Discover cosmopolitan Madrid, avantgarde Barcelona, the beautiful Pyrenees and more on this diverse and fascinating journey through Spain. Admire the masterpieces of Spanish artists at the illustrious Prado and Picasso museums and stroll through the medieval streets of Toledo. Explore the distinct cultures of the Pyrenees region as you enjoy the breathtaking mountain landscape. Stop in Pamplona to learn about the revered "running of the bulls." Conclude in Barcelona, home to Gaudi's whimsical architecture and a showcase of works by other modern Spanish artists. Through lectures by Smithsonian experts, gain an understanding of Spain's rich history and distinctive cultures.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Discover cosmopolitan Madrid, avant-garde Barcelona, and the beautiful Pyrenees on your journey through Spain. Admire the masterpieces of Spanish artists at the illustrious Prado and Picasso museums and explore the distinct cultures of the Pyrenees region as you enjoy the breathtaking mountain landscape. Conclude in Barcelona, home to Gaudi's whimsical architecture. Through lectures by local guest speakers, gain an understanding of Spain’s rich history and distinctive cultures.
Day #2 Arrive Madrid, Spain - Your tour begins in the vibrant capital city of Madrid. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner.
Day #3 Madrid - Toledo - Madrid - A tour of Toledo - a hilltop city that served as the capital of medieval Spain until 1560 - highlights the magnificent Gothic cathedral and the 13th-century synagogue of El Transito. You'll also stop in the Church of Santo Tome to view El Greco’s masterpiece painting, The Burial of Count Orgaz.
Day #4 Madrid - Prado Museum - During a walking tour of Madrid’s historic center, see the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, the city’s main public area for centuries. Visit the world-renowned Prado, opened in 1819 to house the Spanish royal collections. Among its treasures are works by Spanish masters, including Velazquez, El Greco and Goya. An evening lecture on Basque culture prepares you for a visit to the Basque region.
Day #5 Madrid - Burgos - Bilbao - Travel through the Castile-Leon region to the beautiful town of Burgos, home to Spain's third largest Gothic cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Later, continue north to Bilbao. This evening, enjoy a traditionally prepared dinner, slow cooked in a wood fired brick oven at a charming local restaurant, where you will also learn about this typical regional cooking technique.
Day #6 Bilbao - Tour the impressive Guggenheim Museum, considered one of the most important collections of avant-garde art in the world, whose Frank O. Gehry designed building is an architectural masterpiece. Your afternoon is at leisure to pursue individual interests in Bilbao.
Day #7 Bilbao - San Sebastian - Today, take a breathtaking drive with views of mountains, charming villages and the coast, to the city of San Sebastian, an elegant turn-of-the-century seaside resort. Upon arrival, stroll along the promenade and explore the historic town center.
Day #8 San Sebastian - Hondarribia - Vielha - Travel along the scenic Basque Coast to the charming village of Hondarribia, whose walled Old Town is considered a “Historic Artistic Site”. Briefly cross the border to France before you return to Spain and arrive in the town of Vielha. Spend the evening surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of the Pyrenees in one of Spain’s famous Paradors, offering unbeatable views.
Day #9 Vielha - Lleida - Barcelona - Cross the majestic Pyrenees Mountains via Lleida as you travel to Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. Spend the next three nights in this dynamic avant-garde city on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Day #10 Barcelona - Discover the architecture of Antonio Gaudi. View Las Ramblas Boulevard, Columbus Monument, Parc Montjuic, Antonio Gaudi’s “La Sagrada Familia,” Parc Guell and Casa Mila. Conclude your city tour with a visit to the world-famous Picasso Museum which contains the most significant collection of Pablo Picasso's early work. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore the area independently or take an optional tour to Montserrat Monastery.
Day #11 Barcelona - Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Barcelona. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers.
Day #12 Barcelona - Tour Concludes -