Tour description

Spain & France History & Culture Tour

This excellent independent private tour will show you the rich history & culture of Spain & France. On this 10 day itinerary you will discover the food, wine and culture of the regions which make up Spain and France’s border. Starting your journey in cosmopolitan Barcelona, you will then head to the Basque Country, known world-wide as a mecca of food and art. You will then cross the border into France to discover the famous Bordeaux wine region; tasting some exceptional wines, before being stunned by the wealth of history in Carcassonne. On your way back to Barcelona you will delve into the wacky world of Salvador Dalí and meander the cobblestoned streets of romantic Girona. Our 25 years of experience and 24/7 assistance, means that your self-drive vacation of Spain & France can be an easy and pleasant trip: less to plan and more to enjoy! With our wonderful private tour guides you will uncover hidden history and enjoy fantastic local food and wine.


Spain & France History & Culture

Our chauffeur will meet you on arrival at Barcelona airport and whisk you away to 4* boutique hotel, ideally located in the Barcelona Gothic Quarter, nearby to all major sights, but at the same time on the port front. The rooftop terrace bar and pool provide an astonishing view of the city as well as the port, and your lovely room looks out over the port. Formerly, your hotel was the residence of a wealthy Duke in the city and is deep-seated in history. A representative of Gourmand Breaks will meet you for a welcome drink, and together you will discuss your personal itinerary for your Spain & France History & Culture Tour. Apart from having available your Online Personal Travel Webpage, you will be handed your Personal Travel Journals containing all your itinerary details and plenty of suggestions for restaurants and free time activities. Our excellent guides and chauffeurs will attend you throughout your tour with us and you will also have our 24/7 back office assistance, for anything you might need.

Barcelona has a long and ancient history, but the city was replanned, with its medieval walls demolished in 1854; as the modern and eclectic place visited today. Over the next sixty years, much of modern Barcelona was built, its architecture funded by the bourgeoisie and designed by Antoni Gaudi and his Modernista contemporaries, Lluis Domenech and Josep Puig. On this first evening in Barcelona you might want to simply relax and unwind after your journey, otherwise we have many dinner recommendations for Barcelona’s best restaurants or informal tapas places nearby.

Tour in a nutshell: Chauffeured transfer from Barcelona airport. Welcome meeting with your Gourmand Breaks tour representative. Overnight in a 4* boutique hotel in Barcelona.


Spain & France History & Culture

Today your Officially Licensed Guide will take you for a private gourmet and cultural tour of Barcelona. You will be visiting La Boqueria, Spain’s most important, and world-famous marketplace. It offers the absolute freshest and most diverse selection of produce. At the market, you will visit the famous bar where in-the-know celebrities of Barcelona frequent. Here you will try the best aperitifs, perhaps a reserve cava and sample some of the finest products of the marketplace! Next, you will traverse the city on a private gourmet walking tour through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, home to an abundance of tucked away gourmet cafes and shops. You will see a few architectural feats as well, including the amazing Gothic Santa Maria Church. You will take the path of Picasso on famous Avignon Street, and taste some excellent Spanish cheeses paired with quality wines at a charming ‘fromagerie’. For something sweet, we will stop into the oldest venue in Barcelona for dried nuts, fruits, coffee and toasted almonds where you will sample some of their nuts and fruits.

Your light lunch of exquisite delicatessen produce will include Spain’s best Iberic bellota ham, Joselito, fine cold meats and sausages, the finest wild tuna, anchovies, clams from Galicia, a selection of the best Spanish olive oils, cheeses, salads, etc., all enjoyed at one of the best delicatessens in Barcelona. Your private guide will leave you at the finale of your tour when you are settled safely into this amazing delicatessen enjoying your meal.

Tour in a nutshell: Private gourmet and cultural walking tour of Barcelona including gourmet food & wine tastings. Fine delicatessen lunch with wine. Overnight Barcelona.


Spain & France History & Culture

Your Spain & France History & Culture Tour has you taking the train to San Sebastian, on the coast of the Basque Country. In San Sebastian you will check into your luxury seaside hotel, one of the best in the city and with an ideal beach front location. The famous Spanish wine region of La Rioja is on the way to San Sebastian, so should you wish to include some La Rioja winery tours and tastings in your private tour with us, we can happily customize your tour itinerary accordingly.

In the late afternoon our officially licensed San Sebastian tour guide will await you and escort you on a fantastic private gourmet & cultural tour of San Sebastian. This wonderful “beach in the city” is renowned as Spain’s best city to dine out in! Our tour guide will show you around all the most interesting parts of San Sebastian, where you will be privileged not only to go to the best bars, but also to sample the specialties of each place, accompanied by the local wine; Txakoli. In the Basque Country, they do pintxos (pinchos), rather than tapas. Pintxos differ from tapas in that they are smaller, are not served on a sharing plate and are eaten by just one person in a few mouthfuls. Laid out along the bar, you can help yourself to what you like. Each pintxo will have a stick through the middle holding it together, so you can tally your bill at the end of the meal. Although tapas were invented in Andalucia they have been perfected in San Sebastian. Each bar is bursting with so many different and creative pinchos that Spanish tradition suggests having a few pintxos and a wine in one bar and moving on to try out the next!

Tour in a nutshell: First class train tickets from Barcelona to San Sebastian. Private guided tour of San Sebastian with tapas hopping & wine. Overnight in a 4* luxury hotel with sea views in San Sebastian.


Spain & France History & Culture

Today you are free to discover San Sebastian at your leisure. We are sure our tapas-hopping San Sebastian guide gave you many suggestions of interesting things to see and do in your free time. San Sebastian is known as a stylish city and an image-conscious one, so it is stuffed with high-end shops. Peruse La Parte Vieja (the old part of town) for cool boutiques filled with quirky designer gear. Stop, as the locals do, to get your strength back at one of the numerous bars and restaurants with a little glass of Txakoli wine and the odd ubiquitous pintxo! If you are feeling adventurous why not climb Monte Urgell for some amazing views over the city and the surrounding area. At the top of this hill you will also see the remains of the walls and canons from the military past of the city and, guarding the city, stands the Sacred Heart statue (Cristo de la Mota). It is no Rio de Janeiro but this giant statue of Christ measures over 12 meters.

Optional: You may like to head to Bilbao for the day and we will provide you with your rental car a day earlier, as well as entrance to the Guggenheim Museum. The museum features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by Spanish and international artists. For dinner back in San Sebastian, why not revisit some of the pintxos bars you dined at with your guide, or you may wish to fine dine in style at one of the World Famous Michelin 3* Restaurants of the area – Akelarre, Arzak or Martin Berasategui – for which prior reservations are necessary and we will be delighted to assist with a booking.

Tour in a nutshell: Free day in San Sebastian. Optional day to Bilbao. Overnight San Sebastian.


Spain & France History & Culture

Why not enjoy a last walk along the promenade of San Sebastian this morning, before your premium rental vehicle equipped with automatic transmission and a GPS System, is delivered to your hotel. The next leg of your Spain & France History & Culture Tour takes you to the legendary Bordeaux wine region, the home of the most sought-after and expensive wines in the world. Bordeaux has 57 appellations, with about 7,000 wine-producing chateaux and 13,000 wine growers! Bordeaux’s reputation as a great wine region rests on its most superb reds, legendary and long-lived wines made by historic wine estates (chateaux), which can improve for several decades. You will head up the famed left bank along the pretty Grand Cru route to eventually arrive and check-in to your delightful chateau hotel nestled in the rural landscape amongst vineyards and horses. This 17th century French castle is a relaxing haven of peace in a gorgeous setting, in the grounds of a small prestigious winery

In the afternoon you will have a private guided tour of a prestigious Bordeaux winery. The interesting thing about this winery is that they have retained a number of the older oak fermentation vats used between the early 1900s until 1975. The winery produces 125,000 bottles in an average vintage split between its first wine and second wines (made from vines that are too young to be used for the first wine). You will have a full tour of the facilities followed by a sampling of their best wines. You may like to dine at your hotel restaurant this evening though we will also provide you with our restaurant recommendations in your Personal Travel Journal.

Tour in a nutshell: Drive to Bordeaux. Private guided tour of a prestigious winery. Overnight in a chateau hotel in the Bordeaux wine region of France.


Spain & France History & Culture

Your Spain & France History & Culture Tour includes a winery tour at a leading winery which is one of the oldest wine estates in Bordeaux. The Chateau has a fascinating past and takes its name from the first French Pope: Clement V (known as the Avignon Pope) who was presented with the estate in the 1300s. The vineyards of the winery cover 80 acres, producing elegant and well-structured reds. The whites are full bodied with a refreshing vibrancy. At the end of your private VIP tour you will enjoy a very special tasting with the winery sommelier who will introduce you to some of their great wines.

Afterwards you may like to drive around the area and visit more wineries or take the opportunity to visit Bordeaux itself. Bordeaux, being on the route from Britain to the Iberian peninsula, is a city whose history has been shaped by its many invaders. An ancient and varied history presents itself in the city’s architecture. Begin with a stroll through the Place de la Comedie, which sits atop the ancient Roman forum. Step inside the ethereal 11th century Cathedrale Saint-Andre and admire the impressive Grosse Cloche, the symbol of Bordeaux cast in 1775. Admire the beautiful Grand Theatre, built in the late 1700s and now a venue for opera and events. After WW2, a 31 year-old Resistance general and MP, was the elected Mayor of Bordeaux for the next forty years. He was one of the main architects of the redevelopment of the city, notably the university, the hospital and two new bridges, the Saint-Jean bridge in 1965 and the Aquitaine bridge in 1967. Bordeaux has many wonderful quartiers to stroll around, why not rest your feet with a glass of wine and watch the locals pass by?

Tour in a nutshell: Private guided tour of one Bordeaux winery with wine tastings. Overnight in the Bordeaux wine region of France.


Spain & France History & Culture

Today the French portion of your history and culture tour continues, as you leave behind Bordeaux and head to Carcassonne, a perfectly restored, French medieval fortress town which sits majestically above the River Aude and Canal du Midi. You will check into your lovely 4* hotel, overlooking Carcassonne with its castle and drawbridge, nestled in greenery, offering you a haven of tranquility where you can recharge your batteries after your journey.

This afternoon you will join a small group walking tour of the magnificent fortified town. You will stroll down medieval streets and explore the superb castle, city ramparts and romantic buildings. The walled city of Carcassonne is world renowned as a spectacular fortified medieval city, but it has been occupied since the 6th-Century BC, first as a Gallic settlement and later as a fortified Roman city. The Visigoths seized the city in the 5th-Century, and were followed by the Saracens, who remained in control for just 30 years before the Franks expelled them. Restored by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th-Century, the city fortress was consecrated in 1997 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the former military enclosure of the lower towns “La Bastide Saint-Louis” is listed as a conservation area. After exploring the Medieval city of Carcassonne why not stroll along the cobblestone streets, browse the artisan shops and enjoy a cafe au lait at one of the many cafes. For dinner, we have various restaurant suggestions in your Spain & France History & Culture Tour Personal Travel Journal.

Tour in a nutshell: Drive to Carcassonne. Small group guided tour of historic Carcassonne. Overnight in a 4* boutique hotel in Carcassonne.


Spain & France History & Culture

You drive back into Spain today, first to Figueres – birthplace of the famous avant-garde artist Salvador Dali. In Figueres we have arranged for you to have a delicious authentic local lunch and afterwards meet with your officially licensed guide to explore the Dali Theatre Museum. The museum of course has a dramatic exterior, to be expected from the Surrealist master – that’s before you enter and see the wonder of Dali’s art. The great artist purchased the museum building and personally oversaw its reconstruction and renovation. Our guide, who is an expert on Dali’s work and life, will accompany you on your private guided visit to the museum, so you can ask about all the unconfessed secrets of this outlandish artist!

Afterwards your Officially Licensed private tour guide will lead you to Girona’s Barri Vell (Old Quarter) and Jewish History Museum. You will wind through the narrow streets and stone walls, encountering little shops, cafes and medieval homes that families have passed down through the generations. Tonight you are staying in the very heart of the old town and your boutique 4* hotel is housed in a restored 18th-century building. Take a walk out for dinner this evening, there are many restaurants in Girona that we can recommend. How about dining at an exquisite 3-star Michelin restaurant owned by three Catalan brothers – El Celler de Can Roca? The enthusiasm and creativity of chef Joan in his cooking is only matched by sommelier Josep’s expertise at pairing the perfect wines with your dinner. Both of them are also complemented by their third brother, Jordi’s, delightful desserts. Unsurprisingly, they are booked solid for well over a year but we will be delighted to get you high on the waiting list.

Tour in a nutshell: Private guided tours of the Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum and Girona. Overnight in a 4* boutique hotel in Girona.


Spain & France History & Culture

Your Spain & France History & Culture Tour takes you back to Barcelona today. On arrival to Barcelona you will be able to drop off your rental car at the local office before returning to your hotel in the Gothic Quarter. Barcelona can be explored in many different ways this afternoon. Maybe you wish to see some more of Gaudi’s fantastic architecture: Parc Guell is one of the most beautiful icons of the city, offering wonderful views and the opportunity to enjoy a peaceful stroll surrounded by nature and uplifting modernist works. If you are in search of more art, there is always the chance to visit the Picasso Museum. The museum building itself is made up of five medieval palaces in the Gothic Quarter linked together. A visit here is indispensable for understanding Picasso’s formative years, and the genius of the young artist is revealed through the 3,500 works that make up the permanent collection. Another fascinating museum is The Catalan National Art Museum (MNAC) – housed in the magnificent palace overlooking the fountains of Montjuic containing mostly Catalan works of art from the 11th to the 18th centuries.

Alternatively you might like an afternoon of people-watching or to take advantage of the great shopping around Passeig de Gracia, take a stroll along the Ramblas, enjoy a farewell seafood meal at Barcelona’s harbour, the choice is yours. As always we have many suggestions in your Personal Travel Journal for you to enjoy a farewell meal this evening in Barcelona.

Tour in a nutshell: Drive to Barcelona. Free afternoon in Barcelona. Overnight in a 4* boutique hotel in Barcelona.



Your Spain & France History & Culture Tour concludes with a lovely breakfast at your hotel, followed by a chauffeured transfer to Barcelona airport for your onward journey home. We very much hope you will join us for this unforgettable Spanish & French tour; which encompasses great wine, excellent food and cultural adventure!

Tour in a nutshell: Chauffeured transfer to Barcelona airport.

Tour quotation

Spain & France History & Culture Tour Quote Request

We are excited that you are considering joining us on one of our fabulous custom-built tours of Spain, Portugal, SW France and/or Italy! Please fill in the form below and we will happily provide you with a non-committal initial quote for the sample tour itinerary chosen.

In case you would prefer us to build a personal tour proposal for you from scratch, please e-mail us at [email protected] and we will be delighted to start working with you on your personal and very special travel itinerary with us.

Contact Form TOUR
Spain & France History & Culture

Tour in a Nutshell

Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Girona: Compelling history

Barcelona, Figueres, San Sebastian: Contemporary culture

Regional food & wine, historic monuments & private tours

Luxury rental vehicle & 24/7 assistance: easy self-drive vacation

10 days/9 nights, boutique hand-picked hotels throughout

Read what our clients say about our food, wine & cultural tours here:

Need Help?