A Pilgrimage to Northern Spain and Lourdes
Visiting: Madrid, Avila, Toledo, Zaragoza, Lourdes,
Barcelona and more!
11 Days ~ November 3 - 13, 2024
Program Cost from Chicago
$4,898.00 - per person, twin occupancy
$949.00 - supplemental cost for single room
Rates are based on a minimum of 27 passengers
$500.00 per person - due with reservation
$1500 per person - due by March 15, 2024
Balance due by July 3, 2024
Round trip air transportation from Chicago
11 nights accommodations in first class (3 & 4 star) hotels
Buffet breakfast daily; 5 dinners
Transportation by deluxe private motor coach
Professional tour manager in Europe
Comprehensive sightseeing as noted, including applicable entrance fees
Masses to be arranged during the tour
Baggage handling at all hotels (where available) - 1 bag per person
Travel Documents, baggage tags, etc.
Sunday, November 3, 2024 - Chicago Departure: Today we gather at O’Hare Airport to begin our journey to Europe. Meals and will be served during the overnight flight.
Monday, November 4 - Madrid: Upon arrival in Madrid, we will meet our professional tour manager who will travel with us for the entire trip. As we transfer by private motor- coach to our hotel, our tour manager will share information about the tour and details of today’s schedule. Dinner and overnight in Madrid. Welcome to Spain! (D)
Tuesday, November 5 - Madrid (City Tour & El Escorial excursion): Highlights of our morning city tour will include the Royal Palace, official residence of King Felipe VI, and the Cathedral of Almudena. We will drive the famous boule- vard of Gran Via and walk through the heart of the old city, from Puerta del Sol to Plaza Mayor. Following free time for lunch, we will drive to the austere monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, created by Philip II in the mid 1500’s. Its massive dimensions serve as the burial place of Spain’s kings and queens, the home of art treasures by El Greco, Velazquez and Titian, as well as more than 50,000 books, which rivals the Vatican Library. We return to Madrid in the early evening for an evening at leisure (B)
Wednesday, November 6 - Madrid (Avila Excursion): This morning we will drive to the medieval stronghold of Avila, still surrounded by its thousand-year-old fortifications and known as the ‘City of Stones and Saints.’ Today Avila is most famous as the birthplace of St. Teresa, the great mystic and reformer of the Catholic Church, and for Queen Isabella of Castille, who unified Spain and commissioned Christopher Columbus’ Voyages of Discovery. After visiting the sites associated with St. Teresa and enjoying a walking tour of the old town, we will have free time for lunch before returning to Madrid in the late afternoon. (B)
Thursday, November 7 - Madrid / Toledo / Zaragoza: Today we will drive first to Toledo, where our city tour will include all the highlights of this strategic stronghold – the steep cobbled streets where Christians, Jews and Muslims lived side by side in the Middle Ages, the breathtaking Cathedral with its 750 stained glass windows and the spectacular views over the River Targus. We will have free time for lunch and shopping before we continue our journey to Zaragoza for din- ner and overnight. (B, D)
Friday, November 8 - Zaragoza / Lourdes: We begin today with a tour of Zaragoza, whose history transcends more than 2000 years from the Romans, to the Moors and on to Christianity. The focus of pilgrimage in Zaragoza is the Basilica del Pilar, named after the pillar said to have been given to St. James by the Virgin Mary as a symbol of the strength of his Faith. After visiting the Basilica we will continue to explore the city - another highlight is the Palace of Aljaferia, originally built by the Moors 1000 years ago and a fine example of Hispanic-Muslim architecture. It later served as the residence of the Kings of Aragon, headquarters of the Inquisition, army barracks and now houses the Aragon Parliament. After free time for lunch we begin the long, but truly spectacular journey through the mighty peaks of the Pyrenees. This natural barrier eventually forms the political boundary between Spain and France and the breathtaking panoramas continue as we drive drive into the foothills of the Pyrenees and to Lourdes, birthplace of St. Bernadette, for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Saturday, November 9 - Lourdes: Our whole day will be dedicated to visiting the Shrine, following in the footsteps of the life of St. Bernadette - from the Boly Mill where she was born, to the Grotto of the Apparitions, to the Basilica dedicated to her name. We will celebrate Mass in one of the Chapels, and the afternoon will be free to bathe in the healing waters, walk the Way of the Cross or take advantage of the shopping opportunities. In the evening we may choose to join the Candlelight Procession. (B)
Sunday, November 10 - Lourdes / Montserrat / Barcelona: After breakfast we will once again enjoy a spectacular day’s journey through the Pyrenees, returning to Spain and to the Benedictine Monastery at Montserrat, one of the most spectacular natural sites in Europe. The monastery was founded to house a carving of the Virgin Mary, which according to tradition was made by St. Luke and brought to the caves by St. Peter himself. Following our Monastery visit, we will continue the short distance to Barcelona for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Monday, November 11 - Barcelona: Today we will explore one of Europe’s most vibrant cities - from the harbor area to the authentic Las Ramblas, from the Gothic Quarter with the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia to Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. The formal sight- seeing with our local guide will be dictated by the appointment time for Sagrada Familia, with the remainder of the day free to explore individually and sample the local restaurants. (B)
Tuesday, November 12 - Barcelona (Freixenet Wine-tasting Excursion): There is free time today to continue exploring this fascinating city, from the legacy of the 1992 Summer Olympics, to the treasures of its great artists at the Picasso Museum, the Joan Miro Foundation and the Park Guell masterpiece of urban architecture by Gaudi. During the day we will make a short excursion to visit the wine cellars of Freixenet and sample the famous Cava sparkling wine. We will return to Barcelona to celebrate our final Mass of the tour and enjoy our farewell dinner. (B, D)
Wednesday, November 13 - Barcelona / Chicago: This morning we will transfer to Barcelona Airport to begin our journey home. We arrive in Chicago this afternoon. Welcome Home!
Key: B - Breakfast; D - Dinner