Ancient villages nestled among rugged mountain landscapes: the Pyrenees are a world of their own between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
This trip will be customized according to your wishes.
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Keddy by Europcar
Vehicle: Seat Leon or similar (CDMR)
Location: Barcelona Terminal 1 Airport (Desk at Airport)
With its labyrinthine alleys exhibiting signs of Arab and Jewish culture, no city is considered more Catalonian than Girona (Spanish: Gerona). Originally a Phoenician stronghold, this city owes its existence to its strategic location along an important road in the Pyrenees. The Gothic cathedral, which boasts a huge room built on arches, is regarded as unique in Spain. The Parc Natural de la Garrotxa is also nearby, offering numerous hiking trails in a landscape formed by volcanic activity. Costa Brava is only 35 kilometers away.
The east Pyrenean town popular among artists and Bohemians lies south of Perpignan near the border to Spain. The ancient region of Languedoc Roussillon with its rich cultural heritage appeals to lovers of both nature and culture.
To the west is the towering Pic de Cannigou (2.785 m), which affords splendid views of the surrounding countryside on clear days. Further south the Tech flows through the idyllic Gorge de la Fou, which reaches a dept of 100 m in places. The town of Céret itself, once home to such famous painters as Gris, Braque, Picasso and Chagall, is mainly known for its excellent Museum of Modern Art featuring over 50 works by Picasso.
The charming 17th century manor house is situated in the valley of the River Tech just above Ceret. Most of the 10 guest rooms have a patio with a small garden.
A heated swimming pool is available, and a good selection of restaurants and boutiques can be found in nearby Ceret.
The fortified city of Carcassonne lies at the crossing of two major traffic routes in use since Antiquity: the north-south gap between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, and the east-west route from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Carcassonne was founded by the Romans, and each successive conqueror – Visigoths, Arabs, Franconians, Cathars – added to the immense fortification. Boasting a double ring of ramparts and 53 towers, Europe's greatest fortress was completed by Philip the Bold in 1280. We commend visiting the site in the early morning or in the evening in order to avoid the large numbers of tourists drawn there every day.
The “Ville Rose” combines the flair of southern France with the spirit of technology and science. Toulouse is the main center of the European aerospace industry. Hub of the city is the atmospheric Place du Capitole, with its arcades and the magnificent town hall. Not far is the romanesque Cathedral of St. Sernin, which is one of the most important pilgrimage churches on the Way of St. James.
The central Pyrenees between Col de Puymorens and Col du Somprot represent the highest and most rugged section of the mountain chain.
The highest peak at 3,404 m (11,170 ft) is the Pico d'Aneto on the Spanish side of the border. The mountain landscapes south of Lourdes are particularly scenic. A cable car can be taken to the summit of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, the most famous landmark in the central Pyrenees. The views from the top are overwhelming. The Col du Tourmalet is one of the most feared stages of the Tour de France. Further south, just before the Spanish border is another natural wonder: the Cirque de Gavarnie, a group of three natural glacial amphitheatres that have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Located in a picturesque village, this hotel is a stone building surrounded by a large garden. The cheerful red dining room has a large fireplace and a parquet floor.
The antique furniture and modern art give the hotel a special charm. Patricia and Robert will welcome you with their friendliness and hospitality.
The elegant thermal bath is surrounded by 3,000 meter high mountains. Already the Romans bathed in the hot springs. The sulphurous and radioactive springs reach temperatures of up to 72° C. They are said to have a healing effect, particularly on those suffering from respiratory tract disease. A cable car runs from the village to the ski resort of Superbagnères.
After leading a sleepy existence for most of its history since the Middle Ages, Lourdes today registers over 5 million visitors a year, second only to Paris. The city owes its importance as a major Christian pilgrimage site to the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes that appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Bernadette was only 14 years old when she reported seeing a “lady” in the cave of Massabielle on 11 February 1858 while gathering firewood. The apparition appeared to the girl 17 more times in the course of the year, twice in the presence of over 1,000 people and once in the presence of around 8,000 people. After the 12th appearance on 1 March a woman reported regaining feeling in her paralyzed arm after bathing it in the spring that had mysteriously begun flowing in the cave after the 9th appearance. Since then many visitors have reported unusual occurrences after bathing in or drinking the spring water or attending one of the daily Eucharistic processions at the site. Sixty-seven of the claims have been verified as miracles by the Catholic Church.
The seaside community near the border to France is one of the oldest resorts in Spain. The city's rise began in the 19th century, when the queen of Spain chose it as the site of her summer residence.
Large numbers of Castilians still flee to the fashionable resort every year to escape the heat of the cities, as evidenced by the stately villas that line the roads below the Monte Igueldo, from the top of which the best views can be had of the ocean, harbor, beaches and countryside of San Sebastian. The idyllic fishing village of Pasaia Donibane is only
This 19th century mansion is a listed historical building in the centre of the city, only five minutes from Zurriola beach.
Originally an engagement present from Don Ramon Londaiz to his daughter, the property is now a boutique hotel with 25 rooms following careful restoration. Some of the rooms are located in the former carriage house with its facade of English-style bricks. Guests can enjoy a stroll in the adjacent garden, which was created by a French landscaper in 1898. A number of good restaurants can be found in the area around the hotel. Free parking is available.
Although only 30 kilometers long, it is full of wild beauty: the Côte Basque stretches all the way down to the Spanish border. With its steep cliffs and jagged rocks that defy the powerful surf, it is a delightful contrast to the endless sandy strips of its northern neighbor, the Cote d'Argent. Until the middle of the 17th century the Basque coastal population was living from whaling. Then the giant mammals moved away from the coast further and further, forcing the fishermen to switch to sardines, anchovies and tuna. At the same time, the fishing villages on the Côte Basque were discovered as seaside resorts – first and foremost Biarritz.
This traditional fishing village has a harbor at the mouth of the Oiartzun river. The town's main thoroughfare leads from the Bizkaia quarter to the Bay of Alabortza. The historic town center features numerous medieval buildings, as well as shops, cafés and good seafood restaurants.
The ancestral seat of the Loyola family (“Loiola” in the Basque language) is located between Azpeitia and Azkoitia in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa. Saint Ignatius de Loyola, the family's most famous member, was born in the residential tower in the valley of Urola. As founder of the Jesuit order, Ignatius de Loyola is still one of the most famous Spaniards and was especially notorious among Protestants.
When Ernest Hemmingway visited the city in 1923, there were only a few tourists around. But then he experienced the Encierros and wrote about them in his novel Fiesta.
Today thousands, mostly young Americans, come to take part in the notorious races with the fighting bulls. Starting July 6th, six wild bulls race through the city for a week from eight o'clock, in front of them the so called “Mozos”, men who beat them with newspapers. But also apart from the Fiesta San Fermin, the capital of Navarre has a lot to offer. It is above all the cathedral from the 15th century and the fortress from the 14th century that characterise the cityscape.
The palace in the heart of the old town of Pamplona was built in the 18th century by the then viceroy D. Sebastian de Eslava and served as a family residence for over two centuries.
Today, the architecturally attractive building houses an elegant hotel with 23 rooms and two suites in classic style, distributed over the upper floors and with windows to the courtyard or Plaza de Consejo. The eye-catcher on the ground floor is certainly the imposing staircase leading to the upper floors, as well as a magnificent horse-drawn carriage. A rich Breakfast is served in the morning; in the hotel there is also a restaurant and a bar with terrace.
This small town is surrounded by hills at a bend in the river Ega. The Way of St. James played an important role in the town's history. The king of Aragón invited immigrants from southwestern France to settle in this previously uninhabited area. Accommodations for pilgrims were built in Estella and tradesmen and merchants settled here, making the town a bustling and popular station along the pilgrimage route. Its reputation was enhanced by several legends surrounding the town. For example, a Greek bishop is said to have died here as an anonymous pilgrim. His body was later miraculously discovered with a relic of the apostle Andrew, which the bishop had intended to donate once in Santiago. His remains were laid to rest in the cloister of the Church of San Pedro de la Rúa.
This mountain pass in the Spanish Pyrenees reaches an elevation of 1,057 meters and connects Valcarlos with Roncesvalles via the N 135 freeway. At the highest point in the pass stands the chapel of San Salvador, where three of the four French pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela meet. One of the routes starts in Puy and Conques, another in Paris and the third in Vezelay. The pass has been used since prehistoric times. The Romans built an outpost there, which was later joined by an abbey with accommodations for pilgrims. Charlemagne crossed the pass twice in the year 778 as part of his military campaign in Spain, during which his rearguard was ambushed while retreating. This clash came to be known as the battle of Roncesvalles.
The Rio Aragon Valley leads east from Pamplona into the Aragon Pyrenees, which extend all the way to Andorra. Narrow side roads connect remote, picturesque mountain villages in this thinly populated region.
The most beautiful section of the route lies within the Parque Nacional de Ordes y Monte Perdido. The park's countless gorges are home to a wide variety of indigenous plants and rare species of animals, such as the Pyrenean Goat, the Bearded Vulture and the Snow Partridge. Sparkling waterfalls cascade down the Monte Perdido, the 3rd highest mountain in Spain. The park entrance near Torla includes a Visitors Centre, where maps of hiking routes and other useful information is available.
The hotel with rustic charm and modern comforts is located in the medieval town of Ainsa, within sight of Monte Perdido and the Odesa National Park.
The Bergua family purchased the historical mansion on the market square a few years ago, carefully renovated it and converted it into an exclusive hotel with just five bedrooms. While almost nothing has changed on the outside, the bedrooms offer spacious, modern bathrooms along with air-conditioning and heating, thus providing a harmonious blend of historical architecture and modern interior design.
The “serrated mountain” rises like a giant stone castle over the hilly landscape of Catalonia. One of Spain's most important abbeys is perched precariously on a rocky promontory along the edge of a gap in the mountain. An image of the Madonna, which attracts Catholic pilgrims from around the world, hangs above the alter in the 16th-century basilica. The mountain can be reached via a cable railway and the upper station of Sant Joan is the starting point for a hiking trail that will lead you to the highest summit, Sant Jeroni (1237 m). Here you will be rewarded with a magnificent panoramic view.
Location: Barcelona Terminal 1 Airport (Desk at Airport)
The capital of Catalonia is situated on the Mediterranean Sea, about 120 km south of the border to France. With a population of around 1.6 million, it is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid.
Much of the avant-garde architecture in the downtown area stems from the 1992 Olympics. Madrid and Barcelona are bitter rivals, a tension that is reflected in fierce encounters between the two cities' football (soccer) teams. The Romans built a massive wall around the city originally founded by the Carthaginians in 300 BC. Remnants of the Roman wall still exist today. Major attractions in the Gothic quarter, Barri Gòtic, and the historical city center include the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia, the Plaça del Rei (King's Square), and the city hall (Ajuntament). Much of the city life takes places on the “Ramblas”, the principal thoroughfare in the downtown area which includes a wide pedestrian zone.
This historic hotel enjoys one of the best locations in Barcelona – in the Gothic quarter, close to the Ramblas and the harbor.
The panoramic views reach from Montjuic Mountain to the Christopher Columbus monument to the Olympic Port. While the current exterior was completed in neo-classical style in 1850, the interior has been thoroughly renovated to meet the standards of a modern luxury hotel. Guests can relax on the terrace or take a dip in the pool on the roof. Attractions located within a 5-10 minute walk include not only the Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter, but also the Cathedral, the Borne quarter, various Beaches, the Old Port (fish and seafood restaurants), the Museum Picasso, the Real Square, the Museum of History of Barcelona, the Maritime Museum, the Museum of History of Catalonia, the Music Palace and the Catalunya Square.