If you would like to shatter all the usual stereotypical images of Spain, then this deluxe food, wine and cultural tour of Galicia is just for you!
Galicia is in the north-western corner of Spain right above Portugal, it is a fresh and verdant land that has gushing rivers and a coastline more reminiscent of Scotland than Spain. The weather is cooler than other parts of Spain and often misty with an age-old magical atmosphere, which travelers can share in historic sites like; Cathedrals, Castles and Celtic Hill-forts.
Galicia is the most forgotten of the seven Celtic nations, the others six being; Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Isle of Man and Cornwall. Even so, it has some of the oldest Celtic traditions, going back more that 2000 years. You may even hear Galician bagpipes (Gaitas) droning across the pasture while touring this unique Celtic Land.
On this tour you will discover Galicia with all senses... starting off in Santiago de Compostela the Capital of the region and also the end of the important Pilgrimage Way of St. James. Here you will walk the streets of the old quarter and visit the Cathedral which marks the heart of this historic centre. Then you will follow down the Atlantic coast in the area called the Rias Baixas (Low Estuaries or Bays), here you will get a chance to stroll along the ports of small fishing villages and enjoy exclusive visits to various wineries making the highly acclaimed Albarino white wines of the D.O. Rias Baixas.
In between winery & cultural sites you will stop to dine in a mix of different types of restaurants while touring, we have selected them to show you the variety of the Galician Cuisine... from Michelin Star Restaurants like Toni Vicente in Santiago to small fishermens taverns right on the docks offering an abundance of fresh seafood (Spider Crab, Bay Prawns, Lobster, etc...) caught just that morning and served in handmade wicker baskets right on the table for everyone to dig in and enjoy this delectable finger-food. While on the coast you will get the chance to learn in-depth about the gastronomy by cooking side-by-side with a Galician woman who owns/runs a small Rural Country Manor & Restaurant and knows just about all the traditional coastal cooking secrets of Galicia!
After following down the Rias Baixas coast your inland journey begins alongside the Mino River visiting a few more Albarino wineries, then entering into the next wine region D.O Ribeiro. Walk the streets of the old Jewish Quarter of Ribadavia the heart of Ribeiro wine country. Finally the Mino River will take us to the Ribeira Sacra (Sacred Riverbanks) where it meets with the powerful River Sil. The name Ribeira Sacra comes from having a large concentration of Monasteriesin the area, and thanks to these Monks over the years they have founded the tradition of the D.O. Ribeira Sacra wines made fundamental of the Menica red grape. A young wine that goes excellent with baby goat or lamb, which will be on the menu after visiting wineries of this region and taking a catamaran cruise down river to see the vines and beautiful landscape of this sacred land.
Moving on across Galicia our next wine region is the D.O. Valdeorras where you will try Godello white wines as well as Mencia reds. Next we step over to El Bierzo right next door to Galicia in Castilla y Leon, but who have much in common from their ancient Celtic ties. As well in this region there is an important reminder of the Roman past with the largest gold mine of the Roman Empire in Las Medulas. In this region you will try yet another Mencia wine, but from the more arid lands of D.O. Bierzo, which have a distinct flavor to them.
Bierzo marks the end of the winery visits, but we still have some cultural and gastronomical treats on the agenda before winding down. Making our way back to Santiago we will follow through some of the historic towns on the pilgrimage way of St. James like; Villafranca del Bierzo, then on to the mountain-top Celtic village of O Cebreiro and the Roman Walls of Lugo a UNESCO Monument.
Our last night will be spent in the Historic Parador de Vilalba built within the old castle tower of Vilalba, nearby you will dine in a traditional restaurant saying goodbye to your final evening in this Celtic land with a magical Queimada (traditional spirit, flavoured with coffee beans, and then flamed)".
For your comfort during the trip we have selected a mix of Paradores in Santiago, Baiona, Ribeira Sacra and Vilalba. These accommodations are placed within historic building like Monasteries, Castles, etc... Ranging from 4* to 5* GL (Grand luxury). Then as well you will have a few more rural stays in Galician Pazos, which are Noble Manor House with all the amenities of a Parador but on a smaller more personal scale.
Come Discover the Magic of Galicia with a Gourmet Appetite!
Day by Day Itinerary:
12 Days / 11 Nights
DAY 1: MON
SANTIAGO - Arrival to SANTIAGO
DE COMPOSTELA the end of the Pilgrims' way
- Your private driver/guide will meet & greet you at the Airport or train
station depending which way you arrive.
- Transfer to hotel
- Check into hotel anytime after 2:00pm
- On this evening we meet in the hotel lobby (meeting time: 7:30pm)
tour orientation meeting with your private driver/guide
- Enjoy a "Galician Welcome Dinner" in the beautiful Parador
- Overnight in Santiago D
DAY 2: TUE
SANTIAGO - WALKING DAY TOUR IN THE HISTORIC QUARTER OF THE ANCIENT PILGRIMAGE
CITY - Breakfast
- Morning visit of the Ethnographic museum of the Galician people, plaza de
Abastos market, cathedral & old quarter
- Lunch on your own
- Rest of the day at leisure to explore the city
- Dinner in Michelin Star Restaurant restaurant with fine cuisine in the old quarter
- Overnight in Santiago B, D
DAY 3: WED
SANTIAGO - NOIA - BAROÑA - CORRUBEDO - CATOIRA - CAMBADOS - Breakfast
- Follow down the UPPER
RIAS BAIXAS coastline passing by many small fishing
- Visit the CELTIC
HILL-FORT OF BAROÑA
- Visit the ancient DOLMEN
- Lunch in a restaurant in the village of CORRUBEDO
with excellent views of the coast and delicious fresh seafood & Albariño
- Visit the DUNES
OF CORRUBEDO, a nature beach park with large sand dunes, wild flora &
- Entering into the RIAS
BAIXAS OF O SALNES, visit the remains of the 17th century defense towers in CATORIA
- Visit BODEGA
PAZO DE SEÑORANS (Or similar winery), an Albariño winery located in the O
SALNES sub-zone of the DENOMINATION
OF ORIGIN RIAS BAIXAS
- Then we will visit another selected winery of the region.
- After this visit CAMBADOS
village, the heart of Albariño wine country
- Walk around the Plaza de Fefiñanes and quaint streets of this noble village
- After this make our way to a quaint Galicia Pazo (Manor House) surrounded by
vineyard and they have their own winery
- Check in Pazo and some free time
- Dinner on your own tonight, your driver/guide can take you to Cambados´s old
quarter where you could choose from one of them many restaurants for dinner.
- Overnight in Cambados B, L
DAY 4: THU
CAMBADOS - COMBARRO -
PONTEVEDRA - BUEU - DONON - NATURE WALK AROUND MAN´s CAPE - HIO - ALDAN - Breakfast
- In the morning we leave to visit the quaint fishing village of
- Walk along the port promenade with Horreos (Stone Granaries) which hang over
- Then next in
city´s we visit the Archeology & Art Museum, also the old quarter
- Continuing on we followalong the coastline arriving at the point of the
of O Morrazo.
- In the small village of BUEU we will have a seafood lunch in a local
- After lunch we will walk around what is know as Cabo Home (Man´s Cape) in DONON
see a few lighthouses (including an Ancient Celtic Lighthouse at the top of
Monte Facho) all with excellent view of the Cies
Island in front.
- From here we walk in the direction of the Beach of Melide whereas we reach an
other lighthouse of this Cape, which faces to the RIA
OF VIGO offering spectacular view over the Ria.
- In the small village of Hio we visit
Cross of Hio the most famous in Galicia and built from on solid block
of granite. Beside the cross is the Romanesque Church of San
Andres(St. Andrews) we take a peek inside before leaving.
- Then we make our way to a charming Country Manor in the costal village of
- Some time to relax before a dinner in the beautiful garden of this country
- After dinner we will enjoy some traditional Galician Bagpipe Music
- Overnight in Aldan B, L, D
DAY 5: FRI
ALDAN - CANGAS - VIGO - PLAYA AMERICA - BAIONA - Breakfast
- Some free time in the morning to enjoy your surroundings, talk a walk around
the village or whatever you please.
- 11:00AM: Galician Coastal Cooking Class in a Traditional Country Manor in
the Fishing village of Aldan-Cangas (Duration: 03h30 approx.) - Today you will cook side-by-side with a Galician women who owns/runs a
small Rural Country Manor & Restaurant and knows just about all the traditional
coastal cooking secrets of Galicia!
- You will be shown how to make a 3-course menu based in Fish and Seafood in the
fully-equipped kitchen of this country manor.
- Lunch will be based on what you have prepared accompanied by fine Albarino
- After lunch we drive around the other side of the Peninsula today stopping at
the small fishing village of CANGAS
where you will enjoy a catamaran ride (20mins.) to cross over the
RIA OF VIGO with views of the Rande Bridge and
VIGO City on other side of this beautiful Ria
- Then a tour of VIGO
city and some free time for shopping.
- In the late afternoon we drive to BAIONA
village stopping to visit the America beach where Europe first got word of
the discover of America
- In the harbor we will also see the replica of the Caraval Pinta which brought
the word of the discover of America
- Then off to the Castle of Monterreal which is now is a fabulous Parador where
we will be staying tonight.
- Free time before dinner
- Dinner will be in a restaurant of the new up-and-coming young chef of Galicia
- Overnight in Baiona B, CL, D
DAY 6: SAT
BAIONA - TUI - O ROSAL - LA GUARDIA - BAIONA - Breakfast
- In the morning we make our way to the ancient boarder village of Tui - Visit the
FORTIFIED CATHEDRAL OF TUI and it´s old quarter
- Then we will make a visit to
TERRAS GAUDA (Or similar winery), an Albariño winery located in the O
ROSAL sub-zone of the D.O. Rias Baixas
- Lunch in a seafood restaurant at the port of the fishing village of A Guada.
Enjoy a Seafood feast with Lobster, crab etc... and Albariño wines
- After we will make our way to the top of the St. Tecla hill with PANORAMIC
VIEWS of the RIVER
MIÑO meeting the Atlantic sea, and views of the mountains of Northern
- Here we will also see the
MONTE SANTA TECLA CELTIC HILL-FORT with reconstructed huts and the museum
- Then we follow up the LOWER
RIAS BAIXAS until arriving back in Baiona
- Free time before dinner
- Dinner on your own
- Overnight in Baiona B, L
DAY 7: SUN
BAIONA - SALVATERRA DO MINO - ARBO - Breakfast
- Today we drive by highway to the CONDADO
DE TEA, another sub-zone of the D.O. Rias Baixas
- We will follow along the Mino river stopping to see the Castle of Salvaterra
and where they also celebrate the wine festival of this sub-zone every year.
- We will pass through small village like As Neves famous for its Goat Cheese
- Then we will arrive at ARBO
"Villa da Lamprea" (village of Lamprey Eel)
- Lunch in a quaint Manor House overlooking the Miño River
- Visit Sean O'Rourke´s family Artisan wine cellar inside the old ABADIA
(ABBEY) DE CABEIRAS that does not sell on a commercial level and conserve
the traditional method of producing Albariño & Condado wines in the valley.
- We will also visit the Miños
da Rocha, recently resorted old flower-mills
- After this we will walk around the village and get the local flavor of this
true Galician village
- Tonight we will stay in a Noble Galician Manor which also has a winery that we
will visit. Views from the Manor are spectacular being surrounded by vines and
the Mino River below.
- Dinner will be in the Manor house with traditional local cuisine
- Overnight in Arbo B, L, D
DAY 8: MON
RIBADAVIA - SAN AMARO - OURENSE - MONFORTE - Breakfast
- Visit the historic Jewish quarter of medieval RIBADAVIA
village, heart of the DENOMINATION
OF ORIGIN RIBEIRO
- We will make a visit to BODEGA
VIÑA MEIN (Or similar winery), an excellent Ribeiro winery
- In San Amaro this morning we visit the ancient CELTIC
HILL-FORT OF SAN CIBRAN DE LAS hidden on a plateau in the mountains
- Scenic drive passing by vineyards stopping in OURENSE
- Visit: the Roman Bridge, As Burgas Fountain, Plaza Mayor, Pilgrimage Cathedral
& Old Quarter
- Free time for Lunch on your own, in the old quarter there are many bars and
taverns that offer tapas
- Afternoon at leisure to explore the city and for some shopping
- Then we drive to Monforte in the Ribeira Sacra Valley (Sacred Riverbank).
- We will stay overnight at the Parador of Monforte
- Free time before dinner
- Dinner in hotel
- Overnight in Monforte B, D
DAY 9: TUE
MONFORTE - CATAMARAN RIDE IN THE RIBEIRA SACRA VALLEY - MONFORTE - Breakfast
- Today we will enjoy a catamaran ride through the vineyard covered canyons of the RIBEIRA
- Disembarking we have lunch with Mencia wines in a local restaurant
- Then we visit BODEGAS
VIA ROMANA (Or similar winery), a winery in the D.O.
- Tour of the winery and vineyard
- Then in the afternoon we drive back to MONFORTE
DE LEMOS, here we will visit the remains of the Tower and a monastery.
- At your own leisure this evening
- Dinner on your own, try one of the restaurant in the village.
- Overnight in Monforte B, L
DAY 10: WED
MONFORTE - A RUA - LAS MEDULAS - PONFERRADA - CACABELOS - Breakfast
- In A Rua visit BODEGA
JOAQUIN REBOLLEDO (Or similar winery), a winery in the DENOMINATION
OF ORIGIN VALDEORRAS
- Driving through the mountains leaving Galicia and entering into the region of EL
- Visit LAS
MEDULAS, extensive Roman Empire gold mines
- Lunch in a tavern offering regional cuisine with Mencia red wine from the DENOMINATION
OF ORIGIN BIERZO
- In PONFERRADA
visit the Templar Castle
- We will visit a famous Mencia winery in the D.O. Bierzo
- Transfer to charming rural hotel
- At leisure until dinner
- Dinner in a typical Bierzo restaurant with a resorted Palace/Stately House
which also has a winery attached and elaborates artisan products of the area
like peppers, etc...
- Overnight in Cacabelos B, L, D
DAY 11: THU
VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO - O CEBREIRO - LUGO - VILADONGA - VILALBA - Breakfast
- In the morning we will visit VILLAFRANCA
DEL BIERZO, and then follow along THE
FRENCH WAY TO SANTIAGO IN GALICIA entering back into Galicia
- Visit the Celtic mountain village of O
CEBREIRO, where also the Galician Pedrafita Cheeses are made
- In LUGO
city, visit the Roman Walls, Pilgrimage Cathedral & Old Quarter
- Lunch on your own and free time to explore the city
- Group meeting point in the late afternoon, drive to visit the CELTIC
HILL-FORT & MUSEUM OF VILADONGA
- Transfer to Parador in VILALBA
the capital of THE
TERRA CHÁ (FLAT LANDS)
- At leisure until dinner
- "Galician Goodbye Dinner" in traditional tavern with local cuisine
- "Galician Queimada spectacular" with the Galician folkloric verse
- Return to parador
- Overnight in Vilalba B, D
DAY 12: FRI
VILALBA - ARZUA - LAVACOLLA, SANTIAGO´s INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - TRAIN STATION & CITY
CENTRE - Breakfast
- Morning (9:30am) departing hotel
- Depending on your departure if time permits we could stop in Arzua to try and
the opportunity to buy some of Galicia´s fine Tetilla Cheeses.
- Transfer to Lavacolla, Santiago´s International Airport, NOTE: When
arranging your fight departure if you are flying out of Santiago it must be no
earlier than 12:00pm due to the traveling time from Vilalba
- Those who are continuing on by other means of transportation will be dropped
off in the Renfe Train Station in Santiago city. B
END OF TOUR SERVICES
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