Beginning in Barcelona, our Northern Spain photography holiday takes us to the legendary destination of the ‘Camino’ pilgrimage, Santiago de Compostela. On the way we will visit the beautiful city of Zaragoza, two stunning national parks, and the extraordinary San Fermin festival and the running of the bulls. The photography opportunities are endless, including ancient and modern architecture, awe-inspiring landscapes and local people celebrating age old traditions…
One of the most exciting cities in the world, Barcelona is a great starting point for our Northern Spain Photography Adventure. From the winding streets and alleys of the medieval Jewish quarter to the wonderfully diverse Raval district, there’s plenty to see and photograph in this city of contrasts.
You’ll meet your photography leader and the rest of the group this evening for a brief chat about your tour.
We spend today working our way around all the best photography spots in the city, shooting the wonderful Modernista buildings of famous architects such as Antoni Gaudi and the old town with its narrow streets and café-lined squares. Among the highlights is the fabulous Sagrada Familia which was started in 1883 and is still not finished. We’ll get here early to beat the crowds, before moving on the gothic quarter, the historic centre of old Barcelona where many of the buildings date from medieval times. We’ll also visit the El Born barrio with its narrow streets and the famously colourful Raval district.
This morning we drive to Zaragoza and arrive in time for lunch. In the afternoon we begin our exploration of this delightful city where monuments from the Roman, Islamic and Christian communities that have called the city home are dotted along the city streets. We’ll visit the beautiful Moorish Aljaferia Palace, a medieval stronghold built during the second half of the 11th century, which provides us with the opportunity to shoot Islamic architecture and ornate arches. We also visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar and make sure we are in prime position to shoot the building from across the Ebro River at dusk.
Driving through the countryside we head first for the Loarre Castle, set on a hill about an hour from Zaragoza. Constructed during the 11th and 12th centuries on the frontier between Christian and Muslim lands it had huge strategic importance. We’ll get there while the castle is bathed in morning light and shoot it from several angels before exploring the castle itself.
Our next stop is the well-preserved medieval town of Sos del Ray Catolico, birthplace of King Ferdinand II in 1452. Large parts of the old town are said to look much as they did at the time of his birth. There are narrow cobbled streets, ancient churches and medieval city walls to photograph, and we’ll also have our lunch here.
Our final stop today is the Basque town of Pamplona and we’ll arrive in time for the opening night of the San Fermin festival and its fireworks display.
Leaving the hotel early to ensure we have the best chance of getting a good viewpoint, we’ll be in place for the ‘chants to San Fermin’, the prelude to the running of the bulls. The runners position themselves a few metres up the slope from the corral where the bulls are waiting, raise their rolled newspapers, and chant to an icon of San Fermin placed in a small recess in the wall in the Cuesta de Santo Domingo. Once the chants are completed there is an atmospheric silence while the runners and the crowd wait for the clock on the church of San Cernin to strike 8 o’clock. After launching two rockets, the bulls charge behind the runners from the corral and the bullring. The run only takes 5-10 minutes but during that time we’ll get to see a unique, colourful and dramatic spectacle as the runners and the bulls hurtle along streets lined with people dressed in traditional red and white outfits.
We’ll spend the rest of the day exploring and photographing the city including the Cathedral and the colourful Plaza del Castillo.
The Gorbeia National Park is famed for the ethereal feeling of its ancient forests formed by the often-misty atmosphere and the misshapen, moss-covered trees. We’ll spend some time finding the best spots for our photography, including streams, waterfalls and viewpoints.
After lunch we drive to Santander. In the afternoon and early evening we’ll explore the coastline nearby shooting beaches and seascapes.
The Los Picos de Europa is a small national park with truly magnificent scenery consisting of jagged limestone mountains, streams, small lakes, dense forests and small rural settlements. Traditional methods of farming are still practiced here adding to the unspoilt feeling of the park. We’ll get there early to enjoy the best light then spend the whole day finding fabulous photos of the landscape.
Later afternoon we’ll head to Gijon for our overnight stay
Santiago de Compostela is the ultimate destination of the famous and ancient Christian pilgrimage known as the Camino. As you can imagine the city is quite a special place that is steeped in history. The Cathedral and the old town that surrounds it are the main focal points and together are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’ll be plenty to keep our shutter fingers busy while we wander the arcaded stone streets including some particularly dramatic Gothic and Baroque architecture.
Our tour ends today in Santiago de Compostela
Our photography holidays and tours are designed to maximise the chances of getting great images by visiting photogenic sites at times that are good for photographing them. This generally means trying to avoid crowds and being out when the light is best, just after sunrise, and again in the late afternoon. Occasionally we’ll stay out after sunset or make use of clear night skies. The middle of the day is often reserved for lunch, free time, travelling, downloading images and relaxing. We try to make the most of each area we visit so there may a lot of distance covered and sometimes days can be long. Please read the itineraries carefully to get an idea of driving times and any particularly demanding days.
Our holidays are planned for dates when the weather is expected to be suitable for photography; however, with an ever more unpredictable climate there is always the possibility that we’ll experience poor conditions. In this case we’ll give what advice we can to help you get good results from your photography, and we may make changes to the tour to try to make the best of the situation.
The joining time is 18:00 on day 1 at the hotel reception, your photography leader will meet you there.
We can arrange transfers for you at the beginning and end of your tour at a cost of £39 each way.
It is condition of booking that you are covered by adequate travel insurance. If you are bringing expensive photography equipment we recommend that this is insured too.
The following photography equipment is recommended:
- DSLR or mirrorless camera
- Wide angle lens
- Mid range zoom
- ND filters
- Remote shutter release
- Sufficient memory cards and storage devices
You’ll need light casual clothes and comfortable shoes. Early mornings can be chilly so a sweater is recommended. A sun hat and some long sleeved items are a good idea to help protect your skin against the sun.
Rooming is based on a twin share basis. If 2 people book together, they will automatically be roomed together. Those travelling alone will be sharing with another single traveller of the same sex unless a single room has been booked. If you desire privacy, are a light sleeper or a loud snorer then we’d recommend you book a single room.
All accommodation is on bed and breakfast basis. You’ll need money to cover lunch, dinner and your drinks. As a rough guide we’d recommend that you allow around £15 – £25 per day.