Best of Spain & Portugal Winter 2016-2017

Porto on the Douro River
16 Days

Follow the fortunes of the Spanish, Portuguese and Moorish Kingdoms as evidenced in their grand castles, stupendous religious buildings and incredible works of art.

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Tour Pace: Comfortable
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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).
  2. At Madrid Airport, transfers depart for your hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:30 & 16:00. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and a beautiful evening of dinner and wine.
    hotel:Gran Meliá Fenix, Madrid (2 nights).
  3. A sightseeing tour takes you along the elegant Paseo de la Castellana past Madrid's most famous fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles. Drive down the Gran Vía to the Royal Palace and Cervantes Monument before crossing the Puerta del Sol. The highlight of your tour is a visit with an art historian, to the magnificent Prado Museum to admire the paintings of Velázquez, Goya and many others.
    hotel:Gran Meliá Fenix, Madrid.
  4. The morning is devoted to Toledo. With your Local Expert, walk through the maze of narrow, cobbled streets. See El Greco's paintings in the Church of Santo Tomé. Later, pass the ancient walls of Ávila, en route to Salamanca with its handsome arcaded Plaza Mayor, honey-coloured cathedral and 16th century university buildings.
    hotel:Alameda Palace, Salamanca.
  5. Cross the Portuguese border to reach Porto, situated on the River Douro and celebrated internationally as the capital of Port wine. Visit the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores that house the famous wines. Walk along corridors of casks and get to know your tawnys and vintages during a tasting. Admire the multi-coloured houses and churches covered in glazed tiles, as well as the iconic bridges (or ‘Eiffel Towers on end’ according to one Frenchman).
    meal(s):BB, D
    hotel:NH Colection Porto Batalha, Porto.
  6. Head south for a visit to miraculous Fatima. See the basilica or visit the Chapel of the Apparitions, which commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three young shepherds in 1917. Then continue to the fortified town of Obidos, where you'll walk inside the walls to explore the flower-bedecked houses and narrow, medieval streets. Your destination is the Portuguese capital.
    hotel:Dom Pedro Palace, Lisbon (2 nights).
  7. Sightseeing with a Local Expert takes you along the spacious avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to reach the Terreiro do Paço, finest square in the city. Visit the Belém Quarter, from where sailing ships set forth to discover unknown lands. Enjoy a tasting of the famous 'Pasteis de Belém' from an old patisserie that has managed to hold on to the secret recipe of Portugal's finest pastry for over 100 years. See the Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belém Tower - a fortress originally set in the middle of the river, but now left high and dry on the riverbank. Next, visit Jeronimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture. The afternoon is free – perhaps take the funicular up into the steep alleyways of the old town, or explore the terraces of the Alfama district?
    hotel:Dom Pedro Palace, Lisbon.
  8. Leave Lisbon via a modern Tagus Bridge and cross the border to reach Seville. With a Local Expert, tour the immense cathedral, burial place of Christopher Columbus, and the slender Giralda Tower. Explore the labyrinthine Santa Cruz Quarter and see the Alcazar. At night, settle back for a Signature Evening with dinner and entertainment featuring a fiery flamenco show.
    meal(s):BB, SE
    hotel:Ayre, Seville (2 nights).
  9. The following day is completely yours to relax, explore, or continue sightseeing in this fascinating city. One suggestion is an optional experience to Cordoba to visit the magnificent Mezquita.
    hotel:Ayre, Seville.
  10. Head to Gibraltar, attached to Spain, yet an independent colony under British control since 1704. With a Local Expert, visit the Rock of Gibraltar, St. Michael's Cave and see the Barbary Apes, legendary guardians of the colony. Later, take the scenic route along the Costa del Sol through exclusive resorts where the Mediterranean's most expensive yachts lie moored.
    meal(s):BB, D
    hotel:Melia Costa Del Sol, Torremolinos (2 nights).
  11. Enjoy the following day at leisure on the sun-drenched Costa del Sol. Relax by the blue Mediterranean waters, stroll along the promenade or savor the specialties in the local restaurants or consider exploring Malaga, the birth city of Picasso.
    hotel:Melia Costa Del Sol, Torremolinos.
  12. Drive through the green hills above the Costa del Sol to the white-washed village of Mijas. Stroll through the old streets and gardens and take in the views of the coast. Continue to Granada to visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace. With a Local Expert, see the Lion Court, as well as the water gardens of the royal summer residence. In the evening, choose your own personal ambience and cuisine from our Dine-Around selection of restaurants.
    meal(s):BB, DA
    hotel:Vincci Albayzin, Granada.
  13. Journey to Valencia, the 'City of Arts and Sciences' then circumnavigate the old town, past the City Gates of Serranos and Quart to reach your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure, perhaps take a stroll to the cathedral and El Miguelete? Valencia is home to one of the world's greatest dishes, paella. Learn the authentic recipe in a fun cookery demonstration and savor the flavours of this classic dish for dinner, washed down with a glass of sangria.
    meal(s):BB, SE
    hotel:Barceló, Valencia.
  14. Follow the coast to Peñíscola to view the sea-lapped castle used in the film El Cid, continue to your hotel in Barcelona.
    hotel:Pullman Skipper, Barcelona (2 nights).
  15. Join a Local Expert to drive along the Passeig de Gràcia. Continue through the Eixample district for a visit inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Família Basilica. In the afternoon, maybe experience the great Monastery of Montserrat and see the Black Madonna? In the evening, enjoy a Celebration Dinner with wine.
    meal(s):BB, CD
    hotel:Pullman Skipper, Barcelona.
  16. Your journey ends after breakfast. Departure transfers arrive at Barcelona Airport at 07:00, 09:00 & 11:00. The 09:00 transfer will continue to Madrid, scheduled to arrive early evening at Madrid airport, followed by the Hotel Gran Melia Fenix.

30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Add air to your reservation

Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment

Meal Summary

1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 14 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 2 Signature Evenings (SE), 1 Dine-Around (DA), 2 three-course table d'hote Dinners with wine, plus tea or coffee (D) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD).

Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year's Eve enjoy a festive Highlight Dinner.

Included Highlights

Signature Experiences

  • Madrid: Witness the world's finest collection of Spanish paintings plus an impressive foreign collection as you tour the Prado Museum with an expert art historian.
  • Toledo: With a Local Expert, visit the Church of Santo Tomé and see an El Greco's masterpiece.
  • Fatima: Join the faithful at one of the world's holiest sites and pay homage at the Chapel of Apparitions.
  • Lisbon: Visit Jeronimo's church with its beautiful Manueline architecture, reflecting Portugal's trade over the centuries.
  • Seville: From the Moorish Patio de los Naranjos, step inside the cathedral, past the altarpiece, dripping with gold, to the Tomb of Columbus, held aloft by four kings.
  • Gibraltar: With a Local Expert, visit the Rock of Gibraltar, St. Michael's Cave and see the legendary Barbary Apes.
  • Granada: Best interpreted with the help of a Local Expert, the Alhambra Palace is the ultimate in Muslim architecture, an arabesque fantasy in stone, complemented by the gardens of the Generalife.
  • Barcelona: A Local Expert will take you inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Basilica.

Seasonal Highlights

  • Autumn: See the ripe olives being picked and enjoy a tasting.
  • Spring: Visit the Cava Bodegas for a taste of Spanish bubbly.
  • Winter: Sample delicious fresh Valencia oranges of the season artfully made into a delicious dessert.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Madrid: Your guided tour shows you the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España, Royal Palace, Gran Via, Cibeles Fountain, Parliament and Puerta del Sol.
  • Toledo: Walk the cobbled streets.
  • Salamanca: See the cathedral in the university town.
  • Porto: See the bridges and buildings decorated in tiles. Visit the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores.
  • Obidos: Visit this ancient fortified city.
  • Lisbon: Tour the spacious avenues and elegant squares. See the Monument to the Discoveries and ancient Belém Tower. Visit Lisbon Cathedral.
  • Seville: Enjoy a walking tour through the squares and lanes of the Santa Cruz Quarter. Emerge by the walls of the Alcazar.
  • Mijas: Journey to this white-washed village.
  • Valencia: See the ultra modern Centre of Arts and Sciences. See the huge City Gates of Serranos and Quart.
  • Peñíscola: View the stone castle from the film El Cid.
  • Barcelona: Drive down the elegant Passeig de Gracia to witness some of the finest Modernist architecture. Stand in awe beside Gaudi’s incredible Sagrada Famila.
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
4 Nov 16 19 Nov 16 checkmark $3,175pp
19 Dec 16 3 Jan 17 checkmark $3,375$3,206pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 27
$3,375 $3,206 pp
26 Dec 16 10 Jan 17 checkmark $3,425$3,254pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 27
$3,425 $3,254 pp
6 Jan 17 21 Jan 17 checkmark $3,175$3,016pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 27
$3,175 $3,016 pp
20 Jan 17 4 Feb 17 $3,175$3,016pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 27
$3,175 $3,016 pp
27 Jan 17 11 Feb 17 $3,175$3,016pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 27
$3,175 $3,016 pp
10 Feb 17 25 Feb 17 $3,175$3,016pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 27
$3,175 $3,016 pp
10 Mar 17 25 Mar 17 checkmark $3,175pp
$3,175 pp
17 Mar 17 1 Apr 17 checkmark $3,175$3,016pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 27
$3,175 $3,016 pp
24 Mar 17 8 Apr 17 checkmark $3,195$3,035pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 27
$3,195 $3,035 pp
24 Mar 17 8 Apr 17 $3,195$3,035pp Early PaymentPay by Oct 27
$3,195 $3,035 pp

December 19th: Christmas Highlight Dinner and gift in Lisbon and New Year's Eve Dinner in Valencia. December 26th: New Year's Eve Dinner in Lisbon. These additional dinners will replace dinners shown in the itinerary.

undefinedThese departures will stay at alternative accommodation of similar standard in Lisbon.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $440.

*Note: There is a 40% reduction to the Single Supplement charge for departures November 4th, December 2nd, January 27th and March 3rd, subject to availability.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $142 per person.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to Spain and Portugal must have a current passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens visiting Spain and Portugal.

  • The currency in Spain and Portugal is the Euro (€).  While it’s a good idea to bring some money for when you first arrive, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Spain and Portugal. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • Spain offers a delicious selection of cured hams, chorizo sausage, seafood, cheeses, and more.  Try traditional dishes such as tortilla española (Spanish omelet), paella, and desserts such as flan, churros, and Catalan cream. For a quick lunch at a reasonable price, stop by a café or food cart for a bocadillo, a traditional Spanish sandwich made with baguette-style bread, ham and cheese.  In the evening, try a selection of tapas – small bites served in bars and restaurants that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a meal. 

    With Portugal’s long coastline, seafood is featured prominently on their menus. Popular dishes include sopa de mariscos (a shellfish soup) and bacalhau (dried codfish), and Portuguese grilled chicken prepared with chili, garlic and olive oil. For dessert, don’t miss out on the famous pastéis de nata custard pastry or arroz dolce (rice pudding) and a glass of port wine. 

  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase.  This will also give you many options for how to dress in Spain and Portugal’s varying climates. It’s a good idea to bring a lightweight scarf to wear at religious sites and in the evening when temperatures cool off. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • Tipping in Spain and Portugal is much less common than in the U.S. When dining out, it’s appreciated, although not required, to leave a few extra euros for your server, and up to 10 percent for particularly good service.  Leave your tip on the table rather than adding it to your credit card slip to ensure that your waiter receives it. 

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.


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