This 19-day itinerary allows you to visit three different regions of Spain, including Madrid, Basque Country, and Catalonia, as well as the Balearic Islands and Portugal. Throughout the adventure, you'll enjoy great food, wine tours, a flamenco show, historic Gothic architecture, and even make time for a bit of island-hopping in Ibiza and Mallorca. You'll also fly into Portugal to explore the cities of Porto and Lisbon, as well as the wine region in the Douro Valley and the famous palace of Sintra.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a tour of San Sebastian and try the renowned cuisine of Basque Country
  • Explore caves, island villages, and snorkel in the Balearic Islands
  • Discover Madrid's rich history on a tour of the city
  • Cycle around Barcelona's Gothic Quarter and visit Gaudí's famous buildings
  • Discover the cities of Lisbon and Porto and visit a winery

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San Sebastián - Discover the city with a food tour San Sebastian
Day 2 Enjoy a wine tour of La Rioja - Create personalized wine blends San Sebastian
Day 3 Explore San Sebastián and the nearby towns of Hondarribia and Pasaia San Sebastian
Day 4 Take the train to Barcelona - Discover the city and Mt Montjuic Barcelona
Day 5 Free day to enjoy Barcelona - Optional bike tour Barcelona
Day 6 Explore Barcelona on your own or opt for a day trip Barcelona
Day 7 Fly to the Balearic Islands - Enjoy an evening in Palma de Mallorca Palma de Mallorca
Day 8 Tour Palma de Mallorca - Eat dinner aboard a sailboat at sunset Palma de Mallorca
Day 9 Opt for a hike in the Tramuntana Mountains - Visit island villages Palma de Mallorca
Day 10 Fly to Ibiza and peruse the historic Old Town Ibiza Town
Day 11 Relax on the beach, explore caves, or snorkel in the sea Ibiza Town
Day 12 Fly to Porto - Explore the city with a culinary tour Porto
Day 13 Visit the Douro Valley for a wine tasting Porto
Day 14 Take the train to Lisbon - Enjoy the city Lisbon
Day 15 Guided walking tour in Lisbon - Fado music performance Lisbon
Day 16 Explore Sintra and the Portuguese Riviera with a guided tour Lisbon
Day 17 Fly to Madrid - Enjoy an evening tapas tour Madrid
Day 18 Discover Madrid's royal legacy with a private city tour Madrid
Day 19 Depart Madrid  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in San Sebastián - Discover the city with a food tour

Sunset Views in San Sebastian
Sunset Views in San Sebastian

Welcome to Spain and the northern city of San Sebastián. Upon arrival, a private driver will take you to your hotel where you'll settle in before exploring the city with a food tour.

First, a local guide will lead you through the famous Parte Vieja (Old Quarter), which is situated in the east part of the city between the ocean and the River Urumea. At the edge of Old Town is the iconic San Sebastián City Hall. Constructed in 1887, it used to be the Gran Casino during the Belle Époque period until it was closed in 1924. The building still overlooks the bay, from where an elegant promenade with railings and street lamps runs along the crescent-shaped La Concha Beach.

The Basque region is known for a type of tapas called pintxos. Most bars, cafés, and restaurants in the Parte Vieja serve some version of these bite-sized delicacies, and, naturally, they're best paired with some delicious local wines. Here it's possible to hop from pintxos bar to pintxos bar, grazing until your heart's content.

The largest concentration of pintxos bars is in Parte Vieja. At each one, you can feel free to sample as many of these bite-sized morsels as you'd like. Be sure to pair this incredible food with an equally delicious glass of txakoli, the local white wine.

Day 2: Enjoy a wine tour of La Rioja - Create personalized wine blends

Wine Tasting in La Rioja
Wine Tasting in La Rioja

In the morning, you'll enjoy a full-day tour of Spain's most famous wine-producing region, La Rioja. This is more than a tasting; it's an immersive viticulture experience that showcases the entire winemaking process, from planting the vine to labeling the bottle. 

The tour begins with your arrival at a local family-run winery and a stroll through the vineyards. Here you'll learn about the growing cycle of the vines and even participate in cultivation. Depending on the time of year and the state of the grapevines, you can take part in the pruning, canopy-thinning, and harvesting, provided the berries are ripe to do so. Afterward, you'll relax and enjoy a light snack amongst the grapevines.

Next, it's time to head inside the winery and visit the cellar. This particular traditional wine cellar is excavated in an underground rock which dates to the 16th century. You'll taste wine directly from the barrel and then make your own bottle, complete with a personalized label that you can take home. 

After lunch, you'll visit a boutique winery for another tour. This includes tastings where you'll try three different wines while learning about the philosophy of their operation and the secrets to producing a great bottle. You'll then put that theory into practice and design a unique wine yourself, mixing different varietals to create your own ideal coupage (wine blend).

Afterward, your driver will return you to your hotel in San Sebastián. Rest assured that by the end of this day, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of the effort that goes into producing some of the world's best wines.

Day 3: Explore San Sebastián and the nearby towns of Hondarribia and Pasaia

Waterfront in San Sebastian
Waterfront in San Sebastian

Today is yours to explore San Sebastián on your own. A good place to start is the Old Town of the city, a compacted group of old streets, offers the best pintxos in Basque Country. If you want to discover new culinary horizons, a good option is to explore the Gros neighborhood, where you can also admire the modern architecture of the Kursaal and enjoy the surfing atmosphere of Zurriola Beach. Imposing and elegant, this area of the city is ideal for walking, shopping, and enjoying the attractions of the nearby Monte Igueldo.

In the afternoon, you can visit Hondarribia and Pasaia, with walled historic towns, lively beach scenes, and fabulous restaurants. Hondarribia, which is just 13 miles (20 km) from San Sebastián and on the border with France, is a historic port with a cultural old town. Its main attractions are its whaling museum and its excellent seafood restaurants.

Later, enjoy a ride on the old funicular to the top of Mount Igueldo to enjoy panoramic views of San Sebastián.

Day 4: Take the train to Barcelona - Discover the city and Mt Montjuic

Cafes in San Sebastian's historic Parte Vieja (
Cafes in San Sebastián's historic Parte Vieja

After breakfast, you'll make your way to San Sebastián train station where you'll embark on a 5-hour railway journey to the northeastern city of Barcelona.  Upon arrival, settle into your hotel and head out to explore the city.

A great place to start is Mt. Montjuic and the surrounding area. Montjuic is a famous hill that stands 1,988 feet (606 m) high and overlooks the Port of Barcelona. Take the Montjuic Cable Car from the metro station near Olympic Park, which takes you up to the 17th century Castle Montjuic and offers panoramic views of the city.  You can also access Montjuic via cable car from Barcelona Beach and by funicular elevator adjacent to the cable car. 

Poble Espanyol is another option. Constructed in 1929, this open-air museum features over 100 recreated buildings in the style of traditional Spanish villages. When the sun goes down over the city, make sure you're near the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, named for the dazzling display of water and colored lights that occur after dark. 

As with most cities in Spain, the cuisine of Barcelona is excellent and varied. For dinner, some restaurants worth trying include:

  • Bodega d’e Rafel. This restaurant is a cozy, family-owned wine shop with great traditional tapas. Try the bunuelos de bacalao (cod fritters) paired with sweet, iced vermouth, which makes for a Catalonian classic.

  • Els Sortidors del Parlament. Enjoy traditional tapas in a modern space while enjoying a bottle of Cava to pair with the fabulous tapas selection.

  • Honest Greens. This chain restaurant is an ideal spot for a quick snack or lunch, especially if you're tired after sightseeing and strolling the Rambla. You'll find a coffee shop and pastries in the front and the restaurant in the back. They also have a selection of infused waters which are perfection on a hot day in Barcelona. 

Day 5: Free day to enjoy Barcelona - Optional bike tour

Barceloneta Beach
Barceloneta Beach

Today is yours to explore Barcelona at your own pace. This city offers plenty of options from cultural sightseeing to gastronomy tours. If you haven't experienced them yet, you'll likely want to check out notable attractions such as Park Guëll, Casa Milà, Casa Batllò, the Picasso Museum, Las Ramblas, La Boqueria market, Camp Nou football stadium, the Gothic Quarter, and Tibidabo amusement park.

If you're interested in a nature break, head to Barceloneta Beach situated against the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. There are also jogging and biking paths where you can work up a sweat or you can take a long stroll followed by a refreshing dip. Vendors on the beach offer kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and a range of sunset cruise options. Alternatively, head to Barcelona's surrounding mountains for a range of hiking and biking trails with spectacular views.

You can also enjoy an optional bike tour around Barcelona. At the designated time, your private guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a panoramic tour. You'll start along the narrow streets of the Old Town (including the neighborhoods of RavalEl Born, and Barri Gòtic) before arriving at Park de la Ciutadella—a beautiful respite for relaxing strolls and also the site of the 1888 Universal Expo. You'll also visit the Olympic Village, the city's redeveloped port, and of course Barceloneta Beach. At the end of the tour, your guide will drop you back at your hotel.

Day 6: Explore Barcelona on your own or opt for a day trip

Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey
Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey

Start your day with a hearty breakfast, then explore Barcelona on your own or opt for one of several day trips from the city, which will reveal glimpses of Catalan life beyond its capital. Outside Barcelona's borders is a wonderland of rugged mountains, golden beaches, and pretty, sleepy towns, all just a short drive away. Suggested day trips include:

  • Travel about an hour northeast from Barcelona to Girona, a historic city along the Onyar River known for its cobbled streets, grand churches, and medieval Old Quarter hemmed in by stone walls. You can walk these ancient ramparts as they afford elevated views of the city. Girona is also home to one of the most well-preserved Jewish quarters in all of Europe, which lasted for 500 years until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. The city's fascinating Museu d’Història dels Jueus de Girona recounts this story. You can also visit the 12th-century Banys Àrabs, which are the remnants of Arab baths from the days when Moors ruled the land, as well as the Sant Pere de Galligants, a Romanesque Benedictine abbey built in the 12th century that is now home to the Archaeology Museum of Catalonia in Girona.
  • Further north of Girona is the town of Figueres, which is famous for being the birthplace of Salvador Dalí.  You'll find handsome Modernista architecture here, plus the 18th-century military fortress of Sant Ferran Castle. But Figueres is best known for the Teatre-Museu Dalí, which was converted into a labyrinth of surrealism that displays the largest collection of Dalí's works, including many from his personal collection. More noteworthy is that this is Dali's final resting place, as he was buried in a crypt beneath the theater stage.
  • The Montserrat Mountains host Catalonia's holiest site, the 16th-century Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat. Located about 28 miles (45 km) northeast of Barcelona and sitting at an altitude of 4,055 feet (1,266 m) The panoramic views from the church are spectacular. Inside, the big draw is a statue of the Virgin of Montserrat, the patron saint of Barcelona, which sits above the church altar. You can reach the monastery on a 1.5-hour hike from the town of Monistrol de Montserrat or simply take a five-minute cable-car up the mountain.
  • The scenic coastal town of Sitges, located about 45 minutes southwest of Barcelona, makes for a perfect day trip. The pace of Sitges is decidedly more laidback with some of the best activities being the simplest, such as strolling the long waterfront promenade or sunbathing on one of the many beaches in and around town. Other activities include dining in one of Sitges' world-class seafood restaurants or visiting one of its fine museums and art galleries.

Day 7: Fly to the Balearic Islands - Enjoy an evening in Palma de Mallorca

Beaches of Mallorca
Beaches of Mallorca

Enjoy a leisurely morning with breakfast and one final stroll through the streets of Barcelona. The morning is yours to spend as you please, perhaps with some shopping, sipping coffee at a café, or relaxing on one of the beaches. In the afternoon, you'll make your way to the airport and catch your flight to Mallorca.

Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands and a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. You'll soon understand why, as the island has a little bit of everything: beautiful Mediterannean coast and beaches,  coves hugging turquoise waters, ancient villages, mountains perfect for hiking, a variety of local wineries, and great nightlife and shopping in the capital city of Palma de Mallorca.

Upon arrival at the airport in Palma, a private driver will transfer you to your hotel in the capital. Take some time to relax before heading out to explore. Not only is Palma de Mallorca an exciting metropolitan capital, but it's also a medieval historic gem. All around you'll find Moorish fortresses, royal palaces, and Gothic landmarks.

For dinner, there are several fine restaurants in the city. Some suggestions include:

  • Abrakadabra Bar. This funky little bar has affordable grub in the form of meat-and-cheese plates and Flammkuchen, a type of French/German thin-crust pizza. You can try local craft beer and organic wine, as well as enjoy table games and live music.

  • Cafe Ca'n Toni. Discover Mallorcan cuisine at this rustic tapas bar in the historic center. In addition to staples like Iberian ham croquettes and homemade meatballs, a wood-fired oven roasts suckling pig and lamb. Plus there are local favorites like stuffed eggplant, fried liver and vegetables, and snails cooked in white wine. 

  • Zaranda. This fine-dining restaurant (with two Michelin stars) is located a couple of miles outside Palma in the Castell son Claret, a renovated 15th-century castle. Their "Souvenir" tasting menu is a globetrotting odyssey of fusion, with artistic plates of meat and seafood inspired by Ireland, Morocco, Thailand, the Caribbean, southern Italy, and even Saudi Arabia. 

Day 8: Tour Palma de Mallorca - Eat dinner aboard a sailboat at sunset

Sailing in Mallorca
Sailing in Mallorca

In the morning, you'll meet a local guide for a historical tour of Palma. Like much of southern Spain, the Balearic Islands have been occupied by various empires and cultures over the years. This includes everyone from the Romans and Visigoths to the Muslims, Christians, and even the Bourbons. Although Mallorca has officially been a part of Spain since the 13th century, you can still see many remnants of this history in Palma's historic landmarks.

You'll start with the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, or simply the Palma Cathedral. This expansive Roman Catholic church was built by the Catalan Crown of Aragón in the 13th century over the site of a former Mosque that had been erected during Moorish rule. And even that sat on the site of the citadel of a previous Roman city.  

Just opposite the cathedral is another stop on the tour: the Royal Palace of La Almudaina. Its position overlooking the Bay of Palma was strategically important, which is why the Moors built a fortress here in the 10th century. Like with the Palma Cathedral, the Christians under King James II of Majorca built this Gothic fortified palace over the Muslim fortress after the conquest of the 13th century. 

After the Palma tour, a private driver will take you to the port Muelle de Golondrinas for a sunset sailing experience.

You'll depart from Palma Harbour with a welcome glass of cava, sailing towards La Cueva Verde, a beautiful cove with turquoise waters. You'll stop here for a relaxing swim and to enjoy delicious tapas and appetizers for dinner, all served on board while enjoying a Majorcan sunset.

On the way back, you'll pass the Cathedral and sail inside the Palma Harbour. With the magical evening light leading the way, it's the perfect photo opportunity. After returning to port, you'll transfer back to your hotel.

Day 9: Opt for a hike in the Tramuntana Mountains - Visit island villages

Tramuntana Mountains
Tramuntana Mountains

Today is yours to freely enjoy Palma, relaxing at one of its many beaches, perusing the historic city center, and/or visiting museums and religious sites. You can also spend the day on an optional, guided excursion to the Tramuntana Mountains, which are located on the northwest of the island. These limestone mountains are a hiker's dream, with sharp ridges and tall bluffs.

You'll start with a medium/difficult hike that takes between 1.5-3 hours and requires no specialized equipment other than hiking boots or athletic shoes. Along the way, you'll enjoy incredible views of the coast from the route's many lookout points. 

You'll also visit some of the historic mountain villages. These include the carless hilltop hamlet of Valldemossa, the tranquil cove and rocky beach of coastal Deià, and the town of Sóller, with its rickety wooden cable cars and long waterfront promenade.

These villages have long been home to painters, musicians, and writers from across the globe. They were attracted to the area because of its relaxed way of life, endless sunny afternoons, and the ideal location between a pine-covered hillside and the glimmering Mediterranean Sea. Valldemossa, in particular, is home to the 14th century Real Cartuja, a well-preserved Carthusian Monastery. Here, the composer Frédéric Chopin and his lover George Sand rented rooms in the winter of 1838.

After the tour, you'll return to Palma and enjoy the evening as you wish.

Day 10: Fly to Ibiza and peruse the historic Old Town

Clear Waters of Ibiza
Clear Waters of Ibiza

Enjoy your last morning in Palma de Mallorca before you transfer to the airport and catch your 45-minute flight to the neighboring island of Ibiza. Upon arrival, you'll settle into your hotel in time to relax before dinner. 

Stroll around the historic Old Town of Ibiza, which sits on a small peninsula. You can walk up to Ibiza Castle, traversing its walls and enjoying views of the sea. Then meander through the curvy, medieval streets down to the port, passing by Castell d'Eivissa and the viewpoint, Mirador de la Muralla Dalt Vila.

When you're ready for dinner, you'll find delicious options throughout the city. Some suggestions include:

  • Es Torrent, which is located in one of the most privileged enclaves on Ibiza
  • Pou Des Lleó, known for the traditional fish stew, bullit de peix
  • Anita Bar, where it is essential to order one of the house's specialties and the Ibizan herbal liqueur
  • Las Dalias, a famous market on Ibiza 
  • Chirincana, a simple beach bar set in Cala Martina

Day 11: Relax on the beach, explore caves, or snorkel in the sea

Nightlife of Ibiza Town
The Nightlife of Ibiza Town

Start your morning with breakfast at your hotel, then set out to enjoy Ibiza at your leisure. You can relax all day at the beach, swimming and tasting traditional cuisine, or you can opt for an island day trip. 

One option includes a tour of the San Miguel Caves. It starts with an exclusive cruise to the cove of San Miguel, which borders a large area on the west coast of the island. You'll then explore the caves, with their formations of stalagmites and stalactites, as well as the illuminated galleries that form an array of color. You can also relax in the cave by resting or napping on one of the hammocks in the cove.

If you prefer to enjoy the Mediterranean waters, you can opt for a snorkeling trip. The activity begins with an explanation of how to wear the glasses, the tube, and the fins. Then you'll practice in shallow seabeds. As you get more comfortable, you'll continue to deeper water and try freediving. As you snorkel, you'll learn how to identify fish and different species of sea life.

The evening is yours to enjoy your final night on the Islands.

Day 12: Fly to Porto - Explore the city with a culinary tour

Porto's Picturesque Douro River
Porto's Picturesque Douro River

In the morning, a private transfer will take you to the airport in Ibiza to catch your flight to Porto with a layover in Madrid. Upon arriving in Porto, you'll transfer to your hotel and rest before exploring the city. 

In the afternoon, you'll learn more about Porto and its cuisine with a 3.5-hour walking tour of the historic downtown. Guided by an English-speaking native, this excursion offers a first-hand look at the culinary renaissance that the city is experiencing, including the rebirth of specialty food shops and new restaurants that are adopting old methods.

You'll take part in several distinct tasting locations that focus on simple, quality products and recipes created by people who love what they do. Learn about these family-owned businesses and why they are an integral part of what makes gastronomy in Porto so unique. 

In the evening, you'll enjoy the famous drink of Porto: Port wine. As you taste three different varieties, including one vintage, you'll learn about the history of this drink and why it's a timeless favorite.

Day 13: Visit the Douro Valley for a wine tasting

The Douro Valley Wine Region
The Douro Valley Wine Region

Awake early for your group tour of the Douro Valley, a lush wine region set just 1.5 hours from Porto. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Douro Valley is set within rocky hills, which lack quality soil needed for winemaking. Throughout the centuries, however, locals revitalized the region, planting vineyards one at a time. 

Start the tour with a scenic drive, admiring the passing landscapes of deep valleys, sharp turns along the Douro River, and terraced vineyards that seem to go on forever. You'll have the opportunity to visit one of the many estates that produce the region's famous wines and ports, tasting the different varietals while enjoying lunch.

The Douro River is also known for its difficulty in navigation, challenging boats with its natural barriers. The rabelo boat, a unique and ancient vessel, is the only one able to take on the river. Nowadays, these types of boats are used for tourism, offering 1-hour river cruises. Enjoy the views of the valley from a different perspective. 

In the late afternoon, you'll return to Porto in time for dinner.

Day 14: Take the train to Lisbon - Enjoy the city

Outdoor Terraces in Lisbon
Outdoor Terraces in Lisbon

In the morning, you'll catch a train to Lisbon, Portugal's capital and Europe's second-oldest capital, after Athens. It was once home to some of the world's greatest explorers, like Vasco da Gama, Magellan, and Prince Henry the Navigator. The city is full of authenticity, where old customs and ancient history intermix. After settling into your hotel, take some time to explore Lisbon.

Tomorrow you'll enjoy a guided walking tour of Lisbon, so enjoy the rest of your day at your own pace. The Baixa neighborhood is a good place to start, with its hilly cobblestone streets. Here you can taste the country's famous Pastel de Nata, a traditional custard pastry sprinkled with cinnamon. Next, visit the area's three famous squares, including Rossio, Figueira, and Comércio. You'll find many of the city's monuments in these areas, plus plenty of cafes, bars, and shops, including the oldest bookstore in the world: Livraria Bertrand.

In the evening, stroll the side streets of Baixa for a traditional meal at one of the neighborhood's restaurants. Or if you prefer a bit more energy, settle into a bistro around one of the busy squares. For a spectacular view over the city and river, make your way to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, which is especially pretty at sunset and night.

Day 15: Guided walking tour in Lisbon - Fado music performance

Famous Trams of Lisbon
Famous Trams of Lisbon

After breakfast, you'll enjoy a walking tour of Lisbon, the city of seven hills. One of the best ways to truly see the city is by strolling its streets—made with Portugal's world-famous cobblestone—and exploring its different neighborhoods.

Start with the historic Alfama and Castelo districts, two of the oldest areas of Lisbon. Filled with steep streets, the views are some of the best in the city. Because of this, there are several viewpoints scattered throughout these districts. Ride the quintessential yellow trams up to the Graça, Santa Luzia, or Portas do Sol scenic vistas, where you can gaze over the sea of red roofs to the Tagus River.

While perusing Alfama and Castelo, check out the Lisbon Cathedral, the 17th-century National Pantheon, and, of course, the 11th-century, Moorish castle, Castelo de S. Jorge. On your way down, pass by the National Theatre of São Carlos and grab lunch near the riverfront at the city's Time Out Market where you'll find an entire floor devoted to food stalls serving an array of international cuisine.

After lunch, walk towards the neighborhood of Belém, home of the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Then meander into the Chiado and Bairro Alto districts, which are the most bohemian areas of Lisbon. You'll find steeper, cobblestone streets with yellow trams curving around sharp corners, plus many sights worth a visit, including the ornate interiors of the Church de Sao Roque and the ruins of Carmo Church.

In the late afternoon, head back to your hotel for a little relaxation before returning to the city center for a typical dinner at a Fado house. Here you'll enjoy a live performance of Portugal's Fado music, an experience not to be missed. If you're looking for a nightcap after dinner, return to Bairro Alto, which is rumored to have the best nightlife in Lisbon.

Day 16: Explore Sintra and the Portuguese Riviera with a guided tour

The Pena Palace
The National Palace of Pena

Today's group excursion takes you to the popular tourist destination of Sintra, home of the National Palace of Pena and its surrounding greenery. The town and the northern slope of the Serra de Sintra (Sintra Mountains) have wonderful natural characteristics and impressive historic landmarks.

It's difficult to see all that Sintra has to offer in one single day, so it's best to focus on one of the most romantic palaces in Portugal, the Pena Palace. The castle's history starts in the 15th century, but its current state is a prime example of Romanticist architecture, brought back to life in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II. Enjoy wandering the grounds with views out to the forest, the valley, and the sea.

After exploring the castle, take some time to enjoy the town of Sintra. Many tourists overlook Sintra itself, but it's home to charming, winding cobblestone streets, colorful facades, and quaint shops, all nestled into the surrounding hillside.

On the way back to Lisbon, stop at the westernmost point of mainland Europe, Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca), for views over the Atlantic Ocean. Continue your journey towards the Portuguese Riviera in the towns of Cascais and Estoril. It’s worth stopping for a quick stroll around the towns and along the beach.

You'll return to your hotel in time for a little relaxation before dinner.

Day 17: Fly to Madrid - Enjoy an evening tapas tour

Madrid Palace at Night
Madrid Palace at Night

Welcome to Madrid! Upon arriving at the airport, your private driver will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Take some time to settle in before heading out to explore. 

Spain's capital is made for walking, with wide, elegant boulevards showcasing a range of architectural styles and expansive, manicured parks such as the Buen Retiro. It's also renowned for some of the best art museums on the continent, including the Prado Museum with works by Goya, Velázquez, and other Spanish masters.

In the evening, you'll meet your guide for a walking tapas tour to get a genuine feel for the city and sample some of the best local dishes. You'll see Madrid through a local's eyes as you get a feel for its many districts and neighborhoods. The tour begins with a two-hour city walking tour, followed by delicious tapas in local and authentic bars in the Las Letras neighborhood in the historic heart of the city.

Day 18: Discover Madrid's royal legacy with a private city tour

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, as well as 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, which was once the heart of Old Madrid.

Nearby, you'll find the Royal Palace, which was the official home of the Spanish monarchs until 1931. You'll tour both 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, enjoy a visit to El Retiro Park. Its 308 acres is the "green lung" of Madrid, abounding with sculptures, fountains, and a man-made lake perfect for an afternoon boat ride. There are several gardens within the park, 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 from May through June. 

In the evening, return to your hotel for a little rest before heading back out into the city. For your final dinner in Spain, explore some of Madrid's lively neighborhoods, such as trendy Malasaña, the historic Literary Quarter, or the old Latin Quarter, La Latina.

Day 19: Depart Madrid

Famous Cibeles Fountain in Madrid
Famous Cibeles Fountain in Madrid

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