Selected Spain trips for 2023… not recommended (only) by us!
Today we bring you our particular recipe for inspiration during 2023. Its ingredients are some of the quarters and oldtowns to have been named Heritage Sites by the UNESCO, masterfully weaved among many of our trademark experiences, all in all shaping an original and exclusive itinerary around Spain. Appealing? It is our job after all!
In Spain almost 50 UNESCO Heritage Sites are to be counted (49, exactly), 13 of them being a quarter, an oldtown of a cosy district, all of them telling the tales of the past in a manner unreachable otherwise. The past has been imprinted here, in the pavement, in the walls… Yes, these are the ingredients of a unique itinerary in Spain: let’s go!
THE STARTING POINT
With direct flights from New York, Miami, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, LA, Dallas… Madrid is the perfect takeover for some of these itineraries. Spain’s capital city has become one of the highlights of luxury tourism due, in part, to the tremendous undergoing deployment towards conquering such segment of the market: the refurbishing of some of its most iconic 5-star hotels, new grand openings of boutiques from big brands ready to get a piece of the city, new shopping and gastronomy spaces… An almost endless offer which keeps filling the capital’s every corner.
The UNESCO mentions fondly the Heritage Sites of Paseo del Prado (the boulevard at the heart of Madrid), the El Retiro Park and the Quarter of Los Jerónimos… and who would contradict that? Just imagine enjoying all of the “Illustrated Madrid” in the same zone: the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum, the green lungs of Madrid and one of Europa’s most beautiful parks, the Royal Botanical Garden, and some of the best lodging, the likes of the Mandarin Oriental Ritz Hotel.
We suggest you start your day walking across the El Retiro Park, discovering, while accompanied by our expert host, the cosy corners and the hidden artworks, known only to few, which await in the park. You could continue with a visit to one of the museums while accompanied in exclusive by an art historian, and seal everything off with VIP access to a century-old workshop and relish the craftsmanship of those who up till today work traditionally, authentically. A morning to be delighted with!
WIDENING THE RADAR
With but a short ride we can reach the 4 oldtowns recommended by the UNESCO:
Toledo: In just an hour your private chauffeur will drive you backwards in time, to Toledo. To explore Toledo there is no better way than being welcomed by a private host in his “cigarral”, a manorial estate with exclusive views to Toledo… from the other side of the river. Here we will relish a traditional breakfast and take off later to explore the oldtown of the one known as “City of Three Cultures”.
Segovia: a 90-minutes-run from the capital will take us to the old quaint city of Segovia and its triple treasure in terms of heritage. All in all a visit that will be made unforgettable by picking the right host. The iconic aqueduct, a marvel of Roman engineering, standing since the year 50 aC, the harmonious cathedral and the marvelous Alcázar de Segovia, a bastion of the royalty wherefrom Walt Disney may have well drawn inspiration for the mythical Disney Castle.
Ávila: the fabled inwalled city where we can tread across the history and culture, where the religious background can be assessed in depth if we pick the right host. Some time ought to be reserved as well for its thirty palaces and estates with secret gardens.
Alcalá de Henares: if time lacks, this can be the perfect destination, specially for those who love city planning, since Alcalá de Henares was planned originally as a city for university students and staff, whose model has been subsequently copied all over the world. This contribution to humanity led the UNESCO in 1998 to declare Alcalá de Henares a World Heritage Site.
Alcala de Henares
DOWN TO THE SOUTH
We quit the country’s inland to meet Andalusia.
Córdoba, a city where promenading along is already a wonderful experience, will greet us in the best of manners. To cross the millenary Roman bridge and be face-to-face with one of the country’s most amazing monuments, the Cathedral-Mosque, is the clearest evidence of a mixed heritage, of a legendary city. Plus the patios, the taverns serving delicious tapas… a destiny to be reckoned with.
To top off our route there is nothing better than Granada, where its Albaicín Quarter, as well as the Alhambra and the Gardens of Generalife, are UNESCO Heritage Sites, making it painful not to visit Granada if we land at all in Spain. If, however, we have a bit more time at our disposal we can surprise travellers with some of the unknown jewels around, normally left untalked by everyone who visits the Alhambra, such as the Sacromonte Abbey.
FAREWELL FROM THE ISLES