A Spanish cultural and culinary adventure

Passionate and sophisticated are just a few words we’d use to describe Spain’s vibrant personality. On this nine night Iberian adventure we’ll show you the best bits of its fascinating past teemed with its modern culinary scene. We’ll lead you through its key cities with our expert local guides where you’ll gain behind the scenes access to some of the best sites. Start off in Madrid, where you’ll stay at the stunning Ritz Hotel, which is perfectly positioned in the city for that enthralling cultural experience, from awe-inspiring art galleries and flamenco dancing to exceptional eateries and markets. From Madrid, we’ll shoot you south to the tapas capital of the world – Seville. Lastly, we’ll fly you north to Barcelona, where you’ll stay at the chic Mandarin Oriental in the heart of this Catalonian capital, which is sure to enchant you as you observe the elegant, yet whimsical works of the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí up close on foot as well as by helicopter.

Majestic Madrid

You’ll start your Spanish sojourn in Madrid at the grand and elaborate Ritz Hotel, where you’ll be staying for three nights in regal Spanish opulence. Opened by King Alfonso XIII in 1910, the Ritz Hotel is iconic and aims to maintain this regal flair through its opulent décor and first-class service. From Madrid’s Royal Palace, magnificent museums and boutique markets to its fashionable shopping and fine dining venues, the Ritz Hotel offers an unbeatable location. For your second day in the city, you’ll soak up a truly special part of Spanish culture with the 18th century-born flamenco dance, as we’ll arrange a one hour private master class and even a private show for you at a renowned favourite spot for flamenco lovers. Come the evening, set your taste buds tingling with our tapas tour, which will take you off the beaten track and into Madrid’s most authentic restaurants, as you uncover tasty ‘tapa’ dishes coupled with a wine-tasting venture. By following your professional gastronomy guide through four of our favourite tapas bars, where revered chefs show off their creativity by combining tradition with modernism, you are sure to enjoy a truly unforgettable journey through Spanish cuisine. What’s more, the baroque-style Ritz Hotel is conveniently nestled next to Madrid’s ‘Golden Triangle’, which is comprised of three prestigious art galleries including the Prado and La Reina Sofia. We’ll take you on a walking tour to learn about some artistic masterpieces of old and new from a local art historian. As night falls head to Malasaña, an area of Madrid with a creative and countercultural scene that comes alive as night falls.

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South to Seville

After one last sleep in the capital and we’ll book you first-class seats on the high-speed AVE train, which will see you in Seville in a swift 2 hours and 20 minutes. Your private transfer from the station will take you to the elegant Hotel Alfonso XIII, which reflects Seville’s Moorish influence. On holing up here for two nights, you’ll be settled in prime location to discover the charms of medieval Seville, from its old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz to its romantic Guadalquivir River. A major city highlight is the fortress-turned-palace the Alcázar of Seville, which captivatingly defines the past progression of Moorish to Catholic influence. Here, we’ll plan a private tour where you will have the exclusive opportunity of exploring the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. As evening sets in we hope you’ve not been tapas-ed out after Madrid because Seville boasts the best tapas worldwide, so dig into some delicious tapas bites from traditional Andalusian ‘Cazón en Adobo’ to fresh ‘Calamares Fritos’. For your last day in southern Spain, observe the country’s true historic diversity by heading to the famous, UNESCO World Heritage Site of Calat Alhambra in Granada. On this guided tour, you’ll be enchanted by this ancient, Moorish palace and be inspired by century’s worth of art as you learn about the region’s deep-rooted Arabian past. Granada’s gorgeous old town and impressive 16th century cathedral, which characterises the resurgence of Catholicism in Spain, are also excellent tour highpoints before your return to Seville.

Barcelona and the illustrious Antoni Gaudí

On leaving Seville behind, we’ll fly you an hour and a half northeast over to Catalonia, where you’ll rest up for your final four nights at Barcelona’s beautiful, yet quirky Mandarin Oriental. Of course a well-known true great of Barcelona was the 19th century Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí, whose legacy is anchored in the city thanks to his distinctive and inspiring works. We’ll therefore organise a local guide and artist to show you around some of his impressive masterworks, from the fairy-tale-like Casa Battló to the Park Güell gardens. You’ll end the day at Gaudí’s now UNESCO-listed La Pedrera, where you’ll enjoy a glass of Cava whilst learning a last few facts about the artist himself. After a good night’s rest, we’ll arrange expert guided visits to Barcelona’s emblematic markets, such as La Boqueria and Santa Caterina, where you’ll gain yet more knowledge about Spanish gastronomy. Specifically, you’ll stop off at some traditional shops and eateries specialising in drinks, chocolate and cakes, so indulge in some divine Catalan desserts. Next, up, up and up, as we promise the most spectacular sights over the city from inside your private helicopter – an unbeatable opportunity to view the city from above.

We’ll map out a short private drive down to Barcelona’s nearby cities of Girona and Figueres. At ancient Girona, you’ll explore the old town and museums as you meander through the maze-like streets and squares, whilst in Figueres, the largest surrealist hub on the planet, the incredible Dalí Theatre-Museum, is sure to astound and amaze. Your last day in Barcelona will be out spent on the Mediterranean Sea as you embark a Menorquina boat cruise along the stunning Catalan coastline. With a view to create a truly memorable last evening, we’ll put together one last guided tour through the pockets of Barcelona’s charming, cosmopolitan old town, where you’ll revel at those last few tapas bars in the historic Gòtic and upbeat El Born quarters, before enjoying a romantic twilight stroll along the Barceloneta promenade. Next morning, we regrettably have to drop you off at Barcelona-El Prat airport, a short 20 minute drive from your hotel, where you’ll catch your return flight home.

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