Spain

CONNOISSEUR’S SPAIN

Central Spain

Day One, Two, and Three – The heart of Spain’s central region is Madrid, which is also the main air hub for all of Spain. An easy taxi transfer puts you into the Centro Historico where your journey begins. Madrid is about culture, history, excellent food, good shopping, and night life. It’s loaded with great art in the famous “Prado”, Sorollo’s House Museum, and much much more.  In Madrid, it’s really all about the City, so, we really get into it with our great local guides!

After check-in, rest, and basic orientation, plan to visit “Old Town” to enjoy the people watching, beautiful plazas, and fabulous food.  Get familiar with the “food route” and return in the evening, after 8:00 pm, to mingle with the locals as they come out to enjoy their evening living room.

Day Four, Five, and Six – Excellent day trips can include Avila, Segovia, Salamanca, Toledo, and Talavera de la Reina.  All are within one-day driving range and all are loaded with historic sites, artisan traditions, and good dining choices.  Soak up the afternoon sun with a nice glass of wine in the main square of Salamanca and observe the beautiful “Senoras” fanning themselves while they share the secrets about their men, who, by the way, are sitting on the opposite side of the square talking about their women!

Day Six and Seven – Catch a little rest at your hotel and then rush back into the city for a special dinner out, to go back to that store once more, or to just “fill up” on those incredible “Tapas”.  Prepare for next day departure and fill your notebook with special thoughts, memories, and ideas for “the next time”!

Note:  For all regions, your itinerary and the exact number of your trip days will depend on what you’re looking for, your budget, and your schedule.  Customizing your trip is “what we do best”, so, why wait?……….. let’s get started to make it a reality!  

Northern Spain

Day One – After arrival into Madrid, a short transfer by air puts you directly into San Sebastian, which serves beautifully as your north region base.  A short taxi ride from the San Sebastian airport delivers you to your hotel in the heart of the “action”!  All hotels are perfectly located overlooking the famous Playa del Concha or on the “river side” of the city next to Old Town……everything is close by.  “Hit the bricks” and head into Old Town for a food experience of a lifetime…….remember, you are in Basque country!  The “tapas” or “pinxos” are simply out of this world!124

Day Two and Three – With so much to do and see in San Sebastian, give yourself a couple of days to just walk about, poke your head into shops, enjoy the beach promenade, and take in the cuisine.    A morning or afternoon beach visit to see the famous ” Chillida” wind – water sculpture and the crashing waves is unlike anything else in the world.129

More awaits discovery in Old Town with a visit to the “farmers and fish” markets…..truly art work.  Work with your concierge to arrange for a traditional dinner at one of the many Basque “clubs” in Old Town.  Spend a “Casino” evening in the main casino near the beach or at the Hotel Londres casino and take your “winnings” back to your favorite tapas bar for a fresh shrimp or tuna on baguette or, go ahead, and pleasure yourself with the “foie a la plancha”!…….truly to die for!  Waddle back to your hotel and rest up for tomorrow’s adventure!

Day Four and Five – By car, go north over the border into France and visit Biarritz. Famous for it’s beach, casino, and beautiful shopping district, you will feel the glamour and be elbow to elbow with the “who’s who” of Europe.  Enjoy the drive into and out of Biarritz by way of the countryside and coastline to see some of the most beautiful country living in the world.

Now, saddle up for more day tripping and go south.  Nice day trips can take you to the picturesque fishing village of Guetaria, the famous town of Pamplona (watch out for the bulls), or Bilbao. Tripping along the coast from little village to little village is easy, quiet, and beautiful……it’s even fun to get lost!   Pamplona is a little more ambitious, but, well worth the time.  Bilbao is a major city with some of the best cuisine in the world and, of course, the great Guggenheim museum…….Old Town along the river is marvelous.

Day Six and Seven – Now that you are acquainted, get to know more about San Sebastian and splurge on a local guide who will add another dimension to your knowledge base and, maybe, get you into a private cooking class or private club.  Make a reservation at the one star Michelin restaurant and celebrate yourselves. Give that casino one more try or just “walk off” that one star dinner on the beach promenade and take a bench for some great people watching. Sleep long and well in preparation for your departure back to Madrid.

Southern Spain

Once again from the Madrid hub, journey south into one of the most historical parts of Spain.  By car, train, or air you can enjoy the marvelous “must do” route of Sevilla, Jerez, Cordoba, and Granada.  Side trips from Sevilla or Granada to visit haciendas, quaint small towns, and to get a feel for the vast countryside is easy and pleasurable.

Day One – Madrid airport transfer to the downtown train station for a departure to Sevilla.  Arrive in Sevilla and taxi to your hotel for check-in, orientation, and a little rest. Off into the amazing narrow streets for a short walk to the heart of the shopping and restaurant district…….a bite to eat, coffee or a little sherry, and it all starts to unfold.

Day Two and Three – Spend a least one full day (better two) seeing Sevilla……churches, historic sites, plazas, getting lost in the winding streets, tiled garden surprises behind the walls, splendid food, and fabulous Spanish night life.  Sevilla, on foot, is a maize of continuous history, architecture, fantastic visuals and light, with a feeling of ancient and complex atmosphere everywhere.  The Spanish nightlife is classic, gracious, and delightful…..the locals live for the evening social gatherings.  Invest one full day for a trip to Jerez to visit the Sherry warehouses and to witness the spectacular Andalusian horse show…..truly unforgettable!

Day Four – Get ready for something special!  Check out and depart to Cordoba to stay in the old town and to visit the World Heritage Site of theDSCN0243 “Mezquita”…….simply unbelievable architecture and history……certainly one of the most significant buildings of the world! Dine out inside the walls of the Old Town and wander through the cobblestone streets to enjoy the locals and artisan “goodies”.

Day Five and Six – Check out and depart for Granada.  Stay in the fabulous restaurant and shopping district of Granada and prepare for yet another World Heritage Site, the “Alhambra”.  A full day excursion, the Alhambra, will amaze you with it’s historical evolution, architecture, and panoramic site.  Choices for an excellent lunch are a part of the “guided” excursion.  A short walk from your hotel puts you in the midst of the action for world class shopping, restaurants, and night life.

Day Seven – Check out and depart, by air, for Madrid.

Note: Upon arrival in Madrid, a choice can be made to extend your tour to “wind down” for a few days in the City or to continue on to your home.  As an alternative, a Madrid excursion could be your “start point” for a few days prior to your journey into the south region.  For the more ambitious, the North Region, Madrid, and the South Region can be planned as a “trip of a lifetime”.  But, now, let’s talk about Barcelona and the East Coast of Spain.

Barcelona 

Some would say that Barcelona is the New York City of Spain.  A major sea port, Barcelona is a hustling bustling metropolis.  The city energy is electric and the pace can sometimes be intense.  Having said that, Barcelona is a world class city and the home of the whimsical and mind boggling architecture of Gaudi.  The covered market near the port is one of the finest in the world…..truly a gastronomic wonderland!  Shopping?……well, get ready, this is the place!

With all that the city has to offer, it also lends itself to day tripping. For example, a nicely paced day trip north to Gerona to visit the Jewish Quarter in the old town or to marvel at the work on display in the museum of Salvador Dali is purely transcendental.  However, after soldiering through the delights of Gerona, one can relax and enjoy some of the best food that we have ever had at the innocuous restaurant on the edge of town.  The chef turns away the Michelin stars simply because he just wants to make great food.  In truth, he should have more than one star, but, let’s just keep it to ourselves!

Depending on your choices and desires, Barcelona can be a trip unto itself for as many days as you like or networked with other regions of Spain.  Give it some thought and give us a call or email!

For a customized regional Spain tour, contact me:

ada@connoisseurstravel.com

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