Learn more about the history of mankind during an intriguing 10-day expedition with National Geographic. From a guided tour of Atapuerca, where Europe’s oldest known hominin fossils were unearthed to prehistoric shelters in Dordogng.

Discover some of history’s most significant sites alongside a National Geographic grantee and local experts.

Trip highlights

Alongside National Geographic grantee Dr. Ana Cristina Pinto-Llona, take a guided tour of Atapuerca, where Europe’s oldest known hominin fossils were unearthed.

Meet a local expert on the famed Lascaux cave on a specially arranged visit to the newly opened International Centre for Cave Art.

Discover Castel-Merle’s complex of prehistoric stone shelters, and savour a “prehistoric” meal made with ingredients used by Neanderthals.

Itinerary - 10 Days

1 Madrid, Spain

Arrive in Madrid and take a walking tour of the city.
Gran Melia Fenix Hotel (D)

2-4 Cantabria Caves/San Sebastián

Journey to the Cantabria region and meet archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Dr. Ana
Cristina Pinto-Llona for an examination of the Atapuerca archaeological site, where the oldest known hominin fossil remains in Europe have been unearthed. Explore the Museum of Human Evolution in nearby Burgos, and see some of the oldest artistic representations in human history on a visit to the caves at Puente Viesgo. Explore Las Monedas Cave and Hornos de la Peña, then visit the Altamira Museum. Enjoy an evening at leisure in San Sebastián.
Parador de Gil Blas; Silken Amara Plaza (Days 2-3: B/L/D Daily; Day 4: B)

5-6 Saint Émilion, France/Montignac/Vézère Valley

Cross into France en route to medieval Saint-Émilion,where we’ll tour the Monolithic Church and its catacombs. From our base camp in Montignac, set out with Christine Desdemaines-Hugon, an expert on Paleolithic art, for a guided tour of the National Museum of Prehistory. See the sculpted frieze of horses and bison carved into a cliff shelter at Cap Blanc, examine the polychrome paintings of Font-de-Gaume, and hear a talk given by our host.
Hostellerie La Roseraie (B/D)

7-8 Pech Merle/Lascaux Iv/Castel-Merle

Venture to Pech Merle, an enormous cave system filled with prehistoric art and artefacts dating back 25,000 years. See rare representations of human figures, engraved animals, and a mammoth drawn using the contours of the rock. Later, stroll the charming streets of medieval Saint-Cirq Lapopie and Sarlat-la-Canéda. Meet a local expert for a specially arranged visit to the International Centre for Cave Art, which houses Lascaux IV— the world’s most comprehensive re-creation of Lascaux and its famous paintings. Join archaeologist Isabelle Castanet at Castel-Merle, a complex of prehistoric stone shelters, then gather for a “prehistoric” meal made with ingredients once used by Neanderthals.
Hostellerie La Roseraie (Day 7: B/D; Day 8: B/L/D)

9-10 Vézère Valley/Bordeaux

Explore Rouffignac Cave, known as the “cave of a hundred mammoths.” Continue to Bordeaux for a city tour and our farewell dinner. Fly home the next morning.
Hotel de Normandie (Day 9: B/L/D; Day 10: B)

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