Spain, a country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, includes 17 autonomous regions with diverse geography and cultures. Capital city Madrid is home to the Royal Palace and Prado museum, housing works by European masters. Segovia has a medieval castle (the Alcázar) and an intact Roman aqueduct. Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona, is defined by Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical modernist landmarks like the Sagrada Família church.
Day 1: The Luxurious Beginning - Madrid
Madrid is a modern city set within the guidelines of its past. The heart of the city continues to overflow with the spirit of Spain, filled with pockets of medieval buildings and narrow alleyways that create a passionate ambiance, spotted with old restaurants and oddity shops. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you to your fabulous accommodations. The hotel is situated within a baroque palace central to the vibrant culture of the city. The rooms are as lavish and comfortable as the lobby. Your private guide meets you at the hotel. Your experience in Spain has already been incredible, from the opulent comforts of the hotel to the customized service between the airport and your tour.
Follow your guide through the streets of the city and arrive at the Prado Museum, home to one of the finest art collections in the world, especially in reference to Spanish art. The building was constructed in the 18th century and was once used for the cavalry by Napoleonic troops. Your guide is knowledgeable not just about Madrid’s historic architecture but also about the art contained within the celebrated museum. The halls are glossy and polished. The lofty ceilings bring a harmonious echo to people’s footsteps. The art hangs on the walls in quiet reflection and you listen to your guide’s informative and mesmerizing conclusions about the colors, brushstrokes, and history of certain pieces, including The Three Graces by Rubens.
Day 2: In Time
The morning brings a colorful energy to the city streets. The day begins a bit later and you feel like the entire city sleeps in. The city is filled with modern luxury and historic romance, especially in the Old Quarter. After breakfast your guide meets you at your hotel and takes you back in time on a private tour of the oldest neighborhood of Madrid. Barrio de la Letras spreads down the slight hillside in a collection of historic buildings and cobblestone streets. Wrought-iron balconies protrude from the upper-stories of the buildings and gaslights decorate the pathways.
This was once home to some of the most prominent Spanish writers in history, including the author of Don Quixote, Cervantes, in the 16th century. The 19th century building that overtook the home where the writer spent much of his adult life is adorned with a plaque above the door on Calle de Cervantes 2. Plaza de la Villa is a quiet and charming square that contains the former town hall dating back to the 17th century. The Casa de Cisneros has a rose coloration that blushes in the sunlight. The quiet ambiance in the middle of the historic plaza feels like this slice of the city has been carved out just for you.
Day 3: The View of Toledo
Toledo is a city in the hills that has captivated artists and collected cultures for centuries. The medieval buildings rise out of the surrounding trees and decorate the hillside. From the distance the city looks like a rocky outcrop; however, the streets are made up of gorgeous and reticent churches, mosques, and temples. There is an endless romance that comes with strolling along cobblestone streets; the echo of your footsteps and the scent of the surrounding greenery combine to create the perfect ambiance. The Tagus River flows alongside the cityscape and has created a natural moat. The sound of rushing water filters through the air.
The Cathedral is one of the top Gothic structures in Europe and took over 200 years to build, from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The main façade faces west and immediately offers an impressive and imposing view. The tower is over 300 feet tall and has five separate levels. Enter the main chapel and find the polished checkered floor beneath the collection of vaulted ceilings. Arched stain glass windows are iridescent high above you. The ceiling of the Sacristy is decorated with a painting by Luca Giordano. Angels lounge among the clouds as a beam of light shines down from heaven. The colors are fluid and the single stretch of light is peaceful.
Day 4: The Art of Feeling
Flamenco is a dance that is well known throughout the world as a quintessential Spanish movement. Today you will meet a Flamenco historian and teacher who will guide you through the evolution and steps of the dance. Each song, each step, each movement, is meant to account for a different emotion. The dance expresses passion or longing, grace and power, trust and romance. It is a dance steeped in legend and one which began with the voice. The chant or cry was accompanied by rhythm, which soon led to the tap dancing style of footwork.
Your instructor explains that you must shroud yourself in duende, which is loosely translated to spirit. The songs begin. People quickly clap to create the rhythm. The vocals call out, quick and passionate cries. The instructor moves to the beat. Her dress swirls like a bird. Her arms move and tell a specific story of passionate embrace. Each step lingers in the air, a mixture of ballet and tango. She steps slowly so you can watch, learn, and truly appreciate the art. Soon you will dance to the music in a private lesson.
Day 5: Indulge in the Day
The day is yours to enjoy the city as you please. The rhythms of the previous day repeat in your head. The beauty of flamenco continues to run through your thoughts. You can hear the city move to the beat in the morning hours as the streets come to life. After breakfast you could take a day trip to the charming city of Segovia or visit the monastery of El Escorial. The artistry of Madrid is always compelling and soon you find yourself in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina, also known as The Sofia. It is part of the Golden Triangle of Art, which consists of the Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The building was the first general hospital in the city and was constructed in the 19th century.
The exterior resembles a baroque palace, but the interior looks like it has been dipped in modernity. Walking around the high ceilings and industrial style interior you will find contemporary paintings that questioned the very idea of art, along with what beauty entails. One of the biggest draws of the museum is Picasso’s Guernica, a mural-sized oil painting completed in the late 1930s. The collection of faces and bodies fills a single room. A bull stands to the far left and each face is draped with concerned emotion. The day is yours to explore and experience. You will find delight and charm in and around Madrid.
Day 6: Golden Sands and the Architecture – Barcelona
Today you will leave Madrid behind and make your way to the world-renowned city of Barcelona. The Mediterranean Sea washes against the city’s golden sands. The essential spirit of the city is vivacious and endless. The entire city has the relaxed ambiance of a beach village with the eternal movement of a capital. A private transfer will take you from the train station to your accommodation. Each room, including the lobby, is filled with the classical spirit of the 1920s, from the décor to the architecture.
Your private guide will meet you in the lobby and escort you to the Gothic Quarter to see the Plaza San Jaime. The square is at the center of the old city and is bordered by the palace of the Generalitat, home to the Catalan government. The renaissance façade creates an illusion of the past. The local market fills the square in the mornings. The lingering scent of oranges fills the air. The past and present meet and create the particular spellbinding spirit of the city inside the plaza.
Day 7: Barcelona
When the sun rises the city is quiet. The water glistens like a sapphire stone beneath the light. The entire city feels tranquil. Barcelona comes to life in the late morning. After breakfast your guide and driver meet you in the lobby and you are ready to make your way through the celebrated architecture. The artistic buildings that account for the modernist architecture have turned Barcelona into an outdoor museum. The colors, vivacity, and intricate designs are spellbinding. The Block of Discord is a city block of three buildings, Casa Lleo-Morera, Casa Amatller, and Casa Battlo. The architectural styles were so different that the buildings are unique and gorgeous individually but are spectacular within one another in such close proximity.
Casa Lleo-Morera was constructed in 1902 and was a collaboration of various artists under the leadership of Doménech I Montaner. A mulberry tree shades the patio and motifs of mulberry trees adorn the door handles. The balcony is decorated with intricately carved dragons holding a shield and the first floor contains a gallery surrounded by stained glass windows depicting the countryside. Casa Amatller was designed at the turn of the 20th century and contains Moorish elements including pillars and a particular type of stained glass used to decorate the interior. Your guide points out the details of building and includes pieces of history that delight and surprise you, offering you some of the luscious tidbits of Barcelona.
Day 8: In a Fairytale
The Rio Onyar is lazy and peaceful. The water barely moves along the banks that divide the colorful city of Girona. The ancient city dates back to the Iberians and even contains Roman ruins. The houses that overlook the river were built near the end of the Middle Ages around the 15th century. Defensive walls surround the city and add to the luminescent ambiance of the modern city set inside the fabric of its history. The old city walls take you into a fairytale. The powerful and tall ramparts welcome you to the ancient streets.
A sleek bridge takes you over the river and you can see the rising tower of the Collegiate Church of Sant Feilu. The Cathedral displays a baroque façade and the central towers contain 86 steps. The center of the cathedral is over 75 feet wide and the altarpiece glitters with gold and silver. The old city is as much a time capsule as a collection of Girona’s prominent and proud history. The sounds of the river are soothing. A panorama shows you the various churches’ elegant towers adding color to the background of lingering mountains.
Day 9: A Catalan Dream
Barcelona is an eclectic mixture of people from around the world; however, the city has always stayed near and dear to its roots as the capital of Catalonia. Las Rambles is one of the most famous streets in Barcelona. The boulevard is lined with trees and filled with effervescent crowds. The restaurants set up tables and umbrellas outside their doors and the music is always flowing. Your guide shows you around the celebrated street en route to La Boqueria, Europe’s largest food market. Local fruit, from oranges to tomatoes, glows with fresh brightness. Bars are filled with people dining on small sandwiches and pastries. Bellota ham dangles from butcher shops.
Soon you find yourself in the kitchen yearning to create traditional Catalan dishes. Follow the chef through each step of the preparation. The kitchen begins to fill with the aromas of fresh tomato and garlic. You taste the subtle sweet acid of tomato juice soaking into the bread in a dish of pan con tamate, topped with the luscious salty taste of jamón, a cured ham. When the dish is complete you indulge in the fideuas, a noodle dish filled with saffron, garlic, and a large assortment of fresh seafood.
Day 10: The Seclusion of Taste
The Penedes is a region outside of Barcelona that is wedged between the mountains and the sea. The flatland absorbs the diverse minerals that sweep through the soil, from both the sweet and salty Mediterranean air and the rugged mountain terrain, making the region a popular spot for vineyards.
Your private transfer brings you to the winemaking region and you can make your way through the boutique wineries on the seat of a bicycle. The breeze is cool and comforting. The mountains drape across the sky and create a unique shadow in the distance. Mills decorate the countryside and you pass over small stone bridges. Rivers trickle and the earthen aromas of the landscape mix with the creamy scent of artisan cheeses and olive oils. Sip on a crisp glass of cava, a refreshing sparkling wine that often contains hints of citrus. Enjoy the depth of flavors throughout the day, from the wine to the scenery, and know that you’re sharing it with someone special.
Day 11: The Luxurious Open
The day is yours to enjoy the splendor of Barcelona at your leisure. Spend time on the powdery golden sands of the Barceloneta Beach or stroll through the Museum of Catalonian art, celebrated for its collection of Romanesque work. Gaudi Guell Park was built in the early 20th century and is a reflection of the famous architects’ personal style. The entrance to the park is edged by two buildings that resemble gingerbread houses from an old fairytale.
The sounds of the park are jovial, filled with happy families and strolling lovers. The main terrace displays colorful mosaic work and a large multicolored mosaic salamander clings to the center of the double-sided staircase. The park is lush and peaceful and a singular bench winds like a ceramic serpent around terrace. Stroll under the colonnaded footpath or delight in the variety of Gaudi’s assorted artwork, from floor to ceiling. The artistry of the city enhances the already endless character that you have fallen in love with.
Day 12: The Best in Sight
The morning is filled with the captivating sun once again beaming over the Mediterranean Sea. The morning remains quiet. The beaches are still, a treasured collection of gold sand and sapphire water. The aromas of breakfast begin to rise through the air, a traditional Catalan cuisine of pastries with café con leche, coffee with creamy milk. After breakfast your private transfer will escort you to the airport. Your time in Spain may have come to an end but the magnificent romance you shared and flavors you tasted will always feel tangible and close at hand.
1) 6 Nights hotel Madrid with Breakfast
2) 5 Night hotel in Barcelona with Breakfast
3) Return Airport Transfers
4) Land Transport
5) Sightseeing as per Itinerary
***Hotels are subject to availability
*** Rates are Subject to change without Prior Notice.