The redolent scent of World Heritage floats across your 8-day Spain tour, fusing Roman and religious legacies with dramatic Golden Age cities and the flamboyance of Gaudi. In just one week, this private tour explores 11 of the most sublime UNESCO-inscribed sites, immersing you in an ancient university city, opulent royal palaces, monastic glories, and clifftop towns untouched by time.
Madrid – Exploring the Heart of the Capital
Spain is not a country to rush. You can immediately feel this in the capital city. While it is the seat of the monarchy and parliament, Madrid retains the pace of an old era, when there was time to talk with strangers, and always another hour to spend relaxing at the cafes that dominate the plazas. Land in Madrid today, and the day is completely at your leisure. There is a lot to find within easy walking distance of your hotel, from the glamorous central plazas to the cobblestone lanes alive with the scent of hot chocolate and churros.
And as you lounge in the cafes and rest on the plazas, you will soon come to appreciate another charm that is consistent across Spain: the cuisine. This is a country that has perfected the simple things. Any cafe you choose is likely to offer good coffee, a broad selection of excellent Spanish wines, and food that can appear simple yet is absolutely sublime, as a plate of Iberian ham and cheese will testify.
Madrid – The Palace of Aranjuez and the Imperial City of Toledo
Cuenca – The Legendary University City of Miguel de Cervantes and the Dramatic Clifftop Town of Cuenca
Segovia – Golden Age Extravagance at El Escorial, 8th-Century Indulgence in Segovia
Salamanca – The Charm of Styles Colliding, Explored in Avila and Salamanca
Barcelona – Fabulous Works of Antonio Gaudi
Barcelona – Roman and Religious Legacies at Tarraco and Poblet
Barcelona – Departure
- Discover 11 of Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites on private tours, the sheer abundance of the country’s heritage making it relatively easy to see this much in just a week
- Explore two contrasting royal palaces from the 16th century, appreciating how Renaissance gave way to the Baroque, standing baffled at the excess of gold décor brought back from the New World
- Uncover fabulous examples of religious cultures coexisting peacefully, on display in the ancient streets of Toledo and Salamanca
- Alcala de Henares is one of the world’s oldest university cities while also being the birthplace of the greatest author in the Spanish language, Miguel de Cervantes
- Discover Spain’s Roman legacy, beautifully spanning the centuries as illustrated by the Avila Walls and the Tarraco Amphitheater
- Follow the architectural progression across Barcelona with an expert guide, visiting the early works of Gaudi and the Modernists, then feasting your senses on La Sagrada Familia
- Spend the evenings in Spain’s cutest cities, a night in clifftop Cuenca followed by the 8th-century indulgence of Segovia
Spain has 45 World Heritage Sites, more than any other country bar China and Italy. But it is not the abundance that most baffles. It is diversity. Remnants of the old Roman Empire juxtapose with palaces adorned with New World gold, a narrative of conquered to the conqueror. Cathedral bells chime beside the minarets of Moorish mosques, alongside legacies of ancient synagogues. At nearby sites, you can witness a transition of style, how the conflicted consciousness of Baroque took over Renaissance. The propensity of World Heritage Sites makes this private tour possible. You will visit 11 in just a week, with relatively minimal travel time. Then, the sheer diversity of the sites makes for an immersion not only in Spain but the legacies of European style and design, spanning more than 2,000 years.
Start with two days in Madrid, before setting off to explore it’s good to slow your pace and absorb the serene rhythm of the country, spending your first day completely relaxing. A day trip the following day starts at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. It is a classic Renaissance show of power and excess, before visiting the Imperial City of Toledo, a marker of old-world religious harmony and a classic story that has evolved over two millennia. For the next three days, you crisscross Spain’s central plains, an area that is tightly packed with history’s untouched icons. Miguel de Cervantes is just one of the legendary figures from the 13th-century university city of Alcala de Henares, while the Hanging Houses of Cuenca are the dramatic starting point for your afternoon and third night in clifftop Cuenca.
The next day, you will find a palace that turned into a monastery, religious, and royal extravagance painted in the gold brought back by the conquistadors. Segovia is quiet and full of soft charms, a relaxed place to spend the rest of the day. Dining on the old Roman terraces is an essential part of the experience. Continuing through Castille and Leon, you find the Town of Stones and Saints, Avila, simultaneously medieval, Romanesque, Gothic, and the Castilian soul of the 16th century. You will spend the night in Salamanca, like Toledo, a wonderful expression of religious harmony where almost every building feels like a new inscription on the World Heritage list.
Salamanca to Barcelona takes just under five hours on Spain’s excellent high-speed railway, with a change in Madrid. Traveling this way takes you from the city center to city center, and the first-class carriage provides a window onto rural Spanish landscapes. You arrive in Barcelona midday, with the whole afternoon dedicated to the works of Antonio Gaudi, from his early casas (houses), culminating in his unfinished La Sagrada Familia. With Gaudi as a focus, the tour also provides an excellent glimpse into Barcelona’s neighborhoods and terraces. The final day presents two of the more unusual sites, the Roman leftovers in Tarraco and the solitude of Poblet Monastery, an excellent place to recount your private journey across Spain.
$2,491 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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