This sample of everything Spanish reveals its best, and most debated, sides – from its cosmopolitan city life to its on-going passion for Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. It’s Insider moments like… sipping sangria with the Martin family in the cool and shady courtyard of their hacienda, surrounded by acres of olive groves and orange orchards. Watching the process of olives being turned into oil – an essential of Mediterranean Spanish life. And sampling a selection of this golden elixir before sitting down to dine with your hosts under the Andalusian sky. There’s more Spanish cuisine among the throngs at the Boqueria Market in Barcelona, as you’re guided to the best stalls in this ancient trading place.

Best of Spain

Land Only Group Tour

Duration : 15 DAYSCountry : SPAIN
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Cibeles Fountain © Turismo de Madrid
Barcelona, Spain  © LaCity TravelAlhambra Palace  © Granada Turismo de GranadaSan Sebastian © San Sebastian Turismo & Convention Bureau / Javier LarreaHotel Casa de la Juderia Seville  © Turismo de SevillaCórdoba Mezquita Catedral © Turismo Cordoba ESPBasílica del Pilar, Zaragoza © Turismo de Zaragoza

This sample of everything Spanish reveals its best, and most debated, sides – from its cosmopolitan city life to its on-going passion for Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. It’s Insider moments like… sipping sangria with the Martin family in the cool and shady courtyard of their hacienda, surrounded by acres of olive groves and orange orchards. Watching the process of olives being turned into oil – an essential of Mediterranean Spanish life. And sampling a selection of this golden elixir before sitting down to dine with your hosts under the Andalusian sky. There’s more Spanish cuisine among the throngs at the Boqueria Market in Barcelona, as you’re guided to the best stalls in this ancient trading place.

Included in the price

  • 14 nights' accommodation (10 hotels)
  • 14 hot buffet breakfasts
  • 7 dinners (including Welcome Reception, Be my guest, 4 three course dinners with wine and Farewell Dinner)
  • All transport shown
  • All transfers shown
  • All activities / sightseeing as mentionned 

Day 1: Madrid

Welcome to the Spanish capital, Madrid! Relax after check-in, or go for a walk through the bustling streets. This evening, meet your Travel Director and travelling companions for a Welcome Reception. Later enjoy an evening orientation drive – the perfect introduction to your holiday! Meal: Welcome Reception. Accommodation: Ayre Gran Colo, Madrid

Day 2: Madrid - Burgos - Santander

Journey over the Guadarrama Mountains to Burgos. Visit El Cid's tomb in the vast Gothic cathedral. Cross the Ebro River and the Cantabrian Cordillera mountains to the coast, arriving later in Santander, capital of the Cantabrian region, where you dine tonight at your hotel. Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with wine. Accommodation: Santemar Hotel, Santander

Day 3: Santander - Bilbao - San Sebastian - Pamplona

This morning in Bilbao, view the Guggenheim Museum, a striking building by US architect Frank Gehry which houses a vast array of modern art. Continue along the coast to San Sebastian and see the beautiful Bahia de la Concha beach during your orientation walk. In the city of Pamplona, most famous for the Running of the Bulls, walk the ancient streets before enjoying dinner at your hotel this evening. Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with wine. Accommodation: NH Iruna Park, Pamplona

Day 4: Pamplona - Zaragoza - Barcelona

Return to the Ebro Valley and view the Cathedral of El Pilar and the Cathedral La Seo at Zaragoza. Rising gently from the sea, Barcelona is Spain's most dynamic and cosmopolitan city. Your home for the next two nights, this fascinating metropolis dates back to Roman times and boasts a rich artistic and architectural heritage. Meal: Buffet Breakfast. Accommodation: Ayre Gran Via, Barcelona

Day 5: Barcelona

This morning, see Gaudi's architecture at the inspiring Sagrada Familia. Walk the Ramblas and visit Plaça Catalunya. View the monument to Christopher Columbus and take in panoramic views from Montjuic during your guided sightseeing tour with a Local Expert. Enjoy your Unique Insight into the delicacies of Spanish cuisine on your guided walk through the food stalls of La Boqueria Market. Consider joining an optional experience to Montserrat to see the shrine of the Black Madonna - affectionately known in Catalonia as 'La Moreneta'. Meal: Buffet Breakfast. Accommodation: Ayre Gran Via, Barcelona

Day 6: Barcelona - Peniscola - Valencia

Drive past orange and almond orchards to Peñiscola and see the ancient castle used in the film 'El Cid'. Continue through the 'huertas' to sunny Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, where your orientation includes the town hall, the Bull Ring, the Towers of Serrano and Cuarte, and the cathedral. Dine tonight at your hotel. Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with wine. Accommodation: Tryp Oceanic, Valencia

Day 7: Valenvia - Guadix - Granada

Travel inland to the 'sierras' to view the troglodyte cave dwellings at Guadix. Cave houses are common throughout the province of Granada, but the highest concentration is in Barrio Santiago. Take the jagged Mora Pass to the Moorish city of Granada. Dine tonight at your hotel. Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Dinner with wine). Accommodation: Alhamar Help, Granada

Day 8: Granada - Costa Del Sol

Your Local Expert takes you on a sightseeing tour of the spectacular Moorish Alhambra Palace with wonderful views across the town and surrounding hills. Admire extraordinary architecture and the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer residence. Arrive on the Costa del Sol where you stay for the next two nights. Perhaps join an optional experience to the white washed village to Mijas. Meal: Buffet Breakfast. Accommodation: Melia Costa Del Sol

Day 9: Costa Del Sol

Today, relax on the Sunshine Coast. This is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain, but was once a series of quiet fishing villages. Shop for souvenirs in the old town of Torremolinos, relax on the sandy beach or maybe consider joining an Optional Experience to the nearby city of Malaga. Meal: Buffet Breakfast. Accommodation: Melia Costa Del Sol

Day 10: Costa Del Sol - Gibraltar* - Seville

A scenic drive takes you past the millionaire's resort of Marbella and on to La Linea. Cross to the Rock of Gibraltar, for free time to explore. Consider joining an optional experience to St. Michael's Cave to see the Barbary Macaques (Rock Apes). This afternoon, continue through the Andalusian countryside past Jerez – famous for sherry production – to Seville. Tonight you might like to experience a fiery Flamenco show! [*Important note: The visit to Gibraltar is subject to Gibraltarian and Spanish visa requirements. Please speak with your travel agent at time of booking to assess your specific requirements.] Meal: Buffet Breakfast. Accommodation: Las Casas De La Juderia, Seville

Day 11: Seville

Travel through Seville's tree-lined streets on a sightseeing tour with your Local Expert. Visit Seville Cathedral and see the Giralda Tower, a former minaret converted to a bell tower. Visit the tomb of Christopher Columbus in the Cathedral. Visit the pools and fountains in Maria Luisa Park as well as the imposing Plaza de España. Your guided tour finishes with a walk through the Jewish quarter. Tonight, join your companions for a delicious Be My Guest dinner at an Olive Oil Mill where you learn how the oil is produced from the 6,000 olive tree's. Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Be My Guest Dining. Accommodation: Las Casas De La Juderia, Seville

Day 12: Seville - Cordoba

Meet your Local Expert and visit of the Mosque of the Caliphs, a jewel of Hispano- Islamic art featuring striking arches and Byzantine mosaics. Visit the remains of the 14th century mudejar-style synagogue in the old Jewish neighbourhood. Meal: Buffet Breakfast. Accommodation: Ayre Cordoba, Cordoba

Day 13: Cordoba - Madrid

On arrival in Madrid meet your Local Expert for a sightseeing tour of the city. See Plaza España, Gran Via, Puerta Del Sol and the Cibeles Fountain before your visit of the world famous Prado Museum. The museum houses the largest collection of European art in the world, including masterpieces by Velazquez. Meal: Buffet Breakfast. Accommodation: Ayre Gran Colon, Madrid

Day 14: Madrid - Toledo - Madrid

Your Local Expert takes you on a walking tour of Toledo. Visit the Church of Santo Tomé, home to one of El Greco's most famous paintings – The Burial of Count Orgaz. Visit the Synagogue during your guided walk through the narrow streets. This evening, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers at a Farewell Dinner. Meals: Buffet Breakfast / Farewell Dinner. Accommodation: Ayre Gran Colon, Madrid

Day 15: Madrid

Say 'adios!' to your travelling companions at the end of a memorable Spanish holiday! Transfers are available. Conditions apply. Meal: Buffet Breakfast

Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia

Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia

In Barcelona, if you have time for only one sightseeing outing, this should be it. La Sagrada Família inspires awe by its sheer verticality, and in the manner of the medieval cathedrals it emulates, it’s still under construction after more than 100 years. When completed, the highest tower will be more than half as high again as those that stand today. Unfinished it may be, but it attracts around 2.8 million visitors a year and is the most visited monument in Spain. The most important recent tourist was Pope Benedict XVI, who consecrated the church in a huge ceremony in November 2010.
The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (World Heritage Site since 1984) is arguably the most significant monument in the whole of the western Moslem World and one of the most amazing buildings in the world in its own right. The complete evolution of the Omeyan style in Spain can be seen in its different sections, as well as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of the Christian part. 
The Alhambra Palace in Granada

The Alhambra Palace in Granada

The Alhambra. Listed under the World Heritage Sites list of the UNESCO is indisputably the most well-known monument of the city and one of the most visited in Spain. It has a defensive area, the Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces, named after the Dinasty of the Kingdom of Granada, and the Gardens of the Generalife.
Toledo

Toledo

Toledo is one of the Spanish cities with the greatest wealth of monuments. Known as the “city of the three cultures”, because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together there for centuries, behind its walls Toledo preserves an artistic and cultural legacy in the form of churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues. This great diversity of artistic styles makes the old quarter of the capital of Castile - La Mancha a real open-air museum, which has led to it being declared a World Heritage Site.
Royal Alcázar of Seville

Royal Alcázar of Seville

The Alcázar of Seville is one of the most representative monumental compounds in the city, the country and the Mediterranean culture as a whole. The historical evolution of the city in the last millennium is held within its walls and gardens, amalgamating influences starting from the Arabic period, late Middle Ages Mudéjar right through to the Renaissance, Baroque and the XIX century. The declaration of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 acknowledged the survival of cultures and civilizations as a harmonic whole where all of the elements are balanced. The visitor will get to know these unique surroundings either through the legendary al-Mutamid, the XI century monarch and poet from Seville, or through some of the characters that illuminated modern-day Spain around 1812.
Madrid: Plaza Mayor

Madrid: Plaza Mayor

Situated in the heart of Madrid, in the beautiful historic center, Plaza Mayor is the city’s main square and the point of departure for any visitor willing to discover the wonderful Madrid Old Town. Frequented by locals and tourists alike, this perfectly rectangular square, one of the largest in Europe, represents a major attraction in Madrid whether you’re looking for history, culture and impressive architecture, or just want to walk around and catch a glimpse of Madrilenos’ lifestyle.
Valencia: The City of Arts and Sciences

Valencia: The City of Arts and Sciences

The City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural entertainment centre with stunning architecture and great capacity to entertain, teach and excite by promoting public participation.Situated along almost two kilometres of what was formerly the bed of the River Turia, with a surface area of 350,000 square metres, the City of Arts and Sciences is a huge open space.Offering cultural and intellectual leisure, it has given Valencia the best centre of this type in Europe.The outstanding role of its architecture was made possible thanks to the work of two Spanish architects of international renown, who have contributed the very best of their work to this area: the Valencian Santiago Calatrava, who designed the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, the Hemisfèric, the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, the Umbracle, and the Ágora (under construction), and Félix Candela, designer of the unique roofing of the main Oceanográfico buildings.An architectural collection of exceptional beauty, harmonising the outer structure with the content.
Peñíscola

Peñíscola

The city, surrounded by water on all sides except one, has a beach that is popular all year round. Peñíscola is one of the biggest tourist centres in the province of Castellon. The castle, built on a mound that looks as if it was anchored to the sea bed, is a reminder of the age of knights and battlemented fortresses that occupied the lands of Maestrazgo. The Pope Benedict 13th century, nicknamed "Moon Pope", chose this castle to shut himself away and fight for the unity of the Catholic Church. The fortress dominates the highest point in the peninsula. The parade ground is a delightful balcony where the visitor can gaze at the Mediterranean Sea; and the keep, the perfect platform to get a beautiful panoramic view of the coast. In spring and summer, the walled enclosure hosts a Spanish comedy film festival, and a Baroque and antique music festival.
Burgos

Burgos

Burgos, a city in Castilla-Leon situated in the Pilgrim's Road to Santiago de Compostela, still preserves important vestiges of its medieval splendour. The city, which was the capital of the unified kingdom of Castilla-Leon for five centuries, boasts a masterpiece of Spanish Gothic architecture: the cathedral of Burgos, declared World Heritage. Aside from a visit to the historic quarter, you can take a quite interesting walk along the banks of the Duero and Arlanza rivers. Great places to approach a delicious, varied cuisine.
The Rock of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar

Stand on top of the Rock of Gibraltar and you feel as if you were on top of the world. Europe is at your feet. Africa fills one horizon, while the gates to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic are on either side. The journey to the top of the Rock rewards you with a truly breathtaking view. From a height of 426m you will see the African coastline, where the waters of the Atlantic meet the Mediterranean, Spain’s Costa del Sol and a panoramic view of the City far below, the quays, marinas and bays.  Stroll the quiet path to St Michael’s Cave and you will be alone with nature.
The Prado Museum

The Prado Museum

This gallery in Madrid has the most complete collection of Spanish painting from 11th-18th centuries, and numerous masterpieces by great universal artists such as El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Bosch, Titian, Van Dyck and Rembrandt.The quality and variety of its collection makes the Prado one of the world's best-endowed museums. It combines a first-class collection of Spanish painting, the most important works of the Flemish and Italian schools, and various fine examples of the German, French and English schools. It is home to numerous masterpieces of universal art such as Las Meninas by Velázquez, the two Majas by Goya, Nobleman with his hand on his chest by El Greco, the Garden of Delights by Bosch, and The Three Graces by Rubens, among other priceless pieces. 
The Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum

Instantly hailed as the most important structure of its time, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has celebrated more than a decade of extraordinary success. With over a hundred exhibitions and more than ten million visitors to its credit, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has changed the way people think about museums, and it continues to challenge assumptions about the connections between art, architecture, and collecting.
The Cathedral of Zaragoza

The Cathedral of Zaragoza

The Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (better known simply as El Pilar) is one of two major cathedrals in the heart of Zaragoza, Spain. It is an important pilgrimage site, thanks to an ancient pillar said to have been given by the Virgin Mary to Saint James on this very spot.
San Sebastian

San Sebastian

This city, also known as Donostia, lies along a white sandy bay between the Urgull and Igeldo hills. Fishermen's houses, a smart suburb and modern districts make it one of the most attractive cities on the Cantabrian coast. The Museum of San Telmo, the Peine del Viento (the Wind Comb) and the Kursaal are examples of how the city brings together modern and traditional features. Meanwhile, the province of Guipuzcoa, of which San Sebastián is the capital, blends sea and mountains, offering the traveller landscape, sports and cuisine, as well as interesting monuments. Basque cuisine has a recognised international prestige.
LaCity Travel - Traveller Tips for Spain   

VISAS: Spain, as a member of the Schengen States, does not require Australians citizens travelling to Spain as tourists to obtain a visa prior to arrival. On arrival from a non-Schengen state Australian citizens will be issued with a short period visa, or the common ‘Schengen Visa’, which permits a maximum stay of 90 days over a six month period within the Schengen State area (that is, 90 days over six months in the entire Schengen State area, and not in each individual Schengen state).  

MONEY: 1 AUD = 0.664 € (23/05/2017). Payment using recognised international credit cards is also commonly available in Spanish shops. They usually have signs indicating this option at the entrance to the establishment. When you make a payment you should show your passport or ID card. Traveller's cheques, accompanied by a passport, are also accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops.  

ELECTRICITY:Electricity supply in Spain is AC 220 volts, 50 Hertz. Sockets meet European regulations and use the round pin system. However, most hotels have adaptors for different plugs. Make sure that the electrical appliances you are going to use (computers, mobile phone chargers, shavers…) work at this voltage.  

CLIMATE / WEATHER: Spain has a predominantly warm Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures. Here you can enjoy more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. It is no surprise, then, that this is one of the warmest parts of Europe. When talking of weather, special mention should be made of the Canary Islands. Their special location, facing the coast of Africa, gives them a benign climate with mild temperatures (22ºC year-round average on the coasts), with only small temperature differences between day and night, whatever the season. Nevertheless, variety is the main characteristic of the climate here, due to Spain’s immense geographical diversity. So that if you travel to the north, to the Cantabrian coast, you will find a mild climate with high rainfall. Winters are mild and in summer temperatures rarely exceed 25ºC. However, in the higher parts of the country, the climate is harsher and it is common to see snow from the beginning of winter to the end of spring. This is the case of the Pyrenees, the mountains of Sierra Nevada, the Central and Iberian ranges, and the Cantabrian Mountains, amongst others.  

TIME DIFFERENCE: The time zone on the Spanish mainland and the Balearic Islands is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 1 hour in winter and + 2 hours in summer. On the Canary Islands, it is GMT, or GMT + 1 hour in summer, i.e. always 1 hour less than the time on the mainland and in the Balearics. Spain changes its time between summer and winter for daylight saving. This means that the last weekend in October the clocks go back 1 hour (at 3am it is 2am) and the last weekend in March they go forward 1 hour (at 2am it is 3am).  

BEST TIME TO VISIT SPAIN:The months of May, June, September and October are ideal for visiting Spain. July and August, can get extremely hot (particularly in the south) and is the peak period for Spaniards to travel. During these months there is a mass exodus from the cities to the coast. The ‘Costas' become a hive of activity and the cities are fairly deserted. Generally, pleasant weather can be found in different areas of the country, depending on the season. Why not retreat to the north of Spain and enjoy the beaches and mountains in the height of summer? In winter, the north can become quite cold so perhaps this is the time to enjoy the mild winter of the south?  

LANGUAGE: Spanish is spoken all over the Spanish territory. However other languages are also spoken in certain areas of Spain. These are: Catalan, in Catalonia; Galician, in Galicia; Euskera/Basque, in the Basque Country; Valencian, in the Region of Valencia; and a particular variety of Catalan, spoken in the Balearic Islands.  

WHAT TYPE OF CLOTHING SHOULD I PACK:In Spain, people dress differently according to the season, the place they are going to, and the circumstances. In the coast, because of the mild climate, it is usually not necessary to pack warm clothes; while in the interior, you should dress according to the season. In the interior of Spain, temperatures vary greatly from one season to the next, with very cold winters, and really hot summers. Spanish people don't dress up too much to go out, although of course, it depends on where you are going  

FOOD / DRINK:LaCity Travel believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world. Food doesn’t get much better or fresher than in Spain. An abundance of fresh seafood, vegetables, fruits, wines and pastries ensures there’s plenty to try in the bars, restaurants, cafes, street fiestas and markets of Spain.  

HISTORY: Spain has a rich and complex history. As conquerors (and the conquered), Spain has seen many different outside influences come and go via war, invasion, immigration and trade. From the Moors to the Romans, the British to the Portuguese, Spain has been influenced both by its neighbours and by far-flung lands. This is evident in the different styles of architecture, art, cuisine and culture that are present in modern-day Spain. Emerging from social upheaval, civil war, international conflict, devastating pandemics and terrorism, Spain’s spirit is both irrepressible and irresistible.  

SHOPPING: The most usual business hours are from Monday-Saturday, from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, and 4:30 to 8 pm. Major shopping centres and department stores are open all day from 10 am to 9 or 10 pm. The main department stores and shopping centres also open their doors to the public on some Sundays in the year. Establishments usually stay open until after 10 pm in the high season in coastal areas. What's more, in a number of cities opening hours are unregulated, and shoppers thus have a wider range of opening hours. Home of cult-fashion brand ZARA, Camper shoes, Lladro porcelain, Mango clothing and some of the best wine and olive oil in the world, shopping in Spain may not be cheap but quality is pretty much guaranteed if you stick to authentic brands and handmade goods, rather than fake imports. It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.  

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS: Certain dates are public holidays in Spain, and they can be national, regional or local.The following are the national public holidays for 2014:
1 January, New Year's Day.
6 January, Epiphany.
17 April, Maundy Thursday (throughout Spain, except in Catalonia and the Region of Valencia).
18 April, Good Friday.  
1 May, Labour Day.

15 August, the Assumption.
1 November, All Saints' Day.
6 December, Spanish Constitution Day.
8 December, Festivity of the Inmaculada Concepción.
25 December, Christmas Day.  

HEALTH: No jabs are necessary for Spain. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all travellers should be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, regardless of their destination. Since most vaccines don’t produce immunity until at least two weeks after they’re given, visit a physician at least six weeks before departure.  

SAFETY / SECURITY: In general terms, Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe for visiting tourists. As in any country, there are basic security measures to bear in mind… Try not to walk around empty streets or poorly-lit areas, and avoid street gambling stalls. Try to carry only the money you need for any one excursion. Take care of your possessions in crowded places such as public transport or department stores. When relaxing in public places, keep valuable objects like mobile phones and cameras out of view.  

EMERGENCY: Dial 112 free of charge (valid throughout Spain). Service is provided in Spanish, and also in English, French and German in some tourist areas.  

TIPPING: In every single establishment in Spain, service is included with the price of the meal or drink. However, tipping is a common practice at bars and restaurants, hotels, and taxis, depending on the total price for the service, and on the generosity of the client. It is usually around five to ten percent of the total price.  

TRAVEL INSURANCE: All passengers must have comprehensive travel insurance. You can complete this with LaCity Travel if you wish. Check your Travel Insurance Policy for an Emergency number and details of services to be provided, Carry these details with you.  

Australian Embassy
Level 24, Torre Espacio
Paseo de la Castellana 259 D,
28046 - Madrid 
www.spain.embassy.gov.au
Tel.:+34 913536600 Fax.:34913536692