Phone: +1 (eight four four) 667-3977 CONTACT NOW Mail: info(at)northernspaintour.com
UNIQUE AND SUPERB EXPERIENCE””I would like to express my thoughts and feelings about the unique and superb.experience of Northern Spain Paleolithic Art tour you Charles organized and guided. I am very happy I chose to explore paleolithic art in Northern Spain through your custom private tour. The great advantage of the custom-crafted itinerary was that while taking into account our personal interests, capabilities, and handicaps you managed to choose some of the most important and interesting paleolithic places. In 6 days we visited 21 sites: caves, replicas, museums, prehistoric archaeological sites and parks, some quite far apart, thanks to your meticulous time schedule and preordered reservations. I was impressed by your wide knowledge of the prehistoric era, especially cave art and your explanations. Since many of the sites had guided tours and explanations only in Spanish, your simultaneous translation into English was indispensable. You also prepared us very well right from your introductory presentation and before the visit to each site. And above all, your delightful personality and support made this trip memorable. I have learned so much from you in discussions not only about paleolithic cultures but also about contemporary life in Northern Spain. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.It should be noted that one of the great advantages of your custom private tour Charles is that prehistoric Spanish caves are less tourist-friendly than their French counterparts. The paths to the caves are often rough, stairs in the caves have no railings, some caves have steep slippery stairs and the ground may be muddy and wet. Since you are so well acquainted with every inch of the Northern Spain caves, you prepared and advised us very well and often provided invaluable physical support.
AN IDEAL SET OF ITINERARIES””I encourage anyone curious about the Spanish prehistoric caves to enlist Charles as their guide. As a 72- year old, seasoned traveler, familiar with the French caves and museums, I soon realized that their Cantabrian and Asturian counterparts posed challenges that required special assistance. Less physically accommodating to the average tourist, the caves are also at a considerable distance from one another, and most of the public tours in Spanish. With the exception of Altamira, these caves, their replicas, and local museums, are simply not as familiar as the French ones to even an educated student of the field. The reality, however, is that they offer a whole new experience of the extraordinary antiquity and diversity of prehistoric art and artifacts that is a veritable revelation. Besides the caves themselves, the museums Charles insisted on including were impressive: local government investment helps to subsidize innovative displays that draw on cutting-edge technology. Charles’s own effective heuristic technique is to first prepare the visitor with a sense of what awaits, thereby training us in how and what to look for within the caves themselves. Because one can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of objects and facts to assimilate, his commentary at the interpretive centers was invaluable. My companion and I presented Charles with a complicated timetable and requests that he forged into an ideal set of itineraries. He turned out to be as congenial in person as he had been accommodating during our protracted correspondence. Thank you, Charles!
INEXHAUSTIBLE KNOWLEDGE””Brilliant, sensitive and cohesive introduction to Prehistoric Cave Art in Northern Spain.Charles ... a ‘local’ is best described as Renaissance Man with inexhaustible knowledge of Past, Present, Flora, Fauna, wine and dining ... all this and more comes with a refreshing sense of humor!Looking forward to the delights of Galicia’s Neolithic Rock Art sites next year.
HEART-FELT THANKS””Just a short note to express our heart-felt thanks. It was a wonderful trip, we thoroughly enjoyed it – cave art and food! Everytime we have a heat wave in June in Geneva, we’ll be looking towards northern Spain and Charles.
CONFINED TO...WHEELCHAIR...FAR EXCEEDED OUR ROSIEST EXPECTATIONS””Our tour of the Basque Country and northwestern Spain was tailored to our interests in art and architecture with enriching visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sights and other points of historical interest. Charles’s knowledge of all things Basque—the cuisine, the culture, the gorgeous countryside made our 12 days fly by. We have traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and New Zealand/Australia. Traveling has always been my passion, but in the past 15 years, our trips have been restricted by my being confined to a motorized wheelchair as the result of an accident. Charles took care of my wife and me as if we were family, insuring that I saw as much as possible, as safely as possible. The trip far exceeded our rosiest expectations because of Charles. If only we could clone him to take with us on our next adventure. With great affection -
AS OUTSTANDING AS ALL THE REVIEWS INDICATE””Sometimes when you read reviews you feel that they’re full of hyperbole and were probably written by the business operator. I can say with considerable passion that this is not the case with Charles. He is as outstanding as all the reviews indicate.Our group of six women came to Spain from Tasmania, a world away, and had limited time to try to fit in some special touring of archaeological and cultural sites which have been a dream of mine for a lifetime. Charles took care to find out exactly what we were seeking and then planned a trip which was a perfect match, not only for our interests but for our abilities. His choice of sites to show us was outstanding, as were his choices for accommodation and meals. Charles’ breadth of knowledge on his subjects was superb and where necessary he brought in carefully selected additional tour guides for specific locations. His flexibility when weather or circumstances required a change of itinerary meant that he always had a plan B which, in some cases, was even better than plan A. Charles is genuinely bilingual, having lived in the USA as well as in Spain, which made communication easy. He filled the time we had together to capacity and by the end we felt he was so much more than a guide, he’d become a friend.I can’t recommend Charles highly enough. I have never encountered a tour guide to equal him. I only wish that age and distance didn’t preclude me from travelling to Spain again and again to spend more time exploring the country with him. I believe that some of my fellow travelers will do just that.
WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER AND LOOK FORWARD TO REVISITING””Charles has a deep knowledge of northern Spain and provides an excellent service that will greatly enhance your visit. On relatively short notice, he arranged for 2 days of touring caves to view prehistoric art. We fit a lot into those 2 days without feeling rushed in any way. Some of the caves would have been quite difficult to find by ourselves. In all of them, we had unparalleled access. In addition, Charles arranged for and timed our activities so that we could enjoy 2 impeccable lunches, enhanced by great and informative conversation. It’s a vacation that I will always remember and look forward to revisiting the area and doing so with Charles. If caves are not your thing, there are endless options for unique experiences there that Charles can help to make a reality.
A FANTASTIC TIME””I had a fantastic time in Northern Spain with Charles as my guide. I can tell you that you won’t find a better value than hiring Charles for a tour. His tours are catered to your interests and there isn’t a wasted moment spent or mile traveled that would detract from your experience. There is an incredibly diverse amount of flora and fauna,scenery, history from Paleolithic through the modern and fantastic food and wine in Northern Spain. Charles has a real knowledge of all of it. Perhaps most importantly, Northern Spain offers a glimpse of European culture that has not been unduly influenced by Corporate interests yet. Truly Old World charm and ambiance that may not be around much longer !
10/10 WILL TRAVEL WITH HIM AGAIN””Charles is professional, personable, and knowledgeable. He is passionate about this region and it’s long history, including Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Roman artifacts. We spent 11 days with Charles as we wanted to visit sirtes in Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia, and Castile Y Leon During our time with him we learned a great deal about the pilgrimage routes leading to Santiago de Compostela (we didn’t know there was more than one route). Charles told us how the pilgrimage works, and how he’s walked more than one. There was a LOT of driving as we covered a LOT of ground The sites we visited ranged from very interesting to exceptional They ranged from Paleolithic cave art to wild life reserves where we saw Cantabrian brown bears. The accommodations he recommended were exceptional and included multiple historic sites, such as a 16th century monastery in Santiago. The wine and food itinerary was wonderful. To give you an example: the wine area we visited in the Miño Valley historically produced wines that were prized by Roman emperors. Another example was a lunch at a fabulous Michelin starred restaurant. Charles went way out of his way to personalize the trip to our interests. This is our second trip with Charles and we want to experience at least one more with him as he goes out of his way to ensure the best possible itinerary for the interests of the traveler. When time, weather, and circumstances allowed he would offer to add additional interesting sites to the itinerary. He went out of his way to ensure an exceptional trip for us. 10/10 will travel with him again.
SIX TOURS ... A BARGAIN””I have done at least six, maybe seven, tours with Charles, and each one has been more than worth the money. When I first found him on line, I thought his rates sounded a little high, but decided to go anyway. Not only was he worth his rates, I felt it was a bargain.Since that tour, we have done several more, and each one has been one of the best times of the year for me. For some reason, we seem to find magic everywhere we go.I recommend giving him a lot of detail about what you want to see and do and spend so he can plan an ideal itinerary for you. Then, when you get there, be as flexible as possible if unexpected circumstances make a change necessary. Whatever you end up doing will be wonderful.Charles is amazingly knowledgeable about the caves and their art, you can ask him about almost everything you see along the way and he will be able to answer you. He knows all the people who work in the caves so you get a kind of VIP experience. He gears everything, even the roads he chooses, to your taste.Charles is a born guide. I have been to Europe about 25 times and have been with many guides, and nobody even comes near his level. The only thing at all I can say against him is that he walks much faster than I do and sometimes I need him to slow down. If I mention it, he does. Of course, I’m more than 20 years his senior. He always helps me cross tough areas.I plan on doing one or two tours with Charles per year as long as my body and budget allow. I look forward to it as a highlight of each year, and the anticipation and memories extend the pleasure of the tour on both ends.I met Charles on that first trip and friendship ensued. I don’t think you could find a better guide for the north of Spain. We have toured from the Atlantic to the Pyrenees and all of it has been wonderful.This is long but in a nutshell, go with Charles. You won’t regret a thing.
AN INCREDIBLE DAY””My daughter and I spent an incredible day touring Paleolithic art-filled caves with Charles. He is simply an amazing guide on every level. My pre-trip communication with him was so easy — he responded quickly, asked pertinent questions, offered suggestions for transportation and other logistics, and created an itinerary he felt best suited our needs.Charles picked us up at our hotel in Bilbao on the morning of our adventure, arriving early and with a spotless car. The day itself was magical. Charles had thought out every detail. We visited three caves in all — two actual caves and the replica cave at AltaMira. It was obvious that Charles was extremely familiar with the caves, as well as with the many guides and specialists who worked in them. Charles’ commentary throughout was insightful, ranging from history, geology, and paleontology to current politics, ornithology, and restaurant choices. Our trip was filled with highlights. Visiting caves we had read about since childhood was one of them. Another was eating a very traditional lunch at a local restaurant where we got a brief introduction to the culinary methods of the region. We cannot recommend Charles highly enough. Touring caves is always amazing, but the opportunity to view Paleolithic cave art, learn its history, and stand where early humans stood is truly awe inspiring.
A TERRIFIC GUIDE””Thanks again for such a very informative day in the caves with you. You really packed in the information and we spent several days unpacking it. Our heads were filled with images, so much so that at the Guggenheim the next day, I could only see engravings, paint moved with bare hands, and tamped and stenciled paint. The techniques used in so much of the abstract work is something our earliest ancestors would readily recognize! You are a terrific guide.
CHANCE OF A LIFETIME”After reading the other testimonials, I can say that there is very little I can add to describe our awesome time in northern Spain with Charles.My wife and I spent a month in northern Spain and Portugal, ten days of it with Charles. Our travels with Charles began in Burgos and ended in Porto. He picked us up each morning at our hotel, a different one every two or three days, all of which he arranged in advance. And each morning we would ask “Where to today Charles?” and off we would go on another adventure. The mountains, the coast, the secret back roads, the cities, the caves, the art, we saw it all. And then there were the vineyards and wineries and the “slow” Spanish lunches.The tour itself was only part of the fun. The other part was getting to know Charles. Not only is he so good at what he does, but he is also easy to be friends with. We now feel as if we have known Charles forever.So, if you have the opportunity to take a tour of northern Spain with Charles, don’t blow it. You will be passing up a chance of a life time.
ONE OF THE BEST GUIDES I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO KNOW”I have been wanting to see the art of our remote ancestors since 1998. Now at 75,I finally got my chance and I chose wisely.I have traveled widely and found Charles to be one of the best guides I have ever had the opportunity to know. I found him knowledgeable about the peoples of northern Spain and their land and their customs, but most importantly I appreciated his in depth knowledge Paleolithic cave art. He conveyed to us the techniques used by Paleolithic artists create the patrimony which they have left for us.Since access to the natural caves was through Spanish government tour guides stationed at each of the caves, Charles’ good relations with these guides assured us we got VIP treatment. Charles always provided us augmentations and clarifications where needed to government guide’s presentations. So, we always left the caves with the sense we saw and understood what was available to be seen.Personally, Charles literally made the trip happen for me. I took the trip requirements seriously. I trained by walking on rough trails and steep for over three months but once inside the caves with their slippery floors, Charles made sure I didn’t fall and on one occasion where the steps were about 18 inches to two feet high, he actually gave me a hand over them .I feel very fortunate to have Charles as a guide. I learned a lot and felt safe as I learned.
SUCH A GREAT TRIP”What a great trip. Thank you so much. I didn’t know what to expect touring the Pre-Historic Caves of Northern Spain. Charles was a great guide. We got to see all the caves that were available for us to see; both replica’s and real caves. The real caves were a great experience and Charles made sure we were safe inside each cave. Charles was very knowledgeable about all the caves and was up to date even the most recent discoveries. The timing of the days were great with wonderful trips to seaside villages with great food. Accommodations were 5 star and getting from place to place in a luxury vehicle was fabulous. It was a small and intimate group. I don’t think I can ever go back to larger group tours. We had such personal touches and care and I have a new understanding of the history and the beautiful cave art. Thank you so much for such a great trip.
ONE OF MY TOP TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS EVER”Traveling with Northern Exposure Spain to see the extraordinary Prehistoric cave art was one of my top travel highlights ever! Charles is a gracious, host, guide, companion, and knowledgeable man who deepened the experience both in the caves and throughout the adventure. Food was superb, we stayed in wonderful and very special hotels. If you are seeking a custom trip to Spain and/or the prehistoric caves this is the trip to take — personal, informative, and hugely fun.
BEST DECISION WE COULD HAVE MADE”We had a truly memorable trip to Cantabria and Bilbao with Charles. He was the consummate professional with a fun loving personality. We usually travel on our own, but as our granddaughter expressed an interest in visiting northern Spain, we decided to look for a guide in order to make the most of our limited time. It was the best decision we could have made! We saw more and learned more in three days than we could have done in a week on our own. In addition, Charles had knowledge of out of the way places and restaurants that we would not have found. Our granddaughter already liked Charles from his emails prior to the trip and we all formed an instantly friendly group. It was like traveling with a friend. I only wish we could clone him for our travels to other destinations!
A MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE””It was a most memorable experience for many reasons.First of all, Charles brings a personal knowledge and a passion to the trip planning process. We told him that we wanted to start in Bilbao and end in Santiago de Compostela - seeing all the highlights along the way. And that he did!He helped prepare us to understand and appreciate the 7 caves with Paleolithic art that we visited with him. Each day was paced for our “senior” energy levels, with time for a nice breakfast at our hotel, a relaxing lunch with him sampling local fare, and time back at our hotel in the evening to wander around or rest up for the next day. We covered a lot of territory each day, because Charles had already organized and arranged everything! We especially appreciated his in-depth knowledge of the Camino de Santiago, and we were able to appreciate many aspects of it, while gathering pilgrim passport stamps in the towns we passed through.Charles is a capable tour guide and a pleasurable person to spend 8 days with! I would highly recommend taking a trip with him while you are in northern Spain.
IN DEPTH KNOWLEDGE””Charles was a great guide for our touring of northern Spain. He has a very engaging personality and also an in depth knowledge of the northern region of Spain. The two highlights on this tour for me was the paleolithic caves and the exposure to the local cuisine. The cave art, specifically, has caused me to reflect on the relationship of religion and science in our world.
A WONDER””This was our first trip to Northern Spain. We were initially intrigued by the idea of seeing the pre-historic cave paintings. But we weren’t only interested in caves. We wanted to see and do a lot in a limited period of time. We could have done a huge amount of research and would have been lucky to hit the mark 50% of the time. We found Charles. His profile sounded perfect. He spoke both English and Spanish fluently and sounded like he knew what he was doing. He carefully probed for our interests and put together an itinerary that looked perfect.The tour itself was a wonder. The cave tours were magical. We ate in great restaurants and drank great wine (Charles is a heck of a sommelier). Charles’ recommended hotels were jewels. We visited galleries and museums and even bought a piece. And in his travels Charles had discovered many out-of-the way places and surprised us with things you could never find on your own. He took us to a very small winery where we spent 2 hours with the owner tasting wine, touring the winery and doing a lot of laughing. Good stuff! On top of all that Charles is friendly and fun. It would have been impossible for us to have the experience we had without him. We had a blast and can’t recommend touring with Charles too highly.Wanted to say again how much we loved the tour. Your professionalism and joy in what you do was a real delight for us. And just to conclude:End of the journeyBeauty, joy and friendlinessNothing left behind
THE BEST PART OF A GREAT HOLIDAY””It is often difficult to answer the question, ‘What was the best part of your holiday?’ when you return from extensive travel. On our most recent tour, the answer was easy. While we enjoyed a superb trip through Portugal, Spain and America, the highlight was a personalised, private tour for the two of us through Northern Spain. The seven day tour was planned, organised and conducted by Charles of Northern Exposure Spain.We first read about Charles in a very complementary letter in the travel section of an Australian newspaper. The letter described the type of experience we wanted, being senior but active travelers who liked the comfort of not having to make too many decisions while on tour. Soon after contacting Charles, we were comprehensively surveyed as to our preferences, and a tour was crafted to suit.And what a tour it was. Every interest we had mentioned was catered for. Wine, art, food, history, rural life and specific attractions were all crafted into a tour where we were driven in comfort and where we enjoyed our interests at our pace. Our preference for small and quaint hotels was satisfied. Add flexibility and understanding, along with friendship, and our tour of Northern Spain became the best part of a great holiday.I have no hesitation in recommending Northern Spain as an ideal travel destination, and Charles as the best person to lead the experience. Thanks Charles for a great experience. Hopefully we will plan another experience together.
EXCEPTIONAL””You made our trip to Spain. Your ability to cross cultures and share your country is exceptional. Your control over the weather is truly spectacular! Worth every penny. Thank You!
LIFETIME MEMORIES””A journey of culture, art and beautiful scenery in northern Spain. We had no idea of how to manage the bookings, itinerary etc. for this trip. Charles was extremely professional and prepared a itinerary and with a comprehensive package. Charles took care of small details and made us relax in the whole trip. He had a nice car with lot of space for sitting as well as for luggage. Charles was completely aware of the whole area, even side roads which had no symbols, which explains a lot about his familiarity and passion for this place. He knew a lot of history and was extremely polite and pleasant. He ensured that we got individual attention, was concerned about our safety and took us to very nice and cultural restaurants in those areas for us to have great fine dining experience. We were awestruck with the caves and the natural beauty around us, but the fact that we enjoyed so much was because Charles ensured that he was the one who took care of us at all points and that trip was planned in minute details to ensure that never ever we had to face any problems and it went so smooth and seamless. We both with our thumbs up would definitely recommend all travelers looking forward to tour of Northern Spain to go to Charles’ “Northern Exposure Spain” experience as it will make the whole travel all about fun and memories and all the planning part can be done in the most professional way by Charles. We both have now lifetime memories of this trip and will always remain thankful to Charles for arranging the whole.
SPECTACULAR””Of the many highlights on our evolutionary journey, the northern Spain cave paintings you guided us through were the most spectacular. We won’t forget our Cantabria experiences. Thanks again, and we both have a hope of some day returning.
AMAZING TOUR””We want to thank you for an amazing tour. It truly was a life long dream to see Paleolithic cave art. We appreciated your knowledge, enthusiasm and approach in introducing the caves to us. It was such a special experience for all of us, one that we will always treasure. Also many thanks for selecting such a delicious venue for lunch, and for identifying birds for me! There are many places in the world to visit, but we have already discussed re-visiting Cantabria, and if so, we will be in touch.
EXCEEDED OUR EXPECTATIONS BY A MILE””You know how much fun it is staying with a friend in a foreign town, getting the real experience of the local scene. Well Charles is that friend. Not only does he know the history, geography and culture of Northern Spain from many years of living there, but he has the ability to adapt to your interests and circumstances. We had wide ranging discussions in the car while visiting sites of interest and exchanged lots of experiences and ideas. It was very stimulating and exceeded our expectations by a mile. We will be talking about the trip for years to come and encouraging others to make such a journey.
DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR””During our extremely enjoyable three month stay in Spain, we had the pleasure and good fortune to spend six days in late October with Charles in Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque country and without doubt it was the high point of our time in the country. The tour included visits to wineries, national parks, interesting cities, towns and villages, and three caves containing palaeolithic art. We ate in excellent restaurants of limitless variety and stayed in lovely accommodation in often out of the way places. Perhaps best of all, we had the benefit of Charles’ expertise and great company. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the cave art made something of which we previously knew very little into a highlight of the trip – it is really not to be missed if you are in Spain, and as the official cave tours are all in Spanish, Charles’ extensive knowledge proved essential. He has an intimate knowledge of the entire area, restricting himself to the north, and is also one of that rare group which speaks two languages as a first language. The north is a part of Spain with lots of minor roads and interesting diversions – if you do it yourself, you will be tired at the end of the day and I guarantee you will miss out on any number of hidden gems. Do yourself a favour and let Charles solve the problem for you – you will not regret it for a second. He offers something no guide book will come close to providing. Next year in Galicia?
UNFORGETTABLE AND ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE””A group of four of us spent 6 days starting in the Galicia coastline in North West Spain and finishing in Bilbao/Rioja region. After travelling independently for 1 ½ weeks in Southern and Central Spain with varying experiences, it was extremely relaxing to have Charles take charge of our travel and show us his part of the world. He devised a varied itinerary which catered to the different physical requirements and interests of all members of our group. We were very impressed by his local knowledge – he showed us remote pockets of spectacular scenery, gave us a great choice of restaurants, wines and food and a variety of different accommodation. He had deep knowledge of paeleolithic art in the Asturian and Cantabrian caves and was familiar with the wildlife and walking routes of the Picos de Europa mountains ..… Charles went out of his way to show us sights he found out we were interested in. We were very sorry that due to Charles’ prior commitments, we were not able to extend our time with him to explore more of Northern Spain. Thanks Charles. We had an unforgettable and enjoyable experience of Northern Spain. We would recommend people taking his tours.
CHARLES IS A MUST””Every once in a while, I stumble into an experience so breathtaking, so rich, and so utterly powerful, that I classify it as a true blessing. Charles orchestration of our tour, his knowledge and passion made this more than a tour; it was a mystical experience and he was both guide, storyteller, concierge. If you want a journey into the past, while enjoying a man who advocates for our children’s heritage, then a Paleolithic Cave Art exploration with Charles is a must when you are in Spain. Thank you again for an amazing tour.
SURPASSED OUR EXPECTATIONS””Seeing the caves of northern Spain was one of our dream bucket list items, and even still, our tour far surpassed our expectations. Not only is Charles extremely knowledgeable about the history and anthropology surrounding the caves and early hominids, but he is genuinely passionate about the field and its unfolding discoveries. He’s the kind of person you feel like you could talk to for hours, over a beer or whiskey, theorizing about human nature and all that we do and don’t know. Charles went out of his way to help us with transportation and lodging, and he tailored our cave tour to our interests, abilities, and time constraints. He even threw in a few extra excursions in his hometown. We hope to be back some day. Charles is the kind of friend and guide that everyone should have if they want to experience northern Spain. We would recommend him highly – and in fact already have to many of our friends and family
WE WILLL BE BACK!””We really can’t thank Charles enough for our fantastic cultural adventure in beautiful Northern Spain! Not only great fun, Charles is incredibly professional and knowledgeable about so many topics it really gave another dimension to our time with him. I know what seemed a seamless tour to us, had taken a great deal of organisation and considered everyone’s agenda along the way. The tiny things meant so much, from the little restaurants and fantastic food off the beaten track, the boutique winery tour, to the mountain hotel hideaway and and cable car. So many cherished memories that we are grateful for! We met you as a tour guide, we shared boiled sweets and laughter across hundreds of miles of changing landscape and left with a new friend. Thank you Charles we will be back!
OUR MOST RELAXED HOLIDAY FOR YEARS””We have been to Spain many times before but this tour was special. Charles taught us more about the food, the culture and the history of this area of Spain than we thought possible. His aim is to please his clients, which he does in a very pleasant and relaxed way, nothing is too much trouble . Probably our most relaxed holiday for many many years”.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TIME IN NORTHERN SPAIN””Loved our time with you and the caves and for all of us those days were highlights of our time in Northern Spain. You brought our ancestors to life
A LOT OF FUN””We could not have asked for a better guide to show us the wonders of the caves. Charles came well prepared and informed. He kept our family group from ages 10-75 engaged and organized! The day was well paced and a lot of fun. We could never have learned so much on our own. We were all amazed and in awe of the cave paintings. We ended the day with a glass of wine with Charles, and also learned quite a bit about modern Cantabria from him.
WE CAN ENTHUSIASTICALLY RECOMMEND””Last August I began an email correspondence with Charles, to plan three full days of touring in northern Spain for June 2017, with a focus on including some combination of the Paleolithic caves, art, history, architecture, food, wine and walking. Working with Charles was a stress free process and the four of us, ages 60-70, were thoroughly delighted by the time we spent with him and by the unique experiences we had along the way. Charles was organized and thoughtful in the questions he asked us ahead of time, so that we could make the most of our 3 days visiting UNESCO World Heritage site caves, medieval towns and excellent restaurants for slow lunches. Unfortunately, the rain interfered with some of the hiking we wanted to do, but Charles easily came up with on the spot alternatives for us. We saw a range of stunning caves and learned a lot about early humans and about the history of people in this part of Spain. Charles clearly loves what he does and has much to share. He was easy to talk with about a range of topics and attentive to our interests and energy levels. We can enthusiastically recommend Northern Exposure Spain and Charles for a custom tour of northern Spain.
BETTER THAN I’D HOPED””My trip with Northern Exposure Spain was even better than I’d hoped. As a resident of the area, Charles really knows Cantabria and Asturias, including the decorated caves, the best places to eat and stay, and a way to schedule whatever you’re interested in seeing. It’s like having a friend take you around the countryside.
CHARLES IS A UNIQUE TREASURE””Fascinated with caves, but your spouse not so much? No problem for Charles. In addition to spectacular prehistoric cave art, our tour included scenic walks and challenging hikes, local history, Roman ruins and warm, personal welcomes at amazing restaurants. We drank ciders, wines, and beers and ate barnacles (yes-barnacles!), world-class octopus, squid and scallops. Also fare as simple as savory lentil soup and fresh blue cheese with baguettes. Charles is a unique treasure, speaks American and Spanish with equal ease and knows and loves Cantabria. Got to practice my limited Spanish language skills and learned how to properly pronounce “Euros”. This was the first vacation from which we really hated to go home. We are already planning our next trip and trying to decide which adventures we would like Charles to share with us.
A GREAT VALUE”We tend to be independent global travelers and normally don’t hire guides. But we never second-guessed our decision to work with Charles on this very special tour. Though born in Spain, Charles speaks English like a native and of course is fluent in Spanish as well. If you’re not sure about paying for a guide, be sure to factor in the money you save overall not to mention the frustration you avoid trying find out-of-the-way places on your own. But that’s not the main reason to book with Charles—it’s his knowledge, his warm personality, and his connections that make a sojourn with him a great value.
A SCORE OF 12 OUT OF 10””We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and the time spent exploring “ the road less travelled “ .You managed to include locations and especially private tastings at boutique vineyards which we would defy “ independent travellers “ to find - just really special .!! The restaurants , hotels , private guides and itinerary were exceptional and certainly ticked all the boxes !! Fortunately you have a great sense of humour and were able to take all our nonsense in your stride !! Your local knowledge is superb and we cannot recall a single question which you are unable to answer. So Charles , if the opportunity arose , would we seek your services again ? - most certainly !! Would we recommend you to others ? - without a doubt !! In closing , we have consulted with the rest of the team and we are delighted to unanimously award you a score of 12 out of 10 and invite you to become a member of the “ Going the extra mile club!”.
OBVIOUSLY PASSIONATE, IT SHINES THROUGH””I can honestly say the tour of Northern Spain was a highlight of our five week European holiday. Having been to the south of Spain previously I was surprised by the green rolling hills and majestic mountains of this region. Never far from the coast the scenery breathtaking. Your intimate knowledge of the places we visited as well as it’s history was truly wonderful. Wineries off the beaten track away from the usual tourist traps, a treat, and will cherries straight from the tree ever taste so sweet. Excellent restaurant choices to taste the treats of the region. You are obviously passionate about this region and it shines through. The various guides you had organised were excellent. It was a thrill to stay in converted monasteries, Paradores, a first for John and myself. All the accommodation was of a very high standard. Thank you for making our tour so memorable and ticking all our boxes.
CHARLES WAS AMAZING””For 2 months my husband and I toured with our young adult children all throughout Europe and our time with Charles was unquestionably one of our favorite highlights. I was giving my family a two month “class” about Western Civilization/ European history, so decided to start in northern Spain to visit/understand the site of the earliest homo species in Western Europe. Although we did most of our European trip on our own, I had Charles take care of this initial part of the trip since I really did not have the foggiest idea of how to really see as much as possible regarding cave art and archeological sites. We were not disappointed! Charles was AMAZING! He was so organized and planned our 3 day tour perfectly. He is from Spain so obviously speaks Spanish but has spent significant time in the US so his English was absolutely perfect- he doesn’t even have an accent! His fund of knowledge is superb and what’s more, he is incredibly easygoing and fun. We wanted to take him home with us! His price was very reasonable for what we were able to accomplish. We saw an unbelievable amount during these 3 days. I would highly recommend him as a guide.
TOUR GUIDE EXTRAORINAIRE””We had a wonderful time with Charles, our tour guide extraordinaire. We spent nine days in his care, touring across ‘the other Spain’, the beautiful green north. Charles gave us a proposal for comment and developed an itinerary on the basis of our feedback then organised our bookings. We found him to be most personable and we enjoyed getting further acquainted as he drove us to a wide range of sights from natural wonders to an iron age fort, from wineries to the Pilgrims’ Mass at Santiago de Compostela, from fishing villages to prehistoric cave paintings. He always accommodated to our pace and needs. The accommodation he booked was excellent and very comfortable, and the shared lunches at local restaurants gave us a real taste of the food and wine of this wonderful area. We highly recommend using Charles to experience the north of Spain. You will have such fun, see and learn so much and feel safe and well cared for: we certainly did.
UNQUESTIONABLY THE HIGHLIGHT””We just returned to NY after a wonderful trip to Portugal and northern Spain, of which our visit with you to the El Castillo caves and the Altamira museum were unquestionably the highlights. You are an excellent guide, with the superb combination of deep knowledge of, and a great love for, your subject - prehistoric cave art. We wish we had had more time with you, since it appears that you are also steeped in the history and culture of Spain. We will definitely recommend you to any of our family or friends planning to travel there.
IN HIGHLY CAPABLE HANDS””I couldn’t have asked for a more knowledgeable or engaging guide!! After doing far too much “Dr. Google” research, I quickly learned to trust Charles’ judgement and go with the 2 day itinerary he’d created. This is a GREAT experience…you’re in highly capable hands…… and you won’t be disappointed!!!
HIGHLIGHT OF OUR SIX WEEK VACATION””Our party of three was excited to have the opportunity to see and learn about three prehistoric cave painting sites in one day. Each site was unique and interesting. Charles was our personal guide to the caves explaining intricate details and answering our multitude of questions. His wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm really made our experience richer. We had a wonderful lunch with Charles who, at our request, suggested local foods unique to Northern Spain. Without a doubt, the three of us agreed this tour was the highlight of our six week vacation in Europe. We would do it again in a heart beat as the caves are true historical and national treasures.
DOUBT THERE IS A BETTER TOUR GUIDE IN SPAIN””Visiting the caves with Charles was not like being on any tour I have ever been on before, more like visiting with a friend. Charles is extraordinarily knowledgeable about the caves and so willing to share that with others, that is a gift. I doubt there is a better tour guide in Spain
YOU EXCEL IN EVERY WAY””Thank you so much for a most wonderful visit to the painted caves of Cantabria. You excel in ever way: Punctuality, Cheerfulness, Knowledge, Inspiration. Fantastic and your patience in getting me round the tight places in some of the caves much appreciated. Hoping to return soon.
MEMORABLE & EXCITING””Our visit to the caves in Northern Spain was a truly wonderful and exhilarating experience. Charles was a brilliant guide in every way. His thorough knowledge of the area and passion for the Paleolithic cave art greatly enhanced our visit. Also, as some of the cave guides did not speak English, Charles was able to interpret for us. He was friendly and caring with a good sense of humour and we could not have experienced as much as we did without Charles. His organisation was impeccable. A truly memorable and exciting trip.
MADE ME FEEL LIKE A FAVORITE GUEST””I am so glad I took a tour. The places he showed me; in context of the landscape, culture, and unimaginable span of time. I quickly realized the value of having Charles guide my experience. He gave an excellent introduction to what we would see and he explained the matter of interpreting cave art in such a way that I could appreciate the mystery of it, yet feel that through my human connection to the ancient artists I might understand their work as they intended. Charles scheduled an itinerary that showed me a marvelous variety of types of cave art, and in an order that helped me appreciate the differences and similarities. His professional and warm relationship with the employees who managed visitors to the caves was a tremendous advantage to me. I really felt that I was getting special treatment - especially at the busy Cave of Altamira, where Charles and the guide whisked me from place to place to see all the best examples of art in such a way that I hardly noticed the crowds. I was amazed at how much I was able to see in just a day and a half. Charles helped immeasurably with my travel logistics. He got my travel tickets and reserved a nice place for me to stay. He was prompt, easy to communicate with, and willing to answer my numerous questions about everything. Best of all, he made me feel like a favorite guest. I do hope to come back!
FANTASTIC, HIS PASSION ANIMATED A DAY””Our tour with Charles was fantastic, his passion animated a day of journeying into stunning caves where we witnessed the dawn of human art. Each time we entered into these spaces the experience was expertly guided and enhanced by Charles historic knowledge and great relationships with the onsite guides. We were transported to another time and ancient mind, inspired.
GOOSE BUMPS!!!””My husband and I recently toured Paleolithic Cave art in Northern Spain with Charles from Northern Exposure Spain. We had a truly incredible time. We have visited prehistoric caves in France and were fortunate to set up a 2-day tour with Charles. Even though our days of visit were fixed (on one of the days most caves were closed), he managed to put together a fabulous tour for us. We started with a really informative introductory presentation of the all the caves in Northern Spain, learned about their discovery, recently introduced dating techniques, and ongoing archeologic activity. We really had a wonderful experience. The experience of seeing amazing art from 14,000 to 40,000 years ago was incredible. Goose Bumps!!! We will be going back to tour with Charles again.
GOT A MUCH BETTER UNDERSTANDING””Just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and felt that we got a much better understanding of the caves and their evidence of human habitation. Also we were left with a greater admiration of the artistic skill of these early people- demonstrating depth, using the natural form of the caves etc. Much of that appreciation was due to your enthusiasm and knowledge that you shared with us and we have started to spread the word amongst our friends in Australia.
KNOWLEDGEABLE AND PASSIONATE””The mystery of the caves remains a mystery. And, as you know, words cannot do it justice. I believe that’s how it should be. I also know how fortunate we were to be exposed to this art by someone as knowledgeable and passionate as you. That you obviously enjoy sharing this knowledge, and yourself, with strangers is a gift. We thank you.
KNOWLEDGEABLE, COMPANIONABLE, RESPONSIVE, ORGANIZED AND ENTHUSIASTIC””The day we spent with Charles touring three caves with Paleolithic paintings was probably the highlight of our three weeks in Spain. He organized our tour around our interests, physical ability, and the time available to us. Charles gave us background on the region and the art as we drove between the caves. All in all, it was a perfect day. Our only regret is that we didn’t allot the time for a multi-day tour. Charles is knowledgeable, companionable, responsive, organized, and enthusiastic about the area he knows so well. We recommend his tours without reservation.
A FANTASTIC TIME””We just wanted to say we had a fantastic time with you in northern Spain. The itinerary you picked and the restaurants and hotels you found were perfect. Everything exceeded our expectations! One negative comment I have for you though is that I gained a lot of weight.
OUTSTANDING GUIDE, THE BEST WE HAVE HAD””We had a fantastic time during our 11 day trip with Charles. The itinerary he had planned was fun, varied and interesting. Everyday was packed with adventures. He took us to places we would have not been aware of on our own that were truly spectacular. We appreciated his knowledge of the land and learned a lot during our trip. The hotels and restaurants he chose were unique and memorable. Charles is an outstanding guide, the best we have had on our travels.
WELL PLANNED, DIVERSE AND VERY PERSONAL””Thank you Charles for a well planned, diverse, and very personal trip of Northern Spain and El Camino. It was a trip of history, culture, food and wine, and self-reflection. We can’t thank you enough for the detail you paid to every aspect of our trip. We so enjoyed your personal favorite spots from museums, to churches, to sunsets. And the food was exceptional.
CAN´T THANK YOU ENOUGH”The highlight of my time in Spain was our time in the caves. I was so affected by seeing these works of art and learning so much about how they were made and how to look at and really see them. I can’t thank you enough for creating the perfect combination of caves and for your extensive knowledge that provided me with the foundation to make the most of my time in these very sacred spaces.
WILL REMEMBER THIS ... FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE”I usually hate tours, but I loved this one. Charles is a very knowledgeable and fun guide. Nothing was rushed and the restaurants he chose were yummy with local food. You don’t need to worry about anything because Charles takes care of everything. Sometimes we were the only ones in the whole cave! It was amazing. I will remember this trip for the rest of my life. Thanks Charles!
EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE””All of my life, I’d dreamed of seeing the art of early man, but never expected to be able to ever see any in person. Seeing such beautiful art made by humans so many thousands of years ago was thrilling! You found the best caves and museums that we were able to see in the time we had. We appreciate the care and attention you gave us to ensure an exceptional experience.
SUCH A GREAT SERVICE””We have very fond memories of our day with you; thanks for providing such a great service.
BEST TOUR GUIDE EVER””Charles is the best tour guide that we have ever had. He was kind, had a great sense of humor and was incredibly passionate about the decorated caves. He went out of his way each and everyday to make sure we saw as much as possible. In addition to seeing the breathtaking cave paintings, we also experienced some of the best and most authentic restaurants of our European travel. We are educators who were specifically looking to make salient lesson plans for our students. Charles’ knowledge of the caves was inexhaustible—he was just as invested in our lesson plan’s success as we were. Even following the trip he made many educational resources available for us.
A BESPOKE AND INTIMATE EXPERIENCE” ”Charles’ careful planning and passion made this a very special part of our trip to Northern Spain. The private guided tours of 6 caves with his ability to translate the information given by the Spanish-speaking guides and add his own wealth of knowledge made this a bespoke and intimate experience. Coupled with a long lunch and a bottle of Rioja in a Michelin starred restaurant each day – it was perfect!
ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE”A great way to experience and appreciate the vast cave paintings in Northern Spain. Charles’ tour includes more than just viewing cave drawings; he shares with you the rich legacy of the region, it’s artifacts, geological references, and thinking behind the cave art through a variety of museum visits, subject matter experts at each cave site, and best of all his own personal experiences growing up and exploring the caves himself. This is a once in a lifetime experience, glad we did it.
EXACTLY WHAT WE HAD HOPED””Charles was referred to us by a friend who had previously used his tour services. We had an unusual request for transportation and touring from Madrid to Bilbao with wine tasting through the Ribera del Duero region in route. He provided us with exactly what we had hoped to accomplish. He selected the wineries, the route, the notable sights and the restaurants for us. All were excellent. I would highly recommend Charles and of course would use his services if we return to any areas he services.
VERY SPECIAL TIME””David and I had a wonderful experience with you. You were more knowledgeable about the history of the caves and the pre-historic art than we expected. We also appreciated your down to earth sense of humor. We will always remember this very special time.
NO SUBSTITUTE FOR LOCAL KNOWLEDGE””Our group of six enjoyed a tailor made tour with Charles from Northern Exposure Spain. We generally regard ourselves as independent travelers, but it was wonderful to leave the driving, navigation and organisation to Charles. There is no substitute for local knowledge, plus we enjoyed a delicious lunch at a seaside restaurant, that we never would have found ourselves. Charles was an enthusiastic guide, who obviously relished showing us around Cantabria, which he regards as one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas on earth, and I am inclined to agree with him.” - Annette”A HIGHLIGHT OF OUR 5 WEEKS IN SPAIN””We prefer travelling by ourselves rather than on large organised tours. In May 2016, we were in Northern Spain and very interested to see Paleolithic Cave Art in Cantabria. We were very fortunate to have gone on a tour with Charles of Northern Spain Tours. Charles tailored the tour to our needs and interests. Charles shared with us his extensive knowledge, expertise and passion for Paleolithic Cave art . Driving to each site, Charles used the time to tell us a lot of detailed background information that made the cave visits much more meaningful. For me, this one day tour was a very special experience, a highlight of our 5 weeks in Spain.
A HIGHPOINT INDEED””A WONDERFUL Experience…Alison and I loved Charles’ enthusiasm and knowledge about archaeology and prehistory, food and wine and his passion for Cantabrian history and culture. Thank you! Thanks again Charles, money well spent and a highpoint indeed.
IN SUCH AN ENGAGING WAY””Spending 3 days with you before starting our Camino trek was a wonderful introduction to the culture of Spain! We saw such beautiful places,ate such great food, and enjoyed such wide-ranging conversations as we toured around. Our focal point when with you was the amazing cave art, but we were also interested in other pre-history. You brought the paleolithic, pre-Roman and Roman Cantabrian worlds to life for us, through our visits to various archaeological sites. Thank you for sharing your insights and knowledge with us in such an engaging way!
OUR TOUR WAS FLAWLESS””The trip to see the cave art was the highlight of my 5 week tour of Spain and Portugal. Charles is a wonderful host and tour guide; our tour was flawless. Lunch together in a local restaurant was a lovely bonus. It was a long but stimulating and productive day of extraordinary value and the experience of a lifetime.
VERY CARING””We still remember with great fondness our experience with you and the excursion of the caves . You were truly a wonderful and knowledgeable guide. Not only were you a great person but very caring of Barbara with her limited physical abilities. It was a remarkable day and certainly a highlight of our trip to Spain.
FANTASTIC””I can sum up the entire experience in one word - FANTASTIC!! Charles’ knowledge of pre-historic caves is exemplary. On top of that, his experience of travelling around the world has added to his repertoire. We greatly benefitted from his knowledge and friendly character during our visit. We would recommend anyone who plans to visit the caves to book his services without a blink of an eye. From the day I contacted Charles, he has been extremely informative, prompt and helpful. Any questions (even weird ones) were answered in a professional and timely manner.”
A WONDERFUL GUIDE””Charles was a wonderful guide on our recent trip to see prehistoric cave art. He met us right at the train, arranged for an overnight stay in a lovely place and accompanied us to three different and beautiful caves. Charles helped me navigate through some areas that could have been difficult for me as an 84 year old with a broken arm! I recommend him highly to anyone interested in this type of tour.
EDUCATED, EXPERIENCED, EXTRAORDINARY INVESTMENT.””It has been a month since I toured with Charles into the caves of Northern Spain. Charles’ infectious passion for how people from thousands of years ago captured their experience in cave paintings set the tone for an individualized, exceptionally rich experience. It has been a month since the tours and I am still exuberant when I share what I learned. As a kid, visiting the caves were always a goal; little did I know I the extent of details I would learn both from Charles. I thoroughly enjoyed how Charles could meet me where I was with my knowledge and questions, planning a program that met my interests and abilities and the rich conversations before and after visiting the caves, chatting about the ancient peoples and the lands where they painted. . I am still buzzing. This experience rates as one of my best experiences with guides over 20 years of travelling. I highly recommend Northern Exposure Spain and Charles as an educated, experienced, extraordinary investment.
FRIENDLY, ENTHUSIASTIC AND KNOWLEDGEABLE SERVICES””Our thoroughly enjoyable visit to see the cave art of Northern Spain would not have been possible without a guide. Northern Exposure Spain provided friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable services. We also received some very helpful insights for other aspects of our travels in Spain.
A HIGHLIGHT OF OUR TRIP TO EUROPE””I cannot recommend Charles of Northern Exposure Spain highly enough. He was easy to communicate with before our trip and tailored our excursion to the painted caves to match our desires. I was thrilled when I finally got to see these amazing places where the distant past feels so near and real. All four of us loved the day and enjoyed Charles’ knowledge, patience, and sense of humor. It was a highlight of our trip to Europe.
REMAINS IN MY HEART AND THOUGHTS””The tour provided by Northern Exposure Spain surpassed my expectations. With only a short timeframe available, Charles customized a wonderful tour of the significant Paleolithic cave art sites, archaeological digs and sites of interest relating to human evolution. The communication and planning prior to the tour was well organized, pick-ups were punctual and information well researched. Charles’ passion and knowledge for Paleolithic cave art, combined with excellent well established relationships with the local guides made this tour an experience of a lifetime. Northern Exposure Spain provides the personal touch, and the itinerary was flexible enough to include last minute extra excursions and the chance to experience quaint Spanish towns and sample local cuisine. As a single traveler, I felt at all times safe and well looked after. The experience of standing in the caves of Northern Spain was unforgettable. Following the trip I travelled to France and visited other cave sites as a regular tourist, however it is the caves of Spain and the experience provided by Northern Exposure that remains in my heart and thoughts.
THE ULTIMATE TOUR GUIDE””Charles is the ultimate tour guide. Extremely knowledgeable, exceptionally well organized, but flexible. This personal tour is the best experience you can have in Northern Spain. Our caving adventures, crafted to our needs and capabilities, were outstanding. Charles is personable with a unique history. Spending his early years in Libya, educated in Spain and USA with citizenship in both, he has a love for the outdoors , all of which he combines into an unforgettable adventure.
AMAZING AND HUMBLING””I am still on a high from my trip to Spain! I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful experience at the caves. I still tell people how it was the most amazing and humbling experience of my trip.
EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME””Our day of exploring Paleolithic cave art with Charles was truly the high point of our visit to northern Spain. This was an experience of a lifetime. Planning, communication, and arrangements were all outstanding. We especially enjoyed your vast historical knowledge of the area. You were great and made a memorable day for us. Thank you!”
A TRIP HIGHLIGHT FOR SURE””I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the cave tours, and the day we spent together. It was a trip highlight for sure. I do think it left a lasting impression. A friend interviewed Nathan about the trip the other day, and he mentioned the caves in the top few things we did on the trip. I feel very fortunate to have had the experience, and better understand some of the history. I am so glad my parents recommended you. Thank you for planning a thoughtful, interesting, and fun day for us.” - Katie”WORTH TALKING ABOUT””Thanks Charles. We had a great time and Cole was talking about the cave drawings to his dad when we met up with him in Madrid. So there is some that stuck and worth talking about.” - Danna
THE BEST OF THE BEST””We are seasoned travelers who appreciate the personal and in depth experience of a local tour guide when we visit new places. Charles and Northern Exposure Spain are the best of the best. Our visit to Cantabria was only one day, but Charles took time to get to know our interests and capabilities. We had a full day packed with cave art from across time. Lunch by the dunes with fresh seafood and crisp wine was a perfect stop on a hot summer day.Lovers of local culture, natural history, art – from paleo to modern, human prehistory, food & wine, or more active adventures can look forward to an authentic and fascinating experience with Charles and Northern Exposure Spain.
RIGOROUS, INFORMATIVE AND ENTERTAINING””I’m an elementary school teacher in Spain and I write lesson plans for a living. This was a true holiday for me because someone else was writing the lesson plans! All I had to do is show up and enjoy the day! Charles customized a rigorous, informative and entertaining week of exploring UNESCO Paleolithic caves/museums based upon a pre-tour questionnaire that featured what we like: morning cave tours, afternoon naps, spa hotel, local dining and opportunities to give back to the communities we visited. As a result of this tour, I’m falling deeper and deeper in love with Spain!” - Karen”BLEW ME AWAY””I have never been on a tour before and Charles just blew me away! I’ve known him all my life, but just met him yesterday. Very confident, funny, and a great companion! There was no need for worry and his passion for his country and the caves were contagious.” - Nancy”LIKE AN EXHILARATING PIECE OF MUSIC””My tour was like an exhilarating piece of music; arranged and performed by world class artist, Charles. The beat and melody lingers on – rock on Charles.” - Diana
NOT A FIVE-STAR TRIP - IT’S A CONSTELLATION””I recently did my second trip with Charles, and it was even better than the one before. Since we had seen nearly everything on my wish list last year, I just put this visit in his capable hands and the result was magical. That is not an exaggeration. I frequently felt as if we were in a charmed state. I don’t know if I have ever seen so many beautiful and fascinating sights in one day in my life. The orchids! Charles is a natural-born guide and knows northern Spain in ways I am sure most people who live there don’t know it. This is not a five-star trip - it’s a constellation.
A LOT OF FUN - AND LEARNED SO MUCH””We all loved our three-day tour with Charles across northern Spain. He really listened to what we wanted to do (art, architecture, history, churches, food!) and chose a great variety of fun things to see and do. AND all very unusual and different. We never would have known about these on our own. Charles is also a nice guy – and fun to talk to. You don’t want to be in a car for three days with someone you don’t like or can’t relate to! We all had a lot of fun – and learned SO much!” - Leslie”ALL THAT WE WANTED... AND SO MUCH MORE””We are 4 women from Texas (well, one is from NY) who had just walked 108 kilometers on the Camino de Santiago. It was so good to sit back and let Charles take us on a tour of Northern Spain. He included all that we wanted to see and so much more. We never could have covered the same amount of ground on our own in four days. Although we were on a very tight schedule, we never felt rushed.” - Barbara”WHAT A TREAT””You led us on a fantastic tour of Northern Spain. We saw things and places that we never would have found or known about What a treat to discover northern Spain with you leading us! Beautiful countryside. I always felt safe with you at the wheel! You did an outstanding job! Thank you so much!” - Gail
WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE””Charles is very knowledgeable and enhances the experience. Very well organized. Was waiting for us up on arrival and a clean and comfortable vehicle. Wonderful experience.
STRONGLY IMPRESSED MY FAMILY””Charles was an excellent tour guide. In addition to providing transportation and scheduling cave visits, he gave knowledgeable commentary and explanations of what we were seeing. Though not an archaeologist by training, he exhibited a passion and knowledge of the subject that evidenced many hours of study and strongly impressed my family. He was easy to talk with about many subjects and made our visit to the caves a fabulous experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives. It was a humbling and somewhat “religious” experience to stand where our Paleolithic ancestors once stood and to observe some of mankind’s earliest artistic expression. Even my 21 year old son, who had originally scoffed at the idea of visiting ancient cave art, came away with an unexpectedly positive appreciation of what we had seen.
TALENT THAT SETS CHARLES ABOVE OTHER GUIDES””Charles was a perfect guide. I contacted him about my travels to Spain, and my interests. He set up a few days of adventure custom made for me. When weather got in the way of one of our activities, he quickly switched gears, and planned a full day that could include my partner as well. We had such a delightful time on our stormy day tour which included the Gaudi house, small windy roads leading to remote villages filled with remarkable architecture, and a wonderful old restaurant for lunch. Charles has a thorough knowledge of the area and culture. Our caving day was superb. We visited a cave, where I welled with tears at the first horse etching, and another where I could see the paintings running in the flickering light. Then a wild cave with formations older than the paintings we had seen. Since Charles is astute enough to understand what his client is interested in, he is able to give you a Spanish experience (in English) suited just for you. This is the talent that sets Charles above other guides, his charm and intellect top it off!
TOUR THAT WE WILL NEVER FORGET””Charles was extremely helpful in designing a special interest tour of Northern Spain for us. Our tour centered around the Paleolithic cave art, related museums and surrounding fishing villages and mountain towns. We sent him our wish list and he created the most interesting, informative and intimate experience ever. Charles planned a five day hassle free tour that we will never forget. When we arrived in Bilbao we were greeted by a knowledgeable tourism professional and when we parted in Burgos we said goodbye to a friend. It was a wonderful experience.” - Jean”WHOLEHEARTEDLY RECOMMEND””Charles is very enthusiastic about what he does and enjoys sharing in the lesser-known, off-the-beaten-path specialties of the region. He is extremely competent, flexible, and amenable. We ended up feeling like family members, respected and well-cared for. His passion and compassion and integrity shine through. I would wholeheartedly recommend touring with him to anyone visiting northern Spain!” - Amy
IT WAS UNFORGETTABLE AND I AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL””This was the best guided-tour I have ever experienced anywhere. Charles asked the right questions beforehand to determine how to spend the time I allowed, and created a visit to Cantabria that was beyond my expectations, or even my hopes. It was a perfect blend of nature and cave art, exactly as I requested. He was flexible when my independent activities required changing his plan. In addition to our itinerary, I asked for three specific errands and he saw to it that they were accomplished with no extra effort on my part. Not only was the fee reasonable, but after the tour was complete I felt that it had been a great bargain. His tireless good nature and interesting conversation make Charles a fine companion and his detailed knowledge of the area and the people who live there make him an incomparable guide to northern Spain and a fountain of information. I absolutely recommend him at the highest level and even want to return so my adult children can have a similar experience. It was unforgettable and I am extremely grateful.
EXCEEDED OUR EXPECTATIONS BY FAR””Thank you so much for everything that you did and organized. The trip exceeded our expectations by far. Seriously, you have the ability to share your knowledge and love for your area and the caves. Mollie said that the trip to Spain was her favorite part of our vacation.
SIT BACK AND ENJOY””Four days in mystical Northern Spain with Charles the “chief experience officer” was the highlight of our trip to Europe this summer. He could not have more informative on the regions of Asturias, Cantabria, and Basque Country. Charles is fun and flexible adjusting to our wishes to stay longer and drink more wine or add on a private cave tour which was delightful and rounded out our trip. I highly recommend Charles and let him schedule the itinerary, hotels, restaurants. Sit back and enjoy.” - Karen“NOTHING LESS THAN STUPENDOUS” ”My experience with Northern Exposure Spain was nothing less than stupendous. Our personal tour guide, Charles, was extremely efficient while planning and took great interest in accommodating our wishes, yet did not hesitate to offer alterations which always proved to be the better plan. His selection of hotels was superb. We were exposed to quite a variety of local living styles and our visit to view Paleolithic cave art provided a very articulate and entertaining guide. Charles is extremely knowledge of the regional wines and cuisine and led us to great dining experiences. He attended to many details of planning an incredible holistic experience of the northern coast of Spain. I couldn’t have asked for more.” - Terry
THE HIGHLIGHT OF AN ALREADY FABULOUS TRIP””The three days we spent with Charles touring the caves of Northern Spain were really the highlight of an already fabulous trip. Charles really understood what we wanted to see and also had a complete understanding of the kinds of food, wine and cultural experiences we were seeking. Charles brought a wealth of information that enhanced our “cave experiences” and he introduced us to some wonderful wines and food we had never tried (and we’re pretty well travelled.) We highly recommend Charles to anyone planning a trip to Northern Spain.
“WE GOT SO MUCH MORE OUT OF OUR VISIT TO NORTHERN SPAIN””We had a wonderful time on our Northern Exposure Spain tour. Our guide Charles was a font of knowledge. We got so much more out of our visit to Northern Spain due to Charles knowledge of the area. A very personalized experience. - Julie””THIS WAS AN ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIC EXPERIENCE!””This was an absolutely terrific experience! Charles has extensive knowledge of northern Spain and of the historical and archaeological sites we visited, and particularly of the Paleolithic cave art sites. He was also a great traveling companion. As English speakers with virtually no Spanish, we would not have gotten nearly as much out of the cave tours if we had been on our own. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and hope to do something like it again. - Bruce
A VERY SPECIAL ADVENTURE ””All of us in the group are widely travelled over many years and we agreed that having Charles as our guide made for a very special adventure. I highly recommend Charles and Northern Exposure Spain for an in-depth but lighthearted tour of northern Spain you won’t forget. Charles’ easygoing manner and wonderful sense of humor along with his deep love of his homeland added real pleasure to our trip. (And did I mention that he plays pretty mean Cantabrian bagpipes?)
AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE””Touring Northern Spain with Charles was a wonderful experience. He considered all my interests and designed a program that exceeded my expectations. I have traveled on 6 continents on my own and on tours. Charles is one of the best guides I have had: experienced, knowledgeable, curious, with a great sense of humour and appreciation of nature and culture combined. It quickly became apparent he knows the area intimately having explored it since childhood. I was delighted by surprise visits to special places as we traveled along the roads. My main reason for going to this area was to see the Palaeolithic cave art of Spain following a visit to the French caves in Dordogne the year before. Charles got me into 8 UNESCO caves- an unforgettable experience. He also took me to museums, art galleries, churches, medieval towns, Roman and Celtic sites, port towns, national parks, sea, valley and mountain viewpoints, markets and even a ranchers fair, a music concert and some gourmet restaurants. I had a great time and would thoroughly recommend touring Northern Spain with Charles as your guide!
ONE OF OUR BEST HOLIDAYS””Our tour in northern Spain with Northern Exposure Spain was a perfect commencement to our European itinerary. The tour was structured to unfold as both an adventure and learning experience. Although the itinerary was mainly tailored to our timing and interests (Palaeolithic cave art, prehistory/history), we experienced places that we did not know existed, and that revealed the magnificent beauty of the region. Charles’ local experience, knowledge of the local environment and species, all round skills and sense of humour made the journey one of our best holidays. We learned more than we could have anticipated and in fact this trip ignited our interests in continuing to learn more about prehistory and about Spain.
MADE US FEEL AT HOME ””The places we went were fascinating, particularly the Camino de Santiago, the cathedrals and the mountain festival. If we wanted to veer off a little, you were fine with it. You were informative and considerate. You made us feel at home. We were glad to see as much as we did in our time with you.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP ””My wife and I and two friends recently traveled to Spain. We spent almost 3 weeks in Spain but we all agree that the highlight of the trip was the day we spent with Charles of Northern Exposure Spain touring caves. What a fabulous day!
A WONDERFUL BRIDGE BETWEEN CULTURES””We had a fantastic time with Charles on a guided tour of several sites in Northern Spain! Charles is a wonderful bridge between cultures, contemporary and ancient, within Spain. Having a guide made all the difference for us during our day of touring. We visited ancient caves, hiked little known paths, entered ancient sanctuaries, both under and above ground, and had a delectable feast in a Spanish home. Charles devoted the enter day to us, nearly dawn to dusk, taking us more places than we could have imagined. We highly recommend Charles!
MOST SATISFYING EXPERIENCE... EVER ””We have traveled extensively around the world, touring North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. We can say without reservation that our 8 day tour with Northern Exposure Spain was the most satisfying experience/adventure that we have ever had. Charles tailored the trip to our individual desires/needs and recommended itineraries, but also took us to the places that the locals frequent (and provided an insight rarely found). He speaks English and Spanish as a primary language. Many guides can speak both languages, but to have one who can communicate precisely in each language is a benefit beyond compare, a phenomenal advantage. His knowledge of the area is unparalleled, but is exceeded by his passion and love of his country. To be able to absorb this passion and learn about your adventure is something that is difficult to find. We hope that many others can explore Northern Spain as we have.
NEVER HAD A TOUR GUIDE AS KNOWLEDGEABLE ””Charles I want to thank you for the wonderful experience I had touring Northern Spain. I have traveled extensively in Europe and the United States and I can say that I have never had a tour guide as knowledgeable as you. I had so much fun and learned so much about Northern Spain and am still in awe of the caves. It was such a pleasure to meet you and I will be sure to recommend you to anyone considering a visit to Spain. - Ellen””FAR AND AWAY THE BEST GUIDE ””A fantastic vacation in Northern Spain, thanks to Charles’ superb guidance and accompaniment, far and away the best guide I could have ever imagined. He made all the arrangements and took us exactly where we wanted to go, plus to other excellent, beautiful and tasty places we didn’t know about. As a non-Spanish-speaking American, I was thrilled to find that Charles is both an American and a Spaniard, and as a local, he communicated perfectly with everyone. I could not recommend him and Northern Exposure more highly, and Northern Spain is gorgeous! - Nadine
FUN AND STRESS FREE””Our trip to Northern Spain was one of the best vacations we have ever been on. Charles’ personal attention, knowledge and planning were outstanding. The fact that he spoke Spanish and was able to translate for us everywhere we went was awesome. This was such a fun and stress free vacation. Thank you Charles for making us feel like we were lifelong friends and showing us your beautiful country. It really shows that you love what you do.
SURPASSED ALL EXPECTATIONS””Northern Exposure Spain put together a fabulous week for me in Spain, which surpassed all of my expectations. I traveled to Spain specifically to study Spanish intensively. Charles was able to arrange a great week of private instruction in Santander as well as daily excursions to see historic and cultural sites which were of great interest to me. The food, the countryside, the art, the prehistoric caves and medieval churches and monasteries were spectacular. I cannot commend Northern Exposure Spain and Charles highly enough.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE AREA IS PROFOUND””Cantabria is famous for some of the finest prehistoric painted caves in Europe. Charles was able to set up impromptu visits to seldom-seen caves. We also toured the remains of the Roman Empire. He seems to know everyone and his knowledge of the area is profound. I will jealously commandeer some of his time next year. You should feel free to take him on. Just don’t hire him during the time I want him!
ADDING SO MUCH TO OUR TRIP””Charles, we want to thank you again for adding so much to our trip to Spain. As you know, we toured Cantabria, the Basque country, ran with the bulls, and wrapped up in Madrid, but our experience with you was a highlight. We were able to see and do so much that we would never have had a chance to do otherwise. Your local knowledge and your love of the area are unparalleled. You’re a great guide. We look forward to our imminent return!
CATERED THE TOURS””Thank you Charles! We enjoyed our day tours with you enormously. I was blessed to meet an easygoing, adventurous, dog liking, hiking to the source of a spring, waterfall seeking guide that catered the tours for one woman and one dog. Your guided tour of the countryside to see the beauty, the hikes to discover the hidden villages were a perfectly delightful adventure!