Tucked into rolling countryside from southwestern France to Spain’s northern coast lies a treasure trove of artifacts and art left by early humans tens of thousands of years ago. Witness some of the oldest art in the world in caves from Lascaux to El Castillo, and marvel at the artistic skill and sensitivity of our early ancestors. 

Starting at: $6,995 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The exquisite artistry of prehistoric painters in the cave of Lascaux II  Drawings in Altamira cave in Santillana Del Mar  Cantabria, Spain  Atapuerca archaeological site near Burgos  Las Monedas cave drawing in Cantabria, Spain  Perigord, France  Drawings dating from the Paleolithic period from the reproduction of La Grotte de Lascaux  La Vezere river valley in Dordogne  View along La Vezere  Saint-Etienne square in Toulouse  Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil

Prehistoric Caves of France and  Spain

10 days from $6,995

Tucked into rolling countryside from southwestern France to Spain’s northern coast lies a treasure trove of artifacts and art left by early humans tens of thousands of years ago. Witness some of the oldest art in the world in caves from Lascaux to El Castillo, and marvel at the artistic skill and sensitivity of our early ancestors. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Hotel Le Centenaire

Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, France

A charming, family-run hotel in the heart of Les Eyzies de Tayac, Hotel le Centenaire was founded in 1964, a hundred years after the discovery of the first prehistoric site in the Vézère Valley. It was named in honor of the centennial celebration. This boutique property with just 20 bedrooms was originally the village post office. It features comfortable rooms, a large heated pool, shady terraces, a lounge and bar, and a gastronomic restaurant. 

Number of nights: 3

Grand Hotel de l’Opera

Toulouse, France

An elegant, 4-star property located on the Place du Capitole in the very heart of Toulouse, the Grand Hotel de l’Opera was originally a 17th-century convent. The hotel offers excellent service with contemporary amenities.

Number of nights: 1

Parador de Santillana Gil Blas

Santillana del Mar, Spain

The Parador de Santillana Gil Blas is set within an 18th-century mansion in pedestrian-only center of historic Santillana del Mar. The 28 rooms have combine period furnishings with modern amenities, and the restaurant and bar serve Cantabrian cuisine with a modern flair. 

Number of nights: 2

Miróhotel Bilbao

Bilbao, Spain

Sleek, modern, and chic, the Hotel Miró is a luxury boutique hotel located very close to the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in the center of Bilbao. The 50 room are contemporary in design, and well-equipped with modern conveniences. The hotel also features a small fitness center, a bar, and a library. 

Number of nights: 2

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: Longer tour with mostly full-day excursions by motor coach, with four hotel stays. Full-day excursions entail daily activity of up to six hours and walking up to four miles. Travelers will spend much of their days on their feet, walking and standing during walking tours, museum visits, and indoor/outdoor sites and activities. Walking may entail uneven terrain, cobblestones, city hills, stairs (some without handrails), and absence of elevators; some longer walks to get to city centers or venues where coaches are prohibited. The caves can be slippery and uneven terrain and not well lit, without handrails. Some of the cave visits would not be appropriate for anyone with mobility issues. 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Reading List

Highly Recommended

What Is Paleolithic Art?: Cave Paintings and the Dawn of Human Creativity
By: Clottes, Jean
The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation
By: Kurlansky, Mark
DK Eyewitness France (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
DK Eyewitness Spain (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness

Also Recommended

Café Neandertal: Excavating Our Past in One of Europe's Most Ancient Places
By: Bahrami, Beebe
The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World's First Artists
By: Curtis, Gregory
Images of the Ice Age
By: Bahn, Paul G.
Stepping-Stones: A Journey through the Ice Age Caves of the Dordogne
By: Desdemaines-Hugon, Christine
The Land Of My Fathers: A Son'S Return To The Basque Country
By: Laxalt, Robert
1066: The Year of the Conquest
By: Howarth, David
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: Director's Choice
By: Vidarte, Juan Ignacio
The Sun Also Rises: The Hemingway Library Edition
By: Hemingway, Ernest
Origin: A Novel (Robert Langdon)
By: Brown, Dan
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.