Discovery weeks based in a single hotel, at Baños de la Encina (Jaén, Andalusia), Almagro (La Mancha), Candás & the Costa Verde (Asturias), Liérganes-Santander (Cantabria) and at Berlanga (Soria, Castilla-León)...

Berlanga and Soria

In the land of Al-Mansûr, El Cid Campeador and Antonio Machado... and Ribera del Duero wine, based in one of our favourite hotels - small international guided group

Soria, with its rolling hills, stony limestone plateaux intersected by steep gorges, and to the north, the high mountains of the Sierra de Urbión, was once the vitally strategic Caput Extremadura, enriched by the fabulous wealth of La Mesta, but is now one of the least populated and most rural provinces of Spain.

7 DAYS (6 NIGHTS) Activities: discovery of Soria province (Castilla-León), with very varied historical and nature visits including four days with short walks (2-3h a day). Group 10 maximum.

EXCEPT TWO MEALS in rooms for two (private bathrooms), in a restored 15th century mansion at Berlanga de Duero, home of the Dominican monk, Fray Tomás de Berlanga, who discovered the Galapagos Islands, brought the banana from the Canary Islands to Central America, and brought back the tomato. He was also the first person to envisage the Panama canal, a project he suggested in vain to Carlos V.

2018 Thursday 10-Wednesday 16 May, Monday 29 October-Sunday 4 November.

745 euros per person; single room supplement 115 euros.

Sigüenza station. Sigüenza is accessible by local train from Madrid airport, changing at Chamartín. Ask us for travel information. If flying to Madrid, you should book a plane arriving by 13.30, and for the last day one departing after 16.30.

Location of this programme:

THU/MON: Visit to Sigüenza with its magnificent cathedral. Short transfer to Berlanga de Duero where we stay for 6 nights. Among Berlanga's attractions are a porticaded plaza mayor, a splendid castle and an outstanding gothic collegiate church.

FRI/WED: Discovery of Berlanga and introductory ramble round the village and its gorge. The Mozarabic Ermita de San Baudelio, with exceptional frescoes.

SATURDAY: Soria city and its surroundings, with the ruined monastery of San Juan de Duero, along whose banks we follow the steps of Bécquer and Machado, and the rock-shelter paintings of Monte Valonsadero. Important archaeological museum.

SUN/THU: Peñaranda de Duero (Mudéjar-Renaissance palace with wonderful artesonado ceilings), the amazingly narrow Yecla gorge, Visigothic Quintanilla de las Viñas, quaint Covarrubias and the superb Romanesque cloister of Silos monastery.

MON/FRI: Caliphal Gormaz, the world's biggest mediaeval fortress. Romanesque frescoes of San Miguel. Caracena, a tiny hamlet with two Romanesque churches and an imposing castle. The fantastic troglodyte Celtiberian-Roman site of Tiermes, under the beady eye of the Griffon vultures who once transported the souls of the Celtiberian warriors to heaven...

TUESDAY: The fabulous Mediaeval village of Calatañazor, with a walk in the páramo. The Laguna Negra de Urbión, a grandiose site at an altitude of 1700 m, theme of a poem by Antonio Machado in "Campos de Castilla".

WED/SUN: Morning dispersal at Sigüenza.

Discovery: Almagro-La Mancha / Baños Encina-Jaén / Candás-Costa Verde / Liérganes-Santander
Two centre discovery: Ciudad Rodrigo & Arribes del Duero / Ruta del Oro / Extremaduran Kaleidoscope
(Granada + Cordoba patios) / Xmas 2018 at Cordoba / New Year 18-19 at Trujillo
walking: Andalusia / central Spain / La Rioja / Old Castile / Mar y Sierra: Asturias / Mar y Sierra: Cantabria
historical journeys / Festivals–Andalusia / Festival–Almagro / Festival–Ciudad Rodrigo / nature rambles
groups, families or friends
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