Day 1: US > Valencia
Depart from our US gateway airport bound for Valencia.
*All airfare is based on departure from New York City or neighboring airports*
Day 2: Valencia
Arrive in Valencia, transfer to your accommodations. If you are arriving separately you will meet either Creed or Laura at the airport.
After getting settled, we will gather in the evening for a walking tour to orient you to the spectacular environs of Old Valencia. After the walking tour (approximately 90 minutes) you are on your own for dinner in one of the wonderful restaurants in the historic city center.
Day 3: Valencia
Today we will join our friend Javi and his friends out in the countryside for a traditional paella Sunday feast. It will be a relaxing afternoon of friendly discussion with the opportunity to learn to make this native dish and to relax in a delightful setting. Paella takes a long time to prepare so this will give us plenty of time to enjoy the day!
Day 4: Valencia
The City of Arts and Sciences was the brainchild of José María López Piñero, Professor of the History of Science at the University of Valencia. The original concept was expanded many times under successive city governments after its initial approval in 1991. The architecture is impressive, with the Hemispheric garnering most of the attention, fitting as it is designed to look like a human eye. Most interesting in terms of content is L’Oceanogràfic, the massive oceanographic park – the largest in Europe and it is there we will spend most of our time. In the afternoon we will take up an education in Spanish wine, learning about Cava and Tempranillo, among others. Naturally, we will sample all of them!
Day 5: Valencia > Barcelona
Old Valencia is on our agenda this morning as we climb the Miguelete Bell Tower for a view and a farewell to the most stylish city on the planet.
For those of you who are early risers, or at least can be rousted out of bed for a good reason, we strongly recommend an early morning trip to the Mercator Central, featuring over 1000 vendors offering almost anything you could imagine! This afternoon we will board our train for Barcelona. After we arrive and get settled in, we will have a walking tour of the city.
Day 6: Florence
Antonin Gaudi, one of the most famous of Spanish architects, is largely our focus today. Gaudi’s modernist architectural style, the modernist school, combined with his appreciation for nature and his deep Catholic faith. Little wonder that our first stop, La Sagrada Familia, evidences all three elements to create an immediately unforgettable cathedral. Still not finished, though now nearing completion, we will tour the structure and ascend to the top of one of the spires for a spectacular view.
From there we will head over to the Mercado de la Boqueria for lunch in an amazing, massive open-air market. After a break in the afternoon, we will continue to explore Gaudi’s work with a visit to Casa Milà, also known (disparagingly, originally) as La Pedrera, meaning the stone quarry. You will decide whether Gaudi’s modernist style is cool or crazy…
Day 7: Barcelona, Mallorca or Figueres
There are several options available for you today:
Take a short flight to the island of Mallorca surrounded by the stunning deep blue of the Mediterranean. Here you can explore the delightful Moorish city of Palma with its narrow, winding roads and feast on more works by Gaudí, take a train ride around the island, hike their famous mountains, lounge on hidden beaches, or go snorkeling or diving. Mallorca has been a popular attraction for the Spanish royal family, James Bond (at least in his Pierce Brosnan incarnation), Frederic Chopin, and many others. This excursion will cost approximately $150.
Hop on a train for an hour’s ride north and spend the day bending your mind among the surrealist art of Salvador Dali. Mind-bending is slightly less expensive at about $125.
Explore the amazing city of Barcelona in greater detail as you design your own day with our help and direction if you’d like it. This option will cost as little or as much as you would like it to though we suspect wine, food and/or shopping will be in order .
Day 8: Barcelona
No visit to Spain could possibly ignore the works of arguably the most accomplished painter in modern history, Pablo Picasso. We will spend a few hours this morning feasting our minds on his works at the Museu Picasso de Barcelona which represents the span of his work over his lifetime. After a free afternoon, we will convene for the Forbidden Tour, the details of which we will allow to surprise you. We will arrange for the group to enjoy a meal together this evening.
Day 9: Barcelona
Our final full day in Spain is a free day for you to do some shopping, head to the beach for a day of soaking up the sun next to the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean Sea, or simply wandering aimlessly to lose and find yourself in this ancient city.
Day 10: Barcelona > US
We will say our farewell to the land of Tapas and Tempranillo as we board the bus for the airport and our return flight to the U.S.