3 Hours Before Flight Time
Depart from the USA aboard overnight flight(s) to Madrid. Breakfast and dinner served aboard the transatlantic flight.
Upon arrival in Madrid, you will meet your local tour escort and transfer to your hotel located in the heart of Madrid’s historic center. Tonight you will walk through the Plaza Mayor, and enjoy a selection of Tapas and wine. Overnight in Madrid with Dinner.
Begin the day with Mass at the Cathedral of La Almudena, followed by a panoramic tour where you will see the Royal Palace, the Puerta del Sol, and visit the Monastery of Santo Domingo el Real. This was the first and only female Monastery founded by Saint Dominic in Spain and inside the Monastery the original Saint Dominic’s Baptismal Font is kept. Since 1605, all the heirs of the Spanish throne with exception of former King Juan Carlos who was born in Rome, have been baptized in that Baptismal Font where Saint Dominic was baptized. Tonight you will enjoy a Flamenco show and dinner. Overnight in Madrid. (B,D)
This morning you travel through region to the Medieval walled city of Avila. St. Theresa, the great mystic was the first woman to be named a Doctor of the Church. In Avila, visit the Cathedral, which contains many of St. Theresa’s relics and the crypt of the Convento of La Santa, which is built on the site of the house where she was born and is home to the most comprehensive museum dedicated to her life. Also visit La Encarnacion Convent, the first convent she founded. From here you will travel to the beautiful town of Segovia stopping along the way for at a winery in an area considered to have some of the best wines in Spain. Here you will have the opportunity to taste some of these wines and enjoy a sumptuous lunch including the most famous food in Segovia: Cochinillo or Roasted Sucking Pig. While here you will see the 2000 year old Roman Aqueduct, visit the Cathedral, the Carmelite Church containing the tomb of St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church, and the Alcazar, the magnificent castle that inspired Walt Disney to design the castle that is in Snow White and 7 Dwarfs. Overnight in Segovia. (B,L)
This morning you will depart for Burgos, the historic capital of Old Castile. Here you will have Mass at the Santa Maria Cathedral, the burial place of Spanish Kings, and El Cid. Continue on to Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque region, and known for having excellent cuisine, particularly it’s fish and seafood. This evening you will visit local foodie hotspots, small restaurants, and bars specializing in snack-sized pintxos – slices of bread topped with everything from ham and cheese to tortilla and roasted peppers. (B,D)
This morning you will travel to Loyola, the birthplace of St Ignatius. See the 17th Century Basilica dedicated to St Ignatius and visit his family home which contains the place referred to as the Room of the Conversion. Continue on to Pamplona the birthplace and childhood home of St. Francis Xavier the great Evangelist of the 16th century. After the battle of Pamplona, young St. Francis Xavier was sent to the University of Paris where he would meet his roommate, Ignatius, with whom he would later co-found the Order of the Society of Jesus. In the afternoon you visit the spectacular Hotel Marqués de Riscal. Located in the heart of the Rioja Region, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, Marqués de Riscal has been named the best winery in Europe in 2021. Here you will sample some of the best wines produced in Spain, and enjoy a traditional Riojan lunch. Return to Bilbao overnight. (B,L)
This morning you will depart for Barcelona, stopping in Zaragoza along the way. Here you will visit the magnificent Basilica del Pilar, built in the place where our Lady appeared to Saint James. Tradition says that in the early day of the Church, Saint James The Greater was spreading the Gospel in Spain, but making very little progress. He was dejected and questioning his mission. About 44 AD, the Virgin Mary, who was still living in Jerusalem at the time, bi-located and appeared to him in a vision to boost his morale. In it, she was atop a column or pillar, which was being carried by angels. That pillar is believed to be the same one venerated inside the Basilica. Continue on to Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
After breakfast, you will enjoy a tour of Barcelona including panoramic views of the Harbor area, Montjuic, Plaza de España, and Plaza de Catalunya. Continue on a guided walk through the Gothic Quarter to visit the cathedral and view Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, a beautiful, unfinished Roman Catholic basilica of impressive proportions. Spend the afternoon at leisure exploring the colorful markets of Las Ramblas. This evening you will gather for a special Paella Dinner in a local restaurant. (B,D)
This morning you will travel to Manresa, and visit the Cave of Saint Ignatius where the saint retired to meditate and write his Spiritual Exercises. You will see the Chapel of the Rapture where St. Ignatius remained motionless in ecstasy for eight days and visit the Basilica of la Seu, the large Gothic Church that has come to symbolize Manresa. Afterward, we will travel to Montserrat to visit and pray at the Shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat. Since the 12th century, many pilgrims, including St. Ignatius have been drawn to the mountain to venerate the miraculous statue of the Black Madonna. There will be time for lunch, and to take in the magnificent views from the mountaintop, before heading to the beautiful coastal town of Sitges. Here you will learn everything about Cava – the famous sparkling wine from Spain, visiting a very nice winery where you will enjoy a private tutored Cava tasting There will be time to explore the streets of this charming town before returning to Barcelona for a special farewell dinner. Overnight in Barcelona. (B, D )
After breakfast, depart for the Barcelona airport for your return flights to the USA,