Spain and Italy Luxury Tour 2020-2021

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Total Trip:

17 Days
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Countries Visited:

Spain, Italy
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Places Visited:

Barcelona, Granada, Montjuic, Ronda, Andalusia, Jerez, Seville, Alcazar, Cordoba, Mezquita, Madrid, Sicily, Palermo, Agrigento, Taormina, Matera, Puglia, Alberobello,

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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures
This 17-day tour of Spain and Italy will encompass Sicilian adventure, Andalusian history, the beauty of the coast, and the wonder of famous cities. Your custom journey will mix world-renowned icons with exquisite local experiences. Begin with seven Spanish cities, then an overland journey through the best of Southern Ital., Every day will be handcrafted to provide something unique as you experience the best of tapas, flamenco, art, alcazars, temples, vineyards, caves, villages, volcanoes, and

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1

Barcelona – Arrival and Relaxation

Barcelona is a city that arouses all the senses as it eases you into your vacation. Mediterranean waters shimmer while gothic buildings glow golden in the afternoon light. There’s exotic energy to the streets that’s different from home. Yet you can also feel a laid-back vibe. Nothing will be rushed and it seems like everyone is on vacation here along the Catalan coast. You’ll be greeted at the airport and transferred to a hotel in Barrio Gothic, which will be an easy walking distance to both the coast and the heart of Barcelona. The day will be left free for you to go out exploring.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Day 2

Barcelona – Exploring Catalonia

Today will begin with a panoramic tour of Barcelona so that you can take in some stunning attractions while keeping things slow and easy. Take a walk through the Boqueria, where sweet aromas attract you to food stalls and shocks of color delight the camera lens. Stop for lunch on an outdoor terrace then walk it off in Palau de la Musica Catalana, the finest of all the city’s Modernist buildings. Sample Spanish olive oils at a small bistro then explore Gaudi’s architecture and Montjuic, the hilltop castle and gardens. The city will come alive in the evenings and the guide will help you decide the best places to go.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Granada – Andalusian Splendor

The next day, when you fly to Granada, everything will change. Time travels slowly here, as you will see on the streets of artisanal stores. The architecture is all Moorish charm with a maze of whitewashed buildings that lead toward the Alhambra, one of the greatest structures in Europe. The Islamic design is almost one thousand years old, and its geometry and calligraphy will keep you captivated for hours. This piece of Moorish Spain is the heartbeat of old Granada and it’s complete with gardens, fountains, and a sense of mystery. One full day will be an eye-opening experience as you dine at a small tavern in the Alcazar.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Ronda – A Parador in a Clifftop Moorish Village

This morning, travel to rural Andalusia, where pueblos blancos cling to the high cliffs. These white villages were deliberately built in inaccessible locations to protect residents from pirates and religious crusaders. Ronda is a picture perfect icon whose history incorporates the Moors into unified Spain, especially at the country’s first bullfighting arena. With a local guide, you can tour the main sights in two hours. This will leave half a day for you to walk around without a map and absorb the local atmosphere and living history.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 5

Seville – Tapas in the Taverns

The drive to Seville today will be exquisite. You pass through other small villages in the mountains before you drive out to the coast and Jerez. Sip sherry in the place it originated and take a walk through the old Moorish harbor. Then, arrive in Seville to absorb all the energy. This city has the largest old quarter in Europe and the guide will take you on an orientation tour of the taverns. Seville invented tapas and you will hop between local establishments, to try one or two tapa (lids or small plates of food) before you venture out to another street. It will be a laid-back and informal experience in a city that grows lively around dusk.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Seville – All the Sights and an Evening of Flamenco

The following day you will discover the Seville sites, places of grandeur that never appear real at first glance. Similar to the Royal Palace of the Alcazar, each attraction has such intricate details interwoven into their facades. Then visit the enormous Cathedral, where gothic features drip from the walls and Columbus is buried in the crypt. Early afternoon is downtime so you will relax after lunch before a horse and carriage ride to a historic home on the edge of the city. You’ll dine here, as you enjoy a flamenco performance. The art form has its roots in a small Seville neighborhood and there’s no more authentic place to witness a show where you will listen to elegiac singing along with the haunting strains of the acoustic guitar.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 7

Madrid – The Ancient Mezquita and More City Enchantment

This morning, you will travel to Madrid by train. Cordoba is on the route, so jump out, meet a guide, store your luggage and spend a morning in the extraordinary Mezquita. This building was once a mosque and centerpiece of the Moorish empire before it became a cathedral that preserved the original art. Today, the cathedral is a grand example of European architecture. Walk to it through flower-lined streets and surround yourself with one thousand years of artisanal design. This evening you’ll stay in the Spanish capital, as you take a walk across the Plaza Mayor and choose one of the outstanding restaurants.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Madrid – Art and Masterpieces

In the morning, visit the Prado Museum, where Spanish masterpieces cover entire walls and the best of the old masters is on display. This is the place to see El Greco, Goya, and Velazquez before you take a journey into Flemish and Italian art. The Prado rivals Paris’s Louvre as the world’s finest old art museum. Afterward, take a walk through the iron and glass and sounds of San Miguel, a marketplace of hawkers that soaks you into the city’s history. Refresh and re-energize with chocolate and churros before another lively evening in the heart of Madrid. Tonight, you could go tapas hopping or try one of the very contemporary restaurants.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 9

Palermo – Landing in Sicily

Today, you will begin the second half of your journey in Italy, starting with Sicily’s enigmatic capital Palermo. When you touch down, a guide will help orient you as they show you the where and what of the old Norman town. Tomorrow you’ll visit each of the sites but today is all about the atmosphere. On your first day in Italy, you’ll experience cafes on the water, tinkling church bells, families walking around at dusk, and a sultry breeze coming in off the sea as you observe the glorious sunset colors with a drink in hand.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 10

Palermo – Treasures of History

A mosaic-laden chapel stands in the heart of a Royal Palace, and the art still shimmers after 1200 years. It’s the oldest palace in Europe, built by the Normans and embellished by various island heads. From this Palermo centerpiece, you will travel down the hill to Monreale, where the cathedral houses more than two tons of gold, and the mosaics are just as spellbinding. It will be a real highlight to compare Monreale with Granada and Cordoba, which will provide you with insight into the complex artistic histories found across Southern Europe. By early afternoon you will be back in Palermo, where more historical treasures can be enjoyed.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 11

Taormina – Ruined Temples, Inglorious Legend, and Seaside Serenity

Travel across Sicily today, where roads curve over rugged mountains and small villages whisper of distant legend. This island was the famous home of the Cosa Nostra, or the Mafia as you may know them. In Corleone, where many Mafia bosses originate, you’ll discuss Sicily’s resistance to conformity over lunch at an olive oil farm. However, there is more than just an inglorious history on the island. Explore the Valley of the Temples to see what came before the Normans. Then, follow the smells to the seaside and the quiet old village of Taormina.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 12

Taormina – An Italian Villa Beneath Mount Etna

Of all the Italian villas in all of Italy, there is nothing to rival Romana del Casale. Its ostentatious size will greet you from afar. The opulence of its interiors knows no bounds. All over the walls, you find art that’s been plundered and purchased, and down some corridors you find mosaics untouched since the fourth century. It takes you three hours just to get around the place, so gather your thoughts afterward at the garden cafe. With Mount Etna as a compass point you’ll head into eastern Sicily, where panoramic views come from the road back into Taormina. With its sweeping beaches and undulating hills, the coastal town has been attracting visitors for over a century now. Yet, Taormina remains as authentic as ever.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 13

Matera – One of the Oldest Cities of Them All

Take in Taormina’s fabulous amphitheater for one final time this morning. Admire its cliffside perch as you enjoy breakfast with a view before you take a ferry to the Italian mainland. Spend a few hours in Calabria, a region of olive groves and hilltop villas, and continue through Southern Italy to Basilicata. In Spain you explored well-known destinations but in Italy, you sidestep famous places to focus on the country’s more charming and traditional places. Matera is built on a hill, a walled city that’s as old as almost any. It feels like a village and it’s a wonderful place to get lost without a map. Walk through a mazy jumble of stone houses and cave dwellings, as you pass eighth-century churches on the route. Then find your hotel, deep within the maze, a cross between a historical museum and a contemporary place to rest your head.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 14

Matera – Discovering More of Puglia

The next day, when you wake up you’ll continue the Matera exploration. There are a plethora of alleys and blind back-lanes where you’ll come across something new, like churches carved into the cliffs. The guide will ensure you don’t get completely lost and they lead you toward a small local restaurant, where the chef runs a Puglian cooking class. Prepare local delicacies, indulge in the fine foods, and spend the afternoon in Alberobello nearby. This town is famous for its trulli, traditional limestone dwellings with conical rooftops. There are hundreds of these houses and while it’s a popular tourist destination, it’s a remarkable sight.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 15

Amalfi Coast – Greek Temples, True Pizza and Waterside Charm

Paestum is Greek and the remains of its temples are an indication of what took place some 2600 years ago. The temples and porticoes from the Doric order have been expertly restored. Today, they stand on the lush green fields of southern Italy. Those fields are home to livestock and that livestock helps produce cheese, so jump into the mozzarella-making process at a local farm nearby. As you travel northwest, the day will continue with another Italian legend, pizza. Tour the atmospheric streets of Naples in search of the world’s best pizza, a journey that will impress upon you the importance of good mozzarella. The Amalfi Coast is under an hour from Naples and you will check in to a hotel above the sea, in a village of brightly-colored houses.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 16

Amalfi Coast – Free Day on the Mediterranean

On your last day in Italy, you’ll relax a coastal cafe with a cup of coffee before you take a boat trip to Capri or walk to other villages along this coastline. Enjoy the beautiful views, old-world cafes, serene churches, and an atmosphere that causes everyone to stop and slow down. A free day in Amalfi will help you recollect and reflect on this perfect tour to Spain and Italy. It gives you some space to rest up before the return flight and some time to remember all the wonderful destinations that have been featured.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 17

Naples – Departure

You leave Italy from Naples so there are a couple of options today. You can choose between a morning transfer and some time in the city before heading to the airport or a late check out and a transfer directly to the airport.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in Andalusia, Spain’s enigmatic southern region
  • Explore timeless cities, like Barcelona, Madrid and Naples
  • Uncover the stories, from the history of Moors in destinations like Granada and Cordoba, to Costa Nostra and the Greeks in Sicily
  • Discover the bounty of history, from conical-roofed houses, Moorish pueblos blancos, and old cobbled cities like Matera
  • Decipher the secrets of Sicily, the glorious Mediterranean island that forms the boot of Italy
  • Relax on the Amalfi Coast, where a colorful village is tucked into the cliffs and you unwind after the adventure
  • Experience local lifestyles with tapas hopping, flamenco, pizza in Naples and Puglian cooking
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Detailed Description

Spain and Italy are countries of innumerable treasures and untold histories. Take the architecture as an example, from Greek temples you see in Puglia to Moorish white villages in Andalusia. Then, explore the history of tapas and pizza in the places they originate. These countries are the products of their past yet the history is extremely localized. Seville is completely different to Madrid. Matera is nothing like other places in Italy. Every day will be unique, which is the highlight of this handcrafted tour to Spain and Italy. You’ll visit famous places and gaze upon renowned sights, but most of all you’ll discover what makes each place unique.

The Spanish half of the tour will take you to seven major destinations, from Barcelona to Madrid via Andalusia. The Italian half is more off the beaten track, as you will stick to towns and villages in the country’s south. For every popular destination like Barcelona there is a forgotten gem like Ronda. While Palermo and the Amalfi Coast are well celebrated, other Italian destinations remain highly authentic. As this perfect tour continues, you will get an understanding of why these countries are so revered while you enjoy offbeat experiences that have escaped the tourist trail. While the pace of the tour is quick, the destinations will be relaxing with their wonderfully laid-back rhythm.

You will start and end on the Mediterranean. Begin in Barcelona to ease you into the vacation with Modernist architecture and Catalan culture. Fly to Granada and discover the old Moorish city. Spend the night in the pueblos blanco (white village) of Ronda, then taste sherry in Jerez before you visit Seville. There are real tapas and flamenco here, along with a grand old quarter on a remarkable scale. Make a stop in Cordoba to see the Mezquita, before you spend time in the Spanish capital. Like everywhere else on the tour, Madrid has an atmosphere that can be laid-back or lively depending on your mood.

Then, fly to Sicily for an Italian tour that’s based on small destinations and local experiences. You will relax along the water, taste the tradition, and travel through all the history of Sicily, Palermo, Agrigento, Taormina and Piazza Armerina. End your vacation on the Italian mainland with a visit to Matera, which will give you time to discover Basilicata and Puglia. Go in search of Greek temples, proper pizza, and those secrets that inner Italy can reveal. Finish your journey where you started, on the Mediterranean. This time you’ll be facing west as you relax in a village on the Amalfi Coast.  

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Starting Price

$4364 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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