SUPER MADRID BY HIGH-SPEED TRAIN - From Barcelona to Valencia (Double Room)
Sightseen, Culture & local gems, From 1 to 3 hours walking
In a nutshell Who said you can only visit destinations with a port when on a cruise? Costa Cruises provides you with the unmissable occasion of spending a thrilling experience in the heart of Spain! Visit a unique ever-evolving city - the perfect combination between ancient and modern with a great cultural and artistic heritage deriving from a history spanning centuries. With its monuments, palaces, streets and squares, Madrid is a unique city that is truly worth exploring.
Good to know
- HS train from Barcelona to Madrid
- Sightseeing coach tour in the most modern part of the city: Paseo del Prado, Paseo de la Castellana, Stadio Santiago Bernabéu
- Walking tour around Madrid de los Austrias: Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Mercado de San Miguel, Iglesia de San Nicolas de los Servitas, Plaza de Oriente, Teatro Real, Palacio Real, Plaza de España, Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, Convento de la Encarnación, Catedral de Santa María de la Almudena, la Latina
- Free time for dinner
- Overnight stay at Hotel Emperador
- Hotel breakfast
- Sightseeing coach tour
- Parque del Retiro (free time)
- Free time for lunch
- HS train from Madrid to Valencia
- Sightseeing tour of Valencia by coach
- Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (stop for photos)
- We leave the port of Barcelona behind us and head to the Sants railway station where we get on a high-speed train taking us to the heart of the Iberian peninsula.
- After a comfortable transfer, we finally reach Atocha station and are welcomed by the imposing elegance and throbbing energy of the city. Madrid is a true kaleidoscope - lively, filled with colour and cheerfulness but also cultured and elegant. Located in the heart of the Castilian plateau surrounded by the hills of Toledo, it literally incarnates the heart of the Kingdom of Spain as well as the economic, political and cultural hub of the entire Iberian peninsula.
- We start our visit with a sightseeing coach tour along Paseo del Prado, also known as “Paseo del Arte”: it is one of the most important streets in Madrid home to the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums as well as of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
- We continue along another of the city’s busy streets: Paseo de la Castellana, a long road flanked by modern buildings of architectural interest. As we proceed, we can spot one of the main features of the city skyline, i.e. Santiago Bernabéu, the famous Real Madrid stadium designed by the architect José María Castell.
- We are finally ready to venture into Madrid de los Austrias, the beating heart of the city: this area is named after the Hapsburg dynasty and practically includes the entire historic city centre including Puerta del Sol, the centre of the country and considered as the km 0 of the entire Iberian road network; Plaza Mayor, one of the most beautiful squares in the capital; Mercado de San Miguel, the famous covered market; Iglesia de San Nicolas de los Servitas, the oldest church in Madrid; Plaza de Oriente, overlooked by the 19th-century Teatro Real and the majestic Palacio Real, the largest royal palace in Europe; Plaza de España dominated by the obelisk and statues of legendary Don Quijote de la Mancha and his trusted squire Sancho Panza; the ancient Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, Convento de la Encarnación and Catedral de Santa María de la Almudena; and la Latina, the dynamic quarter hub of the Madrid night-life.
- Before returning to the hotel to rest, we are free to choose where to dine. Madrid boasts the best of the European food trends as well as a mix of wonderful tapas - we are truly spoilt for choice with all the elegant restaurantes, traditional cervecerías and bustling tapas bars!
- The time has finally come to head to the hotel, a perfect end to our day in the Spanish capital. And what a hotel! With its over 70 years of activity and privileged position on the Gran Via, Hotel Emperador is not just striking because of its architecture, it is also steeped in history: it has always been closely linked to political figures and members of the royal court and was also used as the set of important cinema and TV events, hosting celebrities such as Sofia Loren, Ernest Hemingway and Ava Gardner.
- After a delicious breakfast, we venture on a new sightseeing coach tour to admire the city in all of its splendour. Thanks to the various styles that characterised it over the centuries, Madrid boasts a vast and varied historic and artistic heritage: from the Arabic origins that gave it its name (“Magerit” means “mother of waters”), the maximum splendour of the Hapsburg period in the 16th-17th centuries - when monumental buildings, palaces with austere Baroque façades and church and convents filled with charm and works of art were built -and the Neoclassical style of the 18th-century to the more modern Avant-gardist movements.
- Unlike other European capitals, Madrid has no immediate points of reference. This is precisely why it surprises us, making us discover countless places that will remain forever in our memories. Just stroll along its main streets to be captured by its charming atmosphere: just a stone's throw from the bustling streets dotted with historic monumental buildings, we suddenly find ourselves surrounded by peaceful nature in its large green spaces.
- Our coach takes us precisely to one of these spaces - Parque del Retiro. With 125 hectares and over 15,000 trees, the park is a precious green oasis in the centre of Madrid as well as one of its main sights. Its main architectural and historic features include the Estanque Grande (big lake) with its lovely rowing boats, Palacio de Velázquez, Palacio de Cristal which, with its metal and crystal frame in the Victorian style represents one of the main examples of Cast-iron architecture in Spain, the monument to Alfonso XII and Reservado de Fernando VII, which includes Casa del Pescador, the Montaña Artificial and Casa del Contrabandista. We can also admire the El Ángel caído statue, the only sculpture in the world depicting the devil, the Galápagos Fountain to celebrate the birth of Isabella II, the surprising Ermita de San Pelayo y San Isidoro, Bosque del Recuardo, a monument dedicated to the 191 victims of the attacks of 11th March 2004, Teatro de Títeres, the puppet theatre with an elliptical shape, the Rosaleda and the Ahuehuete cypress, the oldest tree in the city.
- After visiting the park freely, the time has come to bid farewell to this unforgettable city, which maintains an aura of antiquity and wealth but is influenced by the spirit of innovation and pure energy that the Spanish people have inside them.
- We head back to Atocha station and board another high-speed train that takes us to Valencia.
- Once there, we find our coach ready to take us on a sightseeing tour of the city. We thus explore Valencia, a city where prestigious traces of the past live in harmony with a futuristic cultural and architectural spirit.
- We have reached the end of our excursion but, before returning to the ship, we make a stop to take a few photos in front of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, a unique complex dedicated to science, technology, nature and art designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava.
Good to know
- We recommend that you book early as only a limited number of places are available.
- The tour includes a basket lunch prepared by the ship’s staff.
- We recommend wearing comfortable shoes.
- This excursion is not recommended for guests with limited mobility.
- The train transfer lasts about 3 hours.