Focus your visit to Spain around Madrid and a stay at one of the the Paradores in the Rioja and Navarra Wine Region.
Visit Madrid, Capital of Spain since 1562, Madrid's museums host, among others, Dalís, Mirós and Picasso's Guernica. Madrid is a city of great contrasts: the Old City, the Madrid of the Hapsburgs, the Royal Palace, the Puerta de Alcala, the Retiro Park. At night, the city changes gears with its famous Madrid nightlife. The city's endless energy is hard to resist, and its sociable style invites you to jump right in.
The area around north of Madrid offers a variety of Paradors, each highlighting a very different experience.
AVILAA beautiful historic town, entirely enclosed by impressive Romanesque walls. Its history begun in 700BC with a Celtiberian settlement, with the first wall being built by the Romans in the 3rd century BC. The walls standing today where reconstructed on top of the Roman walls in the 11th century. Avila is also the birthplace of famous Spanish mystics, like Santa Teresa de Jesús and San Juan de la Cruz. This is evidenced by the great number of churches and convents that are scattered around the city.
AVILA ? 4 stars
16th Century Palace. In the historic quarter of the sizeable town of Ávila, this Parador is installed within the former "Piedras Albas" Palace, backing onto the impressive city walls. The Parador also features a garden containing archaeological remains, a magnificent glass-roofed courtyard.
69 miles from Madrid
SIERRA DE GREDOSA mountain range with colossal peaks and the outstanding Gredos Cirque. A landscape of gorges and lakes and a variety of summits makes it possible to enjoy different styles of climbing, whether on ice, snow or rock.
GREDOS ? 3 stars
A stone building in the heart of Sierra de Gredos. The Sierra de Gredos has housed this stone building since 1928, the first Parador, surrounded by crystalline waters, rough rocks and green pine forests. The location in Alto del Risquillo is a privileged vantage point over the Valle del Tormes, the Gredos massif and the Piedrahita and Béjar sierras, making it a real excursion centre..
107 miles from Madrid
LA GRANJASet at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains, in unique natural surroundings stands the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, a grand and impressive complex, built on the site of an old hostel run by the Hieronymite monks. Philip V retired there in the hope of creating a royal residence after the style of the court at Versailles.
LA GRANJA - 4 stars
Royal palaces in the shelter of the mountains. The new Parador de La Granja is living proof of the rich architectural legacy of the Royal Site. It is composed of two buildings. On the one hand, the hotel is located in the Casa de los Infantes, constructed in the 18th century by Charles III to house Princes Gabriel and Antonio. On the other hand, the Cuartel General de la Guardia de Corps houses a modern Conference and Convention Centre.
61 miles from Madrid
LEONOriginally the Roman Legio VII Gemina Pia Felix and then a leading city in Christian Spain, preserves an interesting Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance legacy, the result of its splendor during the Middle Ages.
LEON - 5 stars GL
16th Century Monastery-Hospital. The San Marcos Monastery, whose construction began in the 16th century, replaced another 12th century monastery from the times of King Alfonso VI. Different artists immortalised a yesterday where the strength of his legacy can be seen in stone and wood, making the hotel a living museum..
214 miles from Madrid
SALAMANCAUniversity City par excellence, birthplace of the first book of Castilian grammar, with an ensemble of monuments with the World Heritage designation. Salamanca is art and culture first hand. Aside from the University, the other must see is the famous Plaza Mayor Square. This beautiful, grandiose Baroque square has been, is and will always be the "soul" of Salamanca.
SALAMANCA - 4 stars
Modern building with Views of the historic centre. The Hotel is on a small hill on the left bank of the Tormes, facing the historic centre of the city. Its large windows make it an exceptional lookout point over the city, a living museum dominated by the cathedral towers.
134 miles from Madrid
SEGOVIAFamous above all for its Roman Aqueduct, considered one of the Roman Empire?s most impressive works of engineering. It was built at the end of the 1st century and was in use until the middle of the 19th. It is comprised of 166 stone arches on granite ashlars, set with neither cement nor mortar. Also a must to visit are the Cathedral, built at Segovia?s highest point, and the Alcázar, a 12th century fortification built on a rocky outcrop with impressive views over the city. In 1985 Segovia was designated World Heritage City for its unique beauty.
SEGOVIA - 4 stars
A Parador with views. Modern, welcoming and surprising, this Hotel is in one of the most monumental cities in Spain, declared a World Heritage site. It offers the best views of Segovia. It is also the perfect base for visiting the many natural spaces in the province.
58 miles from Madrid
SIGUENZAA beautiful city with lofty architectural heritage was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1965. The castle, the cathedral, and the main square, or Plaza Mayor, are three spots that the visitor should not miss in the city, although most streets in Sigüenza are filled with gorgeous civil and religious buildings. The cathedral, started in 1130, is Romanesque. Its exterior resembles a medieval fortress, and has Romanesque towers and portico, as well as an impressive rose window.
SIGUENZA - 4 stars
12th Century Medieval Castle. Installed in an Arab fortress, built on Roman foundations, the construction began in 1123 of this imposing castle, home of bishops, cardinals and kings. This is an appropriate base for exploring the historic town and the beautiful landscape around it..
81 miles from Madrid
VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZOAn important city on the pilgrim's road to Santiago de Compostela. The city was known by the name of Burbia and it was home to both military and Roman settlements. It was repopulated by the Franks in the 11th century, coinciding with the height of the popularity of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Monks from Cluny settled there. Signs of its noble past are the coats of arms that grace many of its buildings, especially in the Calle del Agua.
VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO - 3 stars
Country house draped with creepers. Villafranca del Bierzo is the illustrious centre of a very lovely region and also a stop on St James? Way. The Hotel?s architecture imitates the lines and shapes of nearby Galicia.
255 miles from Madrid
Madrid and North of Madrid with Paradores
Visit Madrid and then spend a few days at a Parador in the North of Madrid, giving you the opportunity to drive around and visit some of the most historic towns and stay at castles from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
Price history for this itinerary (past 14 days):
From New York, Newark, NJ for 6 nights
$1,181 * incl.tax
Madrid (147) Spain (269)
Recomended for 6 to 9+ nights.
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