Spain's cobbled streets and stoic palaces boast a rich past that spans thousands of years. Remnants of the city's most prestigious mosques, synagogues and cathedrals nod to an eclectic heritage in the city of Girona. In Toledo, the famed Alcazar fortress is highlighted against the skyline and reveals an ancient military might. In the megacities of Madrid and Barcelona, past meets present, and charismatic bands play eclectic beats in Madrid's Malasana neighborhood beside centuries-old cathedrals...
Barcelona – Airport Arrival and Dinner along Scenic Las Ramblas
As you exit Barcelona's international airport, you will immediately be struck by the light ocean breeze and mesmerizing shoreline. The air will be full of saffron-induced aromas of Spain's national paella dish. Shortly, you will meet your private transportation and be whisked away to your luxurious accommodation in the city center.
From your hotel balcony, you will be able to hear the incessant hum of vibrant city life. Children will play gleeful games of tag in public squares beneath shady palm trees while parents socialize over a frothy cana. Street performers will enchant crowds with their musical talents and eye-catching dance routines, and in the midst of daily living, and stoic fortresses loom on steep hillsides overhead.
Once you have settled into your hotel, you will venture into the city by early afternoon for some self-guided exploration. You can sneak your head into corner stores that sell freshly cut flowers and daily newspapers. You can also visit the Mercado de La Boqueria, which is adorned with vibrant hues of fresh produce and sweets. As the city's horizon begins to warm with the red-orange hues of sunset, you can choose from a myriad of dining options along Las Ramblas. This scenic pedestrian boulevard that is shaded with leafy green palm trees offers locals and visitors regional delicacies, such as paella, tapas, and gazpacho.
What's Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour, dinner
Barcelona – Tour of Gothic Quarter and La Sagrada Familia
On your first full day in Spain, you will wake up to the warm sun as it sneaks through your hotel window. In the early morning hours, you can wander down the cobbled streets of the surrounding downtown for a local cup of creamy cafe con leche. From the cafe terrace, you can listen as store owners chat in their native Catalan and breathe in deeply as the sweet scents of Barcelona's exquisite bakeries linger in the air.
Soon, you will meet your expert guide for a customized tour of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. This city district is revered for its mostly 19th- and 20th-century architecture. Wrought-iron balconies loom overhead, and intricate stonework decorates the outsides of buildings. Alongside your guide, you will visit key features of the Gothic Quarter, such as Plaza Sant Jaume, the Church of Santa Maria del Pi, and the King's Palace. You will also step inside the Plaza de San Felipe Neri as you learn about the impact of the Spanish Civil War on Catalonia's capital city.
Then, in the afternoon, you will stand in awe as you arrive at the entrance to La Sagrada Familia, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This wondrous church design breaks all of the barriers of traditional Gothic-style construction. Conic spires shoot high into the blue sky, and elaborate stonework depicts key biblical scenes, which will captivate your attention. As you enter, the true magic will begin to unfold. Kaleidoscopic hues will pour in from massive, stained-glass windows along the edifice's perimeter, and beams shoot a jaw-dropping 170 meters into the air. Your guide will lead you on a tour of the interior before allowing you some additional time for self-exploration. After your tour, you will have the remainder of the evening to spend at your leisure.
What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast
Barcelona – Antoni Gaudi Architecture Tour and Park Guell
Gulls will coo as they soar over copper rooftops while cafe owners negotiate patio furniture into place for the day. Ocean waves will crash feverishly against the sandy shorelines that are dotted with colorfully beach towels and umbrellas. On Day Two in Barcelona, you will witness one of the most fascinating intersections of history and culture that the city has to offer: its architecture.
The truly unique aesthetic of Antoni Gaudi has captivated audiences for centuries, but what was once considered risqué design with dubious high-art integrity is now greatly beloved by Barcelona’s locals and international visitors. You will begin your tailored tour alongside your guide at the homes of Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. The first, Casa Batllo, is an exquisite example of Gaudi's beautiful mosaic tilework. Rich blue and turquoise hues twinkle with the sun's reflection, and on the rooftop, large serrated edges mimic the scales of a dragon’s back. Later, you will make your way to Casa Mila, which is a striking residence with an undulating facade like that of a desert oasis. During your visit, you can climb to the building's rooftop, where the same design repeats itself in a sweeping staircase with panoramic views of the city.
Later today, you will break away from bustling city life for a peaceful respite at Park Guell. This massive green space is also amongst Gaudi's most revered masterpieces. Quaint stone cottages, fanciful tunnel passages, and cascading staircases create a fairytale-like atmosphere. A serpentine bench that has been made of mosaic tile will offer you unbeatable views of the city and sparkling oceanfront. Afterward, you will return to your luxurious accommodation for the remainder of the evening.
What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast
Girona – Tour of Charming Downtown and Visit to Idyllic Port Cities
At the break of day, you can once again indulge in a local breakfast of coffee or tea that is paired with the regional favorite of tostada bread and sweet marmalade. Today, you will depart from Barcelona for the quaint Catalonian city of Girona, which is just 100 kilometers north. Girona is esteemed for its enchanting downtown, its blend of Jewish and Catholic traditions, and its Moorish influence. The ornate cathedrals, mosques, and synagogues will offer you an intriguing insight into the city's storied past while eccentric shops and a bold riverfront keep the city relevant today.
You will begin your tour of the city along the Eiffel Bridge, which was built by the same architect of Paris' Eiffel Tower. Through a sturdy, crimson frame, you will admire the stunning facades of electric yellows, reds, and oranges that are highlighted across the river. Then, you will make your way across the bridge and into the city, where you pause at Girona's imposing central cathedral. You can step inside to behold the gold-leafed interior and massive, stained-glass windows. Afterward, you will visit the stunning Arab baths, which were constructed under Roman rule in 1194. Then, you will tour the city's Jewish Quarter, which is well-known as the historical origin of many of the region's great philosophers, poets, and thinkers. Finally, your guide will lead you to the magnificent venerable city walls that date back to the 9th century. Here, you will be treated with panoramic views of the city. In the evening, you will delight in a lovely dinner of fresh seafood from one of Girona's many picturesque port cities. You can cheers with a glass of sweet sangria as shimmering waves lap against the shoreline. You will then be returned to your luxurious accommodation, where you can have the rest of the evening to spend at your leisure.
What's Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast, dinner
Toledo – Alcazar Tour and History of Ancient Synagogue and Mosque
Today, you will begin your trek toward the nation's vivacious capital city. First, you will make a brief stop in the illustrious city of Toledo. Located in the central region of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo is an ode to the diverse, influential heritage of the Christians, Jews, and Moors.
As your private transportation enters the city, you will be in awe of the captivating skyline and Tagus River. Once you have settled in, you will enjoy a light lunch downtown that consists of carcamusa, which is a local delicacy that is made of stewed vegetables with a tomato base. Then, your guide will lead you on a tour through the cobbled downtown to uncover Toledo's captivating history. You will begin at the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, which was built by Catholic monarchs Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Here, arches encapsulate five chapels and exquisite paintings that depict key biblical themes. Next, you will visit the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca, which is a former synagogue and current museum that was erected in 1180 and is considered by many to be the oldest synagogue in Europe that is still standing. Afterward, you will travel to the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, which is one of ten mosques that existed during the period of Moorish rule. Finally, you will tour the famed Alcazar, which is a palace and military stronghold that was restored by Spanish monarchs and originally dates back to Roman construction during the 3rd century.
What's Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch
Madrid – Puerta del Sol, Royal Palace, and the Reina Sofia Art Museum
Today, you will make the final leg of your journey to the internationally acclaimed capital city of Madrid. Here, lively city life will be apparent as families and couples gather around public plazas with beautifully ornate fountains and street vendors sell jewelry and souvenirs.
In the morning hours, you can enjoy a tantalizing treat of cafe con leche and the city's sugary fried churros at one of several churrerias in the city. Then, you will meet your expert guide in front of your hotel for a tour of the city's highlights. You will begin at the Plaza del Sol, which is a hotbed of activity at all hours of the night and day as friends convene for shopping or a bite to eat. You will stop at the Puerta del Sol, and your guide will point out a plaque, which signifies that the plaza as the origin of all major Spanish highways. You will then be led to the Royal Palace, which is the official residence of the Spanish monarchy. As you traverse the opulent hallways, you will marvel at the careful gold leafing before admiring stunning views of the city from a central courtyard. Later, you will quicken your pace as you walk along Gran Via, which is the city's central artery for fashion and commerce. You can take a quick look inside local shops to check out Spanish fashion trends, and finally, you will arrive at the Reina Sofia Art Museum, which houses some of the most internationally acclaimed artists, including Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. You will even be able to see Picasso's famed Guernica, which depicts the atrocities during the Spanish Civil War. After your museum-filled day, you will be returned to your accommodation for the remainder of the evening.
What's Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast
Madrid – Plaza Mayor, Parque El Retiro, and Malasana
Birds will chirps as the sun warms the morning sky. With each passing hour, city traffic will be amplified from a muffled hum to a symphony of orchestrated car horns, revved engines, and bicycle bells. On your second full day in Madrid, you will explore the city's cultural meccas from leisure to fine cuisine. In the morning hours, after a light lunch, you will enjoy a few hours of self-exploration around the city's downtown or back toward Gran Via. Then, you will indulge in an appetizing lunch in the famous Plaza Mayor. This major public square was once farmland, but today it encompasses the city's finest bars and restaurants. During your meal of gazpacho and salad, local performers will serenade you with their song and dance.
After lunch, you will meet your guide at the center of Plaza Mayor. Here, you will be given a brief history of the area and its evolution over time. Then, as a group, you will venture toward Parque El Retiro. Here, flowers burst with hues of yellow and pink, and nearby, families may enjoy a homemade picnic. Here, you can partake in the paddleboat ride or enjoy a scenic horse-drawn carriage ride around the park's perimeter. Then, in the evening, you will witness the city come to life in a whole new way when you venture to the neighborhood of Malasana. Here, eclectic bars boast a wide variety of tapas, and you can enjoy live music and dance performances along the cobbled streets.
What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch
Madrid – Airport Departure
On your last day in Spain, you will venture into the city for one final breakfast in the main plaza square. You can soak up the sun and appreciate the local banter and laid-back atmosphere one final time. By the early afternoon, you will meet your private transport in front of your hotel to be transferred to Madrid's Barajas International Airport for your flight home.
What's Included: airport transfer, brunch
- Amble along the cobbled streets of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter and learn about the city's diverse history during and after the Spanish Civil War
- Behold the whimsical architecture of Antoni Gaudi and stroll through his masterpiece of Park Guell that will be complete with panoramic city views
- Fall in love with Girona's charming downtown and gaze at relics of ancient Arab baths and looming cathedrals
- Immerse yourself in the hurried pace of Madrid's downtown at the Puerta del Sol and traverse the prestigious halls of the Royal Palace
- Venture inside the opulent halls of Toledo's Alcazar palace and travel back in time as you step inside ornate synagogues and mosques
- Meander through picturesque Parque El Retiro and immerse yourself in the eclectic arts and music scene in Malasana
- Admire the grandeur of La Sagrada Familia's facade and marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage Site's vibrant, stained-glass windows
- Dine along Catalunya's luxurious coastline and partake in the region's freshest seafood delicacies
This historically-based, 8-day tour from Barcelona to Madrid will transport you back in time as you tour the country's most exquisite cathedrals, palaces, mosques, fortresses, and synagogues, all of which are imbued with their own history. These breathtaking relics offer captivating insights about this nation's rich past, and your expert guide will lead you through each city's highlights and will allow time for exciting self-exploration. Moreover, you will immerse yourself in the local culture, where you can get lost in the hustle and bustle of modern-day living as you visit high-end shopping districts, vibrant arts and music scenes, and luxurious outings. In addition, you will sample among Spain's most tantalizing culinary delights.
Your Spanish tour will begin in Catalonia's capital city of Barcelona. This internationally beloved city is revered for its rich combination of intricate beauty and contemporary innovation. First, you will tour the Gothic Quarter as you marvel at the wrought-iron balconies and fascinating stonework. Then, you can behold the magnificent architecture of Antoni Gaudi at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. In the days to come, you will venture beyond the city limits to both sunny Girona and stoic Toledo en route to Madrid. In Girona, you will visit the charming downtown and later luxuriate in a five-star dining experience. Then, in Toledo, you will traverse across the ancient Roman bridge and meander down the halls of the acclaimed Alcazar fortress.
During the second half of your travels, you will make your way to the nation's vivacious capital city of Madrid. Here, you will follow alongside your expert guide as you stroll through the opulent halls of the Royal Palace, marvel at internationally acclaimed artwork at the Reina Sofia Museum, and stand at the origin of all Spanish roads at the Puerta del Sol. On your second day in the city, you will get lost in the immersive arts and music scene as you break away from the city center to the vibrant neighborhood of Malasana.
Learn more by seeing how our partner Spain travel companies can personalize your dream itinerary for you.
$1,915 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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