Spain is a country of contrasts. Catalonian style infused with Modernista thinking, white villages on dramatic cliff tops, fiery Andalusian culture epitomized by the flamenco, and Golden Age cities untouched by time. This 10-day tour of highlights will immerse you in a handcrafted collection of the distinctive paradigms, maximizing the diversity of experience and destination. From Barcelona to Seville by high-speed train and private tours, you will embrace the sensual excesses of this colorful...
Barcelona – Gaudi Welcomes You to Catalonia
Barcelona has two sides. There are the flamboyant attractions, iconic showpieces that are unmissable but potentially crowded with tourists. Then there are the local Catalonian flavors, easy to miss yet so atmospheric and authentic. Gaudi provides a means of stitching these two sides together. You are greeted at the airport and transferred to a five-star hotel in the oldest part of the city, a pedestrianized area that is perfect for relaxed evenings. During the day, you hop between the architectural extravagance of Gaudi and the Modernist movement. Each destination is one side of the city, and each journey between them is another.
First, you will discover the early pieces, wandering the old lanes of the aristocrats who commissioned Gaudi to build their houses. Casa Mila and Casa Batllo provide an insightful introduction to the architect’s formative style: shocks of color, strange and elaborate shapes, interior minimalism fused with exterior ostentation. Move on to La Sagrada Familia, the ultimate masterpiece that has been under construction for over 130 years. Complete the discovery in Park Guell, the thinned late-afternoon crowd ideal for absorbing the tranquility of the park. Along the way, you will stop at local plazas and small terraces, and wander along narrow lanes unseen by tourism. The evening is free at your hotel in Barri Gotic, with many highly recommended restaurants within walking distance.
Barcelona – Culture, Cuisine, Style: The Best of Barcelona
Barcelona to Montserrat to Madrid – An 11th-Century Mountain Monastery and an Evening in Madrid
Madrid – Spain’s Serene and Sublime Capital
Madrid – Day-Trip to El Escorial and an Evening of Tapas
Madrid to Toledo – Brilliance of the Prado then Exploring the Imperial City
Toledo to Seville – Relaxed Morning before an Evening of Andalusian Flamenco
Seville – The Legends of the City Founded by Hercules
Arcos de la Frontera – A White Village Rising above the Cliffs
Arcos de la Frontera to Seville – Departure
- Explore the legacy of the Modernista movement in Barcelona, and see how its distinctive style permeates through the culture of the Catalonian capital
- Uncover the spirituality of old-world Spain in the mountains of Montserrat, a keen insight into the country’s formative years
- Embrace the laid-back ambience of capital city Madrid, where languid hours of tapas and terraces are as iconic as the famous art and architecture
- Delight in the regal authenticity of El Escorial, one of Europe’s most opulent palaces
- Discover the charm of Spain’s Golden Age with a day in Toledo, the ancient Imperial City that feels unchanged from the time of the conquistadores
- Immerse yourself in Seville’s vibrant and fiery atmosphere, the Andalusian capital a feast for all the senses, culminating in a night of local flamenco
- Complete the trip in the white village of Arcos de la Frontera, a surreal destination perched on dramatic cliffs, where the local style could not be more old-world
- Taste your way through regional specialties, from Andalusian gazpacho to tapas hopping in Madrid and Catalonian Michelin dining
- Spain’s superb high-speed rail system makes it easy to hop between destinations, with most journeys less than two and a half hours from hotel to hotel
- Private tours help you delve beneath the iconic sights and uncover the true range of contrasts in Spain
Spain should be seen more as a collection of autonomous regions than a single country. Diversity and contrast are everywhere, made more definitive by the pride of the people. Of course, there are constants. Everywhere you go, you will find languidly long lunches, outdoor terrace culture, and a laid-back approach to the day. However, Andalusia is very different than Catalonia. The white village of Arcos de la Frontera and the Imperial City of Toledo come from the same period in history, yet the ambience and architecture could not be further apart. And as for the cuisine, Spanish gastronomy cannot be defined in a single dish, however easy it is to proclaim tapas. Much like the local culture, it is a real delight to uncover the local culinary treats, whether in fine dining restaurants or streets made for hopping between bars and dishes.
This 10-day tour of Spain’s highlights is centered on this diversity of destination and experience. However, one important constant on this tour is the quality and ease of Spain’s high-speed rail network. Journeys between cities are short, never more than three hours from hotel to hotel. A first-class train carriage provides a window onto rural Spain before dropping you in the heart of a destination, within very quick reach of your luxury hotel. Dotted throughout the 10 days, you will also enjoy a series of private tours, each providing an insider’s perspective of the style and sights found at a destination. These private tours seek to uncover localized aspects of art, music, culture, cuisine and history.
Start in Barcelona, where the Modernista architecture is a symbol of how idiosyncratic style echoes through wider culture. Spend the day uncovering a lesser celebrated side of the city before visiting the 11th-century mountaintop monastery at Montserrat. A late-afternoon train gets you into Madrid for early evening, where there is much to discover in the winding old quarter. You will have a full day dedicated to Madrid before the following day mixes the fabulous El Escorial palace complex with the vibrancy of the capital city’s tapas bars. Complete the Madrid experience at the Prado before a quick train journey to Toledo.
This ancient Imperial City vastly contrasts Seville, the energetic Andalusian capital that welcomes you with an evening of flamenco. Spend the following day amidst this city founded by Hercules, before your final night in Arcos de la Frontera, a wonderfully relaxed white village perched high on the cliff tops. Along the way, you will find museums and plazas, street food and Michelin dining, and the wonderfully lazy hours spent on al fresco terraces, watching the country roll past.
$3,115 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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