The program offers a good number of guided excursions to historical significant cities and towns in Spain and in The Basque Country. Visits include:
The capital of the province of Biscay in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. It is the largest city of the Basque Country and the tenth largest in SpainThe Bilbao metropolitan area has roughly 1 million inhabitants, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in northern Spain. Bilbao is situated in the north-central part of Spain, some 14 kilometres south of the Bay of Biscay, where the estuary of Bilbao is formed. Its main urban core is surrounded by two small mountain ranges.
Thanks to its history and location, Bilbao is a magnificent "cocktail" where architecture, tradition, sea and mountain, character and history are blended.
The Guggenheim district is made up of the streets that are in its immediate vicinity and which lead to the Plaza Euskadi, the square that is home to the Iberdrola Tower, the city's new business centre.
This zone offers a wide range of stores and businesses, with fashion design shops, many different types of establishments, but it is particularly noted for its many art galleries and exhibition centres, art book shops, gifts and antique shops, along with the Museum Guggenheim Bilbao, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Sala Rekalde art centre.
The Casco Viejo or The Seven Streets (Somera, Artecalle, Tendería, Belosticalle, Carnicería Vieja, Barrencalle and Barrencalle Barrena) is the oldest neighborhood and the original nucleus of Bilbao. It forms part of the Ibaiondo district and holds the Plaza Nueva and buildings such as the Arriaga Theatre, Bidebarrieta Library, the Bilbao Stock Exchange, Atxuri railway station, Santiago Cathedral and the churches of San Antón, San Nicolás and Santos Juanes. Its commercial strength is reflected in five hundred shops, most importantly the Ribera Market, the largest indoor food market in Europe.
The Gran Vía Don Diego López de Haro, is the commercial and financial center of Bilbao, with the buildings of the banks BBVA, BBK and Caja Laboral, the El Corte Inglés department store, the Headquarters of the Regional Government of Bizkaia and the Sota Building. The architect Achucarro and the engineers Alzola and Hoffmeyer presented its design in 1876. It is 50 meters wide and 1.5 kilometers long between the Plaza Circular and Plaza del Sagrado Corazón. Before the halfway point is the Plaza de Federico Moyúa, the heart of the Ensanche district of Bilbao, home to the Chávarri Palace and the Hotel Carlton.
The capital of Spain, located in the heart of the peninsula. It can trace its origins to the times of Arab Emir Mohamed I (852-886). It has a wide cultural offer. It is home to many Royal sites such as the Royal Palace and some of the world's most important art galleries like The Prado Museum.
The Royal Palace it is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies. King Felipe VI and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid.
The palace has 135,000 square metres (1,450,000 sq ft) of floorspace and contains 3,418 rooms. It is the largest palace in Europe by floor area. The interior of the palace is notable for its wealth of art and the use of many types of fine materials in the construction and the decoration of its rooms. These include paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Velázquez and Francisco de Goya and frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto, Juan de Flandes, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Anton Raphael Mengs. Other collections of great historical and artistic importance preserved in the building include the Royal Armoury of Madrid, Porcelain, Watches, Furniture, Silverware and the world's only complete Stradivarius string quintet.
Madrid of the Austrias. The reign of the Spanish Austrian-Hasburg dynasty, which ruled from 1516 up to 1700, signified the beginning of a peak artistic period that fashioned a beautiful and popular area of the city. The Austrian-Habsburg dynasty transformed Madrid into what is known today as the city's historical center "Madrid de los Austrias".
In the very heart of this Austrian Madrid lies the impressive Plaza Mayor (Main Square). It was the hub of Spanish life from its inauguration in 1620 as "Plaza de la Villa" and continues to be a popular attraction today for both tourists and Spaniards alike. Madrid's town hall (the once Casa de la Villa) is also located within the Plaza. Nearby is the palace Casa de Cisneros, which was built 20 years after the death of the Cardinal Regent of Spain, as well as the Torre de Lujanes.
One key monument from the Austrian-Hapsburg's era is the Puerta Del Sol ("Sun Gate"), an original gate that was part of the city wall that once surrounded Medieval Madrid. Because Puerta Del Sol is considered to be the true heart of Madrid, at its feet lies "Km. 0"... the starting point of all Spanish roads leading to the capital.
It was founded by the Roman's and it is located on the pilgrim's way to Santiago, in Navarre. Pamplona's rich history can be seen in its Baroque civil architecture and the medieval palace and walls. The city is famous worldwide for the San Fermin festival. Attendance to view the ancient tradition of the Running of the Bulls is scheduled for the students during the festival.
The Cathedral. Situated on the edge of the Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) of Pamplona, in the same site that the old Roman city of Pompaelo once stood, is Pamplona Cathedral, a fine example of the Gothic period (14th and 15th centuries). This symbolic monument houses the largest number of historic and artistic relics in the city. Kings were crowned and Parliaments convened in the cathedral; indeed, it was the seat of the royal court for three centuries.
Town Hall. The Town Hall, seat of municipal government and icon of the beginning of the San Fermin fiesta. Its location in the center of the Historical Quarter is no coincidence. Until 1423, Pamplona was divided into three separate areas: Navarrería, San Cernin and San Nicolás. In that year, King Carlos III decided to join them to form a single city with a single Council.
It was decided that the first Town Hall should be built at the point at which the three burghs met as a symbol of union and peace between them.
The Old Town is located right behind the San Sebastian city hall, in between the port of the city and the Urumea River. It is flanked at the back by the Urgull Mount. This area of San Sebastian was fortified for a long period of time in the past. In the Old Town, we can find two of the three major churches in San Sebastian: Santa Maria Church and San Vicente Church. Apart from these two churches that are certainly worth a visit, The Old town stands out for its famous bar pintxos.
Plentzia is located in the Plencia - Mungia region, and is bordered by the final stretch and mouth of the Butrón river (or Ría de Plentzia). The origins of the old town can be traced back to the early thirteenth century (ca 1236) when a well-planned settlement was built. The town was distinctly commercial in character, with the port trading in goods from inland and from elsewhere in Europe. It stood on an inlet at the mouth of a navigable river estuary linking it to the hinterland, which was to form its main area of influence. From the forested inland areas it also took the timber needed for a burgeoning shipbuilding industry.
Symbol of Basque rights and peace, Gernika-Lumo has many attractive spots that are necessary to visit. Located in the Busturialdea region, in the historical territory of Bizkaia, the village is home to an exceptional architectural heritage. The town sits in the valley of the river Oka, which flows into the Gernika estuary. Very close by is the Urdaibai Nature Reserve, which UNESCO has declared to be a Biosphere Reserve.
During the Spanish Civil War Gernika-Lumo was completely destroyed by German Air Force's Condor Legion, on April 26th of 1937. The peace museum in Gernika reminds us of the bombing. In fact, in 2003 Gernika-Lumo was awarded the "City of Peace" by UNESCO, and it is also member of the World Association of Martyr Towns.
Mundaka is a pleasant, quiet seaside town in the province of Bizkaia, located in the Busturialdea-Urdaibai area, on the left bank of the estuary which bears the same It has always been closely associated with the sea and open to the world. For centuries its people have played leading roles in the Basque Country's history of sailing and fishing. Internationally-renowned for its surfing scene, Mundaka proudly boasts about its left wave, as it is considered one of the best waves in Europe. This famous left wave attracts many surfers from around the globe who make the sea as colourful spectacle with their boards.
• Airport pick-up by Bilbao College instructors (on arrival date and time established by the program).
• Medical Insurance with worldwide coverage, except in the student's home country.
• Housing. Stay with a host family. Individual bedroom. Three meals per day. Washing of clothes. Linen and towels provided by host family.
• Orientation before and upon arrival.
• Guided visits and excursions to Madrid, Bilbao, Pamplona, San Sebastian, Gernika, Mundaka, Plentzia and Biarritz.
• Conversation and social meetings with local students.