- Discover Barcelona's modernist masterpieces with a private architect guide
- Dive into Catalan cuisine with an evening of tapas and wine-tasting
- Dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Madrid's elegant Chamberí neighborhood
- Experience the passionate spectacle of a flamenco performance in Seville
|Day 1||Arrive in Barcelona, Food & Wine Tour||Barcelona|
|Day 2||Architecture Walk, Olive Oil Estate & Winery||Barcelona|
|Day 3||Train to Madrid, Museum Tour||Madrid|
|Day 4||Madrid City Tour, Dinner at a Michelin Restaurant||Madrid|
|Day 5||Train to Seville, Guided Tour||Seville|
|Day 6||Olive Oil Tour, Hammam Visit, Tapas & Flamenco||Seville|
|Day 7||Train to Madrid, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona, Food & Wine Tour
Welcome to Spain! Comprised of 17 different autonomous communities, each with its own virtues, you'll arrive in the country's most coveted region: Catalonia. Its capital Barcelona is famous the world over for its medieval architecture, sultry nightlife, golden beaches, and mind-blowing cuisine. It's the perfect introduction to all things Spanish.
Upon arrival at the airport, your personal driver will transfer you to the heart of the city and the 5-star Hotel Alma. Located in the Eixample district (home to famous Gaudí-designed buildings), this contemporary boutique hotel exudes sophistication and tranquility. After checking in, you can take the edge off the flight with a visit to the on-site spa for some sauna time or a dip in a heated pool inspired by the most relaxing hot springs in Japan.
When the sun goes down, you'll embark on a culinary journey to discover the soul of Catalan cuisine. You'll stop at four of Barcelona's standout restaurants during this epic three-hour food walk. These range from humble family-run taverns serving traditional tapas to modern gastronomic powerhouses known for their artistic presentations of contemporary Spanish cuisine. Part of the experience also involves following a professional sommelier to a local wine bar to taste the hidden gems of Spain's wine regions and some local bubbly cava—the country's favorite sparkling wine.
Day 2: Architecture Walk, Optional Olive Oil & Winery Tour
Barcelona's historic Catalan modernist architecture has one founding father: Antoni Gaudí. This morning, you'll meet a private guide for a half-day tour of his most famous buildings. It begins on Passeig de Grácia with Casa Batlló. This modernist masterpiece of a residential building is known as Casa dels Ossos (House of Bones) due to the skeletal nature of its design. Then, you'll tour the iconic Casa Milà. Built for the aristocratic Milà family in 1906, this iconic apartment building earned the nickname La Pedrera (The Quarry) because its facade resembles a stone quarry.
Finish with a stop at the legendary Sagrada Família, the most iconic church in Barcelona. Construction of this Gothic/Art Nouveau basilica began in 1882 but technically remains unfinished to this day. It's a popular tourist draw, but you can breeze right past the line with your prearranged tickets. After the visit, you'll say goodbye to your guide and can continue exploring the city on your own.
If you'd prefer, you can forgo the architecture tour in favor of a day trip to a private winery and olive oil estate outside Barcelona. At the estate, you'll tour of the farm's olive groves and learn about the estate's 500 years of history. Then, you'll taste three of the region's most emblematic olive oils, followed by a traditional Catalan meal prepared by a private chef with farm-fresh ingredients. After eating, head to a small organic winery known for its fantastic reds. There, you'll enjoy a tasting of wines at various stages of the aging process, from those currently aging in oak barrels to wines at the end of their cycle.
Day 3: Train to Madrid, Museum Tour
In the morning, your driver will take you to the Barcelona Sants station, where you'll catch a three-hour train ride (in a first-class coach) to Madrid. There's a lot of history in Spain's dynamic capital: it was founded around the ninth century by the Moors and became the nation's capital in the 16th century under the reign of King Phillip II, a member of the famous Habsburg dynasty of Europe. Much of this long and storied history remains visible in Madrid's parks, plazas, and palaces.
Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up for the transfer to the upscale Chamberí neighborhood and your accommodation: URSO Hotel & Spa. Located in the center of Madrid, this 5-star boutique hotel in a historic neoclassical building is luxurious and within walking distance of many of the city's top attractions. These include Gran Vía, Puerta del Sol, and Parque del El Retiro. The hotel itself features several highlights and amenities, including well-appointed suites and a wellness center with personalized spa services, like citrus cleansing and anti-aging remodeling.
After checking in, you'll head over to Madrid's "Golden Triangle of Art" and visit the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. During this two-hour private tour led by an art historian guide, you'll witness one of the world's finest private art collections, which contains nearly 1,000 paintings spanning the 13th-20th century. Several of the world's most celebrated artists are on display here, from Dalí to Degas, Rembrandt to Renoir, and van Eyck to Van Gogh, among others. The styles range from Renaissance and Baroque to Impressionism and modern art.
Day 4: Madrid City Tour, Dinner at a Michelin Restaurant
Get to know Madrid even better today on a guided history, culture, and architecture tour. Accompanied by a private guide, head to the historic Habsburg district. This is the oldest part of the city, known in Spanish as El Madrid de Los Austrias. During the walk, you'll visit the 18th-century Royal Palace, Almudena Cathedral, and the expansive Plaza Mayor, which dates to the 15th century. Your guide will also take you to hidden gems and tell stories about Madrid's fascinating history.
Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and/or exploring the city on your own. Then, when the sun goes down, get dressed up for an evening out at a special restaurant, Paco Roncero. Located in an elegant space on the top floor of a 19th-century building in Chamberí, this eatery has earned two Michelin stars for its eponymous chef's innovative and contemporary Spanish cuisine. So sit on the expansive terrace and enjoy a sophisticated tasting menu paired with fine wines you won't soon forget.
Day 5: Train to Seville, Guided Tour
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
After breakfast, you'll transfer to the station and board a train for the 3.5-hour ride south to Seville, the colorful and historic capital of Spain's famed Andalusia region. A driver will pick you up at Seville station and transfer you to the historic center and your hotel: Corral del Rey. This 4-star hotel occupies a 17th-century building that perfectly encapsulates Moorish/Andalusian architectural style with its arches, courtyards, and Islamic design patterns. After checking in, you can relax in the fireplace lounge or head to the rooftop terrace for stunning views of Seville's skyline.
Soon after, you'll meet a local guide for a private walking tour amid Seville's over 2,000 years of history. First up is 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 an impressive testament to pious grandiosity. Also here is La Giralda, the cathedral's looming bell tower.
Then, continue 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—the perfect excuse to take a break and enjoy some small plates and local wine. Capping the walk is a real highlight: a visit to the Alcázar. Seville's Royal Palace began life as a Moorish fort in the 10th century and is famous for its well-manicured gardens. After strolling the gardens and glimmering fountains, you'll leave your guide and will have the rest of the day free.
Day 6: Olive Oil Tour, Hammam Visit, Tapas & Flamenco
In the morning, leave Seville on a half-day private trip to visit an olive oil estate in the Andalusian countryside. Here, you'll witness the production process of one of Spain's most famous food exports. The estate has quite the history: It was here that Christopher Columbus' son Hernando began exporting olive oil to the New World. You'll tour the old manufacturing center, view the 16th-century olive oil presses, learn about modern production methods, and see gorgeous rolling hills carpeted in olive trees.
Upon returning to Seville, enjoy a rejuvenating one-hour session at a hammam. These steam baths are significant in Arab/Andalusian history and remain a cornerstone of today's culture. Hammams comprise various rooms, each containing baths set at different temperatures. A session is a great way to reduce stress while receiving essential vitamins and minerals and increasing blood circulation.
In the evening, you'll head into the historic center with a guide to enjoy a quintessential evening out in Seville. You can bet this includes copious tapas (small plates) and excellent wine at local family-run taverns. Capping the night is a passionate flamenco performance. This singing/dance style was born in Andalusia, and Seville's historic districts are excellent places to experience just such a show. Rest assured, these tablaos (flamenco venues) are no tourist traps— flamenco remains a beloved Spanish cultural expression, and seeing a performance is an experience unlike any other.