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Ditch your siesta and embrace the spirit of Spain – the vibrant cityscapes of Madrid, Seville and Barcelona, running of the bulls in Pamplona, the smell of orange zest en route to Valencia yours to discover as you indulge in Spain’s intense flavours and explore the Roman and Moorish influences that have shaped its distinct art, architecture and culture.
Welcome to the Spanish capital, Madrid. Relax after check-in or go for a walk through the bustling streets before meeting up with your fellow travellers and Travel Director. Enjoy an evening drive to take in some of the city’s main sights followed by a Welcome Reception. (WR)
Journey over the Guadarrama Mountains to Burgos. Visit El Cid’s tomb in the vast Gothic cathedral. Cross the Ebro River and the Cantabrian Cordillera mountains to the coast. Arrive later in Santander, capital of the Cantabrian region, where you dine tonight at your hotel. (BB, DW)
This morning in Bilbao view the Guggenheim Museum, a striking building by US architect Frank Gehry which houses a vast array of modern art. Continue along the coast to San Sebastian and see the beautiful Bahia de la Concha beach during your orientation drive. In the city of Pamplona, famous for the Running of the Bulls, walk the ancient streets before enjoying dinner at your hotel this evening. (BB, DW)
Return to the Ebro Valley and view the Cathedral of El Pilar and the Cathedral La Seo in Zaragoza. Rising gently from the sea, Barcelona is Spain’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan city. Your home for the next two nights, this fascinating metropolis dates back to Roman times and boasts a rich artistic and architectural heritage. Enjoy panoramic views across the city from Montjüic before arriving at your hotel. (BB)
This morning see Gaudi’s architecture at the inspiring Sagrada Familia. Walk the Ramblas and visit Plaça Catalunya. View the monument to Christopher Columbus during your guided sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist. Consider joining an Optional Experience to Montserrat to see the shrine of the Black Madonna – affectionately known in Catalonia as ‘La Moreneta’. (BB)
Drive past orange and almond orchards to Peñiscola and see the ancient castle used in the film ‘El Cid’. Continue through the ‘huertas’ to sunny Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain. Here your orientation includes the town hall, the Bull Ring, the Towers of Serrano and Quart, and the cathedral. Stop to view the City of Arts and Sciences which is a large-scale urban recreation centre for culture and science and designed by Santiago Calatrava. This complex is also featured in the George Clooney movie ‘Tomorrowland’. (BB)
Travel via the jagged Mora Pass to the city of Granada. Here your Local Specialist takes you on a sightseeing tour of the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Alhambra Palace with wonderful views across the town and surrounding hills. Admire extraordinary Moorish architecture and the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer residence. Later check in to your hotel where you dine tonight. (BB, DW)
This morning enjoy a leisurely start or consider taking an Optional Experience to explore the delightful Moorish quarter of the city of Granada called Albaycin and The Royal Chapel. Later travel to the Costa del Sol where you can relax for the next two nights. Spend the balance of the day as you wish; take a stroll along the beachside promenade, relax at one of the nearby beach cafes or perhaps visit the white washed village of Mijas. (BB)
Today relax on the Sunshine Coast. This is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain but was once a series of quiet fishing villages. Shop for souvenirs in the old town of Torremolinos, spend time relaxing on the beach or maybe consider an Optional Experience visit to the bustling city of Malaga. (BB)
A scenic drive takes you past the millionaire’s resort of Marbella and on to La Linea. Cross to the Rock of Gibraltar, for free time to explore. Consider joining an Optional Experience to St. Michael’s Cave to see the Barbary Macaques (Rock Apes). This afternoon continue through the Andalusian countryside past Jerez – famous for sherry production – to Seville. Tonight you might like to experience a fiery flamenco show. (BB)
Travel through Seville’s tree-lined streets on a sightseeing tour with your Local Specialist. Visit Seville Cathedral and see the Giralda Tower, a former minaret converted to a bell tower. Visit the tomb of Christopher Columbus in the cathedral. See the tiled fountains, pavilions and lush palms in the Maria Luisa Park, renowned for its landscape design and walk through the imposing Plaza de España. Your guided tour finishes with a walk through the former Jewish quarter. Tonight join your companions for a delicious Be My Guest dinner at an olive oil mill where you learn how oil is produced from the 6,000 olive trees. (BB, BG)
In Córdoba meet your Local Specialist and visit of the Mosque of the Caliphs, a jewel of Hispano-Islamic art featuring striking arches and Byzantine mosaics. Visit the remains of the 14th century mudejar-style synagogue in the old Jewish neighbourhood. Dine tonight at your hotel. (BB, DW)
Your Local Specialist takes you on a walking tour of Toledo. Visit the Church of Santo Tomé, home to one of El Greco’s most famous paintings – The Burial of Count Orgaz. Visit the synagogue during your guided walk through the narrow streets. Arrive later in Madrid. (BB)
Meet your Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of Madrid. See Plaza España, Gran Via, Puerta Del Sol and the Cibeles Fountain before your visit of the world-famous Prado Museum. The museum houses the largest collection of European art in the world, including masterpieces by Velazquez. Later enjoy free time to explore the city at leisure. This evening join your Travel Director and fellow travellers at a Farewell Dinner. (BB, FD)
Say ‘adios’ to your travelling companions at the end of a memorable Spanish holiday. Transfers are available. Conditions apply. (BB)
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