Day #1 Overnight Flight - Discover an amazing cache of treasures in beautiful Spain - from the grandeur of the country’s unique paradors to its UNESCO World Heritage sites and cities. Your journey begins with an overnight flight to Madrid.
Day #2 Arrive Madrid, Spain - Welcome to Spain’s vibrant capital, Madrid. Meet your fellow travelers during a welcome dinner at a charming local restaurant. Experience dinner cooked the traditional way, slowly in a wood fired brick oven, and learn about this typical regional cooking technique.
Day #3 Madrid - Prado Museum - Toledo - Madrid - Discover Madrid’s historic center during a locally guided tour. See the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, where countless festivities and events have taken place since the 17th century. Enjoy a guided tour of the world-famous Prado Museum, which houses one of the world’s finest collections of European art with treasures by such masters such as Velazquez and Goya. This afternoon, travel to Toledo, the capital of medieval Spain and a UNESCO World Heritage city. A comprehensive tour highlights the magnificent Gothic cathedral and the 14th century synagogue of Santa Maria Del Blanca, a testament to Toledo’s Jewish heritage. Stop in the Church of Santo Tome to view El Greco’s evocative masterpiece in oil, The Burial of Count Orgaz. Tonight, during a memorable dinner at the Parador de Toledo, get your camera ready as you behold unforgettable views of Toledo’s historic skyline from a magnificent vantage point.
Day #4 Madrid - Segovia - La Granja - This morning travel into the Guadarrama Mountains and into the city of Segovia. The Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site, sits majestically on a promontory. Enjoy a locally guided tour, viewing the medieval wall, the Roman Aqueduct, and the fantastic Alcazar Castle perched on a crag overlooking the rivers below. Your guide takes you inside this romantic structure, an archetypical Spanish castle. Continue on to La Granja, where you have free time to independently explore. Discover La Granja Palace, investigate the glass factory, or simply luxuriate at your hotel’s spa. Tonight, your royal accommodations are at the Baroque-styled Parador de La Granja, built in the 18th century by King Carlos III for the princes Gabriel and Antonio.
Day #5 La Granja - Avila - Salamanca - Today, set off to visit Avila - a medieval city perfectly encircled by 11th century walls. This remarkably-preserved UNESCO World Heritage city is the birthplace of St. Theresa. Stroll through its winding streets on a tour with a local guide and view the city’s wall, cathedral and plazas. Continue your journey to Salamanca for a two night stay.
Day #6 Salamanca - Today, explore Salamanca, an illustrious UNESCO World Heritage city that, for centuries, reigned as a leading center of learning. Visit the Old Cathedral and University during a locally guided tour. Continue with a panoramic tour and view the new cathedral, the 15th century House of Shells, the Pontifical University and the main square. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to discover Salamanca on your own. Explore its many boutiques, shops, tapas restaurants, or wander the city’s expansive Baroque Plaza Mayor. Dinner tonight is a special event at the Parador de Salamanca, an elegant modern building with phenomenal views of Salamanca. Prior to dinner, the Chef will demonstrate the preparation of a regional favorite and you’ll get to enjoy some samples! Then, sit down for a delicious dinner of local cuisine as, after sunset, your magnificent view of the ancient city is illuminated.
Day #7 Salamanca - León - Today, set out on the road that leads to the historic city of León. Travel through a countryside rich with legends of El Cid, the Spanish hero who fought against the Moorish occupation in the early 11th century. Arrive in León, a stop on the famous pilgrimage route to Santiago that was also once a leading city in medieval Europe.
Day #8 Leon - Burgos - This morning, discover the wonders of León during a local tour. See the expansive façade of the 16th century convent, San Marcos - one of Spain’s most important Renassiance structures. View the museum of Contemporary Arts and León’s many gardens and bridges. Explore the historic quarter with a walking tour through narrow and medieval streets, arriving at the Cathedral de León, also known as Santa María de Regla. Step inside and marvel at the cathedral’s massive 13th century stained glass windows. Visit the Romanesque church and museum dedicated to St. Isidore. The church’s treasury houses a remarkable collection of antiquities, such as a Visigoth bible tribe and 10th century Asian silks. Enjoy time for lunch in town before heading on to Burgos.
Day #9 Burgos - Burgos, the birthplace of El Cid, is known as the cradle of the Castile. The town stands on the banks of the Rio Arlazon with the elegant spires of its famous cathedral reaching toward the heavens. Visit this 13th century Cathedral of Burgos, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The afternoon is free to explore this unique Gothic town. Perhaps you will opt to take a tour to the Marques de Riscal Winery, the first winery in the Rioja to produce wines following the Bordeaux method.
Day #10 Burgos - Alcala De Henares - Travel back into Spain’s capital region for a memorable night in a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Alcala de Henares, founded in the early 16th century, was the first planned university city. The Parador de Alcala De Henares is one of Spain’s newest paradors, housed in a fabulous 17th century convent and college that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage complex. This learned city is the hometown of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. Linger over a festive farewell dinner at this enchanting parador, savoring local specialties and toasting the friendships you have made during your travels through Spain.
Day #11 Alcala De Henares - Tour Ends - Return home today with countless stories and cherished memories of a rich land that boasts beauty, a diverse culture and ancient heritage.