Arrive in Spain at Barajas airport. Meet your driver as you leave customs. We’ll drop you off at your hotel in Madrid center and give you a few hours to get acclimated. Later in the day begin your first guided tour at Plaza de Oriente, the center of 15th century Madrid. This walking tour will lead you through streets and squares belonging to the times of the Hapsburg royalty. Next, pass the Royal Palace, Royal Theater and Opera. Your guide will tell you the legends and history of the commoners and nobility during the Spanish Renaissance. A few other stops along the way are the Tower of Lujan, San Miguel Market, Plaza Mayor where bullfights were once held and Plaza de España.
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the short drive to Toledo. The ancient capital is well-preserved and full of cultural wonder. As you approach, notice how the entire city crowds onto a high, rocky perch protected by the Tajo River. Your guide will meet you at the city gates before leading you through the Old Town and Jewish Quarters. Next, visit the Gothic cathedral and nearby San Juan de los Reyes Convent. You’ll also get to see the famous painting by El Greco, “The Burial of Count Orgaz.”
Along the way, your guide will tell you the story of Toledo’s 3 religions and people groups that lived in harmony during a time when the rest of Spain was at war. Finally, end the tour at St. María la Blanca Synagogue or Cristo de la Luz Mosque. You’ll have some free time in the Old Town before returning with your driver to Madrid.
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the transfer to Atocha train station. Today you’ll leave Madrid for Andalucia on the high-speed AVE train. In a little under 2 hours, step out of Córdoba station into sunnier weather and the land of flamenco. Your driver will take you to your hotel to get settled before lunch. Try out some of the local venues in the Jewish Quarters. In the early afternoon, your guide will meet you at your hotel to begin your tour of what was once the most culturally advanced city in Europe. Enter the mosque, converted into a cathedral after the Reconquest in 1236 and listen to the stories of the sultans and commoners who built it together.
Next, wander the Jewish Quarters, known for their jewelers, strolling among the whitewashed houses and red gardenias. Your guide will explain why the Jews lived in such cramped quarters and some of their customs. End the tour of Cordoba with a visit to a classic medieval Jewish home. You’ll have some time on your own before the evening show. Enter the Royal Stables for a dancing horse show.
DAY 4- SEVILLA
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the short drive to Sevilla, once the only royal port in Spain for all ships arriving with riches from the Americas. Most of the countryside you traverse today will be olive groves. Arrive at your hotel in Sevilla. Your guide will meet you after lunch for an afternoon walking tour. Begin at the city walls, passing the Murillo Gardens with several stops in Barrio Santa Cruz, the background to the opera “Carmen”. Next, see the Alcazar fortress, the Cathedral and the Giralda prayer tower. Your tour will end at the Tower of Gold on the river where you’ll take a slow cruise up and down the Guadalquivir.
DAY 5– WHITE VILLAGES AND RONDA
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the drive south of Sevilla through the mountains. Discover a small corner of Spain where traditional village life goes on as it has for thousands of years. Begin at Zahara de la Sierra, birthplace of Arab noblemen, conquistadors and bandits. Your guide will tell you some of the local legends before visiting an olive mill for a tour and tasting. Next stop on your guided tour is the tiny village of Grazalema, a town within a natural park.
Finally, we’ll take a break for lunch just outside Ronda with a tour and wine tasting at a countryside winery. After lunch, your driver will leave you at your hotel. Take some free time before meeting your guide at the hotel for a late afternoon tour of Ronda, the birthplace of bullfighting. Go inside the bullring to step into the matador’s shoes. Later cross the New Bridge spanning a plunging gorge that separates Ronda’s New and Old Quarters. Once across the bridge, your guide will continue the tour down cobblestone streets into the Collegiate Church and Don Bosco’s medieval palace.
DAY 6- SAILING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the drive to Malaga. As we reach the foot of the mountains and the seashore, we’ll make a stop in Estepona port. Your captain will be waiting to welcome you aboard our Bénéteau Oceanis 351 sailing yacht. Head out into the Mediterranean for a day of dolphin watching, swimming out at sea, deep sea paddle surf and snorkeling. There will be drinks, sandwiches and snacks on board the yacht. When you return to port, you’ll have a chance to try the local seafood before heading to your hotel in Málaga.
DAY 7- MÁLAGA
Before lunch, your guide will pick you up in the lobby for a tapas tour. Join the locals on their pre-dinner tapas route up Larios Street into the open air market. See the local cheeses, produce, bread, and wines on display. Notice how differently Spaniards present their fish and meats! Your guide will explain a few basic ingredients for Spanish staples like paella and migas. Continue into the oldest tavern in town to sample sweet wine and seafood. Head into the Old Town for fusion tapas, classic “raciones” and more local wine. As you taste your way through Málaga, you’ll pass the Roman Theater, Alcazaba Fortress, Picasso’s Birthplace and the Cathedral.
DAY 8- GRANADA
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the drive east to Granada – the last Arabic kingdom in Spain until 1492. Leave your suitcases at the hotel and meet your guide at the entrance to the Alhambra. We’ll go back 900 years to visit the 11th wonder of the world. Gardens of Paradise, Alcazar Fortress and the renowned Nasrid Palaces are just some parts of the Alhambra Forbidden City that you’ll visit on tour. After leaving the palaces, take few hours of free time in Granada center. Try the local tapas on Plaza Nueva or take a real Arab Bath on Plaza Santa Ana. To end the day, meet your driver near your hotel to go to the Gypsy caves at Sacromonte just outside the city limits. Watch an authentic display of flamenco guitar and dancing over a 3 course dinner.
DAY 9- BARCELONA
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the drive to Granada airport. Catch a short flight to Barcelona where your next driver will be waiting for you just past luggage collection. Drop your suitcases at the hotel and explore the beauty of Barcelona on a complete visit of the exquisite Catalonian city. The guided tour will show you the city’s most iconic sights, beginning with a panoramic driving tour of the Passeig de Gracia Boulevard, past Parc Güell, both Gaudí houses, las Ramblas and the Born district. Stop at the Sagrada Familia and the Gaudí Houses to get a better look at the inside of these fabulously designed buildings. In conclusion, take a walking tour through the Gothic Quarters.
DAY 10– FREIXENET AND SITGES
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the short drive to Freixenet cava wine cellars. Your local guide will share some history of the family-run business as you descend to the old cellars and discover how cava wine is made. Hop on a small train that will traverse part of the 12 miles of underground tunnels before arriving at the tasting hall. Here your guide will lead you in a sampling of some of Freixenet’s best cavas. Next stop is the quaint seaside village Sitges. This town soaks up more than 300 days of sun per year. To end the day, take a stroll through the villages and some free time for lunch on the seafront before returning to Barcelona.
DAY 11- MONTSERRAT
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the drive up the mountain to the monastery-fortress built among finger-like rock formations. Visit the Monastery Chapel to hear the pure, angelic voices of the boys’ choir. Your guide will take you to the Grotto of the Black Virgin next. Finally, catch the cogwheel train to the mountain top for one last sight of Barcelona.
DAY 12- DEPARTURE
Meet your driver for the ride to El Prat airport.
Local 49P Puerto de Estepona
29680 Estepona Málaga Spain
Sun - Fri 10.00 - 18.00 Saturday CLOSED