David Gies, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish

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$6,295 per person, double occupancy, land only
A limited number of single accommodations are available for a supplemental fee of $1,090.


Join UVA professor David Gies on an exploration of Spain’s culturally diverse and varied landscapes from Madrid to Granada. Our journey features two of Spain’s most fascinating regions: Extremadura, a secret treasure trove of mysterious medieval cities, Roman ruins and natural reserves and Andalucía, a magical land defined by the power of Renaissance castles, and the mystery of Moorish gardens. Start in Madrid with a tour of the majestic Royal Palace, the world-famous Prado Museum, the Plaza Mayor and many other iconic monuments. Visit Toledo, capital of medieval Spain and home to the artist El Greco. Continue to the region of Extremadura, the cradle of the conquistadors of the New World, an “undiscovered”, seldom visited area, chockfull of historical treasures, offering beautiful and rugged landscapes, and boasting numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, exceptional Roman ruins, lovely small cities, vineyards and more! Then onto Andalucía with its flamenco music and dance and sherry production. At romantic Seville visit the famous Alcázar or palace, the old Arab quarter and explore nearby Jerez de la Frontera and Cadiz. Then on to Córdoba with its magnificent Mezquita for an inside look into Moorish Spain. Conclude in Granada, with its undisputed centerpiece of the Alhambra, the extraordinary palace of Spain’s last Moorish rulers, and the palace’s delightful water gardens of the Generalife.

Program Highlights

• Madrid with its great museums, grand avenues, parks, and monuments.
• Toledo, “the city of the three cultures” where Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived together in harmony for centuries.
• The seldom visited region of Extremadura, “Cradle of the Conquistadors”, featured in “Game of Thrones” and highlighting impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
• Jerez de la Frontera, surrounded by vineyards and world headquarters for sherry production.
• The great Mezquita of Córdoba with its beautiful Spanish Islamic architecture.
• Admire the Alhambra and the gardens of Generalife in Granada
• Exceptional Roman ruins, palaces, and charming squares


David Gies, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish

Picture of David GiesDavid T. Gies is Commonwealth Professor of Spanish Emeritus at the University of Virginia and former Chair of his Department. He has published seventeen books, including The Cambridge Companion to Modern Spanish Culture (1999), Theatre and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Spain: Juan de Grimaldi as Impresario and Government Agent (Cambridge, 1988), The Theatre in Nineteenth-Century Spain (Cambridge, 1994), The Cambridge History of Spanish Literature (2004), The Cambridge History of Theatre in Spain (co-edited, 2012), Eros y amistad (2016), and The Eighteenth Centuries: Global Networks of Enlightenment (co-edited, 2017). Author of more than 115 scholarly and 140 book reviews, he edits DIECIOCHO, a journal dedicated to the study of the Spanish Enlightenment, now in its 42nd year. He has received the University of Virginia Outstanding Teaching Award, the Thomas Jefferson Award, and, in 2007, was named Encomienda de Número de la Orden de Isabel la Católica, a knighthood granted by His Majesty Juan Carlos, King of Spain. In July 2013, he was elected for a three-year term as President of the International Association of Hispanists, the world’s largest professional organization of Spanish scholars, and in September, 2015, he was elected Honorary President of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honorary Society. In 2016, he won the prestigious Anderson Imbert Prize from the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, and was named Corresponding Member of the Spanish Royal Academy in Madrid. In 2019 he joined the Board of the Dukes of Soria Foundation.


DAY 1 - Monday, April 13, 2020

Departure from U.S.

Overnight flight to Madrid, Spain.

DAY 2 - Tuesday, April 14

Arrival Madrid

MadridArrival in Madrid transfer to your hotel. This afternoon we’ll enjoy a brief introduction to Madrid and then depart for the renowned Prado Museum, one of the world’s most important.  Our visit will focus on the Spanish masters including El Greco, Velázquez and Goya. Return to the hotel for our welcome drink and dinner.

Hotel Emperador. Dinner (D)

DAY 3 - Wednesday, April 15


This morning we’ll explore Madrid on a city tour and learn about its history, monuments, customs, and unique character of this capital city.  We’ll see the Royal Palace, an 18th-century building and then visit Madrid’s elegant squares such as Oriente and España squares, Puerta del Sol, Atocha, Alcalá Gate, Retiro Park, Cibeles Square, Bullring Las Ventas, Neptuno Square, and Gran Vía Street among other sites.  Return to our hotel for some free time.  In the evening take a stroll in the Old Quarter to enjoy its highlights including Plaza Mayor and San Miguel Market before dinner at Taberna del Capitán Alatriste.  This restaurant located in the heart of Madrid in a 16th-century building is beautifully decorated in the style of Madrid’s Golden Age.

Hotel Emperador. (B, D)

DAY 4 - Thursday, April 16

Madrid / Toledo/ Guadalupe

This morning we’ll drive to Toledo, known as the “city of the three cultures”, as Christians, Muslims, and Jews coexisted here in harmony for centuries.  The wealth of its artistic and cultural legacy makes it a unique city with beautiful examples of Mudéjar architecture.  Its old quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with paintings by El Greco and Goya among others.  We’ll visit the Cathedral, the Jewish Quarter, Santa María la Blanca Synagogue and Santo Tomé Church.  After lunch, we’ll continue to Guadalupe in the region of Extremadura to enjoy a walk around the narrow streets of Guadalupe and its town center which dates from the 14th and 16th centuries. We’ll explore the Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe with its now restored Moorish style gardens.  This monastery witnessed decisive events in Spanish history such as the audience with the Catholic Monarchs when they offered Columbus the ships for his voyage.

Parador de Guadalupe (B, L, D)

DAY 5 - Friday, April 17

Trujillo / Guadalupe

This morning we’ll depart for nearby Trujillo, known as the “Cradle of Conquistadors” because it was the home of Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of the Inca Empire and Hernán Cortés conqueror of Mexico among other famous conquistadors.  The elegant city of Trujillo is characterized by grand squares, beautiful old churches, palaces and elegant manor houses, many built with the treasures from the New World. We’ll visit the Palace of Orellana Pizarro, built by Juan Pizarro, a leader in the conquest of the Inca Empire built in 1541 and the historic Church of Santa Maria, with its altarpiece by Francisco Gallego, where several of the American discoverers worshipped.

Parador de Guadalupe (B, L)

DAY 6 - Saturday, April 18

Trujillo / Cáceres / Mérida / Seville

Depart for a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the walled city of Cáceres. More than ten towers dominate the historic quarter of Cáceres surrounded by Arab walls, cobbled streets, fortified homes and Renaissance palaces.  Tour the Toledo-Moctezuma Palace which dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, with main works commissioned during the 16th and 17th centuries by the niece of an Aztec princess, Isabel de Moctezuma, married to a captain from Cáceres who had joined the ranks of the conquistador Hernán Cortés.  After lunch at a local restaurant, drive to the nearby town of Mérida, the “Spanish Rome”.  Mérida is home to a splendid Roman past which makes this former capital of Roman Lusitania of Colonia Emerita Augusta, one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in Spain and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guided tour including the Roman Amphitheatre, the Roman Bridge, and the temple dedicated to the goddess Diana.  Continue into Spain’s Andalucía region for a three-night stay in romantic Seville. Evening at leisure.

Las Casas de la Judería  (B, L)

DAY 7 - Sunday, April 19


Situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville is a beautiful city with a rich Moorish heritage. The city was once a prosperous port that carried out trade with the Americas. Tour Seville’s old quarter beginning with the Royal Alcázar of Seville (Royal Palace).  An Arab place from the 14th century is nowadays a residence of the Spanish kings.  The Alcázar with its beautiful gardens is one of the purest and greatest examples of Mudéjar (Christian-Muslim) architecture containing Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance elements.  As we tour Seville, see the Archive of the Indies, and finally enter the magnificent Cathedral (burial site of Columbus), the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.  It rises up on the site of a great 12th-century mosque that nowadays only retains its minaret, known as the Giralda. Finish your tour with a pleasant walk through Seville’s historical Jewish Quarter considered a most picturesque area of the city with its labyrinth of narrow streets dating back to the time of the Moorish. In the afternoon, take a horse-drawn carriage through the María Luisa Park to the splendid Plaza de España and the pavilions built in 1929 for the World’s Fair. Then, visit the typical Andalusían palace and gardens of Casa Pilatos, regarded as the prime example of Andalusían royal homes of the 16th century.  In the evening depart for dinner and a Flamenco show.

Las Casas de la Judería  (B, D)

DAY 8 - Monday, April 20

Seville / Jerez de la Frontera & Cádiz

Today, enjoy a taste of southern Spain’s countryside and culture on a short trip to Jerez and Cádiz. Jerez is known for its golden sherry, the distinctive fortified wine known worldwide. Only wine from grapes grown in this region can be called sherry. Take a guided tour of the Cathedral of Wine, so-called for the high quality of its wines as well as for the cathedral-like form of its wine cellars, one of the most famous wine cellars in the world. After the tour enjoy a tasting session of its famous wines.  Then we will move on to Cádiz, the oldest city in Western Europe.  Cádiz sits on a narrow spit of land off the Andalusían coast and boasts a fascinating history and heritage.  After lunch continue on a sightseeing tour of the beautiful parts of the city and spectacular coastal views.  Return to Seville.

Las Casas de la Judería (B, L, D)

DAY 9 - Tuesday, April 21

Seville / Córdoba / Granada

This morning we’ll depart for Córdoba.  Founded by the Romans, Córdoba became a port of great importance used for shipping Spanish oil, wine, and wheat back to Ancient Rome.  Córdoba’s greatest glory was as the capital of the Moorish kingdom of El-Andalus when work began on the Great Mosque, or “Mezquita”.  Upon arrival, we’ll tour the impressive Great Mosque, now known as the Mezquita, the most important monument of all the Western Islamic world, and one of the most amazing in the world. Continue to the historic quarter of Córdoba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon transfer to Granada. Evening free.

Hotel Villa Oniria  (B, L)

DAY 10 - Wednesday, April 22


This morning we’ll enjoy a tour of the Alhambra complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Spain’s single biggest attraction.  This hilltop fortress-palace of the Nasrid kings, the last Muslim rulers in Spain, is the most remarkable monument to Moorish art in Spain and the most important existing building of Muslim civil architecture. All the refinement, wealth and delicacy of Islamic art and architecture reached its climax in this unique building. We’ll tour the Alhambra and the lush harem gardens and fountains of the Generalife, the summer palace of the Sultans. It stands at the foot of Spain’s highest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada overlooking the city below and the fertile plain of Granada. Afterward, we’ll transfer to the Albayzin quarter for a brief walking tour of this picturesque, historic neighborhood with views of the Alhambra. After lunch we’ll visit the Royal Chapel where Ferdinand and Isabella are buried.  (Order of visits today subject to final confirmation of entrance times).  Farewell dinner.

Hotel Villa Oniria (B, D)

DAY 11 - Thursday, April 23

Granada / U.S.

This morning, transfer to Granada airport for return flights to the U.S.


• Hotel Emperador in Madrid
• Parador de Guadalupe in Guadalupe region of Extremadura
• Las Casas de la Judería in Seville
• Hotel Villa Oniria in Granada


Meals as specified in the itinerary. Please notify us if you have special dietary needs or requests and we will do our best to accommodate.

Program Fees

$6,295 per person, double occupancy, land only.
A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1,090 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes:

• Superior and 4-star accommodations as indicated
• Meals as specified in the itinerary
• Bottled water throughout
• Transportation by private motor coach
• Group airport transfers
• Enrichment lecturer
• Services of tour escort throughout the whole itinerary
• Professional guides at all locations
• Personal audio guides
• Visits to museums and other monuments as described in the itinerary
• Entrance fees
• Guided field trips, excursions, and tours
• Service charges and taxes
• Wine with all dinners
• Horse carriages at María Luisa Park in Seville
• Flamenco show with dinner and drinks
• Baggage handling
• Basic gratuities to local guides and drivers
• Pre-trip notes including a Travel Guide
• Customized luggage tags and name tags

Does not include:

International airfare, tip to tour director – at the passengers’ discretion (approx $10 to $12pp/day), passport fees; individual/private transfers, room service, alcoholic beverages aside from welcome and farewell drinks and wine with included dinners; beverages not included as part of included meals, personal items such as laundry, fax or telephone calls, meals not indicated in itinerary, medical expenses, snacks, personal, trip cancellation, accident or baggage insurance, excess baggage charges or deviations from the scheduled tour are not included; airport taxes or security fees imposed after the initial pricing of this program are not included; and anything not specifically listed as included.

General Terms & Conditions

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Cancellations and Refunds: Refunds, less a cancellation fee of $400 per person, are made if we are notified in writing on or before December 2, 2019. No refunds are made after that date. All cancellations must be made in writing. There are no refunds for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features.

Responsibilities: Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40), its owners and employees, act only as agents for the various independent suppliers and contractors providing transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services connected with this tour. Such travel and services are subject to the terms and conditions under which such accommodations, services, and transportation are offered or provided, and the University of Virginia and Royal Adventures and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability therefor. The University of Virginia and Royal Adventures assume no liability for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or other irregularity which may be caused by the defect of any aircraft or vehicle or the negligence or default of any company or person engaged in carrying out or performing any of the services involved. Additionally, responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, local laws, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws of the country in which they are provided. The University of Virginia and Royal Adventures reserve the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience or safety of the tour participants. They reserve the right to withdraw this tour without penalty. The right is also reserved to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour or to substitute another qualified leader or special guest. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. The price of the program is given in good faith based on current tariffs and rates and is subject to change. Any tariff, exchange rate, security surcharge or fuel increases will be passed on to participants. Neither the University of Virginia nor Royal Adventures accepts the liability for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable airline ticket. The air ticket when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the passenger and the airline concerned. As part of the consideration and right to participate in this tour, each participant will be asked to sign a liability release.

Trip Insurance: Your tour operator will include information on obtaining trip insurance in your confirmation letter. Please note that there is a time frame for securing trip insurance. The University of Virginia will cancel its endorsement of and faculty and staff participation in any program destination for which a Travel Warning is issued by the U.S. Department of State. Vendor Terms of Agreement will specify under what circumstances the vendor will cancel a program and/or under what circumstances participants might receive some reimbursement if they cancel their travel with the vendor themselves. The University of Virginia strongly recommends that all participants purchase trip cancellation insurance which includes protection in the face of political unrest, natural disasters, and personal emergencies and participants should discuss this insurance directly with the vendor or other travel services with whom they deal. You will find more useful travel information by going to the Travel Resources link on this website.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.