Get picked up at home and whisked off to your departure point (within 50 miles).
Meals included: 14 breakfasts, 7 dinners
There’s more to Spain than its charming flamenco and tapas veneer. Experience the grandeur of the Mezquita Mosque, the romance of Barcelona’s old town and the magic of the Alhambra complex and gardens on this comprehensive tour.
Fly to Madrid where you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
Your day starts by driving to nearby Aranjuez in the Castilian Plain, where you stop for a visit of the Royal Palace, the origin of which goes back to the 14th century. Although burnt down twice in 1727 and 1728 it was splendidly rebuilt and became a favourite residence of Spanish royalty. Then continue to the magnificently located old town of Cuenca, standing high above the Rivers Júcar and Huecar and famous for its 'hanging houses', suspended over the Huecar ravine. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant tonight.
Enjoy a sight seeing tour of the third largest city in Spain, Valencia, . filled with wide avenues lined with fig and palm trees. Take in the beauty of the old quarter with the narrow streets, fine Gothic houses and modern port.
drDive to the nearby Castellon area, where you'll visit Peñíscola Castle, first built by the Templars in the 14th century and conjuring up scenes of medieval times. You continue through orange groves along the coastal road to the region's lively and elegant capital, Barcelona.
Called the 'Great Enchantress' by poet Maragall, this vibrant, cosmopolitan city is the pride of Catalonia, full of charm and steeped in history. Your sightseeing tour with local guide will include a drive around Montjuic Hill to see the Olympic Stadium and a great panoramic view of the port and city. It continues to the city centre to Plaza Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia to admire the greatness and eccentricity of Gaudi's architectural masterpieces of the houses 'Batllo' and 'Mila' and the Sagrada Familia.
Travel through the glorious countryside of Catalonia to Saragossa on the banks of the River Ebro, where you'll have time to visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Pillar. Then continue through fertile valleys and the Rioja wine-growing region to the Basque Country, and the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Navarra, Pamplona, for one night.
Today the focus is on the Basque Countries visit the city of San Sebastian, perched above the sea. It is a daily dance between its 186,000 inhabitants and the ever-changing Cantabrian waters. Continue to visit Bilbao, the main city of the autonomous Basque region and home to the famous Guggenheim museum, designed by Frank Gehry.
Head deeper into the Castilla - Leon region, enjoying some grand vistas as you travel to the edge of the Sierra de Guadarrama, a green oasis in the Castillian plain. Stop in Segovia, a magnificently sited city perched on a rock formation at an altitude of 3,280 feet, famous for its splendid cathedral, the medieval Alcazar palace and an impressive Roman aqueduct. Continue to Avila and Salamanca, two of Spain's greatest artistic and historical cities. Why not relax with an evening drink in Salamanca’s elegant Plaza Mayor?
Enjoy more Spanish landscapes as you travel south, stopping in Caceres, listed as UNESCO Wold Heritage Site. The city's history of battles between Moors and Christians is reflected in its architecture, which is a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles. Cross over the mighty Tagus River and the Guadiana, to reach the Andalucian capital, Seville, for two nights.
On the included guided tour of Seville learn about the Moorish rule and its architectural heritage, which can still be admired in many areas of the old city. This is the colourful set of Bizet’s opera “Carmen”, and was host city of the universal expo in 1929 and 1992.
Today, travel through the 'sherry country' passing sleepy, quaint white-washed Andalucian villages to the town of Ronda, famous for the ravine which literally cuts it in two. Arrive in the city of Granada, set at the feet of the Sierra Nevada.
Granada was the Arabs' most treasured city, and they still mourn its loss in their prayers. Included is a visit with a local guide to the glorious Alhambra complex, surrounded by magnificent gardens and fountains, affording superb views of the Old Quarter and Sacromonte (please note that entrance to the Nasrid palace is not guaranteed). Leaving Granada, there's more stunning scenery on the agenda as you travel to Cordoba, the 'Athens of the West'. On the way to Cordoba, stop to learn about local wines at a family-run wine cellar in Montilla with a chance to sample the local wine.
Cordoba is perhaps Spain's most Moorish city, with its grand 8th century Mezquita mosque, one of Islam's greatest pieces of architecture outside the Arab world, converted into a Catholic cathedral after the Reconquista. Included is a visit to this amazing landmark featuring some remarkable works of art, such as its columns, some of which were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Panels of scented woods were fastened with nails of pure gold, and the red marble columns were said to be the work of God. Leaving Cordoba, head into the heart of La Mancha, famed for its castles and windmills and the setting for Cervantes' famous novel, 'Don Quixote'. Arrive in Madrid in time to enjoy a relaxed evening.
This morning, there's an optional trip to the old walled city of Toledo, made famous in El Greco's paintings. Later enjoy guided sightseeing in Madrid; Spain's regal capital and the highest in Europe which offers a wonderful mix of ancient and modern attractions.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK.
Accommodation will be as stated or similar.
Day 5: Entrance fee's to the houses of 'batlo' and 'mila' and sagrada familia are not included.
Day12: Entrance to the Nasrid palace is not guaranteed
Obviously a cost cutting exercise, as the Tour Manager gave details of the approaching cities/towns prior to arriving when a local guide would have been an asset.
Tour overall good, but last week the fill in visits including wine tasting seemed to be a time wasting effort. More time could of been spent in interesting places.
There's no need to shop around. Find a cheaper like-for-like tour from another company, and we’ll not only match their price but also give you a £50 discount when you book with us.
They have in-depth knowledge of the places you’ll visit and will be on hand every step of the way with commentary entirely in English. 96% of customers rate them 'excellent' or 'good'.
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