- Experience the taste of Barcelona on guided food tours
- Meet local artisans and take an art walk in Madrid
- Hike the coastal cliffs along the stunning Costa Brava
- Enjoy wine tours around Madrid and Barcelona
- See Barcelona by bicycle and sailboat
|Day 1||Arrival in Madrid||Madrid|
|Day 2||Private Tour of Madrid - El Prado Museum||Madrid|
|Day 3||Gourmet Walking Tour of Madrid||Madrid|
|Day 4||Day Trip to Segovia & Pedraza||Madrid|
|Day 5||Artisans Tour of Madrid||Madrid|
|Day 6||Countryside Food & Wine Tour||Madrid|
|Day 7||Train from Madrid to Barcelona - Evening Tapas Tour||Barcelona|
|Day 8||Gaudí Architecture Tour & Markets of Barcelona||Barcelona|
|Day 9||Day Trip to the Costa Brava - Coastal Hike||Barcelona|
|Day 10||Private Bike Tour & Luxury Sunset Cruise in Barcelona||Barcelona|
|Day 11||Day Trip to Priorat - Wine Tour & Nature Hike||Barcelona|
|Day 12||Depart Barcelona|
Day 1: Arrival in Madrid
Welcome to Spain!
Upon arrival at the nation's capital, you'll enjoy a private transfer to your hotel in the city center. Take some time to settle in before heading out to explore. You'll definitely want to see some of the highlights like the Puerta del Sol, one of the most historic and expansive plazas in the city. There's also Madrid's famous Fountain of Cibeles. Located in the city center it features a sculpture completed in 1782 and depicting Cybele, the Greek goddess of fertility, riding in a chariot pulled by lions.
Perhaps you could take in a show. Gran Vía is Madrid's answer to Broadway, and on it, you'll find plenty of theaters showcasing plays and musical productions. Needless to say, the options for culture in this city are vast, and you could also visit museums, art galleries, and live music venues if the mood strikes.
When night falls, be sure to indulge in Madrid's world-class culinary scene. If you want to dine amid history, head to Botín. No less than Ernest Hemingway described it in his seminal novel The Sun Also Rises as the best restaurant on earth.
Day 2: Private Tour of Madrid - El Prado Museum
After breakfast, a private guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you on a four-hour walking tour of the city highlights. Your guide will adapt to your speed and style, whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a brisk pace to squeeze in as many sites as possible.
At the end of the tour, you'll visit the magnificent El Prado museum, which features one of the finest collections of European art in the world. This includes works by Velazquez, El Greco, and Goya. Your guide will lead you through some of these exhibits before leaving you to continue exploring on your own.
Should you choose, before parting ways your guide can recommend a good nearby restaurant or tapas bar—the perfect spot to cap your day in Madrid.
Day 3: Gourmet Walking Tour of Madrid
This is an excursion perfectly suited to any culinary traveler. It's a four-hour walking tour (either morning or afternoon) in which you'll visit three exceptional gourmet shops accompanied by an expert local guide.
First, you'll visit a purveyor of artisanal cured meats and sample one of Spain's most popular specialties: Iberian ham. It's a delicious and educational tour as you'll not only taste this delectable product but learn about it too. What makes Iberian ham so special? How do you identify it? How is it cured and cut? You'll learn the answers to these questions before continuing on to the next delicious stop.
Olive oil is the theme of your next stop. There are over 240 types of olives grown in Spain, each with its own specific flavor profile. At an olive-oil shop, you'll taste oils from different regions of the country and enjoy various olives while learning about the precise definition of extra virgin olive oil, its pressing process, and the ideal foods with which to pair it.
You'll finish the gourmet tour on a sweet note as you visit a chocolatier specializing in handmade chocolate creations in both liquid and solid form. It will be an indulgent delight as the tasting involves using your senses of sight, smell, and taste to decipher and enjoy the different flavor notes and ingredients infused into the chocolate.
After this whirlwind foodie experience, our guide will leave you, but not before recommending a great nearby restaurant in which to enjoy a traditional madrileño lunch or dinner.
Day 4: Day Trip to Segovia & Pedraza
This morning an expert guide will pick you up at the hotel for an hour-drive north of Madrid to Segovia. There is no shortage of historic cities in Spain, but Segovia stands out not least of which for its famous Roman Aqueduct and medieval Old Town, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Upon visiting these sights on a walking tour, you'll quickly see what all the fuss is about. Segovia's famous Roman Aqueduct is the pride of the city. It runs eight miles (14 km) in length, stands an impressive 93-feet (28 meters) high, and features two tiers comprised of 160 arches. Considering this aqueduct is nearly 2,000 years old, it is in remarkably good condition.
Then there's Old Town, which is situated on a bluff overlooking the Eresma and Clamores rivers. For a long time, Moors, Christians, and Jews coexisted in harmony here, and this is seen in the unique buildings with architectural influences that run the gamut from Mudéjar to Gothic. You'll see many such landmarks around Old Town, such as the 11th century Alcázar (palace), the 14th-century Old Main Synagogue, and the 16th-century Segovia Cathedral, which dominates the skyline.
After the walking tour, you'll enjoy lunch in a local restaurant—be sure to try the roasted suckling pig, which is Segovia's specialty. Then you'll leave Segovia and head northeast about half an hour to Pedraza. This medieval walled village is a National Historical Heritage Site of Spain, and walking its central plaza is like stepping back in time.
Day 5: Artisans Tour of Madrid
Today you'll experience a side of Madrid that few visitors get to see. On a guided tour of the historic center, you'll stop in at various workshops and stores and meet the people who help define Madrid's culture: the local artisans.
It's a whirlwind tour wherein first you'll visit an art boutique that sells silk and velvet paintings. Then you'll stop at an authentic flamenco club that dates back to 1901. Afterward, you'll meet Carmen, a seamstress who will offer a quick lesson on the basics of making traditional Spanish capes of the kind Picasso himself is buried in.
You'll then call in at the workshop of a master luthier known as one of the world's best makers of classical and flamenco guitars. You'll have a bit of a break as you stop in at a legendary local bar before heading off to the workshop/store of a leather artisan. He'll reveal his precise methods to perfectly cutting the leather that forms the bags, purses, and pouches on display.
It's a walking tour that takes you right to the heart of Spain while at the same time introducing you to some of its most fascinating characters.
Day 6: Countryside Food & Wine Tour
A private guide will pick you up in the morning for a day trip outside of Madrid to visit some purveyors of Spain's deservedly famous foods. This is a pleasant two-hour tour of the countryside with the added bonus of sampling local cheeses, olive oils, and wine.
Your first stop will be at a small artisanal cheese farm. Here you'll learn about not only the different cheeses they offer but the care and attention that goes into the production process. Then you'll sample a wide variety of cheeses and get a delicious education in their various flavor profiles.
Next up is a local olive farm. Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world, and on a tour, you'll see why this golden liquid is so popular. At the farm, you'll meet the people who, day after day, dedicate themselves to producing olive oil of the highest quality. You'll not only learn about the modern production methods but visit an antique mill and see how the oil was produced hundreds of years ago. Then it will be time to sit down to a traditional Spanish lunch starring the very ingredient you've been learning about.
Afterward, you'll drive amid more spectacular scenery en route to a local winery. Spain boasts the largest area of grape cultivation in the world and is the second-largest producer of wine in terms of volume. Therefore, in this country, you're never far from a D.O.Q. (Qualified Designation of Origin) viticulture area. On a tour, you'll see the process that goes into wine production and enjoy a tasting of different varietals with the help of a sommelier.
Day 7: Train from Madrid to Barcelona - Evening Tapas Tour
In the morning you'll leave Madrid on a high-speed train bound for Barcelona. After a three-hour trip, you'll arrive at the Mediterranean coast and the beautiful capital of Catalonia. Make no mistake, Barcelona abounds with as much energy and excitement as it does culture and history.
Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel in Old Town. After settling in, you can head out and explore, perhaps starting with Mt. Montjuic. This famous hill stands 1,988 feet (606 meters) 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 take the cable car from Barceloneta Beach and the funicular elevator adjacent to the cable car.
Should you decide to stay in, that's fine too. You can relax and enjoy your hotel accommodations before meeting up with a private guide for an evening food tour. This is your chance to experience Barcelona's culinary scene with a local expert who will show you the city's best off-the-beaten-path tapas bars.
Day 8: Gaudí Architecture Tour & Markets of Barcelona
After breakfast, a local guide will meet you at your hotel for an exclusive architecture tour. The destinations are some of the most astounding works by the legendary Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí.
First, you'll visit Park Güell. Located atop Carmel Hill in north Barcelona, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fine example of Gaudí's boundary-pushing modernist style. It also features pretty gardens and views of the city. Plus, this lively park is a great place to see local musicians busking.
Then you'll head to the famous boulevard Passeig de Grácia. It's home to upscale boutiques as well as another masterpiece by Gaudí: the Casa Milá apartment building, which is nicknamed "La Pedrera" because its facade resembles a stone quarry. Originally built for the aristocratic Milà family around 1906, the result is an iconic work of Catalan-modernism architecture.
Later, you'll stop at a few of Barcelona's best local markets to taste a range of Spanish culinary delights with the help and guidance of your expert guide.
Day 9: Day Trip to the Costa Brava - Coastal Hike
After breakfast at your hotel, a private guide will pick you up to embark on a 90-minute drive north of the city along the Costa Brava. This beautiful coastal area stretches between Barcelona and the French border and offers incredible hiking along routes that pass through villages, secluded beaches, and hidden coves ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Your guide will select a suitable trail according to your fitness level. Then, it's off for a brisk hike along coastal cliffs flanked by olive orchards and oak forests on one side, and the sapphire-blue waters of the Mediterranean on the other. Your reward will come in the form of a three-course meal at the end of your hike, featuring local Catalan specialties.
Day 10: Private Bike Tour & Luxury Sunset Cruise in Barcelona
After breakfast, you'll be embarking on a guided bicycle tour of Barcelona. This three-hour tour passes through historic and popular neighborhoods like the medieval Gothic Quarter and trendy Raval and El Born, Along the way your guide will point out historic highlights, including Roman ruins, the grand Plaça Reial, and the Gothic Barcelona Cathedral, which dates to the 13th century.
But the tour doesn't end here. You'll cycle from the Gothic Quarter through Ciutadella Park, one of the largest green spaces in the city, all the way to Barceloneta Beach. This is Barcelona's main urban beach, and it's always a hub of activity, lined as it is with cafés, beaches, bars, and discos. Riding along the promenade fronting the water is the perfect way to cap your cycling tour of Barcelona's most famous areas.
After the cycling tour, you'll return to the hotel and relax for a bit. ln the early evening, head to the port and board a private sailboat for a sunset cruise off the coast. While there's still daylight, you can use the included fishing equipment to try and land a big catch.
After two hours of cruising the waters and watching the sunset, you'll return to port and transfer back to your hotel. Feel free to enjoy the remainder of the evening in Barcelona however you like.
Day 11: Day Trip to Priorat - Wine Tour & Nature Hike
In the morning, you'll meet an expert guide for a private tour of the Priorat wine region. Located in southern Catalonia in the province of Tarragona, this arid region is known for its mineral-rich terroir and full-bodied wines. The grape-growing conditions here are so good, in fact, that the ancient Romans were making wine in Priorat over 2,000 years ago back when Tarragona was a provincial capital of the empire.
There are nearly 100 wineries here, and your first stop will be at one in the heart of Priorat. You'll tour the winery and enjoy a tasting. After sampling an assortment of fine wines, you'll see why this world-renowned area has earned prestigious D.O.Q. (Qualified Designation of Origin) status. The reds are often made from the Grenache grape and are defined by a strong character with fruit and mineral notes; the whites are typically of the Macabeo grape and are pale yellow with aromas of fruit and mountain herbs.
Afterward, it's time for an active excursion as you enjoy a hike through the countryside. Priorat is located in the Serra de Montsant mountain range, which makes for great hiking and beautiful scenery. There are also a handful of medieval villages in this region, so definitely bring your camera.
After working up an appetite, sit down for a three-course Catalan lunch. You'll then visit another boutique bodega (winery) for another tour and sampling of phenomenal wines. Afterward, you'll transfer back to Barcelona, where you can enjoy the remainder of the evening however you'd like.
Day 12: Depart Barcelona
It's time to say farewell to Barcelona. Depending on the time of your flight or train reservation, squeeze in one more walk through the city, perhaps picking up some last-minute souvenirs. At the designated time you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport or train station for your departure onwards. Have a good trip!