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Catalonia: Tarragona, Girona & the Pyrenees

So much to discover

  • NEW TOUR FOR 2020
  • Explore Tarragona on a walking tour of the hilltop city 
  • Discover medieval Girona and its Jewish quarter on a guided tour
  • Enjoy a tapas tasting at an authentic tapas bar
  • Soak up the alpine scenery of the Núria Valley in the Pyrenees
  • See Barcelona with a local guide giving insights into its vibrant culture
  • Marvel at Gaudí’s visionary La Sagrada Familia basilica on a guided tour
  • Visit the spectacular Benedictine monastery at Montserrat
  • See how Cava sparkling wine is produced on a cellar visit, with a tasting included
  • Tour the superbly preserved Cistercian monastery at Poblet with a local guide

Relax, it's included in the price
7 nights in 4-star accommodation
Bed & breakfast
Programme of daily tours & visits
Expert tour manager
Return flights & transfers
Checked luggage
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Overview

For many centuries Spain didn’t exist as a unified nation, being more a collection of distinct regions such as Aragon, Castile, Cantabria and, of course, Catalonia. Often separated by high mountain ranges, they evolved independently to become strikingly different, and some even had their own languages. These cultural variations were ruthlessly suppressed during the Franco years but have since blossomed, and today Catalonia has a regional identity that’s fiercely guarded by the locals.

Set on a plain rising from the clear blue Mediterranean through wooded foothills to the dramatic Pyrenees concealing lush flower-filled valleys, Catalonia has some truly magnificent and varied scenery. Home to tiny medieval villages as well as one of the world’s most vibrant cities, its terrain and settlements are wonderfully diverse, as are the region’s artistic gems, spanning classic Renaissance paintings and Salvador Dalí’s avant-garde works. On this tour we’ll see the best of this unique region of northeast Spain, including a surprising alpine paradise hidden away by majestic mountains and accessible only on foot or by rack railway.

In Roman times, Tarragona was one of the empire’s largest cities. It had a population of around 250,000 and a wealth of resplendent buildings, many of which can still be seen today. The delightful fortified city of Girona has been fought over by the Romans, Charlemagne, the Moors and the French, all of whom have left their mark. It may not be as famous as Barcelona, but Girona is a deserving destination in its own right. As well as being home to numerous churches and monasteries, it’s where you’ll find one of Europe’s best-preserved old Jewish quarters. The hit TV series, Game of Thrones, has also put Girona on the map – the labyrinthine alleyways, atmospheric archways and magnificent cathedral all provide the perfect backdrop to many a dramatic scene.

Inland Catalonia weaves through dramatic mountainous territory, linking some of the region’s most spectacular monasteries. Turrets of distinctive rock formations guard Catalonia’s spiritual heart, Montserrat, where a mountaintop shrine is home to one of Spain’s most revered icons. Poblet, on the famous Cistercian route, has a breathtaking monastery, which contains the tombs of medieval monarchs and was at one time the largest Cistercian complex in all of Europe. Not far away is the beautifully preserved walled town of Montblanc, where a festival is held every April to celebrate St George’s victory over the dragon.

Catalonia’s progressive capital, Barcelona, oozes sophistication and cultural dynamism. You’ll love the contrast between its historical Gothic quarter and its Modernisme buildings, where architects expressed their Catalan identity through their work. Barcelona’s identity is most perfectly expressed by the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, most notably in his Sagrada Família basilica – its futuristic spires have to be seen to be believed.

Catalans like to boast that they have the best food in Spain, and it’s hard to disagree, with 65 Michelin stars currently awarded to Catalonia’s restaurants, including the world-renowned triple-starred El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. Seafood – the salt cod is delicious – botifarra sausages and top-quality fruit and vegetables abound, with mouthwatering desserts such as crema catalana. It’s a fittingly distinctive cuisine for a unique region that charms, engages and entertains in equal measure. 



Your itinerary


DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN BARCELONA

Tarragona

Arrive at the airport for your flight to Barcelona. We transfer by coach to Tarragona, an ideal base for our visits during the next few days. Our hotel for two nights, with breakfast, is the four-star Ciutat de Tarragona.

Ciutat de Tarragona Hotel | Double room

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4* Ciutat de Tarragona - Tarragona

Centrally located in the heart of Tarragona.

  • Rooftop pool
  • Restaurant
  • Comfortable rooms

DAY 2 - POBLET, MONTBLANC & TARRAGONA

UNESCO listed Poblet Monastery

Morning

Today we head into the beautiful rolling countryside and pretty vineyards around the town of Poblet. We tour its Cistercian monastery, one of the largest in the world and which, during the Middle Ages, was among Spain’s most powerful as a result of corrupt royal patronage. The final resting place of the kings and queens of Aragon and Catalonia, this UNESCO-listed abbey is one of Spain’s best-preserved medieval buildings, with impressive gates, a splendid bell tower, atmospheric cloisters and crenellated walls. 

We then make the short drive to Montblanc, an ancient walled town that’s surprisingly little known outside the local area. Its stone fortifications – which surround much of the centre – are in an exceptional state of preservation and look as though they have come straight from the set of El Cid. Aside from being the site where Saint George reputedly killed the dragon, Montblanc’s main attractions are its imposing 13th- and 14th-century buildings, and we’ll have time to explore the centre and attractive Plaça Major (main square). This really is provincial old Spain at its unspoiled best. 

Afternoon

Tarragona is majestically sited on a rocky hill above the sea. In Roman times it was known as Tarraco and was the base for the Roman conquest of Spain and wars against Hannibal. It then became an imperial resort and the most cultured city in Hispania. Today it’s a fascinating city, refreshingly untouched by the excesses of modern tourism, with over nine miles of golden beaches and an old town featuring a tangle of intricate streets and plazas. Our tour takes in Tarragona’s numerous impressive landmarks – its remarkable Roman amphitheatre, which could hold up to 14,000 spectators, and imposing 12th-century cathedral are particularly notable. 

DAY 3 - MONTSERRAT & CAVA TASTING

DAY 4 - GIRONA & TAPAS TASTING

DAY 5 - NURIA VALLEY

DAY 6 - BARCELONA

DAY 7 - FREE DAY IN BARCELONA

DAY 8 - RETURN FLIGHT

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Transfer Times

All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us

Arrival airport First hotel location Transfer time Final hotel location Departure airport Transfer time
Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport Tarragona 1 hr 30 mins Barcelona Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport 30 mins
Reus Airport 30 mins Reus Airport 1 hr 45 mins

FAQs

Why should I choose Riviera Travel?

We care deeply about our customers and the holiday experience they have. We’re passionate about travel and we want all aspects to be perfect, with personal service and attention at every step of the way. Our world-class holidays include everything you need, with no detail overlooked. We carefully curate every aspect of your trip based on our own first-hand experience and expertise built up over decades in the travel industry.

What is included in the price?

The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a room and includes:

  • Return flights
  • Seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast
  • All local taxes and transfers
  • All tours as mentioned
  • The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager

Please note: where hotels feature a swimming pool, pools are open in the summer months weather permitting.

We guarantee there are never any hidden costs or surcharges, inflated prices or artificial discounts.

    

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