Viva España! KESHER’S highly acclaimed, in depth exploration of Spain. History comes alive in this fascinating journey through Spain. This exciting grand tour of Spain takes in fabulous visits and excursions. Discover the deep Spanish tradition, its sunny beaches, rich galleries of art, grandiose Moorish castles and the magnificent Jewish past of the Sephardic heritage echoing everywhere. Visits to Barcelona and Northern Cataluña, Seville, Granada and Cordoba, Toledo and Madrid are all included. A special extension of the program is a two nights’ delightful stay in Gibraltar. And still you’ll get all the time in the world to relax shop, sightsee or just wander where your fancy takes you.
Day 1: Sunday, New York
Evening departure for Barcelona, the vibrant Capital City of Cataluñia.
Day 2: Monday, Barcelona
Land in Barcelona and meet your tour escort. Without losing time, we start our tour with an orientation sightseeing of this amazing city. You’ll love Barcelona the great Catalonian capital. Will see Antonio Gaudi’s buildings and monuments as Casa Batllo and La Pedrera on the fancy Paseo de Gracia, and the still unfinished (started 1882) Cathedral of the Holy Family – Sagrada Familia. We finish our tour on the renowned “Rambla” – a mile long lively pedestrian promenade, lined with trees, cafes and shops. Balance of the day at leisure.
Day 3: Tuesday Barcelona, Girona
Early departure to Northern Cataluña for a visit of Girona, the cradle of the Jewish Kabbalah. In the heart of the old Jewish quarter we visit the home of Ramban – Rabbi Moshe Ben Rahman (1194-1270), the great Kabbalist which houses the Jewish Museum. Rua da Força, the main (narrow) street of the “call” still preserves some of the traces of the ancient Jewish community. We return to Barcelona and We stop in Plaza Cataluña – the pulsing heart of the city for a walking tour of Barri Gotic, the medieval quarter of the city. We see the impressive Gothic Cathedral, the Royal square, the place of the famous Jewish-Christian dispute of 1263, and more the “Carrer dell Call” (Hebrew Kahal)– the old Jewish quarter.We will visit the Singoga Mayor, the Main Synagogue of Barcelona which was not only the oldest in Spain but in all of Europe. Despite the temple’s importance, it was discovered almost by accident as for many centuries of use for other purposes, the building re-opened as a synagogue and museum in 2002 after steps were taken to ensure its restoration.
In the Evening you may join an optional night tour of illuminated Barcelona, including a visit of the Ethnographic Museum of Pueblo Español – the Spanish Village on Montjuic.
Day 4: Wednesday, Barcelona, Seville
A morning flight takes us to the passionate city capital of Andalusia – Seville, home of flamenco music and dance. The sightseeing of Seville takes us to see the beautiful gardens of the Maria Luisa Park, site of the 1929 Spanish-American Exhibition, where we can admire Becquer’s Monument – one of the most impressive romantic statuary complexes in Europe and the nearby grandiose Plaza de España. The panoramic motor coach tour shows us the 12th century Torre del Oro – Gold Tower on the Guadalquivir river, the dominating Giralda tower, and the fine Baroque building which is now the University but used to be the tobacco factory where Carmen worked. Then stroll through the narrow lanes of the charming Santa Cruz quarter, the former “Juderia” – the Jewish quarter, as did Figaro, the barber or Don Juan. Visit the Mudejar Alcazar and its gardens built by king Peter the Cruel in the 14th century, inspired by Alhambra. Then there’s time to relax or further explore the city.
In the evening we will enjoy a boat ride on the Guadalquivir River and see the sights of the most beautiful city in Andalusia from a different perspective.
Day 5: Thursday, Cordoba
Early departure for a full day excursion to Cordoba. Stop on the way for a view of Carmona an ancient stronghold built on a ridge overlooking the central plain of Andalusia, from the Sierra Morena to the peak of San Cristobal. Cordoba, the birthplace of Rambam (Maimonides) – Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon. Here we visit the medieval old “Juderia” and its’ Mudejar Synagogue which survived. It is a tradition to take a picture with Rambam’s statue in the tiny Tiberiada square. Next, we tour the magnificent 8th century La Mezquita – the Mosque of the Caliphs, famous for its 850 pillars of porphyry, marble, and jasper. We finish our tour on Callejon de las Flores – “the alley of flowers” a nice little close decorated with lots of flowers. Here we may visit the last living workshop of artistic processing of leather, a Cordobese Moorish specialty. Late afternoon, return to Seville. In the evening we can enjoy the best and most complete flamenco show (Optional).
Day 6: Friday, Gibraltar
Today we turn towards the sea, away from the mountains,. We drive along the “autopista” and in way we pass the sherry-producing town of Jerez (=sherrez > sherry) de la Frontera.
At noon we’ll be in the legendary Gibraltar “Jabal Tariq” – “Mount of Tarik” in Gibraltar, it is, its impressive stature, towering isolated above the surrounding countryside, that causes the greatest impact. It is a narrow peninsula linked to the end of the Iberian Peninsula by a narrow sandy isthmus. Gibraltar has been in British hands since 1704. Soon after the British occupation, Sephardic Jews coming from Italy, North Africa and later from England settled there. Until today there is an active local Jewish community with a number of Synagogues and a Glatt Kosher restaurant. Both famous and enigmatic, Gibraltar contains some of the most extensive Military Fortifications in Europe, spanning over 1200 years of Moorish, Spanish and British history. We visit the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, including the intriguing St Michael’s Cave, as well as the famous Barbary semi-wild Gibraltar apes in The Apes’ Den, the focal point for all visitors to The Rock of Gibraltar. Weather permitting, you can get a glimpse the African continent beyond the Strait.
Evening services will be followed by Shabbat dinner.
Day 7: Shabbat, Gibraltar
Morning services at the Synagogue. After lunch enjoy a walking tour of the main street of Gibraltar City.
Day 8: Sunday, Granada
Leaving Gibraltar, we drive along the scenic beachfront road of the lively sun-kissed Costa del Sol. We cross the lavish resort of Marbella and its elegant marina – Puerto Banus to the history-steeped Granada, named “Garnata al-Yahud” (Granada of the Jews) by the Arabs during their conquest of Spain. Granada was also the last Moorish stronghold in Spain; it was conquered by the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II & Isabella I of Castile in 1492. We will visit its main attraction: Alhambra, the mighty yet graceful Citadel and Palace planned by the 13th and 14th centuries Moorish Rulers of Granada. A fantasy of “Lace in Stone” surrounded by Arabesque gardens and fountains, it affords superb view of the Old quarter – Albaicin and Sacromonte, a hill occupied by Gypsy cave dwellers. Walking across the Court of the Myrtles we will stop at the “Hall of the Ambassadors’’ in Comares Tower, where the Edict of Expulsion was issued on 31 March 1492. Also amble through the magnificent terraced Generalife water Gardens, with its shadowy cypresses, oleander, pavilions and cool fountains – The Royal Summer Residence. A panoramic sightseeing of downtown Granada follows, including the old Moorish silk bazaar – Alcaiceria. In its narrow streets you might imagine that you’ve stepped into an exotic land. To end the tour we stop in front of the statue of Yehuda ibn Tibbon (1120-1190) the forerunner of the Arabic-Hebrew translation movement.
If you are in the mood to hear and see fiery gypsy flamenco, in-situ, in one of the Gypsy dwelling caves you may take part in an optional night tour of the old Moorish quarter with a breathtaking view of illuminated Alhambra and a Gypsy flamenco show.
Day 9: Monday, Madrid
Early morning departure tor Madrid – Spain’s majestic Capital since 1561. We drive along the Guadalquivir Valley and north across the plains of La Mancha, the land of Cervantes’s fearless knight Don Quixote. We stop by the picturesque Venta del Quijote just to take a look at the famous courtyard where Don Quixote is supposed to have been dubbed a knight. Another stop will be at Consuegra where Don Quixote jousted with windmills. Continue to Madrid.
Day 10: Tuesday, Toledo, Madrid
Departure to Toledo – “Jerusalem of the West”, one of the main centers of Sephardic Jewry in the Middle Ages.The only way to see this great town – an incomparable open-air museum of Spanish history – is on foot. We concentrate our sightseeing around the old Juderia. See El-Greco’s house which used to be the home of Don Shmuel Halevy Abulafia (14th century)., the king’s Pedro el-Cruel wealthy treasurer. We will also visit both ancient synagogues, today museums: El-Transito, Shmuel Halevy’s Mudejar synagogue (1356)- considered to be the best preserved Jewish monument of the pre-Inquisition period, and Santa Maria la Blanca, Ibn Shoshan’s synagogue. Close to the Jewish quarters we can see El-Greco’s best known painting “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz”. Return to Madrid and proceed on a sightseeing tour of the city including: the historic treasures of the Royal Palace, that is truly, one of the most beautiful Palaces in Europe, the fabulous Prado Museum, housing one of the richest art collections In the world- masterpieces by Goya, Velasquez, Rubens and Bosch. We will drive past its great squares – Plaza España, with its monument to Cervantes, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, the Neptun and Cibeles fountains, the major avenues of Gran Via, Castellana and the Retiro Baroque park, so enjoyable to stroll. We finish at Beth Jacov Synagogue and the Jewish Community Center.
Day 11: Wednesday, Segovia, Avila ,Madrid
After breakfast we will proceed to visit Avila ,declared a Unesco “Heritage of Mankind” city, and is famous for its intact city walls and 90 towers dating back to the 11th century. The ancient walled city of Avila is where Moses de Leon (Moses ben Shem Tov)Jewish Kabbalist presumably wrote the” Book of Splendor” (Sefer Ha-Zohar), Today, the city houses a Museum of Mysticism and a garden in tribute to Moses de Leon. The decree of Expulsion of 1492 is also housed in Avila’s archives. And it is also the burial place of the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada. We will continue to visit the historic Romanesque town of Segovia, the city where Isabella was proclaimed queen in the soaring Alcazar, the Castle that so typifies Spain. We will See the stupendous Roman Aqueduct, dating back to the time of Emperor Trajan, and uptown, between the cathedral and the walls, the Calle de la Juderia Vieja, and Calle de la Juderia Nueva. If possible we will visit the former old Mudejar synagogue (13th century) inside the Corpus Christi Hospital. At the end of the day we will return to Madrid and in the evening you can experience the beautifully illuminated fountains and luminous buildings of Madrid as this city of grace and color lights up the night (optional).
Day 12: Thursday, Madrid, New York
Transfer to the Airport for your flight home.
|Tour Code||Departure date||Air + Land *||Land only *||Single Room**|
|IBER17/02||08/06/2017||4350 $||3400 $||5150 $|
|IBER17/03||10/15/2017||4200 $||3250 $||5000 $|
* Price per person in USD double or twin room
** Supplement Price for single room
* Price of tour is subject to change due to change in Air Fare.
- Round trip air fare from New York and Internal flight as per itinerary.
- First Class Hotels.
- Kosher Meals daily. (For details see General Conditions).
- Transportation by air conditioned coaches.
- Sightseeing, transfers and entrance fees as per Itinerary.
- Experienced English speaking Tour Escort.
- Airport and security tax.
- Travel Insurance (For details see General Conditions).
- Personal expenses.
- Gratuities to local service providers and Tour Escort.
- Optional tours as per Itinerary.
- Individual transfers.
- Any item not mentioned under “price includes”.
Kashrut on Tours
Only strictly kosher food is provided to our travelers on all our tours. On some of our tours we are able to provide glatt meals. Kashrut is of utmost importance to us and we take special measures to ensure that everything served is kosher.
Breakfast is prepared using our utensils. We use local fresh fruits and vegetables, and we use milk products when they are permitted. We use kosher cereals, and bread. We usually serve hard boiled eggs and sometimes scrambled eggs or omelets. At breakfast, we prepare our lunches so that people have their choice as to what they eat for lunch. We bring food from Israel to supplement what is served in the hotel such as cheeses, peanut butter, tuna, etc.
For dinners, we serve either fish or meat (usually chicken) as our main course. In areas where meat is not available nor readily acquired, we will have fish. When possible, we acquire the meat locally from Chabad or other reliable kosher source, and in some cases we fly the meat in from Israel. We try to provide as many meat meals as possible. The main course at dinner is preceded by soup and salad and accompanied by freshly prepared vegetables. Dessert typically consists of fresh fruits.
We do not guarantee Pat Israel and Chalav Israel for all destinations.
In many destinations we have our own dishes and silverware. Where we don’t, we provide disposables at the meals. When we cook in hotel kitchens, we use our own knives, cutting boards, pots and pans, cooking implements and disposable metal trays. All food preparation is done on covered surfaces under the strict supervision of our trained staff/guides who function as our mashgichim.
We make great efforts to assure that our travelers will experience local foods first-hand, while maintaining stringent observance of Kashrut laws on all occasions.
On most of our tours, you will be accompanied by two of our staff members- one a guide for the tour who is knowledgeable about the places you are visiting and will accompany you throughout the day and the second, a person who will deal with the logistics of the tour and provide kashrut supervision in the kitchen.
It is our aim to provide the finest hotel possible in each area we visit. We require our hotels to allow us to work in the kitchen and to supervise the cooking and there are many hotels that are not willing to cooperate. They simply have no desire for us to be “meddling” in their cooking process nor are they happy about our bringing our equipment into their kitchens. We work very hard to find the best hotel in the area that will meet our requirements. Because we are not ready to compromise on kashrut, we may not always be able to use a five star hotel.
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