Spain's World Heritage Sites are more than just historical markers. They're alive with tradition and resplendent beauty, 44 of them unveiling a country of evocative history and mesmerizing culture. This handcrafted tour visits 18 of them, sublimely connecting a kaleidoscope array of masterpieces. Roman, Renaissance, Gothic, aristocratic opulence, medieval fairytale towns; every day provides an innovative paradigm of Western history and Spanish enticement.
Barcelona - Modernist Art Nouveau in the Heart of Barcelona
Salty Mediterranean air mixes with laughter from al fresco terraces. Narrow streets ascend past boutique designer stores and early 20th century theaters, every building different yet part of a harmonious jigsaw. The world knows Barcelona as Gaudi's city, but he wasn't the only art nouveau pioneer. After a short airport transfer you're welcomed to Spain with a lunch on La Rambla, a street that's alive with artists and performers. You spend the afternoon exploring the works of Lluis Domenech i Montaner, an architectural pioneer who blended functionality with outrageous decorative exuberance. Start at Casa Lleo I Morera; the elaborate facade is sandwiched between terraced houses and is an introduction to Montaner's style. Then stand bewitched at Hospital de Sant Pau. Only decommissioned in 2009, there is lots of evidence of the building's functionality; yet everything is sprinkled with the master's touch: window frames, corridors, drainpipes, ceilings, always something unusual and majestic to juxtapose.
Sant Pau represents the dedication to the Catalan modernist art nouveau. It wasn't architecture for the rich. This is a hospital. It's the first World Heritage Site on your itinerary. Along nearby streets you go for an early dinner of pintxos, a northern version of tapas enjoyed in atmospheric bars of pastel shades. Then orchestral symphonies welcome you to Palau de la Musica Catalana, a gloriously mystical space littered with statues and artwork. Sit down as the conductor raises his hands. This iconic Montaner music hall is all the more impressive when the music starts to play. After the live performance you're transferred to your hotel.
Barcelona - The Catalonian Treasures of Tarragona and Vimbodi
Barcelona to Madrid: Exploring the World of Antoni Gaudi
Madrid – Royal Palaces and the Alluring 15th Century Alcala de Henares
Madrid to Toledo to Madrid – A Day of Roman History and Fascinating Chronicles
Segovia to Avila - Immense Walled Cities in Ancient Spain
Salamanca – Renaissance Beauty in the World's Oldest University Town
Caceres – Unique Gothic and Islamic Architecture
Merida to Guadelupe – The World Heritage Sites of Extremadura
Day 10 - 11
Seville – Relaxing in the Passionate City of Seville
Cordoba – Exotic Glimpses of the East in 7th Century Cordoba
Granada – Moorish and Renaissance Remains in Andalusia
Granada – Departure
- Discover the historic beauty of 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, reveling in the stunning diversity of the country
- Start in Barcelona, where the works of Antoni Gaudi are far from the only architectural masterpieces to find in the city
- Regal history and opulent tastes mark your time in Madrid, five unique Heritage Sites visited during your three night stay
- Spain's walled towns span the centuries and excite the imagination; this itinerary immerses you in 8th century hamlets, Roman fortresses, Renaissance sprinkled towns, and cities that exude ancient culture
- Stand before some of the great religious monuments of our civilization, including the Segrada Familia and the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe
- Spend the night in six UNESCO World Heritage Cities, the atmospheric streets alive with tapas delights and boutique shops
- First class trains and luxury chauffeured Mercedes ensure comfortable transfers and an easy pace
Forty-four UNESCO World Heritage Sites are dotted across Spain, each absolutely unique in their evocation of world history. Only two countries have more. And neither India nor Italy can rival Spain's breathtaking diversity. Inspiring architecture, Roman towns, Moorish history, Gothic cathedrals, art nouveau hospitals, and Renaissance palaces: there's no single paradigm as you explore Spain's beautiful odes to civilization. These are not merely historic landmarks and eye-catching attractions, or places to be admired from a photographer's distance. They're alive. Walled cities dance with intrigue as you wander along cobbled stone. Renaissance artwork consumes aristocratic halls, and an atmosphere of charm follows your journey across Spain. Historic buildings have been converted to hotels and there's never a moment when the spell is broken.
Over these two weeks you visit 18 different World Heritage Sites and half a dozen World Heritage Cities. Travel from Gaudi's Barcelona to regal Madrid, before weaving a trail through the walled towns of Castile and Andalusia. There's no filler. Each day features one or two UNESCO recognized exemplars of Spain's splendor. Every night is spent in the heart of history, whether that's the pedestrianized streets of a quaint hamlet or an al fresco terrace gazing at elaborate palaces. Spanning 2000 years, these sites form the foundations of Western art, architecture, and culture. They aren't imitations. They're the original blueprints from which the world took its inspiration.
During three days in Barcelona you explore cutting-edge architecture, discovering the Gaudi and Montaner's modernist art nouveau movement. A day trip to Tarragona and Vimbodi reveals Roman remains and the monasterial burial place of countless monarchs. A high speed train takes you to Madrid in first class comfort, where aristocratic palaces and historic university towns are just a sampling of the highlights. Despite the succession of sights, there's enough tranquility and leisure time to keep the pace relaxed. These 18 sites have been chosen as they're easily connected and represent the rich diversity of the country. A driver guide in a luxury Mercedes conducts each day's tours, minimizing the travel time and enabling you to dictate the pace.
From day six onwards you meander through rural Spain, getting a taste of the country's historic walled towns and mysterious cities. Flair and panache dominate streets of tradition as you travel from the 8th to 13th and then to the 19th century. Immerse yourself in the wonders of Salamanca and Cacares, then cross alluring valleys to Extremadura and Andalusia. Expert guides provide fascinating chronicles on Moorish castles and royal monasteries, the sites continuing to move through the eras. Your final three overnight stops are Sevilla, Cordoba, and Grenada. Each reflects the passionate history of Spain, yet knows how to lie on the evenings of charm.
$4,363 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
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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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