Travel from magnificent Madrid to the coastal beauty of Barcelona

Feel the pulse of spirited Spain on this tour from the country’s capital to the bustling coastal city of Barcelona. Enjoy all things arty – from Madrid’s inspiring Art Walk to Barcelona’s internationally renowned galleries and museums. Be captivated by Cuenca’s Old City, mosey round the markets of Valencia and get lost in the convoluted streets of Barcelona’s gothic quarter. This is a journey of old and new: history, tradition and architecture fused with Spain’s best shopping, restaurants and nightlife.

Madrid, Spain
Barcelona, Spain
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
129kg pp per trip


  • Dine and dance in vibrant Madrid
  • Discover Barcelona’s dynamic art scene
  • Relax on a beach in Valencia
  • Sample Spain’s best paella at the gateway to the Mediterranean
  • Be astounded by the bizarre La Sagrada Familia
  • Explore the captivating town of Cuenca


Welcome to Madrid, Spain. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive into Madrid early, while away the hours on the Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) for a panoramic perspective of western art history.

Day 2 is free to explore Madrid, so perhaps start the day in the pristine gardens of Real Jardin Botanico and then delve deeper into the art of the city at Museo Reina Sofia and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. If you're lucky enough for your trip to fall on match day, possibly don a white t-shirt and head to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to watch the mighty Real Madrid.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid, it's recommended that you make arrangements to arrive a few days early to see the highlights of the city and its surrounds.
Today travel by train to Cuenca, which should take around an hour. On arrival, venture out on an orientation walk around this historic World Heritage site. The old part of this city is an outstanding medieval development built on steep mountain sides, with many hanging houses that are literally on the cliff edge. Like many towns in Spain, it was occupied for a period of time by the Muslim Moors who built the original fortress. Afterwards, use your free time getting to know the city. Perhaps visit the 12th-century Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace and Saint Julian. You may also wish to visit the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art or the Cuenca Museum, which specialises in archaeology.
Head to Valencia via train, which should take around an hour. Known for being the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, Valencia has the special charm of a sea port city. Busy markets, clean beaches, spectacular mountains and a fascinating mix of old town and new town makes up the best of Valencia. Over the next couple of days, you have a lot of free time to wander around the city and see the sights.

Possibly visit the cathedral, which houses what's claimed to be the Holy Grail. The Museum of the Fallas is another unique option, which contains a history of the Valencia Fire Festival in the form of giant papier mache figures. There are also many fine parks and gardens, or you may want to head to the beach of Playa de la Malvarrosa to soak up some sun. To try the paella that Valencia is famous for (rabbit and chicken), do as the locals do and head to the restaurant area of Las Arenas for a hearty and reasonably priced lunch.

Valencia is also built with separate cycle paths, so it's really easy to get around the city. Perhaps rent a bike from one of the many bike stations that are dotted around the city. Cycle through the park that runs through the centre of the city and to the impressively designed Museu de les Ciencies Príncipe Felipe (Arts and Science Museum).
Travel up the coast by train for about three and a half hours to Barcelona. The next two days are free to unearth the city's groundbreaking art scene, Gothic architecture, amazing cuisine, Catalan identity, beach vibe and proud character. Visit the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter, the Picasso Museum, wander the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard of La Rambla or take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. Gaudi's bizarre La Sagrada Familia Cathedral is possibly the most iconic landmark, along with the Camp Nou. Both the cathedral and the football stadium provide guided tours at an additional charge.

On Day 8, your 'Highlights of Spain' adventure ends in the morning. There are no more activities planned and you're free to leave the accommodation at any time. If you'd like to spend a few more days in Barcelona, then our reservations team can help book accommodation (subject to availability).
View trip notes to read full itinerary


Metro, Public bus, Train
Hotel (7 nights)


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Important notes

Single supplement is not available on this trip.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes


Our Highlights of Spain trips score an average of 4.15 out of 5 based on 13 reviews in the last year.

Highlights of Spain , September 2015

Highlights of Spain , September 2015