21 days
Duration
Europe
Destination
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate
Activity

Discovering Spain

Join Odyssey Traveller on this 21-day tour as we immerse ourselves in the grand sights and rich history of Spain. This tour is book-ended by the biggest cities of Spain--starting in the capital of Madrid and ending in Barcelona--with stops in smaller but equally beautiful towns that are not normally included in other commercial Spanish tours.

This three-week journey especially designed for senior travellers offers a variety of sights and experiences. Madrid is a modern metropolis that has preserved its historic neighbourhoods and buildings, and will serve as the perfect gateway on our three-week sojourn into Spain's storied past. Near Madrid, we will visit the Valley of the Fallen in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a sombre and at times controversial monument commissioned by Francisco Franco and where the people who died in the Spanish Civil War were laid to rest.

We will visit the Roman monuments of Segovia and Cordoba, the Jewish Museum in Granada, and the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres. In Toledo, we will climb the road up to a famous viewpoint, the Mirador del Valle, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city. We will travel down to the foot of a striking multi-peaked mountain range to visit Monserrat, and travel by cable car to an abbey nestled in the mountain to visit the Black Madonna.

We will stroll through the grand Plaza de España in Seville and enter the bullring of the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, site of the famous Seville bullfights. We will stop at Consuegra to see the windmills that Don Quixote de la Mancha mistook for giants in Miguel de Cervantes' famous novel, and at the mountaintop city of Ronda to view the bridges spanning a gorge that divides the new side of town (circa 15th century) from the old.

We will spend some time in tranquil Teruel, which remains the only provincial capital in peninsular Spain without a direct railway link to Madrid. In Cuenca we will see the Casas Colgantes (“Hanging Houses”) called as such as they appear suspended over a ravine. We will see Albarracin, with its medieval houses and picturesque fortifications, voted as the most beautiful town in Spain in 2018 by the Spanish themselves, and view the Gaudi-designed monuments in Barcelona.

This tour mixes guided tours with plenty of free time, and the small group setting affords travellers focused attention and flexibility. For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right-hand side of this page.

We also have a Spain and Portugal tour that explores the sights of the Iberian Peninsula, and an in-depth tour of Barcelona.

Articles about Spain published by Odyssey Traveller.

The following list of articles published by odyssey Traveller for mature aged and senior travellers to maximise their knowledge and enjoyment of Spain when visiting;

External articles to assist you on your visit to Spain

 

Other Odyssey Tours:

Small group tour of Spain  is only one of many Spain and Portugal tours offered by Odyssey Traveller. For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

About Odyssey Traveller

We specialise in educational small group tours for seniors, typically groups between six to 12 people from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada  and Britain. Our maximum number of people on a tour is 18 mature aged travellers.We have some 150 tours and offer 300 scheduled departures on offer each year. Odyssey has been offering this style of adventure and educational programs since 1983.

Odyssey Traveller is committed to charitable activities that support the environment and cultural development of Australian and New Zealand communities.

Odyssey Traveller scholarship for Australia & New Zealand University students.

We are also pleased to announce that since 2012, Odyssey has been awarding $10,000 Equity & Merit Cash Scholarships each year. We award scholarships on the basis of academic performance and demonstrated financial need. We award at least one scholarship per year. We’re supported through our educational travel programs, and your participation helps Odyssey achieve its goals. Students can apply for the scholarship by clicking on this link to find out more details. 

Join our loyalty program when you join an international small group tour.

Every International small group tour taken typically contributes to your membership level in our  Loyalty Program for regular travellers. Membership of the alumni starts when you choose to take your first international small group tour with Odyssey Traveller, discounts in tour pricing for direct bookings accrue from your third tour with Odyssey Traveller. To see the discounts and benefits of being a Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Diamond alumni member with us, please see this page.

For more information on Odyssey Traveller and our educational small group tours, visit and explore our website., remember to visit these pages in particular

Alternatively, please call or send an email.

 


PDF of Tour

1
Explore the sights of Madrid, including the Museo del Prado, which holds artwork from artists such as celebrated Spanish painter Francisco Goya.
2
Visit the Valley of the Fallen in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a sombre and at times controversial monument commissioned by Francisco Franco and where the people who died in the Spanish Civil War were laid to rest.
3
Explore the city of Montserrat, and travel by cable car up to an abbey nestled in the mountain to visit the Black Madonna.
4
Experience the surrealist dreams of Salvador Dali in the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres.
5
View the Gaudi-designed monuments in Barcelona.

Overview: Upon arrival in Madrid, we will make our own way to our hotel. The Odyssey Program Leader will greet the group and the rest of the day is free until we meet again in the evening for our welcome dinner. (D)

Accommodation: Quatro Puerta del Sol or similar

Overview: Today we will have a full day as we take in the sights and sounds of Madrid. The capital of Spain, Madrid is a modern metropolis that has preserved its historic neighbourhoods and buildings, the perfect gateway to immerse ourselves in Spanish history. Among those we will visit today are Plaza Mayor, a major public square in the heart of Madrid; Mercado San Miguel, a covered marketplace established in 1916; and the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family in the city. (Please note that we will not be entering the palace.)

We will be exploring Museo del Prado, which holds artwork from artists such as Rembrandt, Rafael, and Hieronymous Bosch and Spanish painter Francisco Goya. We will also visit the Parque del Buen Retiro (“Park of the Pleasant Retreat”) which once belonged to the Spanish monarchy but is now a public park. (B)

Accommodation: Quatro Puerta del Sol or similar

Overview: We have no guided tours scheduled today so the day is free for us to enjoy! In the evening we will meet for dinner at a traditional tapas restaurant. (B,D)

Accommodation: Quatro Puerta del Sol or similar

Overview: Today we will head out of Madrid to the Valley of the Fallen in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a sombre and at times controversial monument commissioned by former military leader Francisco Franco. The Valley, completed in 1959, is composed of an underground crypt and basilica–the Basílica de la Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos (Basilica of the Holy Cross of the Valley of the Fallen), where the bodies of the people who died in the Spanish Civil War were laid to rest (Franco’s remains are here as well)–topped with a 152.4-metre-high (500 feet) cross. Through the years it became a site of protest against the Spanish dictator and a venue for Francoists paying their respects, until 2007 when the Spanish government banned all political events from being held here.

On our way back to Madrid, we will stop at Segovia to view the Roman aqueduct, one of the most well-preserved Roman monuments, and explore the medieval Alcazar, including its artillery museum and tower. (B)

Accommodation: Quatro Puerta del Sol or similar

Overview: We will travel south of Madrid to Aranjuez to visit the Aranjuez Palace, which once served as a Spanish royal residence, begun during the reign of Philip II and completed during the reign of Charles III.

We will then explore Toledo, which before Madrid served as the imperial capital. On this walking tour, we will enter the 13th century Toledo Cathedral, view the medieval Puente de San Martin linking the city to the west, built to complement the Puente de Alcantara in the east, which we will also visit; and visit the Puerta de Bisagra, the city gate of Toledo dating back to the 10th century. We will climb the road up to a famous viewpoint, the Mirador del Valle, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

From Toledo we will transfer to Consuegra to see the windmills, made famous as “giants” in Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote. 

We will move on to Ciudad Real, where we will stay for the night. (B,D)

Accommodation: NH Ciudad Real or similar

Overview: From Ciudad Real, we will travel to Cordoba and for a half-day tour of the main sights. We will view the Roman bridge of Cordoba, and visit the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba (Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba), originally a mid-6th century Visigothic church turned into a mosque during Cordoba’s Islamic era.

During the Reconquista of the 12th century, the Christian army entered Cordoba and celebrated the Holy Mass inside the mosque, converting the city and the mosque-cathedral back to the Catholic faith.

We will transfer to Seville, where we will be spending the night. (B,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Cervantes or similar

Overview: Today we will be exploring Seville, founded as the Roman city Hispalis and now the capital of the Andalusia region. We will view the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site of Seville, the monumental complex in the heart of the city consisting of the Seville Cathedral with the Giralda minaret, the Alcázar (fortress), and the Archivo de Indias. The Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world with its Giralda tower standing at 96 meters. Once an Almohad mosque, it was turned into a Catholic Cathedral following the Reconquista in 1248 and now holds the remains of Juan of Aragon, son of Ferdinand and Isabella, and Christopher Columbus. The Alcázar (fortress) of Seville, imbued with Moorish influences, is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. The Lonja, which became the Archivo de Indias (General Archive of the Indies), contains valuable documents illustrating the reach of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and in Asia. We will stroll through the grand Plaza de España and enter the bullring of the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, site of the famous Seville bullfights. (B)

Accommodation: Hotel Cervantes or similar

Overview: Today is a free day for us to further explore Seville, or to simply rest. In the evening we will have dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

Accommodation: Hotel Cervantes or similar

Overview: We will now journey to Granada, but en route we will stop at the mountaintop city of Ronda, which sits on top of the El Tajo gorge that separates Ronda’s 15th century new town from the old town that dates from Spain’s Islamic era. We will view Puente Nuevo and Puente Viejo, historic bridges that span the deep gorge. (B)

Accommodation: Granada Centro or similar

Overview: The city of Granada sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, and was once one of the most important cities of the Umayyad Caliphate in the Iberian Peninsula and, after the caliphate’s collapse, the centre of Jewish culture and scholarship. To learn more about Granada’s history, we will enter the Alhambra, the Arab citadel and palace, with its Generalife Gardens (subject to availability) and the Centro de la Memoria Sefardí.

The afternoon is free to be spent at our leisure. In the evening, we will enjoy a flamenco show while having dinner. (B,D)

Accommodation: NH Granada Centro or similar

Overview: Today we will travel from Granada to Murcia and have the afternoon free to spend at our leisure. (B)

Accommodation: Catalonia Conde de Floridablanca or similar

Overview: From Murcia we will travel to Albacete in the historic La Mancha region, where we will have time to explore the city on our own. Albacete is more known as the transport hub of the region, but it also has two museums we can consider visiting: Museo Arqueológico (with a collection of Roman ivory) and Museo de la Cuchillería (museum of knives).

From Albacete we push on to Cuenca, where we will stay for the night. (B)

Accommodation: Parador de Cuenca or similar

Overview: Cuenca was originally the Roman town of Conca which fell under Muslim (8th century) and Castilian (12th century) influence in later centuries. In the 19th century, the city expanded and became divided into the upper, old city of Cuenca and the more modern city in the lowlands close to the railway from Madrid. The old city was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1996.

We will go on a half-day tour of the city and view the incredible Casas Colgantes (“Hanging Houses”) called as such as they appear suspended. We will also visit the Cuenca Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (also referred to as the “new” cathedral of Cuenca).

The remainder of the day is free. (B)

Accommodation: Parador de Cuenca or similar

Overview: Today we will travel from Cuenca to Teruel, with a stop at Albarracin, which we will be able to explore on our own. The Spanish themselves voted Albarracin, with its medieval houses and picturesque fortifications, as the most beautiful town in Spain in 2018–definitely the perfect place to stop and admire the views.

The remainder of the day is free upon our arrival in Teruel. (B,D)

Accommodation: Gran Hotel Botanicos or similar

Overview: At Teruel we will have some free time to explore the city or simply relax and enjoy the tranquillity in this remote town, which remains the only provincial capital in peninsular Spain without a direct railway link to Madrid.

From Teruel we will travel to Valencia, where we will spend the night. (B,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Conqueridor or similar

Overview: Valencia is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, with architecture ranging from the Roman era to the avant-garde, offering us plenty of places to see and explore. We will visit the Valencia Cathedral, which bears its history on the range of architectural styles and elements found in the building, and the lavishly designed Llotja de la Seda (“Silk Exchange”), a symbol of Valencia’s golden age in the 16th century, when it served as an important European cultural and commercial centre.

From Valencia we will journey on to Tortosa, where we will spend the night. (B)

Accommodation: SB Corona Tortosa or similar

Overview: Today we will head to Vilobi del Penedes, where we will visit a vineyard and winery for a tour and wine tasting.

From our little trip in the vineyard, we travel to Montserrat. The city is located at the foot of the striking multi-peaked mountain range of the same name (Montserrat in Catalan means “saw mountain”). We will be visiting the Santa Maria de Montserrat on the mountain to view the Virgin of Montserrat, one of the Black Madonnas of Europe. To reach the Benedictine abbey and basilica, we will be taking a cable car ride that will also give us a panoramic view of the city.

From Montserrat, we transfer to Barcelona for the night. (B,D)

Accommodation: Ayre Hotel Gran Via or similar

Overview: Today will be spent exploring the vibrant city of Barcelona. We will be visiting the extraordinary Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and Barcelona’s triumphal arch Arc de Triomf. We will stroll through another Gaudi-designed space, the Parc Guell, and down tree-lined La Rambla. We will sample Barcelona’s gastronomic delights in the La Boqueria Market which dates back to the 13th century, and explore the historic Gothic Quarter. (B)

Accommodation: Ayre Hotel Gran Via or similar

Overview: Today we will venture out of Barcelona to the ancient Catalan city of Girona, which we will have the opportunity to explore on our own. From Girona we travel to Figueres, hometown of surrealist artist Salvador Dali. Here we will visit the Dali Theatre and Museum, with free time to explore the town on our own before returning to Barcelona. (B)

Accommodation: Ayre Hotel Gran Via or similar

Overview: Today is a free day in Barcelona, which we may spend relaxing or exploring the corners of the city we have yet to see. In the evening we will sit down for our farewell dinner. (B,D)

Accommodation: Ayre Hotel Gran Via or similar

Overview: The end of breakfast also marks the end of the tour and our services. (B)

What’s included in our Tour

  • 20 nights of hotel accommodation.
  • 20 breakfasts and 10 dinners.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Touring by comfortable and modern coach.
  • Field trips as indicated.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Services of an Odyssey program leader.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Return international airfare and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary.

Map for Spain tour

Barcelona-Spain
Barcelona-Spain
Barcelona city
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain
Moorish architecture in Alhambra, Spain
Moorish architecture, Cordoba, Spain
Moorish architecture of Seville, Spain
Seville, Spain
best places to visit in Spain
Granada Spain, Iberia
Contemporary Barcelona, Spain
Basque Country, vineyard
Plaza Mayor, Madrid
La Sagrada Familia Gaudi, Barcelona
Sagrada Familia, Spain Iberia
Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain.

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