Day 1: Barcelona
Arrive in Barcelona and transfer to your hotel for check in. Take an afternoon walk through Las Ramblas, a colorful street where you will find street vendors, performers, florists, etc. Evening at leisure.
Day 2: Barcelona
This morning, we will begin our tour of the Gothic Quarter, a maze of narrow cobblestone streets & medieval buildings that lies in the heart of the city. Drive through the city to see Casa Batlo & Casa Mila, some of Gaudi's architectural creations. That afternoon, walk through the exotic gardens & late 17th-century castle on Montjuich mountain, a backdrop for much of the city. Evening at leisure.
Day 3: Barcelona, Lleida, & Barcelona
Today, leave mid-morning to spend time in Lleida, known for its archeological sites replete with cave paintings dating from the end of the pre-historic period. They are the first artistic works to have been completed by the primitive the Mediterranean civilization & give great insight into what their life was like. Return to Barcelona. Evening at leisure.
Day 4: Barcelona, Tarragona, & Barcelona
Take a short morning drive to Tarragona. Known by the Romans as Tarraco, it was the first Roman settlement on the Iberian Peninsula. Visit its Medol Quarry, an ancient Roman quarry from which they took 50,000 cubic meters of stone. You will also see the Roman Archeological complex including an amphitheatre & forum. Visit an old weapons museum, encompassing everything from simple blades to hunting utensils, ranging from the 17th century to the Spanish Civil War. Return late to Barcelona.
Day 5: Barcelona & Zaragoza
Morning drive to Zaragoza, called Saraqustah by the Arabs years ago. This city was largely rebuilt in the 19th century after the War of Independence, & is now both a major university and religious center. You will see Aljafareia, an 11th-century castle built by Muslims who occupied the city for four hundred years. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 6: Zaragoza
Enjoy a morning tour of La Seo Del Salvador Cathedral. See the old Roman city walls before traveling to Fuendetodos, where artist Francisco de Goya was born. Visit the house he was born in & the neighboring Museo de Grabados, which houses a collection of his work.
Day 7: Zaragoza & Toledo
Today we'll have an early morning departure to Toledo through the Rioja wine region. This city is rich in history and reflects the brilliant period of Spanish history when the cultures of east & west fused. On our drive, we visit El Antiguo convent, inside whose church the painter El Greco is buried. Evening at leisure.
Day 8: Toledo & Madrid
Visit the Castillo de San Servando, also built in 1085. Explore the Alcazar, a former Roman palace & an important stronghold during the Spanish Civil War. We will also visit the Casa del Diamantista, a famous building that houses the Escuela Taller, a school of arts & crafts, on our way to Madrid.
Day 9: Madrid
This morning, begin your day with a visit to the Museo del Prado, the Spanish School, & the Old City. Afternoon at leisure.
Sightseeing suggestion: Try a walk in the Plaza De la Villa (a quiet pedestrian street). In the evening, walk through the Plaza de Espagna & rest at one of the cafes. You may also want to substitute a visit to the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum. This unique art museum takes visitors on a trip through time, showing works from the 13th to the 20th century in chronological order. To enhance the experience, the audio tour describes how each period led to the next artistic movement & how they were influenced by the political climate of the time.
Day 10: Madrid
Tour the Casa de Campo, an extensive park reforested under Philip II in 1559. Take the teleferico connecting the Parque del Oeste with the Casa de Campo. Afternoon visit to the Museo de America (archelogical & ethnological museum). Evening at leisure.
Day 11: Madrid
Return to the USA