Check-in to the hotel and head straight out into Madrid to get a feel for the city's high energy life style. Moving to a whole lot of different beats, Madrid is packed with diverse barrios (neighbourhoods), lively plazas and a healthy nightlife. Later, meet up with the other Contiki travellers and your Trip Manager over dinner.
This morning, get inspired as your Trip Manager opens up Madrid's monumental heart with a look at its bustling centre, complete with the Gran Via, the Plaza de Espana and Puerta del Sol. Then, step into the largest palace in Europe with our Local Guide and experience a slice of the royal lifestyle as our expert shows you through the Royal Palace's lavish rooms. If there's a state function happening, we'll head to the world-famous Prado Museum instead. In your free time, snack on the local favourite, churros (Spain's version of the doughnut) or grab a chilled cerveza (beer) and put your feet up. Otherwise there's time to explore more of Madrid's arty side and to visit its world class galleries, like the Reina Sofia National Art Museum. There's also a chance to explore the Valley of the Fallen where our Local Guide will tell you the story about the bloody Spanish Civil War and give you the background on heroic battles. This city never sleeps, so get some pointers on the city's hot spots, head to a little wine bar or check out some traditional salsa.
Head North to Bilbao, the Basque country's busiest city. Stop by the pretty cliff-top town of Segovia, with its grand mansions and many squares. See the jaw-droppingly beautiful Roman Aqueduct, made up of 166 granite arches. This bridge is an impressive feat of ancient engineering. Onwards to Bilbao. An up-and-coming cultural hub, Bilbao is the down-to-earth home of one of the world's most famous and iconic museums, the Museo Guggenheim. Use your free time to check out its amazing collection of 20th century art and keep a camera handy for the extraordinary architecture of the museum itself.
Start the day off with free time in the resort town of San Sebastian. With one of the world's most stunning urban beaches, a gorgeous Art Nouveau shopping district, loads of restaurants and the best pinxtos (bite-sized snacks on toothpicks) in Spain, you've got many ways to spend your time here. Later, pull into Pamplona, home of the world famous Festival de San Fermin. Explore the well-preserved old town and its incredible Gothic cathedral before immersing yourself in some traditional Basque culture. Taste regional specialties like barbecued lamb, fresh trout and red peppers and soak in the atmosphere of this historic town.
Chill out on the coach, plug in your headphones and watch the world go by. Heading to the coast, our next stop is the Baroque city of Zaragoza, set on the banks of the Rio Ebro. Check out the town's fantastic cathedral, with its colourfully tiled cupolas and towers. For lunch, you could grab a table in the casco (old town), order a traditional Spanish tortilla and take in the unique, historic architecture and atmosphere. Next up is Barcelona. A sizzling, festive capital any night of the week, Barcelona is all about action. First stop: Montjuic. The hilltop has full-blown vistas of the city and it's where we stop to check out the 1992 Olympic Games complex. In Spain, fiesta time starts late, so later settle in at one of Barcelona's many outdoor squares to enjoy a glass of sangria, before a fun night out exploring the city's nightlife with your new friends.
Today there's free time to discover more of Barcelona's creative core. Pick up some quirky buys in the side streets or hit the big label shops on Plaça de Catalunya. Take in all of Barcelona's buzzing street life on the tree-lined La Rambla - a boulevard packed with street performers, artists, shops and stalls. Give an optional bike tour a go and get off the beaten track and onto Barcelona's side streets with our Local Guide. Other ideas for your afternoon off include hanging out in the colourful gardens of Parc Güell or kicking back with the locals on the beach and taking a swim in the Mediterranean sea. For lunch, there's plenty of delicious local seafood to try as well as Spain's signature dish, paella. Tonight get the low down on Barcelona's hottest spots and maybe hit the pumping clubs of Port Olympico by the water.
Cruise down to the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast) and its capital, Valencia, home to the Holy Grail.
Continue west as we make our way to the once Moorish City of Granada
Start the day with an optional excursion through the old Muslim quarter of Albaicin. Walk past historic mansions with walled gardens and find cute little tea and cake shops on the cobbled streets. Our Local Guide will show the group through La Cartuja Monastery and the Capilla Real where you'll see the tombs of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella - heads of the fallen Spanish empire. Next up: the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Alhambra. We've got a specialist Alhambra guide who will bring the magic of this former home of the sultans to life. Take a walk through the complex of fortifications, sumptuous palaces and gardens. Tonight, learn why Granada's got such a reputation for amazing food. Try their fresh seafood, eat some more tapas (perfect for trying a bit of everything) and for dessert, the specialty Arab pastries are just right!
Across the Strait of Gibraltar to the continent of Africa, past the Rif Mountains to the medieval capital of Morocco, Fez. Prepare to be amazed by the best preserved old city in the Arab world, the Medina. Soak it all up, as you discover this colourful city and take in all the vibrant sights, sounds and smells it has to offer.
Today is all about exploring. Go local with an action packed day of sightseeing; visit the Royal Palace, soak in the spectacular views of one of the oldest cities in Morocco dating back to the 9th Century, tour the walls of the Medina of Fez, do a bit of shopping at the Cooperative of Handmade Carpets or check out the Wooden Galerie (Foundouk Nijarrine) for some beautiful 18th century architecture.
See more of the fascinating country of Morocco as we head southwards to Marrakech. On the way you'll pass through the green oasis of Ifrane, a cool gem within the heat of Africa, and experience the breath-taking sight of the famous Atlas Mountains.
Throw yourself head first into the vibrant city of Marrakech. Soak up the history and tradition of the Koutoubia Mosque, the Bahia Palace and un-missable Jamaa el Fna Square. With a free afternoon, you could wander through the historic city, hit the world famous souks to stock up on some bargains or join the optional trip to Ourika (Berber Village) to experience everyday life of the locals in the region.
Hit the road to Tangier taking in the famous bustling city of Casablanca and Morocco's political and administrative capital, Rabat on the way. Tangier is the gateway to Africa, located only 20 miles from Gibraltar, a fascinating exotic stop on our adventure.
Say goodbye to Africa, stop off at the island of Gibraltar enroute to the Andalucian capital, Seville. Explore this passionate city known for its heritage of art and culture, visit the famous attractions, enjoy the 13th Century architecture and the world's biggest cathedral. Home of flamenco, enjoy a night of dance with the fun loving, laid back locals. Surely a night to remember!
Enjoy your time in laid back sunny Seville, a place that's quintessentially Andalucian. Enjoy a day of discovery before our adventure continues in Portugal tomorrow.
Next up is Portugal's contemporary capital Lisbon. Tour the pictureque city and embrace all it has to offer; gothic cathedrals, charming side streets and the beautiful river views.
Once home to the world's greatest explorers, Lisbon is now a modern traveller's dream. Tour the pictureque capital and embrace all it has to offer; charming side streets, romantic scenic vistas and the beautiful ocean views. Discover the cultural treasures and historical sites, or opt to take a half day trip to the much loved coastal town of Cascais & the cultural centre of Sintra. Later, it's back to Lisbon for a night of partying or enjoying the sunset over the Atlantic ocean.
Cross back in to Spain for the final leg of your trip, returning to Madrid & final night on the town!
Your trip ends after breakfast and it's time to say farewell to your new friends.