Depart the your country to Barcelona.
Arrive in the exciting city of Barcelona on the Mediterranean Sea. On your own, walk along “Las Ramblas,” one of the world’s most famous thoroughfares. Stroll past flower stalls, vendors and street performers to the monument of Christopher Columbus. Marvel at Gaudi’s Art Nouveau architecture. In the evening, drive to Montjuic (Mountain of the Jews). Visit the Miro Museum with its spectacular rooftop views of the Catalonian capital. Stop at the Spanish Village, a showcase of Spanish architecture through the ages. Top the evening at a performance of the Dancing Fountains.
Drive north to Girona, the ancient walled city set on the Onyar River, which was a major Jewish center prior to 1492. The historic Jewish Quarter, known as the “Call,” is a well-preserved testament to Jewish life in the Middle Ages. Ascend a flight of 17th century Baroque steps to the city’s major architectural treasure, the Gothic cathedral. A tour of the city also includes the Arab baths, a 12th century fortified bridge and a 19th century bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel. On the return to Barcelona, stop at the village of Figueras, birthplace of the surrealist Salvador Dali, and visit the Dali Museum. If time permits, stop at Besalu to see the ancient mikvah and beit midrash. Evening meeting with Rabbi, for Bar/Bat Mitzvah rehearsal.
Celebrate your Bar/Bat Mitzvah in the newly- excavated synagogue, hidden for centuries under the basement of a 17th century building in the Barrio Gothic. Walk through the medieval “Call” and learn about past and present Jewish life in Barcelona. Visit Antonio Gaudi’s extraordinary Church of the Holy Family (Sagrada Familia), Casa Mila and Park Guell.
Optional: Celebration dinner at a Catalonian restaurant.
Transfer to Barcelona Airport for a short flight to the Andalusian city of Granada, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Visit the Alhambra, the “Palace of Paradise” built by Moorish rulers. View the decree expelling the Jews from Spain, signed on March 31, 1492, in the Hall of the Ambassadors, where Ferdinand and Isabella also signed the agreement permitting Columbus to sail west to America.
Drive to beautiful Seville, the “city of fiestas.” Remainder of day at leisure.
Visit the world’s largest Gothic cathedral (containing what is believed to be Christopher Columbus’ tomb) with its Giralda Tower, the city’s most prominent monument. Continue to the Alcazar, one of the oldest royal residences in Europe. It is an astonishing Moorish palace of vaulted halls, ornate archways, glazed tiles and intricate woodwork. Explore the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the preserved Jewish Quarter, and Seville’s most picturesque neighborhood, with its wrought iron balconies and flower-filled courtyards. In the evening, enjoy dinner and a fiery flamenco show.
Depart Seville and travel through the Guadalquivir Valley to Cordoba, a city steeped in history, with echoes of Roman, Moorish and Jewish influence. (In the Middle Ages, Cordoba was home to a galaxy of Hebrew scholars, philosophers and poets, and Jews served in high positions as ambassadors and advisors.) Visit “La Mezquita,” the most beautiful mosque ever built by the Moors in Spain, now used as a cathedral. Explore the Juderia, the charming Jewish Quarter dating from the 10th century. See the statue of Maimonedes, honoring one of the greatest of Jewish scholars, located near the synagogue on Calle de los Judios.
Drive through the “La Mancha” country to Toledo, once the royal capital of Spain and heart of Jewish learning and literature. Visit the Grand Toledo Cathedral and two medieval synagogues, Santa Maria La Blanca (formerly the Grand Synagogue) and the Transito Synagogue with its Museum of Sephardic culture. Visit the home of the great painter El Greco, long associated with Toledo, and see his masterpiece “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz,” displayed at the Church of St. Tome. Drive to Madrid. Optional: Dinner at Casa Botin the oldest restaurant in Europe and a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway.
Explore Madrid’s “Golden Triangle.” Visit the Prado Museum (Museo Del Prado), to view its immense collection of famous paintings by Goya, El Greco, and Velasquez, and the Reina Sofia Museum, which houses Picasso’s famous “Guernica.” Visit the city’s grand monuments and beautiful plazas, including the magnificent 18th century Royal Palace (the children will love the armory!) and the Plaza Mayor. Optional: Attend the bullfights at Plaza de Toros.
Morning transfer to Madrid Airport for your flight home.
Spend a few days before or after the tour, at a Beach Resort on the Costa Brava or on the island of Mallorca or Ibiza.
Visit the 15th century old town, with its museums and churches and the renowned Guggenheim Museum, Frank Gehry’s masterpiece. Visit the pre-historic center at Altamira and the beautiful town of San Sebastian.