Espíritu Travel’s Immersive Spain 15-day trip will take you to explore all of Spain’s hidden gems. The perfect mix of culture, gastronomy, nature and history, this trip will take you beyond Madrid and Barcelona for a truly authentic experience.
Day 1 Welcome to SpainBarcelona
Welcome to Spain! You are met at the airport for transfer to your accommodations.
Time to rest after you flight.
In the evening, embark on a journey into Barcelona’s history, culture and delicious tapas scene! You’ll visit three of Barcelona’s best tapas bars as you wind your way through the medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter. But delicious food and great wine are just the start! Your expert guide will bring Barcelona’s magical past to life, helping you truly discover the city! By the end of the night, you’ll have mastered going out for tapas like a local and come away with an insider perspective on this magical city! You will kick things off at one of the city’s oldest and most traditional food store turned tapas bar, where things have hardly changed since the 1930s. With a glass of city’s favorite aperitif—sweet vermouth– hand, you’ll taste locally cured meats, cheese, olives and more! Next, your expert guide will lead you through Barcelona’s stunning Gothic quarter, pointing out hidden corners and letting you in on its secrets on the way to the next tapas bar. The second tapas bar is a true Barcelona establishment! Although it only has a few tapas on the menu, they’re all spectacular, which is why this place is almost always overflowing with locals. Afterward, it’s time to head to another historic area where your guide will lead you through its narrow streets as you learn even more of Barcelona’s many secrets and myths. Finally, it’s time for a sit-down meal at one of Barcelona’s most-loved tapas bar. You’ll enjoy a selection of traditional Catalan dishes, along with red wine from the local region! Dinner wouldn’t be complete without something sweet—you’ll finish the night with a traditional Spanish dessert.
Today, you start with a drive to the famous hill of Montjüic, which offers excellent views over the city and was the site of the 1992 Olympic games.
After a brief stop at the Catalunya National Art Museum (MNAC) we will make our way down to Plaça Espanya and on past the Modernist buildings of the Eixample area.
You drive to the iconic Sagrada Familia will take us up Passeig de Gracia, home to the famous designer stores, and the setting for two of Barcelona’s most talked about Gaudï buildings: La Pedrera and Casa Batlló.
Before arriving at the Sagrada Família, you stop at the Hospital de Sant Pau I de Santes Creus, built between 1901 and 1930. Well away from the tourist route, this hospital has been declared a ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ and is one of the greatest symbols of the Modernist Architecture in Barcelona.
Finally, you arrive at Sagrada Família, stopping there for a visit inside the building. Entrance tickets will have been pre-purchased and there is no waiting in line.
You then head to the oldest part of Barcelona, the Barrio Gótico, which, as late, the mid 19th century was still surrounded by the Mediaeval walls.
At this point, you enjoy a stroll through the narrow winding streets of medieval Barcelona.
At the start of the short walk through the historic streets of Barcelona, you stop for a brief visit to one of Barcelona’s most traditional indoor food markets: Mercat de Santa Caterina.
From there, you travel back in time, going from the Roman era through to the early Middle Ages, when the Catalan counts were controlling the Mediterranean sea and Barcelona was the capital of an empire. You also visit the Jewish Quarter, the Royal Palace, the original 2000-year-old Roman Temple and part of the Cathedral.
The final part of the morning takes in part of the Born district, where the local guide points out a variety of restaurants and tapas bars suitable for a meal before ending at the magnificent Santa Maria del Mar church – one of the most beautiful in Barcelona.
The rest of the afternoon to explore Barcelona.
Later in the evening, enjoy the authentic Mediterranean way of life whilst the sun goes down on a luxury sailing yacht. Spend the most romantic and unforgettable moment with a live Spanish guitar maestro on board with you playing live music. Evening includes wine/cava, drinks, snacks, and fresh fruit.
Today you can explore Barcelona on your own, visiting one of the many museums or for a taste of Catalan life beyond the metropolis – you can choose between mountains, beaches and medieval villages, all just a short ride away. Some ideas below (this is not an exhaustive list).
Girona’s old town is a tight huddle of ancient arcaded houses, grand churches and sloped cobbled streets, with the grand cathedral looming over it. Until the virtual expulsion of the Jews in 1492, Girona was home to a huge Jewish community and the Museu d’Història dels Jueus de Girona tells their story. For a different slice of history, the 12th-century Banys Àrabs (‘Arab Baths’) are also worth a visit, as is the pretty, Romanesque Monestir de Sant Pere de Galligants. Stroll along the River Onyar to look at the colourfully painted houses that flank it, or to reach the newer part of town, where you’ll find some excellent tapas bars.
Figueres has some handsome Modernista architecture, a sprawling 18th-century castle (Castell de Sant Ferran) and a delightful little toy museum, the Museu del Joguet, but it is best known for the Teatre-Museu Dalí. A former theatre, it was converted by Dalí himself into a palace of surrealism, protected by tall red walls that bristle with giant eggs, Oscar-like statues and plaster croissant. Inside you’ll find paintings, a collection of jewellery designed by Dalí and some entertaining trompe l’oeil installations.
The mountain of Montserrat is Catalunya holiest site, the monastery of the same name. The views are spectacular – take walking shoes – and season permitting, you might be able to catch a choir performance inside the basilica. Afterwards, ride the funiculars, or else take a walk down to the Santa Cova, the spot where La Moreneta – a holy effigy of the virgin – was found, or up to the Sant Jeroni peak for a splendid view of the valley below.
The pretty, whitewashed town of Sitges is perfect for seafront promenading and sun-worshipping, so in warmer weather, you’ll find the most central beaches quite crowded. Luckily, there are quite a few to choose from, so pick your spot for a morning of sunbathing (or skinny dipping off the nudist beach) before choosing a seafood restaurant nearby. But it’s not all about the sea here; if you have an interest in contemporary art and in the Modernisme movement, the classy old centre’s array of elegant buildings, many housing museums, is well worth some of your time.
Day 4Barcelona – Bilbao
This morning take the train to Bilbao.
Welcome to Bilbao
Staggering architecture, a venerable dining scene and stunning landscapes just outside the city center: Bilbao is one of the great treasures of the Basque Country.
In the afternoon, you will be met by a local guide to get to know Bilbao. Staggering architecture, a venerable dining scene and stunning landscapes just outside the city center.
Basque culture takes on many forms in this thriving waterfront city. Evocative museums like the Euskal Museoa and the Arkeologi Museo provide a glimpse into centuries past, with their collections of ancient Basque carvings, Middle Age treasures and everyday implements of the mariners, artisans and landowners of this age-old people.
After your city tour, the evening is on your own to enjoy. We can do the reservations at one of the many fabulous restaurants in the city.
Today you visit the icon of Bilbao, shimmering titanium Museo Guggenheim Bilbao. Is one of modern architecture’s most iconic buildings. It played a major role in helping to lift Bilbao out of its postindustrial depression and into the 21st century – and with sensation. It sparked the city’s inspired regeneration, stimulated further development and placed Bilbao firmly in the international art and tourism spotlight.
In the afternoon, you will head north to Plentzia, where you will visit the world’s first undersea winery. You will tour the laboratory, learn all about the innovative project and taste some of their products along with local pintxos.
In the evening, you receive a route to follow for enjoying the best tapas in Bilbao.
Day 6Day trip to San Sebastián
Today you travel to San Sebasitan. You are met by our local guide to explore San Sebastian by electric bike. Go all around San Sebastian in this awesome experience and enjoy riding the bike while traversing both the Old Quarter and the more modern parts of the city, learning all about its history and local culture as well the off the beaten path parts of the town!
In the afternoon, wander the city or head to the beautiful conch shaped beach.
Return to Bilbao in the evening.
Day 7Bilbao – Madrid
Today, take the train to Madrid
In the late afternoon, this 3 hour walk is an in-depth experience to understand how the city works as we explore its cultural highlights. The guide traces the history of Madrid and its development from its medieval roots to the modern times, when it became the thriving capital of Spain, and you are filled in with the latest news, shows and exhibitions.
This is effectively a briefing on what’s on in Madrid, what to do and see (and what to avoid) while you are here as you get a sense of social and cultural events. This orientation walk will also provide you with the essential historical background you need to understand what is happening in 21st century Madrid.
A day to explore Madrid. Visit world famous Prado museum or head to the historic La Latina neighborhood.
Today choose your day trip.
Toledo is truly one of Spain’s most magnificent cities. Dramatically sited atop a gorge overlooking the Río Tajo, it was known as the ‘city of three cultures’ in the Middle Ages, a place where – legend has it – Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities peacefully coexisted.
Unesco World Heritage-listed Segovia has always had a whiff of legend about it, not least in the myths that the city was founded by Hercules or by the son of Noah. It may also have something to do with the fact that nowhere else in Spain is such a stunning monument to Roman grandeur (the soaring aqueduct) surviving in the heart of a vibrant modern city. No visit to Segovia is complete without tasting its local cuisine.
The imposing palace and monastery complex of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is an impressive place, rising up from the foothills of the mountains that shelter Madrid from the north and west. This can be done in conjunction with Segovia for a full day excursion
Ávila’s old city, surrounded by imposing city walls comprising eight monumental gates, 88 watchtowers and more than 2500 turrets, is one of the best-preserved medieval bastions in Spain. IIt’s a deeply religious city that for centuries has drawn pilgrims to the cult of Santa Teresa de Ávila, with its many churches, convents and high-walled palaces. As such, Ávila is the essence of Castilla and the epitome of old Spain.
There’s something magical about Salamanca. This is a city of rare beauty, awash with golden sandstone overlaid with ochre-tinted Latin inscriptions – an extraordinary virtuosity of plateresque and Renaissance styles. The monumental highlights are many and the exceptional Plaza Mayor (illuminated to stunning effect at night) is unforgettable. This is also Castilla’s liveliest city, home to a massive Spanish and international student population that throngs the streets at night and provides the city with so much vitality.
Day 10Madrid – Granada
Today your are picked up at your accommodations for the journey to Granada in the heart of Andalucía. In the late afternoon, you will have a city tour of Granada by bike (or walking if you prefer). You will visit Plaza Nueva, the Albaicín (the historic center), Realejo, the Cathedral area, as well as lots of little hidden away places along the way! You will end the experience at a tapas bar to enjoy the fantastic food or a refreshment.
Today, you head out to see the Alhambra, a mystical fortress and palace that many called the
eighth wonder of the world. With countless rooms and the charming Generalife gardens filled with lush, colorful flowers and serene fountains, this fortress perched on a mountaintop makes for an unforgettable visit. You can opt for a private visit or with a group.
Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring on your own.
In the evening, dinner and flamenco show.
Day 12Granada – White Villages – Seville
Today you are picked up for the private transfer to to Seville.
After leaving Granada, your first stop will be in Ronda, a 2-hour drive.. Ronda is the most famous of the white villages for obvious reasons, it’s famous bridge. Ronda is a small city of around 40,000. Perched 750 meters above sea level, the city is divided in two by the river Guadalevin, that weaves its way through the El Tajo gorge. The rolling hills of Sierra de Grazalema provide a dramatic backdrop to the city whose history stretches back over 2,000 years and is considered the oldest settlement in Spain.
After leaving Ronda you will continue your journey driving through the Sevillian countryside, heading towards National Park Sierra Grazalema. Then continue through the mountains stopping at the picturesque white village of Grazalema. You will enjoy a range of amazing landscapes and views over the provinces of Cádiz, Málaga, and Seville, from Puerto de las Palomas which is 1157 meters above sea level. You will also get the chance to witness the wildlife in their natural habitat. These mountains are home to the largest colony of Griffon vultures in Spain. Once in Grazalema, there will be time to have a nice meal, surrounded by the picturesque white houses decorated with colorful flowers.
After lunch, you will leave Grazalema, you can stop in another picturesque white village, of Zahara de Sierra, located at the top of a steep hill Zahara is famous for its views and history. If you stop you can walk around the town, have a coffee and even visit a small olive oil factory which makes one of the best olive oil in Andalusia.
Leaving Zahara, you will continue to Seville.
Today you meet with our local guide to show you the highlights of Seville, a lively, likable city. You view the Cathedral, home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus, then visit the Giralda tower, the Alcazar Palace and its majestic gardens and the hidden Santa Cruz quarter, discovering local haunts along the way. You also visit a workshop of local artisans.
Afterward, explore Seville on your own.
In the evening, enjoy one of the live music venues after dining on Andalucían cuisine.
Today choose your day trip.
The city of Córdoba is characterized by the colossal La Mezquita mosque that sits in the heart of the city and dates back to 784 A.D. This awe-inspiring building features a vast prayer hall and ancient and intricate Byzantine mosaics. For anyone interested in Moorish architecture then a visit to the Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos is a must. This immense palace complex features beautiful gardens and dates back to 1328. Córdoba was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and has been perfectly preserved ever since. Animal lovers will want to visit the Sotos de la Albolafia and take a jaunt around the Royal Stables to gaze at the thoroughbred Andalusian horses that reside there.
Cádiz is one of Spain’s best-kept secrets, especially for international travellers. This is a thriving and lively city that is steeped in history and abundant in culture. To this day Cádiz is the home of the Spanish Navy and you can often see Navy battleships resting in port. There are over 100 watchtowers along the Bay of Cádiz, the most famous of all is the Torre Tavira. Cádiz Cathedral is quite the spectacle. Built in baroque style, climb to the top of the turrets to enjoy panoramic views of this magnificent city. Cádiz is renowned for is amazing tapas so be sure to have a plate or two before you leave.
The Andalusian city of Jerez de la Frontera, often referred to simply as Jerez, is one of the most famous Sherry producing cities in Spain. Within the city limits you will find a number or traditional bodegas or cellars from which you can sample, and perhaps even buy, sherry and wonderful Southern Spanish wines. Before you indulge in the local tipples find time to visit the aristocratic home of Palacio del Virrey Laserna, considered to be the gem of Jerez de la Frontera. Since ancient times, alongside Sherry, the horse has been one of the strongest symbols of Jerez. A period of great importance in this long tradition was in the 15th century when the Carthusian monks brought the world famous Carthusian horse to Jerez.
The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art and the Yeguada La Cartuja; Hierro del Bocado, have fantastic weekly shows.
Sierra Norte Natural Park is home to dozens of authentic, beguiling Spanish villages that sit afoot the Sevillian mountains. A particularly enjoyable way to experience Sierra Norte Natural Park is by bicycle, stopping for photographs here and there, chatting with locals or even the farm animals whose paddocks flank the tarmac trails. This is a thriving area of agriculture and was once filled with bustling mining towns. The trails of Sierra Norte Natural Park take you through not only villages but along river banks and through lush forested areas too.
No need to pack a picnic for there are countless family run restaurants and cafes in the vicinity.
Day 15Seville – Madrid Depart
Today take the fast train to Madrid for your departure flight.
MAP IMMERSIVE PORTUGAL
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