This is a sample tour you can add to or change. Please contact us for a quote on a tailor-made tour.
Cross Curriculum Excursions
© Carissa Rogers
Madrid's Old Town features a labyrinth of tightly packed streets with a mix of Medieval squares, Hapsburg and Bourbon Palaces and the Plaza Mayor. Plaza Mayor began as a 15th century market square and became the capital's city's main site for events such as bullfights and carnivals. The statue in the centre is of Philip III on horseback and was built in 1616. Now, the Plaza Mayor is an excellent place to soak up Madrid's unique atmosphere and view the spectacular architecture from one of its many typically Spanish cafes.
Right next to the Old Town is Puerto del Sol, Madrid's main meeting point. During the Hapsburg period, the area became a hotbed of monasteries and churches, but in the mid-19th century it redefined itself as a place for social gatherings. The Casa de Correos building is where people come together on New Year's Eve. You can also visit the Puerto del Sol to see Madrid's most famous symbol: a 20 ton statue of a bear eating fruits from a tree. Apparently, the female bear symbolizes the fertile soil of Madrid and the tree symbolizes the aristocracy.
Madrid is full of museums and the Royal Palace houses just fifteen of them, as well as having dozens of galleries and several private collections. Although it is the Spanish Royal Family's official residence, part of it is open to the public. It is the largest palace in Europe with 2,800 rooms.
In 1985, UNESCO declared Segovia an 'Heritage of Mankind.' It has the highest concentration of Romanesque churches in the whole of Europe and the pedestrian streets make it a peaceful and safe place to break away from the hustle and bustle of Madrid. Visit the Mint which opened in 1583 and is the world's oldest still functioning industrial plant. To the north west of the city, is the Alcazar Castle which was the inspiration for Walt Disney, and as the site at which Queen Isabel promised Columbus the financial backing he needed to discover America. On the south east side of the city is the Roman aqueduct, which is the largest and best preserved of its kind.
© Daniel R. Blume
Toledo could be said to have been one of the first truly multi-cultural cities in Europe. In the 8th century the Arabs arrived to join the Jews and Christians that already lived there and it became dubbed 'the city of three cultures'. During this period, Toledo flourished, and even opened the famous Toledo School of Translators. Synagogues, mosques and churches all exist side-by-side, showing off their various architectural and artistic styles. Aside from ambling through the tightly packed streets and enjoying the general atmosphere, you could visit El Greco's house; Toledo's most famous artist's place is open to the public and exhibits some of the best works the painter created. There is also the cathedral with its two remarkable towers; one is flamboyant gothic style and the other is Gothic-Renaissance.
Warner Brothers Park
This is the newest and largest of Madrid's theme parks and is situated 20 km south of the city on 250 hectares of land. It is divided into five separate areas: Hollywood Boulevard, Cartoon Village, Old West Territory, Superhero World and Warner Brothers. It has action and entertainment, rides and shows based on Hollywood.
© Pablo Sanchez
El Prado Museum
El Prado has had more than 2,300 paintings added to its collection since it opened in 1819. Its superb collection includes works by El Greco, Titian, Goya, Rubens and Velasquez. Due to the size of the collection, El Prado has come up with three different tours for visitors, which allow you to see the most important masterpieces. The website gives options for 1 hour, 2 hour and 3 hour museum visits.
© Carmen Escobar Carrio
Real Academia de Bellas Artes
The Real Academia de Bellas Artes, Fine Art academy, has one of the best collections of paintings in Spain, including works by Ribera and Rubens, plus a room devoted to Picasso. It reopened in 1986 and contains more than 1,400 paintings, 600 sculptures and 15,000 drawings. Picasso and Dalí were both students at the academy. The twentieth-century work is of particular notice because it provides visitors with a very good general overview of contemporary art, allowing the path of artistic movements to be closely followed.
© Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
The collection at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia houses art that principally spans the 20th century, but most famously it is home to Picasso's Guernica. However, despite its host of big-name artists it also features a wide array of Spain's lesser known artists.
© Wolf Gang
The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is a private museum of predominantly European art, including works by Caravaggio, Francis Bacon and Van Eyck.
© Brian Snelson
Descalzas Reales Convent
This is one of the lesser known highlights of Madrid. The convent was founded in 1559 by Joan of Austria whose mother used it as a hiding place so that she wouldn't have to marry Felipe II. More aristocratic women followed and brought their dowries with them. Gradually, the convent became rich. By the mid-20th century the convent was mostly home to poor women that were forbidden from selling the valuable treasures to raise funds. In 1960, the State, with a special dispensation from the Pope, opened the convent to the public as a museum and in 1985 it was declared 'Museum of the Year', by the European Council. There are plenty of works including some by Rubens and Titian.
Madrid school tour (art focus) - 4 days
- El Prado Museum
- Real Academia de Bellas Artes
- Plaza Mayor
- Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
- Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
- Palacio Real
Accommodation options for our Madrid school tour
- Excellent location for exploring city
- En-suite rooms with TV » Bar, meeting rooms