MADRID, BARCELONA, SEVILLE, TOLEDO, GRANADA, CORDOBA AND VALENCIA
The Spaniards adore their tapas, and this wonderful culinary tradition reflects the spirit of our escorted Best of Spain tour. You’ll sample the most appealing, intriguing sights from a sextet of cities, savoring Spain’s incredible legacy of art and architecture, its dramatic history and grand passions. Along the way, you’ll get a taste of the Spanish way of living, like el paseo, the leisurely evening stroll that often leads to a glass of wine and some tapas! From the Prado in Madrid to Granada’s Alhambra Palace and La Rambla in Barcelona, this “best of” tour serves up a multi-course feast of sights and experiences that are simply unforgettable.
To visit Spain in 2023, see our Splendid Spain tour!
Did you know that you can make this tour private? Find out about pricing and options for groups of 10 or more travelers.
- 2 nights in Madrid
- 1 night in Cordoba
- 2 nights in Seville
- 1 night in Granada
- 1 night in Valencia
- 3 nights in Barcelona
Your Tour Includes
- Round-trip airfare from New York Area (JFK or EWR) (passengers may also book this tour without flights)
- Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
- Ground transportation in air-conditioned motor coach
- Accommodations at first-class hotels
- 16 meals: 10 buffet breakfasts (B) and 6 dinners (D)
- Wine and mineral water with dinners
- Comprehensive sightseeing tours including admission fees as indicated in the itinerary
- Professional English-speaking Tour Director throughout
Day 1: Depart from the U.S.
Take off on a overnight flight to Madrid.
*Passengers who did not purchase flights will join the tour in Madrid on Day 2.
Day 2: Arrive in Madrid
After a morning arrival in Madrid, Spain’s grand capital and cultural heart, you’ll be greeted at the airport and escorted to your hotel, where your Tour Director will lead a get-acquainted walk around the surrounding neighborhood. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure before meeting your Tour Director for a welcome cocktail, orientation and dinner.Accommodations: Novotel Madrid Center or similar
Day 3: Madrid
Our morning features a guided tour of this splendid city. As we travel along the Gran Via, Madrid’s equivalent to New York City’s Broadway, we’ll marvel at the Opera district, Plaza de Colon, the monumental 18th-century Royal Palace (entrance included), Puerto del Sol Plaza and Plaza de España, Madrid’s main square, where we’ll see an imposing statue of Spain’s literary giant, Miguel de Cervantes. We’ll end at the enormous, impressive Prado Museum, which holds one of the world’s top collections, including masterpieces by El Greco, Velázquez and Goya. The balance of the day is at leisure. Consider taking a foodie walking tour of the city’s tapas scene (see optional tours). Or do what the Madrileños do. Take el paseo (stroll) to the delightful Retiro Park and then stop at one of Madrid’s excellent restaurants or tapas bars.Meals: Breakfast
Day 4: Toledo/Cordoba
Today we leave the current capital and stop in Toledo, the former medieval capital. Set on a hilltop overlooking the Castilian Plains and Tagus River, Toledo is the setting for many of El Greco’s paintings. We’ll take a guided walk through Toledo’s atmospheric cobbled streets, stopping at Santo Tome Church, home of El Greco’s masterwork, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, as well as Santa Maria la Blanca. Formerly the Iben Shushan Synagogue, this 12th-century structure is considered the site of the oldest synagogue in Europe still standing and a symbol of the harmonious coexistence of the three cultures (Jewish, Christian and Muslim) living on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. This afternoon, we’ll journey south to Andalusia past the iconic windmills of La Mancha, the setting for the adventures of Cervantes’ legendary character, Don Quixote, to Cordoba, a former capital of Roman Spain and later Moorish Spain.Accommodations: Hotel Macià Alfaros or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: Cordoba/Seville
Cultural gem Cordoba hosts some of Spain’s most impressive monuments. It was also the birthplace of the great 12th-century Jewish philosopher Moshe Ben Maimon (Maimonides). On our guided tour, we’ll marvel at the Mezquita (Great Mosque) built in the 10th century during Cordoba’s glory days as the capital of Moorish Spain. The mosque was later converted to a cathedral, but the fine original architectural details are stunning. We’ll also view the reconstructed Roman Bridge, as well as the beautifully restored 14th-century synagogue that survived the expulsion of Spain’s Jews. We’ll then continue to Seville, the charming Moorish capital of Spain’s Andalusia Region. After our dinner together at a local restaurant, we suggest you catch a performance of the expressive dance form—flamenco! See optional excursions for details.Accommodations: Melia Lebreros or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6: Seville
On an included guided tour, we’ll discover the passions of the city that is the backdrop for the great operas Carmen and Don Giovanni. Highlights include the Seville Cathedral, the biggest Gothic cathedral in the world, and landmark Giralda Bell Tower, the remaining part of the mosque built by the Moors. Our tour winds through the narrow streets and plazas of the well-preserved Barrio Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter, where we’ll delight in the whitewashed buildings, quaint shops and colorful flowers. Later, we’ll drive to the Plaza de España, passing the elegant Maria Luisa Park. The rest of the day is spent as you wish, strolling boulevards lined with palm and orange trees or relaxing at an outdoor café.Meals: Breakfast
Day 7: Seville/Granada
This morning, we journey on to Granada, the former Moorish stronghold and site of the region’s crown jewel, the Alhambra. Sprawled over a hilltop overlooking the city, the awe-inspiring Alhambra is an impressive castle and fortress with its romantic Generalife gardens. We’ll have time to marvel at the views of the city below and snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance, as well as walk through the acclaimed gardens, beautifully designed with courtyards, waterfalls and secret smaller gardens.Accommodations: Macia Real de La Alhambra Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: Granada/Valencia
You’re sure to be captivated by the rolling terrain and groves of olives, almonds, lemons and oranges on our way to the Mediterranean coast and Valencia, a city of great culture and beautiful gardens. On our afternoon guided tour, we’ll see architecture both ancient (Roman, Arabic and the gothic Cathedral) and modern—or should we say futuristic? Renowned architect Santiago Calatrava designed the City of Arts and Science, a “city within a city” that is an eye-popping sight, as well as a peek into what the future might look like.Accommodations: Hotel ILUNION Valencia 4 or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Valencia/Barcelona
The next leg of our Best of Spain journey hugs the coastline of Catalonia. We’ll stop at the base of the Prades Mountains to visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the majestic Monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet, one of the largest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in the world. Later, we’ll arrive in Barcelona and settle into our centrally located hotel.Accommodations: Catalonia Plaza Catalunya Hotel or similar
Day 10: Barcelona
The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona mixes medieval charm with avant-garde style. We’ll join a local expert for a fascinating tour that begins at the old harbor with a drive along Barcelona’s iconic boulevard, Las Ramblas. We’ll see the city’s lively heart, Plaza Catalunya, and picturesque Plaza de España before taking off on foot to explore the charming Gothic Quarter, Barcelona’s old city. Of course, a Barcelona tour isn’t complete without admiring buildings designed by the celebrated Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi. We’ll see one of his most famous works, the unfinished La Sagrada Familia Basilica, which has been under construction since 1882! The balance of the day is on your own to visit a museum or relax at an outdoor café. Ask your Tour Director for suggestions on where to dine tonight and what dishes to try. Why not paella?Meals: Breakfast
Day 11: Barcelona
Today you’ll have a full day to explore vibrant Barcelona on your own. You could return to the enchanting Gothic Quarter and soak up its magical atmosphere of cafes, street musicians and quaint shops. Seek out more of Gaudi’s masterpieces in the city center or stroll along Las Ramblas, stopping at the colorful Boqueria Market for freshly squeezed juice, a snack or more tapas! We’ll gather in the evening for a farewell dinner at a famous local restaurant.Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12: Barcelona/U.S.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. Your Best of Spain tour comes to an end as you land in the U.S. later today.
*The tour will end for passengers who did not purchase flights today, on Day 12, in Barcelona.Meals: Breakfast
We are working diligently to secure future tour dates and pricing for this itinerary. Please fill out the "Request a Future Date" form linked below and we will notify you once dates are available.
Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.
Enhance your trip with our recommended optional tours. Indicated optional tours are available to pre-book when you reserve your trip and can be added to your reservation up to final payment. This is the best option to guarantee your spot on your preferred optional tour! Optional tours require a minimum number of participants. Optional tours are non-refundable unless they do not operate.
Some optional tours can be purchased in-destination and may cost extra. The payment methods and currency information to purchase tours in-destination will be provided on final documentation.
Walking Tapas Tour
- $95 per person
Experience the food culture of Madrid like a local. You’ll sample Spain’s delicious tapas tradition on a three-hour foodie walking tour of Madrid. Go on a culinary journey through the regions of Spain, learning the origins of tapas and how each is made.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
- $83 per person
Immerse yourself in Spanish culture by enjoying an authentic flamenco dance performance.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Montserrat & Cava Winery Visit
- $169 per person
After driving through picturesque little villages you will arrive at the incomparable setting of the craggy mountain of Montserrat, which rises majestically from the plain to 4,051 feet (1,235 meters) and has amazing views. The mountain gets its name from the rock formations which look like they have been sawed and sculpted, the result of thousands of years of wind and rain. You will visit the Royal Basilica of Montserrat with its 12th-century carving of the Black Virgin and, after hearing its history from a guide, enjoy free time to explore on your own before you continue your day with cava tasting & tour. Codorniu gives you the opportunity to visit its facilities and underground wine galleries (cavas). The tour explains the history of our House and the Cava elaborating process. The tour starts in the reception hall, known as the Cathedral of Cava, and then the visitors will see the modernist artistic buildings, the gardens andthe cellars. At the end, enjoy cava tasting!
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Novotel Madrid Center
Newly renovated hotel located in the heart of the city, five minutes from Retiro Park.
O Donnell 53, 28009 Madrid, Spain
Hotel Eurostars Palace
Set on the border of new town and the old city, this modern hotel features a rooftop pool and solarium.
Paseo de la Victoria, Cordoba, 14004, Spain
Hotel Macià Alfaros
Honoring the essence of Córdoba, every corner of the Macià Alfaros hotel is unique and authentic. Steps away from the Plaza de la Corredera, the Christ of the Lanterns, and the streets of the Jewish quarter that lead to the wonderful Mosque-Cathedral. Córdoba awaits you, both outside the inside Macià Alfaros hotel.
Calle Alfaros, 18, 14001 Córdoba, Spain
Melia Lebreros Hotel
Contemporary style, city center location and an outdoor pool enhance this hotel located in one of Seville’s most distinguished neighborhoods.
Calle Luis de Morales, 241018 Sevilla, Spain
Hotel Macia Real de La Alhambra
Modern hotel with a pool sits near the Alhambra, just 10 minutes from downtown.
Calle Mirador del Genil, 2, 18008, Granada, Spain
Hotel ILUNION Valencia 4
With bright and spacious rooms, a terrace with sweeping views, and more, there's no better way to visit Valencia and enjoy the Mediterranean than staying at Hotel ILUNION Valencia 4. Immerse yourself in wonderful surroundings and feel the magic of the city of the Turia River.
Carrer de la Vall d'Aiora, 1, 46015 València, Valencia, Spain
Catalonia Plaza Catalunya
Bergara, 11, 08002 . Barcelona
Departing the U.S.: For the safety of everyone in the group, smarTours has implemented COVID-19 travel requirements which apply to all tours regardless of destination. To learn more, click here.
Please note destination entry requirements are changing rapidly. smarTours will communicate entry requirements in your Tour Documents 10–14 days prior to departure. For up-to-date information, please click the links below.
- Entry requirements
- State Department Travel Advisory Updates (Spain)
- Center for Disease Control Updates & Information (Spain)
Your departure flights from the U.S. and back are the following airlines with the corresponding schedules. We recommend you arrive no later than 3½ hours before your scheduled departure time.
Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting domestic flight. We recommend at least 3½ hours. Please keep in mind that flight schedules are always subject to change.
|2022: Jun. 4||American Airlines||New York (JFK)||7:15 PM||12:30 PM|
|2022: Sep. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 15||American Airlines||New York (JFK)||7:00 PM||3:30 PM|
ADVANCE SEAT ASSIGNMENT
Iberia Airlines and American Airlines do not assign seats in advance. Seat assignments can only be arranged at the airport upon check-in, and smarTours is not involved with assigning seats. If you have a preferred seating choice, please make sure you check-in for your flight as early as possible.
International flights to/from the U.S. are not included. Land-only travelers are responsible for arranging entry and exit flights, as well as their arrival and departure transfers. smarTours cannot be held responsible for any damage caused by air schedule changes and delays. Unused land services are non-refundable.
Main Tour: Land-only services start upon independent check-in at Madrid hotel on Day 2 of the itinerary listed on the tour page. Land-only services end after breakfast at Barcelona hotel on Day 12 of the itinerary listed on the tour page.
PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION
You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. Visa is not required for American passport holders. Non-U.S. citizens should check with the respective consulates as to the most current visa requirements to all their travel destinations. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.
TICKETS AND FINAL DOCUMENTS
Final instructions, documents, and travel tips will be emailed to you 10–14 days before the scheduled start of your tour. If you have not received your final documents, please check your spam folder or contact smarTours.
Immunizations are not currently required. However, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local public health authorities about to their suggestions.
Expect daytime high temperatures in the 60s to 70s in April and October, 70s to 80s in May and September, and 80s to 90s in June.
The hotels used on this tour offer several dining choices from casual to specialty restaurants. Average cost for dinner (excluding drinks) in the casual restaurant is about $20-25 per person. Your hotel will accept credit cards for your non-included meals. Optional activities will be offered.
CREDIT CARDS AND LOCAL CURRENCY
Hotels and some stores will accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping,” you will need local currency. You can either exchange U.S. dollars into local currency in advance of your trip or use your debit card to withdraw local currency from an ATM. It is recommended that you bring along cash in small denominations.
Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (suitcase) max. 44 pounds and one carry-on, not exceeding 18”x10”x8”. We recommend that you do not overpack and that you take a variety of casual separates with climate and comfort in mind.