The capital city treats coastal exuberance, fantastic architecture, flamenco, tapas, and a wonderfully laid-back style are all yours with seven days of authentic Spanish highlights. From medieval leftovers to Modernist design, intimate tavernas to expressive art, you will be amazed at how much you can experience in just one week without compromising on luxury or Spain’s tranquil vibe. Handcrafted to maximize your time, this private tour visits Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, and Barcelona.
Madrid – Superlative Art and Local Spanish Experiences
Madrid always proves to be a romantic place to land as elegant tree-lined boulevards mark your way from the airport to the city center, the odd statue sneaking its way above the branches. Closing in on the heart of the city, the roads become narrow, most of them made from cobbles. Your hotel is within this old area, barely a five-minute walk to the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s grand 17th-century centerpiece. Check-in, freshen up and then grab a coffee with your guide on a cafe terrace. Ease your way into Spain and gain some historical perspective from the guide, before heading out into the city’s famed art scene.
The Prado is world-famous, a museum of classical art that covers the very best of Spanish painters up until the 20th century along with the world’s finest collection of Flemish art. Explore the galleries and the masterpieces following the chronological artistic timeline. You could spend a full day here, but two hours is usually enough to get a feel for who is who and why such painting are so revered. You will likely be a little weary after your flight, so most of the afternoon is left free, although the private Thyssen-Bornemisza collection is a great complement to the Prado.
This evening you can head to the Plaza Mayor and stroll without a plan. Cafes and restaurants line this central square, their terraces emanating chatter and enthusiasm. Narrow pedestrianized roads jut out between the terraces, leading you towards the smell of coffee, chocolate, and tapas. One way to soak up the Spanish atmosphere is to hop between the tapas bars. Another is to dine at one of the small restaurants in the area, before returning to the Plaza Mayor for a glass of wine or short coffee later in the evening, when there’s a real hum to the atmosphere.
Madrid – Exploring the Vast Medieval City of Toledo and the Best of El Greco
Cordoba – Half Day at El Escorial and Evening in Cordoba
Seville – The Mezquita and Authentic Flamenco
Seville – Highlights of Seville Including a Private Tapas Hopping Tour
Barcelona – Montjuic and the Beach
Barcelona – La Sagrada Familia, Montaner and Departure
- Experience the music and atmosphere of real flamenco, in a small Seville tavern where the art form takes its roots
- Feast your eyes on the art and architecture of Toledo, an evocative medieval city just outside Madrid
- Feel the beauty of the Moors in Cordoba, where Le Mezquita is beyond comparison
- Explore the highlights of Barcelona, including Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia and Montaner’s Palau de la Musica Catalana
- Discover authentic tapas by hopping between bars in old-world Seville
- Tour Spain’s pre-eminent gallery, the Prado, then find out why Madrid is Europe’s most local-feeling capital city
- Marvel at part-monastery part-palace El Escorial, later comparing it to Catalan Montjuic
Spain is always authentic, and this handcrafted tour puts you in the heart of the local experience. Think tapas hopping through Seville’s cobbled lanes, and then wandering through a part-monastery part-palace that evokes Spain’s coming to global power. There will be an evening of flamenco, not a tourist show but a performance in the place where flamenco began. You can delve into the art world, not merely in museums and galleries, but also in small churches where dazzling works hide. With just seven days you are never going to see all of Spain, as that is not possible even with seven months. But transport connections are reliable, and this route will take you around the diversity of highlights with four very distinct overnight destinations.
Handcrafted to maximize experiences and minimize wasted time, this is an action-packed itinerary yet one that can still be truthful to Spain’s laid-back style. They do not like to rush things here, and you will be able to take it slow, especially during the evenings. Relaxing on a cafe terrace or dining al fresco is part of local culture, and your hotels have been handpicked for their location as much as anything, ensuring that you are close to everything after dark. Mostly, you will travel on first-class high-speed first-class rail, the quickest way to go from city center to city center, although there is a flight from Seville to Barcelona.
Fly into Madrid and the first day is all about superb art and Spanish experiences found in the Prado, and then around the Plaza Mayor. After sleeping in the next morning, you can take a day trip to Toledo, a medieval city of harmonious religion and famous El Greco artwork. Sink all of your senses into the history and stay until dusk, when Toledo exquisitely changes color. The next you will visit El Escorial, the most dramatic of all the Golden Age architecture, part monastic retreat, and part flamboyant palace. That afternoon you’re on the train to Cordoba, an old Moorish city with a lively local atmosphere and a great sense of Andalusian change.
It’s the Mezquita that Cordoba is famous for, and you will need the whole morning of the next day to appreciate why. It will then be a short hop to Seville for an evening of flamenco, Triana the district where it all evolved, a couple of centuries ago. The next day is dedicated to the best of Seville, from its architectural highlights and treasures to local tapas bars that each have their own specialty. Fly to Barcelona the following day, and you will find Catalan culture, and some hours to spend on the beach. The flamboyant Modernist architecture is saved for your last day, Gaudi and Montaner providing fitting final memories before you fly out late in the evening. Consider reading some of our travelers’ Spain tour reviews for more ideas to perfect your dream vacation.
$2,179 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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