Discover Cathedrals, Catalan cuisine and cliff-edge cities

Feel the pulse of spirited Spain on this eight-day tour from the country’s capital to the bustling coastal city of Barcelona. Be captivated by Cuenca’s Old City, mosey around the markets and space-age architecture of Valencia and get lost in the convoluted streets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. This is a journey of old and new that introduces you to the history, traditions and architecture of Spain, as well as the best shopping, restaurants and nightlife enjoyed by locals. With a local leader to set you up in each city and show you around, plus plenty of freedom to explore what (and how) you like, this adventure is perfect for independent travellers.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Madrid, Spain
Finish
Barcelona, Spain
Destination
Spain
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
ZMRS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Spend two days in Valencia, the gateway to the Mediterranean and a walker’s paradise, where you can explore via a lush, snaking park that runs through the city.

  • Explore the medieval Old Town of Cuenca, a city built around deep gorges with many casa colgadas (hanging houses) that spill over the edge of edge of cliffs.

  • Taste the unforgettable flavours of Catalan dishes such as fideua (similar to seafood paella) and botifarra amb mongetes (haricot beans served with sausage) washed down with a glass of Rioja.

  • Wander around the 17th-century Plaza Mayor, the perfect place to get a sense of Madrid’s vibrant history and contemporary culture (plus do a little people watching).

  • Witness Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia, a Gothic masterpiece embodies Barcelona's artistic and progressive heart, and choose whether to continue inside on an optional tour.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a Basix-style trip full of fun, flexibility and plenty of free time to explore each destination at your own pace. Your leader will take you on regular orientation walks, so you'll be on your feet quite a lot. While this may be tiring for some, it’s the best way to get your bearings and set yourself up for further discoveries.

  • It’s bunking season! As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, solo travellers will share a room with other travellers of the same gender. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it! A single supplement is not available on this trip. Space is at a premium in Europe and your hotel is no exception. Rooms are often small, but usually the central location makes up for that. For those travelling as a duo, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. In some cases, bathroom facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.

  • Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be very high in Spain (over 40°C). It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat, and drink plenty of water. Please keep in mind that many European hotel rooms are not equipped with air-conditioning. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel.

  • The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. Trains are a fast way to cross long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. They are comfortable and all have toilets, however, can sometimes be quite busy. Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find specifics under ‘Packing’ in the ‘Essential Trip Information’ section.

  • The best way to experience a city is by doing as the locals do – and in this case that means using public transport such as trams, buses or metro at some locations. It’s better for the environment and you’ll get an authentic look at daily life; just be aware you may find yourself sharing a busy bus ride with local commuters or running up the stairs at a metro station.

Itinerary

Welcome to Madrid, the sassy central capital of Spain known for its elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 or 7 pm, depending on common area availability. After the welcome meeting, perhaps get into the mind of a Madrileno with some tapas and Rioja.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on exactly where and when the meeting will take place.
Today is free for you to discover Madrid. Perhaps begin in the heart of Old Madrid with a stroll along the portico-lined Plaza Mayor. After that maybe take a break in the Real Jardin Botanico, a garden wonderland dating from the 18th century, or by sitting with a coffee in one of the atmospheric streets and squares around the famous Plaza Mayor. If you’re after something a little more structured, you could join a locally-guided Urban Adventure to get a deeper insight into the city through its tapas. At night, maybe follow the crowds to Chueca, Plaza Dos de Mayo or Plaza Santa Ana, where the pulse of the city will lead you from bar to bar.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR6
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR10
  • Museo del Prado - EUR15
  • Royal Palace-Madrid - EUR11
  • Markets of Madrid - Urban Adventure - EUR47
  • Madrid Tapas Adventure - Urban Adventure - EUR82
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
For more information on Madrid Urban Adventures, speak to your booking agent or go to urbanadventures.com/destination/Madrid-tours.

Today travel by train to charming Cuenca (approximately 3 hours), located on the edge of deep gorges created by two rivers: Jucar and Huecar. On arrival, venture out on an orientation walk around this historic World Heritage-listed fortress city. The Old Town of this city is an outstanding medieval development built on steep mountainsides, with many casa colgadas (hanging houses) that are literally on the cliff edge. After the orientation walk, use your free time getting to know the city. Perhaps visit the impressive 12th-century gothic cathedral. Evening is a great opportunity to gather together with the group and enjoy a dinner and see the Old City beautifully brushed with light from a series of high-powered lamps suspended half-way up the rock.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Fundacion Antonio Perez - EUR2
  • Cuenca cathedral - EUR5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Board a train east to the coastal town of Valencia (approximately 4 hours). It's known for being the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, with a big port, beautiful beaches, restaurants and a beach promenade along the waterfront. On arrival you are free to begin exploring at your own pace. Perhaps head to the Old Town, where you will find beautiful monuments and historical buildings, or (if weather permits) soak up some sun on the beach. The colourful stalls of the Mercado Central are a great place to grab some fresh produce to snack on during the day while you explore.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Street Art in Old Valencia - Urban Adventure - EUR35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy another free day in Valencia. History buffs might want to check out the 13th-century Valencia Cathedral, which houses what legend says is the Holy Grail. Or maybe climb the 207 steps of the Miguelete tower for the best views of the city. After something different? The Museum of the Fallas contains a history of the Valencia Fire Festival in the form of giant papier mache figures (and entry is inexpensive, which is a bonus). To try the paella that Valencia is famous for (made with rabbit and chicken), ask your leader to point you towards the Las Arenas area for a hearty and reasonably priced lunch. Cycle paths and cheap bike hire make for another great way to explore, so active types might consider biking the park (a former river) that runs through the centre of the city.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Valencian Institute of Modern Art - EUR6
  • Gonzalez Marti Museum - EUR3
  • Cycling in Valencia - EUR6
  • Miguelete Tower - EUR2
  • The Silk Exchange - EUR2
  • Fallas Museum - EUR2
  • Principe Filipe Science Museum - EUR8
  • Valencian Treats and Tastes - Urban Adventures - EUR79
  • Street Art in Old Valencia - Urban Adventure - EUR35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take the train up the coast to Barcelona (approximately 4 hours), a quirky city with a ground-breaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife. Arrive in the afternoon. Maybe wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter and navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona's famous tree-lined boulevard. There are plenty of museums to choose from, so perhaps spend some time in the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. Take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. The heart of Catalonia prides itself on being a gastronomic centre, so tonight make sure to follow your leaders advice on where to get a taste of the culinary action.  
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You’re free today to partake in some of the optional activities on offer or relax. In the morning perhaps head to the stalls of Santa Catarina Market, a huge trove of local produce beneath a colourful, undulating roof. The city is famous for its architecture designed in the unique Catalan Modernista style. The master of this movement was Antonio Gaudi, whose eccentric creations are dotted all over the city. A visit to Gaudi's masterpiece, the modern basilica of La Sagrada Familia, is a must, even if it's just to see the outside. Gaudi worked on this hugely ambitious project for decades until his death and it remains under constant construction. For more insight into the artist, head to Parc Guell, a surreal landscaped area also designed by the artist.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Barcelona Tapas Tour - EUR70
  • Picasso Museum - EUR14
  • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
  • Guell Palace - EUR12
  • Casa Batllo - EUR24
  • Museum of City History - EUR7
  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you would like to visit La Sagrada Familia, it’s best to pre book your tickets before the tour. To do so, please check https://tickets.sagradafamilia.org/site/SagradaFamilia/ for updated information on availability and times of the visit. On this tour, best time to visit is Day 7, free day in Barcelona.
Your adventure ends this morning. There are no more activities planned today and you're free to leave the accommodation at any time, those please note you must comply with the hotel's internal check-out rules. If you'd like to spend a few more days in Barcelona, our reservations team can help secure accommodation at the time of booking (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

4 breakfasts

Transport

Metro, Public bus, Train, Tram

Accommodation

Hotel (1 night), Hostel (6 nights)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is NOT available on this trip.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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 Essential Trip Information

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