The Best of Spain. As A Traveler
The Authentic. Unseen by the throngs of tourists from cruise ships and buses. The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.” ~ Daniel J. Boorstin
Dear friend and fellow traveler, I would like to extend my personal invitation for you to see the authentic Europe as a traveler. Join me on this trip of a lifetime, and one you won’t soon forget. If you’ve ever been to Spain, then you relate to the above sentiment ~ these places leave a lasting impression on travelers. Once you’ve been, it never quite leaves you. It becomes a part of your very being, always there, whispering to you like a long-lost friend., wanting you to stop in for a visit. And if you’ve never been, then you only have
to imagine places like Madrid or Seville to awaken inside of you the part that longs to see and experience a place where history is so alive, it speaks to you from every plaza, every museum, and even the very stones beneath your feet.
~ Mark Story, Executive Director
The Passion of Spain. Experience these wild, beautiful and contradictory lands. From Roman relics and Muslim palaces to baroque cathedrals and daring modern city centers, Spain boasts a dazzling blend of civilization, culture and color. This 12-day tour is a treasure chest of cultural jewels that stretch across a wide palette.
Unique Itinerary Every day is unique. It's all about the colorful life! We’ll see fiery flamenco dancers swirl in flounces of red, wind along emerald green mountains that seem to tumble into the wild blue Atlantic, and stroll through whitewashed villages huddled under 500-year old red-tiled roofs. Spain seems to be a country that has a thousand different countries within. Wherever you look, Roman arches and Arab filigree meet, creating a colorful, eclectic mash of centuries. The Spanish put their heart and soul into everything they do. They may be the world’s most sociable people. Meals are celebrations. Art is passionate. The sun is hot, and the flamenco is very cool. Something for everyone…Whether you’re a “first-timer” to Spain, or have visited many times, we invite you to join us for this exciting tour program. For one set price, you’ll be staying in first-class accommodations in each city and have the experience of local, English-speaking tour guides. You’ll have a chance to visit all the major, “must-see” sites, plus enough free time on your own to visit the places that really matter to you, or you can simply enjoy that time relishing your first taste of Spanish tapas it’s entirely up to you. Also included are in-depth tours in each city, group transportation in an air-conditioned motor coach, admission and entrance fees for each stop on our tours, breakfast each morning and five all-inclusive dinners with wine! And if you have been to Spain before and maybe want something a little different, you have the opportunity of choosing to go as a “first-timer” (there are many sites you could see a hundred times and still find something new!) or adding on whichever tours and attractions are to your liking and interest, essentially building your own trip (simply call us at 1 877-865-6711 for a custom quote).
Best of Spain Itinerary SPAIN Tour - Unique Perspective Depart your home airport on your Trans-Atlantic flight to Madrid, Spain. Your international flight is not included. Inquire for special fare and service from our Air Service department.
A True Small-Group of 6 to 16 Travelers ~ Hotels Really in Center of Town ~ Unique Dining Venues — No Set Menus ~ No Up-Selling while Traveling
NOTE: Please Note: "Day 1" is the published tour date and is the date you will arrange your air travel to depart your home airport. Your Small Group Tour will commence on Itinerary Day 2 upon arrival in Madrid, Spain.
Can we help you with your Airfare? Yes, we can arrange your air travel from the Story Land & Sea® air department. We'll work with you to get the absolutely lowest fare available based on your travel preferences. We utilize both our own air department and online agencies to find the best rate. At the end of the tour you should set your flight to return from Madrid (MAD). Or if you are extending to Barcelona, then you should set your flight to return from there (BAR). Remember, airfare is a completely separate arrangement from your land tour. It is your responsibility to arrive at the point of tour origination (Madrid, Spain) on time regardless of whether Story Land & Sea® has arranged your air. Protect Your Vacation: We encourage trip protection insurance.
Welcome to Madrid Story Way® Dining: Enjoy our Included Welcome Dinner Your Small Group Tour Vacation to Europe is underway! Your flights will likely be set up to arrive today. After transferring to the hotel (see optional arrival transfer option or make your own way to the hotel), check-in, freshen up and explore your surroundings. One of Story Land & Sea®'s most popular True Small-Group® tour vacations commences this afternoon at our Deluxe hotel located in the heart of Madrid. Located in the heart of the city is our deluxe hotel where your Tour Captain meets you for the included Orientation Walkabout. After you orientation there will be time to freshen up before the included welcome reception and dinner in the heart of Spain's Capital City, Madrid. Included Story Way® Welcome Dinner: Join the Tour Captain for your welcome to Spain dinner. Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Light. WELCOME TO MADRID After your bags are stored securely (rooms aren't ready until 3pm), you will have free time until we meet later today to begin our adventure through Madrid with our local expert guide. The capital of Spain since 1561, Madrid is a beautifully modern city with a truly old heart. On this privately guided walking tour, we'll enjoy a walk through the Puerta del Sol and a guided tour of the Royal Palace. Then enjoy our Unique Perspectives Experience at Plaza Mayor with your Tour Captain. The sights, scents and tastes of the San Miguel Market are also a highlight. Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Light Your Small Group Tour Vacation to Spain is underway! After our reception, we'll walk to our Welcome Dinner in Madrid. Included Story Way® Dining: The Story Land & Sea® Way of Dining debuts as you join your Tour Captain for the Welcome Dinner in Madrid. Experience what can only be described as a night of the best cuisine and vino from the region.
About The Story® Way of Dining Our approach to dining is truly unique: Our favorites dishes represent the region we're traveling through. We call this 'speaking the language of your food.' From our unique, off-the-beaten-path restaurants we visit for each included dinner to the variety of hand-crafted dishes, it's truly an immersion into authentic Spanish cuisine paired with Spanish wine. Your Tour Captain is there to make sure your dining experience goes smoothly and will help you interpret any menu item. For the 5 total included dinners, your Tour Captain will select a variety of appetizers, featuring regional cuisine, and will select your wine for the evening ~ a variety of red and white wine from the region in which you're traveling ~ and yes, "the wine does flow." It's an intentionally slow evening of delight so you can savor the experience in the local culture. Bienvenidos!
Toledo City of Three Cultures Optional Dining: Join our Tour Captain for an optional dinner in Madrid or explore at leisure. Today, you will experience our adventure through Toledo with our local expert guide. TOLEDO EXPERIENCE It's a comprehensive look at Spain's past when Arabs, Jews and Christians all lived and worked side by side. Toledo is one of the Spanish cities with the greatest wealth of monuments. Known as the â€œcity of the three cultures,â€? 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.
We transfer from Madrid to Toledo for the day and return in the mid afternoon for the balance of your day at leisure. The afternoon is designed to allow you the freedom to explore more of this fascinating city on your own. A day to discover the amazing art museums such as the Prado, the Theissen, or the Reina Sofia with Picasso's Guernica as its main feature. You could visit the Templo de Debod, an ancient Egyptian Temple rebuilt in Madrid, or stroll in the beautiful Parque del Ritiro, Madrid's gorgeous city park. Your Tour Captain is ready, willing and able to assist you with anything you might have in mind to insure that this day is uniquely your own. Optional dining tonight: Join our Tour Captain for an optional dinner in Madrid or explore at leisure.
Cordoba Unhurried Beauty Story WayÂŽ Dining: Join our Tour Captain for a dinner in Cordoba. City: Cordoba | Train to Cordoba Enjoy a hearty breakfast and we're off for our leisurely train ride to Cordoba. We arrive Cordoba around the noon hour and enjoy a walking tour with time for lunch on your own built in. Cordoba is an unhurried city, known for its abundant courtyards (or patios as they are called locally), flowers dangling from balconies and narrow winding streets. There will be plenty of time at leisure this afternoon to explore this amazing city at your own pace. We check-in to our luxury hotel before meeting for our welcome dinner. Included Story WayÂŽ Welcome Dinner: Join the Tour Captain for dinner in Cordoba tonight.
Cordoba~Immersion with the Mezquita City: Cordoba This morning we are set to explore Cordoba with our Tour Captain. Enjoy a tour of the La Mezquita (Spanish for the word, mosque), and discover the building's 1200 year history. It has served as a meeting place for Christians, a Moorish mosque, and since the 1500s, a Roman Catholic cathedral. Your afternoon will be at leisure designed intentionally for you to enjoy more of this amazing city. Choose to indulge yourself with some of the wonderful Spa treatments offered by our luxurious 5-Star hotel. Enjoy! Optional dining tonight with the Tour Captain.
Granada ~ Beauty for the Eyes Story WayÂŽ Dining: Tonight, enjoy our Unique Perspectives Experience with your Tour Captain at our welcome dinner in Granada. This morning are bound for Granada. Boasting one of the most magnificently positioned palaces in the world, the Alhambra. We will make a stop this morning near Priego de Cordoba for an Oil oil tasting. Priego de Cordoba, a 90-minute drive into the mountains southeast of Cordoba, is a picturesque town in a major olive oil region with half a dozen important mills, known as Al Masara in Arabic. Cordoba is proud of its olive oil and nowhere more so than Priego, which like wine has its own regional denomination and is considered the best in Spain. The age of the olive trees varies from 40 to 200. The 16,000 trees are spread over 170 hectares (420 acres) and carefully spaced to provide enough soil to nourish each one, creating a dotted patchwork over the hillsides. We then continue on to Granada. It is as wondrous to behold from across the gorge, with the white peaks of the Sierra Nevada glinting behind in the sun, as it is to examine close at hand, with its elaborate symbolic designs. The city has a fascinating history, which can still be seen today in Granadaâ€™s carmens and Arab baths. Upon arrival into the city we will set out for a wonderful orientation walk and take time for lunch, at guest expense, in the city center before checking into our centrally located hotel. Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace; Volume: Light
The Alhambra in Granada, Ferdinand & Isabella Sightseeing Immersion This morning we slow the pace allowing for you to relax and enjoy the morning at leisure. After lunch we set out to explore Granada and the Alhambra. We start with a look around town culminating in the magnificent fortress that crowns the city where we'll meet our local expert guide for our tour. We enjoy a walking tour of the Palace, the massive grounds, and the spectacular water gardens of the Generalife. The grounds were used in the 1300's as the Islamic Sultan's vacation retreat. Soak in impressive views of the Old Quarter and Sacromonte, a mountain occupied by Gypsy cave dwellers, and other notables on the skyline. Join our Tour Captain for an optional dinner in Granada
Rhonda & Seville Rhonda & on to Seville Today, we'll take the road less traveled, making our way eventually to Seville. Our route today will take us for a nice stop in the town of Ronda, the birthplace of modern bullfighting and one of the last beacons of the Muslim world. This fairytale setting dating back to Roman times, has attracted the likes of Ernest Hemingway, who based For Whom the Bell Tolls on this city, as well as Orson Welles, whose ashes are buried on a bull farm just outside of town. The interior of the AndalucĂa provides for memorable images we have as we continue our journey through Spain.
Hemingway called Ronda the most romantic city in Spain. Its location above the surrounding countryside above steep cliffs is dramatic. We will travel through the sunbaked watershed of the Rio Guadalquivar Basin, the same river that Columbus and Magellan sailed from. The rolling hills are punctuated by old farming estates. Some have viewing towers, and others are even outlined in tiles or mosaics in the colors of ochre, blue and brick red. We'll arrive into Seville mid-afternoon, plenty of time to check into our fantastic 5-Star hotel in the heart of the city to catch our breath and venture out for a walkabout before an optional dinner. Optional dining tonight with the Tour Captain.
Seville ~ Columbus | Royal Palace The Beautiful Colors of Seville Story WayÂŽ Dining: Flamenco Show & Dinner Tonight Youâ€™ll have a wonderful Spanish breakfast this morning and then meet our local guide, who will accompany us to relive the drama of Carmen as we explore this historical city. Seville's city tour embraces its ancient Roman history, conquest by the Moors and contribution to the discovery of the New World. Like all old cities built haphazardly over the centuries, walking around Seville is a dream, and most probably one of Europe's most beautiful places. Its alleys twist and turn, and sometimes the tiny courtyards feature an orange or a lime tree bursting with vivid color. As we pick through the narrow lanes of the charming city, we'll view Columbus' tomb in the Cathedral, the world's largest Gothic edifice. Then we're on to the AlcĂĄzar, the longest inhabited royal palace in Europe and a marvel of Moorish-style architecture.The variety of small palaces that make it up is amazing. The stucco work and the Mudejar ceilings are simply beautiful. The tiles on the walls are some of the most beautiful tiles ever made in Spain or anywhere. The huge gardens are marvelous and a joy to discover. Then on to its Giralda Bell Tower, which was once the minaret of a 12th-century mosque, with views of all of Seville. Tonight we'll take in a traditional Flamenco Show and Included Dinner. Exclusive Flamenco Show & Dinner Included: We'll take in the passion and seduction of the art-form known as the Flamenco. A show is Included with our dinner. Flamenco is an art form that was born, and thrives, here in Spain. Spanish flamenco is the best because Spaniards start dancing when they can barely walk, and they dance everyday. The stomping of the feet, the twirling of the body, and the drama of the music are simply part of their culture.
Experiencing Barcelona - Magical City Seville to Barcelona Optional Dinner Tonight: Join your Tour Captain for an optional dinner in Barcelona. May we suggest a Tapas Crawl tonight led by your Tour Captain. This morning we depart for the Seville airport for the on-tour required airhop to Barcelona. Upon arrival we will we transferred to our fantastic city center hotel, check-in and set out with the Tour Captain for an informative city orientation with time for lunch as we go. The afternoon can be spent at leisure with your new found confidence to further explore this exciting city. OPTIONAL DINNER TONIGHT ~ Join our Tour Captain for an optional dinner in Barcelona. May we suggest a Tapas Crawl tonight led by your Tour Captain.
Catalonian National Museum in Barcelona
Barcelona Sightseeing Immersion Story Way® Dining: Tonight we invite you to join us for an equally magical evening of fun and merriment as we enjoy our Farewell feast together at a local favorite restaurant. After breakfast, meet our guide in lobby and enjoy a sightseeing excursion of Barcelona including: We drive to Montjuïc Hill to take in the Olympic Site with spectacular panoramic views of the city. Enjoy our walking immersion of Barcelona with: •
We enjoy the Placa de Espanya and the 1929 World Fair grounds
Passeig de Gràcia: Barcelona's most elegant avenue with Gaudí's Batlló and Milà Houses
Holy Family church — Enjoy admission to the Sagrada Familia, Guell Park and highlights of Gaudi's handiwork
We are transported by vehicle but we also enjoy walking through the very heart of Barcelona. Story Way® Dining: Farewell Experience tonight with your Tour Captain. Tonight we invite you to join us for an equally magical evening of fun and merriment as we enjoy our Farewell feast together at a local favorite restaurant. Celebrate new friends, our journey together and dream of the next chapter of your Story of Travel!.
Departure Day Barcelona Departure Inquire about departure transfers. Catch your flight home from Barcelona or Extend Your Adventure. Until we meet again, may your days be full of discovery and your nights full of good friends. Or are you extending to the exciting city of Paris? or some other exotic destination...inquire with reservations for details.
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Small Group Tour Information YOUR DELUXE TRUE SMALL-GROUP TOUR INCLUDES:
~ Enjoy a True Small Group of never more than 16 Travelers. Guaranteed. No waiting on big groups or big buses. ~ Hotels in the heart of the cities and towns. Not on the outskirts of town, so no shuttles or special transfers needed. ~ We Never Upsell while On Tour. See any of the mainstream tour operator itineraries, and you will see very quickly how their "tour directors" make extra revenue. ~ Gratuities are included for your Local Guides and Drivers. ~ Off-the-Beaten-Path and unique Restaurants throughout the itinerary. All authentic restaurants that fit our group size.
~ All Admissions and Sightseeing as defined on itinerary. ~ Portage Included throughout your Small Group Tour. ~ Services of professional Tour director called a Tour Captain. The Tour Captain serves as your host throughout the trip to ensure everything goes according to the journey's plan. ~ Services of Professional Guides. We use professional, certified guides for our sightseeing at select venues and sites throughout the Small Group Tour.
12 Days Round-Trip Air (not included), 12 Days Land, 10 Nights Hotel Accommodation.
PASSPORTS: A valid passport is required and must be obtained in person by each tour member at a local passport office.
Services of full-time, experienced guides and professional Tour Captain.
LODGING & ACCOMMODATIONS Tour prices are per person, based on two persons sharing double or twin-bedded room with private bathroom with tub or shower. Single rooms subject to availability and at an additional cost (tour participants without a roommate will have to pay the single room surcharge). Hotels used are based on your itinerary.
SIGHTSEEING Comprehensive daily sightseeing per itinerary via private transportation with experienced, local driver. Admission & entrance fees to all sightseeing as detailed per itinerary. DAILY BREAKFAST, SOME LUNCHES AND DINNERS Full, hot breakfast daily. Lunches and dinner included per itinerary. Coffee or tea included with breakfast only; all other beverages are extra. Select dinners are included at unique restaurants.
SERVICE CHARGES AND TAXES: All departure taxes and tipping are included.
INSURANCE Story Land & Sea® highly recommends trip cancellation and interruption coverage. We recommend www.Travelex-Insurance.com. Enter location code of 06-0051 to associate any purchase with your Story Land & Sea® vacation.
PASSPORTS & VISAS Travel documents are your responsibility, including compliance with customs regulations.
STORY LAND & SEA® TOURS' TOUR VACATION At Story Land & Sea® Tours, we offer hosted tours with a Tour Captain who provides you with world-class service throughout the tour.
PORTAGE Portage (one suitcase per person) and all tipping (driver, restaurant, hotel and guide staff) included. Extra bag portaged for $USD119 per bag. Story Land & Sea® luggage tags upon arrival first hotel.
Single Supplement applies. See Dates & Rates Tab.