Spain's golden age imbues aromas of enchantment and artistic pleasure. Historic towns offer iconic medieval reverie, the paintings of old masters hang in royal palaces, and the atmosphere of yesteryear lives on in all its pomp. Luxurious and indulgent, this royal tour relives the golden age, taking you into the perfectly preserved wealth of the 15th to 17th centuries. From castles to cathedrals and opera to literature, you experience some of the finest odes to Western civilization.
Madrid – Royal Welcomes in Magnificent Madrid
Madrid's scents are of elegant grandeur and laughter. The historic districts imbue impressions of grace and regal history, every street transposed from an era of impossible wealth. Walk down Paseo de la Castellana to the Gran Via and even the roofs scream of splendor, sculpted busts, and gods basking beneath the Mediterranean sunshine. You'll be met at the airport and transferred directly to your luxury boutique hotel in the regal district of Salamanca (remember this name for later in the trip). As you're guided around the city, first impressions are of Madrid's sublime heritage. But gradually another side shines through.
Madrilenos live their life outdoors, their chatter consuming the Plaza Mayor and the Madrid of the Hapsburg era. The sociability runs through the Madrid of the Bourbons, finding its way into classical alleyways and grand palaces. Every suburb has its own character, its own display of socialites mixed with heritage. Your afternoon tour explores both the Hapsburg and Bourbon routes, taking you through winding streets to a fine-dining restaurant opposite Madrid's Teatro Real. After dinner, you have prime seats at the opera. The theater's interior screams of opulence, all velvety and ornate as the tenor's voice reverberates off the dome ceiling. As dancers jump and a melancholy tale radiates beauty, this night at the opera is the start of your journey into Spain's golden age of art.
Madrid – Discovering the Old Masters on a Day of Fabulous Art
Madrid – Fabulous Palaces and Sumptuous Tapas
Alcala de Henares – Golden Age Immersion in the World's First Planned University Town
San Lorenzo de el Escorial – Regal Treatment at Another World Heritage Site
Segovia – Exploring a Fairytale Medieval City
Segovia – The Lavish Pleasure Palace of Kings
Avila – Stepping Back in Time in Unspoiled Avila
Day 9 - 10
Salamanca – Renaissance and Plateresque Brilliance in Historic Salamanca
Toledo – A Medieval Castle and Timepiece to Complete the Golden Age
Toledo – Farewell to the Golden Age of Spain
- Start the vacation with three days discovering the fabulous artistic history of Madrid, including art galleries, stunning palaces, and a welcome evening in the Royal Theatre
- Step back in time by exploring some of Europe's finest medieval cities, like the fairytale world of Segovia and fortress walled Avila
- Royal Spanish cuisine melts on the tongue and this itinerary is liberally sprinkled with gastronomic treats, from gala dinners in old castles to streets of exceptional tapas
- Fully indulge in the golden age by sleeping in some of Spain's finest paradors, five-star establishments built into converted palaces, castles, and monasteries
- Lose yourself in towns that flourished with the wealth of the golden age, like the completely untrammeled Renaissance town of Salamanca
- Spain was the forefather of higher education and you explore the world's first university and its first planned university town, Alcara de Henares
- Luxury transfers take you along spectacular rural roads, connecting the medieval towns of Central Spain with organic farms and valleys of enchantment
- Complete the journey in Toledo, a fabulous maze of cobblestone and history perched on a hill above Madrid
Spain's golden age was one of artistic treasures and royal wealth. Fabulous palaces sprung up as explorers returned with silver and gold. Towns reveled in their opulence, huge cathedrals dominating the town square and rows of Renaissance beauty running along mazy streets. Castles and city walls protected the wealth, towering above the valleys with turrets of medieval splendor. From the 15th to 17th centuries, the country's flourishing art and literature scene was the envy of the world. Every era of rule comes with an inevitable decline but the opulence of the golden age has been remarkably well preserved. This handcrafted tour explores Spain's finest cultural sights, fully immersing you in an era of splendor. Historic towns are unspoiled and untouched, palaces and galleries stand as odes to an historic era, and the razzmatazz of yesteryear abounds at every turn. Taking you in a loop around Central Spain from Madrid, each destination epitomizes the glory and luxury of the golden age.
Start your tour of Spain in the capital, welcomed to the country with an opera performance at the city's grand theater, a glimpse at both the art and architecture that this vacation will provide. A whole day is dedicated to the grand masters, Madrid rivaling Paris as the world's premier historic art city. There are many different sides to Madrid and your three days eclectically combine palaces, street tapas, and easy hours absorbing the old-world atmosphere. Days four and five epitomize the innovation of the golden age. Discover the world's first planned university town, a blueprint that influenced many famous American colleges. Then lap up the aristocratic pomp at San Lorenzo de el Escorial, another timeless ode to the indulgence of monarchs.
As you journey into the valleys of Madrid you begin to step back in time. Days six and seven are spent in Segovia, a medieval town of such pristine preservation that it was the inspiration for Disney's Snow White. Avila is equally untouched, its ancient city walls arguably the finest in the whole of Europe. Salamanca is the base for days nine and ten, a town that blossomed with Renaissance and Plateresque brilliance during Spain's reign as economic world leader. At each of these towns you're treated to a guided tour by an expert local guide. This provides a narrative to accompany the famous sights as well as an opportunity to discover the hidden attractions. You'll also have full days or afternoons to explore at leisure and relish the indelible ambiance. Toledo completes the itinerary: wander over the 11th century stone bridge and enter a city that has stood still for centuries.
Of course, Spain's golden age isn't just reflected in art and architecture. Gastronomic pleasures continue to impress the world and your tour features a diverse array of fine dining and local specialties, including a farewell gala dinner at a historic castle. It also wouldn't be the golden age without reliving the style of kings. Iconic five-star hotels and paradors make for a real sense of the country's dedication to style and luxury. Private luxury transfers are included throughout with the day's timings flexible.
$2,875 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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