During the past few years the historic cities of inland Spain, with their stunning settings and unique monuments are being discovered by more discerning travellers who are comfortable with being immersed in the "real Spain".
This tour of the medieval cities around Madrid including Segovia, Salamanca and Toledo will leave you in awe of how carefully all has been preserved for hundreds of years with Spanish daily life just going on amidst these world class monumental treasures. In Andalucia the romance is attached to tales of Moorish Kings, dark eyes and the passion of flamenco but in Castile the story is more associated to Don Quijote with fairy tale castles surrounded by deep moats, maidens in distress, crusading Knights and duals at dawn. The guided tours help to bring the cities to life and for your free time we arm you with everything you need to make your own trail of discovery as you travel around each beautiful city.
This holiday can start on any date you request and can also be taken by train (contact us to see an itinerary using the train)
Day One - Arrive Madrid airport, collect your hire car and transfer to Segovia for 1 night
The UNESCO World Heritage city of Segovia is a stunning completely over the top example of Castilian architecture built to further solidify the success of the conquering catholic monarchs. The Alcazar is a fairy tale structure which it is said to have been the inspiration for the Disney Castle logo with Rapunzel type turrets and a deep moat, and the cathedral is an immense structure of flying buttresses and towering peaks which took almost two hundred years to complete. Probably the most famous sight of Segovia is the Roman Aqueduct, built around the first Century AD and comprises over 880 metres of granite featuring 166 arches, 120 pillars and reaching its highest point at over 30 metres over the Plaza de Azoguejo.
Segovia is surrounded by a magical air of witchcraft and wizardry; a perfect setting for folklore music, dancing and other cultural events; the medieval markets and candlelit concerts attract local visitors from all over the area.
A traditional Segovian dinner
The traditional meal in Segovia is Roast Suckling Pig and tonight in your hotel you will served a superb meal with local specialities that will stand you in good stead for making the right choices in other restaurants as you travel around the area. (Vegetarian alternatives are of course available).
Day Two- Transfer to Salamanca for 2 nights
Just outside Segovia, on the way to Salamanca you can make a stop at La Granja; a summer palace built by King Felipe V the first Bourbon King of Spain.
Salamanca is probably the most elegant city in Spain and for four centuries is was the seat of one of the most prestigious universities of the world. It was also where Columbus was turned down for the first time as he tried to get backing for his voyage to the New World. One of the most obvious features of Salamanca are the majestic buildings created with sandstone which give off a warm golden glow, spectacular when seen floodlit at night.
Early evening is a lovely time to wander around the Casco Historico (historical centre), where there are many pavements cafes and bars just perfect for soaking up the atmosphere and watching the world go by. Be sure to try some wine of the Ribera del Duero - a region now rivalling Rioja for Spain’s finest and also most popular wine.
Day Three - Private walking tour of Salamanca old city and its monuments
For this morning you will be met by your own personal, local guide who will be best to help you discover the old quarter of the city which is a living museum of architecture in all different styles and eras. As you wander around the town your guide will bring the city to life and explain many interesting facts such as how the sand stone, composed of iron, hardens and rusts in contact with the air, so with the passing of time it takes on the beautiful golden hue. Your guide will also give you all the facts and stories about the university which was built in 1218 by order of King Alfonso IX - where the very soul of Salamanca is to be found in its faculties and libraries; the envy of the world for over 400 years.
or the afternoon you will be free to explore alone and our guide pack can help you to search out the more hidden gems of the city including Baroque churches, small plazas and convents.
Day Four - Transfer to Toledo for 2 nights via Avila
It is said that there were once 10 thousand castles in Spain and this area south of the Duero is particularly good for a castle spotting drive, stopping off at the best along the way. If you are interested, not far away from Salamanca is the UNESCO site of Siega Verde. A peaceful, rural area where you can see the world's best example of open air pre-historic rock art, with 20,000 year old drawings spread over 1 mile of the left bank of the river.
A tour of this area is not complete without a visit to Avila; a lesser known town to tourists from abroad but it is has been an essential destination for Spaniards for many years to see the stunning city walls which surround the town, making it one of the best preserved walled cities in Europe and also the shrine to the mystic writer Santa Teresa the focus of a major religious pilgrimage. As you approach the town you will be amazed by the breath-taking views of the Sierra de Gredos and the magnificent sight of the wall with 88 towers that surround this fortified old city.
Toledo for 2 nights
As Granada is to Andalucia Toledo is to central Spain. The whole city is a UNESCO site and is set in a breath-taking position atop a rocky mound, rising up from the stark landscape with the Rio Tajo looping around the city down below. Every inch of the outcrop is covered with churches, synagogues, mosques and medieval houses and is an inspiration for the world today to see how these three religions lived together in a golden age of prosperity and tolerance.
Day Five - Morning walking tour of Toledo
For this morning you will be given a guided walking tour of the medieval streets of Toledo where strolling through narrow streets and enchanting squares, your guides will tell you of local legends and traditions that transport you back to the an age of Quijote style maidens and knights, impossible love affairs and moonlit duels.
After lunch, be sure to visit the imposing Alcazár (fortress) which has played an active part in the city's history and has been destroyed on a number of occasions, the most recent being in 1936 during the Republican siege of Franco's forces. The famous artist El Greco settled here in 1577 and his works are scattered around the city. His masterpiece El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz (The Burial of Count Orgaz) can be seen in the Iglesia de Santo Tomé.
Day Six - Transfer to Madrid for 2 nights, via Aranjuez
Aranjuez is an oasis of Old Castile where the 18th Century Bourbon Kings attempted to create a Versailles in Spain as their countryside retreat. The palace has hundreds of exotically designed and furnished rooms from The Porcelain room covered in decorative ceramics from Madrid and The Smoking room fashioned in the style of The Alhambra in Granada. The palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens and river walks and you can also take a boat from a small jetty by the bridge.
Now to Madrid which is probably Europe´s most passionate Capital city and the heart of all that you have seen on this magnificent tour of Castilian Spain. Just step outside the door of your central hotel and you will be right in the thick of things and for your first evening you will meet with a guide and small group of people to have a guided tapas tasting tour.
Guided walking tapas tour
For your first evening you will have an excellent introduction to the city! Experience the gastronomy, culture and history of Madrid and Spain on a great fun walking tapas tour that takes you off the tourist track and gives you the opportunity to experience with a local, the most atmospheric tapas bars of Madrid. On this tour you will discover what Madrid really is all about whilst feasting on the local specialities.
Day Seven - Your day to explore Madrid
There is so much to see and do but from our guide pack to the city you should be able to easily plan a fulfilling, yet certainly not stressful day! A visit to The Prado Museum is a must and these tickets will be booked for you in advance to avoid the queues and you will have plenty of free time to simply wander and get a feel the capital which is also the very centre of Spain.
Day Eight - Transfer to Madrid airport and say "hasta luego" to Madrid!
Your first night will be spent in the privileged location, set on a viewpoint overlooking Segovia, which is particularly stunning seen floodlit at night through the restaurant windows…
Your hotel in Salamanca is an elegant as the city itself; set inside a beautiful yellow stone building it is know as one of the best small hotels in Spain…
Where better to stay in Toledo than in the heart of the medieval Jewish quarter. Your hotel is set within a NeoMudejar building that was once a flour mill dating from 1889…
from 1445.00 Euros per person *
* Price per person, based on two people sharing a standard double or twin room:
Please note these prices do not take in to consideration local and national holidays which may increase hotel rates for certain dates throughout the year, particularly Semana Santa (Holy Week) which in 2021 is from Sunday 28th March to Monday 5th April 2021
Please enquire for an exact quote for your required dates and particular room requirements.
As Spain's Tourism Board so cleverly puts it on their TV advertisement, "You Need Spain." And so we did! And thanks to you, we got Spain in a marvelous manner. Nicola, the last two weeks were one of the very best holidays Terry and I have ever had. Madrid, Salamanca and Barcelona are more than wonderful cities, unique in every way, and your choice of hotels in those cities is terrific. Obviously, The Rector Hotel was our favorite, comparing favorably with the hotel in Ronda you booked for us a couple years ago. The Room Mate in Madrid is quirky in a great way, and the location of the Gallery in Barcelona couldn't have been improved upon. As you promised, the trains and transfers were easy to navigate as was the Barcelona Metro.
There are so many memorable sights and sites that we'll probably forget in time, but a few will linger forever: the redone Prado and the absolutely thrilling Flamenco show at the Corral, New Years Eve in Salamanca's Plaza Major; the wonderful private walking tour in that city, and "Sylvia" at the Rector, an absolute National Treasure who made our stay there special; and the Sagrada Famillia and the National Gallery of Catalunya Art in Barcelona. And to top the whole two weeks off, the weather was gorgeous every day we were there, affording opportunities for long walks, long sessions of people watching in the Plazas and along Las Ramblas, and never enough wine and tapas. Along with all else, I thank you for the meteorological conditions as well. Again, thank you so much for all your fine planning. I'm sure we'll "need" Spain again, and we will depend on you for its delivery. Fond regards, and hopes for a happy and prosperous New Year. David and Terry
I just wanted to say thank you for putting together such a wonderful trip. Everything went smoothly and the tours were wonderful. My granddaughter loved the Tapas tour in Madrid(so did my wife and I) and please be assured that we will recommend you to all our friends. We look forward to having you plan a trip to the south of Spain in the future.
When you think of the north of Spain you think snow-capped peaks, lush green valleys, and undulating hills which roll down to rugged coastlines with quiet Sandy coves dotted with quaint fishing villages…
This charming 7 night self-drive tour is a great introduction to Portugal. Immerse yourself in a land of treasures as you travel from the fashionable streets of Lisbon with its yellow trams and pretty cobbled squares…
This classic journey around Moorish Andalucía, visiting the great cities of Granada, Seville, Cordoba and Malaga plus the stunning hilltop town of Ronda helps you to discover the true heart of this ancient land…