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.
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. Today’s highlight is a visit to the palatial PRADO MUSEUM, founded in 1819, and considered to have one of the finest collections of European art of the last eight centuries, with the works of Goya, El Greco, Rubens, Titian, and more. An optional excursion to Toledo is available.
Drive south through the arid landscapes of Don Quixote’s La Mancha to Cordoba, where sightseeing with a Local Guide includes the medieval Jewish Quarter, the MOSQUE OF THE CALIPHS, famous for its 850 pillars of porphyry, marble, and jasper, the Roman Bridge, and the remains of the Alcazar. Next is Seville, the vibrant, festive capital of Andalusia.
Start with a visit to magnificent PLAZA DE ESPAnA, set of the movies Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars. 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. For those interested, an optional extended guided visit to the cathedral can be arranged. 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 Mora Pass and the troglodyte cave dwellings, hollowed out of the soft tufa stone, near Purullena and Guadix on your way to Valencia, once a royal capital. During your guided walking tour, Valencia’s Roman, Moorish, and Spanish history comes alive. Taste a traditional Horchata drink, and this evening, a paella dinner has been prepared at a local restaurant.
A scenic drive along the coast brings you to Barcelona, Spain’s secondlargest city and host of the 1992 Olympic Games.
In the morning, an optional excursion to Montserrat is available. Later, sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Columbus Monument, Plaza de Cataluna, and Paseo de Gracia. Visit the spectacular SAGRADA FAMILIA BASILICA, Gaudi’s masterpiece, followed by a panoramic view of the city and harbour from Montjuic Hill. Tonight, enjoy a Sangria and farewell dinner at La Fonda del Port Olimpic restaurant to say adios to your travelling companions.
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning.