SPAIN CULTURAL PROGRAM – SUMMARIZED ITINERARY
Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth largest country in the European continent. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Span or Spania. In the Middle Ages, the area was conquered by Germanic tribes and later by the Moors. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs and the completion of the centuries-long reconquest, or Reconquista, of the peninsula from the Moors in 1492. In the early modern period, Spain became one of history’s first global colonial empires, leaving a vast cultural and linguistic legacy that includes over 500 million Spanish speakers, making Spanish the world’s second most spoken first language, after Chinese and before English.
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Day 1 – September 22nd: Washington DC to Barcelona
to Top Overnight flight from Washington’s Dulles International Airport.
Day 2 – September 23rd: Barcelona (Arrival day)
to Top Arrival. After clearing through customs and immigration, you will be transferred from the airport to the hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure to relax. Orientation meeting with your tour leader this evening. First night in Barcelona.
Day 3 – September 24th: Barcelona
to Top Six-hour city tour, with a late breakfast” included. We’ll try a traditional Spanish ”churros” – type of pastry, dipped in chocolate. On this tour we will see and stop by many beautiful highlights of Barcelona – Plaza Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia, casas (houses) Mila & Battlo, basilica of Sagrada Familia, Plaza Espanya, Monjuic mountain, Port Vell and Vila Olimpica and Park Guell (with tickets included). Later in the evening, we will have a welcoming dinner in a typical Spanish restaurant, – a full course meal with wine. Second night in Barcelona.
Day 4 – September 25th: Barcelona- Montserrat – Penedes wine region (Codorniu) – Barcelona
to Top Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to Montserrat mountain – visit an old Benedictian abbey, where a symbol of Catalunya, Virgin of Montserrat (Black Madonna) is located. Tour to the monastery and some free time. Later we´ll proceed to the local rural restaurant – Vinyanova, where you will try a traditional Spanish lunch. After lunch, we head to the large and world-wide famous winery, Codorniu, that specialize in producing sparkling wine, which is similar to Champagne. A tour inside and a degustation included (degustation will be included in all wineries that we’ll visit during our eight-day tour). In the early evening, transfer to Barcelona, some free time in the evening for souvenirs and a third, (final) night in Barcelona.
Day 5 – September 26th: Barcelona – Penedes – Zaragoza – Bilbao
to Top Breakfast in the hotel. We will start our day with a transfer to Penedes, the area where the majority of Catalan wines are produced, to visit small, authentic and family-owned winery called Mas Comtal, that specialize in red, white, rose and sparkling wines. Degustation with some snacks are included. Relocation to Zaragoza, with a short 2h tour to see its impressive Cathedral. Some free time for lunch and continue to San Sebastian. Arrival in the evening, Check in to the hotel and a dinner in the restaurant (typical Basque Country food). Our fourth night – in Bilbao.
Day 6 – September 27th: Bilbaso -San Sebastian – La Rioja – Bilbao
to Top Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the area of San Sebastian, first – to cidreria Petritegi , located just a few minutes outside the city – it is one of the most famous and largest cider production locations in Spain. During the private tour, the group will be shown the process of cider’s elaboration as well as it’s degustation at the end. After the cider tour, we will do a 2 hour panoramic tour around San Sebastian, to see the famous La Concha beach, Cathedral and Basilica of St. Mary, and there will be some time for lunch. After lunch, the tour moves on to an area, which is very well-known for its wine, land of ”La Rioja”, where literally hundreds of wineries, large and small, are concentrated. It’s the most famous Spanish wine region, and most of the wine produced in Spain is produced here. In Rioja we’ll pay a visit the one the largest wineries called Marques de Riscal or Marques de Murietta. Degustation and dinner in the winery. Late evening transfer back to Bilbao. Fifth night – in Bilbao.
Day 7 – September 28th: Bilbao – La Rioja (cheese factory) Bilbao
to Top Breakfast in the hotel. Today we will visit a local Idiazabal cheese manufacturer, located approximately an hour from La Rioja. Cheese degustation with wine. Upon arrival we will conduct a 2 hour city tour of Bilbao including the outside of world-famous Guggenhaim museum and the Old Town (Casco Viejo). Check in to the hotel. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy Bilbao on your own. Dinner tonight will be in a typical Spanish style restaurant.
Day 8 – September 29th: Bilbao – La Rioja
to Top Breakfast in the hotel. Today we head towards Madrid, passing again through the area of La Rioja, this time paying a visit to small and family-owned winery Amezola, where, after the tour you will have a country-style lunch with wine. In the late afternoon we continue to Madrid. Arrival and check in. Tonight is at leisure to explore Madrid.
Day 9 – September 30th: Madrid
to Top Breakfast in the hotel. A 6 hour City tour around Madrid. Main highlights: Plaza de España, with the monument of Don Quijote, Puerta del Alcala, Gran Via street, Plaza de Cibeles, Puerta de Toledo, Stadium Santiago Bernabeu (from the outside), Debod Temple, Bull ring Arena, Paseo de la Castellana. You will also enter and will have a tour of the inside of the Royal Palace, as well as around historical center of Madrid. You will return to the hotel and the afternoon will be at leisure, followed by the big Gala-dinner in one of the local restaurants. Final night in Madrid.
Day 10 – October 1st: Madrid to Washington DC
to Top Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the airport and return flight to Washington DC. Late afternoon arrival into Washington’s Dulles International.
Note: all wineries mentioned, depending on availability on the certain day cold be substitutes to a very similar ones, without any loss to quality of the tour, lunch or degustation.
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