Essential Spain

Discover the very best of Spain as we travel from Basque country in the north to the Straight of Gibraltar and the Costa del Sol in the south. Experience Spain’s greatest cities, typically quaint villages, Cathedrals, Palaces, delicious food, amazing scenery.

Day one - overnight flight to Europe
Today you will board an overnight flight to Europe.

Day two - arrival in Madrid - transfer to Burgos
Early this morning, you will arrive in Madrid, Spain’s bustling capital city. You’ll be greeted at the airport upon arrival by Philippe, your tour director, and travel to the city center where you’ll enjoy an informal city tour of Madrid. This afternoon after an early lunch, you’ll board your private van and transfer to the city of Burgos (2 and a half hours by motorway), where a comfortable room awaits you. Once we’ve arrived at our hotel in Burgos, you’ll be able to rest for a few hours before regrouping to enjoy a welcome dinner together. Afterwards, you may want to join Philippe for an informal evening walk through the quaint streets of Burgos. (D)

Day three - Burgos, Bilbao and San Sebastian
This morning, our sightseeing adventure of Spain begins in earnest with a visit to the Burgos Cathedral. Afterwards, we’ll travel to nearby Bilbao (2 hours by motorway) where you will see the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, an astounding piece of architecture by Frank O. Gehry (described by some as “the greatest building of our time”). You’ll have time to tour the museum, which boasts an impressive collection of modern art.  You’ll also have free time for lunch at the museum before we depart for Basque Country and the lovely resort town of San Sebastian (1 hour by motorway). Set around a neat, shell-shaped bay and enclosed by low rolling hills, the fashionable seaside town of San Sebastian has long been a popular holiday resort for the aristocracy and it’s easy to see why. It has fabulous beaches and boasts an atmospheric Old Town with narrow, lively streets crammed with tapas bars.  A hearty dinner awaits! (B, D)

Day four - San Sebastian to Barcelona
Today, you’ll experience the sights, smells and sounds of a quiet Spanish town coming to life as we enjoy an early morning walk through the historic district of San Sebastian. You’ll see the old town square which once serrved as a bull fighting arena. Our walk will also include a visit to the fishing port as well as a walk along the famous Concha beach. Afterwards, we will travel through the very scenic Basque country to Catalunya and the vibrant city of Barcelona.  A wonderful Tapas dinner awaits! (B, D)

Day five - Barcelona
Today you will discover one of the most enchanting cities on earth, Barcelona. A thriving Mediterranean port and the most prosperous commercial centre in Spain. Barcelona possesses a Spanish sophistication and cultural dynamism all of its own. It’s a very fashionable, elegant and pretty city. From Antonio Gaudí’s extraordinary architecture to the museums which showcase, among others, the talents of Picasso and Joan Miró. There is so much here to see and do. A complete city tour this morning will introduce you to the many neighborhoods of Barcelona - from it’s Gothic Quarter to the Eixample District. You’ll visit Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece - the Sagrada Familia church, the city’s Olympic grounds (1992 Summer Olympics), the Boquería Market and one of the most famous streets in all of Spain - The Ramblas. This afternoon, you’ll have free time for lunch, shopping and exploring this fabulous city. As always, Philippe will be on hand to assist you should you need suggestions or directions. (B)

Day six - Seville
Rise and Shine! Today is a busy day of high speed adventure as we travel by Spain’s famous “AVE” high speed train to Seville. We’ll cross the entire breadth of Spain enjoying fine scenery along the way. Sit back, relax, enjoy breakfast in the comfort of your seat as the Spanish countryside glides by your rail cars’ large picture windows. This afternoon we will arrive in the historic city of Seville, one of the prettiest and most romantic cities on earth. You’ll enjoy a tour of the city’s main central highlights. You’ll visit the Alcazar which was once a Moorish palace and which is today one of the Royal Palaces used by Spain’s current royal family. You’ll also visit the incredibly beautiful Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece which was built atop an ancient mosque. You’ll see the Cathedral’s astounding golden altar as well as Christopher Columbus’ tomb. The Mosque’s famous minaret, which towers above Seville, was converted into the Cathedral’s bell tower centuries ago. A walk up to the top offers breathtaking views of the city in every direction. (B,D)
Day seven - Seville - day trip to Cordoba - evening Flamenco Show
An amazing day, begins with a high speed rail ride (45 minutes) to historic Cordoba where we will visit the legendary cathedral which, like the cathedral in Seville, was built atop an amazing Mosque (8th century).  You'll marvel at the beauty of Moorish architecture and learn about the centuries of Islamic occupation of Spain.  After our tour, we will return by rail southwards to Seville where we will arrive in the mid-afternoon.  The balance of the day is free for you to rest, shop, explore and to enjoy the sights of Seville. This evening, we’ll regroup and walk together to a legendary institution in Seville where the art and lifestyle of  the Flamenco are studied and taught. You’ll experience an authentic Flamenco show followed by dinner. (B, L, D)

Day eight - Andalusia - Gibraltar - Costa del Sol
This morning we will travel south through picturesque Andalusia to the British garrison at Gibraltar. The Rock of Gibraltar is legendary - it guards the entrance to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic and is a mere 13 miles from Africa. As such it has held an extremely significant strategic importance throughout history. Much to the ire of the Spanish, the town is a British possession. We’ll cross the “border” and visit this remarkable town of less than 5 square miles. We’ll travel to the top of the rock where you’ll visit St. Micheal’s Cave, a remarkable natural cave which was used during WWII as a military hospital.  You’ll likely see some of the Rock’s famous Barbary Apes along the way, not to mention stunning views of the Straight of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean Sea, and if the weather is clear enough, Morocco in the distance! After our tour of the Rock of Gibraltar, you’ll have a bit of free time to enjoy some duty-free shopping in the center of Gibraltar. This afternoon, we continue our route, traveling to Spain’s famous Costa del Sol and the resort town of Marbella, where we will overnight. (B, D)

Day nine - Costa del Sol - La Ronda - Granada
Today we will travel into the coastal mountains of Andalusia to the incredible town of La Ronda. Perched
high in the hills, La Ronda retains much of its historic charm, particularly its old town. It is famous worldwide
for its dramatic escarpments and views, and for the deep El Tajo gorge that carries the rio Guadalevín through its centre. Visitors make a beeline for the 18th century Puente Nuevo 'new' bridge, which straddles the 100m chasm below, for its unparalleled views out over the Serranía de Ronda mountains. You’ll enjoy an informal walk through La Ronda and some free time to shop and explore on your own afterwards. After lunch, we will continue our route through the countryside, crossing many typical Andalusian towns on our way to historic Granada. (B)

Day ten - Granada and the Alhambra
Granada has been justly praised for its delightful location and for the richness of its Moorish architecture, which is equal to anything to be found in North Africa. Your day begins with a walking tour of the Alhambra, a vast and elaborate fortress and palace which dates to the mid 1300’s. Built by Ibn Ahmar and later expanded by successors, this magnificent and imposing complex has ornate domed ceilings, colorful tiles and enigmatic inscriptions.  It is perhaps most famous for the Patio de Los Leones, a delightful arcaded courtyard with a lion fountain at its centre. Afterwards, you will explore the exquisite gardens of the Generalife, the summer palace of the caliphs. Generalife can translate as ‘the garden of the lofty paradise’, and its grounds are beautifully designed with waterfalls, walkways, courtyards, and smaller, secret gardens. Returning to the centre of the city, we will visit the Royal Chapel, where the founders of modern Spain (the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella) are buried.  It adjoins the cathedral, built in the early Renaissance style on the site of the former mosque. This afternoon, you’ll have a bit of time for last minute errands and souvenir shopping, before we travel by van to Madrid (4 and a half hours by motorway).  Upon arrival in Madrid we will check in to our hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner. (B, D)

Day eleven - return flights to the USA
A final morning in Spain, as today we transfer to Madrid’s Barajas airport for our return flights home. (B)

(This tour itinerary is subject to change)

This tour includes:
- a tour leader who will accompany your small group (see “Philippe Thériault” below)
- land transportation within Spain as described in the itinerary
- accommodations in carefully selected hotels and inns
- most of your meals: 7 dinners; 1 lunch; breakfast each day
- entrance fees to all of the activities described in the itinerary
- local tours with local guides in Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and at the Alhambra

This tour does not include:
- transatlantic airfare:
Your tour begins and ends in Madrid, Spain (airport code MAD Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas
international airport)

- Peak travel season (May, June, July, August, September)
$ 5400.00 per person in double occupancy $ 6250.00 per person in single occupancy
- Off peak travel season (January, February, March, April, October, November, December)
$ 4900.00 per person in double occupancy $ 5650.00 per person in single occupancy

Based on a group of six passengers - please call us for a quote based on specific dates.
Join a small group tour to Spain led by a thoughtful and well-experienced tour leader For the past 18 years, Philippe Thériault has been escorting guests exclusively for Yamato Travel Bureau. He’s dependable, knowledgeable, fun-loving and patient. Most importantly, he’s passionate about travel. His priority is to make your tour operate as smoothly as possible so that you can focus on enjoying each destination.  Philippe’s tours are small and friendly. Group sizes generally range from 5 to 15 guests. Smaller groups make it possible