Spain, at the crossroads of Europe and Africa, serves up a zesty blend of both cultures. Bordering France and a stone’s throw from Morocco, Spain is a spicy mix of European sophistication and North African passion.
Madrid, capital of the country for the last 400 years and seat of the kings of Spain, houses national museums in buildings that only a monarch could produce, along with grand fountains and vistas.
Madrid is a city of great Spanish and Moorish history. Madrid, from the Moorish name Majrit, began as an obscure fort for the magnificent Moorish city of Toledo. One of the few major capitals of the world not situated at some natural crossroads of transportation or commerce, the location was deliberately chosen precisely because of its obscurity and the protection this afforded.
Madrid’s wandering streets, fascinating landscape, busy, boisterous markets, exciting food and fascinating people make this city an incredible adventure, with much to offer travelers. The international and Spanish cuisine are both excellent in this vibrant city. Be sure to try tapas, delicious bite-sized snacks. More typically, going out for tapas implies ordering a plate of food called a ración, if it is to be shared among a few people, or a perhaps a canapé, which is something on a small piece of bread.
Day 1 – Madrid
Depart for Madrid, Spain.
Day 2 – Madrid
Bienvenido a España! Your private bus and driver will escort you on a Madrid City Tour. You’ll see the Plaza de Espana, the Royal Palace, the Gardens of Sabatini, Puerto de Toledo, and Plaza Mayor. Later, take a guided tour the magnificent Prado Museum. Don’t miss Goya’s Majas, Ruben’s The Three Graces, and Las Meninas by Velázquez.
Day 3 – Madrid
Today, you have the option of a guided tour of Toledo to view the El Greco masterpieces in the Cathedral, explore El Greco’s house, the Old Synagogue, and the Church of Santo Tome. The city was famous for the coexistence of Christian, Islamic and Jewish cultures. For a final treat, visit a Damascene sword workshop.
Day 4 – Madrid
Enjoy free time with your friends and advisors on your last day in Madrid, perhaps discovering more of the city on your own or doing some shopping. The area for antiques is the Calle del Prado, with many shops clustered in covered arcades. Stores include the Centro de Anticularios Lagasca, for crystal, furniture, and housewares, and the Central de Arte Antiguedades, a five-story mall with 50 shops. The famous flea market, El Rastro, is in the old town. Option: This evening, experience a fiery Flamenco show, complete with stamping heels, flashing fans, soulful songs and clicking castanets.
Day 5 – Madrid
Say adios to Spain! Leave this extraordinary city behind as you return home to the United States with many wonderful memories of your Spanish Adventure!