From balmy nights in Spanish gardens to days in the pavilions of the Real Alcazar, savour the distinctive music, history and cuisine that epitomise Spain.
Experience the passion of opera and concert music with the best seats in the house for Handel’s Agrippina and Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Verdi’s Rigoletto at the spectacular Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia and Strauss’s Capriccio at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
Discover the unique music and dance traditions of Catalonia and Andalusia, and enjoy a flamenco performance and private classical guitar and opera concert in Seville.
Embrace Spain’s heady combination of European and Moorish culture, from the Gothic and Art Nouveau in Madrid and Barcelona to the sensuous pools and courtyards of Andalusia.
Depart Australia or New Zealand on suggested Qatar Airways flights to Barcelona via Doha. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.
Arrive in Barcelona in the early afternoon (if travelling on suggested flights) and make your way to the hotel for check-in.
At 17:30 join Mairi and fellow travellers for a welcome briefing followed by a special welcome dinner.
Following a morning talk by Mairi, visit the emblematic Palau de la Musica. Discover this resplendent UNESCO World Heritage-listed opera hall with rich architecture and décor. From the elegant foyer and the main staircase, discover the Lluís Millet Hall, an intermission hall dedicated to nature, and continue to the majestic Concert Hall with its emblematic colourful glass skylight.
After lunch at a local restaurant, return to the hotel for the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
Tonight, return to the Palau de la Musica for a concert featuring the internationally-renowned violist Manfredo Kraemer and the National Classical Orchestra of Andorra.
Continue your exploration of Barcelona with a morning tour of the heart of the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter), where much of the city’s ancient and Mediaeval architecture is contained within a few blocks, including the Roman wall and gateway, the Cathedral and Palau de la Generalitat (Palace of Government). Enjoy a stroll along the famous boulevard Las Ramblas.
After lunch, explore Gaudì’s greatest work, the massive unfinished Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Church of the Holy Family), an immense Roman Catholic church begun in 1882 and still under construction.
In the evening, attend a performance of Georges Bizet’s lyric opera Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers) at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. Conducted by Yves Abel, the cast features the American tenor John Osborn as Nadir and the Russian soprano Ekaterina Bakanova as Leila.
Following a talk on tonight’s performance, visit the celebrated Museu Picasso dedicated to the towering genius of 20th century art, Pablo Picasso. This modern museum is housed in five Catalan-Gothic-style palaus (palaces) dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, located in the Barri Gotic district.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before spending the afternoon at leisure to further explore Barcelona at your own pace.
Tonight, attend Handel’s opera Agrippina at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. Conducted by Maxim Emelyanychev, this production stars the American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as Agrippina, Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni as Claudio and Argentinian countertenor Franco Fagioli as Nerone.
Depart Barcelona for Valencia by coach, stopping for lunch in the coastal city of L’Ampolla.
In the afternoon, arrive in Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, and enjoy some time at leisure before tonight’s performance.
In the evening, attend a performance of Verdi’s romantic masterpiece Rigoletto at the spectacular Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. Conducted by Roberto Abbado, the cast features baritone Vladimir Stoyanov as Rigoletto, Italian classical soprano Maria Grazia Schiavo as Gilda and Spanish tenor Celso Albelo as the Duke of Mantua.
This morning, visit the historic heart of Valencia. Visit the Plaza de la Reina, the Cathedral and adjoining Miguelete Tower, La Lonja (Silk Exchange) and taste local delicacies in the Central Market.
Enjoy lunch in one of the city’s traditional restaurants before time at leisure to continue your exploration of Valencia at your own pace.
This morning, visit the Fine Arts Museum of Valencia, considered Spain’s second most important art collection after the Prado in Madrid.
After lunch, transfer to Valencia airport for a flight to Seville (included in tour price).
On arrival in Seville, transfer to the hotel for check-in. The evening is at leisure.
After a morning talk by Mairi, explore the historic heart of Seville with a tour of the Santa Cruz quarter. Visit the immense 15th century Gothic Cathedral and admire La Giralda, originally a minaret which became the Cathedral belfry, which now houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus. See the 13th century Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold) which formed part of the Moorish walled defences of the city, and the 18th century bull-ring, Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza.
The afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, attend a flamenco performance in one of the renowned tablaos (flamenco bars) in Seville, followed by dinner. This unique Spanish musical genre embodies a complex musical and cultural tradition, particularly related to the region of Andalusia.
This morning, visit the Real Alcazar, the royal residence dating from 1364. The ornate Moorish-inspired rooms are decorated with complex patterned tile and plasterwork, complemented by extravagant gardens laid out with terraces, fountains and pavilions in diverse styles, including French, Italian and Arab.
Lunch and the afternoon are at leisure, before attending a private guitar and opera recital featuring the acclaimed Spanish guitarist and composer José María Gallardo del Rey, who will perform a rich and stimulating program of music for the guitar and voices.
The morning is at leisure to enjoy the delights of Seville.
After lunch, transfer to Seville train station for a high-speed train trip to Madrid. On arrival in Madrid, transfer to the hotel for check-in.
After a talk by Mairi in the morning, visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish royal family in Madrid. In this monumental building, discover the Throne Room, the Royal Armoury and Royal Pharmacy and observe paintings by Caravaggio, Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya.
The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to continue your exploration of Madrid at your own pace.
Tonight, attend a performance at the Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid’s home of zarzuela, an indigenous Spanish form of opera and dance (to be confirmed; program to be announced early 2019).
This morning, visit one of the world’s greatest art collections – the Museo del Prado. Opened in 1819 to display the royal collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts, the Prado houses the world’s largest collection of Spanish paintings featuring works by Velazquez, El Greco and Goya, as well as an extensive display of Italian and Flemish works.
Enjoy lunch in one of the city’s traditional restaurants before an afternoon at leisure.
Following a talk on tonight’s performance, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a special farewell lunch with Mairi and fellow travellers. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.
Tonight, attend a performance of Richard Strauss’s ‘last operatic venture’, Capriccio, at the Teatro Real. Conducted by Asher Fisch, this production stars the Swedish lyric soprano Malin Byström as Countess Madeleine and the Austrian bass-baritone Josef Wagner as the Count.
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.
Make your way to Madrid Airport for suggested Qatar Airways flights to Australia or New Zealand via Doha. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including any additional nights’ accommodation, either before or after the tour.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
15 March 2019
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions.
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit Spain.
Tour price includes
- Premium (Category 1) tickets to at least five opera and concert performances in Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Madrid
- Accommodation in centrally located 5-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wine
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Transportation throughout on comfortable, air-conditioned coaches
- Economy Class flight from Valencia to Seville (23kg luggage allowance)
- First class train ticket from Seville to Madrid
- Pre-performance talks by your tour leader, Mairi Nicolson
- Gratuities for local guides, drivers and waitering staff
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
- Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, taxis, room service etc.
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contract Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
Barcelona: El Palace Barcelona *****
Valencia: The Westin *****
Seville: Gran Melia Colon*****
Madrid: Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques*****
NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted