When it comes to Spanish holidays on the mainland, you’re spoilt for choice. For drenching yourself in sunshine, the glittering Costa’s are the place to head. From sophisticated and chic Marbella to the shimmering sands of energetic Benidorm, you can’t go wrong. Or perhaps it’s to be a cultural quest in Spain’s fascinating cities. Get the best of both worlds in beautiful Alicante slap bang on the coast. Tuck into tasty paella in cosmopolitan Valencia. Or behold the wonders of Gaudi’s Avant-Garde Barcelona.
Splendid beaches, delicious cuisine, vibrant nightlife and lively fiestas all make Spain one of Europe’s best getaways. Because Spain encompasses several autonomous regions and islands, the country boasts one of the most widely diverse cultures and landscapes on the continent.
Located in northeastern Spain, Barcelona is one of the country’s top travel destinations because it offers everything tourists look for in a European city from historic architecture to lively shopping, vibrant culture and buzzing nightlife. Unique to Barcelona are the architectural marvels of Spain’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi, which include the Casa Batllo and the famous Sagrada Familia church.
Spain’s capital and largest city, Madrid, is widely known for its sizzling nightlife scene. Home to a number of universities, the city constitutes a diversity of ethnic groups, making it one of Europe’s most colorful cosmopolitan cities.
Exceptional tourist attractions, lively festivals and buzzing nightlife all make Seville one of the best places to visit in Southern Spain. As the capital city of Andalusia, Seville is also the region’s financial and cultural capital. The city is home to many beautiful and important historic landmarks, chief of which is the grand Cathedral of Seville, where it is believed that Christopher Columbus is buried.
Arrive in Barcelona, Chocolate-making Class
Welcome to Spain! Spain’s second largest city is a major commercial and industrial center as well as a key Mediterranean port. Barcelona boasts many architectural styles from Baroque splendors, Art Nouveau to Art Deco and excellent Romanesque art. The city contains the most famous examples of the visionary Catalan architect, Antonio Gaud, whose unique and distinctive work greatly influenced the face of Barcelona.
Upon arrival at the Barcelona airport, you are met by your Guardian Angel and transferred by private vehicle to your hotel where you are assisted with check-in.
After check-in, your Guardian Angel will take you for some lunch before a chocolate making class. You will learn about the origins of chocolate and get the chance to choose a mould in order to make your chocolate. Once it is ready you will learn how to decorate it and then off course you may eat your carefully created chocolate model!
Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.
Barcelona: Gaudi’s Masterpieces, Gothic Quarter, Chocolate Museum, Tapas Tour
Today enjoy a full day sightseeing tour (8 hours) in Barcelona with your guide and private vehicle. This morning discover the masterpieces of Catalonia’s most famous architect, Gaud: the Casa Mila with its wave-like facade and the impressive but unfinished Sagrada Familia Basilica.
You will also visit the Parc Guell, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Gaudi’s most colorful creations. This afternoon transfer to the true heart of the old city – the medieval Gothic Quarter. Visit the magnificent 13th-century Cathedral, notable for its fine Gothic chapels, medieval choir stalls and shady cloister.
You may also like to visit the Chocolate Museum where you can learn about how chocolate was made and see some impressive chocolate sculptures, or you may prefer to go for traditional Churros and a unique Spanish Hot Chocolate in a local caf. This evening meet with your guide for a tapas tour – Barcelona abounds in colorful tapas bars and your guide will accompany you on a visit of some of the recommended establishments in the elegant Paso de Gracia district where the bars fill to bursting with locals at this time of day.
Along with paella, tapas, roughly translated as snacks or appetizers, are one of Spain’s greatest contributions to world food. “Tapar” means to Along with paella, tapas, roughly translated as snacks or appetizers, are one of Spain’s greatest contributions to world food. “Tapar” means to cover and originally a tapa was a free snack served in a small earthenware dish to be placed on top of a glass. Eating tapas also allows you to try out some mouth-watering Spanish delicacies
Barcelona: Cooking Class or Mosaic-making class, Cable car up Montjuic, Poble Espanol
This morning you will be met by your private vehicle and Guardian Angel and transferred to a cookery class. Visit La Boqueria market to buy ingredients for the meal. Participate in a cooking lesson making 2 kinds of tapas, Paella and Crema Catalana, or another dessert if you prefer.
Enjoy what you have made for lunch with drinks and coffee.
Alternatively, meet your local guide and private vehicle and go to a Mosaic Making class. The 3 hour lesson will include a brief introduction to mosaic making, an explanation of materials and tools, some quick and simple cutting techniques and then you are involved in the creation of a design drawn by the teacher. Each student should be able to complete a piece of 30 x 21 cms. After the class you have lunch at leisure (Payable locally)
This afternoon you will meet your guide for a half day sightseeing tour (4 hours) by private vehicle. Take the cable car and the funicular to the top of Montjuic, and enjoy the view over the sea and the city from the former fortress. You will also see the 1992 Olympic stadium and complex.
On the way down stop in the Poble Espanol. This is a reconstruction of houses churches and villages from every corner of Spain, built for the 1929 Exhibition.
Barcelona to Madrid
Today your driver will transfer you to the train station to board your train to Madrid. At 2,100 feet above sea level, Madrid is Europe’s highest capital city. Originally a provincial town, it was elevated to capital status in 1561 by Felipe II. Madrid’s city center is quite compact and many attractions and museums are located within close proximity to one another. The city has a lush abundance of parks and open spaces providing a welcoming retreat from its everyday hubbub.
From gothic and baroque to neoclassical and modern, there are many types of architectural styles displayed in its buildings: Madrid has a profuse amount of fine shops, museums, art galleries and cultural activities to experience. Spaniards dine and retire late and Madrileos are no exception.
The city (and its inhabitants), never seem to sleep and the city center lures residents and visitors alike to the numerous restaurants, countless bars and music clubs. All who visit are quickly drawn to this city’s vibrant energy and charm, which is reflected in the spirit of its people.
Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Hotel Ritz is a striking, sumptuous hotel, living up to the Ritz “grand luxe” tradition.
Located near Retiro Park and the Prado, the hotel provides an island of old-fashioned tranquility and elegance.
Madrid: Tapas Cooking Class or Scavenger Hunt at the Thyssen Museum, Tour of the Bernabeu Soccer Stadium
Today, you will be met and transferred with your Guardian Angel to a cookery class in the suburb of Aravaca, where the cook has a professional kitchen set up in her house. Participate in a 3 hour class learning to cook tapas before enjoying the fruits of your labor for lunch.
Alternatively meet your guide and vehicle for a half day tour to the Museo Thyssen for a fun and educational scavenger hunt. Follow the evolution of art history throughout 7 centuries and learn more about European art in this fun and interactive activity.
This afternoon, return to the city and visit the Bernabeu Stadium, home of Real Madrid soccer team. Your tour will allow you to get behind the scenes and absorb the atmosphere where many victories, celebrations, defeats and commiserations have taken place. Admire the club’s trophy collection, see the dressing rooms, feel the anticipation of the footballer’s in the player’s tunnel and imagine you are part of the team walking out onto the pitch where you cannot fail to be impressed by the vastness of the stadium. During your tour you may also see the players’ benches, training areas and presidential balcony before having the opportunity to purchase those special souvenirs from the official store on your way out.
Madrid to Seville via Cordoba, Evening Flamenco Class
Today you are met at your hotel by your Madrid Guardian Angel and transferred by private vehicle to the Madrid rail station to board your 10.35am train (Club Class carriage) to Cordoba, one of Spain’s oldest cities.
Upon arrival, you will be met at the rail station by your local guide and private vehicle for a sightseeing tour (2 hours) of the city.
Enjoy a walking tour through the flower-filled streets of the Jewish Quarter and visit the Mezquita, built between the 8th and 10th centuries and considered to be one of the most extraordinary buildings in all of Europe. In the 1520s, a Christian Baroque nave was constructed in the heart of the mosque, which fortunately is so large that the unity of the building was not destroyed by this resplendent but anomalous addition.
After lunch at leisure, transfer by private vehicle through spectacular countryside to Seville where you are assisted with check in at your hotel.
Seville: Walking tour of Seville and time at leisure
This morning meet your guide for a half day walking tour (4 hours) of Seville. Visit the 15th Century Cathedral, one of the most breathtaking in all of Christendom, and see La Giralda, Seville’s most famous monument. The Moorish tower was erected as a minaret in the 12th century.
Also enjoy a walk through the Barrio de Santa Cruz, a maze of narrow streets, whitewashed houses, small squares and flower filled patios.
Return to Seville for an evening at leisure.
Seville: Bull farm, Alcazar
Today enjoy a visit to a local Bull farm. Upon arrival, you will be met by a member of the de la Maza family, owners of the Cortijo, for an exclusive visit. Your visit will include an excursion into the countryside in a 4×4 vehicle to see the fighting bulls in the pastures. Return to the Cortijo for an “apertivo” hosted by a member of the de la Maza family in their home. The apertivo includes drinks and a variety of Tapas to nibble – ham, olives, croquettes. You will be shown a Capea (bloodless demonstration of bullfighting skills in the bullring) which is performed with a heifer.
Finish your day with a visit to the Alcazar, a magnificent 14th century Mudejar palace that is one of the oldest royal residences in Europe still in use.
Today your jouney comes to an end as you are privately transferred to the Seville airport to board your international flight home.