Highlights of Spain
Feel the spirit of the fiesta with this journey around Spain's most magical destinations.
This nine-day trip takes in all the magnificent culture, architecture and cuisine that Spain has to offer – starting with Barcelona, where you'll visit Gaudi's masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Church. It's then onto the awe-inspiring Alhambra Palace in Granada, the spectacular Seville Cathedral and the stunning Mezquita de Cordoba, before receiving an expert tour around the world-famous artwork at Madrid's Prado Museum… but this tour isn't just about ticking off the landmarks. You'll also get to taste delicious Valdepeñas wines, feel the rhythms of the traditional flamenco, soak up the breathtaking scenery across the plains of La Mancha, and even learn how to cook authentic Spanish paella. Ole!
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Duration: 9 days
Company: Insight Vacations
Tour Highlights: Barcelona, Valencia, Sierra Nevada, Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba, Madrid
- Barcelona: Enjoy a walking tour through the old lanes and squares of the Gothic Quarter. Drive down the elegant Passeig de Gracia to witness some of the finest Modernist architecture. Stand in awe beside Gaudi's incredible Sagrada Famila.
- Peñíscola: See the castle featured in the film El Cid.
- Valencia: See the ultra modern Centre of Arts and Sciences. See the huge City Gates of Serranos and Quart.
- Seville: Visit the beautiful Plaza de España in Seville's Maria Louisa Park. Enjoy a walking tour of the Santa Cruz Quarter with its pretty squares and flower decked balconies. Emerge by the walls of the Alcazar.
- Cordoba: Spend some time in the old Jewish Quarter.
- Madrid: Your guided tour shows you the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España, Royal Palace, Gran Via, Cibeles Fountain, Parliament and Puerta del Sol.
- Scenic drives: Cross the Sierra Nevada, Plains of La Mancha.
- Barcelona: Melia Barcelona Hotel Sarria. A luxurious hotel located in the heart of the city. Facilities include a fitness centre, restaurant, cafe, lounge and bar.
- Valencia: The Barceló Valencia hotel is situated right in the centre of the City of Arts and Sciences, opposite the Queen Sofia Palace of Arts, a building which was designed by the renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and is situated in one of the most modern and attractive areas of the city of Valencia.
- Granada: The 4* Vincci Albayzin is located in the centre of Granada and is typically Andalusian in style. It boasts a magnificent enclosed patio that bathes its rooms in natural light. Guests can enjoy the modern facilities, including, steam room and dry sauna.
- Seville: The Melia Seville, located in the heart of Seville, opposite the Parque de Maria Luisa, is just a short walk from the Plaza España, the Alcazar and the Barrio de Santa Cruz district. Completely refurbished, the hotel offers a stunning outdoor pool and bright, comfortable rooms.
- Madrid: The modern Melia Galgos hotel is a short walk away from the main museums and shopping areas and offers fully equipped and comfortable facilities, including, sauna and hydro-massage.
- 8 nights accommodation in first-class hotels
- Insight signature experiences
- Insight Flourishes – from time to time, your tour director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination
- Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing
- Expert Travel Director and separate driver
- Luxury air-conditioned coach with extended leg room
- Return airport transfers
- Complimentary wifi throughout the coach and hotels to stay connected
- All porterage and restaurant gratuities
- Tour also available for summer 2016
Welcome to Barcelona
Airport transfers depart from Barcelona Airport for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:00. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the chance to mingle over a delightful evening of dinner and wine. (Welcome Reception and Dinner)
Barcelona, the City of Gaudi
After a restful night's sleep, join a Local Expert to explore the narrow lanes and old squares behind the cathedral. Then drive by the lively Rambla and along the Passeig de Gràcia, adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and some of the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district for a visit inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia to see the central nave with its giant, tree-like pillars and spectacular vaulting. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore. (Buffet Breakfast)
Drive along the Orange Blossom Coast to Valencia
Follow the sunny Costa Dorada, past the rice fields of the Ebro Delta to stop by Peñíscola and see the sea-lapped castle, used in the film El Cid. Pass through the famous orange groves to Valencia where you'll see the ultra-modern Centre of Arts and Sciences. Circumnavigate the old town, past the City Gates of Serranos and Quart to reach your hotel. Valencia is home to one of the world's greatest dishes. Nowhere will you eat better paella! Tonight learn the authentic recipe in a fun cookery demonstration and savour the flavours of this classic dish for dinner, washed down with a glass of Sangria. (Buffet Breakfast / Signature Evening)
Follow the Sierra Nevada to Granada and the Alhambra
Heading along the Costa Blanca, Benidorm suddenly rises like Manhattan on the Mediterranean.
Continue past the castle at Lorca and troglodyte dwellings hollowed out of the soft rock at Purullena. Drive along the Sierra Nevada, with magnificent mountain views and over the Mora Pass to reach glorious Granada. Overlooking the town, stands one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built – the Alhambra. Explore this exquisite palace; a fantasy of stone cut lace, arabesque gardens and fountains, built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century. Also stroll through the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the Royal summer residence. (Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)
Scenic drive to Seville
In the morning, there is time, if you wish, to explore the labyrinthine Albaicin Quarter - from the Church of St Nicholas, there is one of the most exquisite views of the Alhambra.
Then drive to Seville past gleaming white villages and olive groves that stretch as far as the eye can see. This exquisite capital of Andalucía is simply one of Spain's most charming jewels. At night, enjoy the flavours of Andalucía and share in the passion of Spain's most fiery region at a Flamenco show and dinner. (Buffet Breakfast / Signature Evening)
Seville, the City of Carmen
Seville has a distinctive character and presence that is best revealed by a Local Expert.
During your stay, visit the Plaza de España in Maria Louisa Park. Then stroll through the fashionable Santa Cruz Quarter with its flower bedecked, wrought-iron balconies. Emerge by the Alcazar - a Moorish fantasy in stone, set in richly scented gardens. Visit the massive cathedral, burial place of Christopher Columbus and enriched with the spoils of the New World. The energetic can climb the Giralda Tower, former minaret of the Great Mosque, and enjoy views over the city. This afternoon is at leisure. (Buffet Breakfast)
To Moorish Cordoba and on to Madrid
Set off early along the Guadalquivir Valley, past villages and towns studded with Moorish towers and fortresses. Stop in the perfectly preserved Moorish city of Cordoba. See the famous 2,000-year-old bridge and meet a local historian for a visit to the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th century mosque with a Christian church built inside it. Afterwards, there is free time to stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Jewish Quarter. Follow in the footsteps of Don Quixote as you travel through the Mancha vineyards to the famous wine-centre of Valdepeñas, its roads lined with bodegas (wine-cellars). Learn about the wines that make this region so famous and taste their robust flavours. Then move on to the capital of Madrid. (Buffet Breakfast)
Madrid of the Bourbons
Join a Local Expert for sightseeing along the noble avenues. Drive by the statue of Cervantes' fictional hero, Don Quixote, in the Plaza de España. Continue past the Cibeles Fountain and the Parliament and cross the Puerta del Sol. Visit the Prado Museum, a magnificent palace housing works by Botticelli, Velázquez, Goya, Titian, Rubens and others. Take time out to relax at a café or shop in the trendy boutiques or perhaps enjoy an optional trip to beautiful Toledo. In the evening, join a farewell Celebration Dinner in the heart of town, complete with wine. (Buffet Breakfast / Celebration Dinner)
Board your onward flight, taking home memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. Departure transfers arrive at Madrid Airport at 07:00, 09:00 & 11:00. (Buffet Breakfast)
- Valencia: Learn the authentic recipe of paella in a fun cookery demonstration and savour the flavours of this classic dish for dinner washed down with a glass of Sangria!
- Seville: Over dinner with wine, the stage suddenly erupts with the unmistakable singing, clapping and throbbing guitars of Flamenco.
- Madrid: Honest culinary traditions and a fiesta of fresh ingredients are the hallmarks of your end-of-tour Spanish Celebration Dinner. The perfect accompaniment to good conversation and a chilled glass of beer or wine.
- 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 8 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 2 Signature Evenings (SE), 1 three-course table d'hôte Dinner or Buffet, plus tea or coffee (D) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD). Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year's Eve enjoy a festive Highlight Dinner.
- Barcelona: A Local Expert will take you inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Church.
- Granada: Join a Local Expert at the Alhambra Palace, an arabesque fantasy in stone, complemented by the gardens of the Generalife.
- Seville: Step inside the impressive cathedral, past the altarpiece, dripping with gold, to the Tomb of Columbus, held aloft by four kings.
- Cordoba: See the Roman Bridge and with a Local Expert, explore the Mezquita. With its forest of horseshoe arches, this fascinating building symbolises many of Cordoba's religious changes over the centuries.
- Valdepeñas: The light-red wines upon which the reputation of Valdepeñas was founded are slowly giving way to more serious reds. Enjoy a delicious exploration of these wines, their robust flavours and absorbing history.
- Madrid: Study the world's finest collection of Spanish paintings plus an impressive foreign collection as you tour the Prado Museum with an expert art historian.