Day One - Arrive Barcelona and transfer to your hotel for 3 nights
Barcelona is a city unique in Spain for its strong sense of identity, culture and fascinating buildings. Just stepping outside the front door of your hotel and you are in one of the most fashionable areas of the city; just a few metres away from Gaudi’s La Pedrera and the word famous Passeig de Gracia; a large, tree lined avenue lined with designer shops from all over the world including Channel and Cartier to name a few.
Running parallel is La Rambla; probably Spain’s most famous street which cuts through the city in a straight line to the beach, packed full with locals and tourists, street vendors & artists. Just off La Rambla is the Gothic Quarter; a maze of narrow streets lined with cafe bars and restaurants.
Day Two - Guided city walk of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter
For this morning you will have a guided walking tour of the Gothic quarter of Barcelona discovering the medieval buildings and plazas and also enjoying the bohemian atmosphere of 19th century Barcelona for which the city is world famous.
Afternoon pre-booked visit and guided tour of La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is no doubt the most iconic structure in Barcelona. The church, located in L'Eixample barrio has been a focal point of Barcelona since construction commenced in 1882 and as building continues on today the structure's fame only grows.
Antoni Gaudí spent 43 years on this project and, since his death in 1926, the duty to finish it has been passed on to several architects. Your tour will include a detailed walk around the outside and then you will pass by the queues as you have time to explore the impressive interior of this once seen never forgotten building.
Day Three - A free day to relax and further explore Barcelona
There is so much more to see in the city including a trip to the Parque Güell; a perfect example of the Modernismo period of Barcelona where architects were called to expand upon the trending “Art Nouveau” and build a bourgeois living area for the cities rich and famous.
In the afternoon head to the port and beach where you can enjoy a lunch in one of the many “chiringuito” style beach bars and soak up some sun for the afternoon.
Day Four - Transfer by high speed train to Madrid for 2 nights
Madrid is the Capital city of Spain where all roads leading out across the country start from zero. The main highlights of the city are of course the “Golden Triangle of Art” – three world class museums headlined by “El Prado” where you can see the masterpieces of El Greco, Valazquez, Goya, Picasso and Dali, along with the Reina Sofia and Carmen Thyssen Museums.
Guided walking tapas tour
For your first evening in Madrid you will get a first-hand experience of the gastronomy, culture and history of the city on a small group walking tapas tour that takes you off the tourist track, discovering what Madrid is really all about whilst feasting on the local specialities.
Your personal and friendly guide combines an introduction to the real Madrileño lifestyle with traditional Spanish food and drink. Not just a tapas tour, the aim is to leave clients with a real and lasting feeling for the capital and it´s people, whilst eating and drinking really well, and to prepare you for the rest of your stay in and around the capital.
Day Five - Immerse yourself in the Golden Triangle of Madrid
In central Madrid, three of the best museums in Europe are located within a ten-minute walk of each other: Museo del Prado, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The most important of the three is the Museo del Prado, where you can see the definitive collection of Spanish art over the past 500 years. The Reina Sofia is a less heavy experience with excellent modern art examples from Dali and Goya and many other examples of weird and wonderful art from the past 100 years.
The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is a more varied collection as it covers art from medieval times up to the present day and was once the largest private art collection in the world.
Day Six - Transfer by train to Seville for 2 nights
The flamboyant Andalucían capital city of Seville combines its Moorish history with the legacy of the Spanish Golden Age when Columbus brought back immeasurable wealth from The Americas. The beautiful Arabic minaret "la Giralda" towers over one of the largest gothic cathedrals in the world and the colourful Plaza de España contrasts with the Mudejar palaces of the Royal Alcazar.
The white washed barrio Santa Cruz is the perfect spot for a long lazy lunch, as you shade under an orange tree in a tiny cobbled plaza.
Authentic Flamenco Show
For your first evening in Seville you will have a reservation at what is known as THE place to watch flamenco in the city. Unpretentious and authentic; it is where you can see the up and coming National stars who are studying the art of flamenco at the prestigious local school. The setting is also perfect; a traditional Andaluz patio on the edge of the barrio Santa Cruz.
Day Seven - Guided walking tour of Seville
A local guide will give you a 2 hour walking tour of the city showing you the most famous historical sites plus many hidden gems that only the locals know. The guide's enthusiasm for their home town really brings the city to life and gives you an insight that the guide books never can.
After lunch you are free to further explore the city including a visit to the Alcazar and cathedral, climb to the top of La Giralda, take a boat trip up the Río Guadalquivir or relax in the shade of the Marie Louisa park.
Day Eight - Transfer by train to Granada for 2 nights
After you have settled into your hotel, take a short walk to the souk like streets of the Alcaiceria surrounding the cathedral. Here you can try the delicious array of tapas that Granada offers from broad beans cooked with ham; meat balls with almond and saffron, to crumbling slices of Manchego cheese and the best jamon serrano from the Alpujarran village of Trevelez.
Day Nine - Pre-booked visit to The Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens.
The Alhambra Palace was short-listed to be one of the New Seven Wonders of The World. It is an absolutely stunning complex of palaces, summer gardens, fountains and courtyards which once seen is never forgotten and often revisited time and time again. Built during the reign of the pleasure loving califas, every view inside the complex is a picture of harmony and balance with natural light and the sound of running water creating the perfect environment for meditation and relaxation; which was the essence of Moorish life at this time.
Late afternoon/early evening is the best time to wander around the Albaicin, the medieval quarter of Granada which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Winding your way up you will eventually reach the Plaza de San Nicolas where local flamenco artists gather to practise, overlooking the famous panoramic view of The Alhambra with the snow-capped sierra.
Day Ten - Transfer by train to Cordoba for 1 night with pre-booked tickets to The Mezquita
In medieval times Cordoba was the most advanced city in the whole of Europe; a centre of culture and learning where Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together in a thriving society. Today it is a quieter Andalucían city with an austere atmosphere, quite different from the passion and flamboyance of Seville. The streets surrounding the mezquita are filled with ancient bodegas and tapas bars and a glass of the local sherry-like Montilla is a must.
The great mosque was built to rival Mecca and is a building of incredible mystic powers and the first glimpse inside is a jaw dropping experience. This jaw then drops further when you encounter a huge catholic cathedral almost hidden inside!
Surrounding the mezquita is the delightfully crumbling juderia; a fascinating place to get lost in as you wander around the narrow maze of streets, lined with geranium filled balconies and green shady plazas. There are many things to discover in the juderia from original Moorish bath houses, to one of the only three synagogues that survived the expulsion of The Jews from Spain.
Other places of interest include the Posada del Potro, mentioned in Cervantes' Don Quixote, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Alcazar (once home of The Spanish Inquisition) and numerous Roman remains.
Day Eleven - Depart Cordoba and say farewell to España! (we can arrange your onward train travel to your departure airport, maybe Madrid to Malaga).
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