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Andalusian Fiesta

DAY 1: OVERNIGHT FLIGHT   Depart from the USA.
DAY 2: TOLEDO   Arrive in Madrid and drive the short distance to Toledo. Start exploring this charming city during a Culture Quest.
DAY 3: TOLEDO   Sightseeing of the old capital with a local guide and personal headsets shows you El Greco's great painting in the Church of Santo Tomé, the treasures of the Gothic Cathedral and the Medieval Synagogue. In the afternoon, there is an optional excursion to Aranjuéz, a favorite residence of monarchs throughout the centuries. If you prefer, enjoy free time to shop for Toledo Damascene ware or take time out in the main plaza for a café con leche.
DAY 4: GRANADA   Live out the famous scenes of Cervantes' Don Quixote today as you view the windmills of Consuegra. Continue to beautiful Granada, situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada and home to Europe's greatest Moorish legacy. This evening visit the caves of the Sacromonte neighborhood for a flamenco lesson, special dinner, and professional flamenco show.
DAY 5: RONDA   Your local guide provides commentary via personal headsets during this morning's sightseeing tour of the Alhambra, one of the greatest accomplishments of Islamic art and architecture, and the fragrant Generalife Gardens. Depart in the afternoon for Mijas, one of Spain's picturesque pueblos blancos. The white houses decorated with iron grilles make this a jewel of Andalucía. Your final destination is Ronda.
DAY 6: SEVILLE   This morning's guided sightseeing of Ronda includes time to wander to the 18th century bullring and view the cathedral. Then head north to Seville, capital of Andalucía. Your route may take you past several more beautiful pueblos blancos—white villages—situated on rocky crags with charming streets and whitewashed houses.
DAY 7: SEVILLE   Sightseeing today includes the immense Gothic Cathedral and the Giralda Tower. The afternoon is free to explore Santa Cruz, the old section of the city.
DAY 8: MADRID   This morning drive to Córdoba, where sightseeing includes the Moorish Mezquita and narrow lanes lined with whitewashed buildings. Next journey to Madrid, Spain's modern capital.
DAY 9: MADRID   In the morning your local guide shows you Madrid's most important sights. Then discover the treasures of the Prado, with your guide's commentary provided through personal headsets. The rest of the day is free to wander through the Puerta del Sol.
DAY 10: DEPARTURE   Depart for the USA.



Optional Extensions and Extra Nights:

Further immerse yourself in the culture and wonders of cosmopolitan Spain with an extra night in Madrid, including the services of your ACIS Tour Manager.

It was the perfect amount of guided tour with free time.

Alexandra L.
Participant 2013


Sonia was a great tour leader! She is friendly and full of information. She gets along with everyone and the kids really loved her!

Parent of Holly S.
Participant 2013


Sonia was fantastic and she is really what made this trip so great! She has tons of enthusiasm and it is hard not to be excited about everything with her around!

Tabitha W.
Participant 2013


The trip was wonderful and exceeded all my expectations. Anna was a terrific tour leader and went out of her way many times to give us extra walks and make everything go smoothly.

Amy C.
Participant 2012


Overall, I had a blast in Spain. Everything went very smoothly and I enjoyed the trip a lot. I especially liked having local guides in every location to provide us detailed information about the history. Would have enjoyed an extra day in Madrid.

Jared D.
Participant 2012


Our tour manager, Anacecilia, was absolutely wonderful - the best I've had. What a warm, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, fun person. She was delightful. Thank you.

Sandra D.
Participant 2012


Felt a little rushed at times, but covered a lot of ground and overall was excellent.

Elizabeth G.
Participant 2012


Ana Cecila was great. She helped me out with so many things. She was funny and kind with a great deal of knowledge and support regarding the communities we passed through. Great trip!

Cynthia M.
Participant 2012


Worth every penny!

Janelle S.
Participant 2012


SPAIN IS A HIDDEN GEM WHICH CONTAINS MANY HIDDEN GEMS.

Evan T.
Participant 2012


Andalusian Fiesta is a wonderful itinerary as it begins in Toledo and ends in Madrid when travelers have their "Spanish legs" and are ready for the big city. Both student and adult travelers enjoyed this adventure with ACIS.

Kathryn M.
Group Leader 2011


I've done this particular trip several times now and each time it gets better.

Sharon R.
Group Leader 2011


I loved seeing all of the different cultures and ways of life. I also loved our tour manager Anna. She was great!! She helped the students learn the history of Spain! It was amazing to watch. She was also very knowledgeable about all areas we visited.

Tammie E.
Participant 2009


What to See

Shopping
SEVILLE

El Centro

El Centro is the main shopping district of Seville. Centered around La Calle Sierpes, this is the most bustling area of the city. For an afternoon of shopping, visit the many small specialty shops, which sell things varying from fine Spanish leather to Flamenco dresses. For a larger, more American style shopping experience, visit the department store called El Corte Inglés, located in the Plaza del Duque.

MADRID

There are many places to shop in Madrid, but here are a few of the highlights.  For upscale shops like Chanel, Armani, and Loewe be sure to check out Serrano Street.  For standard retail stores, head on over to Gran Via, where you can shop at H&M, Zara, and Mango, at prices that are a bit cheaper than the States.  For funky, original clothing, take a short walk from Gran Via to Fuencarral and Hortaleza street.

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Museums
SEVILLE

El Museo de Bellas Artes, Plaza del Museo, 9

For art lovers, Seville's Museum of Fine Arts, located in the Plaza del Museo near the Plaza de Armas bus station, is a dream come true. This recently renovated museum has a collection of international art from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries that is surpassed in Spain only by the Prado in Madrid. The most famous artists displayed here are Murillo, Zurbarán, and Valdés Leal. Open daily, closed Monday.

El Museo Arqueológico, Plaza de América

Located in the Plaza de las Americas, this museum contains a highly interesting collection of archaeological findings, one of its highlights being the Treasure of the Carambolo of the Tartessus period, dating back to the seventh or eighth century BC. Open daily. Closed Monday.

Museo del Baile Flamenco, 3 Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos

Housed in an 18th century building, the newly opened Museum of Flamenco Dancing serves as a museum, music and dance school, and performance venue.  During the day visitors can see gallery exhibitions and enjoy a snack on the patio, while in the evening the Museo converts into a café with dance and music performances. Open daily.

La Casa de Pilatos, Plaza de Pilatos

This ornate mansion, which boasts an interesting mixture of Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance styles, was built by the Marques de Tarifa on his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1519. It is believed that he built the house to be an imitation of the house of Pontius Pilate. Open daily

MADRID

Prado Museum, Metro: Banco de España or Atocha

This museum contains a wonderful collection of European art with particular emphasis on the Spanish Schools: Goya, Velasquez, El Greco, and Murillo. Open daily, closed Monday.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Metro: Banco de España

A former private collection of art is displayed here ranging from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries housed in a renovated eighteenth century palace. Open daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed Monday.

Reina Sofia Museum, Metro: Atocha

The central building of this museum, originally an 18th century hospital, is now filled with twentieth century artworks, including masterpieces by Dalí, Miró, and Picasso's famous Guernica. Open daily, closed Tuesday.

Archaeological Museum, Metro: Serrano

A brilliant collection of finds from prehistory to Renaissance times such as La Dama de Elche and a reproduction of the Altamira caves and cave paintings. Open daily, closed Monday.

Lazaro Galdiano Museum, Metro: Rubén Dario

Here you’ll find an interesting collection of artifacts from all over the world, including a 20,000 volume library, clocks, bronzes, and artists such as Goya, Velázquez, and El Greco all housed in a lovely 37-room mansion. Open daily, closed Tuesday.

Cerralbo Museum, Metro: Plaza de España or Ventura Rodríguez

The Museo Cerralbo was originally the home of the Marquis of Ceralbo and his collection of historic and artistic objects and art are displayed here in an Italian style mansion. Open daily, closed Monday.

Sorolla Museum, Metro: Iglesia or Rubén Dario

A collection of Joaquín Sorolla's paintings are on display here, in the house where he lived and had his studio. Open daily, closed Monday.

Royal Palace, Metro: Ópera

This is the former residence of Spanish royalty. Wander past the beautiful displays of Spanish and Flemish tapestries. Visit a few of the numerous rooms, check out the armory with weapons from the fifteenth century, and then take a stroll around the Gardens. Open Monday through Friday. Closed during official functions.

Descalzas Reales Convent, Metro: Callao or Sol

This sixteenth century convent houses an impressive collection of paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and chalices that were once the dowry of many aristocratic women who had come to take the veil. Rated "Museum of the Year" in 1985 by the European Council, a small number of nuns still reside there. Open daily, closed Monday.

 

 

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Outdoors
SEVILLE

El Real Alcázar, Plaza del Triunfo

This fortified palace was built in the year 913 by the Moorish Caliph Adb Al Raman III. After the Christian conquest of the Moors, the palace became the residence of Spanish monarchs. Today, it remains the oldest palace still used by European royalty. Tour its grand halls to see a perfect example of the Moorish-Christian Mudejar architecture. Open daily, closed Monday.

Old Tobacco Factory, c/ San Fernando

Seville's old tobacco factory became world-famous for its role in the opera, Carmen. The building was converted into a university in 1929, and today, the University of Seville continues to attract students from all over the world. Open Monday through Friday. Free admission.

Giralda Tower, Avenida de la Constitución

After the Christian conquest of Seville in the thirteenth century, the cathedral was built in 1401 on the former site of the great Almohad mosque. Seville's cathedral is considered to be the third or fourth largest cathedral in the world. All that remains of the former mosque is the famous minaret tower. You can climb the tower's 35 gently sloping ramps to the top for magnificent views of the city. Open daily.

El Barrio de Santa Cruz

Nestled behind the cathedral, the Santa Cruz Quarter is the city's old Jewish quarter and one of the most romantic parts of Seville. Wander around this medieval neighborhood and explore its narrow winding streets, admiring the whitewashed houses and brightly colored geraniums.

El Parque de María Luisa

The María Luisa Park was originally the palace grounds for the San Telmo Palace, which once belonged to María Luisa, the sister of Queen Isabella II. This beautiful park, which is full of winding walkways and ornamental pools, is the perfect place to take a mid-afternoon stroll. Go there to just relax and get out of the sun, or take a horse and carriage ride through one of the park’s long forested alleys.

La Plaza de España

From the María Luisa Park, stroll over and revisit the Plaza de España. Relax by the fountains or rent a rowboat and take a fun mini-excursion on the Plaza's canal.

El Barrio de Triana

Across the Guadalquivir River is the neighborhood of Triana. Well away from the tourist crowds, Triana was once the heart of the city's gypsy community and home of the great flamenco dynasties of Seville. Today it is a traditional Spanish working neighborhood with narrow winding streets and flowered courtyards. It is also the home of the many artisan workshops that craft and sell the traditional pottery and tilework of the region.

MADRID

Ermita de San Antonio de Florida, Metro: Príncipe Pío

This chapel contains wonderful frescoes by Goya and also houses the remains of the famous Spanish artist. Open daily, closed Monday.

Templo de Debod, Metro: Plaza de España

Visit the only Egyptian temple in Spain. It was given by the Republic of Egypt in 1968 and moved to Madrid in order to save it from impending floods caused by the creation of the Great Dam of Aswan. Open daily, closed Monday.

Retíro Park, Metro: Retíro

A former royal park where the Madrileños stroll with their families past the magnificent fountains and beautiful buildings such as the all-glass Crystal Palace. Rowboats can be rented on the pond and the statue of El Angel Caido is said to be the only statue in the world dedicated to the fallen angel.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Metro: Atocha

These shaded gardens were ordered by King Ferdinand VI in 1755 and, in the reign of Charles III, were installed in the present location, the Paseo del Prado in Madrid . This is a good place to cool off on a hot afternoon. Open daily, 10 a.m. until sunset. 

Plaza Mayor, Metro: Sol

A seventeenth century square set in the heart of old Madrid. Enjoy the entertainment of the artists and musicians and admire the bronze statue of King Philips III in the center created by Italian sculptors Giovanni de Bologna and his apprentice Pietro Tacca in 1616.

Plaza de España, Metro: Plaza de España

This plaza is home to a monument to Cervantes with a beautiful statue of Don Quijote and Sancho Panza. It is one of the largest squares in Madrid and attracts tourists and locals alike.

Stadium Santiago Bernabeu, Metro: Line 10 (station Santiago Bernabeu)

Located on the Paseo de la Castellana, this Futball stadium plays host to the Club Real Madrid CF and is an exciting place to watch a match or just to tour the facilities. Madrid's sports fans take a great deal of pride in the Bernabeu, which was inagurated on the 14th of December 1947 and has been rehabilitated on 4 occasions: in 1954, 1982, 1993 and 2003. Stadium tours occur daily between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

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Restaurants
SEVILLE

La Campana, Sierpes 1

After a hard morning of shopping, be sure to stop by this café, for it is an institution amongst the locals.  If you're in the mood for some traditional treats try some yema (sweets made from egg yolks) and lenguas de almendra (almond biscuits).

Cafetería Universal, Blanca de los Rios 1

Near the Plaza del Salvador, this place will provide you with a hearty portion of tapas for an affordable price.  Because of its proximity to the shopping area, this is also a great place to sit down at the bar or near the windows.

El Rinconcillo, Gerona 40

Supposedly the oldest tapas bar in Seville (dating back to the 17th century).  With flagstone floors and ancient wine bottles lining the walls, it certainly feels like the oldest.  Located in the Plaza Encarnación, the bar is popular with both visitors and locals.

Enrique Becerra, Gamazo 2

For a moderately priced meal, check out this restaurant, an old favourite with Sevillanos. While you dine on your Andalusian dishes, marvel at this converted 17th-century house with art deco-style stained windows, wooden beams and Roman marble columns.

MADRID

El Corte Ingles

A shopping center like a Macy's that has a good restaurant with a little bit of everything.

Casa Labra, Calle Tetuán, 12

One side tapas bar, one side a sit-down restaurant, Casa Labra is a great place to chat and dine.

Pans and Company

Perfect when you are on the run and want a cheap lunch.  Avoid the trap of McDonald's and go for the Spanish fast food!  A drink, sandwhich and potatoes, all for around five Euros.

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Curious about travel with ACIS? Find out answers to your burning questions below.

For Group Leaders and Teachers:

see all FAQs
Can I bring my family members or colleagues along?

Certainly. You have three different options:

1.      Assistants
Family members or colleagues may travel as assistants (even if minors, though children must be five years or older to travel in an ACIS group), according to the terms of the Group Leader Stipend Chart.* Assistants must be 21 years old and have at least five participants to their name to be eligible for the Experience Bonus.

2.      Family/Colleague Discount
Family members or colleagues may take a 20% discount from the program fee. These participants will not count toward your free trip, stipend or other group leader benefits. Like all paying participants, they are subject to mandatory fees (registration, tax, etc.) as well as full payment deadlines.

3.      $150 Child Discount
For children under the age of 12, you may take a flat $150 Child Discount (plus the 20% Family/Colleague Discount) off their program fee, but they will still be subject to mandatory fees. The child's registration will not count toward your free trip, stipend or other group leader benefits. The minimum age to travel with an ACIS group is five years old.

*Anyone can become an assistant to the group, provided they have at least one full-paying participant to their credit.


Can a paying participant become an assistant?

Yes. This must be done no later than 65 days before departure and an ACIS Assistant Registration Form must be submitted. Assistants added or canceled within 90 days of departure will be charged a $100 late fee payable either by the applicable assistant or the group leader. Please inform us immediately of these changes in writing.


What if my assistant must cancel?

Please inform ACIS immediately. We regret that if the cancellation occurs within 65 days of departure, we will charge the canceling assistant a $150 late cancellation fee and may not be able to accommodate a substitute assistant. If the cancellation is within 45 days of departure, the assistant must pay a $250 late cancellation fee (see ACIS Assistant Registration Form for policy) and their stipend credits are not transferable. Please always alert us in writing as soon as possible when an assistant cancels.


Do I receive travel insurance as a group leader?

Every ACIS Group Leader receives coverage under our most enhanced protection plan, the Ultimate Protection Plan complimentary for any tour they lead.


What if the group leader must cancel?

A mutual effort is made to find a qualified substitute teacher or other adult who will assume full group leader responsibilities. Participants who choose not to travel with the replacement group leader are subject to the standard cancellation/refund policy


Can I stay on after my group returns home?

Yes. An Alternate Return Request Form must be completed and returned to ACIS no later than 90 days before departure. You will be responsible for any additional flight costs, and must arrange for a responsible adult (preferably an assistant) to take charge of your group on the flight home. You must obtain written permission from a parent/guardian of each participant, naming the adult in charge. There will be a $150 charge for any change made within 90 days of departure, and no changes are possible within 65 days.


Can I stay in a single room?

Single accommodations are provided free of charge for group leaders who have eight or more paying participants counted to their credit AND who do not travel with a spouse or an assistant of the same sex. For those traveling in 2010/2011, see our Service Guarantee. In the unlikely event that a single room is not available, ACIS will reimburse you $20 per hotel night. Eligibility for the single room is based on the standard 1:6 prorate and is non-transferable. If the above does not apply, you may also elect to pay a surcharge of $40 per hotel night for a single room. Single rooms are not available aboard cruise ships, overnight ferries or trains, in China, Africa, Russia and most residence programs.



For Students and Parents:

see all FAQs
What airline do we fly?

ACIS groups travel on scheduled flights, using all the major carriers. These include American Airlines, Air France, Aerolineas Argentinas, Alitalia, Finnair, British Airways, British Midland Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Aer Lingus, Icelandair, Iberia, Spanair, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines Ltd., Northwest, Air New Zealand, Olympic Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Taca International Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, United Airlines, US Airways, Air Europa, and Virgin Atlantic. You'll receive flight information as your departure date approaches.


How many people travel in a group?

ACIS groups average anywhere from 35 to 45 participants traveling together on a bus, led by an ACIS Tour Manager. Small groups are often combined to create one bus group. This is the group with whom you share your travel experience. You eat your meals together, stay in the same accommodations, and travel together on the bus. It's an opportunity to make lifelong friendships!


Tell us more about the tour manager.

"Tour manager" is an important term in educational travel. It refers to your bus group leader, who is rigorously trained and specially selected to assist your group while overseas. ACIS Tour Managers are famous for their multifaceted roles, both educational and logistical. An ACIS Tour Manager is part commentator, counselor, troubleshooter, advocate, and stopwatch! He or she supervises hotel check-ins, directs the bus driver and leads educational activities.

Most importantly, ACIS Tour Managers are travel gurus. They thrive on sharing their passion and love for the cultures of the world, giving you the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of those who live and work there. Over the years, we've employed university professors, film directors, journalists, musicians, business professionals, and other creative achievers. Our tour managers are consistently recognized as top in the industry. You'll receive more information about your tour manager as your departure date approaches.

Your ACIS Tour Manager maintains a professional relationship with the group but is not directly responsible for enforcing discipline or the ACIS behavior guidelines. That is the responsibility of the your group leader. It is your tour manager's responsibility, however, to report to your group leader any infractions and to be sure that ACIS behavior guidelines are adhered to.


Where do we stay?

ACIS groups stay in three- and four-star conveniently located hotels. We place a priority on booking hotels in good locations and safe areas, with convenient access to both local attractions and public transportation.

Students generally stay in rooms with two or three beds. During peak travel periods, hotels sometimes add an extra bed to accommodate heavy bookings. ACIS attempts to prevent this but cannot guarantee that it will never happen. Some hotel rooms in France have a Grand Lit (an oversize double bed for two) instead of twin beds. Those who have paid the adult surcharge stay in double rooms in hotels but not on overnight ferries or trains.

An ACIS bus group is typically made up of two, three, or four groups from around the U.S. who quickly get to know each other and feel part of one overall group. Depending on the mix of male and female students in the bus group, students may be rooming with participants from other groups. Don't worry, this is a great way to meet new people and make some new friends!

The group leader will create a variety of rooming combinations before you leave, in order to make it easier for your tour manager to work out the rooming when you check in to your hotel.

Check-in time at most hotels is early to mid-afternoon. If you arrive overseas early in the morning, you likely have time to change money and do some exploring before you check in.


What will we have to eat?

You will enjoy a variety of meals en route, mixing both native and familiar cuisines depending on your area of travel. Keep an open mind and be willing to sample everything—that's what travel is all about!

Most days you will be served a continental breakfast that includes a variety of fresh rolls, cereal, pastry, butter and jam, coffee, tea or hot chocolate. In Australia and China, you will be served an American-style hot buffet breakfast. On trips to the Americas you may be served the traditional rice and beans. In some hotels in Britain, eggs or other items may be included. In Europe, the larger hotels sometimes serve eggs and other American-style breakfast items for an extra charge.

On most ACIS trips, you will enjoy lunch on your own. Be adventurous and experiment. Many travelers do what the locals do; instead of having an expensive restaurant meal, they buy fresh ingredients at a local market, then put together a sandwich and have a picnic lunch in a city park.

On most tours, beverages at dinner are not included. The are included on tours to China, Costa Rica, Peru, and occasionally other destinations. Sometimes your waiter may put soda or mineral water down on the table without being asked. Be aware that you will be charged for any beverages you consume.

Although ACIS will try to accommodate special-needs meals including kosher, vegetarian and low salt, we cannot guarantee all requests.


How much spending money will I need?

Spending needs vary depending on personal habits, but a typical allowance is $50 per day. This allows for lunch, snacks, soft drinks, postage, souvenirs, local transportation during free time, free-time activities, and optional excursions not already included in your itinerary. Most ACIS participants carry ATM cards, travelers checks and credit cards. ACIS has compiled all the information you need to know in Money Matters.


What should I pack?

Our advice is to pack light—you won't regret it! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage on and off the bus, in and out of your hotel, and onto trains. Bring comfortable, practical clothes that you can wear more than once, with a few nice pieces thrown in.

Remember to pack clothes that you can layer as the weather can be unpredictable. Lastly, try to avoid bringing new shoes. New shoes can be tough to break in and you’ll want to make sure your shoes are comfortable and reliable. For more information specific to your trip, log into My Account for a detailed packing list.


What about calling home?

Calling home from overseas can be expensive and obtaining local phone cards can be complicated and time consuming. The best way to call is with an ACIS eKit Global Phonecard or Global Mobile Phone. Using the eKit card can save you up to 70% on international and U.S. long distance calls compared to pay phones and hotel phones. Simply charge up your eKit card with the credit card of your choice and it will be ready for use. In addition to cheap calls home, the ACIS eKit Global Phonecard offers you email, Voicemail, the ability to listen to email over the phone and much more!

Another option is the ACIS eKit Global Mobile phone. With a variety of pre-paid plans available, this mobile phone can save you up to 70% on global roaming rates.


Do I have travel insurance?

Yes. Your ACIS Registration Fee includes coverage under our Basic Protection Plan. ACIS recommends you upgrade your insurance coverage by purchasing the Ultimate Protection Plan designed specifically for you travel needs. With the Ultimate Protection Plan, you may cancel for any reason up to the day of departure and receive a cash refund. You will also receive expanded travel protection while on tour.


I am signed up for an ACIS tour. How do I access my account?

You can get your latest account information online—any time, any day. To view your most up-to-date itinerary and account status, just, log in to My Account with your Account ID and password, which can be found in the upper-right hand corner of your invoice. If you have forgotten your password or have additional questions about your account, contact ACIS Client Services at accounts@acis.com.



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