Day 1 Arrive in Madrid, Spain.
Welcome to Madrid! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner with wine at your hotel. (D)
Day 2 Madrid.
The capital since 1561, Madrid today is a strikingly modern city, the showcase of a country resolutely turned towards the future. Your Local Guide takes you to the Puerta del Sol, Plaza de España with its monument to Cervantes, the Parliament, Cibeles Fountain, elegant Calle Alcala, and Paseo de Castellana. Then, the highlight: a visit to the palatial PRADO MUSEUM with its priceless art treasures. (B)
Day 3 Madrid–Toledo–Granada.
Spectacularly situated on a granite hill surrounded by a loop of the Tagus River, the ancient Castilian capital of Toledo attracts more sightseers from all over the world than any other Spanish town. A Local Guide takes you to the Moorish bridge, an early SYNAGOGUE, the 13th-century gothic CATHEDRAL, and the CHURCH OF SANTO TOMÉ with one of El Greco’s most famous paintings. Also visit a DAMASCENE STEEL WORKSHOP and taste traditional Santo Tomé, the local marzipan produced in Toledo since 1856, before arriving in history-steeped Granada. This evening, a special dinner with wine has been prepared for you at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 4 Granada–Costa Del Sol
. See the sights of Granada with a Local Guide and visit its main attraction, the ALHAMBRA COMPLEX. The mighty yet graceful citadel was planned by 13th-century Moorish ruler Al Ahamar. A fantasy of “lace in stone” surrounded by arabesque gardens and fountains, it affords superb views of the Old Quarter and Sacromonte, a mountain occupied by Gypsy cave dwellers. Also amble through the magnificent WATER GARDENS OF THE GENERALIFE, the royal summer residence. Then, turn towards the sea, away from the mountains, to lively Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol. (B)
Day 5 At Leisure on the Costa Del Sol
. Today is your chance to join an optional excursion to the Rock of Gibraltar, in British hands since 1704. Later, enjoy the sandy beaches, browse through the trendy boutiques, and sample the many fine restaurants. (B)
Day 6 Costa Del Sol–Ronda–Jerez–Seville.
Visit picturesque, historic Ronda, perched on a platform of the Sierra de Ronda and cut in two by a deep ravine, and [LF] the impressive PLAZA DE TOROS. Next is Jerez, famous for its sherry wines and magnificent horses of mixed Spanish, Arab, and English blood. Also visit [LF] a SHERRY BODEGA for a tasting, accompanied by local tapas. Then, on to Seville, the vibrant capital of Andalusia. (B,D)
Day 7 Seville.
Hear about the city’s role in Roman times, its conquest by the Moors in 712 AD, and its contribution to the discovery of the New World during your guided sightseeing tour. Admire Maria Luisa Park, the Golden Tower on the Guadalquivir River, and the university that used to be the tobacco factory of Carmen fame. Also visit the magnificent CASA DE PILATOS, a mixture of Moorish and Roman architecture with a splendid collection of Roman sculptures. Then, stroll through the narrow lanes of the charming SANTA CRUZ QUARTER. For those interested, an optional extended guided visit to the cathedral is available. Tonight, for a truly Andalusian night out, reserve a seat at our optional Flamenco show. (B)
Day 8 Seville–Cordoba–Madrid.
During your guided walking tour of Cordoba, see the Alcazar, the Roman Bridge, and the medieval Jewish quarter. Tour the magnificent 8th-century MOSQUE OF THE CALIPHS, famous for its 850 pillars of porphyry, marble, and jasper. Next, drive north from the fertile valley of the Guadalquivir River through the arid landscapes of Don Quixote’s La Mancha back to Madrid. A farewell dinner with wine awaits you at your hotel, the perfect moment to say adios to your traveling companions. (B,D)
Day 9 Madrid.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)