Spain | Barcelona & Costa Brava | Family Vacation
Discover Catalonia, one of Spain’s most varied regions
7 days / 6 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
From the wild coastline of the Mediterranean to the towering mountaintops of the Pyrenees, Catalonia’s landscapes strewn with medieval hamlets and villages does not disappoint. From Gothic cathedrals designed by Gaudi to the lofty volcanoes designed by mother nature, Catalonia will leave you awe-inspired by its beauty. Don’t forget three of the 20th century’s most important artists – Picasso, Miró and Dalí – began their careers here.
Catalonian food is among Spain’s best, from the hearty meat and game dishes of the Pyrenees to the mouthwatering seafood delights on the Costa Brava, the range of delicacies is surprising.
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The history: The Iberians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, Celts, Basques and the Moors have all made their mark on what is now Spain. Come discover the many contributions of these cultures!
The explorers: the first European men to see California, Antarctica, the Pacific Ocean and to circumnavigate the globe were all Spaniards. But did you know? Christopher Columbus was not only not the first European to land on the Americas (Leif Ericson), he also wasn't a Spaniard (Italian, though commissioned by the Queen of Spain)!
Botany galore: Spain boasts one of the most diverse plant populations in Europe. During the last ice age, most of Europe was covered in glaciers but Spain was far enough south to avoid the ice so many plant species that were wiped out elsewhere survived.
Barcelona, Spain BCN
Barcelona, Spain BCN
We meet in the morning in Barcelona and are transferred to Pantà de Sau. The Sau Reservoir, belonging to the Ter River basin, is a perfect place to kayak. When the lake was established in 1962, the water covered the village of San Roman de Sau, while the bell tower continues to be exposed. After kayaking, we’ll hike through the forest to reach “Salt de Sallent,” the largest waterfall in Catalonia. For lunch we visit the town of Rupit, with narrow streets and tucked-away squares, affording some splendid views of the Pyrenees. Once in Olot, relax at your hotel before a delicious meal at the hotel’s restaurant.
About Hotel Riu Fluvià
This modern hotel is within walking distance of the historic town center, with nice views of the surrounding mountains and volcanic hills.
This morning you’ll wake up early for an unforgettable hot-air balloon flight. Cava and ‘coca de llardons’ (a Catalan cake) are served during the flight, followed by a tasty brunch. Those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground can join us on a walk through the protected volcanic natural park between Olot and the village of Santa Pau. With its 30-some volcanic cones, this is a landscape of unusual beauty and lush vegetation. When back in Olot, choose to visit the botanical gardens and its interesting Volcano Museum.
Today, bike along a traffic-free ‘Via Verde’ for the entirety of the route to Girona. Enjoy a picnic lunch near the former train station of Amer and continue via Anglès (by bike or van) to the ‘city of a thousand sieges’ Girona, whose ramparts still mark the old city limits. Tonight the group will gather together for a fine meal with traditional specialties before relaxing in our rooms for the rest of the night.
About Hotel Ciutat de Girona
Centrally located in the commercial part of town, Hotel Ciutat de Girona is perfect for exploring the medieval town center across the river. You’ll feel right at home in the modern, comfortable rooms. The restaurant features interesting fusion cuisine.
Transfer to nearby Banyoles, widely known for its figure-of-eight lake fed by underground streams, which was the venue for the rowing events during the 1992 Olympics. Visit the bustling Wednesday market in the Plaça Major which has been taking place since the thirteenth century. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the scenic lake district before lunch. After a transfer back to Girona, explore the cobble stone streets from the “Game of Thrones” on a Segway tour. There is so much to see and to do in Girona, you will want part of the afternoon off. You may opt to proceed to Figueres to visit the extraordinary Teatre- Museu Dalí in the town of his birth, and spend ample time in this gigantic surrealist object. An evening on your own will give you the opportunity to relax at your hotel after your exciting day, or go out exploring Girona some more.
After a brief transfer, today’s ride will take you through Catalonia’s most authentic and best preserved villages: Madremanya, La Pera, Monells and Cruïlles. At Púbol, visit the mansion Salvador Dalí bought for his wife Gala, who lived here without him until her death in 1982, and was decorated by the artist himself in his inimitable style. In La Bisbal, explore the many ceramic stores and the ceramics museum. Retire to the grounds of our luxurious Spanish farmhouse turned villa.
About Hotel and Spa Mas Torrent
Mas de Torrent Hotel & Spa is an eighteenth-century Catalan farmhouse converted into an exclusive five star hotel. The spacious rooms feature decor that is traditional and elegant in the main building and, light yet cozy in the garden accommodation, some of which with a private pool and some with private terraces. The Mas de Torrent gourmet restaurant offers traditional Catalan cuisine and an extensive wine list. masSPA, the Mas de Torrent spa features a sauna, steam room, indoor pool, and gym.
Transfer to a deserted beach where your kayaking begins on the famed Costa Brava. Kayak through sea caves and visit incredible rock formations on this wild section of the coast. Eventually, you’ll reach the fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell and enjoy an amazing and well deserved paella for lunch. After lunch, return to the hotel where you can relax at the pool or ride a short bike loop to visit several medieval villages. Enjoy a grand farewell dinner this evening while reminiscing about a wonderful week.
At the time of your preference, your guide will transfer you to the Barcelona train station or airport for your departure home. If you decide to spend more time in Barcelona, your guide can transfer you to your post-trip hotel.
** Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, trail, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.
Arrival & Departure
Prior to the trip, arrive at your own convenience in Barcelona. On Day 1, we will meet you in the lobby of Hotel Jazz in Barcelona at 8:30 a.m. After a transfer to Pantà de Sau, the fun begins with a kayak trip on the lake. After breakfast on Day 7, we take you to the airport, train station, or the hotel of your choice in Barcelona (two hour transfer).
Day 1: Kayaking, hiking
Day 2: Hot-air ballooning (optional), hiking
Day 3: Bicycle mileage options: 18 / 25 / 34
Day 4: Walking, Segway, rowing, swimming
Day 5: Bicycle mileage options: 25 / 32 / 40
Day 6: Boating, snorkeling, bicycle mileage options: 14 / 20
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to fit you to your bikes, explain the details of each ride and answer any questions. Each day your guides will help you choose the distance and route that is right for you.
Living among volcanoes is part of everyday life for the locals in Olot, the city being located in the Natural Park of the Volcanic Area of La Garrotxa. There are four volcanoes within the town limits. Kiss the ‘Cul de la Lleona’ to guarantee your return to Girona. Explore the parade of ceramics stores lining the main road in La Bisbal. Nearby Ullastret is one of the best-preserved Iberian settlements, where remains of the walls, gates, silos, and other elements, most dating to the 3rd century BC, have been excavated. Try a “Copa de Cava,” Catalonia’s bubbly beverage.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All meals: breakfasts, lunches, dinners as indicated by itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Bikes, helmets and other necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Meals as not indicated by detailed daily itinerary.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to make fast friends in foreign places and how to get the most out of a destination by experiencing it like a local? Ask Adam, a longtime Austin Adventures guide who now serves as European Operations Manager in Holland. He caught the travel bug during a semester abroad in New Zealand and Australia and quickly discovered he never wanted to stop experiencing—and more importantly, sharing—the wonder of travel. He taught English in China, managed a resort in Mexico, and now lives with his wife and child in Amsterdam, ensuring guests have the best guides and experiences possible on their European adventures.