In Style

Galician Paradores

10 to 18 June
Spain

Join us for a nine day tour of Galicia, Spain’s undiscovered province in the far north west of the country. A region of spectacular mountains, fertile valleys and a rugged coastline producing the best shellfish in Europe. We will visit the historic cities of Santiago de Compostela, Vigo and A Coruña as well as the Isles of Cies, one of Spain’s National Parks.

The railway lines in the region take us through some of the most fantastic coastal and mountain scenery in Spain to places that just cannot be seen by road, making the train the ultimate way to see this fascinating area. This trip is made all the more special as we stay in luxury Paradores – buildings of historic interest which have been converted into luxury hotels.

Highlights

  • Pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela
  • Luxury Paradores (usually located in a converted historic buildings such as monasteries)
  • Beautiful Cambados
  • Tours of Ourense and Pontevedra
  • Isles of Cies

Tour Manager: Marion

Day 1  Sunday 10 June (D) We fly out from London Stansted at 12.10 on a direct flight to the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela. Indirect flights may be available from other UK airports. On arrival, we transfer with our coach to our first Parador, the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos. This was built as an inn and hospital for sick pilgrims in the Praza do Obradoiro, which is the same square where we will see the magnificent Cathedral. We will stay in this beautiful Parador for the next three nights. During the evening, we will have our welcome dinner here.

Day 2  Monday 11 June (B) Today we will explore Santiago de Campostela. After breakfast, we have a guided walk of this beautiful city which is the capital of Galicia. We visit the Cathedral, with its Baroque twin towers, built between the 11th and 13th centuries and dominating the centre of Santiago. Inside the Cathedral we can visit the tomb of St. James the Apostle. Then we will walk through the narrow cobbled streets and squares to appreciate the beautiful granite buildings that surround the Cathedral. Later you will have free time for lunch and your own exploration.

Day 3 Tuesday 12 June (B, D) This morning after breakfast we will walk to the railway station at the bottom of the hill (about 20 minutes) and take the train to A Coruña. When we arrive, there will be a transfer by coach along the coast to the Torres de Hercules, the oldest working lighthouse in Europe. After our visit we take our coach back to the centre for our guided walk through this city, sometimes known as the city of glass because of the glass enclosed balconies, built as protection against the strong winds. We may also be able to visit the Jardin de San Carlos which contains the tomb of the Scottish General Sir John Moore who was killed in 1809 as the British evacuated the port during Spain’s War of Independence from France. We will have time for lunch before we continue our exploration of the city and transfer back to the railway station for our rail journey to Vilagarcia de Arousa. Our coach will meet us here to transfer us to our Parador in Cambados.

Day 4 Wednesday 13 June (B, D) Cambados is located in the Rias Baixas on the banks of the Arousa estuary on the west coast of Galicia. The city has a historic site declared an Asset of Cultural Interest that was created from the merger of three old villages that still retain their original character. Fifinans with a marked noble character; Cambados with its beautiful squares, streets and ruins of the cemetery and sacred monument of Santa Marina Dozo; and the eminently seafaring character of San Tomé. Cambados is known for its seafood, and when the tide is out there are large groups of seafood collectors gathering clams and cockles. The town is also known for its Albarino wine and once we have checked in we will have a walk through the town before a tasting of this local, slightly sparkly wine. The evening is free for you to enjoy one of the local restaurants or relax in the Parador by the pool before exploring for yourselves the beauty of this lovely coastal town.

Day 5  Thursday 14 June  (B, D) Today is market day and what better than a short walk from the Parador to the market that lines the street along the seafront. Take in the atmosphere, have a break for a coffee and watch the locals and the world go by before our coach picks us up for trip to A Toxa, which is a small pine-covered island joined to the mainland by a bridge. A Toxa is a very stylish resort with luxury villas, and the best-known landmark is the little church covered in scallop shells. These are the shell we see everywhere in Galicia marking the Pilgrimage Way to the Cathedral in Santiago de Campostela. From here we drive to Grove, a thriving fishing port. All through our journey along the coast of Galicia we will have seen the rafts/platforms made from eucalyptus and now we can visit them. We will leave the docks by boat and see how the shellfish are grown on long ropes hanging down into the rias (drowned river valleys that remains open to the sea) from these platforms. During our journey back to the dock we will sample the mussels with a typical white wine from the region before our transfer back to Cambados for the night.

Day 6  Friday 15  June (B, D) Today we leave the tranquillity of Cambados. Our luggage will be put on our coach once more and we will be taken to Vilagarcia railway station for the rest of our rail journey to Vigo. Once there we will transfer to the dock for another boat journey, this time to the Isles of Cies. These magical islands sit out in the Atlantic being beaten on the west side by the Atlantic breakers whilst protecting the waters into Vigo. On the east side there are long white sandy beaches and crystal clear warmer waters. Our journey by boat is approximately 45 minutes, and during our few hours on the island we are able to take a walk to one of the highest points and then back, to perhaps take a swim or a snack in the café/restaurant on the beach. When we return to the mainland our coach will take us on to Pontevedra for our third Parador stay.

Day 7  Saturday 16 June (B, D) Pontevedra lies inland at the head of the Ria de Pontevedra and north of Vigo. The city was founded by Teucer of Troy and was a very busy city until the middle of the 17th century, with its own mint and fueros (local law code) granted by Saint Ferdinand lll, King of León and Castile. Pontevedra has beautiful historic buildings for us to explore in this typical old Galician town. We will enjoy a guided walk through the cobbled alleys and tiny squares with their granite buildings, as well as seeing the arcades and many flower-filled balconies of this ancient town and medieval port. The afternoon will be free for personal exploration.

Day 8  Sunday 17 June (B, D) Today we take the train further east, inland to Ourense. This is a very picturesque journey partly along the River Mino, which is the border between Spain and Portugal. Ourense is another old Roman City with thermal springs, and the “Font as Burgas” still spouts out water with a temperature of 150 degrees. In the old part of town is the Plaza Mayor where we will see the Cathedral which was rebuilt between the 12th and 13th centuries. On the triple-arched doorway are carved figures reminiscent of the Portico de la Gloria at Santiago. Just north of the town there is a seven-arched bridge built on Roman foundations and still in use. After our visit, we return to Pontevedra for our final nights’ stay and our farewell dinner.

Day 9  Monday 18 June (B) Today it’s time to say goodbye to Galicia and return to the airport in Santiago for our morning flights back home.

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • Full 9-day holiday including flight from London Stansted: £1,999
  • Own travel to and from Santiago: £1,799

Options

  • Single room Supplement: £480

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £500
  • Own travel: £300

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Accommodation in luxury “Paradores”
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, D = Dinner
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted from London

Flights

  • Direct flights with Ryanair from London Stansted and indirect flights from other UK airports.
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Direct flights from London Stansted to Santiago de Compostela. Other, indirect, flight options also available from other UK airport.