es-barcelona-madrid

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Art Walk in Madrid is every art lover’s dream.
  • Barcelona culture and architecture
  • Gaudi’s modern basilica, La Sagrada Familia, a gothic masterpeace
  • The beaches of Valencia
  • Churches and plazas of Cuenca

TOUR ITINERARY

Day 1: Barcelona
Barcelona’s quirky character and fabulous Catalan cuisine mixes seamlessly with a groundbreaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife, making it a city you won’t soon forget. In the afternoon, there are plenty of options to keep you busy. Wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter and navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona’s famous tree-lined boulevard. Perhaps pay a visit to the Picasso Museum, the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. Take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. The heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre and so this evening perhaps head out to taste the reputation for yourself. Take a tapas crawl through rustic Catalan dishes in the funky neighbourhood of El Born.

Overnight: Barcelona
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 2: Barcelona
In the morning we start the day at the Santa Catarina Market to discover the local produce set out in stalls beneath a colourful, undulating roof. We will continue to explore the city’s famous architecture, from its impressive gothic main cathedral to the houses, concert halls, palaces and basilicas designed in the unique Catalan Modernista style. The mastermind Antonio Gaudi’s eccentric creations are spread across the city. The most famous is the modern basilica of La Sagrada Familia, on which Gaudi worked for decades until his death, and it remains in constant construction. Also well worth visiting are the Neo-Gothic mansion of Guell Palace andthe wave-inspired structure of Casa Battlo.

Overnight: Barcelona
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3: Valencia
Today take the train down the coast to Valencia (approximately 4 hours).
It’s known for being the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, with a big port, beautiful beaches, restaurants and a beach promenade along the waterfront. The old town is set back from the seafront through, and in the centre you will find the beautiful monuments and historical buildings. Busy markets, clean beaches, spectacular mountains and a fascinating mix of old town and new town makes up the best of Valencia. Over the next couple of days, you have a lot of free time to wander around the city and see the sights. Explore the colourful stalls of the Mercado Central, and this evening perhaps head out to bar-hop and eat tapas in the Ciutat Vella (old town).

Overnight: Valencia
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Valencia
Take today to explore. Possibly visit the 13th-century cathedral, which houses what’s claimed to be the Holy Grail, and climb the 207 steps of the Miguelete tower for the best views of the city. The Museum of the Fallas is another unique option, which contains a history of the Valencia Fire Festival in the form of giant papier mache figures. There are also many fine parks and gardens, or you may want to head to the beach of Playa de la Malvarrosa to soak up some sun. To try the paella that Valencia is famous for (rabbit and chicken), do as the locals do and head to the restaurant area of Las Arenas for a hearty and reasonably priced lunch. Valencia is also built with separate cycle paths, so it’s really easy to get around. Perhaps rent a bike from one of the many bike stations dotted around the city. Cycle through the park that runs through the centre of the city to the impressively designed Museu de les Ciencies Príncipe Felipe (Arts and Science Museum). Tonight, maybe head south to Ruzafa, one of the city’s coolest areas.

Overnight: Valencia
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Cuenca
Today we travel west to charming Cuenca (approximately 4 hours).
The town is located literary on the edge of deep gorges created by two rivers: Jucar and Huecar. On arrival, venture out on an orientation walk around this historic World Heritage fortress city. The old part of this city is an outstanding medieval development built on steep mountainsides, with many casa colgadas (hanging houses) that are literally on the cliff edge. Like many towns in Spain, it was occupied for a period of time by the Muslim Moors who built the original fortress. Afterwards, use your free time getting to know the city. Perhaps visit the impressive 12th-century gothic Cathedral. There is also wonderful art all over the town, with a number of abstract artists making Cuenca their home in the 1960s. Evening is a great opportunity to gather together with the group and enjoy a dinner in this picturesque town, with the old city beautifully brushed with light from a series of high-powered lamps suspended half-way up the rock.

Overnight: Cuenca
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Madrid
Today travel by bus to Madrid (approximately 2.5 hours).
Madrid, Spain’s central capital, is a city of elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks such as the Buen Retiro. It’s renowned for its rich repositories of European art, including the Prado Museum’s works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters. The heart of old Hapsburg Madrid is the portico-lined Plaza Mayor, and nearby is the baroque Royal Palace and Armory, displaying historic weaponry

Overnight: Madrid
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Madrid
Today we visit the the baroque Royal Palace and Armoury, followed by a brake in the Real Jardin Botanico, a garden wonderland dating from the 18th century. In the evening we head out to Chueca, Plaza Dos de Mayo or Plaza Santa Ana, to explore the city’s nightlife.

Overnight: Madrid
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Madrid
Final day, we leave Madrid