We are open tomorrow from 9:00 am. Call 020 7590 0610

The best places to visit in northern Spain

Spain's lesser-known northern attractions

Article content

10 July 2020 by Lisa Ayling

From sleepy fishing villages, mountain walks and quiet beaches to world-class vineyards, near-ancient cathedrals and look-at-me contemporary architecture, the charms of northern Spain are wonderfully diverse. In fact, with so much variety on offer, it can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this short guide to making the most of your holiday to the region.

Walking the Camino de Santiago

This ancient pilgrims’ trail brings you through the rural beauty of Galicia in a manageable weeklong hike that ends at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It’s a fitting reward, all Romanesque spires that reach skywards in a grandeur matched only by its gilded interior. Along the way you’ll walk through rolling hills of orchards and fields to pause at Roman ruins and pretty medieval villages. But, if the walk sounds like too much, you can have your luggage looked after with a porter service or it can be broken down into day trips.

Explore this trip

The gastronomy of Galicia

Galician octopus dish

A shared love of good food is perhaps northern Spain’s only common thread. Whether it’s delicately spiced chorizo, peppers stuffed with salted cod or hearty albondigas meatballs, expect every inch of your tapas table to be quickly covered. No more is this true than in Galicia. Tucked away in Spain’s northwestern corner, its fertile natural world of fishing-village-lined beaches and rolling, vineyard-capped hills produce some of Spain’s finest dining experiences. Think just-caught seafood served in coastal restaurants and hearty empanadas – flaky pastry stuffed with whatever’s in the pantry.

Explore this trip

A Basque Country road trip

Laguardia Basque region in Spain

All of northern Spain’s delights are found in the fiercely proud Basque Country. Introductions are made at its Bilbao showpiece, a city whose industrial past has been shrugged off in a skyline defined by great modernist sweeps. From here, continue along the dramatic coast, past cliff-perched villages to reach San Sebastián’s heady mix of white sands, pintxo bars and Belle Époque grandeur. It’s all a postcard-perfect front to rolling vineyards, stone villages and such pretty medieval towns as Vitoria and Tolosa. The latter’s winding flagstone streets link charming piazzas and Gothic masterpieces alike. In between, your tastebuds will be well looked after; the Basque Country features the most Michelin stars per capita in the world.

Explore this trip

The wines of Rioja and Navarra

Wine vineyards of Rioja in Spain

These neighbouring regions are a pair of oenological treasures. Moving out of the Navarran capital, Pamplona, and its world-famous ‘Running of the Bulls’, this is your chance to head off the beaten track. Lose yourself in Pyrenean peaks, centuries-old monasteries and castle town mazes with Olite’s medieval fortress and Santo Domingo’s spectacular cathedral among the highlights. However, it’s the viticulture that’s the most impressive. A seemingly endless collection of vineyards produce everything from ripe, oak-aged reds to lively, refreshing whites. You’ll have your pick of historic wineries and innovative new bodegas whose dramatic architecture rivals even the Guggenheim.

Explore this trip

Related offers

Camino de Santiago Walking Trail

Walking the Camino de Santiago‬

9-day escorted walking tour from £2,105 pp incl. flights

Led by an expert guide, this small group tour will see you stay in charming villages as you hike ‘The Way of St. James’. Passing through delightfully rural scenery, you’ll uncover the region’s fascinating past and unique cuisine.

Local food in Galicia, Spain

Gastronomy of Galicia

8-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,335 pp incl. flights

Uncover the rich past and gourmet delights of Spain’s northwest with everything from winery tastings and seafood dinners to tapas-tavern indulgences hidden among medieval laneways. It's all linked by gorgeous drives and half-board stays in historic paradors.

San Sebastian

Highlights of the Basque Country

8-day tailor-made self-drive from £950 pp incl. flights

Explore everything from postcard-perfect coastlines to medieval cities and tempting vineyards of, all the while staying in Renaissance palaces, seaside villas and thousand-year-old castles. This is northern Spain at its best.

San Vicente de la Sonsierra, La Rioja

Rioja & Navarra Wine Route

5-day tailor-made self-drive from £0 pp incl. flights

Taste your way through two of Spain's finest wine regions as you explore the quieter, rural charm of the country's north on super-scenic drives and stays in historic accommodation.

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0610 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

Visit us in our London office

Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 50 years
  • Tailor a holiday to your precise requirements
  • Personalised quotes and documentation

Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected