Starting in the cosmopolitan capital of Madrid, then touring the small and enchanting world heritage cities of Toledo and Cuenca, and then experiencing the small villages, windmills and ancient castles of La Mancha, you will experience flavors, festivities, and culinary sensations. Traveling like a local you’ll be immersed in the must-see sites and off-the-beaten path seducing places, cooking, blending with locals with the experiences that allow you to feel a part of the culture by meeting its people.
You will join a small group in Spain to cook with us and other local chefs. Eat your way through authentic tapas bars and gourmet dinners, discovering new cities, cultures and landscapes by the hand of your local culinary guides, with drinks and fine wines, laugh and make new friends!
20 of October Sunday
- Madrid, Spain – Dinner included
Check in at our boutique hotel, located in the heart of Madrid, where you’ll have time to relax before our Tour Orientation. At the orientation, get to know your tour directors and travel companions, and learn the details of your upcoming trip. Finish the evening with a Welcome Dinner in a centrally located restaurant nearby.
21 of October Monday
- Madrid, Spain – Breakfast, Tapas Lunch. Tour, Tapas dinner included
After breakfast you will head for a private walking tour around Madrid historic city center. Strolling through narrow streets and Gran Via, Puerta del Sol accompanied by your Tour directors. You will enjoy an action-packed afternoon– you’ll hop from tapas bar to tapas bar, tasting their signature drinks (think locals’ wines, vermouth and draft beer!) and specialty tapas. You’ll eat the most typical Madrid tapas and learn the true art of a “tapeo”! at the same time you will admire and discover Madrid’s most emblematic areas, monuments and buildings accompanied by a local bilingual guide and your Tour directors. You will learn about this beautiful city’s history and legends. After sightseeing and tapas, be sure to save time for a siesta or at least to freshen up before the evening.
Back to hotel and free time until our dinner Tapas and evening tour. Enjoy Spain’s legendary nightlife and mouth-watering tapas culture during this walking tour in Madrid. Follow your experts’ foodie guides as you trace the typical evening rituals of your average Madrileno, stopping along Madrid’s hard-to-find side streets for snacking at some of the city’s incredible array of tapas bars. You’ll come away from your evening with a renewed appreciation for the lively people, tantalizing food, and drinks offered in the Spanish capital. Finish on a “sweet note” with a visit to one of Madrid’s most famous landmarks of “all things chocolate”. You’ll enjoy infusions of handmade chocolates in both liquid and solid forms. A delicious ending to the evening (tapas, wine or beer, chocolate and churros included).
22 of October Tuesday
- Madrid, Spain – Breakfast, Lunch tapas class, Flamenco show and dinner included
Following breakfast at the hotel, a private coach will transport you to your hands-on Tapas class, featuring classic Spanish recipes. The class is led by a local chef who will introduce you to both Spanish culture cuisine. The tapas that you will be preparing are like the ones you can sample in the many bars of Madrid; like the popular tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelet), pa amb tomàquet (tomato bread with cured ham), or by a crema catalana (crème brûleé). The cooking class will be followed by a meal that you prepared with Spanish wines.
Back to our hotel enjoy some free time before our private coach will drive us to attend a Flamenco show at a historic tablao in Madrid. Love a unique and captivating evening surrounded by guitar playing, soulful singing, handclapping and passionate dancing. A Spanish dinner before and during the show will complete the experience.
23 of October Wednesday
- Madrid, Spain – Breakfast, Paella dinner/class included
After breakfast you’ll have free time to explore the city on your own. You may wish to discover the neighboring shopping streets or explore the many attractions that Madrid has to offer. During your free time, you’ll be on your own for lunch. You may want to visit Madrid’s Art Triangle district; Puerta de Alcala, the Royal Palace or the Cathedral de la Almudena. You can take this afternoon to tour more of Madrid at your own pace. If you’re an art lover or into world-class gastronomy, Madrid has no shortage of experiences to impress. Madrid is also famous for its collection of world famous art. If you didn’t get a chance to visit the museums, now is your chance! The Prado Museum is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike as it houses the masterpieces of Goya and Velasquez. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum also boasts an impressive collection of priceless art with over 1000’s of unique pieces from artists like Rothko and Picasso. The Reina Sofia Museum has collections of the famous contemporary art works by artists Miro, Dali and the famous Guernica.
In the late afternoon you will meet your guides to tour some of the most exciting Markets. Then Paella cooking class back in the Hotel a private coach will drive us to the Madrid area where we will have the master class.
This will be a unique hand on Spanish cooking class with a market tour, where you will discover the secrets of the Spanish traditional cuisine. You will start with a fascinating visit to a Mercado, a local food market where locals go for their daily shopping. After buying the fresh and organic ingredients, you will head to a class and will participate in a four-hour fun, hands-on Spanish cooking class with dinner.
You will be involved from the very first minute on the elaboration of a paella, by preparing all the ingredients and then firing up the gas. This interactive, informative, and extremely appetizing process will teach you everything you need to know about cooking the perfect Spanish paella! While your main dish is simmering away in the pan, you will prepare a gazpacho and some tapas.
Finally, you will sit down to enjoy the homemade dinner with a delicious dessert and wine. You will be provided with the paella recipe. After the cooking class, and dinner you will head back to the hotel in a private coach.
24 of October Thursday
- Cuenca, Spain – Breakfast, Wine tasting, Lunch, Tour, Dinner included
A private coach from our hotel will bring us to Cuenca and the Enchanted City for a full day adventure tour from Madrid. You will enjoy a dreamlike landscape in the natural site Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted City) and then take a guided tour of the most emblematic sites of Cuenca. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will have a delicious traditional lunch in a typical restaurant in the city.
In the middle of the journey to Cuenca (approximately 2 hours from Madrid) we will stop in a country vineyard and Bodega. We will taste some fabulous wines here before arriving at the famous Enchanted City, located a few kilometers from the center of Cuenca, within the limits of the Serranía Natural Park of Cuenca.
Here we will take a walk, appreciating its fascinating landscape, in which strange rock formations predominate, which never cease to amaze visitors. Its beauty has even attracted the attention of many artists, making it a perfect setting for films, these have featured stars such Sophia Loren, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Oliver Stone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Before going ahead to Cuenca, we will make another stop at the viewpoint of Ventano del Diablo, from where you can see the best panoramic views of the Enchanted City.
Then, we will visit the old town of Cuenca, visiting its picturesque streets, including important sites of historical and cultural interest. We will admire the impressive Cathedral of Santa María and San Julián, the first Gothic cathedral of Castile.
Later, we will go to the Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses), a group of buildings that constitute the best example of local popular architecture, recognized by their large balconies that stand out on the elevated cornice of the Huécar river sickle. There you will also find the Museum of Abstract Art, which exhibits paintings and sculptures by Spanish artists from the mid-twentieth century.
Finally, we will reach the San Pablo Bridge, which crosses the Huécar River offering an incredible view of the Hanging Houses.
After a few minutes of free time, we will meet again to return to Madrid, ending this fabulous Cuenca and Enchanted city tour. But before arriving to our hotel in Madrid we will have dinner in a restaurant in the countryside.
25 of October Friday
- Toledo, Spain – Breakfast, Gourmet Lunch, Tour Cheese/Wine tasting included
In the morning, we will depart from the center of Madrid at the scheduled time and head to Toledo on a luxury air-conditioned coach. The City of Three Cultures is just 70km south of the capital.
The historic center of Toledo, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the oldest in Europe. It is often called the “City of the Three Cultures”, a town where centuries ago the Muslims, Christians and Jewish communities lived together. The Old Town has a magnificent array of landmarks including Islamic, Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic architecture.
We will check in to our centric Hotel inside the millennial’s Toledo walls city. After a little time to freshen up our private coach we will drive us to a fantastic multicourse lunch (around 14 different small plates) with wines when we will discover the finesse of the modern cuisine in Spain in a high upscale restaurant.
After that we will go back to our hotel to get ready for an exiting early evening tour of beautiful Toledo accompanied by an expert guide and our tour directors. We will explore the City of Three Cultures and where El Greco lived from 1577 until his death Some of the landmarks you’ll visit during the walking tour are: the Iglesia de Santo Tomé (it contains the painting “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” by El Greco). Santa María la Blanca Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in Castilla that dates from the Middle Ages and to the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.
You’ll also walk into the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, built during the tenth century, when the Caliphate of Córdoba enjoyed its maximum power. Later, your guide will take you to the Toledo Cathedral to discover all the masterpieces that this religious edifice houses.
After the guided tour, we will have a Manchego cheese and wine tasting in Toledo in which you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the various monuments like the Alcazar, restored after the Spanish Civil War. Manchego cheese is one of the most famous cheeses in Spain, and within Spain by a “denominación de origen protegida” (Protected designation of origin). The cheese is made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk from the Manchega sheep.
At the end of the day trip, you’ll have time to discover the art technique called Damasquinado, where you inlay different metals. This process is used for jewelry, plates and other artifacts, which make great presents. We will then go back to our hotel.
26 of October Saturday
- La Mancha, Spain – Breakfast Lunch Dinner and Tour included
Departure from Toledo in the morning in our private coach. The drive will take you through the flatlands of La Mancha planted with olive trees and vineyards., and the wind mills that Don Quixote fought thinking they were giants. Moving deeper into La Mancha, you begin to experience the landscapes from a surreal world.
Today’s journey is an adventure, heading inside old windmills then driving to deserted villages, tasting some local Manchego cheese and wines. La Mancha is quick to pull visitors into its spell, a place that is softly familiar, yet unlike anywhere you’ll have seen before. After a few hours, you’ve already succumbed. This tour takes you to a truly special event – the annual harvesting of the saffron flower in La Mancha (central Spain), the land of Don Quixote. Your visit will shed new light on this product and reveal the reasons behind its enormous value. Discover the roots of La Mancha Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world… not to mention the secret to Spanish Paella’s unique color and flavor!
The day will start very early, as you will be enjoying a unique experience… You’ll visit the fields during the harvest of saffron, the world’s most expensive and highly appreciated spice, in the land where it is produced with the highest quality. The harvest generally takes place within a two-week period in the month of October, with daily flowering that lasts but a few hours.
We will visit Consuegra, “the capital of saffron”, to attend the Festival de la Rosa del Azafrán (Saffron Rose Festival). Share this colorful and lively yearly event with the locals, combining the lifelong tradition of saffron production with their culture and folklore … see the mondadoras at work, competing in dexterity, admire the elegance of the regional dresses, join in the traditional music and dances to last the whole day long!
See the roseras mondadoras (especially skilled women) collecting the flowers of saffron and learn about the monda or “peeling” of the saffron flowers (separation of the stigma), the toasting and drying process, and finally the packaging, all of them using traditional methods.
Then it’s off for a tour of La Mancha’s famous windmills. These fabulous structures, literally centuries old, are still standing in many areas, and will bring you back to Spain’s Golden Age, and the time when Cervantes wrote Don Quixote de la Mancha.
Lunch will be served at a regional venue in the area, and once again you’ll continue to discover the culinary delights of the region. After lunch, we will go to a demonstration of artisan pottery, visit the windmills and nearby picturesque villages interacting with the locals.
For dinner we will try traditional dishes like migas (Spanish breakfast “crumbs”), gachas (Spanish ancestral dish), among others that are prepared, following recipes passed down from the era of Cervantes in some tapas restaurants in the area before head back to Toledo.
27 of October Sunday
- Toledo, Spain – Breakfast, Tour, and Dinner show included
Free leisure time in Toledo, some advice will be offered after breakfast but while day one provided a royal introduction, this final day offers the time to truly discover another of Europe’s most exquisite towns. From the castle’s terrace you see the Puerta Antigua de Bisagra, the 11th century gateway that marks the boundary between medieval utopia and the rest of the world. Explore the Jewish quarter with its shops of local delights, meander past taverns of treats, and look around for something to contradict, Toledo has laid its foundations and won’t be moving forward to a more modern era. Admire the history of Toledo revealed through its monuments streets and explore. Enter El Greco’s former home and the artist’s masterpieces evoke scenes from the city’s history. Shop or wander around town. Try his Arabian baths and indulge yourself.
In the early evening we will have a night tour in Toledo as the sun sets and the walls of the houses, churches and palaces turn mauve. This is when we can best enjoy the silence, magic and romanticism that floods Toledo´s hidden neighborhoods. Let yourself get lost in streets where time stands still on some of its corners filled with legends, romances and curiosities. Like Lorca, Buñuel or Becquer, we will dive into a maze of alleys and squares, untouched for centuries, to remember impossible love stories, hidden treasures, the legends of Templars, alchemical practices in the secret libraries, knights dueling for beautiful ladies, or terrible inquisitors chasing the witchcraft in Toledo. We will enjoy the sleepless nights of Toledo and discover hidden sites into the fascinating Templars neighborhood full of history and legends.
During our visit to the most unknown and mysterious parts of Toledo we will discover the caves, wells and water deposits that are hidden under this thousand-year-old city, visiting five underground sites: The Roman Thermal Baths, the San Salvador well, the Jew’s House, the Cenizal baths, and the Caballel baths.
After the tour we will enjoy a farewell dinner in a centric fourteen century cave in restaurant, sipping on a glass of wine or beer with theatrical performances during dinner.
28 October Monday
- Toledo, Spain – Breakfast buffet at hotel and Farewell
Check-Out and Departure Time flies when you’re having so much fun, but alas…it is time to check out and depart this delicious, “Gabi Food Adventures.” May your future travels come from sweet dreams, and create tasty memories!
- 9-day fully guided tour
- Two tour guides who are experts in the culture, history, art, architecture, food and wines
- All accommodations (4 hotels)
- Transportation in a private coach
- Breakfast in the hotel daily
- Lunches and dinners at select restaurants and cafes, as per the itinerary
- Gratuities at restaurants
- 2 day hands-on cooking class in Madrid, tapas and paella
- Bodega/winery visits in La Mancha
- Wine tasting class
- All site entrance fees
- Built-in free time to relax, discover or dine on your own
- Transportation From and to the Airport is not Included
- Some meals during free time (see Daily Itinerary)
- Alcoholic beverages besides beer and wine during meals are NOT included
- Travel Insurance
PRICE: $ 4000.00 (based on double occupancy; single supplement + $600)
Prices subject to change without notice. Culinary Adventure starts in Madrid, Toledo, Cuenca & La Mancha finishes in Madrid, Spain. Please plan travel accordingly.
Minimum Group Size: Minimum of 10 guests needed for group trip; maximum size is 15 guests
About This Adventure
FLAVORS OF SPAIN: Madrid, Toledo, Cuenca & La Mancha
(20th to 28th of October 2019)
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