Grand Cathedrals of Spain
Madrid, Salamanca, Leon, Santiago de Compostela, Oviedo, Burgos, Zaragoza & Barcelona
This is one of our sample pilgrimage itineraries. These itineraries require a minimum of 10 passengers.
To arrange a pilgrimage like this for your church or group, to this or many other destinations, please call us or email . We'd be happy to put together an itinerary that's just right for your group, including international flights from your home city.
|Itinerary at a Glance
Grand Cathedrals of Spain
|4||Madrid, Avila, Alba de Tormes & Salamanca|
|5||Salamanca & Leon|
|6||Leon & Santiago de Compostela|
|7||Santiago de Compostela|
|8||Santiago de Compostela & Oviedo|
|9||Oviedo & Burgos|
|10||Burgos & Zaragoza|
|11||Zaragoza, Montserrat & Barcelona|
|Highlights||St. James Cathedral in Santiago, Burgos Cathedral, Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza, Montserrat Monastery, Sacred Family Cathedral in Barcelona|
One cannot truly appreciate the power of the Catholic faith until one has visited Spain. The devotion and the struggles of the faithful have left indelible marks in all corners of this sun-drenched country, from some of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals to ancient pilgrimage routes. Delve into the culture and history of Catholic Spain on this remarkable journey. Explore the awe-inspiring churches of Madrid, Salamanca, Oviedo, Zaragoza, and Barcelona. Learn about the lives of St. Teresa and St. James. Visit the most important towns on the Road to Santiago, including Leon, Santiago de Compostela, and Burgos. Along the way, enjoy breathtaking landscapes, some of the world's best wines, and a variety of excellent regional cuisines. You will also have plenty of time to explore Spain’s great art museums and admire the architecture of Antoni Gaudí—all at a price that can’t be resisted.
Day 2, Tuesday: Madrid. Welcome to Madrid, the capital of Spain and one of the grandest cities in the Old World. After customs, transfer to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Relax from your journey, then spend a few hours exploring the city on your own. In the evening, meet other members of your group for a welcome dinner. (D)
Day 3, Wednesday: Madrid. Wake up this morning in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and the former center of the Spanish Empire. Enormous cathedrals and churches are plentiful in Madrid, as well as medieval architecture. A tour will take in the sights of Plaza Espana, Plaza Mayor, Gran Via and Puerta del Sol. You will also visit the majestic Royal Palace and, directly across from it, the stately Almudena Cathedral, only completed in 1993. Afternoon is at leisure. You may wish to visit the Museo del Prado, home to one of the finest art collections in the world and the best collection of classical art in Madrid, including works by El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, and Caravaggio. Be sure to walk along Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian walkway full of fountains and trees near the museum. Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Center houses Madrid's best collection of modern art, including Picasso's masterpiece Guernica, as well as works by Miró, Kandinsky, Dalí, Bacon, and more. Sample the excellent local cuisine as you enjoy dinner on your own. Breakfast provided.
Day 4, Thursday: Madrid, Avila, Alba de Tormes & Salamanca. After breakfast depart for Ávila, the city of Song and Saints and hometown of Saint Teresa of Ávila. Also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, she was a prominent Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, writer of the Counter Reformation, and theologian. Saint Teresa was also a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be, along with John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. You will visit several of the city’s beautiful Romanesque and gothic churches, as well as its medieval city walls. After lunch in local restaurant, travel to Alba de Tormes to visit St. Teresa's tomb in the Carmelite Convent of the Anunciación, which she founded in 1570. Continue to Salamanca for dinner and overnight. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 160 miles and take approximately 3¼ hours.
Day 5, Friday: Salamanca & Leon. Known for its beautiful buildings and charming urban environment, Salamanca's Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Admire the Old Cathedral, built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style, and the much larger Gothic New Cathedral, completed in 18th century. Enjoy the lively atmosphere created by the University of Salamanca, the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest in the Western world. Your tour will also include Capilla de la Vera Cruz, a baroque church that houses countless works of art and serves as headquarters for the five-hundred-year-old Brotherhood of the Vera Cruz of Salamanca. After lunch proceed to Leon for dinner and overnight. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 140 miles and take approximately 3 hours.
Day 6, Saturday: Leon & Santiago de Compostela. The last major city on the Road to Santiago before it climbs into the mountains, Leon is distinguished by a remarkable Cathedral, whose enormous stained-glass windows evoke reverence. Explore the Old Quarter of this graceful historic city, which served as a bastion of Christian resistance to the Moorish conquest of Spain and Portugal. In addition to the Cathedral, your tour will include Roman and medieval ruins, the fascinating Basilica of San Isidoro, and the Casa de Botines, one of only three buildings by Antoni Gaudí outside Catalonia. Leon is also a gastronomic center, as you will discover when you sample tapas and local wine during lunch. In the afternoon travel to Santiago de Compostela. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 220 miles and take approximately 4 hours.
Day 7, Sunday: Santiago de Compostela. Celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime Sunday Mass at St. James Cathedral, which marks the end of one of the most important medieval pilgrimage routes, the Way of St. James. Legend has it that in 813, the light of a bright star guided a shepherd who was watching his flock at night to the burial site of the apostle James. The legend became a rallying symbol for the Catholic faithful during the Christian crusades against the Moors, and the cathedral was erected on the spot where St. James’ remains were said to have been found. Today, over 100,000 pilgrims travel to Santiago de Compostela each year. After Mass, discover the charms of this well-preserved city on your own. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 8, Monday: Santiago de Compostela & Oviedo. After breakfast travel through the countryside and along the scenic Costa Verde on the Atlantic coast. Sightseeing and lunch en route. Arrive in Oviedo, one of the oldest cities in Spain and an important spiritual and intellectual center. Visit the Cathedral of Oviedo, the city's most distinctive building, which makes an immediate impact on anyone who sees it. Catch a glimpse of the enormous statue of Christ that overlooks the city from a nearby mountain. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 210 miles and take approximately 4 hours.
Day 9, Tuesday: Oviedo & Burgos. After breakfast travel inland towards Burgos. Sightseeing and lunch en route. A principal stop on the Road to Santiago and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Burgos is rich in ancient churches and convents. You will have a chance to see the most notable ones, including the impressive gothic Cathedral, the monastery of Las Huelgas, and the Carthusian monastery of Miraflores. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 195 miles and take approximately 4 hours.
Day 10, Wednesday: Burgos & Zaragoza. This morning travel east towards Zaragoza, considered to be the birthplace of Christianity in Spain. Pilgrims who have journeyed here for centuries to worship at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, reputed to be the first church in history dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The cathedral takes its name from the pillar on the banks of the River Ebro where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. James and commanded him to build a church. Your tour will feature Our Lady of the Pillar, as well as the magnificent La Seo Cathedral, which displays a wide range of architectural styles, and Aljaferia Palace, the most important Moorish landmark in northern Spain and the setting for Giuseppe Verdi's The Troubadour. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 200 miles and take approximately 3¾ hours.
Day 11, Thursday: Zaragoza, Montserrat & Barcelona. After breakfast travel to Montserrat Monastery, built on a rugged mountain not far from Barcelona, and home to one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Spain: the Shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat. Since the 12th century, pilgrims have been drawn to the mountain to venerate the miraculous statue of the Black Madonna (La Moreneta). According to Catholic tradition, the statue was carved by St. Luke around 50 AD and then brought to Spain. It was later hidden from the Moors in a cave on the mountain, the Holy Grotto, and rediscovered in 880. In 1881, the Black Madonna was proclaimed patron saint of Catalonia by Pope Leo XIII. The Monastery of Montserrat, located near the top of the 4,000-foot mountain, is home to about 80 monks, who welcome visitors and invite them to participate in their daily celebrations of Mass and recitations of the Liturgy of the Hours. Continue to Barcelona for dinner and overnight. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Our journeys today will cover 210 miles and take approximately 4¼ hours.
Day 12, Friday: Barcelona. Your last full day in Spain is dedicated to one of the most marvelous and exciting cities in the world, Barcelona. Explore Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), filled with remarkable medieval architecture, including La Seu Cathedral. Visit the most striking examples of modernista architecture, including the still unfinished basilica of the Sagrada Família, designed by Antoni Gaudí, which has been under construction since 1882. The rest of the day is yours to explore this fascinating city on your own. Consider viewing some more works by Gaudí, or maybe visiting one of Barcelona's extraordinary museums: The National Museum of Art of Catalonia, the Joan Miró Foundation, or the Picasso Museum. Dinner is on your own; enjoy some delicious Catalan cuisine, amongst the best in the Mediterranean. Breakfast provided.
Day 12, Friday: Barcelona /USA. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Breakfast provided.