The familiar images of Spain - Flamenco dancing, bullfighting, tapas bars, solemn processions - do no more than hint at the diversity of the country. Spain has 4 official languages, two major cities of almost equal importance and a greater range of landscapes than any other European country. These remarkable contrasts make Spain an endlessly fascinating country to visit. In early times, Spain was a coveted prize for foreign conquerors including the Phoenicians and the Romans. During the Middle Ages, much of it was ruled by the Moors who arrived from North Africa in the 8th Century. It was reconquered by Christian forces and unified in the 15th Century.
Spain has always imported its styles of architecture: Moorish to North Africa, Romanesque and Gothic from France and Renaissance from Italy. Each style, however, was interpreted in a distinctively Spanish way, with strong contrasts between light and shady areas, facades alternating between austerity and extravagant decoration, and thick walls pierced by few windows to lessen the impact of heat and sunlight. Styles vary from region to region, reflecting the division of Spain before unification. The key design of a central patio surrounded by arcades has been a strong feature of civil buildings since Moorish times.
Our tour will also show you the works of Antoni Gaudi, the leading exponent of Catalan Modernisme. His most celebrated building is the extravagant church of the Sagrada Familia, to which he devoted his life from 1914. It became his life's work and he lived like a recluse on the site for 16 years. He is buried in the crypt.
Join us on this beautiful tour to Spain, sampling its architecture and heritage....
Unique itinerary covering the Moorish, Roman and Gaudi architecture of Spain.
Discover local delicacies as you enjoy a typical Tapas dinner.
Enjoy an authentic Flamenco Show.
The beautiful Alcazar in Seville, a magnificent 14th century Royal Residence
The famous Mosque of the Caliphs in Cordoba.
Beautiful Alhambra Palace and Gardens of El Generalife in Granada.
Barcelona, the most vibrant city in Europe, a showpiece of Gaudi's unique architecture.
Arrival in Madrid (own arrangements) and transfer to your hotel. Dinner and alumni welcome cocktail this evening will be at your hotel.
This morning enjoy a panoramic tour of Madrid which will show you the city's avant-garde architecture and the Prado Museum. In the afternoon there will be a guided walking tour of the Old Quarter with Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace. Dinner this evening will be at a Tapas Restaurant.
Depart for the noble Castilian city of Segovia, former residence of King Alfonso X The Wise. The city was an important economic and political centre in the Middle Ages, and a military town in Roman times. On arrival, enjoy a guided tour of the Old Quarter which is circled by ramparts. Visit the Roman Aqueduct, the Medieval Fortress (Alcazar) and the Gothic Cathedral. Continue to Avila, where you will have time for independent lunch. Avila stands within magnificently preserved 11C walls. It is Spain's highest provincial capital, situated on one of the plateaux of the Meseta, at 3710 ft above sea level. Your afternoon tour of Avila will include the Old Quarter, the Cathedral, the Romanesque Basilica of San Vicente and the medieval city walls. Continue to your hotel in Salamanca for dinner and the night.
This morning enjoy a guided tour of Salamanca, a lovely university city of golden stone, narrow streets, splendid buildings and exuberantly rich faςades. Your half day city tour will include the Old Quarter, the Main Square (Plaza Mayor), the medieval fortress and the Cathedral. Depart for Merida, where on arrival, you will have free time to buy lunch. In 25 BC, the Roman governor of Augustus founded the township of Emerita Augusta, in this hitherto uncolonized region. The Romans lavished upon this town temples, a theatre, an amphitheatre and even a racecourse. In the afternoon visit the Old Quarter, the Museum of Roman Art, the Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre. After the tour, depart for Sevilla, capital of Andalucia and Spain's 4th largest city, for dinner and the night.
This morning enjoy an excursion to Italica, to visit the Roman ruins. The city was founded in the year 206 B.C. on the initiative of Publius Cornelius Scipio, known as "the African". It was the birthplace of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian. Important sights include the remains of the Roman town, including the amphitheatre (one of the largest in the Roman Empire, with seating for 25,000 spectators) and the network of streets covering the hillside. In the afternoon, enjoy a half day guided tour of Sevilla. The city's history is neatly summed by the lines carved long ago on the Puerta del Jerez (Jerez Gate), which reads: "Hercules built me; Caeasar surrounded me with walls and towers, the King Saint took me". Your half day guided tour will include the Old Quarter, the Cathedral and the Alcazar. Originally a Moorish Fort, the Alcazar is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. This evening enjoy dinner and a Flamenco show at a local restaurant.
Depart for Granada, with its exceedingly beautiful Moorish buildings, luminous skies and luxuriantly green setting overlooking the snow-capped Sierra Nevada. On arrival, enjoy a half day tour of the famous Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens. The beautiful Alhambra is one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built. It stands at the top of a wooded hill commanding views of the town. The afternoon at leisure. Dinner will be at your hotel.
After breakfast, depart for Cordoba. An Iberian and Roman city in ancient times, in the Middle Ages it became the capital of an Islamic caliphate. In the 10th century Córdoba was the most populous city in the world, and under the rule of Caliph Al Hakam II it had also become a center for education. During these centuries Cordoba was the intellectual center of Europe. Your tour will include the Medina-Azahara (surroundings of Cordoba), the Old Quarter with the Mosque-Cathedral and the Jewish Quarter with the Synagogue. After lunch (independent), depart for Toledo. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Toledo.
Toledo was the capital of Spain under the Visigoths, and became so again when the Christians reclaimed the city. It was home to the "Spanish Renaissance", and to "El Greco". There is something to see and enjoy at every step in Toledo. Walking along the maze of narrow, winding lanes you pass churches, old houses and palaces. Your half day tour will include the Cathedral built under the reign of Ferdinand III in 1227, Church of Santo Tome, to see the famous painting "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz" by El Greco, the house and Museum of El Greco, and the Synagogue. The afternoon is at leisure in this beautiful city, to further explore it at your own pace. Dinner will be at your hotel.
After breakfast, depart for Zaragoza the capital city of Aragon. The city is famous for its folklore, local gastronomy and its festivals. Your tour will include the Old Quarter with its Moorish architecture, the Basilica of El Pilar and the Cathedral of La Seo. The afternoon is at leisure. We recommend a visit to the Museo de Tapices , an outstanding collection of Gothic hangings from Arras or Brussels. Dinner will be at your hotel Zaragoza.
Today we depart for Tarragona is a city with thousands of years of history. Ancient Tarraco, founded by the Romans, was one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean. But Tarragona is more than just Roman ruins: it has a vibrant medieval history, art nouveau buildings, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. On arrival, you will enjoy a half day guided tour to include the medieval city with the Cathedral and city walls. You will also visit the Roman monuments outside the city limits: Centcelles Mausoleum, Ferreres Aqueduct, Scipios Tower, and Bera Triumphal Arch. Dinner this evening will be at your hotel.
Depart for beautiful Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, the second largest city in Spain, and the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea. Founded as a Roman city, and besieged several times during its history, Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On arrival, you will enjoy a panoramic tour of the city, which will include beautiful views of the city and sea from Montjuic, and a visit to the Olympic village and the harbour. After an independent lunch, you will enjoy a half day guided tour of the Old Quarter and Eixample, a mid-19th century extension of Barcelona, its structure quite exemplary for its time. The district personifies the Bourgeois elegant Barcelona of the end of the 19C, with its prestigious boutiques, smart avenues and some of the best examples of Modernist architecture. Dinner this evening will be at your hotel.
After a leisurely breakfast, enjoy another half day guided tour of Barcelona to include the Gothic Quarter, Sagrada Familia (probably Barcelona's best known site) and Guell Park, the most famous of Gaudi's undertakings commissioned by Guell. Gaudi's extraordinary imagination is particularly evident here. Visitors have the impression that they are entering an enchanted forest peopled with mushroom-shaped pavilions, and a flight of steps climbed by a mosaic dragon. Visit Gaudi's Home-Museum. The afternoon is at leisure to explore this beautiful city at your own pace. We recommend strolling on La Rambla, the most famous street in Barcelona. It is a tree-lined pedestrian mall stretching for 1.2 kilometres and connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the city center with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Dinner will be at your hotel.
Transfer to the airport in order to take your flight home (own arrangements).
Our Tour Escorts are personable and knowledgeable. Contact us for more information on any of the travel experiences we offer.
Transfers between airports and hotels
12-night accommodations in carefully selected First Class hotels (based on double occupancy), as follows:
- 2 nights in Madrid
- 1 nights in Salamanca
- 2 nights in Seville
- 1 night in Granada
- 2 nights in Toledo
- 1 night in Zaragoza
- 1 night in Tarragona
- 2 nights in Barcelona
Buffet breakfast at the hotels every morning;
12 dinners (most dinners will be at the hotels, except for two, which will be at local restaurants): Sample Spain's famous "Tapas" at a Tapas Restaurant; Enjoy an authentic Flamenco show with dinner.
Deluxe chartered coach transportation throughout the tour;
Sightseeing tours and excursions as follows:
- Half day tour of Madrid and the Prado Museum (with a guide)
- Half day tour of the Old Quarter, Plaza Mayor and Royal Palace (with a guide)
- Half day Segovia (with a guide)
- Half day Avila (with a guide)
- Half day Salamanca (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Italica (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Seville (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Alhambra and Generalife (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Cordoba (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Toledo (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Zaragoza (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Tarragona (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Barcelona - modern city (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Barcelona - Old Quarter and Eixample (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Barcelona - Gothic Quarter and Gaudi's architecture (with a guide)
Includes entrance fees to the places mentioned in the itinerary.
Services of a TOURINGHOUSE representative from the time of arrival until departure
Baggage handling at the hotels and tips to the bus driver and guides
All service charges and taxes