From its world-class cities and historic sites to it sunny climate and distinct culture, Spain is a fascinating country. This in-depth budget-minded Spain tour shows you the country's diverse features. Spend three nights in the capital, Madrid; two nights in Barcelona, Valencia, and Seville; and one night in Pamplona, Burgos, Salamanca, Granada, and Cordoba. Tour highlights include visits to Aranjuez's Royal Palace, originally built in the 14th century and once a favorite residence of Spanish royalty; Peniscola Castle, built by the Knights Templar in the 14th century; Saragossa's Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Pillar, a popular pilgrimage site; Granada's fairy-tale Alhambra complex, built as a lavish residence for Moorish kings in 889 AD; and Cordoba's iconic Mezquita, a well-preserved mosque turned into a Catholic cathedral in the 13th century and today considered one of the most remarkable examples of Islamic architecture outside of the Arab world. Enjoy sightseeing excursions with Local Guides in Valencia, Barcelona, Granada Seville, and Madrid. Also enjoy visits to Segovia, where you'll see its cathedral, the Alcazar, and the Roman aqueduct; Salamanca, where you'll have time to wander around the beautiful Plaza Mayor, one of Spain's most beautiful squares; Caceres, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its blend of Roman, Islamic, northern gothic, and Italian Renaissance styles; Seville, where you'll have a full day to explore on your own; Montilla, where you'll enjoy a visit to a local wine cellar for a tasting; and Cuenca, famous for its "hanging houses" that are suspended over the ravine. Throughout this tour, you'll be accompanied by a professional Tour Director who will bring Spain to life with in-depth, first-hand knowledge. Between the sights, scenery, expert guidance, and included visits, this budget tour of Spain is the best way for savvy, value-minded travelers to experience this wonderful country.
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Visits to Royal Palace in Aranjuez, Cuenca, Peniscola Castle, Saragossa sanctuary of Our Lady of the Pillar, Pamplona, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Segovia, Avila, Salamanca Plaza Mayor, Caceres, Seville, Ronda, Montilla wine tasting, Cordoba Mezquita.Guides:
Local Guides for city sightseeing in Valencia, Barcelona, Granada-Alhambra complex, Madrid; professional Tour Director while touringScenic Highlights:
Basque Country, La Mancha, Rioja RegionNotes:
March 24 Departure - EasterApril 7 Departure - Feria in Seville
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:
Touring by private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach
Buffet breakfasts daily; 7 dinners, including a dinner at a local restaurant in Valencia
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN MADRID, SPAIN. Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to start exploring lively Madrid. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
MADRID–ARANJUEZ–CUENCA–VALENCIA. Drive to nearby Aranjuez in the Castilian Plain and discover the ROYAL PALACE, originally built in the 14th century. Although burned down both in 1727 and 1728, it was splendidly rebuilt and became a favorite residence of Spanish royalty. Continue traveling to magnificent Cuenca, perched high above the canyons of the Jucar and Huecar Rivers. It is famous for its “hanging houses” that are suspended over the Huecar ravine. On to Valencia to enjoy a typical dinner at a local restaurant.
VALENCIA. Valencia is known mainly for its wonderful climate and the quality of its light. See the wide avenues lined with fig and palm trees and get to know the Old Town with its fine gothic houses and typical patios on the included guided tour. Time to do some shopping or more personal sightseeing to discover further.
VALENCIA–PENISCOLA–BARCELONA. Travel to nearby Castellon for a visit of PENISCOLA CASTLE, built by the Knights Templar in the 14th century. The promontory on which the castle and town are located is a fine reminder of medieval times. Continue your journey through orange groves and seaside resorts past Tarragona to Catalonia’s lively and beautiful capital, Barcelona.
BARCELONA. This morning’s sightseeing with a Local Guide includes a drive around Montjuïc to see the Olympic Stadium and a great panoramic view of the port and city. The drive continues to the city center to Plaza Catalunya and Paseo de Gracia to admire the greatness and eccentricity of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces.
BARCELONA–SARAGOSSA–PAMPLONA. See more of Catalonia as you drive to Saragossa on the banks of the Ebro River. Here, you’ll have time to see the SANCTUARY OF OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR. Continue through fertile valleys and the Rioja wine-growing region to Basque Country and on to the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Navarra, Pamplona.
PAMPLONA–SAN SEBASTIAN–BILBAO–BURGOS. Drive farther into Basque Country and visit San Sebastian (called Donostia in Basque), the seaside resort on the southern coast of the Bay of Biscay. Journey to the port town of Bilbao, where you’ll enjoy free time for leisure activities—maybe an independent visit to the Guggenheim Museum. The building, by Frank Gehry, is considered one of the 20th century’s great architectural masterpieces. Continue to Burgos.
BURGOS–SEGOVIA–ÁVILA–SALAMANCA. Head southwest into Castile. Enjoy some grand scenery as you travel to the edge of the Sierra de Guadarrama, a green oasis in the Castilian desert. Stop in Segovia, magnificently perched on a rock formation at an altitude of 3,280 feet. The cathedral, the Alcazar, and the Roman aqueduct are some of its highlights you’ll get to see. Next stop is Ávila for a short visit before continuing to Salamanca to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of its Plaza Mayor.
SALAMANCA–CACERES–SEVILLE. Cross the mighty Tagus River and the Guadarrama. Stop in Caceres, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its blend of Roman, Islamic, northern gothic, and Italian Renaissance styles. Enjoy more Spanish landscapes before reaching Seville, one of Spain’s most colorful cities.
SEVILLE. Enjoy an included sightseeing tour of the city’s main highlights, such as the cathedral, Alcàzar, and the Plaza d’España. Afternoon at leisure. Tonight, why not join an optional Flamenco show to round out your evening.
SEVILLE–RONDA–GRANADA. A day to see the best of Andalusia. Head south by way of the typical white-painted villages to the town of Ronda, famous for the ravine that literally cuts it in two, and its bullfighting connections. Overnight in Granada in the shadow of the mighty Sierra Nevada.
GRANADA–MONTILLA–CORDOBA. Granada was the Arabs’ most treasured city and they still mourn its loss in their prayers. Visit the ALHAMBRA COMPLEX, built by Moorish kings. More grand scenery as you travel to Montilla for a visit to a local WINE CELLAR for a tasting. Then, continue to Cordoba on the banks of the Guadalquivir River.
CORDOBA–MADRID. Cordoba is perhaps Spain’s most Moorish city with its great mosque, the MEZQUITA, one of Islam’s most important pieces of architecture outside the Arab world. You’ll also enjoy the small, white-washed houses, the winding streets, and the colorful squares. Later, journey into the very heart of Don Quixote’s La Mancha, famed for its castles and windmills. Reach Madrid in time to enjoy a relaxed evening.
MADRID. Enjoy some free time in Madrid or join the rewarding optional trip to Toledo. The splendid setting of this old walled city above the Tagus was made famous in El Greco’s painting, and even now it’s like a great open-air museum of Spanish history and art. Later, join the included Madrid city sightseeing. Not only because it’s the capital of Spain but also because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards say it’s the nearest thing to Heaven.
MADRID. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Escorting tours for more than 20 years
"After so many years in this fascinating land, I never get tired of showing people the wonders of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Every tour is an adventure...a unique cultural experience I share with my guests. Like a storyteller, I can´t wait to meet my audience and start the show. Introducing travelers to the people, colors, and flavors of the region is exciting-something you just can't get from a guidebook!"