Embark on a Spanish adventure as you take in medieval architecture, idyllic landscapes and delectable cuisine. Explore the wonders of the Prado Museum, one of Europe’s greatest museums. See the Cathedral of Seville, the third largest in the world. Enjoy reserved seating at a flamenco show and feel the passion of this famous dance. Visit the exotic and expansive Alhambra palace. Become part of an authentic “paella experience.” View Antonio Gaudí’s architectural masterpieces, including La Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell. Explore Spain's priceless treasures of art, history and culture set against a backdrop of sunny Mediterranean shores and grand mountain ranges.
- Itinerary Type : Standard
- Activity Level : 3
- Number of Days:11
- Number of Meals:14
- Hotels:Hotel Colón (Barcelona), Melia Granada (Granada), Melilá Sevilla (Seville), H10 Puerta de Alcalá (Madrid), SH Valencia Palace Hotel (Valencia)
- Experiences:Feel the energy of Spain at a flamenco performance in Seville.
In Cordoba, take a walking tour of the Mezquita, a religious marvel.
- Must Sees:Step back in time in Toledo, the former capital of the Spanish Empire.
Explore Madrid's Prado Museum to view masterpieces by Velazquez, Goya and others.
Join a local expert for a tour of the world-famous Alhambra palace.
- Culinaries:Savor a "paella experience" including a paella-making demonstration and lunch.
Enjoy local cuisine and regional wines at dinner.
Itinerary (10 days)
Madrid, Spain - Tour Begins
Welcome to Madrid, Spain’s lively capital and largest city. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers and enjoy a welcome dinner.
Madrid - Toledo - Madrid
During a locally guided tour of Madrid’s historic center, see the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, where events have been held since the 17th century. Join a local expert to explore the priceless masterpieces of the Prado Museum, which opened in 1819 and boasts the world's finest collection of art by masters such as Velazquez and Goya. This afternoon we travel to Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the capital of medieval Spain until 1560. A comprehensive tour highlights the magnificent Gothic cathedral and a visit to the Church of Santo Tome to view El Greco’s masterpiece painting, The Burial of Count Orgaz.
Madrid - Cordoba - Seville
Travel to the extraordinary Moorish city of Cordoba. You may opt to take the AVE high-speed train to reduce travel time and increase leisure time in Cordoba. Upon arrival, embark on a walking tour of the Mezquita. This UNESCO site, an architectural marvel built by the Moors in the 8th century as a magnificent mosque, was converted into the city’s cathedral in the 16th century. Continue your exploration of Cordoba in the city's well-preserved and historical old Jewish Quarter. Later, transfer to Seville, considered Spain’s “cultural capital.”
Decide how you see Seville today because it’s your choice! Walk along the cobblestone streets of the Santa Cruz Quarter with an expert guide, admiring the white washed houses and aromatic orange trees before continuing to the stunning Plaza de España -OR- get a glimpse into the city from a different perspective with a boat ride on the Guadalquivir River, gently drifting by timeworn bridges and towers. Later, visit the ornate Seville Cathedral (UNESCO), the largest gothic church in the world, and see Columbus’ tomb and the Giralda Bell Tower. This evening, enjoy an authentic flamenco show (UNESCO) featuring Seville's top performers.
Seville - Granada
Travel along the peaceful Sierra Nevada to Granada, the last great capital of the Moors in Spain before it fell to the Catholic monarchs in 1492. Upon arrival, join a local expert for a tour of the world-famous Alhambra (UNESCO),* a stone fortress overlooking the entire city and serving as a mesmerizing example of Islamic architecture.
Granada - Valencia
Travel through Spain's amazing landscape, viewing rolling hills dotted with picturesque olive groves, while en route to the Mediterranean coast. Arrive in the city of Valencia, a treasure trove of Roman and Arabic architecture, surrounded by citrus groves.
Valencia - Albufera - Valencia
See the City of Arts and Sciences; an ultramodern, multi-faceted educational institution, on your way to Valencia’s historic old town where you will enjoy a walking tour guided by a local expert. View the ornate 14th-century Serranos Towers and imposing 15th-century Quart Towers; then arrive at the bustling central market, one of the largest in Europe, where you’ll shop side-by-side with the locals before concluding your tour at the impressive 13th-century Gothic cathedral. Later, travel to Albufera, the area where paella cuisine originated. A paella experience awaits you. Enjoy a boat ride on the canals surrounding rice field plantations, a visit to a traditional fisherman’s home known as a barraca, a paella-making demonstration and an authentic paella lunch. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Valencia - Barcelona
Travel to Barcelona, one of Europe’s most beautiful and exciting cities. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Barcelona’s fascinating boulevards including the famous Las Ramblas, dotted with colorful bird and flower stalls.
Today, get an in-depth look at vibrant and lively Barcelona. Your panoramic tour showcases the Columbus Monument, Parc de Montjuic, Antoni Gaudi’s UNESCO World Heritage sites including La Sagrada Familia, Batllo House and the unconventional Casa Mila building with a guided visit to Parc Güell. Gather this evening for a farewell dinner celebrating the end of an unforgettable trip to Spain!
Barcelona - Tour Ends
You return home with vivid memories of a spectacularly beautiful land with an old, rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Madrid is the capital and the largest city in Spain. Madrid sits on the Manzanares River, just northeast of the center of the Iberian Peninsula. It is estimated that the origins of Madrid can be traced back to the 2nd century B.C. Madrid is home to the head of the Spanish government, the Spanish royal family and the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization. Madrid’s influence on politics, education, entertainment, fashion and culture make it one of the world’s major global cities.
The Prado Museum
Stroll the halls and galleries inside the world-famous Prado Museum. On a guided tour, step back in time as you view its priceless collection of paintings and sculptures. Open since 1819, the Prado houses the works of legendary European artists from the 15th century through the early 19th century. Stand before the works of Velázquez and Goya, Spain’s greatest painters. Through their genius, gain insight into the rich culture surrounding you. Notable in the museum’s collection is Velázquez’s Las Meninas, one of the most important and studied paintings in the western tradition. Goya’s groundbreaking The Third of May 1808 also calls the Prado home.
Toledo is a municipality located in central Spain, about 43 miles south of Madrid and is the capital of the Toledo province. The history of Toledo dates back to the Roman occupation circa 192 B.C. The old city of Toledo is located on a mountain surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River, and medieval walls on the fourth side. From the top of the mountain it features a 150 degree view of the rest of the city.
Córdoba is located in Andalucía, southern Spain, and is the capital of the province of Córdoba. This city has an interesting history full of many diverse cultures and was the capital of a Roman province, the capital of an Arab State and a form of an Islamic government. It has the second largest old town in Europe, featuring Roman architecture, including a Roman bridge, as well as several Islamic and Jewish mosques.
Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Seville is the top destination in the Andalusia region for travelers. Approximately 2,200 years old, the early origins of the city date back to the year 712. It is situated on the Guadalquivir River which splits the city into two halves. Seville is famous for being the birthplace of the Flamenco dance. It is also known for its culture, monuments, traditions and artistic heritage.
Choice on Tour
Set out on a walking tour of historic Valencia or explore the Lladro City of Porcelain.
The heartbeat of Spain can be found in the houses of flamenco artists. A traditional flamenco show can be found in many of the small towns and cities scattered through the southern region of Spain, Andalusia. Flamenco is a style of dance encompassing the rhythm of lifestyle, personality and beauty of Spaniards. There is eminent beauty in every aspect of a Flamenco show from Andalusian décor, castanets, flamenco attire, polka dots, and the unforgettable strumming of the Spanish guitar. Flamenco is a type of Spanish folk music and dance originating in the region of Andalucía in southern Spain. It includes, singing, dancing, guitar playing and handclaps.
Granada is the capital of the province of Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain and sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at the intersection of four rivers. This city is only an hour from the Mediterranean Coast. Granada has been continuously inhabited by people for the past 2500 years, starting under Ancient Roman rule and features rich cultural elements, historic architecture, beautiful beaches and the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. The first palace on the site was built in the 11th century and in the 12th and 13th century a fortress-complex palace was built. It is a vast complex, comprised of many structures. The Alhambra is part fortress, part palace, part garden and part government city. Many visitors come to Grenada specifically just to visit and see the Alhambra.
Valencia is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia, Spain. It is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. The city is located on the banks of the Turia River on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 B.C. Its historic center is one of the largest in Spain at 169 hectares in size. The region of Spain, specifically Valencia, is known for its paella: a rice dish native to the country of Spain.
Paella is a type of rice dish originating in the Valencian region on the east coast of Spain. The dish is widely regarded as Spain’s national dish, however most Spaniards consider it to be the regional dish of Valencia. Valencian paella is considered to be the original recipe, even though there are several different kinds of paella. The Valencian dish is comprised of white rice, green vegetables, meat, land snails, beans and seasoning.
Barcelona is an enchanting seaside city with boundless culture, fabled architecture and a world-class drinking and dining scene. Barcelona's architectural treasures span 2,000-plus years. Towering temple columns, ancient city walls and subterranean stone corridors provide a window into Roman-era Barcino. Fast forward a thousand years to the Middle Ages by taking a stroll through the shadowy lanes of the Gothic quarter, past tranquil plazas and soaring 14th-century cathedrals. In other parts of town bloom the sculptural masterpieces of Modernisme, a mix of ingenious and whimsical creations by Gaudí and his Catalan architectural contemporaries for which this city is so well known. Barcelona has also long-inspired artists, including the likes of Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, whose works are in bold display in the city's myriad museums.
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia, the Holy Family, is a church of the people, built by the people, with the money of the people. While it is not the cathedral of Barcelona, it is widely known due to its unique architecture and phenomenal design initiated by architect Antoni Gaudí. Work on the exploratory church began in 1882 and continue to this day, but with modern technology and the rising number of visitors and donations, the church’s completion date has rapidly become closer. The facades of the church are breathtaking in their intricate and artistic details all of which were inspired by Gaudí. The church is divided into parts including the apse, chapels, cloister, crossing and transepts, crypt, glory façade, the nativity façade, the passion façade, the main nave and the sacristies.
Parc Guell is a park located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona, Spain. It is comprised of gardens and other architectural elements. The park was designed between 1900 and 1914, and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. Designed by famous architect Antoni Gaudí, Parc Guell is famous for its intricate stone structures, fascinating buildings and stunning tiling. The focal point of the park in the main terrace, which overlooks the city. This terrace features a long bench in the form of a sea serpent, and the wall of the back of the bench is made up of intricate tile work.