Highlights of Spain
This 12-day adventure by train through Spain takes you to some of the most charming corners of the country. It bestows a unique introduction to the people, places, gastronomy, history, and culture that have been attracting travelers for years.
Barcelona will charm with its architectural majesty and white sand beaches whilst Valencia will surprise with its celebration of the ancient and avant-garde. Madrid will excite with its artistic center and unmistakable energy whilst Sevilla will seduce with its unbridled passion and flamenco rhythms. Granada will astound with its Moorish wonders and colorful history and finally, Malaga will please, with its cultural gems and relaxed way of life.
This train vacation through Spain is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
Day 1 | Barcelona | Arrival day
Upon arrival, you’ll be picked up by a private taxi and taken to your hotel for a day of rest before your adventure begins. We’ll provide you with restaurant recommendations, places to visit,
and neighborhoods to glimpse at as you encounter the centuries’ old walkways, and walls with a thousand tales to tell.
Day 2 | Barcelona | Discover Gaudi´s Barcelona
A visit to Barcelona is not complete without an introduction to Gaudi’s most famous masterpieces: the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Mila, and Casa Batló – the latter two to – be found along the posh Passeig de Graçia, core to the identity of the city, as this long Avenue connects the business and commercial center. The ‘Must see’ list continues, encompassing the plentiful medieval streets garnished with gargoyles on every corner, the Picasso Museum, countless galleries, and artisanal boutiques. Let’s not forget the host of culturally diverse bars, beach-side eateries, and La Boqueria Food Market – treats for the senses!
History seeps out of every stone here and there is no shortage of centuries’ old stories of kings and queens, battles won and lost, and legends made.
Day 3 | Barcelona | Explore Barcelona´s coastal area and surroundings
Guests looking to escape the urban heat can take a stroll to the city’s famous Barceloneta beach, located just a stone’s throw from the city center. This vast stretch of sand is flanked by a promenade of relaxed seaside bars, eateries, lounges, and cafes, and buzzes with carnivalesque energy almost year-round. Alternatively, take a trip to Montjuïc, a landmark hill of great historic importance and home to some of the city’s most important museums and gardens.
Day 4 | Barcelona – Valencia | Visiting the paella capital of the world
This morning, take the four-hour train ride to Valencia with an optional stop en route at one of the two coastal fishing towns. Tarragona, with its impressive Roman ruins and vast amphitheater,
or picture-perfect Peñíscola, are both great options. Once in Valencia, you’ll be greeted by a city of contrasts, where the ancient lives harmoniously alongside the modern. The strikingly futurist Arts and Science Centre is at the forefront of the city’s avant-garde architectural movement and has an endless capacity for entertaining and educating. The alleged Holy Grail, Gothic gargoyles, beautiful Spanish squares, and grand palaces are some of Valencia’s old town’s delights. Be sure not to miss out on trying Valencia’s iconic dish – Paella, which has been honed to perfection over the centuries.
Day 5 | Valencia – Madrid | From Coast to Capital
This morning, board the two-hour train to Spain’s capital, Madrid. Walk about the center and grab your first impressions of the grand streets and bright architecture. You’ll soon discover
a wonderful assortment of elegant boulevards, illustrious museums, royal palaces, manicured parks, and trendy eateries.
Its center is a collection of diverse barrios which each boast a distinct charm, and lay claim to architectural wonders including the 17th century Plaza Mayor and vast Royal Palace.
Refuel first by ‘tapeando’! (eating tapas!) Stop en route at Madrid’s celebrated Mercado San Miguel to choose a selection of gastronomic delights. Housed in an impressive century-old iron and glass building, it is a celebration of Spanish cuisine and sells everything from the finest Iberian ham and freshest fish from Galicia to exquisite cheeses from Asturias and wines to delight the most discerning of palettes.
For a liquid treat- why not go for something really Spanish – Vermouth on tap, yes, on tap; it’s a staple here and found anywhere; if you’ve grown fond ever-loved Spanish “Gin y Tónica”, that’s a delight too!
We also recommend a visit to Gran Via, the city’s most famous shopping boulevard, and Puerta del Sol, the so-called ‘Heart of Spain’ and home to the famous Bear and Strawberry Tree statue, which has become a symbol of the city.
There’s something for everybody here!
Day 6 | Madrid | Local Madrid
On your second day in the Spanish capital, you´ll really begin to soak up the culture with many diverse neighborhoods to visit, sights to see, and local products to purchase. Have a picnic in the gardens of the huge central park – Retiro.
Art lovers will rejoice in the city’s ‘Golden Triangle of Art’ comprising the art museums: Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Museo Reina Sofía, which display works from many of the world’s artistic heavyweights.
Fashionistas looking for another retail hit should head to the barrio of Salamanca, home to glamorous avenues and the famed ‘Golden Mile’ of Calle Serrano with its upscale boutiques and stores of famous fashion houses.
Thousands of restaurants and eateries invite you for dinner tonight at one (or two) of the plethora of restaurants Madrid has to offer. Will you choose a Tapas Crawl on the Cava Baja – La Latina neighborhood’s famous street of endless tapas bars, or return to the market? Why not fine dining at a posher in the Salamanca area, a Michelin star awarded restaurant? Have you thought about Galician or Andalusian cuisine? The options are endless and every decision is a good one!
Day 7 | Madrid – Seville | Birthplace of the Flamenco
In just 2.5 hours by train from Madrid, you reach Seville with its mix of food, architecture, flamenco rhythms, and Andalusian charm. Passion and heat run deep in this sun-soaked city and it is not unusual for impromptu displays of flamenco to flood out onto the street, whilst its festivals – such as the Feria de Abril and Semana Santa – are always a whirlwind of color, fervor, and unbounded jubilation. One thing is for sure, this city knows how to celebrate.
Today, we recommend you take the day to settle in and absorb the unique energy of this city, before heading to explore its tapas scene. Tapas in Seville range from old favorites to modern inventions so depending on your preferences, we´ll provide you with some tips.
Day 8 | Seville | Walk in the footprints of Columbus
Today you have the option to either explore more of Seville, and visit Triana and Macarena, the cities two most traditional neighbours. Triana a microcosm of artistic energy with an excellent market, traditional ceramic heritage, strong flamenco connection and long gypsy and bullfighting history, while Macarena is known for its hip, creative vibe, the Macarena is home to one-off shops selling vintage clothes and books, or the Mercado de la Feria market hall with stalls serving paella and croquettes. Nearby, tapas bars dish up seafood and empanadas, and a number of snug, hidden bars keep the area buzzing until the small hours.
If you feel the urge to escape the city, we suggest going to either the Doñana National Park known for its 400.000 migration birds or visit Jerez de la Frontera, a paradise for the sherry lovers. Below we have two options for you, bookable via us, or undertake it =on your own.
Day 9 | Seville – Granada | From Catholic Seville to the Arab Granada
In around three hours by train, you’ll be whisked to the city of Granada, another exceptionally beautiful city whose status as the last Moorish kingdom is deeply woven into the fabric of the city. Today, we recommend exploring the city on foot to best appreciate its dramatic setting in the foothills of Sierra Nevada. Enjoy its gastronomy scene, whose large tapas portions have earned it a place in the hearts of food lovers.
This legacy is no more evident than in the Alhambra, a spectacular Islamic palace atop a hilltop which you’ll have the opportunity to visit tomorrow.
Day 10 | Granada | Unwind in the Jewel of the Alhambra
Be sure to leave at least four hours free today to explore the jewel in Granada’s crown the Alhambra – whose sprawling complex and unabashed grandeur truly justifies its worldwide reputation. Its Renaissance residential palaces, opulent frescoes, decorated columns, and open courtyards are a lasting monument to the pivotal part the city played in Iberian history, while its gardens are an oasis of calm and serenity.
In the afternoon, we suggest venturing into the Albaicín neighborhood, the old Arab Quarter which has retained a strong sense of identity and wonderfully imperial energy. End the day with a visit to the Sacromonte neighborhood, the thriving folkloric gypsy quarter which lures visitors to its hillside location for flamenco music and dancing after dark.
Day 11 | Granada – Málaga | Final track to the home of the Spanish painter Picasso
Today you’ll cover the final 125 kilometers in an air-conditioned bus, arriving into Málaga in time for a lunch of fresh Mediterranean fish and cold local beer. Revamped and revitalized, this once overlooked city has become an epicenter of culture and art, laying claim to world-class galleries including the Parisian-offshoot Pompidou Centre and the Picasso Museum, in homage to its most famous offspring. Its old town is a nod to its rich history and cultural heritage, whose network of cobbled streets hide a treasure trove of historic buildings and picturesque plazas. You’ll also find a 1st-century Roman amphitheater, a beautifully preserved Moorish Alcazaba fortress, and the 14th century Castle of Gibralfaro, whose position atop 130 meters awards it some of the greatest views of the city. For those who have met their cultural quota, this multifaceted city also boasts wonderful beaches, excellent Andalusian cuisine, and an abundance of shopping opportunities.
Day 12 | Malaga – Home | Home or extension?
You have the option to fly back home directly from Malaga or to take a train to Madrid to catch your outbound flight. We´ll arrange a hotel pick-up for you by private taxi to the airport.
Should you wish to extend the trip further and experience more of Spain’s gems, or adjust the itinerary we would be delighted to tailor this to your wishes.
Total price: From € 995,- / $ 1195,- per person
- 12 Nights in a 2- to 3-star hotel including breakfast (let us know if you prefer an upgrade to a 4- or 5-star hotel)
- 5 Train tickets and 1 bus ticket from Granada to Málaga
- Insider tips from us from where to go and what to do
- Plane tickets (we can arrange these for you if you wish)
- Travel insurance
- All other food and drinks not mentioned in the description
- Tips and all other private expenses