Madrid & Barcelona- Dec 26th –Jan 5th
The Trip is 1 day longer then Italy- Single Occupancy- $6095 25% due 9/15
$5570 double occupancy
$1000 discount if flying on your own.
We leave NYC Dec 26th and land the morning of Dec 27th where our representative will be waiting for us to provide a private transfer to the 4+ star hotel Paseo del Prado. Welcome Lunch and reception. The remainder of the day is at leisure, we will be exploring the city and there is an optional Tapas Tour we can partake in.
Monday December 28 Private Tour of Madrid- Our expert guide will meet us at our hotel and together we will enjoy the architecture, history and anecdotes of Spain’s capital. Enjoy a walking tour that includes some of the capital’s most impressive sights, such as the Plaza de Oriente and the historic quarter including the 17th-century Plaza Mayor, a wonderful Baroque square lined with arcades filled with picturesque cafes. We walk through the peaceful Plaza de la Villa where the City Hall stands and the narrow streets of Madrid of the “Austrias” named after the Austro- Hapsburg dynasty came to rule over in 1516. Much of the Austrias neighbourhood today is a gastronomic centre, with traditional favourites aplenty, including the oldest restaurant in the world. The nuns of the Convento nearby occasionally offer their home made cakes too! The tour will also include an in-depth visit of either the Royal Palace or the Prado Museum. At night we enjoy a Flamenco and dinner show where we experience Flamenco dancing at the highly-rated Corral de la Moreria, founded in 1956 and considered to be the most well-known tablao flamenco in the world. It’s the premier venue in the world, to experience this incredibly physical dance genre complete with unique Spanish guitar accompaniment and impressive displays of hand clapping by the performers. The Corral de la Moreria is featured in the book, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” and has been frequented by international artists, celebrities and various heads of state, including the King of Spain himself. The elaborate costumes alone are stunning!
Tuesday December 29– An Excursion to Toledo with a Private Tour – This morning meet our private driver and guide. Depart for Toledo, about an hour away. On arrival in Toledo, our guide will begin the visit by taking us to marvel at the overwhelming panoramic view of the former capital of Spain. Toledo is a thousand-year-old masterpiece created by various cultures including the Romans, Moors, Jews and Christians. Its heyday was in the 16th century when it became the capital of the mighty Spanish empire. The beautifully preserved buildings of this ancient town provide striking testimony of Toledo’s rich and colorful past. The city of Toledo, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, is located on a rocky headland, bordered by the river Tajo in the very heart of Spain, just 70 kilometers (42 miles) from the capital, Madrid. Although now completely overshadowed by Madrid, it is Toledo and it’s narrow, winding streets and steps, stone and brick houses and churches that embodies Spain’s past. In the Middle Ages, Toledo was built on a “convergence” of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and contains two of the few remaining medieval Spanish synagogues. The two synagogues, which stand in the city today, are powerful reminders of that period of religious tolerance before the Spanish Inquisition. Stop at the parish church of Santo Tomé, and marvel El Greco’s famed Burial of the Count of Orgaz, considered to be El Greco’s finest work and one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. At the centre of Toledo, we will find the soaring Gothic Cathedral, the finest example of Gothic style in Spain. The collection of paintings is also important, above all the excellent collection kept in the Sacristy that contains Christ Stripped of his Garments and the Apostolate by Greco, paintings by Caravaggio, Titian, Van Dyck, Goya, Morales, Rubens, Bassano and many more. An impressive collection of medieval garments and textiles can also be admired. Lunch included.
Wednesday December 30– Half day tour of Madrid’s Art Galleries – Today with an art specialist visit the famous Reina Sofia and Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza. Following our tour, we will have lunch at a local restaurant. In the evening we have a Private Wine Tasting Experience– With the guidance of a sommelier and expert on Spanish wine, we will have the opportunity to taste and learn about aspects of locally produced wine.
Thursday December 31 Private transfer to the train station. Board our high speed AVE train to Barcelona. *A tour representative will travel with us and to assist with luggage. Upon arrival, about 2.5 hours later, private transfer to our hotel. Check in at the 4+ Star Hotel Gallery- Private Tour of Barcelona- Our expert guide and our private driver will meet us at our hotel and together we will explore one of Europe’s most fascinating cities. Barcelona, with typical Catalan pride and creativity, remains determined to project itself as Spain’s most innovative city, and offers a staggering array of attractions. Our guided tour stresses the importance of Catalan history and culture. The tour takes in the Passeig de Gracia, the most stylish street of Barcelona, lined with boutique shops and art galleries. Also La Rambla, with its outdoor cafes, flower stands, exotic birds and equally colorful street performers. Just off La Rambla are the antique stalls at La Boqueria, Barcelona’s outdoor market considered to be one of the best markets in the world. We visit Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter which rests on the ancient Roman city of Barcino, today full of buildings from the 13th to the 15th century. The Quarter, where we spend most of the tour, is full of interesting shapes, peaceful plazas and winding alleyways, with its medieval Cathedral and the Picasso Museum. Tonight, celebrate New Years, Spanish Style! Tonight is Nochevieja, which means ‘the old night’ in Spanish. Families and friends often gather together to enjoy a late meal, the last one of the year, before hitting the big parties. According to Spanish tradition, we are supposed be wearing red underwear and eat twelve grapes at midnight, at every chime of the clock in the countdown to midnight. These two are said to bring good luck. Celebrate New Years (Nochevieja) like a local with a festive dinner and party!
Friday January 1 Day of lesure in Spain, lunch together at a local restaurant.
Saturday January 2- This Morning…A Private Tour of Gaudi & Modernisme Architecture we will spend half a day focusing on the period that was Barcelona’s most vibrant and exciting – the period of visionary architect Antonio Gaudi and his contemporaries, a period of a Catalan Renaissance in the arts and literature. We visit the iconic Casa Milà, a fantasy in stone which appears to have been carved out of the living rock, hence its nickname: La Pedrera, which means “the quarry.” The building is an apartment house on one of Barcelona’s main avenues. Casa Batlló is a home built for a wealthy businessman and an outstanding example of Gaudi’s private work. We will visit the unique and magical Cathedral of Sagrada Familia. The monumental (and still unfinished) El Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia is Gaudí’s most famous work and a worldwide symbol for Barcelon and we visit the Gaudí designed and playful Parc Güell. Many Gaudí aficionados consider this outdoor park his finest work.
Saturday Afternoon, A Private Cooking Class in Barcelona – this is a change date from last newsletter.
The cuisine of the various regions of Spain make some of the world’s finest dishes. Rich in tradition and history (Arab, Jewish, Roman, Aztec, and many other cultures have all contributed methods and ingredients) Spanish cuisine has an identity of its own. It is sensual yet simple, delicate but unpretentious, folklorist yet innovative.
Enjoy a hands-on introduction to Spanish cooking with your host, instructor and chef whose infectious passion for food and Mediterranean cuisine will set the scene for a fun way to learn about traditional and contemporary homemade specialties.
Start with a walking tour around the famous Boqueria market, getting plenty of tips on picking local, seasonal products, and exploring in depth some of the extraordinary and delicious fresh food that is sold here. You’ll get so much more out of the tour with a chef than you ever would hope to get on your own.
From the Boqueria, head to a superbly laid out kitchen, located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter and just a few minutes’ walk from the market – a great spot to cook authentic typical dishes of Spain.
Sunday January 3– A Full-Day Private Excursion to Girona and Costa Brava
The province of Girona lies in the northeast of Spain, bordering France and the Catalan provinces of Barcelona and Lleida. The most striking characteristic about this historic area of north Catalunya is undoubtedly its great diversity – internationally acclaimed beaches, spectacular mountains at the eastern tip of the Pyrenees, a rugged rocky coastline reaching up to the French border, and the green rolling hills of rural Gerona. This bounty of rural and coastal treasures, together with the mild climate that it enjoys, makes Girona a popular destination for visitors throughout the year.
Your guide and driver will pick you up in Barcelona for your full-day tour of Girona. The drive will be approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The ancient walled city of Girona stands on a fortress-like hill, high above the confluence of the Onyar and Ter rivers. As the provincial capital it has a long and distinguished history. Founded by Iberians, the Romans later named it Gerunda and established it as an important stopping point on the Via Augusta, linking Iberia with Rome. The huge 15th century cathedral, boasting the widest unsupported gothic arch in the world, dominates the skyline, yet much of the city’s attraction lies in exploring the mediaeval streets, especially around the charming Jewish quarter.
Girona’s history dates back to the Roman era, and you will find the town full of magnificent monuments, museums and archives. Successive rulers have left a mix of architecture in Girona ranging from the Gothic cathedral to the beautiful 12th century Arab baths. Your guide will lead you through the winding medieval alleyways of Girona. Girona’s Call, the old Jewish Quarter, was home to a prosperous community until the end of the 15th century. You will have lunch on your own in Girona.
This afternoon head to Figueres, Salvador Dalí’s hometown. Here you will visit the Dalí Theatre-Museum, designed by the artist himself. It contains a broad range of works spanning his career. In the museum, you should expect the outrageous. Highlights include a stage set featuring large mannequins, a long black Cadillac with sprinklers inside, and a salon that uses furniture to recreate Mae West’s face (with a sofa fashioned like soft red lips). Dalí himself is buried in a crypt here, next to a series of gold cobra statues.
Monday January 4– Day of leisure (this is a change from last email) Dinner at Michelin Star Restaurant.
Tuesday January 5th– Following day we check out and head back to NYC….