Kick off your Spanish adventure with a visit to Barcelona, the lively capital of the Catalan region. Examine the whimsical works of Antoni Gaudí and the treasures of the Gothic quarter, stroll Las Ramblas and Olympic Park, and enjoy time at leisure to soak up the spirit of one of Spain’s most dynamic cities.
Itinerary - 5 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Barcelona, Spain
Depart on an overnight flight and, upon arrival in Barcelona, check into our modern boutique hotel, set within a late 19th-century building in the heart of the city. The evening is at leisure. Olivia Balmes Hotel
Day 3 — Gaudí, Las Ramblas, and The Port
After breakfast, ascend to the top of Tibidabo Mountain to take in impressive panoramic views of the city. Then venture into Gaudí's surreal world on visits to Guell Park and the renowned unfinished cathedral Sagrada Familia. Later, stroll down the elegant boulevards the Eixample, a district that was redesigned in the late 19th century as part of a grand urban renewal project. Take in the scene at Las Ramblas, a wide pedestrian boulevard lined with street performers where the locals come for a coffee or a stroll. Then travel to the port to see the modern architecture of Olympic City. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon to explore on your own. Olivia Balmes Hotel (B)
Day 4 — The Gothic Quarter and the Picasso Museum
In the company of a private guide, set out on a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter, the oldest part of the city. Wander through Plaza Nova, still fortified with Romanesque walls and towers, and step into the splendid Gothic cathedral to discover palm-filled cloisters and beautiful chapels. Follow Avenida de la Catedral to the historic Plaza del Rey, and continue to the fabulous Picasso Museum, set in a series of medieval homes. Olivia Balmes Hotel (B)
Day 5 — Barcelona/Santiago de Compostela
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago de Compostela to join the main expedition. (Note: This is Day 2 of the Spain’s Northern Coast by Private Rail expedition.) (B)
Post-Trip, 4 Days
In Spain’s capital city, explore historic art and architecture and discover recent developments that have made Madrid one of the most modern cities in southern Europe.
Itinerary - 4 Days
Day 1 — San Sebastián/Madrid
Note: This is Day 10 of the Spain’s Northern Coast by Private Rail expedition. Fly from San Sebastián to Madrid, and transfer to our hotel, a stunning boutique property hotel located in the stylish Gran Vía district. This evening is at leisure. (B)
Day 2 — Old Madrid
After breakfast, delve into historic heart of Madrid, visiting quiet squares such as Miranda, where the Carboneras Convent was constructed at the beginning of the 18th century, and La Villa, home to the 17th-century City Hall. Stop at San Nicolas, the oldest church in Madrid, and the two baroque churches of Sacramento and San Miguel. Then discover the vestiges of the Moors—the walls that once defended the city from the attacking Christians. Stroll through the majestic Orient Square to the Plaza Mayor, the center of Madrid for almost four centuries and scene of innumerable festivals, bullfights, and trials—and the executions of the Inquisition. (B)
Day 3 — Modern Madrid
Begin the day in one of the city's most modern zones, home to some of Europe’s tallest buildings. Then pass the centuries-old Retiro Park on the way to elegant Paseo del Prado, flanked by the Prado Museum, the Botanic Gardens, the Royal Spanish Academy, and the palatial Central Post Office. Continue towards the heart of the old city, through the Puerta del Sol, Arenal Street and Queen Isabel II Square, before a short stop to admire the Royal Palace. Take advantage of an afternoon at leisure to explore on your own. (B)
Day 4 — Madrid/U.S.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight. (B)