Start your trip in Madrid, Spain’s capital, where a guided sightseeing tour includes the famous Prado Museum. Then travel north into beautiful Castile via Segovia and Burgos to overnight in Vitoria. In Bilbao, the Basque country, a visit is included to the famous Guggenheim Museum.
Next, visit San Sebastian on the way to Pamplona, “the City of Bulls,” at the foot of the Pyrenees. In Saragossa, stop on Plaza del Pilar, one of Spain’s grandest squares. Next stop is Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and the host of the 1993 Olympic Games.
Your tour of Barcelona includes the Columbus Monument and a visit to Cathedral of Santa Eulalia. Also enjoy guided sightseeing tours in Valencia, Granada, Gibraltar, Seville, and Toledo. Spend an entire day at leisure in Torremolinos at the Costa del Sol. Your trip ends in Madrid—a perfect conclusion to this spectacular Spain vacation.
Day 1 -- Board your overnight transatlantic flight.
(B) - Breakfast, (D) - Dinner
Day 2 -- Arrival in Madrid The Plaza de Toros in Madrid , Spain Time to rest or to join the locals in El Retiro Park. At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and have a welcome dinner at your hotel. (D)
Day 3 -- Madrid The capital since 1561, Madrid today is a strikingly modern city, the showcase of a country resolutely turned towards the future. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide takes you to the Puerta del Sol, Plaza de España with its monument to Cervantes, the Parliament, Cibeles Fountain View the stunning Cibeles Fountain in Madrid , elegant Calle Alcala, and Paseo de Castellana.
Then the highlight: a visit to the palatial PRADO MUSEUM The Prado Museum features renowned collections of European art dating from the Romanesque through the Impressionistic era with its priceless art treasures. The afternoon is at leisure. An optional excursion to El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen can be arranged. (B)
Day 4 -- Madrid–Segovia–Burgos–Vitoria Head into beautiful Castile, “the province of the castles.” Cross the rugged Sierra de Guadarrama on the way to Segovia, famous for its Alcazar and the 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct. In Burgos, see the magnificent limestone Cathedral of Santa Maria, where the legendary El Cid is buried. Afternoon arrival in Vitoria with time for a stroll through this ancient Basque city’s delightful historic center. (B,D)
Day 5 -- Vitoria–Bilbao–San Sebastian–Pamplona This morning, travel to Bilbao, the great port city of the Basque region for a guided visit to the GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, an amazing feat of construction created by North American architect Frank O. Gehry. Stop in lovely San Sebastian, the “Pearl of the Cantabrian Coast,” before arriving in Pamplona at the foot of the Pyrenees. (B,D)
Day 6 -- Pamplona–Saragossa–Barcelona The gorgeous shores of Barcelona Enjoy vistas of Rioja wine country on the way to Saragossa. Stop on PLAZA DEL PILAR Plaza Del Pilar in Zaragoza , one of Spain’s grandest squares. Free time to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, where, according to legends, the Virgin appeared to St. James. Then, on to Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and the host of the Olympic Games in 1992. (B,D)
Day 7 -- Barcelona - Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the COLUMBUS MONUMENT, elegant tree-lined Ramblas and Plaza de Cataluna, Paseo de Gracia, the Church of the Holy Family, a panoramic view of the city and harbor from Montjuïc Hill, and a visit to the CATHEDRAL OF SANTA EULALIA. Afternoon at leisure. An optional excursion to Montserrat can be arranged. Why not join an optional dinner at a typical Catalonian restaurant? (B)
Day 8 -- Barcelona–Valencia Valencia Along the coast to Valencia, once a royal capital. Valencia’s Roman, Moorish, and Spanish history comes alive when your Local Guide takes you on an orientation drive including the Town Hall, La Lonja, the bull ring, the massive gateway towers of Serranos and Quart, and the new Arts and Science Complex designed by famous Valencian architect Calatrava. End your tour in the centre at La Seo Cathedral. (B,D)
Day 9 -- Valencia–Granada West towards the mountains. Pass troglodyte cave dwellings hollowed out of the soft tufa stone near Guadix and Purullena, and cross Mora Pass on your way to the splendors of Granada. (B,D)
Day 10 -- Granada–Torremolinos Sightseeing with a Local Guide features Granada’s main attraction, the ALHAMBRA The Alhambra features Islamic architecture and beautifully detailed gardens COMPLEX, a fantasy of “lace in stone” surrounded by arabesque gardens and fountains. Also amble through the exotic WATER GARDENS OF THE GENERALIFE. Then, a short drive down to your hotel at the Costa del Sol. Tonight, why not sample the seafood restaurants for which this resort is famous? (B)
Day 11 -- At Leisure in Torremolinos A whole day at leisure at your beachfront hotel. In the late afternoon, you may wish to join an optional excursion for a pleasant drive and meal at a charming Pueblo Blanco overlooking the Mediterranean coast. (B)
Day 12 -- Torremolinos–Gibraltar–Seville Explore the beautiful city of Seville, the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of Southern Spain Drive to the ROCK OF GIBRALTAR Rock of Gibraltar , in British hands since 1704. Hear about its turbulent history from your Local Guide, see the Moorish Castle, and visit ST. MICHAEL’S CAVES and the colony of Barbary apes. Then, on through the sunny sherry wine region on the Costa de la Luz to vibrant, festive Seville. (B,D)
Day 13 -- Seville Listen to your Local Guide’s account of the Andalusian city’s role in Roman times, its conquest by the Moors in 712 AD, and its contribution to the discovery of the New World. Admire MARIA LUISA PARK.
Drive to the Plaza de España, the Gold Tower on the Guadalquivir River, and the university that used to be the tobacco factory of Carmen fame. Visit the CATHEDRAL with Columbus’ tomb and stroll through the narrow lanes of the charming SANTA CRUZ QUARTER. The rest of the day is at leisure. For a truly Andalusian night out, reserve a seat at our optional flamenco show. (B)
Day 14 -- Seville–Toledo–Madrid Through the arid landscapes of Don Quixote’s La Mancha to Toledo, spectacularly situated on a granite hill surrounded by a loop of the Tagus River.
A Local Guide takes you to the Moorish bridge, an early SYNAGOGUE, the 13th-century gothic CATHEDRAL, and the CHURCH OF SANTO TOMÉ with one of El Greco’s most famous paintings. Time to visit a DAMASCENE STEEL WORKSHOP. Tonight, why not join an optional dinner outing to celebrate the success of your Spanish vacation? (B)
Day 15 -- Your homebound flight arrives the same day. (B)
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