst the vineyards of the Marques de Riscal winery.

There are also  wine tasting at the nearby 1,000-year-old town of Haro, home to a popular  wine festival each year.

World’s oldest hotel

And to top if off there are two-nights  at the world’s oldest hotel, the Parador de Santiago de Compostela. Located in the pilgrimage town of Santiago de Compostela, the hotel was built in 1486 by Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabe, It sits at the terminus of the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James pilgrimage route, near the town’s cathedral.

The remains of St. James  rest in the cathedral. Today the parador is a luxury property that has been called “the most beautiful hotel in Europe.”

Dinner in a castle

A highlight of the tour is a seven-course wine-tasting dinner inside Castell de Ciutat, a 9th-century castle fortress in La Seu d’Urgell.. The castle itself was the historic home of the Counts of Urgell, and it still bears the scars from past military conflicts with the French.

Other itinerary highpoints include visits to the renowned Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (also designed by Frank Gehry), walking tours in Barcelona, La Seu d’Urgell and San Sebastian, and the chance to walk along both the “running of the bulls” route in Pamplona.

Following a flight to Madrid, the tour concludes with a guided exploration of the city during a two-night hotel stay at the Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques.

Included in the price are all sightseeing and other activities, 29 meals, the on-tour flight to Madrid, most gratuities, airport transfers, luggage handling, taxes and much more.

For more information can contact a Pavlus travel professional.

You might like to also visit the company’s website at ( in Canada.)



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