21336
Spain
The Best of Spain: Barcelona and Madrid
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!
Program No. 21336RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,349
Flights start at
750
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10 days
9 nights
16 meals
8 B 1 L 7 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival in Barcelona & Welcome Orientation
Barcelona
D
Hotel Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: After completing airport arrival procedures, transfer to the hotel. Check-in is available from 2:00 p.m.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Afternoon: Take some time to unpack and to relax or become acquainted with the neighborhood on an optional walk with your Group Leader. Later in the afternoon, we will gather in the hotel conference room where the Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. In addition to the program theme and logistics, we will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that indicated times are approximate and that program activities and schedules could change due to local circumstances such as weather, traffic conditions, etc. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Continue getting to know your fellow participants during our welcome dinner at a local restaurant as you enjoy a three-course meal with choice of entrée plus a complimentary glass of wine and mineral water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Settle in and get a good night's rest for the full day tomorrow.

DAY
3
An Introduction to Barcelona and La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona
B,L
Hotel Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Today's activities include: transportation via metro, which does not have escalators or elevators at most stations and requires climbing up and down flights of stairs. Walking up to two to three miles which will include cobblestone streets. Please note that La Sagrada Familia entrance times are strictly regulated and subject to change.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Your expert lecturer will offer you an introduction to Modernist Catalan art, architecture, culture, and life represented by Gaudi, Miro, Tapies, and Dali.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy a characteristic lunch of "tapas" --appetizer-sized servings of many different kinds of tasty local cuisine.

Afternoon: Enjoy a guided panoramic tour of Barcelona which includes a visit to the Basilica of the impressive, unfinished Gaudi Masterpiece - La Sagrada Familia, Gaudí's equally exotic Parque Guell and Montjuic Hill.

Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and to give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Monastery and Museum of Montserrat, Free Afternoon
Barcelona
B,D
Hotel Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Today's activities include: transportation via metro, which does not have escalators or elevators at most stations and requires climbing up and down flights of stairs. Walking up to two to three miles which will include cobblestone streets, steps, and slopes in and around the monastery.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: The mountain of Montserrat has long cast a mystical spell with a spiritual heritage pre-dating Christianity. An ancient hermitage on this spot grew to become an independent abbey in 1409. The buildings and contents were destroyed by Napoleon’s troops in 1811 and were reconstructed many years later. Gothic and Renaissance architecture of the basilica contrast with architectonic spaces created for the Museum of Montserrat by modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Among the abbey’s notable achievements are one of the world’s oldest printing presses and more recently a translation of the Bible from original Middle Eastern languages into Catalan. During an expert-led exploration, see treasures of history and culture from ancient Egypt to works by Caravaggio, El Greco, Dali, Picasso, Tapies, and many others. However, the most precious object is the 12th century carving of a Black Madonna, Our Lady of Montserrat, Patron Saint of Catalonia.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Enjoy some free time to see and do what interests you most. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions on how to use your T10 card for public transport.

Dinner: Near the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
The Picasso Museum & La Pedrera
Barcelona
B,D
Hotel Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Today's activities include: transportation via metro, which does not have escalators or elevators at most stations and requires climbing up and down flights of stairs. Walking up to two to three miles which will include cobblestone streets. Please note that both the Picasso Museum and La Pedrera entrance times are strictly regulated and are subject to change.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: With your Group Leader, take a walking field trip to one of Gaudí's creations, Casa Milà, popularly known as “La Pedrera” (The Quarry) for its Modernist façade. Later on, we will continue through Paseo de Gracia as we view the city's renowned Modernist route, which includes such iconic buildings as Gaudi's Casa Batlló and the newly refurbushed building of Casa Lleo Morera.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Afternoon: Led by a local expert, we will take public transport to go on a field trip to the Picasso Museum for an on-site presentation followed by time to explore on your own. The Museu Picasso is a key reference for understanding the artist’s formative years with more than 4,000 works in the permanent collection spanning his early work through the Blue Period and a large collection of prints. Afterward, a local family will join us to provide insider perspective on Catalan culture, the question of independence, and more. In addition, there will be a Question and Answer session.

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell to Barcelona dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Transfer to Madrid via High Speed AVE Train & Hotel Check-in
Madrid
B,D
Melia Galgos

Activity note: Participants will need to handle their own luggage on and off the train as there is no porterage available at the station.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will depart by motorcoach to the train station and board the “Alta Velocidad Española.” The AVE is Europe's longest high speed rail network that can reach 190 mph. The 386 mile trip to Madrid takes about 2-1/2 hours. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Lunch: On your own aboard the train.

Afternoon: Check-in at the hotel and take some time to freshen up and to relax before joining your local expert lecturer for a presentation at the hotel. You will learn about the art, history, culture and people throughout the Ages of Madrid. You will also receive a T10 travel card, allowing you up to 10 journeys by bus or metro around the city.

Dinner: Enjoy a traditional Madrid-style dinner at a local restaurant -- a three-course meal plus a complimentary glass of wine and mineral water.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
History & Culture of Madrid & the Art of Flamenco
Madrid
B,D
Melia Galgos

Activity note: Occasional walking on cobblestone streets and steps without railings. Please wear comfy footwear!

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Join a local expert to see some of the most important highlights of historical Madrid. We will end the morning at El Prado Museum: one of Europe's largest and finest collections of art focusing on 12th to the early 19th century, and including the most comprehensive works by Goya and Velazquez, in addition to masterpieces from the Italian, Flemish and Dutch schools.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon for personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Afterward, we will depart by motor coach to a local tablao (flamenco bar) for a welcome drink and an introductory presentation on the art of flamenco, followed by a simple dinner of tapas with wine, sangria, or beer. A flamenco performance follows dinner.

Dinner: Flamenco! “Voices filled with anguish and pain in cante jondo, rhythms of happiness and joy in sevillanas and rumbas.” Flamenco is all that and more, full of passion and intensity. Madrid takes pride as the capital of flamenco, hub of the recording industry, and starting place for aspiring artists performing in tablaos. Revel in the sights and sounds of a typical evening of Spanish folklore, music, and dance. We will return via motorcoach after the performance ends at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Toledo
Madrid
B,D
Melia Galgos

Activity note: Today's visit will include walking up to two to three miles. Toledo is set on a hill and there will be steep slopes, cobblestones and some steps without railings around the city.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: We will depart by motor coach to the "Imperial City" of Toledo. The former Capital of Castile, Toledo is classified as a UNESCO world heritage site and is renowned for both its extensive cultural and monumental heritage and for centuries of peaceful co-existence of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures, throughout the city's history. Upon arrival, we will drive around the surrounding hill for breathtaking panoramic views before continuing with our local expert on a guided walk of the old city, including a visit to El Greco's works at the Santo Tome sacristy, and to the former "Sinagoga del Transito," now a museum.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Afternoon: We will return to Madrid and have a presentation and question & answer session on Spain's transition to democracy.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Madrid and the Reina Sofia Museum
Madrid
B,D
Melia Galgos

Activity note: Today's activities include: transportation via metro, which does not have escalators or elevators at most stations and requires climbing up and down flights of stairs. Walking up to two to three miles which will include cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a guided visit to the Reina Sofia Museum, a contemporary structure housing over 21.000 works of modern and avant-garde art. Founded in 1990, after originally being created as an art centre, Museo Reina Sofía is one of the key symbols of the Spanish transition to democracy and modernity following the Franco regime. Pablo Picasso's Guernica is the museum's most renowned masterpiece.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Continue exploring Madrid's most emblematic sites on your own or join a group leader-led walk to El Retiro park, a green oasis in the heart of the city.

Dinner: For our farewell dinner at a local restaurant, enjoy a three course meal, with a choice of each course. Complimentary red or white house wine plus mineral water.

Evening: At leisure. Say farewell to new Road Scholar friends and prepare for your departure in the morning.

DAY
10
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast is included if flight times permit.

Morning: Departures in the early morning to the airport. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.