Join Mary Kisler in Spain in May 2013 as she discovers the history, culture, food and of course art of Madrid, Burgos, San Sebastian, Bilbao and Barcelona.
Our tour comprises:
– 5 Nights in Madrid
– 2 Nights Burgos
– 4 Nights San Sebastian
– 5 Nights Barcelona
– Visits to Toledo, Segovia, Bilbao’s Guggenheim, Figueres (Dali’s Theatre) and Zaragoza
– All transfers and meals where indicated
– All museum entries
– Accommodation in 4 star hotels
– Services of a Tour Manager and Tour Guide
* Airfares from New Zealand to Europe are additional
This tour will be escorted from New Zealand but own arrangements are possible on enquiry
A Brief suggested itinerary is below: Depart Auckland 8 May on Singapore Airlines with one night in Singapore included
Day 01 Madrid
Arrival in Madrid at the airport where you are met and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Settle in and relax. A short walk to the lovely Casa Lucio restaurant, where you enjoy a welcome dinner. Back to the hotel for overnight.
Day 02 Madrid
A relaxed start today with breakfast at the hotel before you are met by your local guide for a tour of the city. You will walk through the majestic streets of the capital and enter the Golden Triangle museum quarter for a guided tour through the Prado art galleries. With almost 9000 exhibits in its permanent collection, the museum houses the world’s greatest assembly of Spanish painting – especially works by Velazquez and Goya – ranging from the 12th to the 19th century. It also houses important foreign collections particularly Italian and Flemish works. Free afternoon. You may like to head out and enjoy a stroll through the beautiful Retiro Park – Europe’s largest inner city park. Overnight.
Day 03 Madrid – Toledo – Madrid
A memorable excursion today to the walled city of Toledo. On your tour you will visit the magnificent Cathedral, the Church of Santo Tome and the Santa Maria la Blanca Synagogue, followed by a visit to the house-museum of artist, El Greco. Optional: tapas ‘degustation menu’ at la Abadia restaurant. Some time to wander the tiny streets of the old quarter after your tour. Overnight.
Day 04 Madrid
Today we will visit the spectacular Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia museums. Overnight.
Day 05 Madrid
Stretching from the Medieval Plaza de la Villa to the busy Puerta del Sol, the compact heart of Old Madrid is rich in history and full of interesting sights. You may like to visit the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, Madrid’s most notable religious building and is one of the rare surviving examples of sixteenth century architecture. Overnight.
Day 06 Madrid – Segovia – Lerma – Burgos
Depart early from the capital today as you journey north. Your first stop is beautiful Segovia, where you will have a tour of the city, including the Alcazar, which appears like a fairy-tale castle. The 1st C Roman aqueduct cuts through the middle of the city and is remarkably preserved. Back on the road as you head north to Burgos, stopping for a local lunch on the way at the Parador in the charming town of Lerma. Arrival in Burgos and check-in. Free time. Overnight. B
Day 07 Burgos
A half day tour of the city today, visiting the Casa del Cordón, where the Catholic Monarchs received Christopher Columbus after he returned from his second trip to the New World. You will then continue on to visit the Royal Monastery of Huelgas Reales, with an impressive Gothic cloister and the famous Chapel of Saint James the Apostle.
Day 08 Burgos – La Rioja – San Sebastian
Your journey to the coast today takes you through La Rioja, Spain’s most famous wine producing region. You will stop for a visit of the spectacular Bodegas Ysios. The architect Santiago Calatrava designed it from the sublimation of the outline of a row of barrels. Inside, too, you will find the same ultra-modern style and your visit will include a guided tour and tasting. Back to the coach and on to San Sebastian where you will arrive in time for check-in and a late lunch at leisure. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon stroll along the beautiful La Concha promenade or simply relax in one of the many cafes of the old quarter. Overnight.
Day 09 San Sebastian
A very special day today as you may like to enjoy private cooking class at a Sociedad Gastronómica (Gastronomic Society), located in the old center of this elegant city. (Optional) You will learn the trade from a professional chef and enjoy the fruits of your labour as you enjoy lunch. After lunch, return to the hotel for a siesta or just some free time to relax at your leisure. Overnight. B
Day 10 San Sebastian – Bilbao – San Sebastian
A short drive today to the industrial city of Bilbao. You will enjoy a tour of the great Guggenheim Museum. This spectacular building (Frank O. Gehry, 1997) is covered in titanium panels and has its own important collection, as well as sharing the largest private modern and contemporary art collection in the world with New York and Venice. Some free time after the tour to explore at leisure and perhaps enjoy a light lunch before returning to San Sebastian. Overnight.
Day 11 San Sebastian
Tonight, enjoy a guided tapas evening with a gourmet guide, walking distance from the hotel. You will settle in for the evening and enjoy a sample of local favourites. The city is the gastronomic capital of Spain and tonight will not disappoint! Overnight. B
Day 12 San Sebastian– Zaragoza – Barcelona
A longish day of travel today to reach Barcelona. En route, you will stop in historic Zaragoza, to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Continue on to Barcelona and to your hotel. Free time at leisure. Overnight.
Day 13 Barcelona
This morning you will have a guided tour of ‘Modernist and Artistic Barcelona’. You will travel along the Passeig de Gracia, with its wonderful architecture. Your tour will include a visit to the incredible Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece, as well as his Casa Mila, also known as ‘La Pedrera’. You will then be taken down towards the marina where you will have a guided tour of the Picasso museum. Your tour will end here, so you can head out and stroll the alleyways of the Gothic quarter or perhaps head down to enjoy an afternoon by the water. Overnight.
Day 14 Barcelona
A free day at leisure. Perhaps head up to Montjuic for views across the city or further explore the Gothic quarter, visiting the Palau de la Musica and the Cathedral. Overnight.
Day 15 Barcelona– Figueres – Cadaques – Barcelona
Head north towards Girona today and further on to Figueres, where you will have a guided tour of the remarkable Museo Casa Dalí. The Dalí Theatre-Museum, the largest surrealistic object in the world, occupies the building of the former Municipal Theatre, a 19th century construction which was destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War. On its ruins, Dalí decided to create his museum. After the tour, you will head to Cadaques, to visit the Portlligat House-museum which was Salvador Dalí’s only fixed abode from 1930, the place in which he normally lived and worked up till 1982 when, upon Gala’s death, he took up residence at Púbol Castle. Lunch in a local restaurant before you return to Barcelona after a full day. Overnight. B, L
Day 16 Barcelona
A free day at leisure. Tonight, join together for a special farewell dinner at Casa Calvet, housed inside a building designed by the city’s most famous son, Antoni Gaudi. You will walk to/from the restaurant, right in the heart of the city centre. Overnight. B, D
Day 17 Depart Barcelona
Farewell the city today as you are transferred to the airport for your flight to your next destination.