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From the 15th to the 17th century, the Spanish Empire was built on the massive colonisation of the New World. Unimaginable riches were plundered and used to lay the foundations of Spain as we know it today. On this tour, you’ll follow in the footsteps of the conquistadors, those courageous and cruel explorers who built an empire on which the sun never set.
Often overlooked, this region boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. Our guides will take you along dramatic mountain ranges and through sun-drenched plains as you trace the history of Spain’s colonial expansion. Stopping off at various cities and towns, you’ll see the palaces and mansions built with the new-found riches of the Americas. There are also stops in Toledo and Madrid, where you’ll visit all of the best historical landmarks and sights. Aside from the natural and historical wonders, this tour also delves into the gastronomical. You’ll be eating at traditional local restaurants, sampling the best cuisine (and wines!) the region has to offer. As with all our longer tours, the accommodation provided is be a mix of luxury hotels, and charming, rural guest-houses.
Pick up at the airport and transfer by minibus to the Parador in Ávila (approximately 2 hours ride). Selection of bicycle and introductions. Evening free to visit the town and its famous walls. Supper at the Parador . Avila is another of the towns forming part of the worlds´ human heritage in Spain. Its walls are perfectly preserved. To be seen are its cathedral and the church of San Vicente where a number of works of art are kept. Its Parador “ Raimundo de Borgoña ” is situated in a Palace built in the walls of the town. Its name makes reference to the Conquistador of the town, promoter of the walls to safe guard the town during mediaeval days.
After breakfast we bike around this city, always surrounded by a beautiful countryside and near its walls. After lunch we will leave by minibus on a lovely road towards the Sierra de Gredos where we will spend the night. Dinner at the hotel.Gredos is a magnificent mountain range and the Parador is in one of its look out points. Comfortable and classic, it was the first Parador founded by the King of Spain, Alphonse, in 1926 as a hunting resort.
After breakfast we will leave by minibus to the heart of the mountain, from where we will bike on nice roads crossing the Sierra de Gredos towards the lands of Vera. After breakfast we will be pedalling along the foothill of the mountain. We will come through picturesque villages quite unique for its architecture, plenty of forests and prairies.Jarandilla is the centre of these lands, owing its importance to the Castle of Oropesa, nowadays the Parador, where we will be staying.King Charles V was another guest while the monks got his rooms ready in the monastery of Yuste.
As usual after our breakfast and on our bikes, we leave towards Cuacos de Yuste where we will visit the monastery where Charles V retired and died. We go up the pass of Piornal from where we all will admire the splendid views of the valley. The descent takes us towards the splendid valley of the Jerte River to arrive in Plasencia. Evening will be free to visit at your pace then, dinner will be waiting for you. Plasencia is a town on the banks of the river Jerte. It has a double mediaeval wall. The Parador is a wonderful example on how to give clients the best.
By minibus we leave towards Oropesa to start on a 30 km route following an old railway track, descending towards Calera near our final destination. The Parador is once more our lodging and where we will have supper. The Castle and the Parador ¡, (a XII century perfectly preserved palace), are two of the milestones in Oropesa that can be seen from a long distance.
By minibus we go along the river Tajo to a winery from where we will do some miles. Then by bus we reach the city of Toledo, that we will know by bike. Enough time to visit it and have lunch. At the afternoon, we will go by minibus to Chinchón where we will dine and spend the night at the Parador. Toledo is place made special by its Arab, Jewish and Christian elements. Many narrow street, its Cathedral and the bridges over the river worth to visit it. Chinchón has a irregular but very nice main square. The Parador is a carefully restored 17th-century convent.
In the morning we will be setting off for Madrid where we will arrive after an hour´s journey. Optional: Madrid city tour by bicycle. Free time. We suggest a visit to the Royal Palace, the Plaza Mayor (Main square) and the Prado Museum.
Breakfast and transfer to the airport.
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