ART OF SPAIN: MADRID, BILBAO, BARCELONA

  • Duration: 11 NIGHTS/12 DAYS
  • Countries Visited:Spain
  • Highlights:Madrid, Toledo, Bilbao, Barcelona, Figueras
  • Tour Inclusions:
    • Airfare NYC/Madrid x Barcelona/ NYC
    • Flight Bilboa/ Barcelona
    • Accommodations in fine four and five star hotels
    • Continental breakfast daily
    • Lunch and dinner as indicated in the itinerary
    • Sightseeing and visits as shown
    • Services of a professional Tour Escort
    • Transportation by a private deluxe coach
    • Porterage for one suitcase per person
    • Epicurean Tours travel portfolio

A visit to Spain can have many highlights, food, wine, culture, religion, but there is always art, as it permeates every aspect of Spanish life. It is in its many Cathedrals, Romanesque Churches, Renaissance Palaces, Modernist Buildings and painting. Spain has produced many great artists including Velazquez, Goya, El Greco, Murillo, Picasso, Dali, Miro, Gaudi Е etc). Here is art lover’s paradise as it encompasses the traditional old masterpieces of both painting and architecture to new contemporary styles crowned by Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

DAY 1: Depart from USA

Depart from USA on an overnight flight to Madrid.

DAY 2: MADRID

Arrival in Madrid, where your host welcomes you and assists you with settling into the hotel. Afternoon is at leisure to become acclimated to a new time zone and stroll the wide boulevards of the beautiful city. Overnight Madrid. (D)

DAY 3: MADRID

The Spanish capital is a mecca for cosmopolitans and art lovers with its unparalleled nightlife, shopping, historic attractions, and scores of world-famous museums. The old quarter, known as the Madrid of the Austrias, features winding streets, medieval plazas, churches, and small palaces, the Golden Triangle is composed by three of the best museums in the world, operas and zarzuelas (comic operas) can be attended at the remodeled Royal Theater, nightclubs, art galleries, and eclectic restaurants fill the commercial districts. The tour of the city focuses on art as we visit the three most important museums in Spain’s capital: El Prado, Museum Thyssen Bornemisz, the largest private collection in the world and the Reina Sofia Modern Art Museum, home of PicassoТ Guernica. Overnight Madrid. (B)

DAY 4: MADRID – TOLEDO

The Royal Palace is our morning’s first destination, followed by lunch at a local restaurant and an excursion to Toledo, the city of El Greco. Here we see the impressive Cathedral, the well preserved Jewish synagogue and Santo Tome Church containing El Greco’s masterpiece- The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Overnight Madrid. (B.L.)

DAY 5: MADRID

Day at leisure to explore Madrid at your own pace. We suggest you browse through the flea market (El Rastro) held only on Sundays, and sip some coffee and people watch in the Plaza Mayor. Or you may as well take a side trip to the historic cities of Avila, Segovia, or the majestic El Escorial Monastery and Valley of the Fallen. Tonight you may wish to view a Flamenco Show. Overnight Madrid. (B)

DAY 6: MADRID- BILBAO

We drive north to the passionate Basque country, stopping in Burgos to see the most magnificent cathedral in the country and the burial place of Spanish Kings and Queen. The on to Bilbao, the fourth largest city in Spain, located on the shores of the Cantabrian Sea and boasting the most important commercial and fishing harbor on the northern coast. Tonight we see Santiago Calatrav’s dramatic new pedestrian bridge Zubizuro over the Nervion River. Overnight Bilbao. (B.D.)

DAY 7: BILBAO

The day is dedicated to visiting the old quarter, the Norman Foster metro and the acclaimed Guggenheim Museum, which exhibits works by modern artists. Not to be missed it the Museum of Fine Arts which houses works by El Greco, Ribera and Goya. At night be sure to dine on typical dishes in the old quarter – don’t forget that Basque cuisine is among the top in the world. Overnight Bilbao. (B.D.)

DAY 8: BILBAO-BARCELONA

Depart for the Catalan Capital of Barcelona by flight. The treasure of Catalunya, an engaging mix of tradition and avant-garde: Traces from Roman times, pedestrian walks, and numerous Gothic buildings create a special medieval atmosphere in the old quarter. There is Las Ramblas, there is the Gothic Quarter and everywhere there is Gaudi. We explore it all, including a visit to Park Guell, and the exhibition Gaudi at Parc Geull: Architecture and Nature, as well as Casa Museu Gaudi, the architects home. Then we visit the updated “Espai Gaudi” and Casa Mila and which so thoroughly defies characterization, that it is hard to image how anyone could even conceive of it. On to Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s most elegant boulevard, which along with the surrounding streets became the proving ground for modernisme architects. This area called the Eixample, one of Europe’s architectural and residential showcases. At night trendy shops, restaurants, and dance clubs pulse until the wee hours in the harbor area of Port Vell and along Las Rambalas. Overnight Barcelona. (B.)

DAY 9: BARCELONA

One of the world’s most extraordinary churches and reason enough to come to Barcelona, is the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia. The exhibition Gaudi and his Workshop are dedicated to the years he devoted to building of the church. We then visit other famous Gaudi structures including the Casa Vicens, the Villa Bellesguard, the convent school of the Tersianas, the Passeig de Gracia and more. As 2002 marks 150th anniversary since the birth of Antoni Gaudi, many special exhibits are being scheduled including works by Miro and Dali which celebrate the genious of great eccentric architect. You may wish to visit one of the exhibit or see a “Gaudi,” the play. Overnight Barcelona. (B.)

DAY 10: BARCELONA

Day at leisure to experience Barcelona at your own pace. We suggest you visit Las Ramblas, a historic pedestrian area filled with kiosks selling books and erotic comics, flower stalls, bird sellers, a covered produce market, and impromptu entertainers. You may also visit the Picasso Museum, the Pueblo Espanol, where all the regions of Spain are displayed with their typical constructions, costumes and cuisine, or the Modern Art Museum and the Joan Miro Museum. A visit to Barcelona is not complete without seeing the Sardanas, a cultural dance event where Barcelonians dance in the main square to medieval Catalonian instruments. Overnight Barcelona. (B.D.)

DAY 11: FIGUERAS

Today we depart for elegant resort area of Costa Brava and Figueras, the home of DaliТs house and spectacular museum. Lunch is included at the famous Parador de Aguavlaba with a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea. Tonight we have a dinner at Los Caracoles, one of the best seafood restaurants in Barcelona. Overnight Barcelona. (B.D.)

DAY 12: RETURN TO USA (B)

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