Explore some of Spain's best cities on this eight-day trip to Madrid and the region of Andalusia, starting with private tours of Madrid's historic neighborhoods and its royal past. Board the train to the city of Seville for tapas and flamenco, as well as a day trip to the town of Ronda and a winery. You'll end the trip with Granada for a tour of the famous Alhambra and Generalife Gardens before returning to Madrid.


  • Discover Spain's capital city of Madrid and its royal past
  • Enjoy an evening of tapas and flamenco in the old town of Seville
  • Discover a unique winery located in an old monastery in Andalusia
  • Tour the Alhambra Palace and the Generalife Gardens in Granada

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Madrid, Optional Artisan Tour Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour, Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Train to Seville, A Night of Tapas & Flamenco Seville
Day 4 Private Walking Tour of Seville Seville
Day 5 Day Trip to the White Villages & Ronda Seville
Day 6 Transfer to Granada, Tour the Alhambra & Generalife Gardens Granada
Day 7 Return to Madrid, Free Evening Madrid
Day 8 Depart Madrid  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Madrid, Optional Artisan Tour

Sunset in Madrid, Spain
Sunset in Madrid, Spain

Welcome to Spain! Upon arrival in Madrid, you'll enjoy a private transfer to your hotel in the city center. Take some time to settle in before heading out to explore some of the city's highlights, including the Puerta del Sol, one of the most historic and expansive plazas in the city. There's also Madrid's famous Fountain of Cibeles, which features a sculpture completed in 1782 depicting Cybele, the Greek goddess of fertility, riding in a chariot pulled by lions.

In the afternoon, you can enjoy a four-hour artisan tour while visiting the workshops of several talented artists to witness their creativity firsthand. The tour comprises visits to various artisans, including a craftsperson specializing in handmade Spanish guitars, a tailor renowned for creating bullfighters' costumes, a manufacturer of traditional wine bota-bags (wineskins made of leather or goatskin), and skilled handcrafters of traditional Spanish capes, among others.

When night falls, you'll have the evening free to indulge in Madrid's world-class culinary scene. If you want to dine among history, head to Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world. No less than Ernest Hemingway described it in his seminal novel "The Sun Also Rises" as the best restaurant on earth.

Day 2: Private City Tour, Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy

View of the Palace and Cathedral of Madrid
View of the Palace and Cathedral of Madrid

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll meet a local guide for a half-day tour of Madrid. Spain's capital city has a long history with interesting architecture, public spaces, and culture. Your guide will reveal insight into how different periods influenced Madrid's neighborhoods and buildings and explain the city's biggest sights.

The tour will start at the Madrid de los Austrias. It was built in the 16th century during the reign of the Hapsburg Dynasty's first ruler, Charles I. Located in the city center, it's home to one of the grandest plazas in Spain, the Plaza Mayor, once the heart of Old Madrid.

Nearby, you'll find the Royal Palace, the official home of the Spanish monarchs until 1931. You'll tour the grounds and interior of this 3,418-room monument, entering the parade grounds, the chambers of Charles III, several salons, the Royal Chapel, and the Hall of the Crown, which displays Charles I's crown, scepter, and throne.

Later, you could visit El Retiro Park. Its 308 acres are the green lung of Madrid, abounding with sculptures, fountains, and a man-made lake perfect for an afternoon boat ride. There are also must-visit gardens here, including the Jardín de Vivaces (Garden of Vivacious Plants), Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (inspired by the Andalusia region), and a rose garden home to over 4,000 bushes—the best time to see these blooms is from May through June.

Day 3: Train to Seville, A Night of Tapas & Flamenco

Flamenco Dancers in Seville
Flamenco Dancers in Seville

After breakfast, your driver will transfer you to Madrid's railway station, where you'll board a 3.5-hour train to Seville. Upon arrival, settle into your hotel and unwind before a lively evening in the city.

Whether in a small group or private tour, you'll head to Seville's historic old town for a night of delicious tapas and authentic flamenco, a musical style originating in Andalusia. Your expert guide will lead you through two family-run taverns where you'll taste a wide selection of dishes. Traditional tapas on offer include acorn-fed Iberian ham, gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp in oil), and bacalao (salt cod). Of course, throughout the dinner, you'll pair the tapas with delicious local wines.

You'll then switch to the flamenco, experiencing the most authentic version in the historic Santa Cruz neighborhood. Here, you'll enter a 15th-century building that hosts the evening's dance performance. It's the perfect ambience to experience the power, passion, and drama of real flamenco. After the performance, you'll visit yet another family-run tapas bar to cap the whirlwind evening with more incredible wines and equally delectable desserts. All in all, it's a perfect end to a magical evening in Seville.

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Day 4: Private Walking Tour of Seville

View of the Santa Cruz Neighborhood in Seville
View of the Santa Cruz Neighborhood in Seville

After breakfast, you'll head off with a local guide to explore Seville, starting with a visit to the Seville Cathedral, a 15th-century Roman-Catholic church home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the largest Gothic church in the world, and a testament to religious grandiosity. You'll also see La Giralda, the cathedral's looming bell tower. There's a noticeable stylistic difference between the two structures, as this 12th-century pillar was originally built as a minaret for the Great Mosque back when Andalusía was ruled by the Moors.

You'll then walk to the fashionable Santa Cruz neighborhood, once the Jewish Quarter in the city. It's a colorful and well-preserved part of the historic center, with many cafés and tapas bars. Enjoy a break with some small plates and regional wine. You can also visit markets and local shops where artisans craft intricate silverwork and elegant garment embroidery. 

Day 5: Day Trip to the White Villages & Ronda

Famous Bridge of Ronda
Famous Bridge of Ronda

Awake early for a day trip to the beautiful hills in the province of Cádiz, enjoying some of the most spectacular views of Andalucia. Driving through olive groves, rolling meadows, cork forests, and mountainous terrain, you'll visit a number of Andalusia’s white villages, perched on hillsides with the iconic whitewashed houses visible for miles around.

Your first stop will be Zahara de la Sierra, perhaps the most beautiful of all the White Villages. Nearby, you'll visit an olive mill to learn about the production process and taste their oils, then drive to Grazalema. Here, you'll sample the renowned payoyo cheese. During the course of the day, and depending on your schedule, you'll stop for lunch in a typical local restaurant.

Afterward, you'll continue to Ronda, where you'll have time to explore the town at your leisure. Before returning to Seville, you'll visit a winery just outside of Ronda. Here, you'll learn all about how this wine-producing area has grown in the last 20 years and, of course, taste some of the different wines with a host to guide you through it.  Upon returning to Seville, you'll have the evening to relax and enjoy the city on your own.

Day 6: Transfer to Granada, Tour the Alhambra & Generalife Gardens

Aerial Views of the Alhambra
Aerial Views of the Alhambra

Granada was once the last bastion of Al-Andalus (the historic Muslim name for the Iberian Peninsula) when it was ruled by the Moors. You can see examples of this history in the form of Granada's most famous landmark, the Alhambra, which receives more than two million visitors annually. In the morning, you'll transfer to the city and meet your guide for a private tour of this palace and the surrounding Generalife Gardens.

This imposing Muslim fortress was built atop a hill overlooking Granada and dates to the 9th century. It was rebuilt in the 14th century by the Nasrid Dynasty and served as a Moorish palace until 1492, when it became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella after the Christian reconquest. Your tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site will take you through its grand halls and gardens filled with colorful flowers, fountains, and panoramic views of the city down below.

After the tour, you'll settle into your accommodation and have free time to continue enjoying Granada on your own. You can walk around the labyrinthine streets of the Albaicín and Sacromonte quarters, the well-preserved historic neighborhoods of the city. In such areas, you can visit the Granada Cathedral, Royal Church, Alcaicería (old silk market), and Madraza (medieval Quranic school).

Day 7: Return to Madrid, Free Evening

Aerial View of Madrid
Aerial View of Madrid

After breakfast, your driver will transfer you to the train station, where you'll take a high-speed train back to Madrid. Upon arrival, you'll settle into your hotel and have the rest of the day free to explore the areas of the city you haven't yet seen.

You can shop along popular streets like Calle de Serrano and Gran Vía; or, if it's Sunday, explore El Rastro Market in the hip La Latina neighborhood. You can also visit museums like El Prado, Reina Sofia, Sorolla, and Thyssen Bornemisza.

There are plenty of tours throughout the city, including gourmet food and segway tours. Or, do as the locals and spend your afternoon people-watching at an outdoor café in one of the city's neighborhoods. For dinner, find the city's best international food in the Lavapiés neighborhood, or dress up for a meal in swanky Salamanca.

Day 8: Depart Madrid

Famous Cibeles Fountain, Madrid
Famous Cibeles Fountain, Madrid

It's time to say farewell. After a leisurely breakfast, you'll be transferred to the airport, where you'll catch your flight home.

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Written by Emily Strauss, updated Oct 26, 2023