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  • *
    Admire the works of Velázquez
  • *
    Tour Toledo
  • *
    Museo Lazaro Galdiano
  • *
    Plaza Mayor
  • *
    Convent-Palace of Las Descalzas Reales

Spain's Golden Age and its Legacy


  • A car with a tick VIP door to door
  • A group of people Small group 30 or less

"If Madrid had nothing other than the Prado it would still be worth spending a month in every spring" Ernest Hemingway

Spain was all powerful in the period that came to be known as the ‘Golden Age’. Columbus’s 15th-century voyages to the New World brought riches that made it the wealthiest nation in Europe, and this prosperity led to generous patronage of the arts. Some of Spain’s finest works of art and literature were produced in this period, and many of its greatest creators including Veláquez and Cervantes lived or worked in Madrid.

With in-depth lectures, guided gallery tours and intimate visits to the homes of celebrated painters and playwrights, this tour shines a light on this truly golden era by exploring the real lives and greatest work of its most celebrated artists and those they subsequently inspired.


VIP door-to-door travel service

  • Included travel insurance
  • Return flights and transfers
  • 14 meals: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches at local restaurants, 1 dinner at your hotel and 3 dinners in local restaurants
  • Specialist lecturer
  • Saga Tour Manager
  • Local guides
  • All excursions and visits listed
  • Flamenco show
  • Operetta performance
  • Porterage at your hotel
Your specialist lecturer

Dr Jeremy Roe

Jeremy received his PhD on the reception of Velázquez’s Seville oeuvre from the University of Leeds. He went on to teach and undertake post-doctoral research at the University of Nottingham and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, where he continues to participate in a range of research projects on early modern Iberian art and visual culture.

He is also a qualified translator, specialising in the translation of historical sources and academic publications. To date he has published a range of books, articles and translations including a monograph on Antoni Gaudí, an English translation of excerpts of ‘The Art of Painting’ - the treatise written by Francisco Pacheco, Velazquez's first teacher and more recently, co-edited ‘Representing Women’s Political Identity in the Early Modern Iberian World’ (Routledge, 2020).

Joining all departures.

  • The Convent-Palace of Las Descalzas Reales
  • El Greco in Toledo
  • Velázquez and his Contemporaries
  • Golden Age Art at the Museo Lazaro Galdiano

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Madrid

Madrid cityscape

On arrival in Madrid you will be met and taken to the 4-star Hotel H10 Puerto de Alcala, your base for the tour. There will be a welcome drink and dinner this evening. D

Day 2 Convent-Palace of Las Descalzas Reales

Convent-Palace of Las Descalzas Reales

The next day sets the scene for your tour with a morning lecture and visit to the Convent-Palace of Las Descalzas Reales. Here the interplay between power, piety and politics in Spain’s Golden Age can be vividly seen. Discover key patrons and artists from the period and learn how they won influence and admiration through sponsorship of the arts. 

Free time for lunch offers an opportunity to explore Madrid’s famous food market, Mercado de San Miguel, or one of the abundant surrounding tapas bars. 

Afterwards, head to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts whose collection includes works by key artists from the Golden Age including the Greek painter, known simply to the Spanish as, El Greco. 

End the day with an included dinner and a flamenco show at a local restaurant. B, D

Day 3 Church of Santo Tome and El Greco Museum

Church of Santo Tome

El Greco’s story demonstrates Spain’s cultural ambition at this time. Born in Crete, he was summoned by royal patrons who wanted their palaces and cathedrals adorned with art equal to that found in Renaissance Italy. Having worked under Titian in Venice and studied the work of Michelangelo and Raphael in Rome, El Greco did not disappoint. In fact, he is now regarded as the architect of the Spanish Renaissance period. 

Your study of El Greco continues on the third day of your tour, with a full day excursion to Toledo. El Greco lived in Toledo from 1577 until his death in 1614, and he produced many famous works here including the Burial of the Count of Orgaz, his greatest masterpiece. Included visits to the Church of Santo Tome, the Cathedral and the El Greco Museum reveal this and other works by celebrated 17th-century Spanish painters. B, L

Day 4 Museo del Prado and Casa Museo Lope de Vega

Museo del Prado

The following day begins with a lecture on Velázquez, a leading artist in the Spanish Royal Court and one of the greatest of all Spanish painters. Afterwards enjoy a guided tour of the Museo del Prado, home to the world’s finest collection of Spanish art and a new suite of galleries dedicated to Velázquez. 

Enlightenment of a different kind awaits in the afternoon as you visit the Casa Museo Lope de Vega. This beautiful house was once the home of Spain’s 16th-century poet and playwright, Lope de Vega. The house still contains his original furniture, art, books and even kitchenware, and is now a national monument and museum. B, D

Day 5 Aranjuez Palace and Gardens

Aranjuez Palace

The next day you visit Aranjuez Palace and Gardens, which King Felip II commissioned at the height of the Golden Age. His vision transformed what was once a hunting lodge into one of four seasonal residences for the 16th-century Spanish monarchy. Later, Charles V would endeavour to create a ‘Spanish Versailles’, adding opulent monuments and Italianate gardens. 

In the evening there will be a cultural operetta performed in Madrid’s 160-year-old Teatro de la Zarzuela. B, L

Day 6 Museo Lazaro Galdiano and Museo Sorolla

Museo Lazaro Galdiano

Your tour continues the following day with a lecture on the story and star attractions of the famous Museo Lazaro Galdiano. This vast collection spans the Golden Age and beyond, with seminal works by Velázquez, El Greco and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as English artists including Turner and Reynolds. 

Later, you spend time in the home, gardens and studio of artist Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida. Exploring his lifetime collection of art, ceramics, jewellery, letters and photographs provides an intimate glimpse of his private life and work. B, L

Day 7 Monastery of El Escorial

Monastery El Escorial

On the final full day of your tour, you journey into the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama to the UNESCO-listed Monastery of El Escorial, the largest Renaissance building in the world, and another residence of the Kings of Spain when they reigned as a global ‘Superpower’. No other building expresses the ideological and cultural aspirations of the Spanish Golden Age so well. 

This evening you will have a memorable farewell meal at a restaurant in Madrid. B, D

Day 8 Madrid to UK

The next morning you will be taken to Madrid airport for your return flight to the UK. B

This 4-star hotel is located in Madrid’s city centre, near the pleasant Salamanca district and a short walk from Retiro Park. It’s close to many restaurants and elegant boutiques, while the Thyssen National Museum and Reina Sofia are also nearby. 

Facilities include a lobby bar, La Galeria Restaurant and an impressive terrace with panoramic views of the city. Bedrooms are en-suite with television, minifridge, safe and tea and coffee making facilities. Free Wi-Fi is available.

Spain's Golden Age and its Legacy