Great Cities of Spain by Rail    *alt*

9 days, from £1229
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Explore three contrasting Spanish Cities

Sample Spain's regional flavours and cultural characteristics on this fascinating tour from Catalonia to Andalusia. Cross the country by AVE High Speed train and stay in modernist Barcelona, cultural Madrid and Moorish Seville.


nights in hotels

meals: 9 breakfasts and 6 dinners - Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
- Return flights, railway journeys and transfers
- Saga tour manager
- Welcome drink reception
- Porterage at all hotels

Excursions and visits
- Guided walking tour of Barcelona's Gothic quarter
- A guided tour of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia
- See Barcelona's UNESCO-listed Parc Guell
- Gaze at masterpieces in the Prado
- Panoramic tour of Madrid's most famous monuments
- See the tomb of Columbus in Seville's mighty Gothic cathedral
- A journey on one of Spain's oldest narrow-gauge railways
Use of audio headsets on selected guided tours


 Day 1 UK-Barcelona

Fly to Barcelona and transfer to your hotel with a panoramic orientation tour of some of the main sights en route. Stay three nights at the locally rated 4-star Hotel Ayre Caspe (4Q). Have dinner in the hotel this evening. D

 Day 2 Barcelona

Take in Barcelona's labyrinthine Gothic quarter on an included guided tour and see Ramblas and La Boqueria market, before visiting the architect Antoni Gaudi's unfinished, but breathtaking masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia. The afternoon is at leisure. Dine independently - perhaps sample a selection of tapas on the Ramblas. B

 Day 3 Barcelona

After breakfast join an included visit to Parc Guell, a UNESCO-listed art nouveau marvel also designed by Gaudi. Look out for the mosaic lizard - 'el drac' - at the entrance, the Sala Hipostila, with its jungle of columns, and Gaudi's own house, now a museum. This afternoon explore independently, or join an optional excursion to 11th-century Montserrat Monastery, home to the Black Madonna. Dinner is at your hotel this evening. B, D

 Day 4 Barcelona-Madrid

After breakfast this morning transfer to Barcelona Sants station and travel in style on the high-speed AVE train, through Zaragoza and on to cultural Madrid. Take an orientation tour of the city on your transfer to the hotel, taking in the Royal Palace, the Cibeles Fountain, Puerto de Alcala and Paseo del Prado. Stay three nights at the locally rated 4-star Hotel Rafael Atocha (4Q) and enjoy dinner here tonight. B, D

 Day 5 Madrid

Head to the world-famous Prado museum, home to a superb collection of Goya's works, and masterpieces from the Golden Age of Spanish Art by such luminaries as EL Greco, and Velazquez. Later, join your tour manager on a stroll through Madrid's literary quarter - Barrio de Las Letras - and perhaps have a drink in Hemingway's favourite bar, La Ceverceria Alemana, in Plaza Santa Ana. The afternoon is at leisure, perhaps visit Reina Sofia Museum to see Picasso's Gernika. Tonight you can dine independently, or you might like to join your tour manager in a recommended local restaurant. B

 Day 6 Madrid

Venture to the Plaza Mayor for Madrid's famous flea market - El Rastro - a local Madrileno institution. Sample gastronomic delights, and explore stalls of antiques and curios, ringed by some of the city's best tapas bars. Perhaps join an optional excursion to UNESCO-listed Toledo this afternoon. B, D

 Day 7 Madrid-Seville

Hop back aboard the AVE train this morning as you journey south to Andalusia's capital, regarded by many as Spain's loveliest city. Seville has boulevards lined with fragrant orange trees, and is home to Spain's oldest bridge, Puente de Triana, the Maria Luisa Park, and the beautifully whimsical Plaza de Espana, a popular film location. Stay three nights in the central, locally rated 4-star NH Collection (4Q) or Hotel Vertice Aljarafe (4Q), which is a few kilometres from the city. Join your tour manager on an orientation stroll. Dinner is in the hotel. B, D

 Day 8 Seville

This morning you can look forward to a guided tour of this beautiful city's historic sights. Enjoy a pleasant stroll across Triana bridge. Visit the imposing Gothic cathedral, which houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus, topped by the city's landmark La Giralda bell tower. You'll also have time to explore the spectacular palace and gardens of Alcazar, built by Peter the Cruel in 1362, and modelled on the Alhambra in Granada. In the afternoon you might like to take an optional river cruise along the Guadalquivir to see this beautiful city from the water. In the evening there is an optional dinner and show. B

 Day 9 Seville

Discover the magic of flamenco this morning with an included visit to the Museo de Baile Flamenco to see an exhibition and a stunning live performance. Explore the picturesque Jewish Quarter, a maze of cobbled streets and alleys lined with whitewashed houses. The afternoon is at leisure, perhaps join an optional excursion to the city of Jerez to tour a sherry bodega. Enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel tonight. B, D

 Day 10 Seville-UK

Take a fascinating mountain train ride on one of Spain's oldest railways - which once served the British copper mines of Rio Tinto - and visit the Rio Tinto Mines museum. Later, travel to Seville airport for your return flight to the UK. B