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  • Rick Steves' Best of Barcelona & Madrid Tour, Day by Day

    The Rick Steves Best of Barcelona & Madrid tour combines Spain's top cities to create a sparkling, full-bodied eight-day adventure. First, you'll experience the pride and energy of Barcelona — tapping into the tapas scene, digging into delicious seafood, and marveling at architecture and art by Gaudí and Picasso. Then we'll hop a high-speed train to Madrid for its terrific tapas, masterpiece-packed Prado Museum, and a day in historic Toledo. You'll come home with more memories than you ever thought possible in a week-long getaway. Join us on a day-by-day slideshow preview of our Best of Barcelona & Madrid in 8 Days tour. Let's go!

  • Magic Fountains near Plaça d’Espanya, Barcelona, Spain

    Day 1: Welcome to Barcelona

    Barcelona, the proud capital of Catalunya, may be the most festive city on the Mediterranean. We'll meet at our centrally located hotel for an orientation meeting — then we'll join the party with a stroll through our surprise-filled, people-packed neighborhood before having dinner together.

  • La Pedrera (Casa Milà) rooftop, Barcelona, Spain

    Day 2: Gaudí and Modernista Eixample

    This morning is devoted to the swirling architecture of Antoni Gaudí and Barcelona's Modernisme movement. We'll stroll through the Eixample neighborhood, visiting the Casa Milà and Block of Discord, on our way to tour the greatest work of Barcelona's master builder — the towering, dizzying Sagrada Família. The remainder of your afternoon is free to explore more Art Nouveau delights throughout the city. This evening we'll regroup for a lesson on Spain's time-honored tapas culture, before setting you free for dinner on your own.

  • Day 3: Barri Gòtic and Picasso

    Today we'll visit the Picasso Museum, Europe's best collection of Picasso paintings, where we'll trace the story of this hometown boy-genius' art as he evolved from a kid who painted like an adult…to an adult who painted like a kid. We'll end our tour in Barcelona's maze-like Gothic Quarter, exploring from its Roman foundations to the spires of its candle-, relic- (and geese-!) strewn cathedral. This evening we'll toast to our last night in Barcelona with dinner together.

  • Park Guell in Barcelona

    Day 4: Park Güell and a Speedy Train to Madrid

    We'll start today with a panoramic bus tour of Barcelona, leading to Gaudí's famed Park Güell. Then it's "all aboard" for one of Europe's speediest trains (the AVE) to Madrid. Upon arrival, we'll meet our bus for a tour of Madrid's major monuments and classy boulevards. Once we've settled into our hotel in the heart of Madrid, we'll take a neighborhood orientation walk, ending with a tapas-style dinner together.

  • Day 5: Madrid's Royal Palace

    Today, we'll take a historical walking tour starting at the very center of Madrid: the bustling Puerta del Sol. From there we'll walk to — and through — the sumptuously decorated Royal Palace. With 2,000 rooms, tons of luxurious tapestries, and a king's ransom of chandeliers, this is truly one of the great palaces of Europe. You'll be free for dinner on your own tonight, but first we'll prepare your taste buds with an introduction to Spanish wine at a local bodego.

  • Day 6: Masterpieces of Madrid

    This morning we'll tour one of Europe's premier art museums — the masterpiece-packed Prado — where you'll see paintings by Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, and others. Then we'll visit the Reina Sofía, Spain's greatest modern art museum and home of Picasso's Guernica. The rest of the afternoon is yours to stroll through the majestic Retiro Gardens (Madrid's most popular park), do a little shopping, and maybe even catch a flamenco performance.

  • Day 7: Toledo

    A short bus ride after breakfast will take us to Spain's old capital city of Toledo (and back in time about 500 years). We'll take a traffic-free walking tour that includes Toledo's magnificent cathedral, the historic Tránsito Synagogue, and El Greco's The Burial of the Count of Orgaz in Santo Tomé Chapel. This afternoon you'll have time to enjoy the winding medieval streets of Toledo. We'll catch the bus back to Madrid for our final dinner together to share travel memories and toast new friends. Salud!

  • Day 8: Tour Over After Breakfast

    Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Madrid's airport is an easy bus or taxi ride away — or you may want to continue your Iberian adventures on your own. Hasta luego!

    Ready to go? We have seats available for tours departing this spring and fall. Learn more about our Best of Barcelona & Madrid in 8 Days tour!