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
Barcelona – Departure
- Discover what is destined to be 2020’s world’s culinary capital, Bilbao, the host of the 2020 World’s Best 50 Restaurants Awards and a laid-back city imbued with flair
- Explore some of Spain’s great cultural legacies, from the 2016 European City of Culture, San Sebastian, to the final stronghold of the Moors, Granada
- Uncover the vibrant highlights of unmissable destinations, Madrid and Barcelona, tailored for discovery in 2020
- Marvel at the architecture and atmosphere left behind on the plains around Madrid, with visits to royal palaces, medieval walled cities, and 15th-century towns of remarkable juxtapositions
- Travel across Spain and feast your eyes on the landscapes, with trains across the beautiful northern plateaus and the dramatic southern plains, plus privately chauffeured road transfers to rural destinations
- Andalusia is a region of fiery culture, personified by local flamenco performances and you will spend five days uncovering its charms, including whitewashed villages on the cliffs, remote beaches, and cities of strange juxtapositions
- Take a day trip to Gibraltar for a fascinating insight into a tiny state that contains much more than a famous rock
- Dine on the modern flavors of Spain with a series of handcrafted culinary experiences, including tapas tours, fine dining reservations and the best of regional cuisines
Spain opens the senses. There is laughter on the terraces, exotic smells drifting down the lanes, and bells chiming as tapas dishes are served. This is a country of tradition, where so many epicurean pleasures have not changed over time. The walled cities of cobblestone and cathedrals, palaces and prestige from the Golden Age, and the white villages and the legacy of the Moors remain. It is also a country where tradition influences the present, where the old-world style is continually brought up to date. These highlights of Spain 2020 combine the two paradigms, exploring a selection of destinations mostly unchanged over the centuries, along with the hot destinations for 2020 travel. You will discover culinary capitals, art celebrations, improved train services, and flamenco performances that challenge the old-world. In total, you will visit 15 destinations over 15 days, feasting all your senses on Spain’s wide-ranging appeal.
Start in Bilbao, due to host the World’s Best 50 Restaurants Awards in 2020. Over two days, you will dine at two of the regular entries on the list, exploring the old and new of Bilbao, along with the glamor of San Sebastian. Spend two days in Madrid, where tapas crawls and legendary art museums are just two of the attractions. The following days, you zigzag across the medieval and Golden Age plains, connecting royal palaces with walled cities, cute cobbled towns and the grandeur of 16th-century monastic retreats.
A high-speed train takes you south, where the Moorish city of Cordoba is your first stop in Andalusia. Then spend a full day in Seville and watch the flamenco at night, immersing yourself in the vibrancy of contemporary takes on tradition. The next three days are rural, a private guide leading you to the dramatically located village of Arcos, then onward to Gibraltar and the relaxed beaches of Nerja. Take a day to relax here, lounging on the sand, before a day amongst the charms of Granada and two days of Catalonian pleasures in Barcelona. While it seems whistle-stop, Spain offers a huge amount of diversity in a compact area, ensuring the pace is as serene as the flamenco singer’s nostalgic voice.
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$3,595 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.
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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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