Day 1, Arrive in Madrid, Saturday (WR)
You will be met and transferred to your hotel. The day is at leisure to begin exploring. Later, join your fellow travelers and your tour director for a welcome reception.
Day 2, in Madrid, Sunday (B)
We begin with a guided half-day city tour of Madrid. Our drive takes us through the Gran Vía and the Passeo de Castellana, past the Plaza de España, Plaza de Oriente, Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Atocha Station, the fountain of Neptune, Cibeles fountain, the Bullring, the Santiago Bernabeu soccer stadium, and many more. The afternoon is at leisure or join and optional tour.
Optional Tour: Prado Museum
Day 3, in Madrid: Excursion to Toledo, Monday (B)
We visit Toledo, a city with a wealth of monuments. It is known as the “city of the three cultures” because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived there together for centuries. During our guided tour we visit the Santo Tome Church and the Synagogue of Santa María. From Toledo, we return to Madrid where the afternoon is at leisure or join an optional tour.
Optional Tour: Flamenco Show with Dinner
Day 4, to Santiago de Compostela, Tuesday (B)
We Depart for Santiago de Compostela. On the way, we stop in Salamanca, an ancient city famous for its university founded by Alfonso IX in the early 1200’s. There is time for lunch on your own and thereafter, we continue to Santiago de Compostela along the Camino. Many pilgrims follow this ancient route also known as the Way of St. James. In Santiago de Compostela, the evening is at leisure.
Day 5, in Santiago de Compostela, Wednesday (B, D)
Santiago de Compostela’s center is called “Casco Histórico” (old town), an area once surrounded by walls in the 11th-century. We visit the Cathedral and the Cathedral museum and view the tomb of St James the Great. In the afternoon we visit Cap Finisterre where pilgrims ceremoniously burn their boots. The day finishes with an early seafood dinner accompanied by Albariño wine.
Day 6, to Oviedo, Thursday (B)
After breakfast, we head to North Galicia. Our scenic drive takes us past the Cabo Ortegal and the Asturian coast to Oviedo.
Day 7, in Oviedo, Friday (B)
A half-day guided city tour of Oviedo takes us to the Cathedral, the Palacio de Valdecarzana, the ruins of the San Tirso Church, and the Porlier Plaza which is flanked by the El Conde de Toreno and Camposagrado Palaces. The afternoon is at leisure.
Optional Tour: Visit Cider House with Dinner
Day 8, to Bilbao, Saturday (B)
After breakfast, we continue our journey towards Bilbao. On the way, we stop in Santillana del Mar, one of the North Coast’s most picturesque villages. Its architecture dates to the Middle Ages. In its vicinity, we visit the famous Altamira Caves where prehistoric art is well preserved. After our visit, we proceed to Santander where we have free time for lunch on your own. From there, we continue to Bilbao where we have a tasting of local tapas called pintxos.
Day 9, in Bilbao, Sunday (B)
On our visit to Bilbao, we see the vibrant old town with many shops, squares, and typical Basque tavernas. We enter the Guggenheim Museum, an architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Gehry. The collection includes large-scale and site-specific art by such contemporary artists as Jeff Koons and Willem de Kooning. The remainder of the day is free or join an optional tour.
Optional Tour: Visit the Basque Coast
Day 10, to Pamplona, Monday (B, D)
After breakfast, we depart for San Sebastian. En route, we visit Getaria, a charming Basque coastal village. Upon arrival in San Sebastian, we see the Maria Cristina Hotel. It is here, at the Kursaal, that the film festival takes place. We also see La Concha beach, a crescent-shaped urban seaboard. In the afternoon we arrive in Pamplona. Dinner is served later that night.
Day 11, to Barcelona, Tuesday (B)
After breakfast, we have a half-day guided sightseeing tour of Pamplona featuring the Ciudadela, the City Walls, parks, and gardens. We will hear about the ‘Running of the Bulls’ race, part of the San Fermin festival. From Pamplona, we continue to Zaragoza for lunch on your own. Later that afternoon, we arrive in Barcelona and the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 12, in Barcelona, Wednesday (B, D)
Our guided half-day sightseeing tour includes Barcelona’s most important artistic sights: Gaudi’s Batlló, Casa Milá, the Cathedral Sagrada Familia, and Guell Park, declared an artistic monument and mankind’s heritage by UNESCO. In the afternoon you are free to explore more on your own or join an optional tour visit of Montserrat. In the evening join your fellow travelers and your tour director for the farewell dinner.
Day 13, depart Barcelona, Thursday (B)
Transfer to Barcelona airport after breakfast.