Tour in a Nutshell

Discover essential Spain: Madrid, Seville, Ronda & Granada

Taste the flavours: from gourmet tapas to authentic local meals

Monumental magic: El Prado, La Giralda, Alhambra, Mezquita

Top guides, chauffeured tours & first class trains

14 days/13 nights, boutique 4* and 5* selected hotels

Tour description

Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia

What better way to discover essential Spanish food and culture than to experience life in Madrid and Andalucia? Here is the quintessential heart of Spain. Eat tapas where it was created, explore the incredible architecture left by the Moors and be swept away by the passion of flamenco music! This fantastic private luxury tour gives you the chance to discover the parts of Spain you have always dreamed about. Our officially licensed charismatic guides will show you the best of Madrid, Seville, Granada, Cordoba and Toledo; escorting you to exceptional monuments and giving you insider knowledge. When it comes to food, our vast local experience will take you and your taste buds on new, exciting discoveries; to enjoy the array of flavors at the heart of Spanish life! If you have an interest in art and architecture, Spain awaits you with some magical moments at El Prado, La Giralda, Alhambra, Mezquita and more. Bienvenidos!

DAY 1 MADRID

MADRID & ANDALUCIA FOOD TOUR

You begin your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia when you arrive at Madrid airport and our chauffeur transfers you with a luxury vehicle to your boutique 4* hotel. Formerly a duchal residence, the hotel has maintained its frescoes, mirrors and stained glass windows, all while being equipped with modern comforts. Our Gourmand Breaks representative, also an Officially Licensed guide, will meet you this afternoon to go through your itinerary and answer any queries you may have. You will also receive the printed Personal Travel Journal for your private tour of Spain, with daily itinerary details and plenty of suggestions for restaurants and free time activities. Our excellent guides and chauffeurs will attend you throughout your tour with us and you will also have our 24/7 back office assistance, for anything you might need.

Your private guided tour of Madrid will first take you to El Prado, the biggest art gallery in the world. It has more than 7,600 paintings, but can exhibit only one part of its collection due to lack of space. Our private guide, additionally qualified in Spanish History and Art, will make sure you don’t miss anything! Your private tour of Madrid will take you to the Plaza Oriente to see and learn about the Royal Palace and the Cathedral. You will then walk through the old town to the Plaza de la Villa, and on to Mercado de San Miguel, the hottest gastronomic spot in Madrid whose bars and restaurants make it the place to meet! On your journey you will enjoy some fantastic bites to eat, and a beverage or two, as you sample the best variety of wine and tapas the city has on offer.

Tour in a nutshell: Chauffeured transfer from Madrid airport to your hotel. Welcome meeting with your Gourmand Breaks tour representative. Private guided tour of Old Madrid. Lunch of tapas and wine. Overnight in a 4* boutique hotel in Madrid.

DAY 2 MADRID

Food and culture tour of Spain

You have the day free to wander around Madrid and see all the museums, art galleries and famous parks of this fantastic city. Perhaps you wish to visit the Reina Sofia Museum or the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in the company of our expert guide; this can be arranged. The Reina Sofia Museum is the national museum for 20th century art in Spain. The museum was officially inaugurated in Madrid in 1992 and is named after the former Queen of Spain. The Reina Sofia museum collection consists of more than 20,000 works from the late 19th century to the present day, mainly dedicated to Spanish art with highlights including two of the greatest 20th century masters; Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. The most famous painting displayed is Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ – incredible to see up close. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is a collection of art which in the 1980s, was one of the greatest coups in European art history. Amassed by a central European collector beginning around 1920, and formerly displayed in Lugano, Switzerland, its 700 canvases, by artists ranging from El Greco to Picasso, are arranged in chronological order. This fantastic collection rivals the legendary holdings of the Queen of England herself.

Maybe you wish to return to the Royal Palace (Palacio Real) to view its interesting interior. Otherwise, take a leisurely walk through El Retiro Park, a great place to enjoy the open air as you stroll along the paths, passing fountains, statues, the delicate Palacio de Cristal and the boating lake. This evening we have many recommendations in your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia personal travel journal for dining in Madrid; be it typical Spanish food or a Michelin starred extravaganza!

Tour in a nutshell: Free day Madrid. Overnight Madrid.

DAY 3 SEVILLE

food and culture tour of Spain

Andalucia is your destination this afternoon, but first you can enjoy your last morning in Madrid. Perhaps you will want to explore more of an area of the city you visited with our guide; otherwise you could explore Lavapies, one of the oldest and most multicultural barrios of Madrid. Its steep streets are home to quirky bars, restaurants and artisan, authentic shops, well worth an hour’s ramble. Otherwise, the barrios of Malasana and Chueca can offer you comparison to the Born quarter of Barcelona; packed with unique shops and off-beat cafes, where you can nurse a coffee or two for an hour, and watch Madrilenos pass by…

Your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia then takes you to Seville, where you can either choose to rest your feet at your hotel, or discover this Andalusian gem. You may wish to wander through the charming streets nearby to your hotel, discovering the essence of this vibrant city. Seville is the capital of Andalucia and has distilled Spanish life into its purest and most intense form. Here you will find romantic medieval lanes, hidden plazas soaked in the scent of orange blossom and a nightlife which rivals Madrid. Seville has made enjoying oneself an art form, with tapas bars filled with people spilling out onto the pavements, music and chatter filling the air. This evening we have many suggestions for a local dinner where you will have the chance to soak up Seville’s atmosphere. To be out at night amongst relaxed and fun-loving Sevillanos is an experience you won’t forget!

Tour in a nutshell: 1st class high-speed train tickets from Madrid to Seville. Overnight in a 5* boutique hotel in Seville.

DAY 4 SEVILLE

Food and Cultural Tour of Spain

Our Officially Licensed Seville guide will collect you from your hotel to take you on a private sightseeing tour of Seville’s Barrio Santa Cruz; the old Jewish quarter. You will amble around its beautiful squares and narrow streets, which form a labyrinth, but beware, it is very easy to get lost! This is part of the charm of the jasmine and orange scented Barrio because, when one is lost, a convent or a palace may be discovered. Many of the palaces have wrought iron gates that allow a sneak-peek into their beautiful patios. The area abounds in small food stores and artisan shops, as well as unique art galleries. Your tour continues through historic Seville, including a visit to Seville Cathedral, the oldest and most spectacular Gothic cathedral in the world, and La Giralda, a tower which provides spectacular views of the city.

Having worked up an appetite on your Seville tour, your guide will lead you to a delicious tapas lunch. Seville boasts more than 4,000 tapas bars – roughly 1 for every 200 locals! Tapas-hopping is part of Andalusian life, so as you step into a tapas bar, you can try a variety of dishes that arrive fresh from the kitchen. Plate after plate of hot and cold food appears on the bar to tempt your palate: why not try cold roasted pepper salad? Or a dish of meatballs in sauce or a slice of potato tortilla? … the choice is yours! Of course, as is customary, you will accompany your mouth watering bites with a glass of dry Spanish sherry, wine or draft beer. In the evening your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia will wow you with a wonderful Gypsy Flamenco show, where the swirling skirts and tapping heels of the dancers will excite and amaze you!

Tour in a nutshell: Private guided tour of Historic Seville. Authentic gourmet tapas meal with wine. Gypsy Flamenco show. Overnight Seville.

DAY 5 SEVILLE

Food and culture tour of Spain

Today Seville is yours to disco! Your guide will have given you many ideas and top tips for further sightseeing options and foodie hot spots to experience the best of Seville. Maybe you would like to visit the Plaza De Espana and take a stroll in Maria Luisa Park, and for lunch you can enjoy more fabulous Andalusian gastronomy! Or, we could arrange a chauffeured excursion through some beautiful countryside, first of all, to Almonaster la Real, a small village famous for its mosque high on a hill dating back to the 10th Century. Then, onwards to enjoy the most exquisite Spanish Iberian Hams. You will visit an authentic and unique family run estate with a long tradition of Iberian Ham produce, started in 1818! You will see where the Iberian pigs roam freely in the pasture and will have a full tour of the premises. The ham drying process is achieved on three levels and you will have a full tour of these areas, but be careful – the hams drip onto the floor below, so you should watch your step! At the end of your visit you will enjoy an extended tasting lunch in the bodega of this small, but excellent producer. You will be served their exquisite Jabugo Ham, made from acorn only fed pigs, as well as other fine cured hams, accompanied with cheeses and of course wine.

For this evening, we have several suggestions in your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia personal travel journal for a delightful dinner in the Barrio Santa Cruz or elsewhere in Seville.

Tour in a nutshell: Free day Seville. Overnight Seville.

DAY 6 RONDA

Food and culture tour of Spain

Your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia takes you to the magnificent Spanish village of Ronda today, driven there by our chauffeur. The Serrania de Ronda is a mountainous area that is famous throughout the world for its beautiful white villages – in Spanish known as Los Pueblos Blancos. This part of Spain is unique, it is only here that the white villages exist in such abundance. Since the 19th century Ronda has attracted a host of illustrious visitors and its stunning position on the top of the Tajo gorge, means that it is much-photographed. Your 4*hotel, housed in the former town hall building, is situated in the most spectacular spot in the heart of the city, beside Ronda’s emblematic Puente Nuevo (New Bridge). The location is incredible, with unparalleled views of the Tagus River, a ravine 120 meters deep.

Ronda is remarkably appealing with a beautifully preserved old town, Arab Baths and many great bars and restaurants; but the most famous landmark in Ronda is the Puente Nuevo or New Bridge. Completed in 1793 the bridge took forty two years to build and joins the old Moorish town and the newer, El Mercadillo parts of the city. Ronda is also said to be the home of modern day bullfighting and the Real Maestranza bullring is one of the oldest and most picturesque in Spain. You are free this afternoon to discover Ronda, and then, maybe go for a swim or sunbathe in the gardens by the outdoor swimming pool. You may like to dine this evening at your hotel which, besides great views, offers typical local cuisine. Alternatively, you may like to dine at Restaurant Bardal. Here diners are offered a creative culinary experience where classic Spanish ingredients are reworked to design tasting menus of around 16-21 dishes.

Tour in a nutshell: Chauffeured transfer from Seville to Ronda. Overnight in a historic 4* hotel in Ronda.

DAY 7 GRANADA

food and culture tour of spain

From one incredible Andalusian city to another today! Granada is your next destination, and your 5* hotel located in the historic heart of the city, is a restored architectural masterpiece. A luxuriously converted former convent, it has also been declared an artistic and historic monument of Spain. Our Officially Licensed guide will meet you at your hotel this afternoon to commence your private guided tour of Granada. The city has its usual quotient of sights typical for a southern European city, but Granada also has the incredible Alhambra: considered to be one of the 10 Wonders of the World.

The Alhambra – gardens, fortifications and sumptuous palaces – has been home to many Arab Sultans over the centuries. Stretched along the top of the hill known as La Sabika, the Alhambra is the stuff of fairy tales. From outside, its red fortress towers and walls appear plain, yet imposing, as they rise from cypress and elm woods, with the Sierra Nevada forming a magnificent backdrop. After being left to fall into disrepair for centuries, the Alhambra was rediscovered in the 19th century by European scholars and travelers, with restorations commencing. Today, the Alhambra exhibits Spain’s most significant Islamic architecture and landscape interventions. You will surely be inspired by this incredible place and the stories and anecdotes your guide will reveal! For your dinner this evening, we have many suggestions in your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia personal travel journal for where to enjoy the best local Andalusian cuisine.

Tour in a nutshell: Chauffeured transfer from Ronda to Granada. Private guided tour of Granada. Overnight in a 5* hotel in Granada.

DAY 8 GRANADA

Food and culture tour of Spain

Granada is yours to discover alone today on your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia. Perhaps you would like to wander around the Albaicin, the ancient Arabic quarter located on the hill opposite the Alhambra. It is characterized by cobble stoned streets with white washed houses. Despite several centuries of neglect and architectural barbarities allowed by the town council, it still retains a strong Arabic feeling (the Arabic population was ethnically cleansed 500 years ago). There are many squares with terrazas and places to laze about and have a bite to eat. The Albaicin is an oil painter’s paradise, and almost at every turn of the head there is an attractive view, almost always involving glimpses of the Alhambra!

You may like to visit the Royal Chapel “Capilla Real” commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs and built in a flamboyant Gothic style. The Cathedral stands next to the chapel and is considered to be the first renaissance church in Spain. You may like to visit the Old Arab market “Alcaiceria”. It is an interesting place to wander around and besides looking at the goods for sale; there are some good examples of Islamic architecture, and tiled wall decorations. The small archway off the famous Bib Rambla Square magically transports you to North Africa and into the narrow, tented streets of this market which is full of color, scents, music and vendors. This evening we will be delighted to include, if you wish, a Gypsy Flamenco show in the famous authentic Gypsy caves of Granada. It is said that this image is the most genuine in flamenco: caves full of people admiring gypsy performances of this dance art.

Tour in a nutshell: Free day Granada. Optional evening Flamenco show in the Cuevas of Granada. Overnight Granada.

DAY 9 CORDOBA

Food and cultural tour of Spain

Today our chauffeur will be waiting to take you to Cordoba, where you will check into your 5* boutique hotel set amidst beautiful gardens, in the heart of the ancient city. Later this afternoon, our Officially Licensed Cordoba tour guide will take you on a complete tour of everything that Cordoba offers! A Roman colony founded in 152 BC, Cordoba was once the biggest city in all of Europe and thrived with its greater tolerance of creeds and cultures. These imprints are beautifully expressed with a visit to La Mezquita, the most significant Muslim architectural achievement in the Western world. This 8th century structure was first a church, then a mosque, and today has a cathedral oddly placed in its center, constructed in the 16th century. The Jewish community was dynamic in Cordoba 700 years ago, and the Jewish Quarter is a maze of narrow streets and small plazas with white-washed buildings, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984. The narrow medieval streets of the Barrio de la Juderia retain their names to this day and although not Jewish in their current expression, a few signs hint of the Golden Age of Jewish life.

After such a fascinating tour you will surely be ready for lunch, and where better than at a local tavern to savour typical Cordobese tapas. In former times, taverns were rambunctious, but today they are lively venues to enjoy tapas. Following your wonderful day in Cordoba, you will take the train back to Seville and will have the evening to relax and perhaps have dinner in a local restaurant – we have many suggestions in your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia personal travel journal.

Tour in a nutshell: Chauffeured transfer from Granada to Cordoba. Private guided tour of Cordoba. Overnight in a 5* palace hotel in Cordoba.

DAY 10 CORDOBA

Food and culture tour of Spain

Your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia allows you to discover Cordoba solo today. Along with our personal recommendations, your tour guide yesterday will have given you many ideas for further sightseeing and dining options. Cordoba has many charming squares to watch the world go by, but maybe the best is the Plaza de la Corredera which is like a mini version of Venice’s St Mark’s Square. The first bullfights in Cordoba were held here, but today the restaurant and bar terraces fill up with visitors taking in the grandeur of it all. Another renowned square in Cordoba is the Plaza del Potro featuring an interesting fountain dating back to 1577 and a historic inn mentioned by Miguel de Cervantes in his famous novel, Don Quixote.

As the city of Cordoba is located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, it is no surprise that you will find bridges here. The most famous is the ancient Roman Bridge that links the area of Campo de la Verdad with Barrio de la Catedral. It was built in the early 1st century BC, during the period of Roman rule in Cordoba, and the 16 arches stretch over a length of about 250 meters. It was the only bridge in the city for twenty centuries, until the construction of the San Rafael Bridge in the mid-20th century. Take time to visit the local taverns in Cordoba to savor some typical Cordobese tapas such as Flamenquin (battered pork or ham), Salmorejo (cold tomato soup thickened with breadcrumbs), Rabo de Toro (bull’s tail) and for dessert the typical Pastel Cordobes – a pastry filled with sweet pumpkin.

Tour in a nutshell: Free day Cordoba. Overnight Cordoba.

DAY 11 MADRID

Say ‘adios’ to Cordoba this morning, because your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia has you taking the train back to Madrid, to explore more of Spain’s vivacious capital! What is now known as Madrid, came to exist when the Muslims of Al-Andalus built a new settlement here in 854, attempting to construct a chain of fortifications throughout the heart of Iberia. For hundreds of years Madrid was seen as a poor and dirty place; and it was only during the 16th and 17th centuries that it began to take shape; given the title of Spain’s capital; having many more elegant churches and noble residences built on its site. Spain’s golden age meant that Madrid became the fifth largest city in Europe by the 1700s, and we have Carlos the third to thank for how the city looks today. He cleaned up the city and created many public spaces; including completing the Palacio Real and inaugurating the Botanic Garden.

Today Madrid is renowned for its cultural life and ability to have a good time. Many restaurants in Madrid do not open until 11pm at night; let alone serve food! No matter what you choose to do with your free time today, Madrid offers a fount of options: large open park spaces, ambling through quirky and offbeat neighbourhoods like Chueca and Malasana; where you can grab a coffee or drink and watch the array of Madrilenos pass by. For dinner this evening you will find many suggestions in your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia Personal Travel Journal for where to eat, whether it’s an informal dinner you are after or a Michelin star experience.

Tour in a nutshell: 1st class high-speed train tickets from Cordoba to Madrid. Overnight Madrid.

DAY 12 TOLEDO

MADRID & ANDALUCIA FOOD TOUR

Toledo is today’s destination! Our Officially Licensed tour guide will be waiting for you at the train station when you arrive, and will lead you on a visit to Toledo Cathedral, considered to be one of the high points of Gothic art. The construction of this monumental building, with a basilica floor plan and five naves, commenced in 1226, although it was not finished until the 15th century. On its main façade the outstanding feature is the doorway, made up of three doors: Infierno (Hell), Perdon (Forgiveness) and Juicio (Judgement).

Following on, your tour guide will lead you to the Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca. Remains of the Jewish community are still preserved in the city in the synagogues of Santa Maria la Blanca and El Transito. In the synagogue of El Transito, built in 1357, you can admire one of the best Mudejar coffered ceilings of all those preserved in Toledo, along with walls richly decorated with geometrical and botanical designs and Hebrew inscriptions. Nowadays, this Jewish place of worship houses the Sephardic Museum, in which an interesting collection of art and objects used in Jewish ceremonies are exhibited. Your tour of Toledo, will finish with a visit to the church of Santo Tome, famous for housing El Greco’s El Entierro del Conde Orgaz (The burial of Count Orgaz). You will then have free time to enjoy Toledo and have lunch, for which we have several suggestions, prior to returning to Madrid. The remainder of the evening is free to do as you wish – relax, have dinner, wander around Madrid; the choice is yours. We have many suggestions for great restaurants in your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia Personal Travel Journal.

Tour in a nutshell: 1st class high-speed return train tickets to Toledo. Private guided tour of Toledo. Overnight Madrid.

DAY 13 MADRID

food and culture tour of Spain

Today you have another free day to explore more of Spain’s sumptuous capital! We have many suggestions for things to do in your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia Personal Travel Journal. For a change of pace, we suggest a leisurely walk in El Retiro park. Within its 125 hectares El Retiro park is home to over 15,000 trees and includes some delightful gardens: the Jardin de Vivaces, the Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez (classical gardens of an Andalusian style), the Jardines del Arquitecto Herrero Palacios, the Rose Garden, and the Parterre Frances with the oldest tree in Madrid, a bald cypress that is believed to be 400 years old. As you stroll along the attractive boulevards and walkways, you will find that the park is home to some great architectural and historical elements such as the Monument to Alfonso XII, the Velazquez Palace (inspired by London’s Crystal Palace and used by the Reina Sofia Museum for temporary exhibitions), the Glass Palace (a romantic pavilion), the Galapagos Fountain (created to commemorate the birth of Isabel II) and the fountain of the Fallen Angel, the only sculpture in the world representing the devil.

Nearby El Retiro on the Calle de Alcala, you will find one of the icons of the city – The Puerta de Alcala, built for Carlos III in the 18th century. Further on you will arrive at another icon of Madrid – Cibeles Fountain, created in 1782 and situated in its current location since 1895. The Fountain depicts the Roman goddess of the same name (Cybil in English); symbol of the Earth, agriculture, and fertility, atop a chariot drawn by lions. Whatever you decide, enjoy your day!

Tour in a nutshell: Free day Madrid. Overnight Madrid.

DAY 14 DEPARTURE

MADRID & ANDALUCIA FOOD TOUR

This is the last day of your Food & Cultural Tour of Madrid & Andalucia. After checking out of your hotel, our chauffeur will be waiting to transfer you to Madrid airport for your onward journey. We do hope you will join us for this mouth-watering and breath-taking tour of Spain!

Our insider knowledge ensures that you will enjoy some of the very best food, wine and cultural experiences that Spain can offer. No doubt it will be a truly memorable vacation!

Tour in a nutshell: Chauffeured transfer to Madrid airport.

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