22311
Spain
Spain at a Slower Pace: The Best of Barcelona and Madrid
Madrid and Barcelona are two of Europe’s most culturally fascinating cities. Join our experts for an insider’s perspective of these Old World gems, all at your own comfortable pace.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22311RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,879
Flights start at
775
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10 days
9 nights
20 meals
8 B 4 L 8 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Barcelona, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Barcelona
D
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After taking some time to unpack, our Group Leader will lead a walk around the neighborhood as a way to get acquainted with the area. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a 3-course plated meal with a choice of entrée, plus a glass of wine and mineral water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night's rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Introduction to Spanish Art, La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona
B,L,D
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles during group activities throughout the day; additional walking dependent on personal interest. La Sagrada Familia entrance times are strictly regulated and subject to change. Driving mileage dependent on traffic and best route; on and off the motorcoach for up to 4 hours throughout the afternoon.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the buffet features a variety of hot and cold items, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Gathering in the hotel meeting room, our expert lecturer will provide us with an introduction to Modernist Catalan art, architecture, culture, and life with a special focus on the modernist artists.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll have a light buffet meal, with coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Setting out via motorcoach, we’ll go for a panoramic exploration through Barcelona to see some of the major emblematic sites of the city including a visit to Antoni Gaudí's masterpiece, the gigantic basilica known as La Sagrada Familia (the Sacred Family). Construction began in 1882 and continues to this day. This enthralling and magnificent undertaking has become the symbol of the city, which we will explore inside and out with our local expert as we enjoy commentary.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a 3-course plated meal with a choice of entrée, plus a glass of wine and mineral water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Las Ramblas, Introduction to Catalan Cuisine
Barcelona
B,L,D
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Driving approx. 3 miles one way in city; about 1/2 hour each way. Walking approximately 1.5 miles throughout the day; periods of standing, some cobblestones and uneven terrain. The cookery workshop is located in a pedestrian area of the city; the bus will take participants to the nearest drop off point about 1/2 mile from the venue.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After transferring to Las Ramblas via motorcoach, we’ll go on a walk led by our Group Leader around La Boqueria market, which is the oldest and most renowned market in Barcelona. Dating back to 1840 and filled with food stalls, we’ll enjoy a tasting of local produce here led by our Group Leader. Next, we’ll engage in a cooking workshop featuring Catalan and Spanish dishes led by a local chef. This interactive class will include information on these dishes, as well as a demonstration and instruction while we learn how to prepare and cook these regional specialties.

Lunch: At the cookery workshop, we’ll enjoy lunch featuring the dishes that we have prepared; a complimentary glass of wine and water included.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We’ll meet at a predetermined time and place for transfer back to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a light meal together with a glass of wine and water included.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Gaudi & Casa Mila, Picasso Museum
Barcelona
B,L,D
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Driving up to 10 miles; about 1.5 hours aboard motorcoach total, depending on traffic, with stops for field trips. Walking approx. 1.5 miles throughout the day; some uneven terrain, periods of standing. Picasso Museum entrance times are strictly regulated and subject to change.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: With a local expert, we’ll transfer via motorcoach for an expert-led field trip to Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, or "the Quarry." This popular name was given to the Gaudi-designed modernist apartment building for its unusually rough and textured appearance. Later, we will drive Gaudi’s modernist art route and main thoroughfare in Barcelona, known as La Paseo de Gracia (Passeig de Gracia) on our way to lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a tapas meal with wine, soft drinks, and water included.

Afternoon: Led by a local expert, we will walk to the Picasso museum for an on-site presentation followed by time to explore on our own. We’ll then return to the hotel by motorcoach.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty meal with wine and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
High Speed Train to Madrid, Spain’s Transition to Democracy
Madrid
B,D
Meliá Madrid Serrano Galgos

Activity note: Driving approx. 10 miles total in both cities; about 1 hour total aboard bus. Walking approx. 1.5 miles total throughout the day; navigating large train stations for transfers; periods of standing. Train ride is about 386 miles; approx. 2.5 hours; luggage will be transferred separately by van and will arrive in Madrid late afternoon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the Barcelona hotel, we will transfer by motorcoach to the train station and board the “Alta Velocidad Española” bound for Madrid. The AVE is Europe's longest high speed rail network that can reach 190 mph. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Lunch: On your own aboard the train.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Madrid, we’ll transfer and check into our hotel with some time to freshen up and to relax. We’ll then meet in the hotel meeting room for a presentation given by a local history professor on Spain’s transition to democracy, and the Movida Madrilena, a countercultural movement that took place mainly in Madrid after Francisco Franco's death in 1975.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with wine and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Introduction to Madrid, El Prado Museum
Madrid
B,L,D
Meliá Madrid Serrano Galgos

Activity note: Driving approx. 10 miles throughout the day; up to about 2 hours total aboard motorcoach, with stops for field trips. Walking at field trip locations; periods of standing.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll start out by joining our expert local lecturer at the hotel for a presentation on the history, culture and people of Madrid throughout the ages.

Lunch: At the hotel, with wine and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Then we’ll meet our local expert of the afternoon as we board a motorcoach to see Madrid's most emblematic sites. We will finish with an expert-led exploration at the majestic El Prado Museum, which holds one of the world's finest collections of European art. Highlights include masterpieces of the French, German, and Italian schools, early Flemish works, and the finest collection of works by Spanish Grand Masters such as Velázquez, Goya, Murillo, and many more.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated 3-course meal, with wine and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Segovia, The Art of Flamenco & Performance
Madrid
B,D
Meliá Madrid Serrano Galgos

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day during group activities; periods of standing at the Alcazar; many cobblestones and occasional steps without handrails. Driving approx. 60 miles (95 km) each way to/from Segovia; about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Travelling by motorcoach, we’ll arrive in the historical town of Segovia for a field trip led by a local expert. Situated to the northwest of the capital in the Castile region and classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Segovia boasts a wealth of monuments which span the centuries. Among these, we’ll see the remarkably well-preserved Roman Aqueduct (dating from around 50 C.E.), and enjoy an expert-led field trip to the renowned Alcazar (castle) which began construction in the 11th century. One of Spain’s most important historical sites, it was originally built as a medieval fortress on Roman ruins, but it also served as the royal residence of the ancient Kingdom of Castile up until the 17th century. Following the visit, we will return to Madrid.

Lunch: On your own to explore the local cuisine.

Afternoon: Take some time for free independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Afterwards, we’ll gather at the predetermined time and place for transfer via motorcoach to a local tablao (flamenco bar) for a welcome drink and an introductory presentation given by a Flamenco expert on the art of flamenco.

Dinner: At the local tablao (flamenco bar), we’ll enjoy a simple dinner of tapas with wine, sangria, or beer included.

Evening: While at the tablao, we’ll be treated to a traditional flamenco performance! The Universidad de Autonoma de Madrid describes flamenco as, “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 hub of the recording industry, and starting place for aspiring artists performing in tablaos. We’ll revel in the sights and sounds of an evening filled with Spanish folklore, music, and dance. We will return via motorcoach after the performance.

DAY
9
Modernist Madrid, Reina Sofia Museum, Free Time
Madrid
B,D
Meliá Madrid Serrano Galgos

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approx. 4 miles each way; maximum of 1 hour total on the bus, stops for field trips. Walking up to 1.5 miles total during group activities; more during free time dependent on personal interest; periods of standing; more walking dependent on personal preference.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Gathering at the hotel, we’ll settle in for a lecture given by a local expert on 20th-century Spanish art. Following the lecture, we’ll transfer via motorcoach to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Reina Sofia Museum). The Reina Sofía opened its doors in 1990 as a modern, contemporary Spanish museum on an international scale. Its collection of more than 20,000 works includes masterpieces by Dali, Miro, Picasso, and many others. Its most famous piece is Picasso's "Guernica,” based on the bombing of that Basque town during the Spanish Civil War, but with broader symbolism as a plea against the barbarity and terror of all war.

Lunch: On your own to sample the local fare.

Afternoon: Free time. You may wish to continue to explore Madrid on your own, relax at the hotel, or begin to prepare for departures in the morning.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated 3-course farewell dinner, plus complimentary red or white house wine and mineral water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
10
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet, flight times permitting. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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