Hemingway's Spain - Running Of The Bulls

Follow in the footsteps of one of literature’s giants and relive Hemingway’s great love affair with Spain and the Spanish people.

The Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winning novelist captured the many complexities of the country in novels that enchanted the world like “The Sun Also Rises” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Wander the same narrow streets and alleys, dotted with curious shops and bars, experience the drama of an afternoon bullfight as Hemingway did many times, and eat in the very same restaurants that Hemingway loved. In the evenings, relax in luxury accommodations and read one of Hemingway’s masterpieces. ... Show More »

In the company of a former picador, gain an appreciation for bullfighting as you take in the spectacle in person. Meet up with a local historian and visit the Royal Palace which is housed in the building of the old Alcázar of Madrid, and contains many important pieces of art belonging to the Royal Family. Head to Pamplona and, from your own private balcony, take in the running of the bulls directly below you. After the event, have breakfast at Cafe Iruna, one of Hemmingway's haunts in the city. Leave room for your guided tapas tour through the neighborhood of Gros and enjoy “pintxos,” “cacuelitas” and many splendid wines. You’re sure to fall in love with Spain every bit as much as Hemingway did.

Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance. « Show Less

Day
Activities Hotel & Meals
Hotel & Meals
  • Day 1 Madrid
    Madrid
    • Transfer - Private - Airport - Vehicle/Driver
    • Airport Arrival Luggage Porterage - Assistant
    • Meet & Greet - Assistant
    • Restaurants frequented by Hemingway
    Westin Palace (5*)
    Breakfast
  • Day 2 Madrid
    Madrid
    • Private - 1/2 Day Walking Tour - following in the footsteps of Hemingway (4 hrs) - Civil War Expert Guide
    • Optional: Private Showing of Bvlgari Jewelery in your Hotel Room
    Westin Palace (5*)
    Breakfast
  • Day 3 Madrid
    Madrid
    • Private - Escorial Monastery, Valley of the Fallen & Segovia (10 hrs) - Vehicle/Local Guide/Driver
    Westin Palace (5*)
    Breakfast
  • Day 4 Madrid
    Madrid
    • Private - 1/2 Day Walking Tour - Royal Palace - Historian
    Westin Palace (5*)
    Breakfast
  • Day 5 Madrid to Pamplona
    Madrid to Pamplona
    • Transfer - Private - Train Station - Vehicle/Driver
    • Train - Madrid - Pamplona [3 hrs] - 1st Class Train Ticket
    • Transfer - Private - Train Station - Vehicle/Driver
    • Private - 1/2 d Insight into San Fermin running of the Bulls event (4hrs) -
    Palacio de Guendulain (4*)
    Breakfast
  • Day 6 Pamplona
    Pamplona
    • 1/2 d VIP Balcony viewing of Running of the Bulls, Breakfast & Optional Afternoon Bullfight - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    Palacio de Guendulain (4*)
    Breakfast
  • Day 7 Pamplona to San Sebastian
    Pamplona to San Sebastian
    • Transfer - Private - Pamplona - San Sebastian [with visit to 3 Wineries (with lunch) (8hrs)] - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
    Villa Soro (4*)
    Breakfast
  • Day 8 San Sebastian
    San Sebastian
    • Private - 1/2 Day Walking Tour: Culinary Delight (3hrs) - Guide (Local Taxi)
    Villa Soro (4*)
    Breakfast
  • Day 9 San Sebastian
    San Sebastian
    • Private - City & Coastal tour following the Way of St James (optional hiking) (8hrs) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Self-Guided - Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum
    Villa Soro (4*)
    Breakfast
  • Day 10 San Sebastian
    San Sebastian
    • Transfer - Private - Airport - Vehicle/Driver
    • Direct flight (approx. 1hr15mins) (not incl)
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Day 1: Madrid

Meet your driver for a private airport transfer in Madrid. Please note drivers may or may not speak English, as their sole responsibility is to transfer clients from one location to another.

A porter who will be waiting for you inside the baggage claim area with your name written on our sign board will look after your luggage.

For your added comfort, we will have an English speaking assistant waiting for you at the hotel lobby. Your representative will help you to check in and walk you through the welcome package documents.

Journalist, author and playright, Ernest Hemingway loved his time spent living in Madrid and had a number of favourite restaurants that he used to be counted amongst his favourites that are still going strong today. Why not consider dining at one of them during your sojourn in the city...

Restaurante Botín. (Address: Cuchilleros, 17) is the oldest restaurant in the capital city loved the suckling pig here! Legend has it that one day Hemingway asked the owner Emilio (the current owners Grandfather) to teach him how to make paella. After a number of failed attempts he commented that perhaps it'd be better to keep at the writing! Fiesta, the novel which was to put him in the international limelight begins with a scene in this restaurant.

Accommodation: Westin Palace (5*)

Built at the direction of King Alfonso XIII in 1912, the Westin Palace was recently restored to its original splendor. Set near the Prado, notable museums, and historic monuments, it was ranked as the #1 hotel in Spain in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2008 Gold List. The magnificent building, highlighted by an enormous stained glass dome, has long been a center of Spanish society. Among the many amenities, restaurants, a newly renovated fitness center overlooking the city, and a well being center. Each of the beautiful guestrooms has been updated with all modern conveniences and is exquisitely decorated with antique furnishings and original mahogany and plaster details.

Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
Westin Palace, Madrid
Westin Palace, Madrid

Day 2: Madrid

Enjoy a day following in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway who had a great love affair with Spain and Madrid in particular. Indeed, he is once quoted in his book, Death in the Afternoon as saying when one knows the city of Madrid, it is the most Spanish of all, the most agreable city to live in, with the most pleasant people, and with the best climate in the world.

Hemingway lived here during the years of the Spanish Civil war and therefore it would only be fitting to have a private guide who is an expert on this matter accompany you on your walking tour. As you take in the sights, you'll be able to see the backdrop to the various scenarios described in his novels. In true Hemingway style, finish your walking tour with a stop at one of the cocktail bars the author used to frequent.

Since 1884, Bulgari has been setting the pace for Italian style in jewellery, watches, accessories, fragrances, skincare and leather goods. Consider having a private showing of some of their most exclusive pieces of jewellery in the privacy of your hotel room during your stay in Madrid.

Accommodation: Westin Palace (5*)
Plaza Toros de Las Ventas
Plaza Toros de Las Ventas

Day 3: Madrid

Enjoy a private full day tour to El Escorial Monastery, Valley of the Fallen monumental memorial and the spectacular medieval city of Segovia.

Depart from Madrid with your private driver. On arrival meet your official local guide for a visit of the impressive Monastery of El Escorial that was built under the reign of the powerful King Philip II to be a Residence for the Kings, Monastery and Pantheon of the Royal Family, becoming as a symbol of the great power of the Spanish Empire on the time. The monument was declared of Artistic and Historic interest, and "Mankind Heritage". The visit includes the Monastery, the Cloister of the Four Evangelists, the Royal Palace of Philip II, Pantheons of the Royal Family, the Chapterhouses and the Basilica. The Valley of the Fallen is a monument built as a memorial of those who died during the Spanish Civil war. Located in the beautiful Valley of Cuelgamuros, in the Mountains of Sierra de Guadarrama, this impressive work has a colossal cross over 150 mts. high, and the Basilica and Crypt excavated in the hard rock under the mountain. Continue to the city of Segovia located west of the Guadarrama Mountains to discover with your English Speaking guide the history and rich legacy left by successive Segovia´s occupiers: Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, Jews and Christians. The monarchs of Castile established their court in the city temporarily during the twelfth century.Segovia still preserves the magnificent Roman Aqueduct from the time of Emperor Augustus. Segovia´s most representative monuments are the elegant Cathedral and the Alcazar fortress, a medieval spectacular castle.

Accommodation: Westin Palace (5*)
Segovia`s Aqueduct
Segovia`s Aqueduct

Day 4: Madrid

Enjoy a half day walking tour in the company of an Historian who will act as your guide. Today's focus is all about the Royal Family and the role that it has played in the last century. Visit the Royal Palace which was built during the XVIIIth Century and is housed in the building of the old Alcázar of Madrid. It is one of the richest in Europe and is very well preserved. It is used by the Spanish Crown in Official Receptions, Presentation of Credentials and Official Events, such as State Meetings. Its rooms are full of artistic works belonging to the Royal Family.

You have your guide for 4 hours today - if time allows and you are interested, you may like to stroll through the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Major, or to visit some convents in the city such as the fascinating Descalzas Reales, which is the former palace of Carlos I and Isabel of Portugal who resided here in the mid 1500's. The cloister retains many of the decorative elements of the former palace. (no transportation is included - please let your Sales Advisor know if you would prefer to have transportation added to your tour). Entrance fee to Royal Palace is included.

Accommodation: Westin Palace (5*)
Madrid Royal Palace
Madrid Royal Palace

Day 5: Madrid - Pamplona

Meet your driver for a private train station transfer.

Enjoy your train ride from Madrid to Pamplona. The train ride takes approximately three hours.

A private train station transfer will be arranged for you in Pamplona.

Everyone has heard of the running of the Bulls in Pamplona, but what is the history behind it, why does everyone dress in white with red scarves and what's the significance of letting lots of bulls run down city streets? Find out all as you meet up with someone in the know in Pamplona and all will be revealed over a glass of wine.

Accommodation: Palacio de Guendulain (4*)

Built in the 18th century by D. Sebastian de Eslava, Viceroy of New Granada (1685 – 1759), Palacio Guendulain is one of the most prominent buildings in Pamplona, located in the old part of town. After serving as a family residence for over two centuries – in 1845 Queen Isabel II stayed in the Palace with her entourage converting the house into a royal residence for a few days – Palacio Guendulain reopens as a magnificent hotel with 25 bedrooms and suites overlooking the Consejo Square and the Palace's inner courtyard. Its interior houses an extraordinary horse carriage built in the early 18th century as well as a beautiful porter's chair.

Pamplona
Pamplona
Grand Stairwell, Palacio de Guendulain
Grand Stairwell, Palacio de Guendulain

Day 6: Pamplona

Your day starts very early in the morning: meet your escort at the hotel, who will accompany you to your selected balcony, from where you will watch the running of the Bulls. At 08.00 am madness starts! Be part of it and witness this unique experience.

After the run finishes, you continue with your escort to the public café where you will get a delicious Spanish breakfast: time to explore the city now. With the company of an official tour guide, discover the secrets of Pamplona; learn about the history and anecdotes of this International Fiesta. The tour finishes in the center and you can decide to rest in your hotel or continue along the day, as Pamplona never sleeps!

If you have selected to watch the bullfight, get ready for that. If not, for sure Pamplona will not let you get bored, as so much to see and experience along!

Optional: Later in the evening, your meeting is a popular restaurant, prepared for you to taste Spanish dishes in tapas style blended with good wines of the region (dinner not included). From the terrace of the restaurant you will be able to watch the fireworks taking place before midnight.

The night is not over: you will see the crowded streets burning with people and celebrating a great time.

Accommodation: Palacio de Guendulain (4*)
Bullfight
Bullfight

Day 7: Pamplona - San Sebastian

Leave Pamplona and make your way to San Sebastian on Spain's northern coast in the comfort of a private chauffeur driven vehicle with a local guide. Spend the day making your way northwards at a leisurely pace, stopping off at three different wineries in the Rioja region en route, from the ultra modern complex built by Zaha Hadid to a family run business.

Enjoy lunch in local winery before continuing on to San Sebastian, arriving in the afternoon.

Accommodation: Villa Soro (4*)

Villa Soro is a charming 25 bedroom hotel located in a renovated 19th century villa which has been declared a Historical Heritage Building of San Sebastian. Villa Soro is an outstanding new address, offering a harmonious balance between the warm and familiar atmosphere of a century-old home and the comfort and services of a luxury hotel. Tranquillity, warmth and courtesy are the main characteristics of Villa Soro. The property has a garden designed by the French landscape designer Ducasse in 1898, with pleasant living areas reminiscing the family atmosphere of this stately home, and a very professional team permanently at your service.

San Sebastian
San Sebastian
Villa Soro, San Sebastian
Villa Soro, San Sebastian

Day 8: San Sebastian

In every neighborhood you'll notice scores of establishments- some traditional, some offering original and innovative gastronomic jewels, some exhibiting tempting delicious counters. That's why selecting a limited number of bars and planning a tasty route is as difficult as taking your place at a counter and picking out one single pintxo! To help alleviate things,  we'll take you on tour with your guide who knows all the best spots! Explore its old town between the sea and the River Urumea, the marina and the fishermen's district. Looking at the sea, is the old Casino, nowadays the City Hall from where an elegant promenade with railings and street lamps runs along beautiful La Concha Beach.

One of the best ways of experiencing a culture is through the cuisine. Enjoy your stay in San Sebastian and taste the exquisite Basque gastronomy in any of its excellent restaurants and don´t forget to taste "pintxos" and "cacuelitas" (different kinds of small dishes) which, accompanied by cider, "txakoli" or good wines - sure to satisfy the most demanding of palates. We will begin our guided tapas walking tour in the neighborhood of Gros, at the award winning Alona Berri bar. The establishment also stands out for its wine cellar. Near there you will also find the crowded Bergara Bar, a mix of tradition and innovation. Walking along Zurriola Avenue you can admire the beach and architect Rafael Moneo's Kursaal auditorium and congress center. Then taste the delicious specialities of Patio de Ramuntxo, also an award winning establishment. The next stage will lead you along the pedestrian Alameda del Boulveard Avenue. (Tapas not included as you can choose as much or as little as you like on your tour).

Accommodation: Villa Soro (4*)
Tapas in San Sebastian
Tapas in San Sebastian

Day 9: San Sebastian

Spend the morning discovering the highlights of the city of San Sebastian as you are brought to Playa de la Concha - one of the two beaches which is on the city's doorstep and arguably one of the nicest city beaches to be found the world over, as well as the magnificent town hall and historical quater. The latter is said to have more bars than any other neighbourhood in the known world! The Centro Romántic neighbourhood has its own charm, with its pedestrianised shopping streets, lined with the handsome façades of Art Nouveau buildings.

From San Sebastian, head out along the Basque coast to St Jean de Luz, an important stage on the well known pilgimmage trail called St James Way. Your guide will give you the background on this pilgrimmage and there is the option to spend part of the afternoon hiking along the route before being returned to San Sebastian in the late afternoon. 

Consider taking a self guided visit through the Balenciaga museum today. Just 15 miles away from San Sebastián, is the town of Getaria - the birthplace of Cristóbal Balenciaga, and the site of the eponymous world-famous museum that offers a rare glimpse into the genius of the beloved designer. Opened in 2011, the museum is adjacent to the Aldamar Palace, where Balenciaga started his career. The exhibition includes a selection of 90 Balenciaga designs, including the legendary mink-trimmed wedding gown of Queen Fabiola of Belgium, as well as the dresses designed for Grace Kelly.

Accommodation: Villa Soro (4*)
Cristobal Balenciaga Museum
Cristobal Balenciaga Museum
La Concha Beach
La Concha Beach

Day 10: San Sebastian

Meet your driver for a private airport transfer. Please note drivers may or may not speak English, as their sole responsibility is to transfer clients from one location to another.

Take a direct flight from San Sebastian to Madrid today (not included in trip price).

Accommodation:

Trip Terms & Conditions

  • Your deposit is due immediately on booking (30% of program price, minimum $350). The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations of confirmed bookings 90 days or more prior to departure will receive full refund minus a $350 (per person) administrative fee and any non-refundable paid fees (e.g. non-refundable airfare, cruise or hotel deposits). 60-89 days will be subject to loss of 30% of program price. 30-59 days will be subject to loss of 50% of program price. 29 days or less will be subject to loss of 100% of program price.
  • Tour quotes do not include airfare to/from the trip start point unless noted on the itinerary
  • Cost increases in currency exchange, government fees, taxes, surcharges or hotel/lodge tariff increases between quote date and start date are payable by the client.
  • Availability cannot be guaranteed until booked. We will exercise best efforts to book hotels per the itinerary, however, in busy seasons and with client bookings made within 90 days of tour date we may be forced to offer substitutes.
  • Payment of the program price constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out at www.kensingtontours.com/terms-and-conditions
  • Living Standards and practices at destination may differ from those in North America with respect to provisions of utilities, services and accommodation.

Westin Palace (5*): Madrid

Built at the direction of King Alfonso XIII in 1912, the Westin Palace was recently restored to its original splendor. Set near the Prado, notable museums, and historic monuments, it was ranked as the #1 hotel in Spain in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2008 Gold List. The magnificent building, highlighted by an enormous stained glass dome, has long been a center of Spanish society. Among the many amenities, restaurants, a newly renovated fitness center overlooking the city, and a well being center. Each of the beautiful guestrooms has been updated with all modern conveniences and is exquisitely decorated with antique furnishings and original mahogany and plaster details.

Westin Palace, Madrid
Westin Palace, Madrid

Palacio de Guendulain (4*): Pamplona

Built in the 18th century by D. Sebastian de Eslava, Viceroy of New Granada (1685 – 1759), Palacio Guendulain is one of the most prominent buildings in Pamplona, located in the old part of town. After serving as a family residence for over two centuries – in 1845 Queen Isabel II stayed in the Palace with her entourage converting the house into a royal residence for a few days – Palacio Guendulain reopens as a magnificent hotel with 25 bedrooms and suites overlooking the Consejo Square and the Palace's inner courtyard. Its interior houses an extraordinary horse carriage built in the early 18th century as well as a beautiful porter's chair.

Grand Stairwell, Palacio de Guendulain
Grand Stairwell, Palacio de Guendulain

Villa Soro (4*): San Sebastian

Villa Soro is a charming 25 bedroom hotel located in a renovated 19th century villa which has been declared a Historical Heritage Building of San Sebastian. Villa Soro is an outstanding new address, offering a harmonious balance between the warm and familiar atmosphere of a century-old home and the comfort and services of a luxury hotel. Tranquillity, warmth and courtesy are the main characteristics of Villa Soro. The property has a garden designed by the French landscape designer Ducasse in 1898, with pleasant living areas reminiscing the family atmosphere of this stately home, and a very professional team permanently at your service.

Villa Soro, San Sebastian
Villa Soro, San Sebastian
  • Vanessa Oquendo — April 21, 2014 — Europe

    Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours.

  • Marilynn Weaver — April 21, 2014 — Europe

    All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!

  • Ann Saxon — November 06, 2013 — Europe

    Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family.

  • Coby Scherr — November 05, 2013 — Europe

    Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours.

  • Couples Dellinger & Hubbell — November 06, 2013 — Europe

    We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back.

  • John Edstrom — October 22, 2013 — Europe

    Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!

  • Kevin Wilshere — October 19, 2013 — Europe

    Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch.

  • Chery Westlund — November 07, 2013 — Europe

    My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again.

  • Randy Gramlich — October 07, 2013 — Europe

    Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease.

  • Jay Steffan — September 24, 2013 — Europe

    We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.

    We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip.


* USD per person, double occupancy. Custom designed personal tour. Prices subject to change.

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