Saga Holidays - Europe and the Mediterranean Feb 2019-Mar 2020 Trade
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Medieval Spain

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SPAIN Medieval Spain 9 nights from £999^ Including optional travel insurance or a reduction of £54 if not required§ Make a break from the usual tourist trail on this tour that explores the medieval heritage of the Spanish heartland. Follow in Don Quixote's footsteps in undulating La Mancha, discover the homeland of the Conquistadors in Extremadura, and visit the cathedrals of Salamanca. Contrast this with wildlife watching in Monfragüe National Park, and gain a wonderful insight into this historic region renowned for its wine and cuisine... The walled city of Toledo ACTIVITY LEVEL Day 1: UK-Toledo. Fly to Madrid and transfer to the locally rated 4-star Eurostars Toledo in Toledo for a three-night stay. D Day 2: Toledo. History enthusiasts and old romantics are sure to experience love at first sight in 2,000-year-old Toledo. Set on a rocky outcrop almost ringed by the River Tagus, medieval, Moorish, Jewish and Christian monuments crowd every spare inch of this UNESCO-listed walled town. An included guided walking tour is the only way to see the sights, including the facade of the church of Santo Tomé ­ home of El Greco's masterpiece, `The Burial of the Count of Orgaz`. With the afternoon at leisure, perhaps visit the splendid cathedral or tour the city by train independently. B Day 3: La Mancha. Head out across the rolling Spanish countryside on a tour of La Mancha; the backdrop to Don Quixote's bumbling adventures in Miguel Cervantes' 1604 book ­ the world's best-selling novel to date. Highlights include Almagro which has an arcaded square and one of the best preserved examples of a 17th Century Corral de Comedias theatre. You'll have free time for lunch before heading to the 11 restored windmills at Consuegra, which march in a photogenic line across a ridge. B Day 4: Toledo-Trujillo-Monfragüe. Travel to Monfragüe, pausing in the Conquistador town of Trujillo en route. Your Tour Manager will be your guide as you explore labyrinthine lanes and see the bronze statue of the city's most famous son, Francisco Pizarro who ruthlessly brought the Inca Empire to submission. Continue to Monfragüe for a three-night stay at the locally rated 4-star Hospederia Parque de Monfragüe. After settling in, join a half-day guided walk around a reservoir in Monfragüe National Park, one of Spain's most important wilderness areas: there are more than 200 species that call the woodlands, pastures and scrubland home, including all manner of reptiles, otters, wild boar and even the rarely-sighted Spanish lynx. B, D Day 5: Monfragüe National Park. Turn your eyes to the skies as you venture into Monfragüe National Park, one of Europe's best birdwatching habitats. Black storks, vultures, golden eagles and cross-looking eagle owls can all be spotted here. Your full-day trip includes a walk to the Devil's Leap where you'll learn more about the folklore in the park. You'll also visit Peñafalcón, a rocky crag that's home to a large colony of griffon vultures. B, L, D Day 6: Montánchez and Cáceres. This morning, head to the small town of Montánchez, famous for its cured ham. Visit a local farm first where you can learn about the concept of La Dehesa, the natural environment which makes this ham the best in Spain, helped by a diet of acorns! Then you can see how the meat is cured at a secadero before enjoying a taste test to judge its flavour for yourself. This afternoon, travel to Cáceres where reminders of the historic tug of war between rival Christians and Moorish factions are evident in the walls of this UNESCO-listed old town, from the surrounding ramparts to 15th-century fortress houses and 16th-century palatial houses complete with towers. You'll be able to explore the maze-like streets where stork nests indiscriminately cover the rooftops. B, D Day 7: Monfragüe-La Alberca-Ciudad Rodrigo-Salamanca. A busy day of sightseeing awaits you on your journey to Salamanca. Begin with a visit to La Alberca whose quaint ensemble of medieval half-timbered houses have earned it National Historical Heritage status. Continue to the walled frontier town of Ciudad Rodrigo, scene of a crucial victory for the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsula Wars. On arrival in Salamanca, stay two nights at the locally rated 4-star Hotel Hall 88. B, D Day 8: Salamanca. Salamanca is an elegant city of golden sandstone buildings and is home to Spain's oldest university, once one of the most prestigious in the world. Ciudad Rodrigo La Alberca Salamanca Spain Segovia Madrid Aranjuez Toledo Avila Valley of the Fallen Monfragüe Cáceres Trujillo Montánchez nights in hotel Consuegra Almagro 48 To book, please visit your Travel Agent