Experience Spains colorful pageant of art, history and culture. Set against a backdrop that spans sunny Mediterranean shores and grand mountain ranges, this stunning destination is dotted with white pueblos and groves of oranges and olives. Explore the priceless treasures of the Royal Palace, one of Europes largest palaces. Visit the exotic and expansive Alhambra palace, resplendent with Moorish regal flair. See the Cathedral of Seville, the largest gothic cathedral in the world. Enjoy reserved seating at a flamenco show and feel the passion of this famous dance. Explore Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba and Toledo. Become part of an authentic paella experience, and learn how this rice dish is made and where it originated. Choose between a walking tour featuring Valencias historic treasures or exploring Valencias City of Arts & Sciences followed by learning how precious Lladro figurines are made. View Antonio Gaudis architectural masterpieces, including La Sagrada Familia. Spain beckons.
Day 1: Overnight Flight
Day 2: Madrid, Spain – Tour Begins
Welcome to Madrid, Spains lively capital and largest city. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner.
Day 3: Madrid – Royal Palace – Toledo – Madrid
During a locally guided tour of Madrids historic center, see the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, where events have been held since the 17th century. An expert-led tour of the monumental 18th-century Royal Palace* reveals lavish halls, banquet rooms, the throne room, royal armory and the impressive courtyard. This afternoon travel to Toledo, a UNESCO site and the capital of medieval Spain until 1560. A comprehensive tour highlights the magnificent Gothic cathedral and the 13th-century synagogue, a testament to Toledos Jewish heritage. Also stop in the Church of Santo Tome to view El Grecos masterpiece painting, The Burial of Count Orgaz.
Day 4: Madrid – Cordoba – Seville
Ease your way into the local culture as your Tour Manager teaches you a few key phrases of the native language. Then, travel to the extraordinary Moorish city of Cordoba. 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 citys 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 Spains cultural capital.
Day 5: Seville
Today you will see Columbus tomb, the ornate cathedral (UNESCO), and the Giralda Bell Tower. Enjoy a walking tour of the quaint old Santa Cruz Quarter with its bright flowers, white-washed buildings and winding streets; then continue to Plaza de Espaa and the beautiful Maria Luisa Park, one of the loveliest in all of Europe. This evening, enjoy an authentic flamenco show (UNESCO) featuring Seville’s top performers.
Day 6: 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. Join a local expert for a tour of the world-famous Alhambra, the immense hilltop palace that is a UNESCO site. Also tour the Generalife, meaning garden of the architect, where the grounds are beautifully designed with waterfalls, courtyards and smaller secret gardens.
Day 7: Granada – Valencia
Today you 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.
Day 8: Valencia – Paella Experience – Valencia
Its your choice today! You may take a walking tour of historic Valencia to see the ornate 14th-century Serranos Tower and imposing 15th-century Quart Tower; then arrive at the bustling central market, one of the largest in Europe, where youll shop side by side with the locals before concluding your tour at the impressive 13th-century Gothic cathedral. Or, perhaps you would prefer to explore the impressive City of Arts & Science, an ultramodern, multi-faceted educational institution, followed by a tour of the Lladro City of Porcelain to learn about the history and creative process of the world-famous, handmade Lladro figurines.** Later, gather together and travel to the area where paella cuisine originated. A paella experience features a boat ride on the canals surrounding rice field plantations; a visit to a traditional fishermans home known as a barraca; a paella-making demonstration and an authentic paella lunch. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 9: Valencia – Barcelona
Travel to Barcelona, one of Europes most beautiful and exciting cities. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Barcelonas fascinating boulevards including the famous Las Ramblas, dotted with colorful bird and flower stalls.
Day 10: Barcelona
Today, get an in-depth look at vibrant and lively Barcelona. Your locally guided tour showcases the Columbus Monument and the Parc de Montjuic, plus Antoni Gaudis UNESCO World Heritage sites including La Sagrada Familia, Parc Gell, Batllo House and the unconventional Casa Mila building. Gather this evening for a farewell dinner celebrating the end of an unforgettable trip to Spain!
Day 11: Barcelona – Tour Ends
You return home with vivid memories of a spectacularly beautiful land with an old, rich and diverse cultural heritage.