Madrid, Barcelona & Rome

Madrid, Barcelona & Rome
Take a trip to the Baroque-style, 2,800 room Royal Palace in Madrid, visit Montijuïc Hill in Barcelona, site of the 1992 Olympics and an ancient fortress, and get a glimpse into the life of ancient Romans with a visit to the Forum Romanum.
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Day 1 Start tour
Day 2 Hola Madrid
Meet your tour director and check into hotel
Madrid city walk
Puerta del SolPlaza MayorPlaza de España
Details: Madrid city walk
Life in Madrid is centered around talking, toasting and tapas-eating. In a walk through this crowded and social city, your Tour Director will help you get to know the lay of the land. Then stroll over to the Puerta del Sol, the bustling city center. Next, you'll relax at the Plaza Mayor, a grand square where every sort of human drama has taken place—trials of faith, public burnings of heretics, royal marriages, the canonization of saints, and countless balls and bullfights. End at the Plaza de España for a stop at an outdoor café.
Details: Prado visit
Visit the Museo del Prado, home of works by Spain's great masters, including Francisco Goya, Diego Velázquez, and El Greco. Please note that on some occassions the Prado could be substituted for the Reina Sofia Museum, featuring works from Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí among others.
Day 3 Madrid landmarks
Madrid guided sightseeing tour
Calle MayorGran VíaCibeles FountainPuerta de AlcaláColumbus SquareRoyal Palace visit
Optional  Toledo guided excursion  $70
Toledo Cathedral visitChurch of Santo ToméSt. Mary’s Synagogue
Details: Madrid guided sightseeing tour
Get a taste of Spain's cultural, political and economic center with a tour led by a licensed local guide. See Madrid's mix of traditional and modern as you visit the Royal Palace, an 18th-century masterpiece. The enormous Baroque palace currently has more rooms (2,800) than any other European palace, but it was originally supposed to be four times as large. The palace is dripping with porcelain, jeweled clocks, amazing ceiling frescoes—the most magnificent, in the Throne Room, was done by the Venetian artist Tiepolo when he was in his seventies. Next take a look at the Neoclassical architecture of the Prado Museum and the Puerta de Alcalá triumphal arch, built to honor Carlos III’s entry into Spain.
Day 4 Madrid--Barcelona
Travel to Barcelona via Zaragoza
Basilica of the Virgin of Pilar visit
Details: Tapas dinner
Tapas purportedly originated when bartenders set a small plate (''tapa'') over patrons' glasses of sherry and wine to keep the flies out. The bartenders starting piling the plate with cold cuts, olives, or salad, and the bite-size snack was born. (We're unsure how they kept the flies out of the cold-cuts... maybe that's how the sandwich was invented?) Over time these working-class snacks have become more elaborate, with each region adding its own specialties and cooking techniques to create unique tastes and combinations.
Day 5 Barcelona landmarks
Barcelona guided sightseeing tour
Gaudí’s Sagrada FamíliaMontjuïc HillPark Güell visit
Barcelona city walk
Mercat de la BoqueríaLas RamblasColumbus Monument
Paella lunch
Overnight ferry to Rome
Details: Barcelona guided sightseeing tour
See brilliant Barcelona, a city of graceful Gothic churches, wrought-iron balconies and wide, grand avenues filled with outdoor cafés. Throughout the city, daringly innovative buildings sit side-by-side with the medieval past. A licensed, local guide will show you some of the high points of this architectural showcase. First stop: the pointy spires of the La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family), a half-finished church complex that became the obsession of Barcelona's famously eccentric architectural genius, Antoni Gaudí. Then step back to the past with a journey up to Montjuïc (Hill of the Jews). See the fortress built atop an ancient Jewish cemetery. Site of numerous battles to control Barcelona, this hill was also the location of the 1992 Olympics.
Details: Barcelona city walk
Flowers, pedestrian boulevards, and decorative pavement make Barcelona a great walking city, and your Tour Director will show you where to stroll. See the Mercat de la Boquería, where the bright colors of fruits and vegetables, spices, fresh seafood and meat -- not to mention about a hundred different types of cheese -- vie for space in the market stalls. In the city center you'll see the Monument a Colom, a towering statue of Christopher Columbus. Gaze at the city stretched out before you, the mountains in the distance, and the Mediterranean Sea at your back. Then it's on to the best walk in the city, Las Ramblas, a mile-long pedestrian street that offers up the carnival of urban Barcelona. Have your palm read or browse through the strip's famous open-air shops. Enough walking for one day? Pull up a chair, order a café con leche, and watch the parade of street performers from your seat.
Day 6 Rome
Arrive in Rome in the evening
Day 7 Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Colosseum visitForum Romanum visitPiazza Venezia
Rome city walk
Spanish StepsTrevi FountainPantheonPiazza Navona
Authentic trattoria dinner
Details: Ancient Rome guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
The ultimate symbol of Ancient Rome, the Colosseum still dominates the modern city. Tour the amphitheater with your local licensed guide. Built by the emperor Vespasian in A.D. 72, the structure held almost 50,000 spectators but was so well organized that the entire place could be emptied within 15 minutes. Inside, the spectacles varied from gladiator battles to immense naval contests to wild beast shows, in which thousands of exotic animals like giraffes and ostriches were popped into the stadium through trap doors and left to fight Roman hunters. See the system beneath the floor that operated the trap doors and housed the animals, then continue on to the relative calm of the Forum. Ancient Rome’s commercial, religious and political center, the Forum held markets, temples and the Senate House. Near the Rostra, or speaker’s platform, you can still see game boards scratched into the marble by bored politicians--anyone up for a game of tic tac toe?
Details: Rome city walk
Baroque-en hearted? Revive your spirits with a walk past Rome's most beautiful and unusual Baroque fountains. At the foot of the Spanish Steps, elegant cafes once favored by visiting Brits and Americans surround the central fountain. The water pressure here was so low that the artist had to sink the fountain into the ground to get any water going through it, so he went ahead and designed the fountain to look like a sinking ship. There's no shortage of water pressure at the nearby Trevi Fountain, a Baroque extravagance designed by master sculptor Bernini. At the Pantheon, you'll see the largest concrete dome ever constructed. An oculus, or hole, in the dome lets sunlight into the beautiful temple, dedicated to all the gods.
Day 8 Vatican City
Vatican City guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel visitSt. Peter’s Basilica visit
Details: Vatican City guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Don a state-of-the-art headset for a space-age tour of St. Peter’s Basilica with a licensed local guide. Outside the church, four rows of columns radiate out like welcoming arms; inside, the church seems enormous enough to embrace the entire world. The dome, partially designed by Michelangelo, rises 452 feet above the ground. Michelangelo’s mark is everywhere here, from the costumes worn by the Swiss Guards to his exquisite “Pietà” sculpture (the only sculpture he ever signed) to the amazing frescoes of the Sistine Chapel. Because he considered himself a sculptor and not a painter, Michelangelo hated working on these paintings, now considered masterpieces.
Day 9 End tour

  • Or
  • Day 9 Start extension to Sorrento
    Travel to Sorrento
    Cameo workshop
    Details: Pompeii guided excursion
    Stop to see the city where time stood still, literally. Once an important Roman city with 20,000 residents, Pompeii was frozen in time nearly 2000 years ago, when Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city under 30 feet of mud and volcanic ash. Forgotten for centuries after the eruption, Pompeii was discovered in the 1600’s and is now completely excavated. On your tour you will learn how Romans of all classes lived their lives--not only from large public structures, but from details like political graffiti, bars, and street signs.
    Day 10 Sorrento--Rome
    Travel to Rome
    Details: Capri & Blue Grotto excursion
    From the Bay of Naples the island of Capri is less than an hour away by boat. Weather permitting, you will take a boat to the Blue Grotto, where sunlight reflected from beneath the water bathes the cave in a silver-blue light.
    Day 11 End tour
    Map of Madrid, Barcelona, & Rome Educational Tour
    Tour Includes:
    • Round-trip airfare
    • 6 overnight stays (8 with extension) in hotels with private bathrooms
    • 1 overnight stay in cabins on ferry
    • Full European breakfast daily
    • Dinner daily
    • Full-time services of a professional Tour Director
    • Guided sightseeing tours and city walks as per itinerary
    • Visits to select attractions as per itinerary
    • Tour Diary™
    • Note: On arrival day only dinner is provided; on departure day, only breakfast is provided
    • Note: Tour cost does not include airline-imposed baggage fees, or fees for any required passport or visa. Please visit our Fees FAQ page for a full list of items that may not be included in the cost of your tour.
    We are better able to assist you with a quote for your selected departure date and city over the phone. Please call 1.888.310.7120 to price this tour with your requested options.
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