Best of Spain Vacation Tour 2018

A 14 day trip to Spain 
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Celebrate Spain for its culture that spans millennia and art that inspires the world. Your 2018 vacation is tailored to create your perfect Spanish exploration, offering you a world of Spanish Masters and indulgent tapas. Listen to the Mediterranean Sea splash against golden sands and enjoy the panoramic view from the top of the Rock of Gibraltar. The streets are paved with cobblestones and the whitewashed villages glimmer in the sunlight. Your time in Spain will have you celebrating the past, the present, and the future. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Costa Del Sol, Gibraltar, Malaga, Valencia, Granada, Barcelona, Pamplona, Saragossa, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Segovia

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Brimming Spanish Energy

Madrid is the city with an endless vibe and contagious atmosphere. The Royal Palace is historically lavish and the Puerta del Sol pulses with modern cosmopolitanism. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and takes you to your remarkable hotel. Retiro Park is filled with shady pathways and vivacious mosaics. The golden triangle of art museums displays Spanish and European Masters. Cafes are packed with locals sipping coffee and passing the afternoon with calm, unhurried joy. In the Plaza Mayor you find 18th century regal buildings encircling the busy square. The arched colonnade supports the buildings and emanates the rich aromas of coffee and red wine. 237 balconies adorn the buildings’ facades. In Madrid you find a major contemporary city filled with historical importance and artistic integrity, and your vacation has just begun.

What’s Included: dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 2: A Celebration of Art

Madrid is at its quietest in the morning when the sun peeks over the horizon and casts a light on the historic buildings. Your local guide meets you at your hotel. The city comes alive slowly and the crowds begin to discover the day once more. Follow your guide across the Plaza de España and locate the monument to Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. The large square is central to the city and bordered by two prominent skyscrapers.

Cervantes is intricately memorialized in stone and overlooks two bronze statues, one of Don Quixote and the other of Sancho Panza. Continue to the famous Prado Museum, with a collection of over 7,000 paintings. The museum is housed in a historic structure that dates back to the 18th century. The interior resembles a palace, filled with grand halls and elegant galleries. Find paintings by Spanish Masters such as El Greco, who made the graceful and vibrant hills around Toledo famous. When art captures life and life imitates art, the only thing left to do is celebrate.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 3: A Land of Castles

After breakfast you wave goodbye to the cosmopolitan streets of Madrid and cross the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains to arrive in the Province of Castles. The region was consolidated after the conquest of the Moors in the 15th century. Segovia is a small town famous for its 2,000 year-old Roman Aqueduct and storybook castle. The aqueduct passes through the center of the city and was constructed in the 1st to 2nd centuries. It contains over 170 arches and stands 95 feet high. It creates a distinct border to the charming old city. When you walk through the streets you feel as though you have stepped back in time.

The scent of rich chocolate and leather bound books floats around the antique neighborhoods. The Royal Palace stands atop an old citadel. The view of the Cathedral and the encompassing mountains is picture perfect. The castle was constructed in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 19th century after a devastating fire. The tall and slender Rapunzel-like turrets are captivating. The rejuvenating scent of fern trees and limestone linger around the castle’s base. The city is magnificent, filled with millennia of history and stunning landscapes. Whether standing atop the parapets of the castle or standing in its shadow, you understand the allure of the city, the region, and the history.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 4: Peeking at the Pyrenees

The Basque Region is home to tremendous wines, decadent flavors, and the famous image of people in white shirts scrambling away from a horde of bulls running through the streets. The sun rises over Vitoria, the capital city of the region.  The bell rings from the Cathedral of Santa Maria, a 14th century Gothic church with a tower built in the 17th century. After breakfast you arrive in Bilbao. The city rests at the mouth of the Nervion, Ibaizabal and Cadagua Rivers. The Old Quarter maintains its connection to history.

The pace slows to a tranquil roar and the cafes are filled with locals enjoying the simmering morning around Plaza Nueva. The Guggenheim was constructed in the 20th century encompassing over 258,333 square feet of space. The unique exterior was designed to allow as much natural light into the galleries as possible. The trickling pools surround the façade and add a touch of brightness to the day. The mountains act as a dramatic backdrop against the clear blue sky. Wander through the interior and explore the architecture as much as the art.

The dome over the foyer casts beams of sunlight down into the lobby. Modernist art, from paintings to sculptures, offer insight to a different world, explained with brushes, shapes, and textures. Each piece tries to maintain a lucid argument. In the afternoon you will arrive in Pamplona, home to the most famous Festival de San Fermin. Outside of July the cobbled streets and colorful buildings are home to a sleepy city. Calle Estafeta is 820 feet long and is the location of the long and rowdy bull charge that has made the city world-renowned. 

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: The Grand Plazas of Spain

Pamplona remains quiet throughout the day. The trees rustle in the morning breeze and you wave goodbye to the image of bulls parading through the streets. Saragossa is a different king of city located on the banks of the River Ebro. The elegant and interesting atmosphere revolves around delicious tapas, enthusiastic social scenes, and a history that encompasses great civilizations. The river’s soft current passes the city by. The modern world edges against the Aljaferia, a 12th century palace that stand as a proud reminder of the city’s Moorish past.

The powerful exterior gives way to a delicate interior. Past the introductory courtyard you will come to the Islamic Palace. The interwoven arches typical of Islamic architecture create geometric masterworks. The elegant frames support the palace and decorate the gallery. Floral motifs are chiseled into the horseshoe-arched doorways. The second floor is decorated with Mudéjar coffered ceilings. The artistic majesty of the palace and the past are captivating. In the afternoon, you will arrive in Barcelona and settle into the a city that can only be described as “one of a kind.”

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: A Building Culture

Barcelona is a city of modern luxury and medieval artistry decorating the streets. The gothic quarter centers around old neighborhoods and rising church towers. Buttresses connect historic buildings and you find glimpses of imagined city of the best selling novel Shadow of the Wind. The Picasso Museum holds the celebrated painters traditional and untraditional works. La Ramblas stretches encapsulates the city’s character on its almost one mile stretch of tree line street. Flower stalls provide a touch of color and fragrance to the walkway. Cafes and restaurants are filled with jovial life.

The street splits the older neighborhood of the city between the Gothic Quarter and El Raval. The aromas of the largest outdoor market in Europe emanate from Boqueria.  The Sagrada Familia takes up an entire city block and was designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. The church began construction in the 19th century but was consecrated in 2010. The façade is decorated with three divergent images, one depicting the Nativity, one the Passion, and another the Glory, the latter of which is still under construction. The detail of each image crates an intricate beautiful design, lifelike in their personhood and paradisiacal in the embellishments.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Coastal Guardian

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain but remains in the background, simmering with culture and happy to go unnoticed. The old Turia riverbed is now a lush park that meanders through the center of the city. The lush trees provide a remarkable aroma and lively color to the modern streets. Fountains trickle and the remaining river slowly passes by. Modernist architecture decorates the skyline and the old quarter reflects the city’s history in its twisting alleyways and richly spiced cafes. The new City of Arts and Sciences encompasses a complex of buildings. The glass-worked L’Hemesféric resembles an eye and sits on 355,209 square feet of space. The planetarium consists of half a sphere 180 feet wide. Somehow the contrast of modern glossy architecture and the medieval old quarter pair nicely beneath the umbrella of contemporary Valencia.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 8: The Depths of History

The Mediterranean Sea borders the city and watches over the evolution of the old and new neighborhoods. After breakfast you make your way out of the cityscape and into the countryside en route to Granada. Near the mountains outside of Valencia you will arrive at a series of caves known as the Cuevas de la Araña, located in the valley of the river. The river is glassy and pristine. The mountains shimmer with white limestone and soft tufa.

The greenery brings the scent of pine. When you enter the caves you don’t know what expect. The cool air flows through the cavern. Lights shins on the walls. You notice the rudimentary drawings along the cave. You can’t help but marvel at the history. Images of bows and arrows, goats, and male figures hunting decorate the space. A person gathers honey from wild bees and you realize you are standing near drawings approximated to be around 8,000 years old. 

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 9: A Commemoration of Delicate of Stone 

The Alhambra palace complex rises with alabaster color. The mountains in the background create picturesque view from the cobbled streets. The towers and strong parapets were constructed in the 9th century but the palaces were erected in the 13th century. The complex has been referred to as a pearl due to its coloration and its remarkable artistry that makes it more of a treasure than a historic residence. The aroma of elm and orange citrus spread over the citadel. You can hear nightingales tweet in the opulent blue sky. Enter the complex and find a network of palaces that resemble delicate lace as opposed to hardened stone.

Arched windows are decorated with arabesques. The Patio de los Arrayanes has a reflective pool that mirrors the surrounding courtyard. Vibrant hedges line the pool and latticed arches decorate the colonnade. The deeper you explore the more the architecture turns into artwork. The Royal complex was constructed in the 14th century. The Hall of Abencerrajes is a perfect square. The domed roof is decorated in blue, red, and gold. When the sunlight catches the ceiling the entire dome comes to effervescent life.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 10: Homage to the Sea

Costa del Sol is a city along the Mediterranean that reaches outward to the Atlantic. The water glows sapphire and the cool breeze is endless. After breakfast you will venture to Malaga for a day tour of the seaside’s old city. The people are contemporary but the streets remain medieval, narrow and meandering against the subtle sounds of inviting waves. You are swept up in the city’s charm. Traditional buildings adorned with balconies encircle the Gothic Cathedral. The pedestrian streets are lined with tiny tapas bars. The skyline imitates Malaga’s character, church spired, russet-red tiled, and overshadowed by the looming walls of the 11th century castle.

Take the time to enjoy the city at the leisured pace of the locals. Mercado Atarazanas is a 19th century ironclad building. The district encompasses the original Moorish gate of the city that once connected the neighborhood to the nearby port. The stained glass window depicts the city’s history with vivid color that washes over the entire market in the daylight. The shops and stalls are animated. The indulgent aroma of fresh cheeses and varieties of delicious olives roam through the lofty ceilings. The fruits and vegetables are as colorful as the stained glass.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 11: Upon this Large Rock

The breeze wraps around Costa del Sol and brings the scent of the sweet sea on its back. On a clear day you can see the Rock of Gibraltar rising over the edge of the European continent. After breakfast, make your way to the base of the famous rock and see just how tall 1,397 feet really is. The city of Gibraltar is more English than Spanish, having been under British rule since the 18th century. Take the cable car to the upper reaches of the rock and find the Gibraltar Reserve home to the only wild monkey in all of Europe.

The trees climb over the rocky mountaintop. The higher you climb, the better view you have of the cliffs, the jeweled water, and the tip of the African continent. The rock of Gibraltar and the visible Jebel Musa in Morocco mark the end of the ancient world. Barbary macaques rush around the walkways and relax in the trees. The view is impeccable and the culture of the city below is unique. In the afternoon you will arrive in Seville, a passionate city that moves to the rhythms of its own music.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 12: History at Your Fingertips

Seville is a city that has it all, a wealth of history, a connection to its vibrant culture, and an undeniable flamboyant charisma. Flamenco dances take place in tiny tapas bars. The decadent aromas of traditional cuisine, from Serrano ham to savory olives, drift out of hidden restaurants. The streets are paved with cobblestone and wind around a past that reaches back to Roman times. Your guide meets you at your hotel and escorts you through the lavish sights of the cityscape. The 14th century Alcazar crowns the citadel like a jewel. The largest Gothic cathedral in the world creates an opulent skyline with a marvelous tower.

The neighborhood of Santa Cruz was once the bustling Jewish quarter. In the shadow of the cathedral you can find the newer Centro de Interpretacion Juderia de Sevilla, a museum dedicated to the 14th century Sephardic culture. A former Sephardic Jewish home encases the stories and artifacts told by the museum. The courtyard is paved with geometric tiles and a small fountain decorates its center. The whitewashed walls of Calle Juderia burst with colorful flowers. The aroma of budding pedals is sweet in the city’s warm air. The layers of the district shine bright, showing the Jewish, Moorish, and Catholic cultures that have given the area spirit.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 13: A Day of Dons

The landscape around Seville is filled with gentle hills. The golden grasses blend into green foothills. Snowcapped mountains rise and fall against the skyline. The Mediterranean brushes against the coast. This is the landscape made famous by Don Quixote. Whitewashed windmills speckle the plateaus. The wooden frames circle in the breeze. Cross over the countryside and arrive in Cordoba. The medieval city rests on the banks of the Rio Guadalquivir; the city was once divided into districts based on religion. Narrow streets encircle the old Great Mosque that now stands as the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.

The mosque was originally built in the 8th century and grew larger, ultimately transforming into a church with the reclamation of the city in the 14th century. 856 arches continue to support the interior out of an original 1,293. Jasper, onyx, marble, and granite give the pillars and archways a polished, glistening effect. The prayer niches are gilded and the mihrab is a collection of mosaics shaped into a dome. The refreshing aroma of orange blossoms comes from the Courtyard of the Orange Trees just outside of the main gallery. The majesty of the mosque can take your breath away.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 14: Endless Celebration

It hasn’t been too long since you last set foot in Madrid. The energetic city continues to reverberate with cosmopolitan grandeur. The historic and luxurious buildings shine in the rising sunlight. But the streets seem less familiar than they had when you left the city. You have absorbed the variety of cultures for which Spain is known. The regions speak the same language but no region is the same. The wonders of culture and history took you through medieval towns and remarkable museums, atop wondrous rock faces and unparalleled towers. Your private transfer escorts you from your hotel to the airport. You have experienced Spain and will never stop celebrating its heritage. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized Spain tour packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $350 - $1,000+ per person per day
  • 4-star: Minimum USD $300 per person per day
  • 3-star: Minimum USD $250 per person per day

The customized package will include accommodations, airport transfers and other transportation within Spain, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.