Kings of Castile & Extremadura

Head to Castilla y Leon, Spain without the stereotypes with vast plains, spectacular mountain peaks and evocative medieval towns and villages. Then continue to Extremadura into the heart of old Spain, from the country’s finest Roman ruins to mysterious medieval cities and time-worn villages. Mérida, Cáceres and Trujillo rank among Spain's most beautifully preserved historical settlements.

HIGHLIGHTS

Experience the medieval charm of Castilla y Leon & Extremadura

Savour exquisite wine and gastronomy

Experience the charm and allure of the countryside

Stay in charming and intimate boutique hotels

ITINERARY

DAY 1: MADRID / SEGOVIA / VALLADOLID

We leave Madrid today for the ancient and UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Segovia immediately dominated by the astounding scene of the Roman Aqueduct of Segovia - one of Europe's greatest Roman monuments during the rule of Emperor Domitian. Built during the "Flavio" period around 50 AD, the aqueduct channeled water 17 kilometers from the Acebeda River in the Sierra de Fuenfría mountains through a deep valley to the ancient city. A feat of engineering, the structure was constructed from 20,400 granite blocks without any cement, and the rows of 167 arches have held together in perfect form to this day. We then visit the Alcazar of Segovia, with its Disneyland-like turreted towers, this castle makes a fairy-tale impression. The fortress stands majestically above the city on a steep-sided rocky crag. From this vantage point, the views of the surroundings are amazing. The impenetrable location is testament to the original military purpose of the fortress. Dating back to the 12th century, the Alcázar served as the residence of King Alfonso VIII, and in the 13th century, the building was enhanced in elegant Gothic style for John II and Henry IV. The last architectural renovation was completed in the 16th century by the architect Francisco de Mora. The marriage of Philip II and Anne of Austria was celebrated in the Alcázar's chapel. Thereafter, we have time to enjoy a delightful and customary Segovian roasted suckling pig "cochinillo asado" at the incredibly-famous Meson de Candido in a private room while taking a step back in time to learn about the legacy of the Candido family.

 

Finally, we continue a scenic and comfortable 1 hour drive to the stunning grounds of the Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine in the countryside of Valladolid where we spend the next 2 nights in this incredibly restored 12th Century former abbey. 

Overnight: Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, Valladolid

Meals: Lunch

DAY 2: VALLADOLID (EXCURSION TO PENAFIEL & BURGOS)

This morning, we embark on an excursion to visit the alluring bullfighting town of Penafiel. As authentic a Spanish town as it gets, the less-visited Penafiel thrills not only with its incredible Castle of Penafiel - today, an astonishing restored wine museum showcasing some of the finest wine exhibits in the renowned path of the Ribera del Duero - but also its impeccable Plaza del Coso, adorned with rectangular sand arena and half-timbered buildings that make up an old style bull fighting ring without the modern oval-shaped arenas seen elsewhere in Spain.

 

Next, we continue our drive along the scenic Ribera del Duero wine route where we make a visit to the incredibly stunning and modern architecture of Bodegas Portia - designed by British architect Norman Foster. Opened in 2010, the sublime "trefoil - three point star" designed winery blends traditional wine-making of the Ribera del Duero with cutting edge technology and innovation as we embark on a visually-spectacular tour of the facilities before culminating in wine tasting.

 

From here, a pleasant drive north takes us to the gastronomic and romance capital of Burgos as well as being the historic capital of Castilla y Leon. We enjoy an INCLUDED lunch at En Tiempos de Maricastana, an underrated restaurant but celebrated for its stunning home-styled cuisine with a contemporary twist prepared lovingly by female Chef Sara Ordonez del Rio where you may even get behind the scenes to learn about the preparation of Burgos' renowned "Morcilla" blood sausages.

 

After lunch, we embark on a tour of Burgos's historic centre, packed with Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Visit the 13th Century UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cathedral of St Mary, first built in 1221 by King Fernando III of Castilla before it was finally finished in the 18th Century. The current Cathedral was built on the site of a Romanesque church which had been demolished in order to build a temple bigger. In fact, the Cathedral has 3 naves, 19 interesting chapels, one of the best Gothic cloister in Spain which is dated in the 14th Century and decorated with sculptures of the 13th and 14th Centuries.

 

From here, we return to Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine where this evening, be treated to a gastronomic 1 Michelin star tasting menu dinner at its very own Refectorio Restaurant.

Overnight: Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, Valladolid

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 3: VALLADOLID / TORO / ZAMORA / SALAMANCA

Today, we leave the Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine for a walking tour of the city of Valladolid, former capital of Spain that has seen better days. On a brief visit, we will gain insights into the final resting place of Miguel Cervantes.

 

Later, we continue our drive to the town of Toro - renowned for its old fashioned but incredibly superb tapas as well as the famous Tinto de Toro wines, most famously relished by Christopher Columbus. We enjoy some time in the traditional atmosphere of the small town, sample some local tapas and the strong intense Toro wines.

 

Next, we visit the charming town of Zamora, one of the best-kept secrets in Spain decorated in lots of character and history in every alley. On a walking visit, we marvel at the impeccable Romanesque architecture and also the Balboraz Street - named the most beautiful street in Spain.

 

Finally, we will arrive at the Hacienda Zorita - a 700 year old former monastery restored into a luxury hotel that has hosted Christopher Columbus before he set sail for his voyage for the New Worlds. 

Overnight: Hacienda Zorita, Salamanca

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 4: SALAMANCA

Today, we enjoy a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient city of Salamanca, without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and is considered a symbol of the Old Castile because of it’s continued cultural relevance and strategic location at the heart of the Iberian Peninsula. We start off at the Plaza del Mercado to gain an understanding of Salamanca's gastronomic scene with its fresh seafood, jamon and vegetables that make the city a sought-after foodie destination. From here, we walk to the Plaza Mayor with its well-maintained Baroque architecture, then admire the unique Casa de las Conchas with its curiously-looking shell-covered Gothic architecture. Next is the historic Salamanca University, founded in 1218 as the first university in Spain that became one of the most important centers of learning in Europe during the Middle Ages. 

 

We then visit the Salamanca Cathedral, undoubtedly one of the most magnificent cathedrals in Spain with layers of history that point to its importance and significance in the Middle Ages. Time-permitting, we may make a visit to the Casa Lis, a Modernist building constructed in 1905. With almost 2,500 pieces, the collection spans from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Objects displayed include decorative glass, porcelain figures, statues crafted from gold, enamel works, paintings, ivory pieces, furniture, jewelry, antique toys, and even a Fabergé egg.

Overnight: Hacienda Zorita, Salamanca

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 5: SALAMANCA / PLASENCIA / CACERES

We leave Salamanca today to the historic city of Plasencia, part of the ancient pilgrimage and trade route of the "Ruta de la Plata" connecting the south of Spain to the north. Discover one of the gems of the Extremadura region visiting its charming Plaza Mayor main square, the Episcopal Palace, the atmospheric  Palace of the Marquises of MirabelLas Torres Palace and the unmistakable San Vicente Ferrer Convent.

 

Next, continue to the medieval UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Caceres, a delightful blend of old and new. With your specialist guide, we start our discovery from the stunning Plaza Mayor, one of the most beautiful piazzas in Spain and home to the Moorish tower of Torre del Bujaco, built in the 12th Century by the Arabs to defend against the Spanish conquistadors. With informative commentary from your guide, walk through the labyrinth of charming old streets, turreted defense walls, archways and cobbled squares of the Old City while admiring the nostalgic townhouses. On the tour, you will also get an insight into the gastronomy and cuisines of Caceres and the Extremadura region - with delightful paprika, cheese, Iberian ham, cherries, olive oil, lamb and superb wines. 

 

This evening, tuck into sumptuous seasonal cuisine at the Atrio Restaurant Hotel at its 2 Michelin star restaurant, a delightful presentation of Extremadura heritage by Chefs Jose Polo and Tono Perez.

Overnight: Atrio Restaurante Hotel, Caceres

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 6: CACERES (EXCURSION TO MERIDA)

A stunning day of lovely experiences begins with a pleasant drive south to the ancient UNESCO-listed Roman city of Merida, ancient capital of the Roman province of Lusitania. Discover why Merida was one of the greatest Roman civilizations outside of Rome with its impeccably well-preserved Roman monuments such as the Roman amphitheater and theater, its multiple-arched Roman bridge, the ruins of the Acueducto de los Milagros.

Overnight: Atrio Restaurante Hotel, Caceres

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 7: CACERES / TRUJILLO / GUADALUPE / TORRICO

We leave Caceres today to the romantic village of Trujillo, one of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval towns in Spain evoking timeless moments at the many labyrinths of lovely mansions, pretty courtyards and charming gardens. Thereafter, continue to the village of Guadalupe where we visit the UNESCO-listed Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe, an outstanding monument of epic significance built in the 14th Century dedicated to Mary. Explore the complex's scintillating architecture which comprises of the temple-basilica, the auditorium building, the Mudejar period cloister and the Gothic cloister. 

 

Finally, arrive in the rural retreat in the form of the Hotel Valdepalacios in the countryside of Torrico where tonight, enjoy a delightful 1 Michelin star gastronomic adventure.

Overnight: Hotel Valdepalacios, Torrico

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 8: TORRICO / TOLEDO / MADRID

We depart from the Hotel Valdepalacios today for a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed medieval city of Toledo where you take a step back in time in this tangled maze of cobblestone lanes containing fine examples of both Moorish and Christian architecture where Jews, Christians and Muslims co-existed for hundreds of years. From the Muslims to the Christians, everyone wanted Toledo. Even after the Reconquista, attempts were made to preserve the treasure-trove of Moorish knowledge, art and culture.

 

Finally, our journey ends with our arrival into Madrid. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Expect a divine stay at Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine. This stunningly restored 12th-century abbey sits amidst 500 acres of vineyards along the Duero River with beautifully-transformed rooms and suites. The Refectorio, the abbey’s original dining hall, today is a Michelin-star restaurant wherein haute cuisine is matched with award-winning wines of the Abadia Retuerta estate. 

Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, Valladolid

Hacienda Zorita, Salamanca

 A former monastery overlooking the River Tormes, Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa is a magnificent wine resort with an impressive history that dates back to the 14th century. Guests experience true hacienda hospitality together with the high comfort factor of a gourmet restaurant, a vinotherapy spa, wine tasting in the cellars and an ancient chapel with 16th-century works of art. 

Located inside the walled town of Caceres with its extraordinary Almohad, Gothic, Renaissance and colonial buildings, Atrio boasts sublime architecture by Emilio Tunon Alvarez and Luis Moreno Mansilla, masters of modern design. In the heart of the old stone buildings of this medieval town, Chefs Jose Polo and Tono Perez prepare cuisine with unique, authentic flavours deserving of its 2 Michelin stars status. 

Atrio Restaurante Hotel, Caceres

Hotel Valdepalacios, Torrico

Hotel Valdepalacios is situated between the Gredos mountains and the majestic Tagus river, this 19th century manor house modestly hides its terracotta facade behind tall cypress trees. In the main building or the outbuildings in the garden, the spacious bedrooms offer majestic panoramic views. 

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