Day 1: Flight
Take an overnight flight from the US to Spain.
Day 2: Barcelona
Arrive into Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. We will collect our bags and head into the city for a walking tour to include the La Rambla (most famous street in Barcelona) starting at the Columbus Monument to the Plaza de Cataluna. From here cut across to the parallel street of Paseo de Gracia, one of the most important shopping and business districts. End in the Gothic Quarter or Barri Gotic in native Catalan. This is the center of the old city of Barcelona where many of the buildings date back to Medieval Times and some from the time of Roman rule over the city. Many of the streets of this labyrinth area are closed to vehicles and can only be accessed by pedestrians. Check into the hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner there tonight.
Day 3: Barcelona
Today we will have a full day of sightseeing in Barcelona with a local tour guide. First will be a visit to Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. View
the outside and inside of this large Roman Catholic Church that although still unfinished is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The architecture is a combination of Gothic and Art Nouveau styles that towers of the city landscape. Travel up Montjuic Hill for a great overlook of the city and a photo stop at the Olympic Stadium and grounds. End the day with a visit to Picasso Museum. This museum houses more than 3500 pieces of art from Pablo Picasso in the 5 adjoining medieval palaces. You will learn how the city of Barcelona shaped the thinking for many of Picasso's pieces.
Day 4: Valencia
This morning we leave Barcelona and travel to the third largest city in Spain, Valencia. Upon arrival we will have a half day tour including a driving tour of the city and a stop at the historic central market which is one of the largest in all of Europe.
Day 5: Granada
This morning we leave Valencia and travel to southern Spain to the city of Granada. Granada is situated at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We will have a full tour of the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Garden. This red fortress was built in a strategic position on top of the hill in the mid 10th century by Berber rulers. The use of fountains and flowing water is used extensively throughout the grounds but most prominently in the gardens of the Generalife Palace portion.
Day 6: Seville
This morning we leave Granada and travel west to the city of Seville, the fourth largest in Spain. Here we will have a half day tour that starts at Maria Luisa Park, with its monuments built for the 1929 World's Fair. Next visit St. Mary's Cathedral and the famed Giralda. The Giralda is a bell
tower attached to the cathedral that was originally a minaret for an Islamic mosque. The tower's interior was built with ramps instead of steps to allow riders on horseback to traverse to the top. Facing the cathedral is the Alcazar, which is now a royal palace but was originally a Moorish fort. It is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The upper levels of the palace are the official residence of the royal family when in Seville.
Day 7: Ronda and Gibraltar
Today will be a day trip to Ronda to visit the city and the three bridges that span the canyon. They are the Roman Bridge, the Old Bridge, and the New Bridge. Next travel to the British territory of Gibralter located at the southern end of the Iberian peninsula. Take a cable car ride to the top of the Gibralter Rock. You will have access into the Nature Reserve and a stop at the Apes' Den where the only wild monkeys in all of Europe can be seen. Return to Seville tonight.
Day 8: Madrid
This morning we leave Seville and travel north to the capital city of Madrid. There will be time to visit the world famous Prado Museum. This museum showcases one of the best collections of 12th-19th century European art. The museum owns over 20,000 pieces of art and normally displays around 1300 of them at a time in the museum. It is the 11th most visited museum in the world with almost 3 million visitors per year.
Day 9: Madrid
Today we will have a full day of sightseeing in Madrid with a local tour guide. You will visit Puerta del Sol, Plaza de España with its monument to Cervantes, the Parliament, Cibeles Fountain, elegant Calle Alcala, and Paseo de Castellana. Next tour Bernabeu Stadium, home of one of the best soccer clubsin the world, Real Madrid. Here you will learn of the passion of the fans and the history of the sport of soccer in Spain and especially Madrid. Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight at the hotel.
Day 10: Flight
Transfer to the Madrid airport for our flight home.