GET TO KNOW SPAIN

  • Duration:9 NIGHTS/10 DAYS
  • Countries Visited: Spain
  • Highlights: 10 days including Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Cordoba, and Granada

 

DAY 1: Depart USA

Board your overnight international flight to Spain.

DAY 2: MADRID

Welcome to Spain! Arrive in Madrid, Spain’s majestic capital and the perfect place to begin your Spanish explorations. Your hotel for three nights is city center and just steps from the Prado. Later this afternoon, have a guided tour of this superb museum housing one of the world’s richest art collections. See works by Goya, Velazquez and El Greco. Overnight Madrid. (D)

DAY 3: MADRID –EL ESCORIAL

Your local guide will introduce you to the city highlights this morning, including a tour of the Royal Palace. This afternoon provides ample free time to pursue your own interests. Perhaps you´ll want to visit lush Retiro Park. Madrid´s life courses through its plazas, marketplaces and medieval lanes of the Old Quarter as well as through the more modern grids. This afternoon we visit the monastery of El Escorial, located outside of Madrid, with its incredible works of art. The monastery commemorates the victory at the battle of San Quintín, on San Lorenzo’s day. Built of granite, the most notable features are the symmetry and balance that completely dominate the architectural composition and the austere decoration. Among other buildings, the following group is outstanding: the church, the library, the royal courtyard, the Friars’ Gardens and various rooms intended for accommodation and services, like the quarters for guests, the infantes, ministers, the Queen and servants. Overnight Madrid. (B.D.)

DAY 4: TOLEDO-ALMAGRO

Drive south through New Castile to Toledo, an incomparable open-air museum of Spanish history, architecture and great art. The drama and austerity of this mystical place is apparent from your first glimpse of the battlements rising up on a massive granite escarpment. The rock on which Toledo stands has been inhabited as far back as prehistoric times. The Moors furthered its reputation as a great center for learning and religion, which was continued by Christian leaders and the Renaissance patrons of the arts. On a guided walking tour, see the Cathedral and El Greco´s masterpiece, Burial of the Count of Orgaz. After lunch, drive south to the windmill area of Cervantes´ day, Don Quixote country. Almagro´s lovely Plaza Major is bordered by pillared and green-shuttered houses, which provide an unusual frame for the 16th-century town hall.  Overnight Almagro. (B.D.)

DAY 5: CORDOBA- SEVILLE

Today you are off to Cordoba, Moorish “Mecca of the West.” Visit La Mezquita, one of the world’s largest mosques, now a cathedral. See the old Jewish quarter’s famed 14th-century synagogue. Here in Cordoba, Columbus had his first meeting with Ferdinand and Isabella in 1486. Later, continue to Seville, a most enchanting city and the cultural center of Andalusia. Settle into your luxurious accommodations in one of Europe’s greatest hotels, the elegant Hotel Alfonso XIII. Enjoy a carriage ride through the romantic Calles and see a skillful performance of various regional flamencos, southern Spain’s signature dance. Overnight Seville. (B.D.)

DAY 6: SEVILLE-GRANADA

Take a walking tour of Seville this morning to see the dominating Giralda–the immense Gothic cathedral with its imposing tomb of Columbus, the Alcazar, and the 12th-century Torre del Oro. Continue to glamorous Marbella on the lovely Costa del Sol, playground of the rich and home of movie stars, rock musicians and the royal families of Europe. Overnight  Granada. (B.D.)

DAY 7: GRANADA

This morning, visit the Alhambra. Built by Moorish rulers, it is considered by some to be one of the world’s most beautiful palaces. Tour the palace and the adjoining terraced quarters of the Generalife. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Granada on your own. You might want to venture into the Albaicin, the old Arabic quarter located on the hill opposite the Alhambra. Cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses and pretty piazzas characterize this area. Everywhere you look is an attractive view, almost always involving glimpses of the Alhambra. Overnight Granada. (B.D.)

DAY 8: BARCELONA

We depart today for Barcelona,  Spain´s great seaport and the vibrant capital of Catalonia. Barcelona has the most remarkable ensemble of Art Nouveau architecture in Europe.  Overnight Barcelona. (B.D.)

DAY 9: BARCELONA

Start the day with a guided tour including the Gothic quarter dating from the 14th century, the magnificent Le Seu Cathedral, and the Church of the Sagrada Familia, Antonio Gaudi´s colossal unfinished Cathedral. Drive along the famous Ramblas, a lively pedestrian promenade lined with cafes, museums and antique shops. Then we visit the Picasso Museum. Picasso completed his academic training in Barcelona, where the city’s artistic effervescence set him on the path of Modernism. Overnight Barcelona. (B.D.)

DAY 10: RETURN TO USA-

This morning after breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight home. (B)

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