22 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Day 1 Madrid
Arrive in cosmopolitan Madrid, Spain's art and culture capital. Perhaps inspect art inside the legendary Museo del Prado, seek out a bargain in the narrow streets around Puerta del Sol or snack on tapas in Plaza Mayor. Why not join Madrilenos in Malasana for a glass or two of sherry or head to the Gran Via hotspots to dance the night away.
Day 2 Granada
Explore the Arab quarter of Albayzin, a maze of alleyways with sweeping views of the Sierra Nevada. Stroll through the extravagantly decorated rooms and sprawling gardens of the imposing Alhambra Fortress palace complex. For the best view of Granada at sunset, head to the Mirador de San Nicolas at the very top of the city's steep streets.
Day 3 Granada
Today make a visit to Granada's impressive Alhambra Palace. An entrance ticket is included in the trip, though you will need to pay a little extra to visit the gardens. Audio guides in multiple languages are available on the day for EUR 4. The Alhambra was first built by the Moors as a fortress during the Muslim rule of Spain. A walk through the compound's luxurious rooms and gardens gives you an idea of the decadent lifestyle of the Moorish kings. The Alhambra is made up of three parts: the Alcazaba, the 11th-century Muslim wing which features spectacular views from its towers; the Palacio Nazaries, the centre of the complex; and Generalife, the summer palace of the sultans. Note: If you would like to take an in-depth guided tour of the Alhambra or enter the gardens and palace at nighttime, we strongly recommend you book tickets in advance. You can reserve these online at alhambra-tickets.es. To collect your tickets you will need to present the credit card that was used to make the booking. A maximum of 10 tickets may be bought for the same day on the same card. Please book any tickets for your second day in Granada only.
Day 4 Seville
Visit Seville and be swept up in the emotions of a fiery flamenco performance. See the world's largest Gothic cathedral and its imposing Moorish tower or enjoy the tranquil gardens in the Parque de Maria Luisa. Revel in the city known as the tapas capital of Spain, where restaurant windows are full of tasty morsels. In the evening, take a wander through lively El Centro.
Day 5 Seville
Today is a free day to discover Seville. Checking out the world's largest Gothic cathedral is a must. You can also the climb the cathedral's adjoining Moorish tower, known as La Giralda. While you might have to line up, it's well worth it for the views over the city. Visit the magnificent Alcazaar, a complex of palaces used by Moorish and Christian rulers through the ages. Wander through the fragrant gardens and examine the Moorish and Mudejar architecture. As Seville is the tapas capital of Spain, be sure to sample some of the tasty treats on offer in one of the city's many tapas bars. In the evening, catch a local flamenco performance with the group (included). Charged with emotion and drama, this is a real highlight.
Day 6 Costa de la Luz
Travel to Costa de la Luz and enjoy an optional day tour across the border to the British territory of Gibraltar, home to the famous Rock of Gibraltar, or go one step further to Tangier in Morocco. In free time, relax on the beaches of Tarifa, perhaps taking the opportunity to go whale watching off the coast.
Day 7 Costa de la Luz
Today there are plenty of optional activities to choose from. Perhaps head out on a whale and dolphin watching expedition. Alternatively, take a day trip to Northern Africa and the town of Tangier in Morocco, just 45 minutes away by ferry. Once a hotspot for artists, secret agents and millionaires, Tangier has been going through something of a renaissance of late. The city's medina and kasbah are well worth exploring, as are the cafes and patisseries around the Place de la France in the Ville Nouvelle. You might prefer to go on day tour across the border to the British territory of Gibraltar, home to the famous Rock of Gibraltar.
Day 8 Ronda
Leave the Andalucian hills and journey to Ronda, a whitewashed town split in half by a deep chasm and joined by the amazing Puente Nuevo. Perhaps climb down the hand-hewn stairs of La Mina to the river below or learn about secret smuggler hideouts at the Bandits Museum.
Day 9 Ronda
The Plaza de Toros is one of the oldest bullfighting rings in the country. Adjoining the bullring is the Bullfighting Museum, which displays relics of Ronda's bullfighting history. The gardens behind offer panoramic views over the surrounding mountains, which once proved a perfect hideout for bandits and smugglers. A visit to the Museum of Bandits gives an entertaining insight into their history. Note: While bullfighting is a significant part of Spanish culture and history, its practice is contrary to our Responsible Travel philosophy. Intrepid does not support or attend bullfights, as the bulls are subject to torment and fear and are often killed inhumanely. Long a controversial issue in Spain, a landmark decision in July 2010 banned bullfighting in the state of Catalonia from January 2012.
Day 10 Cordoba
Discover the mesh of Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultures in the architecture and cuisine of the southern city of Cordoba. Visit the Mezquita, with its golden arches and intricate columns, and then perhaps stroll through a labyrinth of cobbled laneways in the old quarter, discovering open squares and quirky cafes.
Day 11 Valencia
Travel further north to Valencia, Spain's third-largest city. Why not do as the locals do and start the day with a breakfast of tortillas or churros at the morning market. Then, visit Valencia's cathedral, which reputedly houses the Holy Grail, and spend free time wandering through lush parks and gardens or go museum-hopping.
Day 12 Valencia
Spend the day discovering Valencia. Visit the Cathedral, housing what is claimed to be the Holy Grail, the chalice Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. For something a little more quirky, head to the Museum of the Fallas, which contains a history of the Valencia fire festival and giant papier mache figures that have been spared from the burning. Perhaps visit the gothic Miguelete Bell Tower or the Valencian Institute of Modern Art. There are many fine parks and gardens to explore in the city, or you might prefer to head to Playa de la Malvarrosa to soak up some sun. For lunch, do as the locals do and head to Las Arenas for a delicious and affordable paella.
Day 13 Barcelona
Arrive in vibrant Barcelona and make a stop at Gaudi's eccentric La Sagrada Familia. Then, squeeze in a spot of shopping, soak up the relaxed vibe in Las Ramblas or visit the Picasso Museum before saying hasta luego to wonderful Spain.
Day 14 Barcelona
Join your leader on an orientation walk around Barcelona today. See some of the city's main sights, including a visit to Antonio Gaudi's incredible La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. The architect worked on this hugely ambitious project for decades until his death, and it remains in constant construction. Gaudi was the master of the unique Catalan Modernista architecture for which Barcelona is famous, and his work is dotted all over the city. Perhaps check out the Neo-Gothic mansion of Guell Palace or the wave-inspired structure of Casa Batlo. For more insight into the artist himself, head to the Gaudi House Museum inside Parc Guell, which is home to more colourful sculptures including a long mosaic-covered bench overlooking the city. For something a little different, perhaps have a poke around the Old Santa Creu Hospital (entry is free).
Day 15 Barcelona
Hola. Welcome to Barcelona, Spain. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 7 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, use free time to get your bearings of Barcelona. There are plenty of galleries, cafes and historic corners to keep you busy. If you have time, Gaudi's bizarre La Sagrada Familia Cathedral is possibly the most iconic landmark in this city and well worth a visit. In the evening, perhaps go for dinner with your fellow travellers so you can get to know them. Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend the meeting. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Day 16 Pamplona
Get acquainted with Pamplona on a walking tour, learning how the town has served as both a military stronghold and an important point on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail for centuries. Meander down winding alleys and step inside ornate buildings such as Pamplona's Gothic cathedral - one of the most important religious structures in Spain.
Day 17 Logrono
Head to Logrono in the far north of Spain, well known for its delicious Rioja wine. Drop by the wine museum to learn more about this area's famous tipple. Take the time to visit the cathedral, mosey along the river or go tapas bar-hopping.
Day 18 Logrono
Head out on an included tapas crawl around Logrono today, and enjoy a day of grazing on delicious local produce, sampling wine and basking in the sunshine. Visit the wine museum (July to September) to learn more about this region's famous tipple. When the museum is closed, your group leader will take you on a visit to a local winery. Your evening is free to do as you wish.
Day 19 San Sebastian
Travel to San Sebastian and relish the cool breezes coming off the Bay of Biscay. Experience firsthand why San Sebastian is the perfect place for sun, fun and relaxation with its beautiful Old Town, lively beach scene and plethora of pintxos bars. Take in sublime coastal views on the Monte Igueldo cable car or visit Frank Gehry's architectural masterpiece, the Guggenheim, located a short distance away in Bilbao.
Day 20 San Sebastian
You have a full day to explore San Sebastian today, which also gives you plenty of time to catch the one-hour local bus to Bilbao. If you do decide to venture to Bilbao, the world-famous and architecturally sublime Guggenheim Museum is a must visit. If you have enough time in the afternoon, the San Telmo Museum displays history, art and photography of the Basque country. In the evening, it might be a good idea to enjoy one more night of tapas in San Sebastian before heading to Madrid tomorrow.
Day 21 Madrid
Arrive in magical Madrid, a city overflowing with world-class art galleries, atmospheric city squares, manicured parks and gardens, and heaving nightclubs and bars. Make time to celebrate the end of this north Spain adventure by trawling through several of the city’s distinctive neighbourhoods and museums. Try tapas, sample some local wine and quickly discover why Madrid is one the most loved cities in Spain.
Day 22 Madrid
Your 'North Spain Discovery' adventure ends this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time.
All This Included
Visit Spain's star attractions on a classic tour through the country. Starting in Madrid, let your imagination unfold on a journey through this beautiful country oozing with charm, and visit the people and cities that reflect Spain's fascinating history and culture. Tour through Cordoba, Valencia, Barcelona and San Sebastian as you experience a fiery flamenco performance, follow your tastebuds to a tapas bar, admire unique architectural triumphs, worship the sun at the beach and sip some of the best red wine in the world - this adventure through Classic Spain is as colourful and diverse as the land itself.
Hotel (21 nights)
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.