Religious Travel in Spain
As you travel to Spain and begin your religious journey, let Catholic Heritage Tours do the hard and sometimes frustrating work of booking travel and lodging. We will also arrange for the Holy Masses, thus allowing you to truly enjoy the experience of visiting shrines and soaking in the Catholic faith and culture. See a sample two-week itinerary:
Day 1: Transatlantic flight to Madrid, Spain
Embark on your transatlantic flight to Madrid. Meals will be served during the flight.
Day 2: Madrid
Welcome to Spain! Upon arrival, meet your tour escort and proceed to the hotel for check-in. On the way, a sightseeing tour of the capital city of Spain will show you world-famous sites, and you will be able to stop and visit the Monastery of the Incarnación, which houses a good number of relics, including the blood of St. Januarius and of St. Pantaleon, martyrs. Then, the Cathedral of San Isidro, which holds the remains of Spain’s patron saint, St. Isidore the Laborer and of his holy wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza. In the evening, a welcome dinner will give you an opportunity to go over the next days’ itinerary with your fellow travelers. (WD)
Day 3: Madrid – El Escorial – Avila
Travel to Avila, departing after breakfast. Along the way, stop at the magnificent and massive complex housing the palace and monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Built in the 16th C. to house the administrative and religious offices of the kingdom of Spain in its apogee, it is a not-to-miss site. Continue in the early afternoon to Avila, where, upon arrival, you can visit the sites related to the great mystic and doctor of the Church, Saint Teresa of Avila. Visit the Convent of St. Teresa, built over the house where she was born, the Monastery of the Incarnation, where she lived as a Carmelite for over 20 years, and the Church of Saint Vincent, martyr and patron saint of Avila. Dinner and overnight in Avila. (BB, D)
Day 4: Avila – Salamanca – Segovia
After an early breakfast, visit the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Avila, and see the adjacent palaces. Then, head to Salamanca to visit the stunning Old and New Cathedrals, housing the miraculous image of Our Lady of La Vega, who defended the city during internal wars in the 18th C, as well as the remains of Sts. John of Sahagun and Thomas of Villanueva. After lunch, enjoy some free time, then, before heading to Segovia, a sightseeing tour will show you one of the most famous European Universities, the University of Salamanca, founded in the 13th C. Travel to Segovia to arrive in time for dinner. Overnight in Segovia.(BB, D)
Day 5: Segovia
A full day in Segovia with guided visits to Segovia’s Cathedral, the last Gothic church built in Spain, an absolutely stunning building. Then, the Alcazar, the favorite residence of Spanish Monarchs during the Middle Ages, originally built as a fortress. View the impressive and well-preserved Aqueduct of Segovia, which has stood watch since the first Century. Visit also the Holy Cave of Saint Dominic of Guzman at the Dominican Monastery; he is the founder of the Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans. Finally, visit the Convent of Discalced Carmelites founded in 1576 by St. John of the Cross, the great Spanish doctor of Mystical Theology and good friend of St. Teresa of Avila. Tonight, enjoy some free time and an independent dinner to sample Spanish cuisine. (BB)
Day 6: Segovia – Burgos – Loyola
Travel to Loyola today, with a stop about halfway in Burgos, the historic capital of the kingdom of Old Castille. There, visit the beautiful cathedral, the third largest in Spain, with its steel-gray spires, and housing the tomb of the Legendary El Cid and his wife. Visit also the XII century Cistercian Monastery of Las Huelgas, and the Carthusian Monastery of Miraflores, where the parents of Isabella the Catholic are buried. Continue North to the land of St. Ignatius, and stop to visit the birthplace of the founder of the Jesuits, as well as the Basilica dedicated to him. Behind the Sanctuary is his home where you can see the room where St. Ignatius, at age 30, was brought following his wounding which was the start of his conversion. Dinner and overnight in Loyola (BB, D)
Day 7: Loyola – Javier – Huesca
Leave Loyola to head East to Huesca. Along the way, visit the Castle where Saint Francis Xavier, the great Missionary of Asia and co-founder of the Jesuits, was born, in Javier. Then, visit the Monastery of Leyre, built in the 11th C. by the Benedictines, and known for its historical importance and a stop on the route to Santiago. Continue to Huesca, where Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr, was born. Visit the country home of his parents, Saint Paciencia and Saint Orencio, who raised their two sons, Saint Lawrence and Saint Orencio, there. In the city, visit the Church of Saint Lawrence, built on the city home of his family, where you can venerate his relics and admire the splendid “bust of Saint Lawrence” a silversmith’s work of the 17th C. Enjoy some free time in Huesca, perhaps to visit other interesting sites, with independent dinner to sample the local cuisine. (BB)
Day 8: Huesca – Barbastro – Vic – Barcelona
Leave Huesca today toward Barcelona. Along the way, a stop in one of the churches of Barbastro, where are buried 51 young Claretians, martyred during the Spanish Civil War. Continue to Vic, where Saint Anthony Mary Claret, founder of the Claretians, attended seminary, was ordained and started his priestly life. Venerate the remains of this great bishop and apostle of Cuba at the Claretian House in Vic. Continue to Barcelona, where a sightseeing tour will illustrate this beautiful city full of sites to visit. Time for relaxation before dinner and overnight in Barcelona. (BB, D)
Day 9: Barcelona
Today, a full day in Barcelona, where there is plenty to see and visit: Saint Eulalia Cathedral, which houses the remains of the early martyr St. Eulalia and Saint Raymond of Penafort, instrumental in the creation of the Mercedarian Order. A miraculous crucifix is also exposed there: It was in one of the ships at the Battle of Lepanto and the Corpus swerved to avoid a cannon ball shot by the Muslims and stayed bent after that. Continue with the Royal Palace: the place where Isabella and Fernando Kings of Spain received Columbus after his triumphal return from America. Finish the day’s tour with the Church of the Sacred Family, Europe’s most unconventional church, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Sea,Barcelona’s favorite church built in Catalan Gothic. This afternoon is at leisure, for you to relax at a cafe, shop for souvenirs, or visit other sites. Dinner is on your own tonight. Overnight in Barcelona. (BB)
Day 10: Barcelona: Excursion to Manresa and Montserrat.
An exciting excursion in the mountains of Montserrat will take you to two sacred sites: First, the Cave of Manresa, where a sanctuary was built to honor the place where Saint Ignatius of Loyola used to pray and meditate. It is also here that he wrote the book of Spiritual Exercises. Nearby, a beautifully preserved medieval bridge, with the classic humpback shape, can be seen. Also, the Basilica and Collegiate of Santa Maria de Manresa, which has one of the largest naves in Europe, displays the stunning retable of the Holy Spirit. Then, sightseeing of spectacular Montserrat. Visit the cave where, a small statue of the Blessed Virgin, brought by Saint Peter and made by Saint Luke, was hidden from the Muslims and was found in 880 AD. A magnificent shrine was built on the mountain to house the statue, and it has become a major pilgrimage site, since the Moreneta, as the image is lovingly called, is the patroness of Spain. Return to Barcelona for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 11: Barcelona: Excursion to Poblet and Montblanc
Another excursion will take you southwest this time, to visit the Monastery of Poblet, the most treasured monastery of the medieval Catalan monarchs. Spend some time during lunch in enchanting Montblanc, a medieval jewel with fortified walls and 31 towers. On your return to Barcelona, stop for a wine tasting at Saint Sadurny, the capital of Spain’s sparkling wine. Dinner and overnight in Barcelona. (BB, D)
Day 12: Barcelona – Tarragona – Vila-Real – Valencia
Leave Barcelona to head south along the coast to Tarragona, where St. Hermenegildo, Visigoth King, was martyred for his faith under the orders of his own father. The cell where he was in prison and died is located in the Roman ruins. Continue to Vila-Real, where you can visit the basilica of St. Pascual Baylon, where the saint, called the “Seraph of the Eucharist” for his great devotion to this sacrament, is buried in the Royal Chapel. Still further south is Valencia. There, visit the Cathedral, built in 1262, which houses what is widely believed to be the Holy Grail used by Our Lord during the Last Supper. The relics of Saint Vincent Ferrer, great Dominican preacher, who was born in Valencia, are also venerated here. Visit the place where he was born, then the Basilica of the Virgin of the Helpless, a miraculous image and the patron saint of the handicapped. Some free time before dinner and overnight in Valencia (BB, D)
Day 13: Valencia – Madrid
Travel to Madrid to close the circle of this wonderful tour. Upon arrival, visit the Franciscan Monastery of the Discalced Royals, which has a collection of religious art and relics, including a piece of the True Cross and some bones of St. Sebastian. Afternoon is at leisure, and then gather at the hotel for a toast and farewell dinner. Overnight in Madrid. (BB, FD)
Day 14: Transatlantic flight back to the U.S.
This morning, after breakfast, transfer to Madrid’s airport for your flight back to the U.S. (BB)
(BB) Buffet Breakfast * (D) Dinner * (WD) Welcome Dinner * (FD) Farewell Dinner
This experience will hang with you long after you leave Spain. Make it a reality – contact Catholic Heritage Tours today! Call us at (800) 290-3876 or email us.