(9 days from Madrid to Barcelona)

The best way to see all highlights of Spain in a short time! Stay two nights in Madrid and enjoy a welcome dinner and guided sightseeing that features a visit to the palatial Prado Museum. Via Cordoba, where a guided visit to the Mosque of the Caliphs is included, arrive in vibrant, festive Seville, capital of Andalusia, for a scenic cruise on the Guadalquivir River. Also visit the Alcazar and the Mirador de las Setas during your guided sightseeing tour. In Granada, a guided walking tour visits the Alhambra complex and the Water Gardens of Generalife, and a dinner outing to one of Granada’s local restaurants awaits. Next is Valencia, once a royal capital, where Roman, Moorish, and Spanish history come alive during your guided walking tour. End in Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city, where you’ll marvel at the Sagrada Familia Basilica, Gaudi’s masterpiece, visit the gothic quarter, and enjoy an included paella farewell dinner.


Day 1 Arrive in Madrid, Spain

Welcome to Madrid! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel. (D)

Day 2 Madrid

The capital since 1561, Madrid today is a strikingly modern city, the showcase of a country resolutely turned towards the future. Your Local Guide takes you to the Puerta del Sol, Plaza de España with its monument to Cervantes, the Parliament, Cibeles Fountain, elegant Calle Alcala, and Paseo de Castellana. Then, the highlight: a visit to the palatial PRADO MUSEUM with its priceless art treasures. To make the most of your stay, exciting optional excursions are available. (B)

Day 3 Madrid–Cordoba–Seville

Drive south through the arid landscapes of Don Quixote’s La Mancha to Cordoba, where sightseeing with a Local Guide includes the Alcazar, the Roman Bridge, and the medieval Jewish quarter. Tour the magnificent 8th-century MOSQUE OF THE CALIPHS, famous for its 850 pillars of porphyry, marble, and jasper. Then, continue to Seville, the capital of Andalusia, where a [LF] scenic CRUISE on the Guadalquivir is the perfect introduction to this vibrant, festive city. (B,D)

Day 4 Seville

During your sightseeing tour with a Local Guide, hear about the city’s role in Roman times, its conquest by the Moors in 712 AD, and its contribution to the discovery of the New World. Admire Maria Luisa Park, the Golden Tower on the Guadalquivir River, and the university that used to be the tobacco factory of Carmen fame. Then, stroll through the narrow lanes of the charming SANTA CRUZ QUARTER. Highlights are visits to the ALCAZAR, founded in the 11th century as a Moorish fortress, with its Palacio de Don Pedro, and the MIRADOR DE LAS SETAS. For those interested, an optional extended guided visit to the cathedral is available. Tonight, for a truly Andalusian night out, reserve a seat at our optional Flamenco show. (B)

Day 5 Seville–Granada

Sightseeing with a Local Guide features Granada’s main attaction, the ALHAMBRA COMPLEX. The mighty yet graceful citadel was planned by 13th-century Moorish ruler Al Ahamar. A fantasy of “lace in stone” surrounded by arabesque gardens and fountains, it affords superb views of the Old Quarter and Sacromonte, a mountain occupied by Gypsy cave dwellers. Also amble through the magnificent WATER GARDENS OF THE GENERALIFE, the royal summer residence. This evening, [LF] a special dinner with wine awaits you at one of Granada’s fine restaurants to try out local specialties. (B,D)

Day 6 Granada–Valenica

Cross Mora Pass and pass troglodyte cave dwellings, hollowed out of the soft tufa stone, near Purullena and Guadix on your way to Valencia, once a royal capital. During your guided walking tour, Valencia’s Roman, Moorish, and Spanish history comes alive. (B,D)

Day 7 Valencia–Barcelona

Enjoy a scenic drive along the coast to Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and the host of the Olympic Games in 1992. Tonight, why not join an optional dinner at a typical Catalonian restaurant? (B)

Day 8 Barcelona

Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Columbus Monument, elegant tree-lined Ramblas, Plaza de Cataluna, and Paseo de Gracia. Admire the spectacular Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s masterpiece, and enjoy a panoramic view of the city and harbor from Montjuïc Hill. Also visit the GOTHIC QUARTER. This afternoon, an optional excursion to Montserrat can be arranged, and this evening, a [LF] special paella farewell dinner with wine has been prepared at a local restaurant to say, “Adios” to your traveling companions. (B,D)

Day 9 Barcelona

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)