A feast of Spanish cultural delights awaits your discovery on this 11-day voyage from Madrid to Barcelona.
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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.
Highlights and Inclusions
- First class travel (unless otherwise described) on Altaria and AVE rail networks
- Hotel accommodations for 11 nights
- 16 meals including a dinner at a traditional Andalucían restaurant overlooking the Alhambra
- Guided tours of Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Granada
- The Alhambra
- An Andalucían Horse Show
- Sherry tasting
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- The services of a professional Tour Manager
Day 1 - Madrid
Arrive in Madrid and meet your group and Tour Manager at your hotel, the NH Principe Vergera, where we spend two nights in the lively Spanish capital.
Day 2 - Sightseeing in Madrid
Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city, admiring the many architectural styles, and attractive green spaces. Following the tour, which takes place on foot and by coach, we have lunch in a typical restaurant on Madrid's Plaza Mayor. The rest of your day is free. (B, L)
Days 3 - To Seville & a guided sightseeing tour
This morning we depart by high-speed AVE train for the journey south into Andalucía, to the fascinating city of Seville, an old port city set on the Guadalquivir River. The city played a key role in establishing and continuing trade with South America and remains one of Spain's most active river ports. Credited with inventing tapas, Seville boasts as many as 1,000 tapas bars serving almost every conceivable type of tapas. Sevillians are known to move from bar to bar, enjoying a different small dish in each establishment they visit. On arrival in Seville we transfer to the Hotel Becquer, located in the heart of the city. This afternoon we enjoy a tour, including the beautiful and historic Santa Cruz area and the Gothic cathedral dominated by the Giralda tower. (B, D)
Day 4 - Seville at Leisure
Today is spent at leisure discovering this quintessentially Spanish city. (B)
Day 5 - Granada and the Albayzin
Today we travel by rail to Granada (Standard Class), an enchanting city scattered over 7 small hills at the confluence of 2 rivers. Charming and romantic, Granada is dominated by the exquisite Alhambra, one of the most recognisable palaces in the world, and bathed throughout the afternoon in a glorious warm pink-gold glow. We begin our explorations with a sightseeing tour, visiting the Albayzin area which boasts fantastic views of the Alhambra and retains the narrow winding streets of its medieval past, Carrera Del Darro. Here we will see the Church of San Salvador, Arab baths and Plaza Larga. This evening we dine at a restaurant in the Albayzin Quarter, enjoying views of the beautifully illuminated Alhambra. (B, D)
Day 6 - The Alhambra
We continue our sightseeing today with a visit to Spain's most spectacular and iconic monument, the Alhambra, which was once the residence of the Muslim Kings of Granada. The Alhambra sits proudly on a plateau overlooking Granada, with the high Sierra Nevada as its backdrop. Dating back to the 9th century, the palace complex now boasts UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of Spain's most iconic monuments. Originally a small fortress, the Sultan of Granada converted the building in the early 14th century. After a guided tour, we visit a traditional restaurant this evening. (B, D)
Day 7 - To Cordoba
Our journey today takes us by coach to Cordoba, a beautiful city with a relaxed atmosphere. On the way, we pay an informative visit to an olive oil mill in Montilla, where we see how this traditional foodstuff is made by impressively engineered machinery. This afternoon you are free to explore at leisure. We dine together at a local Taberna this evening. (B, D)
Day 8 - Guided sightseeing tour of Cordoba
This morning we embark on a sightseeing tour of Cordoba, which in the 10th century was the largest city in Western Europe and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The labyrinth of narrow, winding alleys and pretty squares make Cordoba a delightful city to explore on foot. After crossing the Roman Bridge and passing the 14th-century Calahorra Tower, we continue to the famous Mezquita (mosque). We then tour the Jewish Quarter, with its narrow whitewashed streets. (B)
Day 9 - Barcelona
This morning we join the high-speed AVE service direct to Barcelona. We travel in Standard Plus class for this journey. Upon arrival you are free to explore this exciting city at your own pace. Barcelona has long been Spain's economic heart, and this wealth is reflected in the grand, opulent buildings which encircle the various public squares dotted throughout the city. We stay at the 4-Star Hotel Catalonia La Pedrera, our base for two nights. Take your time after settling into your hotel to explore a little of this superb continental city. You may wish to sample food in a local restaurant or café, which serve varieties of Spanish tapas along with food unique to Catalonia and this part of Spain. As the day winds down, perhaps take a stroll along the beach and the waterfront, and enjoy the sight of the blue waters of the Balearic Sea as the sun melts in the waves. (B)
Day 10 - A sightseeing tour of Barcelona
This morning we take a sightseeing tour of Barcelona, including 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. The inimitable Gaudí architecture and medieval churches offer contrasts on every corner, with countless street performers, cafés and shops in between. We enjoy a final farewell dinner tonight at a local restaurant. (B, D)
Day 11 - Return Home
After breakfast this morning, you are free to depart at leisure for your flight home. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
The high speed Altaria service in Spain provides excellent connections between Madrid and several other major Spanish cities and can reach speeds of up to 124mph (200km/h). First Class tickets usually include a complimentary meal and drinks. The trains generally feature an on-board café where passengers may purchase snacks, light meals and drinks.
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 offered are similar. However, 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 on board. AVE is so reliable that the Spanish railroad company, RENFE, promise a full refund if the train is more than five minutes late - so far they have only had to honour that promise in 0.16% of cases!
Hotel Catalonia La Pedrera, Barcelona
This superb 4-Star hotel is in the very heart of Barcelona, just a few minutes from La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's renowned unfinished work. You can easily access the local shops and trendy district of Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona's main shopping boulevard. e hotel also has a rooftop pool, where you can enjoy views of this gorgeous European city.
Hotel Hesperia Cordoba, Cordoba
The 4-Star Hotel Hesperia Cordoba, is a modern hotel offering views across the Guadalquivir Rivers to the city's famous Mesquita and Old Town. The hotel has a pool, sheltered by a modern Andalucian courtyard. The hotel has its own restaurant and panoramic bar. Rooms are equipped with television, air conditioning, minibar and safe.
Melia Granada Hotel, Granada
The 4-Star Melia Granada Hotel is located in the heart of Old Town Granada in 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.
NH Principe Vergara, Madrid
The 4-Star Hotel NH Principe de Vergara is our base whilst in the gorgeous city of Madrid. Set within the Lista area of the city, the hotel is a close walk to numerous public transport links that can take you into the center of this historic city. The hotel rooms are air-conditioned throughout, and also come with an en-suite bathroom, a television, a minibar, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel itself boasts some great amenities, including a gym, a bar, and a restaurant that specialises in Mediterranean food.
Hotel Becquer, Seville
In Seville we stay at the 4-Star Hotel Becquer, located in the city center, only a few minutes away from Seville's main attractions, such as the Cathedral, the Giralda or the Santa Cruz district, all a short walk from the hotel. The hotel has two restaurants including El Pabellon offering traditional Mediterranean cuisine. The hotel also offers guest a café, two bars, a lounge, spa, Turkish bath, steam bath, swimming pool and sun terrace. Room facilities include minibar, television, air conditioning, hairdryer and safe.
Passport & Visa Requirements
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.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|18th April 2020||$3,310||Book Now|
|23rd May 2020||$3,310||Book Now|
|12th September 2020||$3,310||Book Now|
|26th September 2020||$3,310||Book Now|
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Andalucían Explorer: Departs 18th April 2020 ($3,310), 23rd May 2020 ($3,310), 12th September 2020 ($3,310), 26th September 2020 ($3,310)
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