Day 1: Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (Please ask about our great deals).Day 2: Welcome to Madrid.
Your airport transfer departs Madrid airport for your hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:30 or 16:00. The rest of the day is at leisure to begin to get to know this stylish city. At 18:00, join your Travel Director for your Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant and enjoy the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers over a delightful evening of good food and wine.(Dinner with Wine)Day 3: Toledo and on to Granada.
Venture south to meet a master craftsperson in a Damascene workshop for a personal insight into this ancient craft handed down by the Moors centuries ago. Continue to the fascinating city of Toledo, situated high above the River Tagus. This was Spain's capital during the golden era, where Arab, Jewish and Christian cultures flourished side-by-side through the Middle Ages. Walk within the city walls, through the narrow cobbled streets, led by your Local Expert. Visit the Church of Santo TomÃ©, housing El Greco's famous painting, 'The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.' Your journey continues to Granada.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 4: The Alhambra Palace and Seville.
'There is no pain in life so cruel as to be blind in Granada', cries the inscription on the walls of the Alhambra. Bathed in morning light, the Alhambra Palace awaits - a fantasy of arabesque gardens, fountains and stone cut like lace. Explore with your Local Expert and also visit the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer residence. Take a moment to relax in the sunshine as you enjoy the fine views over the town and its three verdant hills. Embark on a scenic drive to Seville where a Local Expert will guide you through the maze of narrow lanes and shady squares of the Santa Cruz Quarter. Emerge by the huge walls of the fabulous Alcazar to see La Giralda, the former minaret of the Great Mosque, but now the cathedral bell tower. Enter the immense 15th century cathedral, the final resting place of Christopher Columbus and see his tomb enriched with the spoils of the New World. During a highlight evening enjoy the flavours of AndalucÃa and share the passion of Spain's most fiery region as you experience a flamenco show.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 5: Free Time in Seville.
(Relaxed Start) This is a free day, so take your time to bask in the city's romantic aura and explore as you wish. You may like to join an Optional Experience to Cordoba and visit the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th century mosque with a Christian cathedral built inside it.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 6: The Alentejo to Lisbon.
(Relaxed Start) Pass through the oak forests where black Iberian pigs are bred for the famous Spanish hams. Stop in Jabugo for an insight into the history and curing process of JamÃ³n IbÃ©rico. The subtle differences will be revealed with a delicious tasting. Then venture across the wide Alentejo Plateau to Lisbon.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 7: Lisbon and the Age of the Discoveries.
During your stay, a guided orientation of the city with your Local Expert takes you along the avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco, the finest square in the city. Visit the BelÃ©m Quarter from where sailing ships one set forth to discover unknown lands. See the traditional patisserie that has managed to hold on to the secret recipe of Portugal's finest pastry for almost 200 years and enjoy a taste of the famous PastÃ©is de BelÃ©m. View the Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient BelÃ©m Tower. This fortress was originally set in the middle of the river, but is now left high and dry on the riverbank. Visit the 500-year-old JerÃ³nimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps join an Optional Experience to the beautiful Portuguese Riviera?(Buffet Breakfast)Day 8: Holy FÃ¡tima and Salamanca.
Travel into the green hills north of Lisbon to visit FÃ¡tima, the most celebrated place of pilgrimage in Portugal. Visit the Basilica commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917. Cross the border, returning to Spain and continue to Salamanca, famous for its golden stone buildings and the handsome arcades of the Plaza Mayor. Across the River Tormes, see the Puente Romano with 15 of its 26 arches dating from the time of the ancient Romans.(Buffet Breakfast)Day 9: Ãvila and on to Madrid.
Cross the rock-strewn hills of the Castile, to arrive at Ãvila. Walk within the ancient city that is still entirely enclosed within 11th century walls, a unique occurrence in Europe. Return to Madrid for time at leisure. At a local restaurant, join your Travel Director and newfound friends for a a lively Celebration Dinner.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)Day 10: Madrid of the Bourbons
Your Local Expert will guide you along the noble avenues past the Cibeles Fountain and down the Gran VÃa to the monument to Cervantes in the Plaza de EspaÃ±a. Cross the Puerta del Sol and continue to the Prado Museum. Your visit will be a highlight of your escorted journey. Discover countless works by VelÃ¡zquez, Goya, Titian, Botticelli, Rubens and others as you are guided by a local art historian. The afternoon is free for you to relax at a cafe or shop in the boutiques.(Buffet Breakfast)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 continues 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. Admire the incredible altarpiece, one of the finest in Europe. 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
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 with 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.
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 stroll the promenade of the famous La Concha bay or enjoy the boutiques of the Old Town?(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.
Wake up ready to embrace the city's artistic heritage. Join a Local Expert in the heart of the Barri Gotic, the Gothic Quarter, and walk through the Roman Gate to see its narrow lanes and old squares. You are driven along the Passeig de GrÃ cia, adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district to behold GaudÃ's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada FamÃlia. As you venture inside, look above to see its giant, tree-like pillars and spectacular vaulting. Admire the wonderful rainbow of the incredible stained-glass windows. With the afternoon at leisure, you are free to relax or continue your exploration on your own. 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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