A Gay Tour of Spain Cultural Tour. This gay holiday takes an intimate group of travelers to the most picturesque parts of Spain. Join us and explore the culture, history, and beauty of Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Cordoba, and the scenic countryside between.
From afar, Spain is one big country that shares the Iberian peninsula with its smaller neighbor Portugal. However, at a closer look, Spain is a rich collection of regions, each fiercely proud of its own identity. Vacation with a congenial group of gay travelers to sample the cultural life of the proud capital of Madrid then see the wonders of Toledo that have inspired generations of artists.
Then you can immerse yourself in Andalucía, where Catholic, Moorish, and Jewish traditions intertwine in Seville, Cordoba, and Granada, sometimes in the same building!
As we drive toward Malaga on the Mediterranean coast, we will pause for a night in the renowned cliff-top village of Ronda, home to the oldest bull ring in Spain.
The main gay tour of Spain ends near the beaches of the Costa del Sol, including a cross-border visit to the British territory of Gibraltar.
Those with enough time can also join our 2-night extension in Barcelona, the main city of the Catalunya region.
• Enjoy the easy camaraderie of vacationing with a diverse group of gay travelers
• Tour the Prado Art Museum and the Royal Palace in Madrid
• Venture on a side trip to gothic Toledo and its medieval alleyways
• Stroll Cordoba’s old quarter and see the Catholic Cathedral built inside the Moorish Mezquita
• Learn about the juxtaposition of Christian, Jewish, and Moorish traditions in Seville, and see the Alcazar fortress
• Visit Spain’s oldest and largest bull ring in Ronda above the deep gorge of the River Tajo
• Marvel at the Alhambra Palace and the adjoining Generalife Gardens in Grenada
• Tour the British Territory of Gibraltar and venture to the “top of the rock” to view the north coast of Africa
• Visit Barcelona during an optional 2-day tour extension and marvel at Antoni Gaudi’s stunning La Sagrada Familia
Days 1 - 2 -
Our driver will greet you at Madrid Airport to transfer to our hotel, a sleek and stylish hotel situated just off Plaza Mayor, the central plaza of Madrid. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure and meet the group for cocktails and a welcome dinner at Casa Botin, the oldest continuously open restaurant in the world (since 1725).
After a restful night, our group will enjoy a guided tour of Madrid, Spain's capital city and its largest metropolis. We'll take exclusive tour of the Prado Art Museum, which houses an extensive collection originally belonging to the Spanish monarchy. We will visit the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) of Bourbon King Philip V, with more than 2,500 rooms. Once the seat of the most powerful court in the world, it was here that Spain officially joined the European Union in 1986.
We’ll take an informal lunch break in the style of local Madrileños: tapas! After lunch, we’ll take an exclusive tour of the Prado Art Museum, which houses an extensive collection originally belonging to the Spanish monarchy.
In the later afternoon, if you crave a sweet, you can head to San Ginez, the temple of Madrilenian churros and chocolate. This is the favorite afternoon snack of local residents, dipping fried pastry into some of the richest hot chocolate you can imagine (that may require a spoon to “drink”). Enjoy an evening at leisure.
Day 3 -
A trip to Toledo is a must when staying in Madrid. An hour-long scenic drive takes us south to visit this fortified town, an example of religious tolerance. Your guided tour of Toledo begins at the city's massive Gothic cathedral, which houses 750 medieval stained glass windows and a treasure trove of golden artifacts. Gaze upon the cathedral's sacristy, containing masterpieces by the likes of Van Dyck, El Greco, Rubens and Titian.
After exploring the labyrinth of medieval alleyways at the heart of the city, you'll visit the Church of Santo Tome' containing more of El Greco's famous works. We'll take a break to have a casual lunch independently before wrapping up our walking tour. We will end our tour at the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca, built in 1180 then converted into a church in the 15th century in the time of Los Reyes Catolicos.
We'll return to Madrid, where you can enjoy your last evening in this vibrant capital at your leisure. You may want to opt for a night out in the La Chueca district, home to Madrid's gay nightlife.
Day 4 -
This morning we will take a 1.5-hour ride on the AVE high-speed train to Cordoba. Upon arrival, we will check into our charming hotel near the ancient city walls. In the afternoon we will take a walking tour of the fascinating 8th-century Old Quarter. Our guide will share the rich legacy wherein Moorish, Christian, and Jewish cultures mingled successfully during a Golden Age. The area was built around the magnificent Mezquita (mosque) and one of Andalucia’s few remaining synagogues.
As you walk through the old town, learn about Averroes. He was an Andalucian Muslim master of Aristotelian and Islamic philosophy, psychology, politics, and Arabic music theory. He also mastered the sciences of medicine, geography, physics, and celestial mechanics. We’ll gather for dinner tonight at one of the fun local restaurants.
Days 5 - 6 -
This morning we will set out for Sevilla (Seville). On the way, we will visit an old finca (plantation) known for its olive oil, the green gold of the region. We will do an olive oil tasting with a light lunch.
Upon arrival in Seville, we will settle into a lovely inn that features several courtyards and traditional architecture. This will be our home for two nights.
In the afternoon, we will take an orientation walk through the Jewish Quarter (Barrio Santa Cruz). We will explore small winding streets in the area generally regarded as the most charming part of the city.
The iconic Flamenco dance style was born in this region of Andalusia. We will celebrate our evening together by attending a Flamenco performance.
The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we will meet our local expert guide for a tour of the city. We will start our touring with a visit to the spacious Plaza de Espana, the site of the 1929 international fair. Seville organized the Fair to celebrate and strengthen the relations among the South American countries that had previously been Spanish colonies. The complex is decorated with azulejos (ceramic tiles), representing all the provinces of Spain.
Upon re-entering the old town, we will visit the ornate Moorish fortress of the Alcazar. We will continue to the Cathedral, the world’s largest Gothic building and home of Christopher Columbus’ tomb. Tonight we will enjoy tapas at one of the city’s classic tapas bars.
Day 7 -
During today’s journey, we will stop for lunch at Setenil de las Bodegas. It is considered one of the most picturesque of the white villages within the Sierra Grazalema National Park, built within the rocks and topped by an Arab fortress.
We will continue southwest to Ronda, a stoutly fortified Iberian or Celtic settlement conquered by the Romans. The founders named it Arunda, meaning “surrounded by mountains”. We’ll check into one of the loveliest Paradors in Spain, a stunning hotel overlooking the breathtaking gorge of the River Tajo.
In the afternoon we will visit the Plaza de Toros, the oldest and largest bull ring in Spain. Later, we will enjoy a wonderful gourmet dinner together tonight at the Parador.
Days 8 - 9 -
We will have a leisurely morning before driving to Granada. We will pass through the Sierra Nevada, the natural water reservoir for Andalucia. Between Córdoba, the ancient capital of the Caliphate, and Granada, the last refuge of the Nazarí kings, we drive through a hill territory. There are many castles and towers, as well as vast groves of olive trees sprawling across the hillsides. During the Moorish era, this land witnessed long periods of battles and conquests.
Granada was the last bastion of Moorish rule in Spain. The opulent 14th-century Alhambra, the fortress-palace of Spain’s last Muslim rulers, dominates the landscape. While living nearby, Washington Irving collected local legends—set in the Alhambra’s courtyards. To prepare for this visit, we recommend reading Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra.
After arriving at our hotel, you will have the rest of the day to explore this historic city or relax before we enjoy dinner together. Our hotel is a few steps away from the Royal Chapel, an elaborate mausoleum and final resting place for Catholic Monarchs Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.
The next morning we will continue our visit through this gem of Andalucia. Our local expert guide will take us on a scenic drive around this charming city. We will tour the splendid Alhambra citadel and the Generalife, the palace’s acclaimed gardens. Lunch will be on your own.
In the afternoon, we will explore the Albayzín, an open-air museum, and Plaza del Salvador, where a church was built on the site of the main mosque of Albayzín. We will stroll along cobblestone streets lined with gorgeous mansions and walled gardens in an area that survived as the Muslim quarter for several decades after the Christian conquest in 1492. This evening we will dine with a breathtaking view over the Alhambra.
Days 10 - 11 -
This morning, we will depart for the Costa del Sol region to spend a couple of days in the subtropical Mediterranean port of Malaga, the capital of the region. Malaga’s history spans about 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. During its first millennium, this strategic port was ruled by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Romans before falling under Islamic rule. More recently, Malaga has become known for its cultural figures such as Pablo Picasso and actor Antonio Banderas.
Upon arrival, we will explore Malaga, then pause for lunch together before visiting the Picasso Museum. We will have our evening at leisure.
Our second day in the region takes us to Gibraltar, the British Overseas Territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. The Rock of Gibraltar is the most visible landmark of the region. The sovereignty of Gibraltar is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations as Spain asserts a claim to the territory. Enjoy a short visit up to the rock, but look out for the Barbary macaques, the only free-living apes in Europe. The journey to the top of the Rock rewards you with a truly breathtaking view across the Straits of Gibraltar. You can see the waters of the Atlantic meet the Mediterranean, and view Morocco, just 9 miles away.
We’ll return to Malaga for our farewell gourmet dinner together. Several of us will depart for home tomorrow, but we invite you to stay for an optional 2-night extension to Barcelona,
Day 12 -
We’ll say goodbye to our fun gay traveling companions today and transfer to Malaga airport for flights home. For those staying in Spain, we’ll board our flight for Barcelona.
Days 12 - 13 -
We will transfer to the Malaga airport for a short flight from Malaga to Barcelona (included in the price). We will then visit the capital of the Catalunya region and the second-largest city in Spain. Barcelona is one of the most eclectic capital cities in the world. Welcoming gay travelers, the city is an open-air museum, displaying monuments from Roman times to a particularly renowned architectural era (Modernista). The works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech I Montaner have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Among the many remarkable buildings in Modernista style, the Cathedral of La Sagrada Familia remains the landmark of the city. The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics and is one of the world’s leading tourist, economic, cultural, and sports centers. The city’s charm is best reflected in its urban engineering: each building is planned wisely and with taste. The amazing nightlife and restaurants make Barcelona one of the top destinations for travelers from around the world.
After we transfer to our hotel, we will visit the picturesque open-air market La Boqueria, then the opulent Palau Guell in the Barrio Gotico (Gothic Quarter). We will have the evening at leisure.
The next morning, we’ll meet our local expert guide for who will lead our tour of Barcelona. Just down the avenue from our hotel, we’ll see two of Antoni Gaudi’s famous works, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà. Next we will tour the outstanding Sagrada Familia. We’ll enjoy a casual lunch together, then visit Parc Guell. We’ll dine independently tonight and return to our hotel at leisure.
Day 14 -
After breakfast this morning, we'll transfer to the airport for our flights home.