Culture, history, and culinary delights converge with this 11-day journey through Madrid and southern Spain. Start in the capital with a walking tour, tapas class, and a Prado museum visit. Then, venture south to Andalusia, where a rich mix of Moorish and Jewish history awaits. Explore the best of Seville, admire the Alhambra in Granada, and experience the picturesque beaches of the Costa del Sol near Málaga. Gain even more from your 11-day tour with insightful day trips to Toledo, Córdoba, and Ronda.


  • Dine on Spanish cuisine in Botín, the world's oldest restaurant
  • Immerse yourself in Moorish and Jewish history in Andalusia's Córdoba and Granada
  • Visit the birthplace of Picasso and relax on the beach in Málaga
  • Squeeze more in with day trips to Toledo, Córdoba, and Ronda

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Madrid, Private Guided Walking Tour Madrid
Day 2 Visit Prado Museum & Lunch at Botín Madrid
Day 3 Day Trip to Toledo, Guided Tour Madrid
Day 4 Train to Seville, Half-Day City Walk  Seville
Day 5 Private Visit to Seville's Cathedral & Alcázar, Tapas Cooking Class Seville
Day 6 Day Trip to Córdoba & Carmona Seville
Day 7 Train to Granada, Private Alhambra & Generalife Gardens Visit Granada
Day 8 Self-Guided Walking Tour of Granada Granada
Day 9 Private Transfer to Málaga, Free Time Málaga
Day 10 Day Trip to Ronda Málaga
Day 11 Transfer to Madrid, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Madrid, Private Guided Walking Tour

Private Walk in Madrid
Madrid has been the capital of Spain since the 17th century

¡Hola, and welcome to Spain! Upon arrival in Madrid, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Check in, drop your bags, and refresh ahead of this afternoon's insightful private guided tour.

Get to know Madrid on foot with a tour of the Spanish capital's most emblematic places, such as Plaza Mayor, which dates back to the 15th century, and Plaza de Oriente, where you'll find the Royal Palace and Royal Theater. You may visit the ancient Egyptian Templo de Debod, learn about the June 13th celebrations at the San Antonio de la Florida Chapel, stroll through the beautiful Jardines del Moro, look inside Almudena Cathedral, and explore one of Madrid's liveliest neighborhoods, La Latina. Regardless of your route, you'll pause for a drink and tapas with your guide too.

Day 2: Prado Museum Visit & Lunch at Botín

The Prado Museum
The Prado houses classical European art from the sixth century until the late 19th century

The Prado is considered one of the greatest art museums in the world, and today you'll make the most of your visit with a curated 90-minute tour of the highlights—followed by a three-course meal at Botín, the world's oldest restaurant. The Prado houses one of the world's most significant classical European art collections. Today, you'll discover around 20 masterpieces highlighting Spain's storied past with an art history expert who will share the stories, characters, and events that inspired the works.

After the Prado, you'll stroll through the picturesque Literary Quarter, the stomping grounds for many of Spain's literary greats. You'll pop into a century-old tavern to enjoy Madrid's most traditional aperitif before reaching Botín for lunch. You'll be invited to explore the empty restaurant before opening, and your guide will lead you through hidden escape tunnels and history-filled dining rooms before sitting down to your three-course lunch, where a roasted suckling pig is the star. After lunch, the rest of the day is yours to explore Madrid (or take a siesta in Retiro Park!).

Day 3: Day Trip to Toledo, Guided Tour

Private Toledo Day Trip
Toledo is one of the oldest and most exciting cities in Spain

In the Middle Ages, Toledo was a city where Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities peacefully coexisted. Today you'll join a private guide to explore the former Spanish capital and UNESCO World Heritage City. Your guide will collect you from the hotel for the one-hour drive south. Once in Toledo, your guide will share stories of the "city of three cultures," showing you remnants of Arab, Muslim, and Christian monuments, including the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, the former Roman palace Alcázar de Toledo, and Moorish Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca.

Pause for lunch, then choose how to spend the rest of the day. Your guide can take you to explore the city's historic foundry where ancient blacksmiths forged the famous swords made from Toledo steel or to taste sweet marzipan at local bakeries. You can walk the Ruta de Don Quijote to gain lovely city views at Puerta de Doce Cantos or stop at Mirador del Puente San Martín to see how the city sits on a gorge high above the Río Tajo. When the day is done, you'll return to Madrid.

Day 4: Train to Seville, Half-Day City Walk

Visit iconic sites like Plaza de España
Visit iconic sites such as the Seville Cathedral

Swap the majesty of Madrid for sizzling Seville when you board a train destined for the southern Spanish city. In Madrid, a private driver will drop you at the station for the fast 2.5-hour journey to the vibrant capital of Andalusia. Upon arrival, a private driver will transfer you to your hotel. 

Get to know Seville's 2,000-year history with this afternoon's guided walking tour. Pass by the outside of the Seville Cathedral, a 15th-century Roman Catholic church, and the Real Alcázar (Royal Alcázar), a grandiose set of palaces and gardens that combine Christian and Muslim cultures. You'll explore both in-depth tomorrow! You'll then cross Plaza de España, an impressive square in the Parque de María Luisa, walk under the modern Metropol Parasol, which looks like giant mushrooms, and wander the orange tree-filled Santa Cruz neighborhood known as the Jewish Quarter.

Plan your trip to Spain
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Private Visit to Seville's Cathedral & Alcázar, Tapas Cooking Class

The courtyard of the Alcázar of Seville
It's all about the details at the Alcázar of Seville

Explore Seville's two most important monuments—Seville Cathedral and the Royal Alcázar—with a private guide today. You'll skip the long lines and enjoy a personalized experience that reveals the city's history and cultural heritage. Meet at the world's largest Gothic cathedral and climb the bell tower, La Giralda, for incredible city views. Then make your way to the Alcázar, a royal palace commissioned for King Peter of Castile, replacing the original Moorish fortress and offering one of the country's best examples of Mudéjar architecture.

After, it's time to discover the best of Andalusian food with a Spanish cooking class. First, visit a local market to source the ingredients for your three-course menu, then arrive at your host's home, where you'll chop, sauté, and assemble delicious tapas on a traditional Andalusian patio. You might make Spanish staples like gazpacho, toxrtilla de patatas (Spanish omelet), or paella, depending on your preferences. When everything is ready, you'll savor your feast while chatting to your host about the culinary traditions of Seville and Spanish culture in general.

Day 6: Day Trip to Córdoba & Carmona

Charming corners of Carmona
Charming corners of Carmona

Step back in time on this day trip to two of Andalusia's most historic cities. A private driver will collect you for the 90-minute drive, passing Andalusian vistas of rolling hills and olive groves. You'll start on the streets of Córdoba, once the capital of Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). Learn about the city's rich Jewish history as you stroll a maze of flower-lined streets and patios, and visit the fascinating Mezquita-Catedral—a mosque and cathedral in one that dates to the eighth century.

Then, walk under the Puerta del Puente to the Guadalquivir River, where you'll cross the Puente Romano, a first-century BCE Roman bridge, and enjoy the views from the Torre De Calahorra. After, you'll have free time to explore local tapas bars for lunch and taste delicacies like salmorejo, a chilled soup. On the return to Seville, your driver will stop in Carmona, one of Europe's oldest towns. Built atop a hill, Carmona offers incredible countryside views. Visit the historic market square of Plaza del Mercado, the ruins of the Roman Necropolis, and admire the tiled building facades.

Day 7: Train to Granada, Private Alhambra & Generalife Gardens Visit

Generalife Gardens of the Alhambra in Granada
Alhambra receives more than two million visitors annually

Granada was once the last bastion of Al-Andalus when the Moors ruled it, and today you'll see striking examples of this ancient history as you discover the evocative Spanish city. A private transfer will take you to Seville's train station for the 2.5-hour journey to Granada. Drop your bags at the hotel upon arrival, then head out to explore the city ahead of your private Alhambra tour.

Dramatically topping a hill overlooking Granada, the imposing Alhambra was a Moorish palace until the Christian reconquest in 1492. It's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and this afternoon you'll explore the palaces, courtyards, halls, chapels, and the beautiful Generalife Park and Gardens, filled with vibrant flowers and fountains. Your private guide will offer unique insights into the history and culture of Granada and how these landmarks survived the transition from the Moors to the Christians.

Day 8: Self-Guided Walking Tour of Granada

Granada, Spain
Granada is more than the Alhambra, and you'll explore its history on foot

Get lost in Granada's winding streets, stopping at tapas bars and landmarks downtown. Today you're on your own, so map out a self-guided walking tour that passes these top monuments. Check out the grand 16th-century Granada Cathedral, which features a mismatch of Gothic and Renaissance styles. Visit the Plaza de la Romanilla and Royal Chapel, the resting place of Isabella I and Fernando II, two Catholic monarchs who led the Reconquista that reclaimed the city in 1492. Then visit the colorful Alcaicería, a former Moorish bazaar that now offers treats and souvenirs.

Don't forget to pause for tapas between each stop—with every drink, you'll receive a free tapa in Granada! It's a welcome excuse to enjoy wine or beer at lunch. You could try Taberna La Tana, Bar Los Diamantes, and La Botilleria. After, continue to the city's oldest square, Plaza Nueva, where you'll find the Royal Chancellery and the House of Pisa. Then wander the Carrera del Darro, and visit the city's old Arabic quarter of Albaicín. Look for street art by El Niño de las Pinturas, then walk uphill to Mirador San Nicolás for amazing views of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada

Day 9: Private Transfer to Málaga, Free Time

Nerja Beach
The beautiful coastline of the Costa del Sol at Nerja Beach

Today the journey continues to Málaga. A driver will pick you up at your hotel for the 90-minute drive to the heart of the Costa del Sol. Spend the rest of your day lazing on Málaga's golden La Malagueta beach. Or escape from the crowds an hour east of the city to the fishing village of Nerja. Known for its coastal cliffs and beautiful beaches, the town is just as famous for the Caves of Nerja, a series of caverns stretching 5 miles (3 km) and featuring hanging stalactites and columns and a theater that holds regular concerts. Alternatively, consider joining a walking tour dedicated to Pablo Picasso and visiting his home and old haunts.

Return to Málaga for an evening tapear, hopping between tapas bars. The tapas culture here is just as strong as anywhere else in Andalusia. With your guide leading the way through Málaga's picturesque and historic center, you'll watch this custom comes to life (and enjoy it yourself!), revealing Spain's lively and flavorful history.

Day 10: Day Trip to Ronda

Ronda was a dangerous place to visit in the 19th century

Explore Ronda, one of Andalusia's most famous "white villages." This curious destination is set atop a long cliffside 383 feet (120 m) high, where the Guadalevín River snakes its way through El Tajo Gorge and cuts the village in two. Ronda was initially a refuge for Muslims after the Spanish Inquisition in 1492, but it also felt the influence of Romans, Berbers, and Catholics. A private driver will take you on the 90-minute snaking drive from Málaga, passing olive groves, rolling meadows, and cork forests.

On arrival in Ronda, your local expert will lead you on a walking tour through the Old and New Towns, crossing all three of the city's historic bridges: Puente Nuevo, Puente Viejo, and Puente Romano. View a mural devoted to the Romantic travelers of the 19th century, Mirador de los Viajeros Románticos, the 19th-century Alameda del Tajo, the Plaza de Toros de Ronda (bullring), the Fuente de los Ocho Caños (public fountain), and take in the views from Mirador de Aldehuela. You'll explore medieval Moorish architecture before returning to Málaga once more.

Day 11: Return Train to Madrid, Depart

botanical garden and people sitting at the tables inside the atocha train station in Madrid
Madrid's Atocha Train Station has a botanical garden inside

Your 11-day journey through Spain comes to an end today. A private driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to Málaga Train Station for the high-speed train to Madrid. When you arrive, look for another driver who will transfer you direction to Madrid Barajas Airport for your onward journey or flight home. ¡Buen viaje!

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Map of Discover Madrid & Andalusia: Culture, History & Nature - 11 Days
Map of Discover Madrid & Andalusia: Culture, History & Nature - 11 Days