In Spain, prepare to be tantalized. Begin in Madrid, cultural mecca. Then to charming Toledo, snaking Seville, Córdoba, Granada, Gaudí's Barcelona, Montserrat, and Bilbao for a touch of Guggenheim.
Here in Spain is life as it was meant to be lived. Contagious music on a Madrid street. Gaudí’s outrageous flourishes on a walk through Barcelona. Ancient gardens drape their leaves around a Muslim princess’ summer palace. The stately Prado (enough said). Add a dash of flamenco, plenty of spice, and a generous sprinkling of national pride.
Don't miss any of it.
This is a 14-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create a Spain journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Europe.
Overnight in flight
Day 2-3: Madrid, Spain
• Arrive in Madrid, panoramic city tour including Old Town, Gran Via, Plaza de España, Retiro park, Plaza Mayor, tapas and wine.
• Palacio Real, Prado.
• Optional independent visit to Reina Sofia Museum or Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
Overnights in Madrid
Day 4: Toledo, Madrid
• Day-trip to Toledo including cathedral, Church of Santo Tomé, Jewish Quarter, San Martin Bridge.
• Return to Madrid, leisure time.
Overnight in Madrid
Day 5-6: Seville
• Train to Seville.
• Panoramic city tour including Parque de Maria Luisa, leisure time, optional flamenco show.
• Cathedral and La Giralda, Reales Alcázares, Barrio Santa Cruz, leisure time.
Overnights in Seville
Day 7: Córdoba, Seville
• Day-trip to Córdoba, city tour including Mezquita (Great Mosque), Jewish Quarter (Juderia), Old Town.
• Independent optional visit to Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos.
• Return to Seville.
Overnight in Seville
Day 8-9: Granada
• Drive to Granada, panoramic city tour including Granada Cathedral and Capilla Real, Albaicin (Muslim Quarter).
• Alhambra and El Generalife Gardens, Monstery of La Cartuja, leisure time.
Overnight in Granada
Day 10-11: Barcelona
• Fly to Barcelona, panoramic city tour including Las Ramblas, La Boqueria, Gothic Quarter, Cathedral de Santa Eulàlia, Picasso Museum.
• Gaudí's Barcelona including Sagrada Família, Güell Park, Casa Milà, leisure time.
Overnights in Barcelona
Day 12: Montserrat, Penèdes, Barcelona
• Day-trip to Penèdes (cava region) including Codornui Cellars tour and tasting, Montserrat monastery, boys' choir performance.
• Return to Barcelona.
Overnight in Barcelona
Day 13: Bilbao, Madrid
• Fly to Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum, panoramic city tour (time permitting).
• Fly to Madrid.
Overnight at Madrid airport hotel
Day 14: Madrid; United States
• Fly home.
Per person sharing room from $12,980 for this 14-day sample itinerary.
Internal air per person (estimate) $640
For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.
Hotel Villa Magna. Classic style blends perfectly with contemporary facilities at this unique Madrid luxury hotel on Paseo de la Castellana, in the heart of the city. 150 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness center and spa, boutique, 2 restaurants, 2 bars.
Westin Palace. Built in 1912, the Palace was recently restored to its original splendor. Set near the Prado, notable museums, and historic monuments, it has been named to the Condé Nast Traveler Top Hotels List. 467 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness center, boutiques, Starbucks, 2 restaurants, 1 bar.
Ritz. An historic luxury hotel in the heart of Madrid, close to the Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Built in 1910, the Ritz has hosted generations of dignitaries. 167 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness center with sauna, 2 restaurants, 2 bars.
Alfonso XIII. Centrally located in the heart of downtown, this is, without doubt, one of the city’s best hotels. Commissioned by the king in 1928, it was designed to be Spain’s most luxurious hotel. Tastefully decorated in a blend of Moorish, Castillian, and classic baroque styles. 151 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: private gardens, outdoor pool, solarium, beauty salon, fitness center, three local golf courses, private courtyard, 3 restaurants, 1 bar.
AC Palacio de Santa Paula. Located in Granada’s old quarter, this hotel is the result of careful and meticulous renovation of an ancient convent. The old cloister is one of the highlights here, a place to rest and enjoy one of the principal monuments of the city in the guise of a luxury hotel. 75 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness center with sauna, access to local golf courses, 2 restaurants.
Hospes Palacio de los Patos. Located in a 19th-century palace in the historic heart of the city. The restoration’s fusion of classical and original architecture with modern design details is pure genius. Savor a meal at the gastronomic restaurant, relax on the terrace or at the bar, stroll the Arabic gardens, indulge in an on-site spa treatment. Amenities include a restaurant, bar, spa, steam room, sauna, hammam.
Parador de Granada. Spend the night in the Alhambra among gardens and fountains that evoke an Arab and Christian past. This is a former monastery built on the orders of the Catholic Monarchs. The hotel has an enchanting interior, with exceptional furniture decorating the cloister and interior rooms. Forty guestrooms.
Hotel Arts. In the harbor area of Barcelona. the Arts represents a push for the modern in this city. Architect Bruce Graham, a Chicagoan with Skidmore, Owings & Merill, has created terrific views of the Mediterranean and Port Olímpico. But we’re also close to the Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas, and the shopping district. The city beyond the Arts is abuzz, but within there is an air of elegance and tranquility. Don’t miss the sculpture outside the hotel by Frank O. Gehry. 483 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness center and spa, outdoor pool and gardens, 5 restaurants, 1 bar.
Casa Fuster. A member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World group, the Fuster boasts a landmark 1911 building once considered the city’s most exclusive home. When it was transformed into a hotel in 2000, the new owners sought to renovate the place staying true to the home’s original modernist movement style. The results are gorgeous. 105 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: Jacuzzi, fitness center, outdoor pool, terrace, solarium, 1 restaurant, 1 bar.
We like all kinds of museums. But we have a particular soft spot for museums that exhibit the work of a single artist or collector. A tour of these museums illustrates one person’s vision over time.
The Museu Picasso in Barcelona offers an even more significant focus. It not only houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of art by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, but it covers some key developments in the course of Picasso’s early career and the establishment of modern art.
Highlights of the collection range from the paper cutouts he did as a child to his first major works, “The First Communion” (1896), and “Science and Charity” (1897), to his Blue Period, and his work in Barcelona until 1917. His “Las Meninas” series (1957) is also exhibited. There is a collection of pottery donated by his wife, Jacqueline, that shows yet another side of Picasso’s creativity.
“Science and Charity” deserves a special mention. Picasso’s father was an art teacher, and Picasso was 15 years old when he painted this scene of illness and caretaking—using his father as the model for the doctor. The painting won an honorable mention at a Madrid exhibition and a gold medal in a provincial exhibition in Malaga. This achievement earned him the attention of his uncle, who sent money so Picasso could advance his studies in Madrid.
Having mastered traditional painting styles at such a young age, Picasso set off with a different notion of the artistic road he would travel. He was so frustrated with his instruction at the academy in Madrid that he returned to Barcelona to forge an entirely new style of painting, one that would lead to cubism and beyond.
“Science and Charity” would turn out to be Picasso’s final traditional piece.
The Museu Picasso offers a fabulous look at the contrast between traditional and modern painting through Picasso’s early work. Don’t miss it.
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