August 30 - September 7, 2019
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Explore Spain and it's History, Museums, Tapas foods and Spanish Culture. We will travel to some of the greatest sites and cities on our Spanish adventure.
Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a cosmopolitan city that combines the most modern infrastructures and the status as an economic, financial center, with a large cultural and artistic heritage and exciting history.
Art and culture play a key role in Madrid's cultural life. The capital has over 60 museums. Highlights include the Prado Museum, one of the world's most important art galleries; the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, with over 800 paintings, the Reina Sofía National Art Center, dedicated to contemporary Spanish art and containing works by Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Juan Gris, among others. Madrid's extensive and beautifully maintained parks and gardens –like the Retiro park, formerly the recreational estate to the Spanish monarchs, the Casa de Campo and the Juan Carlos I park– offer visitors the chance to enjoy the sunshine, stroll along its lakes and enjoy it's natural beauty.
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is a Mediterranean and cosmopolitan city with Roman remains, medieval quarters and the most beautiful examples of 20th century Modernism and avant-garde. It is no surprise that emblematic constructions by the Catalan architects Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Doménech i Montaner have been declared World Heritage Sites by "UNESCO."
The city's origins are Roman, and its long history and economic dynamism have made Barcelona a cultural city, which can be seen in the historic-artistic heritage and the promotion of the most innovative artistic trends.
Montserrat is a multi-peaked mountain range near Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m)It is well known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary and which is identified by some with the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian myth.
Toledo is considered most representative of Spanish culture, and its historic center was designated a "UNESCO World Heritage site" in 1986. Its rocky site is traversed by narrow, winding streets, with steep gradients and rough surfaces, centering on the Plaza del Zocodover. Two bridges cross the Tagus: in the northeast is the bridge of Alcántara, at the foot of the medieval castle of San Servando, parts of which date from Roman and Moorish times; in the northwest is the bridge of San Martín, dating from the late 13th century.
DAY 1: Arrival Day: August 31, 2019 - Today you arrive in Madrid and are met by your driver who will transfer you to your hotel. After we check-in at your centrally located hotel you’ll have some time to refresh and have lunch before you meet your local guide and driver who will take you on a short Panoramic Tour of Madrid city, you will see emblematic places such as Retiro Park, the Neptuno and Cibles Fountains, Gran Vía, Plaza de España, Puerta del Sol, Puerta de Alcalá, the bull ring, and Columbus Square.
Afterwards you'll explore Madrid on foot seeing the historic area including Madrid’s magnificent plazas including the Plaza Mayor, the Plaza de Oriente, the Cervantes Monument and the Puerta del Sol tracing the legacy of the Hapsburg and Bourbon dynasties in Madrid, seeing some of the key sights as well as taking in traditional shops, churches, convents, inns, palaces and theatres. You will also visit inside the Royal Palace.
This evening enjoy the atmosphere of Madrid and later you’ll dine in a traditional tavern by the Plaza Santa Ana where you’ll enjoy a delicious selection of tapas and Spanish dishes. 4 star Hotel Catalonia Plaza Mayor (D)
Madrid stands at the very centre of Spain –geographically, culturally and politically. This capital not only offers the culture and good times of a sophisticated, modern city but it also retains the charm and elegance of its early years. Among the splendid attractions of Madrid are the Prado Museum, home to masterworks of Goya, Velázquez and El Greco: the 19th century Villahermosa Palace now the Thyssen-Bornemizsa Museum; the Reina Sofía Art Centre showcasing more than 300 modern works by Dalí, Miró & Picasso among others; the 18th century Royal Palace on the lovely Plaza de Oriente; the bustling Puerta del Sol with its many shops, restaurants and tapas bars; the Rastro Market on Sundays one of the oldest outdoor markets in Europe; and the Retiro Park for strolling while admiring local artists and buskers.
DAY 2: September 1 - Toledo Excursion: Today visit the magnificent city of Toledo. Upon arrival we’ll drive to an area known for its ‘Cigarrales’ or historic country houses above the River Tajo from where you can appreciate stunning views of Toledo city in the distance. Then later, we’ll walk through the twisting old quarter of Toledo, where you can see Spain of the Middle Ages. Your guide will show you Mudejar churches from the 13th and 14th centuries. You’ll visit the Sephardic Museum at the Transito Synagogue that was built in 1357 as a private family synagogue for Samuel ha-Levi Abulafia, treasurer to the Spanish King Peter the Cruel. And you’ll also visit the magnificent cathedral. Lunch will be at a very charming restaurant situated within an historical building in the heart of the old city. Later we return to Madrid and tonight is at leisure. (B,L)
DAY 3: September 2 - Madrid – Seville: This morning after breakfast we transfer to the Madrid train station for our high speed train journey to Seville (2.5 Hrs) After checking in at the hotel you´ll have time to refresh before we are joined by our local guide for a full-day tour of Seville where we will explore the Barrio Santa Cruz; the Old Jewish Quarter. The quarter is dominated by the Alcazar, originally a fortress under Moorish rule (from 711 to 1248 in Sevilla) that was re-fashioned into the Palace of the Kings of Sevilla after the Christian reconquest. Its lavish stucco decoration is in the taste of the Alhambra, which we will see in Granada, and suites of Renaissance apartments. Next we will tour the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the third largest church in Christendom the largest in Europe after St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in London, built on the foundations of the 12th-century Great Mosque. The tower of the old Mosque known as the Giralda still survives today.
Tonight we enjoy dinner at a delightful Sevillian restaurant. 4 star hotel Inglaterra for 2 nights (B,D)
Sevilla (Seville) is the capital of Andalusia and has a chequered history having been ruled by the Romans, the Visigoths and the Moors before it was finally reclaimed by the Christians in the 13th century; two and a half centuries before the fall of Granada.
The city’s character reflects this particularly in the architecture of Moorish, Mudejar, Renaissance and Baroque style which can be seen. The oldest pieces of Islamic architecture surviving are the late 12th century Giralda (bell tower) of the Cathedral, the Torre del Oro (1220) and a small selection of the Alcazar. But the most exhilarating Mudejar buildings are Peter the Cruel’s palace at the Alcazar, of different dates, and the Casa de Pilatos, completed in 1540. Sevilla is a compact maze of narrow streets with a fascinating choice of places to visit. The former Jewish quarter; the Barrio Santa Cruz, is fascinating by day or night with flower-lined streets, houses adorned with exquisite wrought iron and seemingly endless restaurants and taverns where the music of flamenco floats in the air.
DAY 4: September 3 - Ronda Excursion: After a hearty breakfast we set off on our excursion to Ronda for the day.
Capital of a Moorish emirate in the 8th century it boasts interesting bridges spanning the spectacular gorge of the Guadalevin River. We will tour the Old Jewish quarter of Ronda seeing sights such as the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor, a former mosque with its minaret now the bell tower, the Casa Don Bosco and the famous bullring where Orsen Wells and Hemingway were regulars.
We will also visit a local winery. Lunch today is in a very scenic location. Later on we’ll have some free time before returning to our hotel in the early evening. This evening is at your leisure to enjoy Seville. (B,L)
DAY 5: September 4 - Seville - Barcelona: This morning after breakfast we transfer to the Seville airport for our flight (90 mins) to Barcelona. Arrive in Barcelona you are met by your driver and transferred to the hotel centrally located in the charming neighborhood of Barcelona and close to the Paseo de Gracia. This afternoon meet your local expert guide for a half day tour. The tour commences in the beautiful neighborhood known as the Gothic Quarter, so called as it used to be the Roman village and still possesses remnants of its glorious past. You’ll visit the bustling Ramblas walkway too, with its numerous street entertainers. This lively tree-lined pedestrian mall stretches for 1.2 kilometres and is popular with both tourists and locals alike. Also just off of the Ramblas visit the colorful Boqueria Food Market, one of Europe’s largest and most famous food markets where we will enjoy a refreshment. This evening we will enjoy a dinner at a local restaurant. 4 star Hotel America (B,D)
Barcelona is without doubt one of Europes most exciting cities. It is a place of extraordinary architectural dazzle, achieved by what has been called both Catalán Art Nouveau and Modernisme, by architects Gaudi, Domenech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch. Monumental sculptures by local masters like Joan Miró adorn public spaces, and museums house extraordinary treasures ranging from works of the ancient Romans to those of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. The city is further enhanced by brightly colored outdoor markets, a magnificent Mediterranean port , and a plentiful array of stylish restaurants. Needless to say, the nightlife is splendid.
DAY 6: September 5 - Barcelona: This morning join your guide for a tour of Gaudi’s most important sites including the remarkable Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell which you will visit inside and also see Casa Mila and Casa Batllo (outside). Then travel up Montjuic for splendid views over the city and harbour and later visit the Olympic port. This afternoon and evening is at your leisure. You may like to visit the Picasso Museum which is housed in a converted palace within the Gothic Quarter. (B)
Day 7: September 6 - Montserrat: Today enjoy a guided excursion out of Barcelona to the magnificent Monastery of Montserrat – "UNESCO World Heritage". Later continue to the remarkable Cordorniu winery founded in 1551 and one the oldest wineries in the world. You tour the winery where you not only learn about the cava making process but also about the magnificent modernist architecture of the winery constructed by Josep Puig I Cadafalch at the beginning of the 19th century. Following this we enjoy a lovely lunch in a traditional Catalan restaurant in the countryside. Return to Barcelona in the late afternoon. Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight to say GoodBye to wonderful Spain and your new friends. (B,L,D)
Day 8: September 7 - Departure Day: Following breakfast we transfer to the Barcelona airport for our return flight home. (B) Optional post trip to Palma de Mallorca Island.
Cost: $TBA per person based on double occupancy, (Roommates can be provided)
Single Supplement: $TBA
Save 3% off the tour price if paid in full via check
Booking/final payment due 60 days prior to departure
- 7 nights 4 star hotels
- Daily breakfast
- 3 Lunches with wine
- 3 Dinners with wine
- Round trip private airport transfers if traveling on mentioned days with other group members
- Flight from Seville to Barcelona
- Train from Madrid ro Seville
- Local tour guides as per itinerary needs
- Private transfers to all cities and sites
- Welcome gift
- Tickets to BARCELONA - Sagrada Famila,Park Guell, Cordorniu winery. SEVILLE - Cathedral Seville, Alcazar Seville. MADRID - Prado Museum or Royal Palace. TOLEDO - Cathedral Toledo,Two synagogues Toledo
- International airfare. You will fly into Barcelona and out of Madrid. We can arrange airfare for you
- Meals not listed in itinerary
- Room charges such as calls, mini bar, laundry, room service
- Travel insurance
- Airport transfers if arriving outside of the group travel dates
- Guide/driver gratuities
- Additional tours or activities not listed
Entry Requirements: Visitors from the US and Canada need a valid passport, Visas are not required for Americans or Canadians visiting for less than 3 months. If you are a citizen of another E.U. country, you do not need a passport, only an identity card. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you intend to leave the European Union. Make sure you check your passport expiry date at least 2 months prior to travel. Before traveling abroad it's a good idea to make two photocopies of your passport, driver's license and credit cards. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member and another bring with you.
Time Zone: Spain is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Like most European countries, Spain has daylight savings time.
Weather: September is beautiful with low rainfall. Barcelona offers daytime highs in the mid to upper 70's with cooler evenings in the low to mid 60's. In Madrid a bit warmer with the mid to high 80's and cooler evenings in the upper 60's.
Currency: The local currency in Spain is the euro. The best way to get cash in the local currency is from an ATM. Keep in mind that most banks impose a fee every time a card is used at another bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions ($3 - $5) so try and withdraw as few times as possible. Credit cards are accepted by most shops and restaurants however check with your credit card company regarding foreign exchange fees. You will also have a better chance making deals at local shops if paying with cash.
Electricity: Voltage in Spain is 20 volts AC and the plug is the typical European plug with two round prongs. Many stores in North America sell the appropriate transformers and adapters, and they can also be purchased on arrival in Athens airport, as well. Any heat generating appliances that you bring need a transformer, and they may still not work properly with the different voltage. Small electronics which are such as laptops, tablets, Phones, etc., have dual voltage, so you only need a plug converter.
Taxes/VAT: The internal sales tax (known as IVA) ranges from 7% to 33%, depending on the commodity being sold. Food, wine, and basic necessities are taxed at 7%; most goods and services at 13%; luxury items (jewelry, all tobacco, imported liquors) at 33%; and hotels at 7%. If you live outside the European Union you can enjoy Tax Free shopping. This amounts to a saving of 21% off the price of any items purchased in Spain where the total bill exceeds €90.15. Once you know the shop runs the tax free service you can purchase your items and then request the TAX refund cheques which the shop will fill out for you. They will then present you with a cheque for your tax refund which you take with you to the airport. When you arrive at the airport you must present you tax refund cheques at customs BEFORE you check your bags in. Customs may request to check the items before they stamp your cheques. Once your cheques have been stamped by customs you can cash your cheques at any Bureau de Change in your chosen currency.
Health: Travelers from Canada and the United States must pay for medical services rendered, but you will be reimbursed by your traveler's insurance if you purchased a policy. Spain does not offer free medical treatment to visitors. Few health problems are encountered while traveling in Spain. The tap water is generally safe to drink.
Activity Level: This trip has a fairly limited activity level however at each stop we will be walking quite a bit. Most streets are uneven pavement or on cobble stone paths. To be able to fully enjoy the tour and participate in scheduled activities, you need to be able to walk, at a leisurely pace, up to 3 or 4 or so miles on some days. You should be able to stand unassisted for up to 30 minutes at times during the tours. You will need be able to keep up with the group without any assistance. At times you will need manage your own luggage. This trip is pretty easy for the average person however if you can't or choose not to participate in certain activities this is at your own discretion. However it cannot affect the groups participation nor can any tours or activities or refunds be offered or changed due to an individual not being able or not wanting to participate.