Itinerary #1: Best of Barcelona & the Costa Brava
This nine-day adventure in Catalonia focuses on the most beautiful parts of northeastern Spain. Naturally, the starting point is Barcelona, and after enjoying Catalonia's capital you're off to wine tastings in the countryside and visits to the beautiful seaside villages of the Costa Brava.
|Days 1-2||Arrive in Madrid - Explore the City||Madrid|
|Day 3||Train to Sevilla - Drive to Conil de la Frontera||Conil de la Frontera|
|Days 4-6||Explore Conil & Costa de la Luz||Conil de la Frontera|
|Day 7||Drive to Sevilla - Return Rental Car||Sevilla|
|Day 8||Guided Tour of Sevilla||Sevilla|
|Day 9||Train to Madrid - Depart Spain|
The journey begins with your arrival in Barcelona. A driver will meet you at the airport to transfer you to your hotel in the city center, and after checking in you can stretch your legs on a self-guided tour. The next morning you'll dive right into the city on a half-day tour that includes stops at popular attractions like La Sagrada Familia, the iconic church designed by legendary Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
On day three you'll continue the architecture theme with a stroll around Park Güell plus a visit to the Catalan-modernist Casa Milá building, both Gaudí gems. Later you'll sample the tastes and flavors of Catalonia in Barcelona's markets. Day four you'll venture outside the city to Santa Maria de Montserrat, a 16th-century abbey perched atop a mountain, plus enjoy a traditional Catalan lunch and wine tasting nearby.
Day five you'll hop a train north to the ancient city of Girona where a local guide will lead you on a walking tour. Then you'll continue to Figueres, which is Salvador Dalí's hometown, and visit a museum dedicated to the surrealist master. Days six and seven are free to explore the rocky coves and crescent beaches of the Costa Brava, and on day eight you'll finish strong with a wine tasting in the Empordà region. Day nine you'll depart. Learn more
Itinerary #2: Best of Barcelona & Valencia
This is another nine-day jaunt to Spain's Mediterranean coast. However, instead of venturing north after touring the highlights of Barcelona, you'll leave Catalonia for Valencia, a coastal city abounding with medieval history and rich culture.
|Day 1||Arrival in Madrid - Evening Tapas Tour||Madrid|
|Day 2||Madrid's Highlights, Prado Museum, & Food Tour||Madrid|
|Day 3||Drive From Madrid to Ribera del Duero||Peñafiel|
|Day 4||Drive to Ribeira Sacra - Stop in Astorga||Monforte de Lemos area|
|Day 5||Boat Tour of Ribeira Sacra - Drive to Vigo||Vigo|
|Day 6||Day Trip to the Cíes Islands||Vigo|
|Day 7||Drive From Vigo to Santiago on the Camellia Route||Santiago de Compostela|
|Day 8||Santiago de Compostela - Cooking Class & City Tour||Santiago de Compostela|
|Day 9||Depart Spain|
Like the previous itinerary, this one also begins on the streets of Barcelona. After checking in to your hotel and getting your bearings on day one, days two and three you'll spend on private tours of the Gaudí architecture highlights plus visits to local markets. Day four you'll travel to Montserrat, and you can also visit other highlights of the abbey, like the Santa Cova shrine and chapel that houses the Black Madonna.
Day five you'll take a train south three hours to Valencia and transfer to your boutique hotel in the city center. In the evening you'll take a guided culinary tour of this city, which is famous as being the origin of that most famous of Spanish dishes: paella. Day six you'll take a half-day tour of the city and visit its most famous sites, like the 13th century St. Mary's Cathedral, the Central Market, and City Hall.
Days seven and eight will be dedicated to exploring Valencia and its famed City of the Arts & Sciences. This is a real treat, as this modern architectural complex consists of a planetarium, interactive science museum, an oceanographic park, and even an opera house. If you wish, you can end your time in Valencia with a tasting in the Utiel-Requena wine region. On day nine you'll return to Barcelona and depart Spain. Learn more
Itinerary #3: Taste of Northern Spain
Get ready for a delicious food tour of the best locales in northern Spain. This includes cooking classes in Barcelona plus cava tastings and a trip to the Spanish Basque Country for an unforgettable tapas experience.
|Day 1||Arrive in Barcelona||Barcelona|
|Day 2||Half-day city tour||Barcelona|
|Day 3||Antoni Gaudí architecture tour - Market visit||Barcelona|
|Day 4||Day trip to Santa Maria de Montserrat; Wine tasting||Barcelona|
|Day 5||Train to Girona and Figueres - Explore Costa Brava||Begur|
|Days 6-7||Free days: Explore the Costa Brava||Begur|
|Day 8||Visit a winery on the Costa Brava||Begur|
Settle into Barcelona and dig right in with a tapas tour of the famous Gothic Quarter. Then on day three, you'll take a cooking class presided over by a master chef and prepare a meal from scratch with fresh ingredients from the local market. On day four you'll discover Catalonia's flagship sparkling wine, cava, on an exclusive tour of a cellar and cava museum that includes tastings paired with delicious food.
On day five you'll transfer from Barcelona to the Rioja Alavesa wine region, and on day six you'll learn all about its winemaking tradition on a tasting tour. Day seven is a real treat as you'll arrive at Basque Country and the coastal city of San Sebastian just in time to indulge in their traditional tapas, which they call pintxos (pronounced "peenchos"). Day eight you'll travel to the city of Bilbao for some bar-hopping with the local traveling minstrels, known as Txikiteros. On day nine you'll depart Spain. Learn more
Itinerary #4: Spain Off-the-Beaten-Path Road Trip
A self-drive road trip in Spain has all the ingredients for a great adventure. This is particularly true when you travel south from Madrid to La Mancha, an arid plateau region home to medieval towns, vineyards, and the iconic white windmills featured in Spain's greatest literary work, Don Quixote.
|Day 1||Arrive in Barcelona||Barcelona|
|Day 2||Half-day city tour & La Sagrada Familia||Barcelona|
|Day 3||Antoni Gaudí architecture tour & market visit||Barcelona|
|Day 4||Day trip to Santa Maria de Montserrat - Wine tasting||Barcelona|
|Day 5||Train to València - Private tapas tour||València|
|Day 6||City tour of València||València|
|Days 7-8||Explore València & the City of the Arts & Sciences||València|
|Day 9||Return to Barcelona - Depart|
You'll arrive in Madrid and have just enough time to enjoy a self-guided tour, taking in highlights like the Plaza Mayor, Puerto del Sol, and the shopping and theater district around Gran Vía. On day two you'll hop in your car and head south to Toledo, which was the capital of Old Spain until the 8th century. This ancient city sits on a hill near the Tagus River and boasts a well-preserved alcázars, a grand 13th-century Cathedral, and Santa María la Blanca, a Moorish synagogue.
Day three you'll continue south into La Mancha. In this elevated desert, you'll pass by the windmills from Don Quixote and see old castles like the 10th-century Castillo de la Muela. You'll overnight in the wetlands national park of Las Tablas de Daimiel, and on day four you'll hike around the area, which is a great spot for birding. You'll then drive to the medieval town of Almagro, and on day five tour its expansive Plaza Mayor and 15th-century amphitheater, the Corral de Comedias.
Then you're in for a treat as on day six you'll stop in the wine region of Valdepeñas for a tour of the vineyards and a tasting at a winery. Afterward, you'll press on to Villanueva de los Infantes, an old town that is considered to be the home of the character of Don Quixote. On a tour on day seven, you'll stroll its Plaza Mayor (which features a statue of Don Quixote). Day eight you'll travel to the waterfall-filled oasis of Lagunas del Ruidera, and on day nine you'll return to Madrid and depart. Learn more
Itinerary #5: Madrid, Costa de la Luz, & Seville
This southbound road trip through Spain begins in Madrid, where you'll have a couple of days to immerse yourself in local culture. Then, you'll venture south, first to Seville, the capital of Andalusia, followed by a jaunt to the southernmost edge of the country and the beaches of the Costa de la Luz.
|Day 1||Welcome to Barcelona!||Barcelona|
|Day 2||Catalan taste and history||Barcelona|
|Day 3||Cooking with household names||Barcelona|
|Day 4||The roots of cava||Barcelona|
|Day 5||Transfer to Álava||Elciego|
|Day 6||Century of wines||Elciego|
|Day 7||"Pintxo" culture||Bilbao|
|Day 8||Bars of Bilbao||Bilbao|
The first couple of days in Madrid are yours to discover the city at your own pace on self-guided tours. You'll want to see the highlights like the Prado Museum (featuring one of the most impressive collections of European art in the world), the Plaza Mayor, and the Royal Palace, as well as visit charming neighborhoods like La Latina, which abounds with traditional tapas bars.
Day three you'll transfer to Seville. Here you'll pick up your rental car and hit the road for the Andalusian countryside. Your destination is the Costa de la Luz, a section of the Atlantic coast that runs from Tarifa up through the provinces of Cádiz and Huelva.
Days four through six you'll explore this unspoiled region thoroughly, visiting historic port cities like Cádiz and the Jerez de la Frontera, a region famous for sherry wine. Day seven you'll return to Seville and drop off the rental car, and after touring the Moorish palaces of this beautiful regional capital, you will depart Spain on day nine. Learn more
Itinerary #6: Spain Road Trip: Madrid & Santiago de Compostela
This is another nine-day road adventure, this one taking you from Madrid into Galicia. Located in northwestern Spain, Galicia is a region as historic and beautiful as any other in the country, but it's a bit further off the tourist trail and thus more of a secret.
|Day 1||Arrival in Madrid||Madrid|
|Day 2||Pick up Rental Car - Day Trip to Toledo||Toledo|
|Day 3||Drive From Madrid to Daimiel - Tour La Mancha||Daimiel|
|Day 4||Drive From Daimiel to Almagro - National Park Tour||Almagro|
|Day 5||Tour Almagro - Optional Trip to Campo de Calatrava||Almagro|
|Day 6||Drive From Almagro to Villanueva - Wine Tour||villanueva de los infantes|
|Day 7||Tour Villanueva de los Infantes||villanueva de los infantes|
|Day 8||Drive From Villanueva to Alcázar de San Juan - Stop at Ruidera Lakes||Alcazar de San Juan|
|Day 9||Drive to Madrid - Optional Activities - Departure|
Upon arrival in Madrid, you'll experience the flavors of Spain right away on a tour of the city's best tapas bars. On day two you'll take a guided tour of city highlights like the Royal Palace and El Prado museum, but you'll cap the day with yet another food tour where you'll pair delicious tapas with the perfect wine. Day three you'll drive north from the city to the Ribera del Duero wine region and the medieval village of Peñafiel, whose impressive 10th-century castle overlooks the town.
On day four you'll drive west into Galicia and the Ribeira Sacra wine region, a mountainous area where a confluence of rivers meet. You'll see the terraced vineyards on a riverboat tour on day five before driving further west to the port city of Vigo. In Vigo, you'll hop in another boat and enjoy a day tour of the Cíes Islands, which, aside from the Balearic islands, feature the finest white-sand beaches in Spain.
On day seven you'll head north to the capital of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela while stopping along the way at some fragrant camellia gardens. The next day you'll take a guided tour of the city, visiting the most famous sights including the 11th-century Santiago Cathedral, where St.James the Great is supposedly buried. It's for this reason the church is the final destination on the famous pilgrimage route of the Camino de Santiago. Day nine you'll depart Spain. Learn more