7 days for £2,499 25 May 2021 (6 places left) and 24 August 2021
(18 May, 31 August and 7 September sold out)
Step back more than 10,000 years to discover how our ancestors played, lived and worked. See the oldest known cave painting in the world at El Castillo and experience the wonders of Las Monedas, La Peña Cave, El Pindal and Tito Bustillo in small groups by torchlight. Accompanied by New Scientist writers plus local archaeological experts, you’ll enjoy specialist talks along the way.
Plus, the beautiful towns and cities of Bilbao, Santander, Santillana and Oviedo. Topped off with the Guggenheim Museum and tuition in the tasting of Rioja wine.
In partnership with Intrepid Travel
DAY 1: ARRIVAL INTO BILBAO
Meet your tour leader and your fellow guests, followed by a tour briefing. Then onto exploring the Old Quarter for some Tapas.
DAY 2: LA RIOJA WINE AREA AND MUSEUM OF HUMAN EVOLUTION
Starting the day with a visit to the Guggenheim Museum. View modern and contemporary art in the stunning Frank Gehry designed building.
Afterwards, transfer to Laguardia to visit the old city and a wine cellar for a tasting. Laguardia is one of the most perfectly preserved medieval villages in Spain. A medieval hill hamlet, reminiscent of Tuscan hilltop villages. It is surrounded by an ancient wall and has a delightful jumble of cobblestoned streets lined with “Tabernas”, wine shops, palaces, and cafes. It is also located right in Rioja wine country and is the perfect base to sample some of Spain’s most well- known red wine.
Continue on to Burgos to visit the Museo de Evolución Humana before returning to Bilbao for an evening meal together.
DAY 3: SANTANDER TO SANTILLANA VIA LAS MONEDAS AND EL CASTILLO CAVES
Transfer from Bilbao to Santander to visit the Archeological Museum of Santander.
Then enjoy a private visit to the caves of Las Monedas and El Castillo to see paintings up close. El Castillo contains the oldest known cave painting, dated more than 40,000 years old. Located in Puente Viesgo, situated in a limestone hill, which hides an intricate labyrinth of caves frequented by prehistory man.
Continue on to Santillana del Mar to enjoy dinner together in the evening.
DAY 4: SANTILLANA AND ALTAMIRA
This morning you will visit the old city of Santillana. There is an old saying that Santillana del Mar is The Town of Three Lies, since it is neither a Saint (Santo), nor flat (llana), nor is it by the sea (Mar) as implied by its name. But it is does have many historic buildings which provide a fascinating backdrop to exploring this town.
You will then visit the replica of the Cave of Altamira. During the 1970’s the original cave painting where damaged by the large number of visitors. A replica cave and museum opened in 2001, reproducing the cave and its art to excellent effect.
This afternoon is free before an evening meal together.
DAY 5: EL PINDAL, TITO BUSTILLO AND EL BUXU CAVES
In the morning, you will visit the caves of El Pindal and UNESCO World Heritage Site Tito Bustillo, that boasts 12 prehistoric paintings, some more than 33,000 years old. Then heading to the charming coastal town of Ribadesella and then onto the Cave El Buxu. Due to the size of the caves and the need to protect them, only a handful of people are allowed in at a time, so you will be split into smaller groups.
Late afternoon transfer to Oviedo and visit to the Gothic Cathedral before enjoying dinner at Sidrería (a local cider-house). Relaxing in a cider house and gulping “culines” of the regional cider is a typical Asturian pastime that a visitor simply can’t pass up.
DAY 6: PEÑA DE CANDAMO, OVIEDO AND ITS HISTORIC QUARTER
After breakfast you transfer to Candamos and visit the Peña cave. A large cave with rooms leading off it and several different panels of art dating back 18,000. Afterwards visit the small fishing port of Cudillero before returning to Oviedo for a group farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
DAY 7: DEPARTURE
NO FLY OPTION
If you would prefer not to fly from the UK, we suggest you look at taking the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao.