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Experience Portugal and Spain in a unique light as you travel over Christmas and New Years! Celebrate a Spanish Christmas in Seville, one of Spain’s most charming towns. Explore the colourful towns of Toledo, Granada, Salamanca, Avila and Ronda. Walk the streets of the capitals, Madrid and Lisbon. And taste delicious tapas, seafood and real Port in Porto. Christmas season on the Iberian route feels surreal as you celebrate with with blue skies and warm winter son. A truly eclectic and electric sensory experience!
We use a variety of hotels in each destination, so you may stay in a hotel different to that listed here. Hotels are selected closer to departure date; you will receive a confirmed list one week prior to your departure date.
Welcome to Madrid and the start of your Spain and Portugal Christmas tour! On arrival, make your way to the hotel to meet up with your tour leader and fellow travellers. Depending on your arrival time, take the opportunity to explore Madrid, or take a rest in your hotel room. This evening, sit down for an included welcome dinner. Enjoy your first taste of Spain and get to know your fellow explorers! Today marks the official start of Christmas celebrations in Spain. Today is the day that the Spanish Christmas Lottery, ‘El Gordo’ or the ‘Fat One’, takes place. It’s the biggest lottery draw in the world!
Travel south to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Toledo. Known to be Spain's spiritual capital, the Gothic architecture and beautiful cathedral will leave you speechless. We then drive on to the Moorish city of Granada. Your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour to see the most famous sites and learn more about it’s Moorish influences, including a view across the valley of the iconic Alhambra citadel.
Sit back and relax, as we take you on a journey through Andalusia. This area is famous for Flamenco, tapas, matadors and bullfighting. This morning, take a bit more time to explore Granada, or join our optional excursion to the Alhambra Palace (please note: this excursion must be pre-booked). The rich Moorish and Medieval history is revealed in its plazas, Arab and Romanesque buildings. The next stop is the town of Ronda, famous for the ‘New Bridge’ that divides the city and offers dramatic views of the surrounding countryside. After this we head to Seville for a two-night stay. Seville is the home of tapas and that's exactly what you'll get served at this evening's included dinner. After dinner, embark on a walking and driving tour to see the old town and many other sights of the city before checking into your hotel for the evening.
Merry Christmas or “Feliz Navidad” as the locals say! You have a free day to explore Seville in all its festive glory. As it’s Christmas day, look out for Spanish Christmas bread, Roscón de Reyes. It's topped with crushed almonds and candied fruit! You’re bound to also see Tió de Nadal, a jolly Christmas log decorated with a smiley face and stick legs. We can highly recommend the Seville cathedral and the Plaza de España.
It’s boxing day and we’re crossing the border into Portugal and heading for Lisbon, the capital! En route you will see the incredible landscapes of southern Portugal glide past, and we’ll make a stop on the south coast, where you’ll have free time to have lunch, explore the local town or relax on the beach. On arrival in Lisbon your Expat Explore tour leader will take you on a driving tour of the city. You will get to see the Tagus river and some of the most famous attractions in the city, such as the Belém Tower and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument.
Discover Lisbon at your leisure today! Highlights include the Monument to the Discoveries, Belém Tower or the hilltop district of Bairro Alto. The streets are lined with dozens of restaurants and bars! Listen out for Fado music streaming from open windows. The music is known for its lyrics of longing. And if you want to do some Christmas souvenir shopping for your friends and family back home), head to A Vida Portuguesa. Definitely try some Pasteis de nata, delicious Portuguese egg tarts, as you go. Or consider the option of a day trip to Sintra, the town of mountains, palaces, parks and medieval residences.
On our way to Porto this morning we’ll stop off in Obidos, a classic fortified town with narrow cobbled streets, picturesque houses and an imposing hilltop castle. We then carry on to Portugal's second-biggest city, Porto. Once you arrive, an expert local guide will take us on a driving and walking tour to see sights including the Cathedral, Sao Bento train station, Clerigos Tower, the Luis I bridge and many more. Later this afternoon we’ll sit down for a quintessential Portuguese experience and one of its most famous exports: a tasting of Port wine.
This morning we make one more stop in Portugal before we arrive back in Spain. Guarda was founded in the 12th Century by King Sancho I, and much of the fortified towers and defensive walls he built survive to this day. This afternoon we’ll arrive in Salamanca. After some time to freshen up at the hotel your tour leader will take you an on orientation tour of Spain’s Golden City. You’ll have some free time to explore the historic city centre before we meet up again for a farewell dinner on our last night of the tour, offering three courses of delicious food from around the province of Salamanca.
It’s the last day of your Spain & Portugal Christmas holiday. The final stretch of the tour takes us from Salamanca to Avila and then on to Madrid. The ancient town of Avila is most known for its century-old city walls that have been remarkably well-preserved. It's also home to some spectacular Romanesque churches, monasteries and palaces. We then continue back to Madrid where the tour concludes this afternoon.
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