An Insider’s View of Spain

 In AG Bell, English, Madrid

AG Bell is partnering with Insider’s Travel to provide AG Bell Symposium attendees and their guests an exclusive look at Madrid and surrounding areas of Spain. Whether you’re looking for a day trip out of the city or want to experience something only Madrileños have access to, we have got you covered.

Here are the 11 tours we have made available to you through the week of the symposium:

The Botín Experience

A privately guided tour of El Restaurante Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world, followed by a six-course tasting menu for either lunch or dinner.

An expert guide meets you 45 minutes before your meal to walk you through the whole restaurant and to let the walls talk. Learn about its rich history, its intriguing anecdotes and about the importance of its smallest details.

El Restaurante Botín was founded by Frenchman Jean Botín in 1725 and remained in the family until 1926, when it changed over to the González, whose fourth-generation family runs it today. The restaurant has been visited by people from all over the world, from royalty to politicians, writers and Hollywood stars…from Hemingway to the Rolling Stones, Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra.

Dates and Times: Lunch-3 hours (Noon – 3 pm), June 27 and July 6. Dinner-3 hours (7 pm-10 pm). June 27, 28, 29 and July 4,6.

Price: 75€/adult. 37.5€/child.*

Included: Private tour with an expert guide, lunch or dinner and a ceramic gift for each household.

Insider’s Introduction to Madrid: On Foot & by Coach

Get to know Spain’s capital as you explore its charming, historic cobblestone streets and squares before rolling along its grandest avenues, all with a professional guide.

Begin on foot for a stroll through the medieval Austrias neighborhood, filled with atmosphere and history.  You’ll then pass by the modernist San Miguel gourmet market, visit the 400-year-old Plaza Mayor, and descend Cuchilleros Street where you’ll pass the world’s oldest restaurant, Botín. Next, you’ll turn down the tiny Calle del Codo, which will take you into the 15th-century Plaza de la Villa, Madrid’s former main square. Then, you’ll board your private tour bus to see the magnificent avenues of Madrid, the grandeur of the Recoletos Avenue, the Paseo del Prado, the 20th century Gran Vía and the Royal Palace.

Dates and Times: 3 hours (10 am – 1 pm) on June 28, 30.

Price: 78€ per adult. 39€ per child*

Included: Private tour by a professional guide and bus transportation

Day Trip: Toledo

Our first big AG Bell Global LSL Symposium day trip!

Privately-guided visit, on foot, and lunch in the picturesque Hacienda del Cardenal and private, round trip bus tour.

Toledo was once the former capital of Spain with its layers of civilization, founded by the Romans, and where Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths have lived side-by-side. This fairytale city is a must-see for visitors during their time in Madrid, with its stunning gothic cathedral, the Jewish quarter and its Tránsito synagogue and Sephardic museum, the El Greco masterpiece in the Santo Tome Church, the San Cristo de la Luz mosque, and the elaborate cloisters of San Juan de los Reyes.

After the tour, you will have lunch at the historic Hacienda del Cardenal in its garden, whose wall is also the old Arabic city wall of Toledo. You will then return to Madrid after lunch.

Dates and Times: 8 hours (8:30 am – 4:30 pm), June 29.

Price: 182€/adult. 91€/child.

Included: Private guide, bus transportation, entrances, lunch with drinks.

Reina Sofía Museum and Retiro Park

Make two visits all in one tour!

First, you will visit the Reina Sofía, the modern art museum of Madrid. The Museum was a hospital that was remodeled to house a vast collection from famous artists such as Gaudí, Picasso and Juan Miró. You’ll see and learn about Picasso’s world famous masterpiece, Guernica.

After a coffee break at the museum’s stunning cafe, designed by architect Jean Nouvel, you’ll stroll across the street to Madrid’s own oasis, the famous and beautiful Buen Retiro. You will learn about the Park’s history as a former retreat for the Spanish Royal Family.

Date and Times: 3 hours (10 am – 1 pm), July 1.

Price: 71€/adult, 35.50€/child*

Included: Private tour with expert guide of the Museum and Park, entrance fees included.

Madrid and Her Artisans

This tour will take you through the smaller streets to visit local artisans at work. You will visit Spain’s legendary cape makers where Carmen will show us her cutting table. Picasso is buried in the cape he was given from this shop! Next, Claudio, who paints intricate designs on silk, will describe his technique to you, and then Rubén will fill you in on the secrets of how to create the professional sound for the guitars they make by hand – all played on by famous flamenco and Spanish classical guitarists.

Next, you will taste candy from Madrid’s most loved Spanish sweet shop, dating back to 1855. You will also visit a former early 19th-century printing-press-turned-boutique that showcases historical Spanish crafts and brands, from Andalusian ceramics to hand-made linen tablecloths.

Dates and Times: 3 hours (10 am – 1 pm), July 2.

Price: 103€/adult, 51.50€/child*

Included: Private tour with an expert guide as well as workshops with the artisans themselves.

Flamenco Uncovered

Conversations with a professional flamenco dancer over Spanish wine and tapas followed by an authentic flamenco show.

You will gather in a central Madrid flamenco club for a private sit-down conversation with a flamenco dancer and guitarist. You will learn about the roots and rhythms of Spain’s best-known art form and the work of the dancers, singers and guitarists.

What makes a choreographed show so spontaneous? What is the unspoken language between the performers? Does the spirit of flamenco, the duende, really exist?

These and other questions are answered during this personal encounter before you enjoy a tapas-style dinner and the flamenco show itself. You will leave the experience as a flamenco expert!

Dates and Times: 3 hours (6:30 pm – 9:30 pm), July 2.

Price: 120€/adult. 60€/child.

Included: A private discussion with a professional flamenco dancer and guitarist, a tapas-style dinner, drinks, flamenco show.

Day-Trip: Ávila, Segovia, & La Granja de San Ildefonso

Three must-see places in one day and the second of our grand AG Bell Global LSL Symposium group day trips!

Begin the day visiting the walled city of Ávila, the highest provincial capital in Spain. The city was founded in the 11th century to protect the Spanish territories from the Moors. It was home to both the 16th-century great mystic, Saint Teresa of Ávila, and Saint John of the Cross. You will walk along the splendid city walls and take in the façades of the Convent of Saint Teresa and the Basilica of San Vicente, Sabina y Cristeta as you learn their fascinating stories.

Next, you’ll go to the city of Segovia, home to one of the great examples of Roman engineering in the form of its aqueduct. Segovia was made a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985 and combines its historic sites with the day-to-day hustle and bustle as a charming, living and working city. We see both medieval and renaissance architecture on our guided walk through the streets and visit the impressive Alcázar castle – a former residence of the Catholic Monarchs said to have inspired Walt Disney.

When Spaniards visit Segovia, it is to eat their specialty, suckling pig or cochinillo, and you will visit the renowned Casa Candido (Emilio’s recommendation!) to do just that with delicious options for vegetarians and those who don’t eat pork.

We finish the day by visiting one of the finest examples of 18th-century French gardens – fit for a king no less –  at the Royal retreat of San Ildefonso’s summer palace, located just outside Segovia at the foothills of the Guadarrama Sierra mountains.

A full day you’ll remember for years to come.

Dates & Times:  9 hours (8:30 am – 7:30 pm, travel-time included), July 3.

Price: 227€/adult. 113.50€/child.

Included: Private guide, bus transportation, entrances, lunch with drinks.

Insider’s Hemingway Tour

Drinks and tapas on an off-the-beaten-track tour with award-winning journalist, writer, guide and Hemingway expert, Irishman Stephan Phelan.

This tour leads you away from the Madrid tourist trail to Hemingway’s favorite corners of the capital, including classic beer halls, elegant hotel lounges, cave-like basement bars, and the oldest restaurant in the world.

Many of these places were immortalized in his books, and most have barely changed since the author sat eating, drinking and writing within their walls. Stephen will tell you stories from Hemingway’s life as you visit all the spots Hemingway himself would have taken you to.

Dates and Times: 3 hours (8 pm – 11 pm), July 4, 5. This tour has limited space, up to 10 people only.

Price: 137€/adult.*

Included: Private tour with expert, tapas dinner, drinks, cocktails.

Day Trip: El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen

Privately guided tour and lunch in the beautiful town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial with round trip bus transportation.

Built by Philip II as a final resting place where he could be close to God, El Escorial is perhaps the finest example of work by the celebrated 16th-century Spanish architect, José Herrera.

This extraordinary regal complex comprises palace, basilica, monastery, school and pantheon to the Spanish monarchs.

After lunch, in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, you will visit the controversial Valley of the Fallen, the impressive man-made monument carved into the rock of a mountain. Originally intended to commemorate all those who died during the Spanish Civil War, it is associated with the former Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, whose tomb is just one of two which are named. The rest comprise more than 40,000 unidentified people buried on either side of the basilica’s walls.

Dates and Times: 8 hours (9 am – 5 pm), July 5.

Price: 182€/adult. 91€/child.*

Included: Private guide, bus transportation, entrances, lunch with drinks.

*Children 12 and under receive half-price on this tour.

*VAT tax is included.

For any booking related questions, please email [email protected], visit agbell.insiderstravel.io or call +34 518 98 93 49.

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