This was the 2010 tour for the JDC. Please register your interest for future tours.
Discover the delights of northern Spain and the Pyrenees with this fabulous two week tour. Explore the lesser-known areas of Catalonia and Aragon, where there is little traffic, and therefore excellent driving on exciting, winding roads, accompanied by far reaching views of hills, mountains and lakes.
Starting and finishing in Bilbao, you can explore Rioja and its vineyards and plains, see pilgrims on the Compostela di Santiago, visit Pamplona, travel across the Sierra de Guara, explore the beautiful Pyrenees mountain range, and visit the enchanting seaside resort of San Sebastian.
Stay in some lovely guesthouses and hotels, including stylish mansions, chic country hotels, mountain lodges and historic Paradors. All the hotels are individual and unique and overall, are of an extremely high standard. Due to the nature and age of these hotels the rooms vary from charmingly comfortable to wonderfully luxuriant. We have hand-picked the accommodation for their unique atmosphere and style. All accommodation includes breakfast, and dinner is included where stated. Suitable parking is, of course, a feature of each hotel, but it is only occasionally undercover.
Itinerary may be subject to change without notice
Day 1: Sunday 25 September
For those travelling from the UK leave Portsmouth on the Brittany Ferries sailing to Bilbao. The ferry departs at 10pm, although we shall be on board earlier for a welcome dinner at 8pm. A sea view, en-suite cabin is booked for your comfort. You will have two nights on board the ship.
Day 2: Monday 26 September
Spend the day at sea, so plenty of chance to relax, read, watch a film in the on board cinema.
Day 3: Tuesday 27 September
Arrive in Bilbao at 8am. Head into the centre of Bilbao and visit the famous Guggenheim Museum. Then drive south, over the Balcon de Rioja to Laguardia. There will be a vineyard visit before heading to our delightful hotel, near Olite, where we shall spend two nights. Dinner is included on both evenings.
Day 4: Wednesday 28 September
Either enjoy a rest day or head to the lovely city of Pamplona. Alternatively drive south to the valley of the dinosaurs, Ruta da Cidacos. There is even a life size brontosaurus on one of the plains to keep you amused! Pass the many tiny troglodyte dwellings near Arnedillo.
Day 5: Thursday 29 September
First stop of the day is at the very scenic to the small town of Olite, which boasts a magnificent castle, once the most sumptuous royal residence in Europe. Explore the medieval rambling streets and sample some local cuisine. Then head on to pretty Ujue, a small hilltop village that is well worth a stroll around. Drive east surrounded by beautiful views to visit the impressive Castillo de Loarre, which is set well into the rock and is virtually impossible to see until very nearby. It is then a short drive to the Sierra de Guara, an area of sculpted gorges, painted prehistoric caves and appealing villages. Stay overnight at a lovely small hotel and enjoy dinner in the restaurant.
Day 6: Friday 30 September
Drive some superb roads today, winding around mountains, through canyons, across high cols, and along river valleys, to the lovely town of Solsona. Stay overnight in a wonderful hotel that has been in the same family for over 80 years, and has been subject to a recent, outstanding refurbishment to create a very special place with fantastic flair. There is also a spa with hot tub, sauna and stream room. Dinner is included but there is a choice of restaurants in the hotel: a formal dining room, or a more relaxed tapas restaurant.
Day 7: Saturday 1 October
Leave Solsona and head across to Berga, and then Ripoll. Drive along some excellent mountain roads, passing Spain’s oldest ski resort, La Molina, and then descend into Puigcerda, adjacent to the French border. Stay for two nights in an exquisite five star hotel on the edge of town, with underground parking, with views across the lake and mountains. The hotel also offers a superb spa for those wishing to relax. Dinner is in the renowned restaurant.
A day off to relax or explore the area. We have organised an early morning balloon flight (weather dependant) across the mountains, which is highly recommended as a sensational way to see the Pyrenees. Puigcerda is very pleasant for a stroll, with a number of cafes to soak up the sun and atmosphere, or there are a couple of golf courses in the vicinity. For water lovers there are many rivers nearby for fishing, rafting or canoeing or the coast is only an hour away.
Day 9: Monday 3 October
A wonderful drive across mountain passes and along pretty valleys, surrounded by breath-taking scenery. Stay in a lovely Parador in the Vall d’Aran, surrounded by mountains. Dinner is included.
Another day of stunning driving on wonderful, meandering roads through canyons and across mountains. The scenery is captivating and dotted with untouched villages built from local stone. Stay for the next two nights just south of the French border, in the Valley de Tena, at a gorgeous, character hotel, with its own spa. Dinner is included both nights.
Day 11: Wednesday 5 October
Enjoy another day of relaxation. This is a wonderful spot to walk in the mountains, visit the nearby villages, even head into France to visit Pau or the pilgrimage town of Lourdes.
Day 12: Thursday 6 October
Cross the border into France, heading towards Oloron, before climbing back over the Pyrenees, into Spain again. Wind across the mountains to the fashionable sea-side resort of San Sebastian. Stay for the next two nights in a superb hotel, within a few minutes walk of the centre of town. This charming small hotel is in a renovated 19th century villa – a Historical Heritage Building of San Sebastian. The hotel does not have a restaurant, but is very centrally located with a number of places nearby to eat.
Day 13: Friday 7 October
Spend the day exploring San Sebastian. The hotel is just a five minute walk of the Zurriola beach, and the old part of town. San Sebastian is the summer capital of Spain: it is here where the Belle Epoque lives on, with its blend of cosmopolitan style and old-world ambience.
Day 14: Saturday 8 October
The morning is at leisure to further explore San Sebastian. For those heading back to the UK, drive to Bilbao for the overnight ferry which departs at 20.45.
Day 15: Sunday 9 October
Arrive in Portsmouth at 19.30 and depart for home. We will reserve a hotel near Portsmouth for those who wish to stay overnight.
Dates: 25 September – 9 October 2011
Duration: 14 nights
Total Distance: about 1,000 miles
Price: €2,995 per person – based on two people sharing a twin or double room and one car
Outside large 2 berth/4 berth cabin with ensuite facilities – £70 supplement
Air conditioned with twin and bunk-style beds. 2 people can use a 4 berth for their own use and enjoy more space & twin-style beds.
Outside 2 berth Finistere Club cabin with TV, ensuite facilities – £160 supplement
Outside 2 berth de luxe cabin with double bed and ensuite facilities – £250 supplement
More spacious and air conditioned. En suite. Double bed. TV & DVD player. Tea and coffee making facilities. Complimentary breakfast served in your cabin on overnight crossings.
If you choose not to take the ferry, there is a price reduction of £495 GBP (approx. €575) per car.
- An extensively researched and carefully designed itinerary to optimise your trip
- All accommodation for fourteen nights (including three nights on board ferries for those travelling from the UK) for two people sharing a twin or double room.
- Breakfast every morning (except on the ferries)
- Dinner every evening, including wine (1/4 bottle per person)
- Return crossing from Portsmouth, England to Bilbao, Spain for a car & two people, with twin sea view cabins and en-suite facilities on both journeys, with Brittany Ferries. (Participants from the UK only)
- Tour book – includes a brief history of the countries to be visited, emergency details, maps and directions, accommodation information, and a very detailed, tailored account of recommended sights and visits for each day. The book effectively eliminates the need for any other guide books
- Hot air balloon trip (weather permitting)
- Vineyard tour in Rioja
- Spanish road atlas
- Rally plaque
- Arrangement and reservation of optional activities
- Accompanied by tour director, Sarah Dowding & chiropractor (for human mechanics), Nick Richmond
What’s not included
- All lunches
- Entry into attractions and activities
- Personal travel and medical insurance
- We strongly suggest and recommend you have European breakdown cover, and ensure you are covered for Spain and France
- All drinks are extra (other than stated) to accommodate individual preferences
Travel to the continent: Return ferry crossings will be reserved with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Bilbao.
- This Pyrenees Tour is only open to members of the Jaguar Drivers’ Club.
- Each person must have a passport (and any necessary visas for non-EU passport holders) valid for Spain, and France and any other countries you may visit to participate on the tour. All passports must be valid for six months after the end of the tour
- You will also need your vehicle registration documents, driving licence (a photo-card licence or international permit is best), and international insurance cover.
- Please check your travel and motor insurance that you are covered for travel in the required countries.
- You are also required to safety equipment: carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, fluorescent jackets, set of replacement bulbs and a national identification sticker.
- The most important requirement is that you take pleasure in motoring through fabulous scenery, relish individual, character hotels and enjoy the company of like-minded travellers – and maybe the occasional glass of Rioja wine!