DAY 1 | Sept. 5. Depart your gateway city for Madrid, Spain
Provided for Air Program participants.
DAY 2 | Sept. 6. Madrid, Spain
Upon arrival, transfer to the Hotel Wellington. This evening, attend a Welcome Reception.
DAY 3 | Sept. 7. Madrid
Educational Focus: Contemporary Spain. Explore recent Spanish history and discover Spain’s role in the world today.
Excursion: Madrid. Witness the grandeur of Madrid. See the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor and Plaza España. Travel along the Gran Vía, the city’s beautiful main boulevard.
Local Flavor: Break for lunch at one of the city’s many excellent restaurants.
Excursion: Museo del Prado. The Prado, one of Madrid’s many spectacular museums, features masterpieces by Velázquez, Goya and other Spanish and international artists. (B, L)
DAY 4 | Sept. 8. Toledo
Excursion: Toledo. Discover a harmonious blend of Jewish, Moorish and Christian culture in Toledo. See the cathedral, one of the most impressive Gothic structures in the world; the 12th-century Santa Maria La Blanca Synagogue; and El Greco’s “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” inside Santo Tomé Church.
Local Flavor: Enjoy a classic Castilian lunch at the hilltop Parador de Toledo, which also provides a view over the city. (B, L)
DAY 5 | Sept. 9. Burgos / Laguardia
Today, journey from Castile to the hilltop town of Laguardia in Rioja wine country.
Excursion: Burgos, a Historic Castilian Capital. En route, visit delightful Burgos, the old capital of Castile and see its Old Town and its famous Gothic cathedral. Completed in the 15th century, the church took more than 300 years to build.
Local Flavor: Dine on delectable regional dishes during lunch in Burgos. Arrive in Laguardia this afternoon, and check in to the Hotel Sercotel Villa de Laguardia.
Local Flavor: Tonight, enjoy a classic Rioja dinner featuring the famous wine of the region. (B, L, D)
DAY 6 | Sept. 10. Laguardia / Elciego
Excursion: The Wines of La Rioja. Visit the Frank Gehry-designed Marqués de Riscal winery in Elciego for a tour and wine tasting. Return to Laguardia to explore this charming walled city. Visit the church of Santa Maria de Los Reyes to see its splendid Gothic portico, the Plaza Mayor and a honeycomb of historic wine bodegas hidden in the city walls and underground. Visit La Fabulista bodega for a tasting.
Local Flavor: Savor lunch and a view of the vineyards at a restaurant in Laguardia.
Independent Exploration: The afternoon is at leisure. (B, L, D)
DAY 7 | Sept. 11. Bilbao / San Sebastián
This morning, depart for Bilbao and San Sebastián.
Excursion: Bilbao. Visit Bilbao and the famous Guggenheim museum designed by American architect Frank Gehry. Inside the museum’s undulating titanium curves, you’ll find a breathtaking collection of contemporary masterpieces from de Kooning to Rothko. Enjoy a panoramic tour of the city before lunch.
Local Flavor: Enjoy lunch in Bilbao, a city known for its exceptional Basque cuisine. Upon arrival in San Sebastián, check in to Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra. (B, L)
DAY 8 | Sept. 12. San Sebastián
Excursion: A Walk Through San Sebastián. Stroll through San Sebastián – Donostia in the Basque language – to see the highlights of this popular resort along the Bay of Biscay.
Educational Focus: A History of Basque Country. Basque Country – País Vasco in Castilian and Euskadi in the Basque language – is one of the most intriguing regions in Spain. There is a mystique about the Basque region and its people, who are most commonly believed to be descendents of the Vascones, a tribe that lived in this region long before the Romans invaded the peninsula.
Excursion: An Evening with Locals. Meet local residents of San Sebastián and learn about local life. (B, D)
DAY 9 | Sept. 13. Pamplona
Excursion: Pamplona. Today, venture out to Pamplona. Wander along the 16th-century streets of Hemingway’s beloved city. Visit one of the largest bullrings in Spain, the chapel where matadors pray and the splendid Gothic cathedral.
Local Flavor: Enjoy local fare at a restaurant in Pamplona. (B, L)
DAY 10 | Sept. 14. Barcelona
This morning after breakfast, transfer to Barcelona.
Excursion: Spanish countrysiude and Zaragoza. During your transfer, take in the picturesque Spanish countryside and stop for lunch and a chance for a quick stroll in Zaragoza, the Capital of the Aragón region. Upon arrival in Barcelona, check in to the Majestic Hotel & Spa. (B, L)
DAY 11 | Sept. 15. Barcelona
This morning after breakfast, transfer to Barcelona.
Educational Focus: History of Cataluña and Barcelona. This region of Spain has its own history and culture. Discover what makes Cataluña unique.
Excursion: Barcelona. See the Passeig de Gràcia, the Champs-Élysées of Barcelona; the lush hilltop retreat of Montjuïc, home to the Olympic Stadium; and other architectural marvels from 14th-century Gothic buildings to more modern designs.
Excursion: Gaudí’s Barcelona. Antoni Gaudí’s moderniste style left an indelible mark on Barcelona. See some of his famous works, including the fascinating La Sagrada Familia and leafy Parc Güell. (B)
DAY 12 | Sept. 16. Barcelona
Independent Exploration: Enjoy a full day to explore Barcelona on your own. Tonight, gather for a Farewell Dinner at a restaurant in Barcelona. (B, D)
DAY 13 | Sept. 17
This morning, transfer to the airport for the return flights to your gateway city. (B)