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The Best of Spain: Barcelona and Madrid

Program No. 21336RJ
Find out what makes Barcelona and Madrid two of Europe’s most unique cities as you discover bold architecture, world-renowned museums, ancient monuments and celebrated cuisine. Olé!

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At a Glance

Gaudí and Picasso. Paella and Tapas. Mediterranean chic and capital-city grandeur. There are no other cities in the world like Barcelona and Madrid. Join us to learn about what’s new in these two dynamic cities and reflect on what’s been around since antiquity, from fanciful architecture to wind-swept Roman ruins. With special insight from our local experts and plenty of time to discover on your own, you’ll get the most of these two bold European cities.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking around 3-4 miles per day; cobblestones and many unavoidable stairs. Public transportation and subway with no elevators used throughout the program. Looking for the same great program but at a slightly more leisurely pace? Check out "Spain at a Slower Pace: The Best of Barcelona and Madrid" (#22311).
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Learn about the incredible fairytale-like curved roofs and bright colors of one of the world's most intriguing parks and heritage sites: Parc Guëll.
  • Attend expert-led lectures and gain insight into Spain's fascinating historical and artistic roots.
  • Explore two of Europe’s most renowned art museums in Madrid with top-notch instructors.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials. You may be interested in a more leisurely version of this program, "Spain at a Slower Pace: The Best of Barcelona and Madrid" (#22311).
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Teresa de la Vega
Teresa de la Vega studied history and geography at Complutense University of Madrid and has received degrees in American anthropology, ancient history, and art history. She has taught courses in art history throughout her career.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Gracia Gonzalez del Rio
Gracia Gonzalez del Rio View biography
Gracia Gonzalez del Rio was born in Lima, Peru and moved to Spain in 2001 after earning her master’s degree in corporate communication. Three years later, she began working as an educational group leader, introducing Spanish groups around Central Europe and educating groups from North America around Spain and Portugal. She greatly enjoys interacting with travelers and introducing them to European and Iberian cultures. Gracia currently resides in Sitges, near Barcelona, with her husband and children.
Profile Image of Ulises Diaz-Ropero
Ulises Diaz-Ropero View biography
Ulises Diaz-Ropero is originally from Toledo and is fluent in Spanish, English, and an intermediate level of French. He is an avid traveler and has visited many countries on four different continents. Ulises completed a Master’s degree in ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental Studies in London before becoming a world music artist in the thriving music scene in London. For the last five years, Ulises has been pursuing a career in education, leading educational travels as well as teaching Spanish to adults.
Profile Image of Sonia Formoso
Sonia Formoso View biography
Sonia Formoso is of Swiss-Spanish heritage and is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Italian. She has 14 years of experience leading education travel programs under her belt. Sonia studied at the Universities of Lausanne, Switzerland and Madrid Complutense, where she earned degrees in politics, social sciences and communication. She brings her signature energy, enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge to every Road Scholar program she leads.
Profile Image of Elena Lomban
Elena Lomban View biography
Elena Lombán was born on the Atlantic coast of Galicia, Spain. After living in the U.S. for several years, she began leading educational programs in 2006. She is an English teacher and licensed Galicia expert, passionate about education and travel while sharing her knowledge of linguistics, literature, history, and art. Fluent in Spanish, Galician, English, Italian, and French, Elena has traveled throughout Europe and North America. She loves the thrill of meeting Road Scholars for each new learning adventure and living life to the fullest.
Profile Image of Pilar Arizaga
Pilar Arizaga View biography
Pilar Arizaga was born in Chile, grew up in Canada and currently lives in Spain. She has been a Group Leader for the past ten years and has worked with high school and college students, alumni and other groups. She has experience working in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Morocco and England and she speaks English and Spanish, with knowledge of Portuguese, Italian, and French. Pilar is a well-organized, patient and passionate person about her work, always willing and seeking to take on new adventures.
Profile Image of Silvia Riera
Silvia Riera View biography
Silvia Riera was born and raised in Barcelona, where she developed her passion for arts and the Catalan culture. In addition to Spanish and her native tongue, Catalan, Silvia is fluent in French, Italian, English and Portuguese. Silvia has lectured about modernism and Gaudi since 1988. Beyond arts, Silvia is — like most Barcelonians — a big fan of FC Barcelona, the world-renowned soccer team.
Profile Image of Cecilia Ceriani
Cecilia Ceriani View biography
Cecilia Ceriani has been an art teacher and critic for nearly three decades. She holds degrees in art history and English philology from the Complutense University of Madrid. Cecilia spent four years in South America as an art critic and book reviewer for newspapers in Montevideo and Buenos Aires before returning to her native Spain in 1986. Since then she has been lecturing on Road Scholar programs and at the U.S. Cultural Center in Madrid and writing for respected Spanish publications.
Profile Image of Teresa de la Vega
Teresa de la Vega View biography
Teresa de la Vega studied history and geography at Complutense University of Madrid and has received degrees in American anthropology, ancient history, and art history. She has taught courses in art history throughout her career.
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