Spain Travel Package – Heart of Spain
Madrid is not only the modern capital of Spain, it also
occupies a geographical position that places it in the heart of the
country. Madrid is surrounded by several of Spain’s finest tourist
destinations – "must see" cities that form a convenient circle around
Avila – Toledo –
Chinchon – Cuenca –
Siguenza: Each within an easy and
driving distance from the next, and each a wonderful destination for
travelers wishing to experience this heartland of Iberia.
Segovia – the "city of
poets" – a soaring ship of a city. With its
Roman aqueduct, it is one of the most interesting and visually pleasing of cities for
Standing and gazing out from the world-renown castle, one is
transported as if to some vaguely-recalled
fairytale. Everything about Segovia is mesmerizing and photogenic.
The Romans were here over 2000 years ago – the Visigoths and Arabs
followed. They’ve all left their marks and helped create what
is an incomparable city in an incomparable setting.
The modern Parador Segovia is called the "viewpoint of Segovia" –
Its views out over the city are panoramic.
rooms have "postcard" vistas. As usual, the restaurant serves
delicious Castilian cuisine.
Avila rests in stately slumber
behind her perfectly preserved medieval walls. It’s almost as if
time has passed her by, yet she waits patiently for today’s new pilgrims –
the intrepid tourists.
Avila is for walking. In this "city of knights and
nuns," you’ll walk in the very footsteps of Saint Teresa – past her
own Convento de Santa Teresa – past
Spain’s oldest gothic cathedral – past numerous stately homes, medieval
and renaissance palaces – and along the top of the muralla
– the awe inspiring city wall.
The Parador Avila backs right up against those very walls. You can
walk out the doors of the Parador, across to a nearby park, and up some
ancient stone stairs to the top of these magnificent fortifications – truly a
walk back into time. The Parador is a former 16th century palace
with granite floors and large bright rooms. It has pleasant gardens, and the
restaurant serves the delicious specialties of Castile in a large stone and wood dining
room, All together – you are assured of a memorable stay.
Toledo – the Imperial city –
the city of three cultures. For many, Toledo mesmerizes – it exudes
a strangely powerful attraction – dark, claustrophobic and profound.
It was the seat of the Spanish Inquisition, the home of the brilliantly
disturbed El Greco, and the scene of both vicious and heroic events during the
Spanish civil war.
Dignified Toledo is full of splendor and endless surprises for the
traveler. It is architecturally and culturally fascinating like few
other cities could be. To look at Toledo from afar, is to be
beguiled and astonished.
The Parador Toledo is set on a remarkable site that has unmatched views
out over the city. The building was originally built by the Count of
Toledo in the 14th century and is completely Toledan in character. The
restaurant serves as a school for the chefs of the other paradors, and
the meals are nothing short of spectacular. There is much to see in Toledo, so
you’ll stay here for two nights.
Chinchon is a little-known gem
of a town. The laid-back atmosphere of the unique main plaza conjures
up images of what Spain must have been like a hundred years ago. This
Plaza Mayor (seen to the left) is circular in form and doubles as a bullring
during feria every year.
Chinchon is also famous for its anise liqueur which you can purchase at
any of the little market nooks around the plaza.
The Parador Chinchon is perfect for the traveler who wants to relax
in tranquility. This Parador is a converted 17th century
Augustinian Convent that is situated a few yards from the Plaza Mayor in the
heart of the old quarter. It has beautiful private gardens and an
original cloister that contribute to it’s ambience of peace and quiet.
Cuenca is the location of the famous "Casas
Colgadas" – the hanging houses. The city is as if carved right from the imposing
limestone cliffs that jut up from the verdant Huecar valley floor.
These houses are world famous – and justifiably so.
Cuenca has an amiable feel. Night
time strolling through the city’s old quarter has a special appeal – as
does hiking along the river below the city and gazing back up at the
soaring, venerable "skyscrapers" of Cuenca.
A drive out
to Ciudad Encantada will make for a fun half-day trip. The fantastical
rock formations there are fascinating. Walk the pleasant trails that
wander through them – take a picnic lunch and enjoy the incredible
The elegant Parador Cuenca is a converted 16th century convent and many
of the rooms have breathtaking direct views across to the famous "hanging
houses." Frescos and ornate plasterwork are everywhere, and a soothing
garden now fills the original cloister. This 4 star hotel assures a
remarkable experience, and you’ll stay here for two nights.
Siguenza is one of several Castillian towns
that maintain a strong medieval feel. Walking through the stone
streets of the old town near the castle/Parador you’ll feel as if you’ve walked into
some kind of time warp. A small, out-of-the-way town now, Siguenza has
played a major part in the history of Spain.
Don’t miss the famed
sculpture of the Doncel. Wander down into
the streets of the old quarter, and soak in the ancient atmosphere that
still permeates this place.
The Parador Siguenza occupies a massive castle whose construction was
begun in 1123 A.D.. Through the centuries, it has served as a
residence to bishops, cardinals and monarchs. Today it will provide
you with all the modern comforts while still maintaining its air of antiquity.
One of the finest and most historically interesting in the Parador chain.
Madrid is hands-down winner of the title, "Europe’s Liveliest City."
Madrilenos don’t really get their day into high gear until after
dinnertime – and dinner usually starts around 10:00 p.m.! Then
they flood their beloved city’s streets and "pasear" (stroll around) or
"tapear" (hop from tapa bar to tapa bar) until dawn.
Some speak of Madrid as being drab, but how far from the truth that
is! Granted it suffers, as do many of the world’s major cities,
from urban sprawl – but once you get past the concrete jungle outskirts,
you’ll discover a city that provides
endless surprises and discoveries.
There are many pockets of very old buildings that contain odd
assortments of shops, tiendas and bars. You’ll happen upon
eighteenth-century Bourbon squares, pleasant plazas and quaint
restaurants at every other turn.
Must Sees: The Prado
museum – the Reina Sofía and
the Plaza Mayor, the Retiro Park,
Gran Via – and
the list could go on and on.
But really – the thing that makes Madrid so special are the street
scenes, the people and the energy that makes this the night-time,
high-energy capital of Europe.
Package Price includes:
– All Paradors and hotels
– Car rental for all days except last two
Contact us for current prices.
We will take care of
arranging every aspect of this special journey for you. The "Heart of
Spain" experience will provide
you with the vacation of a lifetime – a traveler’s peek into the storied and
fascinating center of this great country.
Contact us today and begin planning your
vacation into the "Heart of Spain."
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(Spain Parador information provided courtesy of