Magical Cities of Spain    *alt*

10 days, from £1529
Titan
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Description

Three of Spains (and indeed Europes) finest city break destinations are seamlessly combined in this superb value tour. Between them, Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid encompass the pride of Catalan culture, the grandeur of Royal Spain and the pinnacle of Modernist architecture. With half board stays at high standard hotels and several guided tours included, this is a truly hassle-free holiday, and an imaginative selection of optional excursions allow you to balance your leisure time between off-the-beaten-path activities and sublime relaxation, Spanish-style.

Itinerary


 Day 1

Titans VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow or Gatwick Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Barcelona. Upon arrival, we transfer to the Rafaelhoteles Badalona (4T) for the first of a three-night stay on a half board basis. The remainder of the day is at leisure.


 Day 2

The many and varied attractions of Catalonias cosmopolitan capital, Barcelona, are short coach journey from the hotel. Our included guided tour introduces highlights such as the vibrant Plaza de Catalunya; atmospheric Gothic Quarter with its Roman ruins and grand medieval edifices; some of the most iconic Modernist buildings and bustling Las Ramblas, the citys most famous street. The afternoon is then yours to discover your own Barcelona - perhaps visiting Antonio Gaudis architectural masterpiece La Sagrada Familia, shopping for bargains or simply unwinding in a chic cafe.


 Day 3

An optional day trip invites you to appreciate the breathtaking mountain scenery of Montserrat and its fascinating Benedictine monastery, a bastion of Catalan language and culture during the Franco regime. Montserrat is also a noted pilgrimage site, in honour of the Black Virgin, Catalonias patron. Alternatively, make further independent explorations of Barcelona or stroll to the sandy beach.


 Day 4

We follow the sun-drenched Spanish coastline south to Valencia, making a stop at historic Peiscola where you will enjoy free time to explore the fortified headland and Knights Templar castle - joined to the mainland by a narrow causeway, this photogenic outpost recalls the drama of Normandys Mont St Michel and Cornwalls St Michaels Mount. Upon arrival in Valencia, we check into the Hotel Senator Parque Central (4T), our base for three nights, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.


 Day 5

There is so much to experience in Spains magnificent third city, but we focus on the state-of-the-art Oceanogrfic, Europes largest aquarium, where sharks, dolphins and 500 other species are housed in ten great marine habitats, and the Science Museum Principe Felipe, another remarkable modern building and celebration of scientific endeavour home to enthralling displays on subjects as diverse as dinosaurs and DNA, ants and astrophysics.


 Day 6

Valencia is the home of the paella and an optional excursion today confers instant paella expertise on its participants! In the company of an expert, shop for the freshest ingredients at a local market, then head to a cookery school to learn how to cook this delicious dish yourself, and savour the fruits of your labour at lunchtime with an accompanying glass of Sangria.


 Day 7

En route to the Spanish capital we make a stop at Cuenca, a uniquely well preserved old town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Among myriad other notable buildings to admire in Cuenca are Spains first Gothic cathedral and the so-called hanging houses - tall, traditional dwellings suspended from sheer cliffs overlooking the Huecar river. We check into the Hotel Silken Puerta de Madrid (4T), or Rafaelhoteles Forum Alcal (4T) a short journey from Madrid.


 Day 8

An included guided tour of Madrid showcases its extraordinary grandeur to memorable effect, not least as we visit the vast, dazzling Baroque Palacio Real, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Later, why not spend your free time visiting one of the citys great repositories of art - the Prado, which counts Hieronymous Boschs Garden of Earthly Delights amongst its treasures; or Reina Sofia, home to Picassos Guernica, or simply taste tapas and soak up the Spanish atmosphere.


 Day 9

Though you may wish to spend the final full day of the tour indulging in a little well-deserved relaxation, there is much to recommend todays optional excursion to Toledo, a hilltop walled city some 40 miles from Madrid now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Echoes of Roman, Visigoth and Arab rule are still apparent and, following re-conquest, Toledo was the capital of the Spanish Empire until the mid-1500s. You can visit Santo Tome Church here, world-renowned for El Grecos painting The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.


 Day 10

We transfer to the airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.