Amid the rural idyll of Spain’s central provinces, Toledo, Cáceres, Salamanca and Segovia host some of Europe’s finest cultural treasures. Roman aqueducts sweep over Gothic cathedrals, cobblestone streets weave between sun-dappled plazas and medieval watchtowers stand guard over Baroque mansions. It’s all knitted together with stays in historic hotels and scenic country drives, affording you the flexibility to explore at your own pace. Stop off everywhere from postcard-perfect villages to hilltop citadels.
Days 1-2: UK/Toledo
Beginning with complimentary airport lounge access, you’ll fly out to Madrid, picking up your hire car and perhaps stopping to explore the Spanish capital’s grand delights. You’ll then make the short, country drive south to Toledo. Here, within perfectly preserved city walls, Roman aqueducts vie for attention alongside ancient Islamic monuments, 12th-century synagogues and a Gothic cathedral considered to be among Europe’s greatest. See it all as you wander the city’s labyrinthine laneways, pausing to sample the food and wine that led Toledo to be named as Spain’s Capital of Gastronomy in 2016.
Stay: Parador de Toledo (Superior)
Day 3: Cáceres
Heading west, we highly recommend stopping at Gaudalupe – a hilltop village famed for its Royal Monastery of Santa Maria. Dating back to the late 13th century, it’s a lesson in Spanish ecclesiastical architecture with brick turrets hiding sculptured treasures. You’ll then continue on to Cáceres where you’ll stay in a converted Renaissance palace in the heart of the UNESCO-listed old town. Here, wandering down cobblestone streets, you’ll take in a unique blend of Roman, Islamic and Gothic architecture that plays out over everything from medieval towers to fortified mansions.
Stay: Parador de Cáceres (Superior)
Days 4-5: Salamanca
En route to Salamanca, call in at Plasencia, a great walled city whose imposing fortifications hide Las Catedrales – a magnificent complex of stately stone palaces, Romanesque churches and lively tapas bars. Then, in Salamanca itself, you’ll stay right among its golden sandstone centre, enjoying privileged views of the city’s burnished cathedral. It’s an iconic aesthetic that plays out across pretty plazas, 13th-century universities and a veritable catalogue of monuments, ranging from daringly Baroque to sternly Gothic. There’s even a 15th-century house dressed in no fewer than 350 seashells.
Stay: Hacienda Zorita (Superior)
Day 6: Segovia
Your holiday concludes with visits to two more UNESCO-listed treasures. The first, Ávila, was the birthplace of Mother Teresa, its lofty hilltop perch dressed in 11th-century fortifications, spanning from sky-scraping turrets to great monumental gates. You’ll then end in Segovia, whose ancient Roman aqueduct stands over royal residences, 16th-century Gothic cathedrals and the Alcázar. A fairytale palace of conical turrets and buttressed walls, it’s not hard to see why it’s said to have been the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle.
Stay: Parador de Segovia (Superior)
Day 7: Depart for UK
Driving back to Madrid, drop your hire car off at the airport for your flight home.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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