Culinary capitals, cultural contrasts, charming cities, and Spain’s highlights mean a journey through the ages, mixing the fiery vibrancy of today with the harmony of centuries past. Spanning 15 days and 15 distinctive destinations, this private journey celebrates everything that makes Spain such an evocative destination. You will revel in the art, architecture, beaches, food, flamenco, contemporary design, walled cities, whitewashed villages, and the beauty of discovery.
Bilbao – A World Culinary Capital
Land in Bilbao, the mystical capital of the Basque region and a very apt place to start a tour through the country's highlights. There is the old city, where church bells chime out, and small plazas are traditionally adorned by cafe terraces. Across the river, you will find the neoclassical architecture of the late 19th century, broad lanes and elaborate decoration a different insight into the past. Then there is the Guggenheim, Frank Gehry’s magnificent structure was the start of Bilbao’s contemporary, forward-thinking design. Like much of Spain, these three distinctive areas have their own ambience, yet all seem to create an idea of harmony.
Touch down at Bilbao International Airport, and you will be transferred to a hotel in the pedestrianized old city, where an al fresco terrace makes for a welcome lunch with your guide. Spend the afternoon on a walking tour, connecting the paradigms, including a 16th-century cathedral, grand townhouses, and the inquisitive interior of the Guggenheim. During the evening, you celebrate another side of the region's culture. Bilbao hosts the World’s Best 50 Restaurants this year and has recently been awarded as a national culinary capital. While you will not be at the awards, you have a night at Azurmendi (number 38 in 2017), a purveyor of traditional Basque cooking delivering on a fine dining scale. Azurmendi also took first place in Elite Traveler’s 2017 list of the top 100 restaurants in the world.
Bilbao – More Fine Dining with a Day in San Sebastian, Recent European City of Culture
Madrid – Spain by Train: The Beauty of the Rural Northern Plateaus
Madrid – Highlights of Madrid, Including Art and Tapas
Segovia – The Astonishing Legacy of the Ancient Centuries
Toledo – Royal Brilliance and the Harmony of Religion
Cordoba – Dramatic Plains of the South and Moorish Wonder of Andalusia
Seville – Relaxed Day in One of Europe’s Greatest Old Cities and a Vibrant Evening of Flamenco
Arcos – Andalusia’s Remarkable White Villages
Nerja – The Famous Rock and the Independent State
Nerja – Free Day on the Southern Beaches
Granada – The Lavish Final Stronghold of the Moors
Barcelona – Catalonian Pleasures Including Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona – Highlights of Barcelona, Including Fine Dining and the Modernist Movement