Historic Spain - The places that forged a country

17-29 May 2023

For years people have been talking about a tour which covers some of the most important locations in the history of Spain—hard to choose but we’ve had a go
We start on the Ferry from Plymouth—we did this last year and although it’s a couple of hours further to get to the port the crossing is faster by many more hours.
We start at La Granja de San Ildefonso, home for many years of Felipe V of Spain (the first Bourbon ruler) and his favourite palace , which caused the growth of the town for courtiers accommodation. Meantime the war of the Spanish succession was raging and finally was halted by the Treaty of Utrecht. We are staying in the children’s palace; it is not a wendy house
After San Ildefonso we’re off toward the Portuguese border to Ciudad Rodrigo. We are staying in the castle and highest point in town ( you can climb the tower) Ciudad Rodrigo was besieged during the Peninsula war with the siege being eventually lifted by the Duke of Wellington. Salamanca is nearby and there are great walks around the walls and a Goya museum
Next we plunge south to Guadalupe. Home of our lady of Guadalupe and a major place of pilgrimage even today. Only Santiago de Compostella is more venerated and in the middle ages gates were built to keep the pilgrims out, so many were sleeping in the town square. The driving in this area is unparalleled in Spain in its quality– a drivers dream!
After Guadalupe it’s Toledo. Two nights here so you can visit the Alcazar and get a view of Spanish history and conquests through different eyes. Toledo was famously besieged during the civil war and always had a reputation for excellent metalwork, including making swords that gave their users an edge when swashbuckling
Up to this stage we haven’t stayed in a castle with battlements and crenelations so Siguenza is our stop. It was central to the early medieval civil wars (Pedro the Cruel had his wife (a Bourbon) incarcerated there) and during the civil war the republicans held the cathedral whilst the nationalists held the castle. There wasn’t much left when it was rebuilt as a hotel in the ‘60s
We finish inland at Argomaniz—a lovely little Parador in a town where virtually no-one (less than 150) lives. Napoleon couldn’t hang on to Spain and the Duke of Wellington, plus the Spanish and the Portuguese saw to it that he was kicked out at the battle of Vitoria, Where did he sleep the night before? At what is now the Parador…
On our final day we go to Santander where the city was recently forged by fire, after a fire and an onshore wind in 1941 destroyed anything which would burn, hence no medieval centre. We’re staying at the Hotel Chiqui which now sports an infinity pool and maintains it’s reputation for excellent food. On Saturday we have a lunchtime departure for Portsmouth on the Galicia

On Sunday we have lunchtime departure from Santander on the Santona for an evening arrival at Ports- mouth

The trip will be limited to 20 cars and Jasper Gilder will accompany this group.

Wed 17 May Mid afternoon departure from Plymouth for Santander on Brittany Ferries flagship Pont Aven
Thurs 18 May Arrive in Santander then drive to La Granja de San Ildefonso for two nights at the splendid Parador (235 miles)
Sat 20 May Drive to Ciudad Rodrigo for two nights in this lovely medieval town, staying at the Parador (165 miles)
Mon 22 May Drive to Guadalupe for a night in the peace and tranquilty of Extramadura. Lengthen the trip by dropping into Caceres, home of some of the conquistadors (150 miles without Caceres)
Tues 23 May Drive to Toledo for two nights at the Parador. It’s a great spot and the Cathedral, Santa Tome, the old town, the Alcazar, the El Grejo Museum, Zocodova Plaza etc will eat up your day (130 miles)
Thurs 25 May Drive to Siguenza for a night, travelling via Aranjuez (home of the Summer Palace) and skirting Madrid (167 miles)
Fri 26 May Drive to Argomaniz for a night where Napoleon prepared for a battle in which he was beaten by the Duke of Wellington in a precursor to Waterloo (183 miles)
Sat 27 May Drive 110 miles through the Basque Country to the Hotel Chiqui in Santander for our last night – it’s a short hop so great to visit Bilbao or go for lunch at Laredo or Castro Urdiales
Sun 28 May Drive to Santander ferry port for afternoon embarkation on Brittany Ferries Santona (4 miles)
Mon 29 May Mid evening arrival at Portsmouth

Tour Booking & Information

Price £3800 for a car, driver and one passenger

Ferry crossings with standard outside cabin (upgrades available at extra cost), Dinner and Breakfast included on the Santona
Overnight accommodation as described.
Dinner bed and breakfast at all hotels
Services of Jasper Gilder as tour leader


To book contact Jasper

Tel:+44 (0) 1442 842542
Mob: 07831 327727
Email: info@driveespana.com