Sandstone sculpture, Moorish symmetry, and Modernista swirl contrast with Dali, El Greco, Picasso, Gaudi, and Goya as Spain’s artisanal styles cover thousands of years and thousands of influences. From Madrid’s fine art scene to Andalusian white villages and a Roman aqueduct, such unique art and architecture are a lens for exploring local culture, as celebrated on this intimate two-week tour of Spanish highlights. Uncover the art, discover the atmosphere, and surround yourself with beauty.
Madrid – A Glamorous Palace Introduction
The silence stretches across El Escorial, and there is a simplicity to what you see with thick stone encasing a sanctified space. It feels like a monastery, and it is a monastery, but then you take a few more steps, and El Escorial shows its other face. Chandeliers hang down, twinkling sharply. Frescoes stretch around domed ceilings, each divided by golden borders. This is a palace, glamorous in its depiction of the Spanish Golden Age, glorious with its show of wealth and power. Religion and royalty blur together and the more you explore, the more opulence you find. What an introduction to Spanish style! Earlier today you will have landed in Madrid and transferred to your centrally located hotel. The trip to El Escorial fills your afternoon, and there are plenty of al fresco terraces for a first Spanish dinner as you settle in.
Madrid – The Fine Spanish and Flemish Art of the Prado: Reina Sofia
Madrid – Best of the Thyssen-Bornemisza: Goya, Galdiano, Velazquez and an Interactive Art Class
Toledo – Discovering El Greco and Experiencing His Greatest Works
Toledo – Private Workshop on the Damascene Style Passed Down By the Moors
Salamanca – Architectural Journey Through the Eras
Salamanca – Contrasting Golden Sandstone in Central Salamanca
Cordoba – The Meeting Place of Roman and Arab Art
Cordoba – The Lavish Mezquita and Moorish Architecture
Seville – Art and Architecture of Europe’s Largest Medieval City
Seville – Day Trip to the Pueblos Blancos
Barcelona – Gaudi and the Modernistas
Barcelona – Picasso and Dali
Barcelona – Departure
- Compare Baroque to Gothic to Renaissance by exploring Salamanca, a golden sandstone city
- Feel the surreal silence of the pueblos blancos, white Andalusian villages cut off from the world
- Explore the Damascene style that was brought by the Moors and is being kept alive by Toledo crafters
- Discover the fabulous fine art of Madrid’s Prado before a tour of the private Thyssen-Bornemisza collection
- Experience Moorish artisanal styles in Cordoba, and find symmetry between religions as well
- Get to know Picasso and Dali properly in Catalonia
- Devote a day to El Greco, his finest works found throughout the churches of Toledo
- Be wowed by the Modernistas and find that there was more than just Gaudi in Barcelona
- See how Arab and Roman art came together in Cordoba and Seville
- Enjoy an interactive art class in Madrid and discover some of the city’s lesser-known stories, including Galdiano and Goya
What is the quintessence of Spanish art? Is it the swirls of El Greco’s paintbrush or the understated brilliance of Galdiano? The flamboyance made famous by Gaudi or the symmetry and calligraphy of the Moors? For some, it is Picasso or Dali, yet others wander through Andalusian alcazars and think that quintessence is found the centuries of evolving design. There are so many styles here with each defined by both region and era, exemplified through the country’s great ability to preserve old art and architecture. These styles also provide an eye-opening lens from which to discover Spanish culture and atmosphere.
This handcrafted two-week tour explores the very best of Spain. You will find a prodigious landscape of art and architecture that span 2,000 years, everything from Velazquez to the Damascene style. You will overnight in six distinctive destinations, each showcasing another little piece of Spain and its culture. Art and architecture also provide an immersive lesson in Spanish history, illustrating what happened over the last two millennia. And don’t think that this best-of tour is only museums and galleries. You stay in old-world cities, enjoy interactive workshops, and get a real feel for the Spanish way of life.
Start off with three nights in Madrid, where you can experience the city’s famous trio of art museums, as well as galleries that are often forgotten. These provide a superb historical overview, setting you up for the intricacies and subtleties to come. Take the train to medieval Toledo and follow the El Greco trail, finding the artist’s finest works in the churches of his adopted hometown. Day five focuses on the ancient Damascene style brought to Spain by the Moors and kept alive by Toledo crafters. Staying in Central Spain, you turn next to the architecture, with Avila and Segovia from completely contrasting eras. Salamanca is all harmonious golden stone, allowing you to pick out the contrasts between Spanish Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles.
Travel next to Andalusia, Cordoba being the meeting place of Arab and Roman art. The region is also home to the exquisite Mezquita and other Moorish architecture. You can dive into t he local culture and connect the centuries, just like you do overnights 10 and 11 in Seville. In Seville, there is Europe’s largest old city to explore plus a day trip to see two of Andalusia’s pueblos blancos, those whitewashed villages from a time of the Moors. Barcelona is your last stop, and it will be here that you encounter many iconic names, with a day dedicated to Gaudi and Montaner, plus another for Dali and Picasso. That is just a summary, and as you explore the art and architecture, there will be a whole succession of unique cultures that will impress. Consider learning more about our travelers’ best Spain travel experiences by reading their Spain travel reviews.
$3,355 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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- 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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