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Premium Spain in Depth

Walk in the footsteps of Gaudi and Picasso, taste fine wines and tapas, and witness the white-washed villages that bring Spain to life. This comprehensive Premium journey from Madrid to Santiago de Compostela is a delight for the senses – see flamenco in Seville, taste paella in Valencia, feel the history of the Alhambra in Granada, visit the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and dine with locals at an exclusive gastronomic society. Let Spain’s eclectic architecture, revered cuisine and vibrant soul enchant you as you travel from Andalucia's sparkling villages in the South to the Basque country's mountainous landscapes of the North, hitting cultural hot spots and vibrant cities along the way.

20 days, from


per person


12 people max


Trip code: ZMPSD
Style: Premium
Theme: Explorer


Countries Visited:  Spain
Accommodation: Hotel (15 nights), Feature stay (4 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , High-speed train
Included Meals:

  • 19 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 9 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12
Minimum Age: 15

  • Taste the best of Spanish cuisine during Exclusive Experiences – sample olive oil at a family-run farm in Andalucia, try delicious marzipan in Toledo, and enjoy dinner at an exclusive gastronomic society in San Sebastian.

  • See the enchanting Alhambra Palace in Granada by day and by night with an expert guide, a Premium Exclusive Experience. Avoid the crowds as you receive special insight into the complex’s fascinating history.

  • Spend two nights each in two historic Feature Stay hotels in Seville and La Rioja. From antique furnishings to first-class service and unbeatable locations, these beautiful properties are sure to delight.

  • Visit the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, an eye catching work of art in itself that was designed by Frank Gehry and holds a world-famous collection of contemporary art works.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Madrid

Beinvenido – welcome to Spain! Your adventure begins in Madrid, a city filled with elegant boulevards, manicured parks and superb cuisine. You will be collected from the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel, where you will meet your leader and small group for a welcome meeting this evening. If you arrive early, you may like to visit the Museo del Prado, then discover modern Spanish masters, including Picasso and Dali, in the Museo Reina Sofia. Finish at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which displays eight centuries of European painting. Tonight, get to know your leader and group over dinner at a wonderful restaurant that showcases Madrid’s famous tapas.

Day 2: Madrid

Travel to the city of Toledo this morning. The unique old town of this city sits on a high craggy rock and is encircled by the Tagus River. As a former capital of Spain, Toledo has immense historic significance and holds many architectural treasures. Examples of buildings from most architectural periods in Spain’s history can be seen here, from the Gothic to the Baroque. Today you’ll experience Toledo’s culture in the form of a marzipan tasting. While a few countries compete for the rights, the Spanish argue that marzipan was invented in Toledo. Either way, the sweet treat made from almond meal, honey and sugar has been produced in this city for generations, and is some of the world’s best. Find out how it’s made, its significance to Toledo, and taste some yourself. Return to Madrid for a free afternoon – you may like to check out the Royal Palace, or stroll around the Parque del Retiro.

Day 3: Seville

Drive from Madrid to Seville by train. The largest city in southern Spain, Seville is famous for its cultural vitality and dazzling architecture. On arrival, check in to your Feature Stay accommodation, a gorgeous family-run boutique hotel. Converted from an 18th-century mansion, the hotel celebrates its roots with its elegant décor and antique furnishings. Personal touches are everywhere, from incredibly friendly service to hand painted details in the rooms and the owner’s great-grandmother’s shawl hanging in reception. Not to mention, the hotel boasts an unbeatable location on the Alameda de Hercules, lined with cafes, restaurants and music venues. This evening, join your group for a live flamenco show – a traditional Spanish style of dance with roots in Seville. This colourful, lively and rousing performance will certainly be one to remember.

Day 4: Seville

This morning, meet with a local guide who’s an expert on all things Seville and get to know the city during a walking tour. Explore narrow streets, hidden squares filled with orange trees and flower-adorned patios as your guide provides local insight into the history of the city and how it’s enjoyed today. Visit the Alcazar of Seville, a grand royal palace, and uncover its secrets with your guide. Known as one of the most beautiful in Europe, the Spanish royal family still to this day use the Alcazar as their residence in Seville. The rest of the afternoon is yours for further discoveries - you may wish to take an optional visit to the Giralda Tower and the famous Seville Cathedral, one of Europe’s largest cathedrals and home to Christopher Columbus’ elevated tomb.

Day 5: Cordoba

Today you will journey to the city of Cordoba, where Muslim, Jewish and Christian influences are present in the architecture, culture and cuisine, via a private transfer. Cordoba is also home to the Mezquita – a rare site which has served as both a mosque and a cathedral throughout the centuries. Today a cathedral stands within the centre of this amazing mosque – an interesting example of the interplay of Christian and Muslim cultures in Spain. Discover this supreme example of Islamic architecture on a comprehensive guided tour with your leader which continues outside of the Mezquita and explores the charming quarters and hidden corners of Cordoba. Tonight, join your group for an included dinner at an atmospheric local restaurant.

Day 6: Granada

Depart Cordoba and travel to Granada. Along the way, you will learn more about the importance of olive oil production in the Andalucia region by visiting an oil mill. Let the passionate owner of the family-run business walk you through the process of olive oil production, and taste some different variations of the final result yourself, along with olives, olive marmalade, olive pate and wine. On arrival, check in to your hotel. This evening, perhaps head out to explore Granada’s drinking and dining scene with your group.

Day 7: Granada

This morning you will get acquainted with Granada during an orientation walk with your leader. Learn the fascinating history of the city and discover Islamic architecture and Arab influences at every turn. Enjoy some time for your own explorations of the city – perhaps head to a local teahouse to sample some Moorish pastries. In the afternoon, join an expert local guide for a tour of Alhambra and its perfectly manicured gardens. Dating back to the 11th century, Alhambra represents Muslim art in its final European stages. With ancient defensive walls, turrets and fountains set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, touring this magnificent site is an experience that will stick with you. After seeing the monumental Alhambra during the day, join your group for an included dinner at a nearby restaurant. After this break you’ll return to the Alhambra after dark and explore the famed Nasrid Palaces with your local guide. By now the crowds have dispersed and you are free to explore the site in all its glory. Your guide will bring history to life and provide expert insight as you explore the dominating red fortress towers, opulent palace decor and a multitude of architectural styles through the intricate Nasrid Palaces.

Day 8: Valencia

Depart Granada and travel to Valencia. Along the way you will travel through the distinctive countryside of the region and pass through Elche, capital of the region of Bajo Vinalopó. The historic quarter of Elche preserves part of its Muslim past and Baroque splendour. Walk around palm tree grove, one of the largest and the only one in Europe. Your leader will explain how the grove was established by the Phoenicians and expanded by the Arabs in the 8th and 9th centuries. The palmeral consists of several parts spreading across downtown. Then it's on to Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, to soak up its unique cultural identity and explore the old town centre that dates back 2000 years. On arrival, you’re free to explore the city and discover the harmonious mix of Roman, Muslim and Christian influences in its buildings, monuments and magnificent gardens.

Day 9: Valencia

Start the day with a short drive south of Valencia to discover Albufera Lake, an important ecological site of the region. The lake is surrounded by beach, dunes, lagoons, wetlands and Mediterranean forest, and is home to six small islands. You will visit the island of El Palmar and discover its typical ‘barraca’ houses. Travel by boat to the middle of the lake and learn about the important agricultural crop of the area, namely the local rice. Finish off with an included lunch of the most famous Valencian dish – paella. The rest of the day is yours to explore Valencia. You may like to visit the city's major landmark – the City of Arts and Science, a large and futuristic museum complex designed by Calatrava. Or perhaps head out to a local cafe to enjoy the treats that Valencia has to offer – from horchata to artisan chocolates, the city is a gastronomical heaven.

Day 10: Barcelona

After a leisurely breakfast, bid farewell to Valencia and travel to Barcelona. Barcelona's quirky character and fabulous Catalan cuisine mixes seamlessly with a ground-breaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife, making it a city you won't soon forget. After a walking tour with your leader, today is yours to explore the city your way. You might like to head to one of the city’s galleries or historic corners or perhaps lose yourself in the wonders of Gaudi's bizarre La Sagrada Familia Basilica. The heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre and this evening you’ll get to enjoy it during an included dinner at a local restaurant with your group. Celebrate the final night of your trip as you dine on some of the region’s most delicious foods like olives, pickled garlic, lomo Iberico de Belotta, Catalan cheeses, olive oil, and sweet desserts.

Day 11: Barcelona

Enjoy a free day exploring Barcelona's iconic sites. This city's fabulous Catalan cuisine mixes seamlessly with a ground-breaking art scene, Gothic architecture, and a non-stop nightlife, making it a city you won't soon forget. There are plenty of galleries, cafes and historic corners to keep you busy. Meet with new members of your group this evening, then join your leader and fellow group members and discover why the heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre at a delicious welcome dinner.

Day 12: La Rioja

Travel by private vehicle to Zaragoza, the capital of Spain’s Aragon region, which is filled with lavish buildings and palaces. After a brief orientation walk with your leader, you’ll have time to explore Zaragoza your way. Perhaps check out the stunning Basilica of El Pilar or visit the Goya Museum. The famous artist was born in a small town just 45kms south of here. After you’ve enjoyed the sights of Zaragoza, continue to your feature stay in the La Rioja region, an elegant hotel surrounded by lush palm gardens. After you have checked in and freshened up, join your group for dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Day 13: La Rioja

After breakfast, join your leader for a walking tour of Laguardia, a medieval town that was founded in the 10th century and remains virtually unchanged. Famous for being one of the country’s most beautiful villages, you’ll enter the walled city through one of four grand stone gates and stroll around the streets of this delightful village. After you’ve explored the town, you’ll make your way to a family-owned business rich in history where you´ll enjoy a guided tour and tasting of a couple of local wines, accompanied with small tasting bites, followed by an authentic lunch. After lunch and perhaps another glass of wine, you’ll head back to your hotel for a relaxing afternoon.

Day 14: San Sebastian

Today you’ll drive to Pamplona, the heartland of the Basque country, and join your leader for an orientation walk and get acquainted with this well-preserved fortified medieval town. Pamplona, named after its founder, Pompey the Great, has served for centuries as both a military stronghold and an important point on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. It’s also world famous as the home of the annual San Fermin, a weeklong festival that features the running of the bulls. Meander down winding alleys and step inside ornate buildings like Pamplona's Gothic cathedral – one of the most important religious structures in Spain. The city has also recently opened a museum of modern art designed by a prize-winning architect, inspired by the cultural renaissance achieved by Bilbao and its Guggenheim. After spending time in Pamplona continue to San Sebastian, the jewel of the Basque country. Tonight you’ll enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by local brews at a local cider house.

Day 15: San Sebastian

Delve deeper into Basque culture on an orientation walk with your leader around San Sebastian, a place that’s obsessed with food. Discover some of San Sebastian's landmarks and the Port and Old Town during a leisurely paced walk of this city. With its sunny beaches and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is a fantastic place to stroll along the promenade, shop, or just to soak up the sun. In the evening, it is time for a truly special experience as you’ll have dinner at a gastronomic society. Traditionally only available via an invitation from an existing member, gastronomic societies play an important role in the social fabric of Basque communities as an important social outlet.

Day 16: Oviedo

After breakfast, drive to Bilbao for an orientation walk with your leader followed by the opportunity to visit the famous Guggenheim Museum. Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum is an eye-catching work of art in itself and home to a stunning collection of contemporary art works. After some free time for lunch, continue to the town of Oviedo, in the heart of Asturias where you’ll spend the next two nights at a comfortable hotel.

Day 17: Oviedo

Oviedo is a great town to explore on foot and today you’ll be joined by a specialist local guide who will take you on a guided walk of the city. Stroll around the handsome city centre, with its unique personality, quaint pre-Romanesque churches, elegant streetscapes, fine monuments and grand houses. At the heart of the town sits the impressive Gothic San Salvador Cathedral, the birthplace of the Camino de Santiago. You’ll also enjoy an introduction to wonderful local products of Asturias at El Fontan market, home to excellent fish stalls beneath a canopy of wrought-iron and glass. This afternoon is free for you to explore your way. Perhaps take a trip up to the port city of Gijon for fresh seafood and sweet-filled bakeries, or the fishing village of Luanco for a relaxing drink on the promenade. For dinner, consider heading to Calle de la Gascona, which is lined with lively sidrerias (cider houses) serving a wide range of raciones (tasting plates).

Day 18: Santiago de Compostela

Travel by private vehicle along the northern part of Asturias and after crossing the Ria de Ribadeo, enter the Spanish region of Galicia. Stop in one of the small seaside villages with time to explore and enjoy lunch (on own) before the route takes you south-west and away from the coast as you head towards Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and a symbol of the Spanish Christians' struggle against Islam. This destination is famous as the culmination point for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. Soak up the beauty of the cathedral where St James, one of the 12 Apostles, is purportedly buried. Elaborately carved stone facades open onto grand plazas filled with pilgrims and locals going about their day. Perhaps join them in one of the cafes where you can sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

Day 19: Santiago de Compostela

Today you'll have the opportunity to join pilgrims on the last stretch of the Santiago de Compostela route. Walk alongside those who may have trekked over 800 kilometres to be here. It is important that you wear comfortable footwear and bring a raincoat, as weather in this region of Spain can be unpredictable, even during the summer months. Once back in Santiago, the rest of the day is free for you to explore your way. Santiago de Compostela is a World Heritage site, an open-air museum that holds many wonderful sights within its walls – lively squares, the market and the University buildings are must sees. Tonight, join your fellow travellers for an included Galician dinner and raise a glass to the penultimate night of your Northern Spain adventure.

Day 20: Santiago de Compostela

After breakfast, your tour adventure comes to an end. If you would like to extend your stay, we would be happy to arrange additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).