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Day 2 Hola Barcelona
Meet your Tour Director and check into hotel
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 3 Barcelona Landmarks
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.
See Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia -- This breathtaking church, said to be the master-work of architect Antoni Gaudí, has been under construction since 1882 and is not expected to be completed until 2026! Despite its unfinished state, the church has 18 spindle-shaped towers that soar above the church itself, making for a striking addition to Barcelona’s skyline and more than worth the visit.
Picasso Museum visit -- Take an unparalleled glimpse into the development of Picasso’s genius. Bringing together the Spaniard’s early and late works, the museum traces the evolution of Picasso’s art from his realism-based schoolboy exercises of the1890s through his Blue Period in 1904, and then jumps into the artist’s remarkable late work. A series of 1950s oil paintings shows Picasso’s explorations of Velazquez’s Las Meninas, in which he transforms the original into a perspective-shifting explosion of color and line.
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 4 Gerona & Figueres
Gerona and Figueres Guided Excursion -- Travel through the rolling land of northern Catalonia to Gerona, a hilly medieval town with narrow streets connected by stairways and pastel buildings lining the waterfront. Climb the 90 steps to the Baroque cathedral. Tour the antique Jewish quarter. See the Arab baths. Then continue to Figueres, a bustling village that is the hometown of Catalonian surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. Stroll the Rambla, the road that locals amble down for their traditional midday or evening walk. Tour the Dalí Museum, located in a theatre next to the house where he lived until his death in 1989. See a great collection of works by the artist, including a Cadillac with ivy-covered passengers you can water yourself.
Day 5 Barcelona
Montserrat visit -- Montserrat is famous for its monastery, its caves, its weirdly shaped crags of rock and its amazing mountain. The town lies just 40km northwest of Barcelona and is a summer escape for many.
Gaudi Guided Walking Tour -- Walk through Barcelona to see examples of Antoni Gaudí’s curving and twisting architecture and his use of brightly colored tiles, including a huge multicolored mosaic dragon that greets visitors at the entrance of Güell Park.
Casa Mila visit -- This magnificent building is the epitome of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí’s fantastical style. See how he uses twisted pillars, curved archways and warped metal balconies to create a totally unique design all his own.
Day 6 Sitges
Optional -- Sitges Excursion -- Head to the resort town of Sitges. Once a medieval town settled mainly by farmers and fisherman, Sitges exploded into a countercultural haven in the 60s and now has become one of Spain's favorite vacation spots. Explore its beautiful medieval streets, innovative Modernist buildings, and stunning beaches.
Flamenco evening -- Originating from gypsy music and dance in Southern Spain, flamenco dancing has become a Spanish institution. Dancers use intricate footwork and elaborate arm gestures to convey the mood of the music, which can range from lamentation to celebration.
Day 7 End Tour
Our travel protection plan covers you for the following events:
■ A traveler’s injury, sickness, or death of an immediate family member
■ Theft of passport or visas
■ Flight cancellations due to strike or bad weather
■ Loss of luggage and personal effects
■ Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption due to covered reasons such as a covered sickness, injury or death
■ Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption due to Terrorist Acts, as defined