Past Trips

CATALONIA SPAIN with its exciting gem Barcelona!

Trip At A Glance

  • Trip type: International
  • Category: Moderate
  • Dates: May 17-27, 2018
  • Duration: 11 days (10 nights)
  • Booking Deadline: February 16, 2018
  • Price: $3,375.00
  • Single Supplement: $950.00
  • Deposit: $900.00 (26.7%)
  • Group size: 10

Let’s explore the semi-autonomous community of Catalonia “Catalunya”, Spain with its very exciting capital city Barcelona! 

Most people know about Barcelona; the crown jewel of Catalonia, as it’s home to the famous modernism architecture movement, in particular of course the incredible works of Antoni Gaudi.   Barcelona is in fact also known as one of the top cities in the world for culture, history & sights. 

Aside from Barcelona and this region’s famous Costa Brava beaches on the Mediterranean, fewer tourists travel north into Catalonia’s rich & beautiful landscape. The region of Catalonia expands over a relatively small geographic territory, but happens to contain a wealth of natural & diversified splendor!  The great Spanish Pyrenees mountains loom over lush & fertile valleys, plains are marked with dormant volcanic cones, and rocky cliffs with secluded clear blue coves decorate its beaches (think California’s Big Sur but on the Mediterranean). 

We will be exploring the exciting & vibrant cultural mecca of Barcelona with its over 2000 years of history, the magical smaller city of Girona, rugged natural landscapes, and even ancient medieval villages!  This trip promises to be an active adventure and will include the perfect balance of urban cultural sightseeing, with plenty of time for us to lose ourselves in Catalonia’s natural splendor.  All will be ours to discover within this cozy corner of Spain!

Oh, and foodies please be aware that you may just fall in love with Catalan cuisine and its sea to mountain specialties!   Barcelona & surrounding Catalonia have become renowned internationally for its food and their celebrated culture of eating.   We’ll have plenty of opportunities to taste & enjoy traditional Catalan dishes along with traditional Spanish dishes paired of course with their delicious wines and cava from Catalan vineyards!

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

Tour exciting Barcelona with our private guide where we’ll discover Antoni Gaudi’s modernism works such as the towering Sagrada Familia Cathedral, The Park Güell, and inside at least one of his dramatic mansions (Casa Lleo I Morrera, The Casa Amatler, Casa Barllo or La Pedrera).

Explore Barcelona’s most significant and interesting neighborhoods while diving into classic Catalan & Spanish food, including plenty of tapas. We will be in search of Barcelonian’s favorite tapas bars & bodega’s!

Hike the important & emblematic Montserrat Mountain with it unique rock formations and visit its Benedict monk retreat. Here we will see some of the most impressive views in Catalonia!

Experience agritourism as we stay in a beautiful historic stone farm-house (nestled close by Catalonia’s natural volcanic region) which will include delicious home-cooked farm to table breakfasts & dinners.

Hot Air Balloon ride over La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, with views of the Pyrenees mountains!

Explore several beautiful & ancient medieval villages such as Besalu & Santa Pau.

Catalonia is known to Europeans for its active tourism; we’ll experience this as we embark on a 30-mile bike ride from Olot to Girona on ‘El Carrilet’ the Greenway (historic railway made into biking & walking path); while our luggage gets safely transported. (This activity is optional.)

Tour & stay in the less visited but sophisticated & breathtaking city of Girona; explore its historic Jewish quarter and learn its important history.

Gastronomic experience at a charming winery; to include wine & olive oil tasting, a walk in the vineyard, a tour of their wine cellar and a special lunch made just for us!

See the real Costa Brava as we hike along ancient footpaths that connect cliffs to secluded coves along the Mediterranean Sea.

This trip is designed so our travelers may experience a perfect balance of time within an exciting city with epic history & culture, PLUS plenty of time to be active in rural & natural environments.  All in beautiful Catalonia, Spain!

 

High quality hotels & farm-house stay, each full of character and represent the history and culture of each location!

Nights 1-3:  Barcelona - Hotel Colon; beautiful 1920 hotel with views of the iconic Barcelona Cathedral in historic Gothic neighborhood. Convenient to some of our sights and walking distance to museums, restaurants, shopping.  Breakfast buffet included.  Hotel amenities include: views of Cathedral, rooftop lounge with spa, and a restaurant with bar & alfresco dinning.  

Nights 4-6:  JoanetesEl Ferres Farmhouse; we'll experience agricultural tourism as we stay at this beautiful, and historic stone farmhouse set in a peaceful, rural setting and conveniently located to many of the sights we will see in this region.  Our hosts will include farm-to-table breakfasts & dinners.

Night 7:  GironaHotel Llegendes; elegant boutique hotel centrally located in the historic district and walking distance to sights and restaurants. Breakfast is included.

Nights 8-10:  BegurHotel Aigueclara; charming and award winning boutique hotel centrally located and walking distance to the town square with plenty of restaurants.  Our home away from home location is about a 5-10 minute drive to two of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in Spain.

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

  • Day 1. Barcelona with half day neighborhood & tapas tour
  • Day 2. Barcelona with full day of Gaudi Tour
  • Day 3. Barcelona free day
  • Day 4. Montserrat Mountain & Joanetes
  • Day 5. Hot Air Balloon ride & Besalu
  • Day 6. Hike dormant volcano & Santa Pau
  • Day 7. Bike ride to Girona
  • Day 8. Gastronomy experience at winery & Begur
  • Day 9. Begur & Mediterranean foot path hike
  • Day 10. Begur free day
  • Day 11. Departure day

Details

Thu, May 17 Day 1. Barcelona with half day neighborhood & tapas tour

AM Arrival at Barcelona Airport (BCN):  Private group transfer to Barcelona city center to leave luggage at our hotel and freshen up.  Around 1:00pm we will meet with our our guide to begin exploring the city on foot.  We will tour the best neighborhoods while diving into the culture of Catalan cuisine.  We’ll visit their famous food market, and enjoy a tapas food crawl.  

Drive time:  about 30 minutes

 

Fri, May 18 Day 2. Barcelona with full day of Gaudi Tour

Breakfast at hotel, then meet our guide and we'll have a full day to dive into Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces.  We’ll tour inside La Sagrada Familia, The Park Güell and at least one of his mansions.   We will enjoy a nice tapas lunch break and our time with our guide will end by around 5:00pm.  The evening will be free for us to relax at the hotel and of course enjoy some dinner.

 

Sat, May 19 Day 3. Barcelona free day

Breakfast at hotel, and free day in Barcelona with optional tours (this day's additional touring expenses are not included).  Tour options will be discussed with the group in advance. 

Examples:  Escape the city; enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful Penedes wine region just 45 minutes south of Barcelona.  Dive deeper into Catalan cuisine with a cooking class, or learn to make authentic Spanish paella while sipping wine.  How about heading to the Mediterranean Sea for a stroll along marinas or hop aboard a private sail boat cruise for a cruise during sunset? Visit close-by art museums and meander through narrow streets while practicing your photography. 

This day will be planned with your input, just for you!   We can break into groups of 2 or 3 or you can have the day to yourself.   Any tour or tickets bookings required for this day will be made and paid for 2-3 months in advance of our trip. 

Sun, May 20 Day 4. Montserrat Mountain & Joanetes

Breakfast at hotel, after breakfast we’ll get picked up by our highly rated & licensed Catalonia adventure guide and drive to Montserrat Mountain.   We will hike the impressive mountain for about three hours, enjoy a picnic lunch, tour the monastery, and then drive to Joanetes, and check into our rural farm house; our home for the next three nights.  This evening we will enjoy our home-cooked dinner!

Drive times:  about one hour to Montserrat, and about one hour to Joanetes

Mon, May 21 Day 5. Hot Air Balloon ride & Besalu

Early & light breakfast at farmhouse then head out to our hot air balloon ride excursion.  We’ll watch as our ‘pilot’ and crew inflate our balloon, then climb aboard and float peacefully above the breathtaking scenery below; including the Volcano Natural Park.  Our balloon ride will last about 1.5 hours; during which we will share cake & toast cava (sparkling wine).  At the end of our ride we will be transported back to the home station where we will enjoy a hearty Catalan breakfast/lunch with our pilot!   We will then go to the medieval village of Besalu to explore its streets and enjoy a relaxing happy hour before heading back to our farmhouse for dinner.

 

 

Tue, May 22 Day 6. Hike dormant volcano & Santa Pau

Breakfast at farmhouse, then we are off to the La Garrotxa Natural Park.   Here we’ll hike through the lovely beech forests to the crater of an ancient dormant volcano!  During the afternoon, we’ll visit & explore the medieval village of Santa Pau.  This evening will be our final dinner with our gracious farm hosts.

Wed, May 23 Day 7. Bike ride to Girona

Breakfast at farmhouse and then quick drive to Olot and begin our (optional) 30-mile bicycle ride to the City of Girona.  Along Spain’s Greenway we will discover villages and vintage train stations.  We can take breaks and enjoy a lunch before finishing our ride in the lovely city of Girona.  Once we get to Girona we will meet with another local guide to tour the small city and river front.   We’ll check into our boutique hotel and have dinner close by.  (The 30-mile bike ride is an optional activity.  You are welcome to head to Girona with our van, and enjoy free-time until we meet for our tour.) 

Drive time:  approximately one hour drive time or four hour bike ride with lunch break

Thu, May 24 Day 8. Gastronomy experience at winery & Begur

Breakfast at hotel and then depart Girona and head towards the Mediterranean.  We will stop on our way and have a very special Gastronomy experience at a charming winery.  We will walk the vineyards, tour the cellar, and taste their wines and olive oils.  We’ll also enjoy a private lunch just for us!   We’ll then finish our drive and end in the beautiful town of Begur & check into one of the most charming boutique hotels in all of Spain… our home for the next three nights.

Drive time:  Approximately one hour to winery & one hour to Begur

Fri, May 25 Day 9. Begur & Mediterranean foot path hike

Breakfast at hotel and then our guides will take us to our starting point for our Mediterranean foot path hike.  Here we will learn the real Costa Brava.  We’ll see some of its coastal towns and stop and have a nice lunch with a view.  This evening we can relax & stroll down the street for dinner.

Sat, May 26 Day 10. Begur free day

Breakfast at hotel and free day with options:  relax at one of the close-by beautiful beaches, opt to hike another part of the coastal foot path, indulge yourself and have a luxurious spa day, or just relax & enjoy our beautiful town.  The choice will be yours!   This evening we’ll enjoy another relaxing local dinner.

Sun, May 27 Day 11. Departure day

Bitter-sweet goodbye to beautiful Costa Brava & the province of Girona.  Private transfer to Barcelona Airport in plenty of time for our 1pm flight back home.  

Drive time:  Approximately 1.5 hour drive to airport

Inclusions

Private transfers to and from Barcelona Airport (see TRANSPORTATION section for required arrival & departure times)

All accommodations

Two tours in Barcelona with professional/licensed guides

  • Full day Gaudi Modernism tour (lunch not included)
  • Half day Neighborhood & Tapas tour (the cost of food & drinks consumed during the tour is not included)

All breakfasts at hotels & farm house

Picnic lunch while hiking Montserrat

Three home-cooked dinners at farm house

Hot air balloon ride with coffee, cava & cake.  Plus post ride traditional Catalan brunch.

Winery with Gastronomy experience; tour, tasting & special lunch

Our Catalonia licensed guide who is highly rated with all transportation around Catalonia

Guided walks & hikes including park entrance fees

Guided bicycle ride with bicycles rentals & luggage transportation to next destination

Exclusions

International Airfare to and from Barcelona (BCN)

Any meals or beverages not mentioned above

Some taxis around Barcelona (should be minimal, around 10 Euro’s per person)

Day three in Barcelona & your chosen activities (Trip leader will assist in planning this day & reservations can be made & paid for 2-3 months in advance, or you may choose to keep this day open).

Any other free time activities not mentioned above

Gratuities / Tips (around 10% is the recommended amount in Spain for good service)

Travel Insurance 

This cultural adventure is 10 nights / 11 days (plus one travel day)

Early bird pricing:  $3375 (based on double occupancy)

Early bird pricing booking deadline:  September 1, 2017

Regular pricing:  $3475 (based on double occupancy)

Drop dead booking deadline:  January 15, 2018

Single Room Supplement:  $950

Deposit:  $900 due at booking

Final Balance due:  February 1, 2018 (3.5 months prior to departure)

FLIGHTS

You are responsible for obtaining your own international flights.  

Travel Days:  Wednesday May 16 & Sunday May 27

***Travelers must arrive at Barcelona (BCN) International Airport by approximately 9:00AM local time to take advantage of our private group transportation to Barcelona City Center. 

If arriving other times transportation is easily found and should not cost more than 30 Euro’s (buses, subway, taxi’s).  Gen-X Travel Club is not responsible for providing alternative transportation.

We will begin touring the City from our hotel around Noon on arrival day.

***Travelers must depart BCN International Airport no earlier than 1PM on our departure day.

If departing with an earlier flight you will be responsible for providing yourself alternative transportation which could cost as much as 300 Euro’s.  Gen-X Travel Club is not responsible for providing alternative transportation.  

SAMPLE FLIGHT

American Airlines flies direct to Barcelona (BCN) from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to Barcelona International Airport (BCN). 

5/16/18; Depart PHL at 7PM, arrive BCN at 8:50AM -- overnight flight

5/27/18; Depart BCN at 1PM, arrive PHL at 3:50PM -- same day flight

OTHER TRANSPORTATION

Barcelona City:  by foot and taxiS (taxis needed at least one day to tour some of Gaudi’s sites and should not cost each person more than 10 euro's that day)

Around Catalonia:  our tour guide will provide all necessary transportation including private van, & private car, taxis & even bicycles

We always recommend trip insurance & suggest TRAVEL SAFE insurance - a reputable company with competitive pricing and great coverage options. Here are a few reasons to get trip insurance: Reimbursement for cancellation penalties (which can be 100% of your investment) in the event of an unforeseeable illness, injury or death of you, your travel companion or a family member. Reimbursement for cancellation penalties if you are called for jury duty, your home is damaged due to fire, windstorm, flood or vandalism or military leave cancelled. Health insurance coverage while traveling outside of the U.S. as many health insurance companies limit or do not provide coverage outside of the U.S. Reimbursement for unused portion of your trip if it is interrupted. Medical evacuation/repatriation expenses to an appropriate medical facility or back home in the event of a serious illness or injury while traveling. 24-hour help line for any travel emergency, such as medical, lost tickets, lost passports, and other travel documents.

The 'Cancel for Any Reason' premium policy must be purchased within two weeks of your initial trip deposit.