Day 1: Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).Day 2: Welcome to Barcelona.
Airport transfers depart from Barcelona airport for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:00. Join your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 18:00 for your Welcome Dinner in a local restaurant.(Dinner with Wine)Day 3: Barcelona, the City of Gaudi.
(Relaxed Start) With your Local Expert, explore the narrow lanes and old squares behind the cathedral in the Barri Gotic, Gothic Quarter. See the lively Las Ramblas as you head along the Passeig de GrÃ cia, adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and some of the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district for a visit inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada FamÃlia, to see the central nave with its giant, tree-like pillars, spectacular vaulting and the beautiful rainbows flooding in through the intricate stained-glass windows. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 4: Along the Coast to Valencia.
Follow the sunny Costa Dorada, past the rice fields of the Ebro Delta to stop by PeÃ±Ãscola and see the sea-lapped castle, used in the film 'El Cid'. Pass through the famous orange groves to Valencia, the City of Arts and Sciences. Pass the Old City and see the city's ancient gates, Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart to reach your hotel. Valencia is home to one of the world's greatest dishes, paella. Meet the chef of a local family-run restaurant in the heart of the Old City and learn the traditional recipe during a Cooking Demonstration, before savouring the delicious flavours of this classic dish, washed down with a glass of sangria, during your Highlight Dinner.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 5: Follow the Sierra Nevada to Granada.
Travel along the Costa Blanca, passing the castle at Lorca and troglodyte dwellings hollowed out of the soft rock near Guadix. Enjoy views of the Sierra Nevada from the distance as you reach glorious Granada. This historical city was a Moorish Kingdom for almost 781 years and was the last stronghold to fall to the Catholic Monarchs of Spain in 1492.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 6: Explore the Alhambra and a scenic drive to Seville.
Overlooking Granada stands one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built, the Alhambra. Led by your Local Expert, explore this exquisite palace built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century - a fantasy of arabesque gardens, fountains and stone cut like lace. Stroll through the elegant exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the Royal summer residence. Continue your travels to Seville past gleaming white villages and olive groves that stretch as far as the eye can see. This stunning capital of AndalucÃa is one of Spain's most charming highlights and with the afternoon at your leisure, you are free to explore this delightful city as you wish.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 7: Seville, the City of Carmen.
Seville has a distinctive character and presence that is best revealed by a Local Expert. During your stay, visit the Plaza de EspaÃ±a in Maria Luisa Park. Then stroll through the fashionable Santa Cruz Quarter with its attractive wrought-iron balconies laden with flowers. Emerge by the well-preserved Alcazar, a Moorish fantasy in stone, set in richly scented gardens. Visit the massive Seville Cathedral, burial place of Christopher Columbus and enriched with the spoils of the New World. The energetic may wish to climb the Giralda Tower, the former minaret of the Great Mosque, to enjoy panoramic views over the city. In the evening, enjoy dinner with wine and be entertained as you share the passion of Spain's most fiery region during a flamenco show.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 8: Cordoba and on to Madrid.
Set off early along the Guadalquivir Valley, passing villages and towns studded with Moorish towers and fortresses. Stop in the perfectly preserved Moorish city of Cordoba and see the famous 2,000-year-old Roman Bridge. Meet a local historian and visit to the magnificent Mezquita, a beautiful 8th century mosque with a Christian cathedral built inside it. Make the most of your time at leisure and stroll the narrow streets of the Old Jewish Quarter. Follow in the footsteps of Don Quixote as you travel through the Mancha and on to the capital - Madrid.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 9: Madrid of the Bourbons.
(Relaxed Start) Join your Local Expert for sightseeing along the noble avenues. See the monument to Cervantes in the Plaza de EspaÃ±a. Continue past the Cibeles Fountain and the Parliament to cross the Puerta del Sol. Visit the Prado Museum, a magnificent palace housing works by Botticelli, VelÃ¡zquez, Goya, Titian, Rubens and others. The afternoon is at your leisure to relax at a cafe, shop in the trendy boutiques or perhaps enjoy an Optional Experience to beautiful Toledo? In the evening, join your Travel Director and newfound friends at a local restaurant in the heart of the city. Toast to your adventures as you enjoy a delicious Celebration Dinner of regional favourites, served with wine.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 10: Free Time in Madrid
(Relaxed Start) Your last day in Madrid is completely at your leisure for shopping or exploring at your own pace.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 11: Over the Guadarrama Mountains to Santiago.
Journey through the Guadarrama Mountains to the infinite horizons of Old Castile. Some of Spain's most fashionable white wines are produced in Rueda and this morning we have the opportunity to learn how they are made and sample the delights of the Verdejo grape. Your travel continue past the impressive Castillo de la Mota, conquered by Queen Isabella, and on to Santiago de Compostela, where the tomb of the Apostle St. James was miraculously discovered in the Middle Ages.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 12: Saintly Santiago de Compostela.
(Relaxed Start) Become acquainted with some of Europe's finest historical buildings during an orientation with your Local Expert. The monumental square, Praza do Obradoiro, is pure grandeur in granite. Look up from the steady trickle of present-day pilgrims to the cathedral facade to see an ensemble of soaring towers, arches and windows, festooned with architectural frills. Venture inside and once through the Gateway of Glory, you're privy to the same vision that has greeted pilgrims since the Middle Ages. The faithful may choose to pass behind the ornate high altar to touch the giant 13th century gilded effigy of St. James and follow in the steps of the pilgrims along The Way of St. James. Relax during your free time or explore the narrow streets and old squares of this city.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 13: Along the Costa Verde to Oviedo.
Pass through the ancient forests of Galicia and cross to the Green Coast of Asturias - one of Spain's most beautiful, named after the colour of the sea and the pine and eucalyptus trees that line the shore. Your route reveals glorious coastal vistas before turning inland to travel through old villages and deep valleys en route to Oviedo. A Local Expert will show you the 9th century churches built when the city was the capital of Christian Spain. Visit the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour in the stately square of Plaza Alfonso II. Venture inside to see the 9th century Crypt de Saint Leocadia in the lower chamber. A short drive brings you to the Asturian coast and the Bay of Biscay. Stop at the delightful city of GijÃ³n that has a history dating back 5,000 years. Meet a true local, Flor, who will invite you to join her for dinner. Hear about daily life in this up-and-coming seaside city as you enjoy a delicious meal, typical of the region, that Flor has freshly prepared from locally-sourced ingredients, accompanied by delicious local apple cider.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 14: Picturesque Santillana del Mar and on to Santander.
See the unique Roman bridge in Cangas de OnÃs as you head into the foothills of the Picos de Europa, a national park encompassing spectacular mountain and gorge scenery. Visit the holy cave of Covadonga, a shrine to Pelayo, who achieved the first Christian victory over the Moors in 722. Enjoy views of the Costa de Cantabria while travelling to Santillana del Mar, arguably the most beautiful village in Spain. Stroll through the rustic cobblestone streets, admiring stone houses decorated with carved, heraldic symbols and reach the delightful church square. Continue on to the sophisticated beach resort of Santander.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 15: Bilbao, Costa Vasca and San SebastiÃ¡n.
(Relaxed Start) In nearby Bilbao, admire the striking modern architecture of the Guggenheim Museum, one of the world's most spectacular buildings. Enjoy the views as you are driven along part of the Costa Vasca, dotted with small coastal fishing villages. Pause in Getaria, at the mouth of the Urola, to see El RatÃ³n, the mouse-shaped rock. Continue to San SebastiÃ¡n, pearl of the Cantabrian coast, set on its shell-shaped bay. Admire its beauty as you walk wiht your Local Expert through the Old Quarter. See the numbered balconies of the Plaza de la ConstituciÃ³n, a reminder of the days when bullfights were held in the square. Atop Monte Igueldo there are breathtaking views of the town and La Concha Bay.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 16: San SebastiÃ¡n, Pearl of the Cantabrian Coast.
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy a day at leisure to stroll along San SebastiÃ¡n's boardwalk and with the city harbour filled with fishing boats and pleasure crafts, you can enjoy a number of sporting activities on its large sandy beach. Perhaps you'll want to explore the nearby French village of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, also known as Little Paris? Maybe venture further into Northern Spain's Basque Country, which is said to be the best place to eat in the Western world?(Buffet Breakfast)Day 17: Pamplona and on to Barcelona.
Journey to the famed town of Pamplona, known for its Running of the Bulls festival. With time free for you to explore, perhaps take a stroll to the famous Estafeta Street or visit CafÃ© IruÃ±a, immortalised by Ernest Hemingway in the 'The Sun Also Rises.' Your travels continue to Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, a land that retains its own distinctive language, culture and traditions.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 18: Barcelona, City of Gaudi.
Enjoy a relaxed start and a day completely at leisure for last minute shopping or to perhaps revisit some of Gaudi's unusual creations? Walk along the leafy Las Ramblas or why not take an Optional Experience to the ancient Monastery of Montserrat, dedicated to the Black Madonna? In the evening, join your Travel Director and newfound friends at a local restaurant. Raise your glass and toast your travels during your delightful Celebration Dinner.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 19: Depart Madrid
After breakfast depart for Madrid. A stop is made at Madrid airport in the early evening, followed by the Madrid trip hotel.(Buffet Breakfast)
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