Don’t have much time? On this quick break experience you will soak up the unique Catalan flavor of Barcelona as you explore the age-old streets of the Gothic Quarter and Gaudi’s stunning architecture, before discovering the majestic imperial highlights of the capital, Madrid, where you savor the tastes of the mouth-watering tapas.
Day 1 – Arrive Barcelona:
Welcome to Barcelona. After clearing customs and immigration, you will meet your driver in the arrivals hall and transfer to Hotel Neri (or similar), your luxury boutique hotel in city center. You will have the rest of the day to explore and relax at your leisure. Meals:
Day 2 – Barcelona: Exploring The Gothic Quarter & Pablo Picasso
Take a half-day to explore the true heart of the old city – the medieval Gothic Quarter. The narrow, labyrinthine streets and quiet squares are quite distinct from the rest of the city. Your guide shows you the magnificent thirteenth-century cathedral, notable for its fine Gothic chapels, medieval choir stalls and shady cloister. You also visit the Picasso Museum, where some of the painter’s earliest works are housed in the remarkable setting of a part-Gothic, part-Roman palace. Meals: B
Day 3 – Barcelona: The Architecture of Catalonia
Today you will spend half of your day exploring the architecture of Catalonia. Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site masterpieces of Catalonia’s most famous architect, Gaudí, with your expert local guide. The Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, was completed in 1912 and is one of Barcelona’s best-known Art Nouveau buildings. Considered a breakthrough construction, it anticipated twentieth-century architecture and was at the cutting edge of design and technology. Appropriately, today it is a cultural centre and an exhibition space for art. The visually-arresting Sagrada Familia Basilica was started in 1882 and currently is two-thirds complete.
Combining Gothic with Art Nouveau, this unique place of worship is a sight to behold. Work continues and with new construction techniques, the aim is to complete the building by the mid-2020s. The final stop of your half-day experience is at Parc Guell, a beautiful municipal garden with a superb panoramic view over the city; the focal point is a colorful sea-serpent-shaped central terrace. Gaudi lived in the gatehouse during his later years, and this is now a museum dedicated to him. Meals: B
Day 4 – Barcelona-Madrid
After breakfast, you will meet your private driver for your transfer to the Barcelona rail station to board your AVE high speed train (Preferente) to Madrid. Upon arrival at Madrid railway station, you will meet your assistant in the arrivals hall who will escort you to your private vehicle for your transfer to Hotel Orfila (or similar), your luxury boutique hotel. You will have the rest of the day to explore and relax at your leisure. Meals: B
Day 5 – The Best of Madrid
Begin with an orientation tour of Madrid’s most striking sights (exterior visit) such as the Royal Palace, Puerta del Sol and the arcaded 17th-century Plaza Mayor, with its imposing architecture and extensive history. Next, it is time to explore the famous Museo del Prado (Prado Museum), one of the most important art museums in the world. Founded in the early 19th century, initially to house the paintings collected by the Kings of Spain, the Prado houses an outstanding display of works by Spain’s three greatest painters, Goya, Velazquez and El Greco, together with superb collections of works by Flemish, Italian and European masters. Meals: B
Day 6 – Tapas & Beyond
Spend an evening like a true local, exploring some of Madrid’s most celebrated tapas bars. This is, in fact, not a term Spaniards would use since tapas are to be found in every one of the hundreds of bars throughout the city. During a totally informal, probably crowded, certainly quite noisy, and fun evening, a local connoisseur introduces you to some of the best tapas in the city. Either sit down and enjoy a variety of raciones in one place, or, like the locals, stroll between several establishments. Meals: B, Tapas Tastings
Day 7 – Depart Madrid
Today you will bid Madrid farewell. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Madrid airport by private vehicle to board your flight. Meals: B