Madrid, Valencia (City), Barcelona
Dates are customizable for private departures.
Valencia's downtown cobbled streets fill with the intoxicating aromas of saffron-induced paella. At the City of Arts and Sciences, futuristic designs of Santiago Calatrava pierce the clear blue skies. Whimsical artwork of Antoni Gaudi transport visitors of Barcelona to a whole new dimension. In Madrid, the modern-day aesthetics of trendy shops and restaurants contrast with the opulent face of the nation's Royal Palace. Experience the intrigue of contemporary culture and fascinating history...
Madrid - International Arrival and Plaza del Sol
Experience the beauty and fervor of Spain's capital city when you touch down at the Madrid Barajas International Airport and ready yourself for your immersive getaway. After collecting your bags and traveling through customs, you will meet your expert guide who will lead you to the city center via a private shuttle service. Soon, you will be whizzing along the busied boulevards of Madrid's downtown until reaching your five-star hotel beside the Plaza Mayor.
Once you have settled into your hotel, you will once again meet your expert guide in the lobby and begin to explore Spain's exciting capital city. At the Plaza del Sol, the city comes alive with street vendors, live music entertainment, restaurant-goers, and impassioned flamenco dancers. You will tour the plaza and behold the Puerta del Sol facade, which marks the convergence of all major Spanish highways, signifying the central-most point of Spain. You'll have the chance to poke your head into quaint bookstores, cafes, and outdoor marketplaces. In the evening, you will enjoy a three-course luxury meal along Gran Via before resting up at your hotel and enjoying city views from your private balcony.
Madrid - Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace
The next morning, you can arise with a creamy cup of cafe con leche and tostada from your hotel balcony or a sunkissed cafe patio nearby. Then, by late morning, you will meet your private guide for a customized tour of Madrid's highlights, including the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace.
You will begin your day at the Royal Palace, first constructed in 1735. This opulent edifice, still the official residence of the Spanish royal family, spans 135,000-square feet and contains 3,418 rooms. As you enter the gold-leafed gates, you will feel like royalty. You can stroll through the palace gardens and look out from the courtyard for panoramic views of the city. Next, cross the city's downtown to indulge in some of the nation's finest artwork at the Reina Sofia Museum. You will see original work by famed artists Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. In the afternoon, you can relax with a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride through Parque El Retiro as you look out on the Grand Pond and the Crystal Palace. In the evening, you can enjoy a delicious dinner of grilled meat, fresh seafood, and vegetarian tapas at the Plaza Mayor.
Valencia - Authentic Paella Tasting and Mercat Central
The following day, you will board Spain's high-speed AVE train to the eccentric city of Valencia. Valencia is the third-largest metropolitan area in Spain yet offers a simple, charming historic downtown. Beyond the downtown, visitors can enjoy the artistic aesthetic of the city, most apparent in its architecture. Valencia is also a widely popular city to visit during the annual Las Fallas festival in which whimsical ceramic art installations are set ablaze as a sort of lights and fireworks spectacular.
Visitors will enjoy the first half of the day to indulge in some self-guided exploration of the city's downtown. You can visit highlights like the National Museum of Ceramic Arts, Llotja de la Seda stoic medieval building, and the famous Plaza de la Virgen. Then, you can step inside the Mercat Central alongside your expert guide for a peek at mesmerizing displays of olives, cheeses, and fine wines. In the late afternoon, you will settle in at a five-star restaurant for a guided demonstration of one of Spain's most beloved dishes: paella. Your expert chef will show you the process of marinating seafood, mixing vegetables, and sprinkling the medley with crimson-red saffron before offering a sample of this delectable staple meal.
Valencia - City of Arts and Sciences
Next, you will spend the day on foot exploring the futuristic, bold designs of famed architect Santiago Calatrava. You can choose to arrive at the City of Arts and Sciences on foot, by bike, or via private shuttle service. As soon as you arrive, you will be greeted with the stark white sculpture-like structures jutting into the blue sky. Massive panels of glass sparkle in the sunlight and reflect the glistening waves of a central basin.
Together, you will explore the park grounds that have become synonymous with Valencian architecture in many senses. You will round the city's aquarium, L'Oceanografic, the facade of which is an attraction all its own. A massive arching exterior mimics a fin, and the bold white frame juxtaposes against the deep blue glass windows. Once the tour concludes, you can enjoy a period of self-guided exploration.
In the evening, you will marvel at the Mediterranean's stunning sunset from Malva-Rosa beach as you dig your toes into the soft sand. Then, enjoy your final night in Valencia with a three-course meal along the mesmerizing waterfront. Cheers with a fresh glass of fruity sangria as you prepare for a new adventure in Barcelona the following day.
Barcelona - Gothic Quarter and Traditional Flamenco Show
When you arrive in Barcelona, you will be met with a flurry of activity that ensues downtown as locals and travelers converge along quaint cobbled streets and beneath stoic palaces and cathedrals. Upon arrival at the Renfe train station, you will meet your guide and settle into your five-star hotel along Las Ramblas. You can venture to the city streets on your own to experience the fervor of this famous pedestrian boulevard, home to street vendors, artists, restaurants, and cafes. You can also check out La Boqueria market to marvel at the colorful hues of fresh produce, candies, olives, and cheeses.
By mid-day, you will once again meet up with your expert guide for a tour of Barcelona's historic downtown, also known at the Gothic Quarter. Together, you will visit such highlights as the Placa Sant Jaume, Cathedral of Barcelona, Placa Nova, and Placa del Rei, and Bishop's Bridge. Then, in the evening, you will attend an authentic flamenco and dinner performance. You can watch as the impassioned dancers pick up the ends of their ruffled skirts to show off fancy footwork. Soon, you will be clapping along to the rat-a-tat-tat syncopation of this beloved traditional dance.
Barcelona - UNESCO Sagrada Familia and Park Guell
The following day, you can immerse yourself in the whimsical architecture of acclaimed architect Antoni Gaudi, known for his irreverent and eye-catching facades. After a light breakfast near Las Ramblas, you will meet your guide in front of your hotel to venture together to the Sagrada Familia UNESCO World Heritage site. As you near the entrance, you will be met by the oozing, molten lava-like exterior of this grand cathedral. Conic spires shoot into the air as careful stonework below tells elaborate bible stories. As you step inside, you will be met by the rainbow hues of light pouring in through stained glass windows and peer up at massive stone columns. Your guide will lead you on a customized tour of the interior and provide context to the church's captivating history.
After lunch beside the cathedral, you will travel farther north to the Gracias neighborhood en route to Park Guell. Here, you will once again experience the whimsy and creativity of Antoni Gaudi, this time, in the form of stone cottages, stone tunnels, cascading staircases, and mosaic tiles benches, perfect for taking in panoramic views of the city below and the Mediterranean Sea beyond.
Barcelona - International Departure
On your final day in Barcelona, and the last day of your expedition in Spain, you can choose from a few half-day options. Soccer lovers, or futbol, as it's called locally, will enjoy a visit to Camp Nou, the official stadium of the beloved FC Barcelona team. In order to get to the stadium, visitors must board private ground transportation beyond the city's downtown. Other travelers may enjoy a few more hours at the beach. You can sunbathe at local favorites, like Playa de la Barceloneta, Platja de la Nova Icaria, and Platja de la and wade in the shimmering sunkissed waters to cool off. Travelers who wish to find souvenirs for family and friends at home can also do so in the Gothic Quarter or along Las Ramblas.
In the late afternoon, you can meet your guide in front of your hotel and collect bags before boarding your private shuttle to the airport. You can glance out the window one last time as you whiz down central avenues. You can almost taste the savory saffron-induced paella on your tongue and hear the fervent stomping of flamenco dancers as you look out on the crashing ocean waves one final time.
- Get lost amongst the fervor of Madrid's Plaza del Sol and enjoy a three-course meal beside Parque El Retiro
- Discover the historical intrigue at the grand Plaza Mayor and stroll through the opulent halls of the Royal Palace
- Attend an authentic paella tasting event in Valencia and stroll through the kaleidoscopic array of fresh produce at the Mercat Central
- Marvel at the iconic futuristic designs of Santiago Calatrava in the City of Arts and Sciences and enjoy a seaside dinner
- Amble along the cobbled streets of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona and attend a traditional flamenco show downtown
- Enter the impeccable halls of UNESCO's Sagrada Familia church and stroll through the whimsical Park Guell
- Enjoy sparkling ocean views from La Barceloneta port and admire the fantastical facades of Casa Mila and Casa Batllo
Experience the energetic frenzy of city life in Spain during your seven-day expedition to the Iberian Peninsula. You will experience the very best of Spanish metropolitan life when you venture to Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona alongside your expert guide. Stroll through elegant palaces, stomp your feet to the contagious rhythms of traditional flamenco music, and roll up your sleeves to take part in an authentic paella cooking class.
You will begin your Spanish vacation in the nation's capital when you touch down in Madrid. Explore the Plaza del Sol your first afternoon after settling into your five-star hotel nearby. Here, the city is abuzz with shopping, restaurant-going, and endless opportunities for sightseeing. You can also visit the Puerta del Sol, considered the single convergence of all major Spanish highways. On your second day in the city, you will join your expert guide for a customized city tour, including the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor. In the evening, you will venture outside the downtown to the trendy neighborhoods of Malasana and Lavapies for a night of delectable tapas, music, and dancing.
Then, you are off to the sparkling Mediterranean coastline, where you will indulge in culinary excellence and architectural innovation in the beloved city of Valencia. You will begin downtown with an exciting visit to the Mercat Central to sample delicious olive varieties and admire the kaleidoscopic hues of fresh produce. Nearby, you will roll up your sleeves to participate in an authentic paella cooking class alongside an expert chef. Later, you will lose track of time and space as you behold the futuristic designs of Santiago Calatrava at the City of Arts and Sciences. Stark, white architecture pierces the blue skies and sunlight reflects against magnificent glass panels on the buildings' exterior.
The final third of our trip will be spent in the magnificent city of Barcelona, known for its progressive culture, vibrant traditions, and bold architecture. You will begin with a tour of the city's charming Gothic Quarter where you can visit iconic features like the Placa Sant Jaume, Barcelona Cathedral, and Placa Reial. That evening, you will attend a lively flamenco show that will have you stomping your feet and clapping your hands in fervent syncopation. Finish off your vacation with an in-depth look at the whimsical designs of famed architect Antoni Gaudi. You will marvel at the intricate and fantastical artwork at the Sagrada Familia World Heritage site before strolling through Park Guell and enjoying panoramic views of the city below.
$1,675 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.
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.
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