Take your partner’s hand as you embark on a romantic journey through Barcelona, Madrid, and beyond. Whimsical architecture meets the traditional, Gothic aesthetic in the bustling capital city of Cataluna. Meanwhile, crowds hurry along Madrid’s bustling Gran Via, and as you make your leisurely, 10-day journey between the megacities, pause in the charming town of Tarragona to visit an ancient Roman amphitheater and dig your toes into the sparkling, sandy shorelines. Then, hop on a thrilling zipline...
Barcelona - Airport Arrival & Dinner in Plaça Reial
Breezy sea saltwater will waft in your direction as you step off the plane in Barcelona. You will make your way through customs and meet your private ground transportation before speeding down the coastal highway as you look out on the iridescent waves of the Mediterranean. Your transfer will weave in and out of busied traffic as you drive past grand cathedrals and amazing 18th-century balconies that line the central plazas. You will soon arrive at your five-star hotel in the Gothic Quarter, which is one of the city's most charming neighborhoods.
After becoming acclimated, you can grab your partner's hand for some self-guided exploration. You can stroll down the vivacious pedestrian boulevard that is known as La Rambla, which is where artists sell beautiful paintings and shop vendors sell souvenirs of colorful flamenco fans and wooden castanets. You can marvel at the luscious archways that are formed by towering treetops. You may be lucky enough to have a musician serenade you as you indulge in afternoon drinks along the sunbathed terrace patios.
Finally, you can make your way down narrow, cobblestone streets and arrive at the open-aired Plaza Royal in Barcelona's native Catalan. Children may giggle as they play a game of tag in the plaza's center. Meanwhile, families and couples will gather around the square's perimeter for an evening meal. The plaza illuminates as night falls for a romantic first dinner in Barcelona. You can order traditional tapas like jamon iberico and Andalucian olives that will be seasoned to perfection. Finally, you will culminate your evening with a sweet glass of red wine from the famed wine country of La Rioja in Northern Spain.
Barcelona - Gothic Quarter & Sagrada Familia
As sunlight streams into your luxurious hotel room, you will wake with a milky cup of cafe con leche. You will spend the day alongside your expert guide as you explore Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. You will begin your tour at the church of the Santa Maria del Pi, which is the magnificent series of archways mark the church's facade and beaming light shines through vibrant stained-glass windows in stark contrast to the bold, structural design. Next, you will bask in the main square of Plaça de Sant Jaume and the site of Palau de la Generalitat. This grand government building was built during the 15th century and pops against the cobbled streets. Later, you will arrive at what has been deemed one of the most stunning public plazas in all of Barcelona: the Placa del Rei.
You will then delight in a light lunch at a quaint corner cafe where friendly faces welcome you with the classic Spanish hospitality. Then, you will follow your guide as you venture to Northern Barcelona for a breathtaking look at Sagrada Familia, which is among the city's most revered architectural masterpieces. You can step inside to Antoni Gaudi's whimsical fairyland that transforms the traditional notion of a Roman Catholic cathedral. Interior church pillars stretch to near gravity-defying heights, technicolored rays of sunlight shine through stained-glass windows, and wood-carved patterns decorate the walls with near infinite detail. You can wander down the enchanting halls as you learn about the construction of the cathedral that went interrupted and undefeated during the Spanish Civil War.
Barcelona - Antoni Gaudi & Park Guell
You will bask in the true romance of Barcelona's fantastical architecture on your second day in the city before delving deeper into one the region's most-beloved architects: Antoni Gaudi. You will stroll past his most famous works downtown before exploring Parque Guell for new perspectives on his art and panoramic views of the outstretched city.
You will learn about Gaudi's upbringing as you pass his childhood home of Casa Milà. Built in the early 1900s, the eye-catching edifice with its undulating exterior was once a great point of controversy because of its non-traditional aesthetic. However, since 1984, Casa Milà has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site and has taken on a new sense of cultural pride. Next, you will continue to Casa Batllo, which is located in the fashionable Eixample district. The bold, tile mosaic face of the building stands in stark contrast to its neighboring, architectural constructs. A dragon or dinosaur-like jagged rooftops juts out into the sky.
In the afternoon, you will travel across town to Parque Guell, where you can stroll hand-in-hand down the pedestrian paths of this enormous green space of vibrant gardens and eccentric architectural details that were constructed under the direction of Gaudi. Steeple-like towers reach up to puncture the clouds, stone tunnels shade picturesque footpaths, and birds let out sing-song chirps from human-made nests that were built to imitate the surrounding trees. As the warm red and orange hues of sunset saturate the sky, you can snuggle up on Gaudi's mosaic-tiled benches for unparalleled views of downtown Barcelona and the shimmering coastlines beyond.
Tarragona - Ancient Roman Amphitheater and Platja Savinosa
Today, you will travel back in time to one of the best-preserved Roman relics in all of Spain. By early morning, you will arrive in the beautiful port city of Tarragona as sparkling blue waters shimmer in the distance while affectionate couples meander down the sandy shores.
Meanwhile, the city center is steeped in history. The Roman Amphitheater dates back to the second century and reaches out to nearly the water's edge. You can indulge in a self-guided tour of the concentric theater, which at one time could house 15,000 spectators. Since its construction, the city of Tarragona has changed hands several times between the Romans, Christians, and Moors. Nevertheless, the theater was left virtually unscathed.
Later, you will delight in a look at the impressive Circ Romà, which is an aboveground and underground highway system that the Romans once used for chariot racing. Massive stone walls line the interior and pop against the surrounding Christian architecture of the 17th and 18th century. Finally, you will marvel at the acute construction of the Ferreres Aqueduct, which is an advanced irrigation system that was created by the Romans to transport water to and from the city.
In the afternoon, you will soak up the beauty of Platja Savinosa. Sparkling waves crash along the shorelines as you dig your toes into the sandy beaches. You can stroll along the water's edge as you look out on this stunning, Roman city at sunset.
Valencia - Valencia Cathedral, Mercat Central, and Paella Cooking Class
In the morning, you will venture to the dazzling city of fresh paella and sandy beaches. Sunny Valencia also boasts a lively art and cultural scene. Your ground transportation will escort you to your hotel accommodations in the Old Town that will be surrounded by vivacious floral shops, cafes, restaurants, and art exhibitions.
You will begin your day within walking distance at the Valencia Cathedral, which is a Roman Catholic church that was first consecrated in 1238. Alabaster windows and dramatic archways mark the church's exterior, and decorative iron gates welcome visitors into the worship space and Holy Chalice Chapel, which is adorned in beautiful gold leafing. As you exit, you will hear church bells as they ring from a bell tower that was once a Moorish minaret and was originally used as an amplified call to prayer.
You will continue down the cobbled streets of the Old City until you arrive at the Mercat Central. As you enter, you will be greeted with a kaleidoscope of colors, and vendors will chat charismatically with customers as they offer the best deals on produce, breads, hams, cheeses, olives, and wine for the day.
In the later afternoon, you and your partner will arrive at one of Valencia's premier restaurants for a romantic couple's cooking class. You will observe a careful demonstration that is led by an expert chef before joining in on the fun. You will mix together the rich flavors of rice, green beans, peppers, seafood, and chicken in the traditional iron skillet as you sprinkle the delectable treat with saffron and rosemary. Of course, the only way to truly assess your masterpiece is with a tasty glass of sweet, red wine.
Valencia - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias and L'Oceanogràfic
On your second day in Valencia, you will have the opportunity to tour the famed artwork and architecture of Santiago Calatrava, whose work can be seen across Spain and around the world. You will begin your day with a scenic bike ride from the Old Town to the City of Arts and Sciences. Once you arrive, you will feel as if you are stepping years into the future. You will behold the smooth, spherical structures that dot the park before enjoying a light walk around a water basin in the center of the park. White, crisp lines jut out against the green pastures and extensive foliage of this public space.
Later this afternoon, you will return to the Old Town where you will learn about Valencia's eccentric springtime festival that is known as Las Fallas. All year, artists and community groups prepare extravagant ceramic sculptures in fantastical spirits and vibrant colors. Many art pieces are light-hearted, clever commentaries on politics or other cultural trends from the past year. As evening sets in, you will enjoy a lovely moonlit dinner in the Old Town, while musicians serenade you with their guitar strums, trumpets, and vocals.
Toledo - Alcazar of Toledo, Mirador de Valle, and Zipline
Today, you will indulge in a detour to the fascinating city of Toledo, which is only a few hours away from Madrid en route to the nation's capital. In 1986, Toledo was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site for its significant Christian, Muslim, and Jewish monuments. As you descend on the city, the most notable feature is undoubtedly the Alcazar of Toledo, which is perched atop the steep hillside. You will be led by your expert guide through the halls of this bold, 16th-century palace that has since been reimagined as a military museum. Even centuries before, the Alcazar was once the site of a Roman palace, but today, sheer stone walls and pointed spires decorate the outside of the building. Pristine archways line the inner courtyard and welcome in the warm sunshine.
In the afternoon, you will visit the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes and Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, which are prime examples of Roman Catholic influence. Then, you will step inside the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca museum and Mosque of Cristo de la Luz for a better grasp on Muslim and Jewish traditions. These places will also be steeped into the city's storied past, and you may feel transported back in time when your guide informs you of some of its favored history. Finally, you will cross the snaking Tagus River, and as the sun begins to set, you can take your partner's hand at the Mirador de Valle for unparalleled views of the city skyline and mesmerizing horizon. You will culminate your night with an adrenaline rush as you mount a zipline from cliff's edge towards the city, whizzing at extraordinary speeds.
Madrid - Royal Palace, Plaza del Sol, and Plaza Mayor
Mopeds zip down busy avenues as yellow taxi cabs pick up eager tourists who are standing on the corner of the vivacious Plaza del Sol in Madrid. Street vendors and cafe waiters will advertise delicious deals on their fried churros.
You will begin your guided tour of the city at the center of Plaza del Sol. The clock tower inside the vibrant facade of Puerta del Sol chimes every hour on the hour. Beneath your feet, a plaque signifies the plaza as the convergence point of all major highways in Spain. You will then venture to the Western boundaries of the city as you emulate the life of a Spanish elite while you visit the Royal Palace, which is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Hefty iron gates will part as you enter the palace courtyard. As you continue along the courtyard perimeter, you can glance out at the beautiful veneer of the city's gems. Then, you can enter through the gold-leafed gateway for an exquisite tour of the grounds. Luscious gardens of perfectly coiffed hedges and vivid floral displays burst out at you as you exit the building to stroll through the gardens.
Next, you will keep up with the hurried pace of pedestrians along Gran Via. If you had to point to a 'Times Square' of Madrid, this would be it. Billboards flicker with upcoming movies and downtown events, and every local brand and international retailer lines this bustling avenue. It is all about high fashion and art here as people go about their daily business. In the evening, you can unwind at the Plaza Mayor, and settle into a patio table for an exquisite meal of local tapas and sweet sangria.
Madrid - Parque El Retiro and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
On your second day in Madrid, you will break away from the concrete jungle for the beautiful, green pastures of Parque El Retiro. Once the property of the Spanish elite, this expansive lawn is now open to the public. Families picnic on the sunny green lawn, while young adults peruse outdoor kiosks and sell bags, glasses, and accessories. Birds will chirp, and a light breeze may whistle through the swaying treetops. At the center of the park is a tranquil lagoon. You can hop in a quaint paddle boat for a romantic ride around the lagoon's perimeter and its cute, staircase backdrop. Then, you will mount a horse-drawn carriage for a scenic tour of the outer edge of this lovely green space that flourishes with an abundant and natural beauty.
In the afternoon, you will stroll to the nearby Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia for a chance to see some of the most renowned paintings in the world up-close. Artists such as Dali and Picasso have exhibitions at the famed museum, including Picasso's original Guernica. Finally, you will enjoy your last evening in Spain with some self-guided exploration of the city's outer extremities. You can delight in a meal at a swanky bar or restaurant in the trendy Malasana. Later, you can select from a series of inviting bars in Lavapies for a night of live music and dancing. Restaurant goers will clap along as carefree couples take center stage with a glass of sangria in hand.
Madrid - Airport Departure
In the morning, you will meet your private transportation in front of your hotel and drive to Madrid's international airport. From there, you will board your international flight home and bid a final farewell to the sunbathed patios and vivacious street vendors of downtown Madrid. While boarding the plane, you will be reminded of the sparkling beaches along Tarragona and the tantalizing flavors of Valencia's paella. Not far from your memories will be the enchanting Gothic Quarter of Barcelona and the whimsical architecture of Antoni Gaudi that may have you already thinking of your return trip.
- Meander through Barcelona's Gothic Quarter and admire the ethereal masterpiece of Sagrada Familia cathedral
- Marvel at the whimsical architecture of Antoni Gaudi and stroll through the fantastical Park Guell
- Behold the fascinating history of the Roman Empire at Tarragona's ancient amphitheater before strolling along the city's sparkling shorelines
- Barter with locals at the Mercat Central in Valencia and attend an authentic paella cooking class
- Indulge in a bike ride around Valencia's green spaces and walk through Calatrava's futuristic designs at the City of Arts and Sciences
- Discover Toledo's eclectic history at the Royal Alcazar before ziplining for unparalleled views of the city skyline
- Immerse yourselves in a tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid and shop along the bustling avenue of Gran Via
- Partake in a romantic boat ride around Parque El Retiro and peruse the artwork at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
You will fall in love all over again against the backdrop of passionate flamenco melodies and panoramic city views at sunset before immersing yourselves along the cobblestone streets as you take your partner's hand to visit each city's prized jewels. The energy of Spain is truly electric, and the rich flavors of local cuisine are mouthwatering.
You will touchdown in Cataluna's sunny capital of Barcelona, and over the next few days, you will follow your expert guide to the city's most prized cultural and historical gems. You will tour the Old Gothic Quarter and marvel at the whimsical fairy tale of Antoni Gaudi's Parque Guell. You will bite into intoxicating flavors of saffron-induced paella as you sip on sweet Spanish sangria and look out at the crashing waves of the Mediterranean.
As you make your way to the nation's capital of Madrid, you will have stops at the memorable cities of Toledo, Tarragona, and Valencia. Once you have settled into your hotel in the major metropolis, you will spend the subsequent days of immersing yourself in vibrant downtown life as well as the eclectic vibes of trendy neighborhood hangouts. You will begin with a tour of the Royal Palace and bustling Plaza Mayor and Plaza del Sol and then venture off for authentic Spanish bars, restaurants, and live music in Lavapies and Malasana. Finally, relax in the carefree tranquility of Parque El Retiro before bidding your final farewells to this enchanting country.
Consider learning more about our travelers’ favorite travel experiences by reading their Spain travel reviews.
$2,395 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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