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Discover a tour that perfectly connects two epic European countries: Spain and Portugal. Take to the streets of cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Seville to feel the rhythmic vibe of the Iberian Route. Discover UNESCO sites in the Old City of Salamanca, Toledo and Segovia. Stroll along cobbled streets of Grenada and Zaragoza. Stop for tastings at tapas bars, seafood tavernas and local port distilleries. Even make your way to Andorra, a small principality that straddles France and Spain. This is your chance to follow the sun and have a taste of the serene European lifestyle!
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 the start of your 15 day tour of Spain and Portugal! On arrival in Madrid, make your way to the hotel to meet up with your tour leader and the other travellers in the tour group. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time to explore Madrid, or alternatively relax in the comforts of the hotel. This evening, you will get your first taste of Spain with dinner included, giving you a great opportunity to meet the other travellers in your group.
This morning we’ll depart Madrid and make our way to San Sebastian on Spain’s northern coast. Along the way we’ll enjoy a comfort stop in Segovia, a picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site city which offers the highest concentration of Romanesque churches in Europe, as well as an incredibly well-preserved Roman aqueduct that runs into the heart of the city. Later this afternoon we’ll arrive in San Sebastian, a charming city with a beautiful beach and vibrant nightlife. A foodie’s paradise, San Sebastian is known for its Basque gastronomy, so this evening is best spent exploring the beachfront bars and indulging in pintxo, northern Spain's version of tapas!
Our first stop today is Pamplona, the historic city made famous by “the running of the bulls” during the San Fermin festival. Packed with history, you’ll have some free time to explore the beautiful medieval city centre and see the city walls and citadel. We’ll then head to Zaragoza, enjoying a wine tasting along the way, before taking a walking tour of the city. The city has experienced a long and varied history, with Roman, Moorish, Jewish and Christian communities leaving their marks over the centuries, as seen in the Basílica del Pilar cathedral, Aljafería Islamic palace and the Roman theatre.
On our way to Barcelona we’ll take a comfort stop in Andorra, a tiny independent principality with a population of just 85,000, located between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. We’ll enjoy some free time to explore Andorra la Vella, the highest capital city in Europe and a popular ski resort. Later this afternoon we’ll arrive in the cosmopolitan capital of the Catalonia region, Barcelona. Your tour leader will acquaint you with the city’s vibrant energy with a driving tour, so keep your eyes open for the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral, and some of the spectacular examples of Antoni Gaudi’s eclectic art and architecture.
Today is all yours to do with as you please! The best views of the city can be had from Park Guell, and you can take in the panoramic splendour and skyline of Barcelona. The park itself offers a very interesting design which is a product of Anton Gaudi’s challenging architectural visualisations. Barcelona is home to many of Gaudi’s building designs and you could spend the whole day simply locating each one. One of his most famous works is that of the unfinished Sagrada Familia - an interpretation of a Gothic cathedral which is unlike any building you will have ever seen. You can’t miss it from Park Guell, or most other vantage points in the city. Harbour tours, La Ramblas, the ‘Old Town’, museums, art galleries and some of Europe’s best shopping - there is much to do in this incredible city. If you wish to participate in our optional excursion, we can organise tickets for you to see a traditional Flamenco show! The dance of passion is performed with style, flair and energy, and is a real experience not to be missed.
Leaving Barcelona behind we’ll make our way south down the coast towards Valencia, stopping off along the way in Peniscola. With a historic old town, beautiful promenade and sandy beach overlooked by an imposing castle built by the Knights Templar, there are few more picturesque places in Europe to enjoy a lunch stop. Once we’ve arrived in Valencia we’ll enjoy an orientation tour of this thriving port city, which retains plenty of historic charm despite the decades of development that have given it a distinct space-age feel.
Our journey then continues through the historic La Mancha region, made famous by the legend of Don Quixote. Later, we’ll explore Castillo de Belmonte, with entrance to this medieval castle included in your tour package. The interiors are dominated by spectacular stucco works in the Gothic and Moorish styles, and a beautiful Neo-Gothic courtyard. Later this afternoon we’ll arrive back in Madrid. This evening we'll meet the travellers joining us from the Highlights of Spain & Portugal tour at an included dinner.
This morning, we leave Madrid and head to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Toledo. You are sure to fall in love with this charming medieval town, with its Gothic architecture and its impressive Cathedral. The tour continues south to the Moorish city of Granada. This afternoon, your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour to give you a great insight into this beautiful region of Spain.
The journey through Andalusia continues! Spend the morning exploring the city of Granada, or join our optional excursion to the Alhambra Palace (please note: this excursion must be pre-booked). In addition to a rich Moorish and Medieval history, Granada is a fascinating city that is packed with street art, culture and the best restaurants. After a morning of exploring find your way to Ronda, a town located on both sides of the El Tajo gorge. The most iconic site here is the ‘Puente Nuevo’ (New Bridge). Take in the spectacular views from the bridge before spending time at your leisure over lunch. The final stretch of the day takes you to the enchanting city of Seville. Sit down this evening for a traditional tapas dinner followed by a tour accompanied by a local guide. This is the ideal way to take to the streets of Seville to soak up the culture, tastes, sights and sounds of the city.
Legend has it that Seville was founded by Hercules, and it has certainly had a colourful history it was named Hispalis by the Romans and Isbiliya by the Moors. With a full free day, you will have all the time in the world to explore this beautiful and pleasingly compact city. Seville is famous for its flamenco, tapas bars and orange bars. The cobbled streets of the old town make for a pleasing morning stroll, while in the afternoon you may wish to visit the Metropol Parasol for amazing views, the palaces of Alcázar Casa de Pilatos or the Museum of Flamenco.
Today we travel to Lisbon, Portugal! Along the way we'll visit the Algarve, the stunning southern coastal region of Portugal that features golden beaches and limestone cliffs. We'll make a comfort stop at one of these beautiful beaches so you can top up your tan or take a dip in the ocean. Upon arrival in Lisbon we take you on an orientation tour of the capital, from the imposing Sao Jorge Castle to the pastel colours of the old town, Lisbon has it all.
Today is your free day to explore Lisbon on your own. See Lisbon's landmarks, including the Monument to the Discoveries and the Belém Tower or discover the hill top district of Bairro Alto, with dozens of restaurants and bars lining the narrow streets and lots to see and do. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to Sintra, a charming UNESCO World Heritage Site village and the capital of the Romanticism in Portugal, known for its striking monuments. This evening enjoy one of Portugal's cultural highlights; Fado music. Unique to Portugal, it is arguably the oldest urban folk music in the world - you are sure to discover bars in this area playing this type of music.
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 continue our tour of Portugal and enter into Porto - the second largest city and one of the oldest European centres. Your tour leader will take you on a walking tour of Porto, where you will see Ponte de'Luis - a stunning bridge which crosses the River Douro, the Clerigos Tower and many other famous landmarks. One of Portugal’s famous exports is port wine, which is named after Porto, and you will have the opportunity to taste it this afternoon at the included Port tasting.
It is time to depart Portugal and travel back to Spain, as our journey today takes us through the countryside. 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. Once we arrive into Salamanca, you will have time to freshen up at the hotel and enjoy some free time. We recommend you visit the old town and go up the Cathedral Bell Tower, which offers amazing panoramic views of the town and its surroundings. To cap off the evening we'll enjoy an included farewell dinner, offering three courses of delicious food from around the province of Salamanca.
This morning we depart Salamanca and travel to Avila, where we take a comfort stop. Avila is notable for its many Romanesque and Gothic churches, and the famous and incredibly well preserved medieval walls. We then continue onto the capital Madrid, where the tour ends.
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