After your arrival in Madrid the group will drive in a modern bus to their hotel in Madrid. Arrived there they have time to check-in and relax a while before the first tour starts.
During this four hours sightseeing tour around Madrid you will see all most interesting places in the city.
The tour starts at the Royal Palace, which is the symbolic building that is used for government and other ceremonies and events.
The palace was constructed in the 18th century and over two hundred and seventy years have passed since construction began on the same building that stands today.
Spanish monarchs used to live in the palace until the beginning of the twentieth century.
The palace is massive, spreading over one million square feet and containing well over three thousand rooms. Decorated with many statues and priceless art work, the palace is not to be missed. The building itself is a pleasure to the eyes with detailed and unique architecture spanning the entire structure. The building contains two famous plazas: America and Oriente, along with two gorgeous, elaborate gardens: Campo del Moro and Sabatini.
The next stop will be the Park Retiro, which is the most appealing open space in Madrid. Originally created to be a royal park, Retiro was opened in 1632 and for over two centuries after that it was strictly accessible only to the royal family and their visitors.
The natural retreat was placed on the outskirts of the city behind the royal palace. In 1868, the park was made public to the citizens of Madrid and remains so today. Soon after that, development of Madrid rapidly began and the city expanded to totally enclose the park.
The park has everything you would expect and much more. Stretching almost one and a half square kilometers, the huge park is a must see when visiting Madrid.
Of course, there are always buskers, street artists, street musicians, jugglers and all of the other usual characters you can find on a sunny day.
There are immense green areas and intricate pathways for walking and jogging. There are also numerous aspects of the park that make it unique to all others in Madrid and all of Spain. Two buildings from the original seventeenth century palace still remain. Both are now museums, one for Spain’s military history and the other is home to an art gallery.
The biggest highlight and center of the park is the beautiful Retiro Lake. Although it is artificially made, it is still just as fun as a natural park and you can even rent boats and go for a paddle along the calm water. There is a second lake in the park as well, but that one is more commonly known for what lies on its shores.
The Palacio de Cristal is a breathtaking glass palace that is over one hundred and twenty years old. There are other highlights like the rose garden and detailed statues all over the park; some of the more famous ones including El Angel Caido and King Alfonso’s XII monument.
Afterwards the group will see the Puerta del Sol or “Gate of the Sun”, which is the most famous landmark in Madrid, and with good reason.
This is often seen as the centre of the city and is where many tourists find accommodations, so they are right in the thick of the action.
It is named Puerta Del Sol because there used to stand one of numerous gates into the city here.
Ornamented on top of it was a giant sun that symbolized the start of the day, as it faced East.
The most famous thing in this square is the clock tower on the Real Casa de Correos. This building used to be part of the post office in the city center and is now used for city affairs.There are also many other important monuments within the Puerta Del Sol including the statue of Charles III, which commemorates the 18th Century monarch, in remembrance to the large contributions he made for the infrastructure of Madrid. The statue of the bear and madrone tree also has its home in this square, as it is the symbol of the city.
The Plaza Mayor right in the center of the city is also a worth-seeing place in Madrid and a stop during the excursion. The huge square is one of the largest tourist destinations where Madrid life can be seen at all times.
There are nine entranceways into the Plaza that is enclosed with residential buildings, some of which have one of the best views in the world, since over two hundred balconies face into the square. Inside Plaza Mayor is also the Casa de la Panaderia, the center for tourism in Madrid.
Its architecture and external appearance is different than the rest of the square and is quite noticeable. There is also a statue in the center of Plaza Mayor of King Phillip III that is almost four hundred years old.
The plaza was originally constructed in the early seventeenth century, but after a series of tremendous fires it had to be entirely rebuilt at the end of the eighteenth century in 1790. The plaza has been named many different things over the past five hundred years including “Plaza del Arrabal”, “Plaza de la Constitucion”, “Plaza Real” and “Plaza de la Republica”. It was not until 1939, after the Spanish Civil War, that it was given the same name as it has today.
Further sights are the Cathedral, the Plaza de la Vila, the Puerta del Alcala, Gran Via, the Plaza de Cibeles and the Stadium Santiago Bernabeu. You will get your first impression of the amazing charm of Madrid.
Afterwards there will be a delicious Welcome Dinner in a typical Spanish restaurant with a full meal course (entry, main course and dessert with wine, water and coffee). Satisfied with the meal the bus will drive you back to your hotel. You can enjoy your first night in Madrid with some free time to explore the city on your own pace or just to take a “cerveza“ in one of the endless bars.
Today you will explore another city in the surrounding of Madrid in an 8 hours full day tour. Just 50 minutes outside from Madrid there is the medieval capital of Spain: Toledo, which should not be missed. Although it is now a place for tourists to come and see, five hundred years ago it was the bustling city center of Spain for centuries.
Given the honour of a World Heritage city, Toledo is as important as any other place in Spain and equally beautiful. The old city walls border Toledo and its winding, stone roads and picturesque buildings.
Toledo has been populated for thousands of years by almost every major empire to conquer what is now central Europe. Because of this there are remains of each dynasty sprinkled throughout the city. When you are in this city you are truly in the middle of history.
The city is famous for being the main place of co-existence for Jews, Christians and Muslims from seven hundred A.D. until fourteen hundred A.D. Many different religious monuments and buildings stood next to one another and people were free to practice whatever religion they wanted to. During the 16th Century it was home to the Spanish monarchy and was the capital city.
The first thing you see when entering Toledo is the Puerta Bisagra, the main entrance to the fortified city. When you pass through this gate you are actually passing through fifteen hundred years of history!
Alcazar is a spectacular castle, but was once a fortress and because of that has been rebuilt numerous times due to conflict and fires. There are many old cathedrals, mosques, synagogues and monasteries all over the city. Other highlights include an assortment of interesting museums, a walk along the river Tajo and if you are lucky some amazing Fiestas.
After this excursion the bus will drive you back to the hotel and you can enjoy your free time during the rest of the day. Of course there are also some options, which can be added if you wish:
1. Visit to Santiago Bernabeu Stadium:
Real Madrid is famous for being the richest football club in Spain. Estadio Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is the home to Real Madrid and has been since 1947.
It is one of the largest football stadiums in the world holding over eighty-five thousand people at one time.
2. Visit to the Prado Museum:
There is no better place in the world to see Spanish art than the Museo del Prado. It is the largest and most well-known art museum in Spain, which was originally built in the 1700s in the Neo-Classical style. Some of the paintings found here date back over nine hundred years ago and are still on display today.
The Prado is considered one of the most impressive art galleries and museums in the world, ranked seventh in Europe and is the most visited gallery in Europe besides those in London and Paris.
In the evening you can enjoy your free time and explore Madrid on your own. You can Use it to make some shopping in the famous street Gran Via, take a delicious cocktail in an insider bar or walk along the streets – just enjoy the charm of this city.
After the refreshment at the buffet breakfast the day begins with a half day trip (5 hours) to the amazing city in the surrounding of Madrid: Segovia. It is famous for its Alcazar and is a beautiful medieval fortress.
The excursion begins with a visit to Segovia, which is one of nine towns that make up the state of Castile and Leon. UNESCO named Segovia a World Heritage City in 1985. Segovia has two defining features, both of which are nothing short of stunning.
The first is the Aqueduct. Built around 100 A.D. it is a prime example of Roman engineering. Spanning 818 meters, the Aqueduct is a sight for the eyes and was used for almost two thousand years to bring water into the city. With one hundred and sixty six arches composed of over twenty five thousand granite blocks it is one of the most impressive structures in all of Spain. It can be found in the Plaza del Azoguejo but can be seen from all over the city.
The second feature is the Segovia Cathedral. This is the last gothic cathedral built in Spain and one of the most beautiful. Over four hundred years old, the Cathedral is another icon of Segovia. Its bell tower, at 90 meters high, is the highest structure in the city and can be seen from anywhere. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest structure in all of Spain.
There is much more to see in Segovia, aside from these two incredible pieces of architecture. The Alcazar of Segovia is an ancient royal palace over one thousand years old. The Alcazar gardens should not be missed either. With many museums, arches, churches and tons of other things to absorb, Segovia is a memorable and unique day trip from Madrid.
After this amazing day trip the bus drives you back to the hotel where you can relax until the bus drives you to the airport in the afternoon.
In the afternoon you will take the flight or high-speed train to Barcelona. Once arrived to the beautiful city on the coast your private shuttle will bring you to your 3* Hotel.
The first night you can discover the city on your own. Taste some Tapas, have a walk through the beautiful old town or just relax for until the next day.
The day begins with a buffet breakfast in your hotel. Afterwards our guide and bus will pick you up for a full day excursion to the highlights of Barcelona.
The awe-inspiring architecture of Antoni Gaudi will be our starting point. Admire the UNESCO heritage buildings of Casa Mila and Casa Batllo in the picturesque Eixample quarter before we will approach Barcelona’s most famous landmark, the cathedral of Sagrada Familia: this still unfinished gem of modernism architecture was begun in 1882 and the final completion is planned for 2026, the 100th anniversary of the death of Antoní Gaudí.
We will continue to the upper city and the slopes of the Sierra de Collserola mountain range to reach Parc Güell. Your guide will take you for a short walk through this fairy-tale garden with its beautiful mosaics and amazing views up to the Mediterranean Sea.
Take a short break on its terrace for a picture on the famous curved benches.
After this refreshing break we will continue with the bus to the Olympic facilities on Montjuic. This mountain between the historic centre and the port has already been part of sports history for decades as Barcelona’s old formula 1 track. For the 1992 Olympic Games it has been reformed as the central venue and 80% of the competitions took place over here. We will visit the beautiful plaza and the Olympic stadium before reaching the castle on the top of the mountain with its 360 degree views of Barcelona and its shoreline.
Making our way down from Montjuic our next stop will be the ancient heart of Barcelona. Step deep into history and explore the foundations of Barcelona as a Roman colony 2000 years ago. Our guide will tell you the rise and fall of the ruling empires over the centuries on a walking tour from world-famous las Ramblas through the narrow lanes of the Gothic quarter. On the way to Barcelona’s greatest medieval icon, the cathedral of La Seu you will also explore the indoors of the Roman Augustus’ Temple, the palatine chapel of Santa Àgata and the cloister of the cathedral.
Now you will hop on your bus again to pass the old port and the former fishermen’s district of Barceloneta to reach the lively beach promenade. We will then enter modern Barcelona with the Olympic Port and the futuristic Forum area. On our way back to the hotel the tour will finish with the oddly shaped Torre Agbar, the icon of modern Barcelona in the new business district.
After this extensive tour get some rest in the hotel or take a look at Barcelona’s extensive shopping opportunities along fashionable Passeig de Gracia or discover hidden boutiques in the Born district.
Start into the day with another great breakfast. Today you will go on day-trip to Girona and Figueres in northern Catalonia.
It will be a one hour drive from Barcelona to the historic city of Girona. Founded by the Romans, it was a melting pot of cultures for centuries. Along winding medieval streets our guide will take you up the hill from the riverbank to the cathedral. On the way down we will pass through the narrow lanes of the Jewish quarter, walk along the Roman wall that surrounds the old town and discover the Arab baths.
Afterwards you will have some spare time for shopping, a coffee break or just to wander around the picturesque old town on your own.
Another half an hour on the bus and we will reach Figueres, the home and work place of world famous surrealist, painter and sculptor Salvador Dali.
We will get in touch with his fascinating world and visit the Theatre-Museum of Dali. Almost completely created by Dalí himself, it is undoubtedly the best and largest collection of surrealism in the world. He wanted visitors to see his massive collection as a whole work, and for this reason he refused to have his works placed in any order. Step in and get lost in this surrealistic world of fantasy mixed with architecture, paintings and sculptures.
After this exciting day the bus will bring you back to the hotel around 18.00hrs.
In the evening you will enjoy a delicious farewell dinner in a Spanish restaurant. The dinner will include a three course meal, wine water and coffee.
According to the departure of your cruise ship we will pick you up from the hotel and bring you to your cruise terminal. With a lot of impressions you will be hopefully already thinking when you will return to our beautiful city.
Optional: If your cruise check-in will only open late in the afternoon, we can add another half day tour in Barcelona.