Spanish Grand Tour
Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord station, either in standard or Standard Premier class. On arrival in Paris, transfer to Paris Gare de Lyon and board the onward train to Barcelona Sants, travelling in standard or 1st class. On arrival in Barcelona, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay.
DAY 2 & 3
Relax at your leisure taking in all of the sights Barcelona has to offer. The creative mastermind Antoni Gaudi is the architect behind many of the city’s buildings, such as the stunning Sagrada Familia church or Güell Palace, and the Plaça de Catalunya, the city’s main square shows a unique blend of new and old at its best. Museum-goers have much to choose from, with the Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró featuring modern art by their namesakes, as well as MUHBA, the city’s history museum which includes several Roman archaeological sites. Once you’ve taken in all of the cultural sights, take a trip to the beautiful gardens of the Jardi Botanic or visit the Castell Montjuic close by, with its stunning views across the port and into the Mediterranean Sea. And don’t forget that Barcelona has its own beach close by to soak up the sun or enjoy a drink at one of its many beach bars
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Valencia station. On arrival in Valencia, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay. The rest of your day is your own, so why not take the time to stroll around the compact historic old town, which includes the Plaza de la Virgen, the gothic Valencia Cathedral, and the Miguelete Tower, before maybe sitting down for traditional tapas or an authentic paella at one of the many cafes or restaurants in the Barrio del Carmen.
Valencia is a stunning mixture of the new and old, combining ancient architecture with the contemporary, so maybe start by visiting the modernist Mercat Central, home to one Europe’s largest markets, filled with fresh fish stalls and mouth-watering food, followed by a must see during your stay, the futuristic buildings of the Hemisferic, City of Arts and Sciences, and the city’s aquarium Oceanografic Valencia. The El Cabanyal district is nearby, and after a busy day’s sightseeing, its beach is the perfect way to wind down.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Madrid Atocha station, travelling in standard of 1st class. On arrival in Madrid, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay. The rest of the day is your own, so take a leisurely stroll through the historical centre of the city from the 17th Century Plaza Mayor with its many porticos and arches and the nearby 18th Century baroque Palacio Real, through to the renovated Manzaneres riverside.
DAY 7 & 8
Take the time to visit the city’s Golden Triangle of Art, home to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Museo Reina Sofía, home to Picasso’s famous depiction of the Spanish Civil War “Guernica”, and the Prado Museum, a National museum showcasing pre 20th century art. Also worth seeing, especially as the sun goes down, is the Temple de Debod, an Egyptian temple rescued and rebuilt in Madrid stone by stone after the construction of the Aswan Dam.
A must see landmark in Madrid is the Puerta de Alcala, one of the five original entrances to the city, and this is illuminated at night to stunning effect. Madrid’s most popular place to meet, and home to a large number of shops, hotels, restaurants and cinemas, is the long boulevard of Gran Via, which starts in Plaza Espana and ends 1.3 km later away at Calle Alcala. This leads to the Puerta del Sol, home to one of the city’s largest statues “The Bear and the Strawberry Tree”. If you are in Madrid over a weekend, a Sunday trip to El Rastro flea market is a must, where you can find anything from antique costume jewellery to rare vinyl records on its stalls, followed by a relaxing drink in the nearby La Latina neighbourhood.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Granada station. On arrival in Granada, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay, with the rest of the day at leisure.
For many, a trip to Granada is not complete without visiting the sprawling palace and fortress complex of the Alhambra, the most important surviving remnant of the period of Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula, and although it dominates the city, its traditional neighbourhoods create a fascinating and captivating atmosphere, and around every corner you’ll find a compelling mixture of ancient Islamic monuments, street art and traditional tapas bars, infused with a sense of its Arabic past.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Seville Santa Justa station. On arrival in Seville, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay. The rest of the day is your own, and what better way to experience the city’s flamboyance, history and culture than to watch traditional flamenco dancing at Museo del Baile Flamenco, followed by a trip to one of the over 3000 tapas bars that range from the e contemporary to the traditional, including its oldest, El Rinconcillo.
Begin your day with a traditional churros accompanied with dipping chocolate before heading out to the city’s landmarks. Your first port of call should be to Seville’s focal point, the Catedral de Sevilla, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and a UNESCO heritage site.
Only a short walk away is the gorgeous Alcázar, the oldest royal palace in Europe and still used as a Spanish royal family residence, which also includes the Water Gardens of Dorne featured in Games of Thrones. Elsewhere in the city you should also visit the half-moon shaped Plaza de España in María Luisa Park. built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, or the contemporary and unusual Metropol Parasol, known as ‘The Mushrooms’, which offers brilliant panoramic views over Seville from its wooden platforms, an ideal spot to see the sun go down.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Cordoba station. On arrival in Cordoba, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay, with the rest of the day left to you to explore the captivating former capital of Andalucia, the ‘Pearl of Moorish Spain’.
Cordoba brims with art, culture, history and vivacity, and its charm and beauty is a legacy of its Moorish past. Rightfully declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site, there are many eye-catching examples of its architecture, from the grand and majestic Mez with its marble columns and graceful arches to the Alcazar of the Kings and the city’s Roman Bridge.
A leisurely stroll takes you though La Juderia, the historic Jewish quarter, winding through narrow cobblestone streets filled with the fragrance of flowers coming from its many patios. Away from its historical building and sights, Cordoba retains its cosmopolitan atmosphere, and the city’s many cozy taverns are great places to unwind while soaking up its art, music and culture.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Barcelona Sants station. On arrival in Barcelona, transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Check out of your hotel and transfer to Barcelona Sants station for your return journey to Paris Gare de Lyon. On arrival in Paris, transfer to Paris Gare du Nord station for your return Eurostar train to St Pancras International.