Spain Tours & Vacations

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  1. Describe your dream trip to Spain, from a luxury vacation to an adventure tour.
  2. We match you with up to 3 top travel specialists for Spain who compete to plan your vacation.
  3. Book the trip when you are satisfied.

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About Spain
The allure of Spain runs deep, in the dazzling flourishes of the classical guitar, the tap of the flamenco dancer’s castanets, the church bells that ring religiously every hour. This is a country that beats to a different rhythm, that veritably oozes passion and charm. Spain is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, its artistic creativity, and one of the world’s greatest collections of architectural monuments – third only to Italy and China in UNESCO’s World Heritage rankings. Experience the country’s joyous social life, from convivial tapas tours and colorful food festivals to exuberant dusk-to-dawn nightlife. Discover its beguiling Moorish past, its seductive Gypsy soul, and the modern vitality of its Catholic faith. Time and again, Spain’s diverse heritage and history guarantee a fascinating journey of discovery.

Luxury Spain Tour 2014-2015

14 days in Spain

Delight in the sheer joy of Spain as you visit the country’s most beautiful sights and indulge in the good life. On this two-week luxury tour, you’ll stay in upscale boutique... Read more...

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Highlights of Andalucia & Madrid Tour with Barcelona Option

10 days in Spain

Allow the magic of another place to touch your soul, as you immerse yourself in the splendors of Andalusia—Spain’s most vibrant culture. This is the region where Christians, Jews... Read more...

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Spain & France Tour of Art and Beauty

13 days in France, Spain

The sun sets low over the Catalonian fields and spreads its rays over the glittering azure expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. Modern cities and darling villages greet you at every... Read more...

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High-Speed Train Tour: Madrid, Cordoba & Seville

6 days in Spain

In Spain, life is celebrated with passion. Allow that spirit to enliven your vacation as you visit the capital city and the vibrant region of Andalusia. You’ll travel through... Read more...

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Spain Tour for Independent Travelers: Madrid & Andalucia

8 days in Spain

Get swept away by the joyous spirit of Spain. “Everyday is like a holiday,” someone once said to describe Andalusia, and the same could apply to energetic Madrid with its... Read more...

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Self Drive Tour of Southern Spain: Andalucia

7 days in Spain

Dare to experience the joys of Andalusia, the birthplace of so many famous Spanish traditions: festivals, siestas, bull fights, tapas. After a few days, you will be under the... Read more...

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Madrid & Toledo: Spain Tour

5 days in Spain

Open your eyes to the beauty of Spain. The awe-inspiring art, magnificent monuments, convivial culture, and unbelievable nightlife will dazzle you. Celebrate the moment and... Read more...

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London, Paris & Barcelona Tour in 9 days

9 days in France, Spain, UK

These are three of Europe’s greatest metropolises, the urban conglomerations that have become synonymous with fine taste, fine food and fine scenery. They’re the places that set... Read more...

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Spain, Morocco & Gibraltar Tour

12 days in Morocco, Spain

Give in to the subtle allurement of the sunshine and the seaside, the fun-loving festivals, and the spectacular sights. This special vacation takes you to two of Spain’s most... Read more...

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Northeastern Spain Tour by Train: Art, Culture, Food & Wine

12 days in Spain

From tapas and paella to El Greco and Gaudi, Spain captivates you with its fascinating culture. This customizable tour covers Northern Spain’s most interesting attractions, where... Read more...

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Best of Catalonia: Barcelona & Monastery of Montserrat Tour

5 days in Spain

Centuries of history, and the dazzling promises of the future. Wide and bustling streets lined with dreamlike buildings and exclusive boutiques, and the inspiring beauty of a... Read more...

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Barcelona, Montserrat & Private Penedes Wine Region Tour

6 days in Spain

Do you dream of the shores of the sea and a city park that takes you from the everyday to the extraordinary? Do you long for a relaxing spa, a reinvigorating massage and a... Read more...

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Spain Bike Tour: Cycling Tour of Los Pueblos Blancos

12 days in Spain

You can blame the flamenco music, the sunshine or the Sherry wine. Whatever the reason, Andalusia gives you permission to indulge in the pleasures of life. As you stroll through... Read more...

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Discover Spain: Custom Tour of Madrid, Toledo, Seville and Barcel...

9 days in Spain

In Spain, the architecture alone tells tales of the country’s multifaceted history. Catholic cathedrals reveal a surprising Moorish past, medieval quarters whisper the aura of... Read more...

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Custom Tour of Spain and Morocco 2014/2015

11 days in Morocco, Spain

From its flamboyant Flamenco dancers to grand Gothic cathedrals and avant-garde architecture, the drama of Spain will captivate you. Explore the theatrical beauty of Spain’s... Read more...

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Andalucia Luxury Train Trip to Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Baeza, Ú...

8 days in Spain

From spirited Flamenco to fabulous fiestas, Spain offers visitors an enticing escape from everyday life. Get away to a place where the daily routine includes socializing, siestas... Read more...

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Galicia Cooking Tour at Santiago de Compostela & Exclusive Wi...

5 days in Spain

Before you even pack your bags, you can already sense the seafood stew simmering, the aroma of freshly baked empanadas and the clink of glasses at a tapas bar. You’ve been... Read more...

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Self Drive Tour of Southern Spain

8 days in Spain

Basking in the southern sun and sparkling under starry night skies, Andalusia speaks to your soul. This earthly paradise is an oasis of natural beauty and magnificent monuments... Read more...

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Best of Madrid & Andalusia Tour: Madrid, Seville, Granada...

8 days in Spain

This is the Spain of Hemingway, beckoning with its beauty, its energy and its magic. This is the Spain of song and dance, top-notch gastronomy, towering cathedrals, vibrant art... Read more...

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Self Drive Tour of Andalucia with Historic Paradors

7 days in Spain

Let the magic of Andalusia seduce you—the aura of another era, the sound of Flamenco in the air, the beauty of three cultures. Moorish palaces and Gothic cathedrals reveal the... Read more...

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Southern Spain Tour: Malaga, Costa del Sol, Granada, Cordoba, Sev...

10 days in Spain

Southern Spain beckons you with its seductive beauty and sunny lifestyle. In this land of everyday pleasures, there is fascinating history and a depth of culture that spans back... Read more...

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The Golden Age of Spain: Andalucia Tour

8 days in Spain

Endlessly romantic, Andalusia dazzles all the senses. Feel the legacy of centuries past. Delight in the magic of the Moorish culture and the Gypsy music. Savor the exotic cuisine... Read more...

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Barcelona to Carcassonne: The Spanish & French Mediterranean...

11 days in France, Spain

Dreamlike sunsets and enchanting medieval towns. The glories of the past and the stirring beauty of nature. The craggy reaches of the Costa Brava and the fecund fields and valleys... Read more...

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Best of Spain Tour: Barcelona, Andalusia & Madrid

11 days in Spain

Travel to the beat of a different culture as you explore the highlights of Spain. Listen for the melodies of classical guitar as you stroll through ancient courtyards. Feel the... Read more...

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Pages

SPAIN

  • INTRODUCTION
  • TOP DESTINATIONS
  • UNIQUE EXPERIENCES
  • WEATHER AND WHEN TO GO
  • WHERE TO STAY
  • BEFORE YOU GO
  • HEALTH AND SAFETY
  • CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE
  • SPAIN TOURS: THE ZICASSO WAY

Once the most powerful country in the world, Spain basks in the glory of its past. The legendary Moorish kingdom of Andalusia was a beacon of civilization during the Middle Ages, and the Habsburg dynasty that ruled Spain in the 15th and 16th centuries built an empire that extended across Europe to the Americas, Africa and Asia – ensuring that Spanish would become the world’s second most spoken native language. Today, Spain’s old superpower status and superlative wealth live on in its spectacular historic buildings and monuments – and in the vast quantities of gold that still decorate its churches.

After the Golden Age of the 17th century, Spain began a slow political decline and more recently has struggled economically. However, the country’s glorious historic legacy makes for an endlessly intriguing visit. With its magnificent monuments, beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, and sophisticated social life, Spain enchants millions of visitors every year. Many travelers can’t get enough and keep coming back.

From cosmopolitan Barcelona to romantic Andalusia, Spain is filled with attractions that offer a veritable feast for the senses. In every city, you’ll find buildings that amaze and inspire: from the immense Gothic cathedral of Seville to the glorious Baroque buildings of Madrid, and Barcelona’s breathtaking Sagrada Familia basilica – an epic 130-year building project that is finally nearing completion.

The culinary culture is as rich as it is regionally varied: from exotic tapas and rich red wines, to lively food festivals, long lunches, and – of course – afternoon siestas. To truly experience Spain, you must adapt to its rhythm and way of life. Adjust to the later meal times and take advantage of the nightlife. Learn about the religious festivals and join the locals at the piazzas. Sunbathe at the beaches and save time for museum visits. Be adventurous and sample the local cuisine, from tangy cold gazpacho soups to whole roast suckling pig. Watching a bullfight is a possibility, while chatting with the locals is mandatory – and will always make your trip more memorable.

 

Andalusia

They say you haven’t been to Spain until you’ve been to Andalusia. Straddling the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, this mountainous southern region is the original home of flamenco dancing, and is renowned for its delectable tapas and glorious weather. With the sunshine comes a slower pace of life; siestas are still very much de rigueur here. Must-see sights include the breathtaking Alhambra Palace in Granada, the 8th century Grand Mosque of Cordoba, and the awe-inspiring Cathedral of Seville. Those who appreciate traditional equestrian shows and dressage will want to visit Jerez de la Frontera – also famous for its fine sherry and brandy production. For more off-the-beaten-track excursions, travel through the tranquil Sierra Nevada Mountains and stop at the picturesque whitewashed villages of Las Alpujarras.

Basque Country

Straddling the Pyrenees Mountains along the French border, the Basque country is a fiercely independent region with a unique culture and language – and reputedly more chefs than anywhere else in Spain. Less crowded and touristy than other regions, this rugged country has a wild beauty all its own. Highlights include San Sebastian with its lively seaside ambience and fabulous restaurants, Bilboa with its incredible Guggenheim modern art museum, and Pamplona, where the annual San Fermin Festival (held each July 6-14) features the exhilarating ‘Running of the Bulls’.

Barcelona & Catalonia

Hugging the golden coastline of the Costa Brava, the region of Catalonia sparkles in the Mediterranean sunshine. Beautiful sandy beaches, serene blue seas, and lush green countryside provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing vacation. Culture also flourishes in this distinct region, with its own language and cuisine. The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city with world-class museums, topnotch restaurants, and dazzling architecture. Barcelona’s enchanting Gothic Quarter is a labyrinth of narrow streets – some dating back to Roman times – with medieval palaces, churches and placas (squares) inviting you to sit and absorb the ancient ambience. In striking contrast, the more modern sections of the city are distinguished by grand boulevards and the wildly expressive architecture of Antoni Gaudi.

After soaking up the vibrant culture of Barcelona, the charming seaside villages and pristine sandy beaches of the Costa Brava offer an altogether more tranquil pace beside the sparkling Mediterranean. The historic city of Girona has a Dali Museum that is worth a visit if you appreciate modern art, while gourmands will delight in the legendary cuisine of El Cellar de Can Roca.

Costa del Sol

A famous tourist destination in southern Spain, the sunny Costa del Sol is a beach lover’s paradise. The picture-postcard village of Marbella is a dreamy upscale seaside resort, while the town of Malaga offers historic monuments, vibrant seaside culture, and a not-to-be-missed Picasso museum.

Madrid

Spain’s capital offers an evocative taste of the country’s heritage as a global empire, with elegant Baroque buildings, grand plazas, and monumental fountains lending the city a regal ambience. With its bustling energy and incomparable nightlife, Madrid exemplifies Spain’s unique standing as a meeting-place of the old and new worlds. The city’s world-class museums include the Prado, with Europe’s finest masterpieces of Spanish art, and the Reina Sofia Museum, with its incredible collection of over 20,000 works of contemporary art.

Toledo

A veritable open-air museum of ancient architecture, Toledo is a designated UNESCO World Heritage City. This mystifying place transports visitors to another, more peaceful era, when Christians, Jews and Muslims lived here together in harmony. Still surrounded by its medieval walls, the ‘city of the three cultures’ boasts incredible ancient churches, palaces, synagogues and mosques. There is also an amazing cathedral with El Greco masterpieces and an impressive Alcazar, the old Moorish palace.

Ronda

Situated in a dramatic natural setting along the El Tajo Gorge, Ronda is a beautiful historic city in the province of Malaga. Around the city are the remains of prehistoric settlements and rock paintings dating to the Neolithic era – the last part of the Stone Age. Ronda is also renowned as the birthplace of bullfighting, and tourists can watch this traditional sport performed in Spain’s oldest bullring.

 

  • Soak up the medieval ambience of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, reveling in the evocative atmosphere of ancient Roman temples, 14th century churches, and medieval buildings where Catalan counts and monarchs held court for 500 years. The ancient streets are a shoppers’ paradise, with everything from big-brand stores to bustling markets and dusty old antique shops.
  • Take a guided tour of the stunning, instantly recognizable architecture of Barcelona’s most famous son, Antoni Gaudi. The fantastic and surreal world of Post-Modern architecture has its pinnacle in the towering Sagrada Familia basilica – Gaudi’s visionary masterpiece, which is due to be completed in 2026.
  • Spend time visiting the charming medieval towns, fishing villages, castles and vineyards that stretch along the Costa Brava near Barcelona. This sunny coastal region has become very popular with discerning Barcelonians, and has a rich spread of fine restaurants and boutique hotels overlooking the Mediterranean.
  • While on the east coast, be sure to savor the Valencian and Catalonian varieties of paella – the legendary slow-cooked rice dish served with chicken or seafood. Adventurous gourmands will be drawn to the famous ‘black paella’, made with rice stained with squid or octopus ink.
  • Take an artistic pilgrimage to the birthplace of Pablo Picasso in Malaga, where the Buena Vista Palace in the city’s historic heart has become the Museo Picasso Malaga – housing an exceptional collection of 285 works by one of the world’s most influential artists.
  • Andalusia, and particularly Malaga and Seville, have some of the tastiest tapas in all of Spain, and a tour of their charming cafes and tapas bars will show you a new side of these historic cities – and undoubtedly make you a few local friends into the bargain!
  • Succumb to the haunting spirit of authentic flamenco at a traditional tablao flamenco, where the lively dances are often accompanied by delicious food and wine. Some of the better known clubs, such as Madrid’s Corral de la Moreria and Tablao Cordobes in Barcelona, feature some of the finest flamenco dancers in the world.
  • Spain is renowned for her breathtaking festivals, and it’s always worth trying to synchronize your trip with one of these elaborate spectacles. During ‘Holy Week’ at Easter, many of the larger towns come alive with grand musical processions of statues and exotic floats – often borne aloft by dramatically dressed cofradias(religious brotherhoods).
  • Although bullfighting is off the agenda for most conscientious travelers, Spain’s most famous ‘Running of the Bulls’ continues to draw thousands of visitors to the narrow cobblestone streets of Pamplona each morning during the second week of July. This chaotic event usually lasts just three minutes – but the parties that follow it go on all day and night!
  • The ancient city of Toledo, where Arab and Jewish traditions come together, is renowned for its delicious baked goods and marzipan sweets. While touring the city’s beautiful old palaces and churches, you may find an ancient convent selling melt-in-your-mouth cookies and confectionery made by the cloistered nuns.
  • Among a multitude of Spanish locations for an incurably romantic dinner, few can match the exquisite carmen restaurants of Granada – where the candlelit terraces overlook the enchanting hilltop fortress of the 14th century palace of Alhambra.
  • Most of the cities of Andalusia have a beautifully renovated, ancient hammam (Arabian bathhouse), where you can unwind in a luxuriously appointed hot pool, sipping traditional teas or pampering yourself with an aromatherapy massage.
  • Some of Europe’s most serene and spectacular hiking country is to be found in the Alpujarras Mountains, a region of secluded green valleys, flower-strewn hillsides, and ancient whitewashed villages scattered beneath the snowcaps of the Sierra Nevada.

Spain is blessed with an ideal Mediterranean climate throughout most of the country. Barcelona and the region of Catalonia in the northeast enjoy especially mild weather. Southern Spain is naturally the sunniest part of the country, and the Costa del Sol is a sun-worshipper’s dream destination.

Late spring, summer and early fall are the best times to take a beach vacation in Spain. August is the most crowded time at Spain’s vacation resorts, where many Europeans take their summer holidays. The Basque country offers less touristy and off-the-beaten-path destinations, although this lush region has the most rainfall – and visitors can expect rain even during the summer.

When planning a trip, it’s wise to consider the Spanish holidays, as many sites are closed during religious holidays. However, Spain’s lively festivals are often a highlight of a Spanish vacation, and it’s always worth asking your travel agent to check the festival schedules for the villages and cities you’re planning to visit. As well as the better known festivals of Holy Week, you may want to catch the Festival of the Balconies in Cordoba in May, or the Saint James Pilgrims’ Festival in Santiago de Compostela in July.

Spain has a wide variety of tourist accommodation, from small boutique hotels to luxurious five-star resorts. Visitors can choose from brand-name hotels like the Sheraton or charming family-run bed & breakfasts. Spain also offers a unique type of luxury hotel called paradores, which are located within historic properties such as palaces, castles, convents and monasteries. These monuments have been converted into classy hotels with all modern amenities – while preserving the authentic character and heritage of their original buildings. Many paradores are located in historic areas of a city or in parklands and nature reserves.

Visa and Passport Requirements

Most non-European Union nationals require a tourist visa only if they wish to remain in the country for more than 90 days. If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to submit a short-stay visa application at a Spanish Consulate before your visit. If you want to work during your stay, you may need to obtain a work permit.

There are no health precautions for visiting Spain. The Center for Disease Control recommends that you are current on routine vaccines before your trip, including flu shots, polio, varicella (chickenpox), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), and the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. Prepare to bring along any medications you’ll need packed in your purse or carry-own bag. Before your trip, you may consider travel health insurance to cover the costs of any medical emergency, and check to see if your health insurance plan will cover any medical costs incurred while traveling overseas.

Spain is a very safe country and most overseas visitors never encounter any issues. You should take the same precautions that you would traveling anywhere. You may feel more at ease walking around at night in Spain than in the United States. Even families with little ones stay out late into the evening. In busy cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga, you should watch out for pickpockets. Pay special attention when you are in crowded urban areas such as a metro car or train station. Keep your passport and cash in your hotel safe or money belt. It is advisable to bring copies of credit card information in case of theft, and to purchase travel insurance to cover lost baggage.

Another precaution: watch out for Gypsy children begging for money. They may have been sent by their parents to distract you while your wallet is snatched. To avoid being duped, be aware of your surroundings and be wary of strangers who approach you for no reason. Unfortunately, car break-ins are commonplace in many Spanish cities. If you’re driving a rental car, do not leave valuables in your car. If you must leave luggage in the car, be sure to keep it in the trunk.

 

Most cities in Spain have a laid-back and convivial atmosphere, and Spaniards are generally very friendly and outgoing. The Spanish culture puts a high value on family and community. You’ll notice the rich social life, especially in the plazas, where locals congregate to chit-chat and people watch. Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city with generally open-minded locals. Madrid is a commercial center that buzzes with activity, yet the Madrilenos still have time to regularly gather with friends and colleagues over tapas and partake in the city’s legendary nightlife. In the smaller towns and in Andalusia, the way of life is more traditional, with daily siestas and lively festivals throughout the year.

To make the most of your visit, ask your travel agent for a schedule of festivals and try to visit a city during an interesting festival. For example, early May is the ideal time to see Cordoba, during the ‘Fiesta de los Patios’, when residents compete for the “most beautiful patio” award. Also consider if there are any religious or national holidays during your visit, as some sites may be closed during these periods. Another thing to keep in mind is that many museums are closed on Mondays and public transportation runs less frequently on Sundays.

For many tourists, the biggest difficulty is adjusting to Spanish meal times. Lunch is served around 1pm to 4pm and dinner is often as late as 9pm or 10pm. Only the most touristy restaurants (which are often not recommended) serve meals at American/British hours. If you want to experience the authentic culture without sacrificing your usual eating hours, try the tapas bars. These casual wine bars serve drinks accompanied by small plates of savory appetizers, called tapas, which will tide you over between lunch and dinner. Tapas bars are also great places to meet the locals and practice your Spanish.

Zicasso offers an array of carefully crafted custom Spain tours and vacations. All tours can be put together to suit specific preferences and requirements or can be completely tailor-made around particular destinations and specific interests that are meaningful to you.

With Zicasso’s custom Spain tours, travelers have the flexibility and convenience of self-planned independent travel and a pre-packaged group tour. You will travel independently, but your trip will be perfectly put together by our travel specialists to ensure hassle-free logistics, perfect lodging selections, and authentic experiences designed with you in mind.

So whether you wish to self-drive to tour Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites or immerse yourself in Andalucia’s song and dance, fill out a Trip Request to tell us about your dream vacation. We’ll then match you with 2 – 3 Spain travel specialists who will work with you to craft the perfect vacation you’ve been dreaming about.