A feast of Spanish cultural delights awaits your discovery on this 11-day voyage from Madrid to Barcelona.
About the Tour
From dancing horses to delicious food and wine, Spain has a rich culture that is presented in many art forms. This is a country of gorgeous architecture and even more beautiful surroundings, and lucky for you, you get to experience it all over the course of 11 days. This rail vacation begins in the heart of the country, Madrid, where you have time to acquaint yourself with the country through guided touring and free exploration time. By high-speed train, we continue to Seville, a riverside city that is the home of dancing horses and the birthplace of Tapas. Moving on, other destinations to look forward to include Granada, with its medieval streets and unique buildings in the Albayzin; the Alhambra palace, a 9th-century kingdom; UNESCO World Heritage Site Cordoba; and Barcelona on the sparkling Balearic Sea. Guided tours in nearly every destination are complemented by free time to experience Spain with all your senses - through the delicious cuisine, the festive music, the local customs and the intense history. Complete with first-class travel aboard Spain’s rail lines and luxurious hotel offerings, this vacation puts all the best of this sunny destination on display.
- First & Standard class rail travel
- Hotel accommodations for 10 nights
- 17 meals including a dinner at a traditional Andalucían restaurant overlooking the Alhambra
- Guided tours of Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Granada
- The Alhambra
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour escort and knowledgeable local guides for touring
Day 1 - London to Biarritz
We meet at London St Pancras and take the Eurostar to Paris, continuing to Biarritz or Bayonne for the night. (Eurostar Meal, D)
Day 2 - Madrid
Today we transfer to San Sebastián for the train to Madrid, where we spend two nights. Overnight Madrid. (B)
Days 3 - Sightseeing in Madrid
Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour by coach and on foot, admiring the many architectural styles and attractive green spaces. We have a tapas lunch in a restaurant on Plaza Mayor, then the rest of your day is at leisure to revisit favorite sites from the tour or to continue your explorations. Overnight Madrid. (B, L)
Day 4 - To Seville
This morning, we depart Madrid by high-speed AVE train for a journey south into Andalucía, to the fascinating city of Seville. This old port city is set on the Guadalquivir River and played a key role in establishing and continuing trade with South America. Today, it remains one of Spain's most active river ports. Seville is also credited with inventing tapas and hosts as many as 1,000 tapas bars throughout the city. We enjoy a guided tour through Seville this afternoon which introduces us to the city and presents the beautiful and historic Santa Cruz area, the Gothic Seville Cathedral and the Giralda Tower. Overnight Seville. (B, D)
Day 5 - Seville at Leisure
Today is spent at leisure discovering this quintessentially Spanish city. Perhaps visit Alcázar, a UNESCO World Heritage palace that is still in use by the Spanish royal family, or walk around the Plaza de España. There are beautiful parks throughout the city, including Maria Luisa Park, and numerous museums to explore. For a true taste of Seville, catch a flamenco show and eat your way through the city’s tapas bars. Overnight Seville. (B)
Day 6 - Granada and the Albayzin
Today we travel by rail to Granada (Standard Class), an enchanting city scattered over seven small hills at the confluence of 2 rivers. Charming and romantic, Granada is dominated by the exquisite Alhambra, one of the most recognizable palaces in the world. After checking in at our hotel, the 4-Star Melia Granada Hotel, we begin our explorations with a sightseeing tour. The excursion highlights the unique beauty of the city, including the Albayzin area, which offers fantastic views of the Alhambra; the oldest street in Granada, Carrera Del Darro; the Church of San Salvador; Arab baths and Plaza Larga. Our evening concludes with dinner at a restaurant in the Albayzin Quarter. In addition to the delicious local fare, we also enjoy views of the beautifully illuminated Alhambra as we dine. Overnight Granada. (B, D)
Day 7 - The Alhambra
We continue our sightseeing today with a visit to the Alhambra, which was once the residence of the Muslim Kings of Granada. The Alhambra sits proudly on a plateau overlooking Granada, with the imposing Sierra Nevada mountains as its backdrop. Dating back to the 9th century, the palace complex boasts UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of Spain's most iconic monuments. During our guided tour, enjoy glimpses at the intricate art and carvings throughout the palace, and admire the luxurious furnishings that adorn each room. From the Alhambra’s towers and great halls to the original fortress, the site is truly spectacular. Outside the palace, the gorgeous gardens are lush with Meditteranean flora. Following our tour, we visit a traditional restaurant for dinner. Overnight Granada. (B, D)
Day 8 - To Cordoba
Our journey today takes us by coach to Cordoba, a beautiful, relaxed city. We enjoy a sightseeing tour of the UNESCO World Heritage city, seeing its labyrinth of winding alleys and pretty squares. After crossing the Roman Bridge and passing the 14th-century Calahorra Tower, we continue to the famous Mezquita. We then tour the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter. Overnight Cordoba. (B, D)
Day 9 - Barcelona
We make our way to the train station this morning to board our high-speed AVE train to Barcelona. We travel in Standard Plus class for this journey. Upon arrival, check-in at the 4-Star Hotel Catalonia La Pedrera, and then begin your explorations in this exciting city at your own pace. Barcelona has long been Spain's economic heart, and this wealth is reflected in the opulent buildings that encircle the various public squares throughout the city. You may wish to sample the food unique to Catalonia and this part of Spain in a local restaurant or café or to take a stroll along the beach to savor the sight of the blue waters of the Balearic Sea as the sun melts into the waves. Overnight Barcelona. (B)
Day 10 - A sightseeing tour of Barcelona
Delight in the historic sites and beautiful views of Barcelona today, as we take a guided sightseeing tour through the city. Our excursion includes a visit to the beautiful Old Town, the Barri Gotic and the tree-lined boulevard of Las Ramblas. The rest of your day is free to enjoy the city. From the Gaudí architecture and the medieval churches to the boutiques, markets, art galleries and countless street performers, the lively atmosphere in Barcelona is all-encompassing. Join the group at a local restaurant this evening for a farewell dinner. Overnight Barcelona. (B, D)
Day 11 - Return Home
After breakfast this morning, we depart by high-speed TGV to Paris, where we join the Eurostar, continuing on to London St Pancras International. (B, Eurostar Meal)
Catalonia Gran Via, Madrid
Casa Romana, Seville
Melia Granada Hotel, Granada
The 4-Star Melia Granada Hotel is located in the heart of Old Town Granada, within close proximity to the city's old Medina, the world-famous Alhambra and a wide array of excellent restaurants and shops. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and breakfast buffet. Room facilities include air conditioning, a telephone, television, minibar, safe and a hairdryer. In 2012, the hotel won a Bronze Award for overall quality in the Spain and Southern Europe regional category.
Hotel Hesperia Cordoba, Cordoba
A modern hotel offering views across the Guadalquivir Rivers to the city's famous Mesquita and Old Town, Hotel Hesperia Cordoba is an upscale establishment with a 4-star rating. Guests enjoy access to a pool, which is sheltered by a modern Andalusian courtyard, as well as a restaurant and bar with panoramic views. Each room is equipped with television, air conditioning, a minibar and a safe.
Hotel Catalonia La Pedrera, Barcelona
The heartbeat of Barcelona is palpable from the 4-Star Hotel Catalonia La Pedrera. This establishment is located in the very heart of Barcelona, just a few minutes from La Sagrada Familia and the trendy shopping district on Paseo de Gracia. A rooftop pool offers gorgeous views of the city, and the onsite restaurant offers authentic Mediterranean fare. In the rooms, guests enjoy air conditioning, television, telephone, free wireless Internet, a safe, a minibar and a hairdryer in the en suite bathroom.
The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionised train travel and meant that travelling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.
AVE is Spain's flagship high-speed service, connecting Madrid, Cordoba and Seville across dedicated high-speed tracks. AVE trains are based on the French TGV and Thalys, and the speed and comfort are similar. This being said, the level of service for passengers in First Class ("Preferente") is much higher, with a complimentary drink and light snack included. A café-bar serving drinks and snacks is also available onboard. AVE is so reliable that the Spanish railroad company, RENFE, promises a full refund if the train is more than 5 minutes late - a promise they have only had to honor in 0.16 percent of cases!
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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