If you’re like a lot of people who visit Spain, you’ll fall in love with its many treasures – the people, the culture, the history, the food – and you’ll want to start planning your return visit as soon as you get home.
If you’ve already visited the most common cities for first time visitors (e.g. Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Granada, etc.) and are looking for a new part of the country to explore, then check-out this itinerary and discover the treasures found in the northern part of the country in Santiago, León, Burgos, Bilbao and San Sebastián.
The itinerary begins in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, located in the northwest corner of Spain. Santiago is best known as the destination point for millions of pilgrims who follow the Way of St. James and visit the stunning cathedral that contains what is believed to be the remains of the Apostle St. James.
Following the Way of St. James, the next stop on the itinerary is the city of León, best known for its 13th C. cathedral with beautiful stained-glass windows. You can also visit the modern art museum MUSAC (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León), which opened in 2005.
The itinerary continues along the path of the pilgrimage with a stop in Burgos, considered the “cradle of Castile” and home to Spain’s national hero, El Cid. He is buried in the cathedral of Burgos, which together with the cathedrals in Santiago and León, represent the 3 most important cathedrals on the Way of St. James.
After Burgos the itinerary veers of the pilgrimage trail and heads north to Bilbao. This industrial port city was not always a popular tourist destination, but all of that changed in 1997 when the Guggenheim Museum opened. The building, which itself can be considered a piece of art, is made of curved titanium walls and was designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.
The last stop on the itinerary is the waterfront city of San Sebastián. Located on the north coast overlooking the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastián is a cosmopolitan city with beautiful beaches and a seaside promenade that attracts many visitors in the summer. Besides being known for its beauty, San Sebastián is also considered a mecca for foodies. Its Basque cuisine is heralded the world over, as evidenced by the fact that the city has more Michelin stars per square meter than any other in the world (including Paris).
- Day 1: Arrive in Santiago; afternoon sightseeing in the city
- Day 2: Sightseeing in Santiago
- Day 3: Drive to León (334 km); afternoon sightseeing in the city
- Day 4: Drive to Burgos (201 km); afternoon sightseeing in the city
- Day 5: Drive to Bilbao (158 km); afternoon sightseeing in the city
- Day 6: Visit the Guggenheim and Fine Arts Museums
- Day 7: Drive to San Sebastián (119 km); afternoon sightseeing in the city
- Day 8: Depart San Sebastián to return home
Information on what to see and do, and where to eat can be found on our website or on our blog. Simply search by city.
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