Day 1:ARRIVE IN MADRID, SPAIN.
Welcome to Madrid! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and travelling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
The capital since 1561, Madrid today is a strikingly modern city, the showcase of a country resolutely turned towards the future. Your Local Guide takes you to the Puerta del Sol, Plaza de Espana with its monument to Cervantes, the Parliament, Cibeles Fountain, elegant Calle Alcala, and Paseo de Castellana. Then, the highlight: a visit to the palatial PRADO MUSEUM with its priceless art treasures. To make the most of your stay, interesting optional excursions are available.
A scenic drive through the arid landscapes of Don Quixote’s La Mancha brings you to Cordoba, for an orientation walk through the winding, stone-paved streets of the medieval city. Then, continue to Seville, the vibrant, festive capital of Andalusia.
Meet your Local Guide, and hear about the 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, the Golden Tower on the Guadalquivir River, and the university that was once the tobacco factory of Carmen fame. Also, visit the magnificent CASA DE PILATOS, a mixture of Moorish and Roman architecture with a splendid collection of Roman sculptures. Then, stroll through the narrow lanes of the charming SANTA CRUZ QUARTER. Tonight, for a truly Andalusian night out, reserve a seat at our optional Flamenco show.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features Granada’s main attraction: the ALHAMBRA COMPLEX. The mighty yet graceful citadel was planned by 13th-century Moorish ruler Al Ahamar. A fantasy of “lace in stone” surrounded by arabesque gardens and fountains, it affords superb views of the Old Quarter and Sacromonte, a mountain occupied by Gypsy cave dwellers. Also, amble through the magnificent WATER GARDENS OF THE GENERALIFE, the royal summer residence.
Cross the Mora Pass to see troglodyte cave dwellings hollowed out of the soft tufa stone, near Purullena and Guadix, on your way to Valencia-a former royal capital. During your orientation drive, Valencia’s Roman, Moorish, and Spanish histories comes alive. Admire the magnificent La Seo Cathedral and enjoy time on your own to discover the Old Town.
Follow the coast to Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and host of the 1992 Olympic Games.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Columbus Monument, Plaza de Cataluna, and Paseo de Gracia. Visit Gaudi’s masterpiece, the spectacular SAGRADA FAMILIA BASILICA, followed by a panoramic view of the city and harbor from Montjuic Hill. This afternoon, an optional excursion to Montserrat can be arranged and, this evening, enjoy a flavorful farewell dinner with Sangria at a local restaurant to bid adios to your travelling companions.
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning.