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Past Guests Save an additional 5%
For an in-depth portrait of the local people, their cultural heritage and their multifaceted countries, this tour includes adventuring in Santander, San Sebástian and Barcelona.
Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
Your airport transfers depart from Madrid Airport to your hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:30 & 16:00. The rest of the day is at leisure to begin to get to know this stylish city. Later, join your Tour Director for a warm Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a delightful evening of dinner and wine.
Venture south to meet a master craftsman in a Damascene workshop for a personal insight into this ancient craft handed down by the Moors centuries ago. Continue to the fascinating city of Toledo, situated high above the River Tagus. This was Spain's capital during the golden era, where Arab, Jewish and Christian cultures flourished side-by-side through the Middle Ages. Walk within the city walls, through the narrow cobbled streets, led by your Local Expert. Visit the Church of Santo Tomé, housing El Greco's famous painting, ‘The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.' Your journey continues to Granada.
There is no pain in life so cruel as to be blind in Granada', cries the inscription on the walls of the Alhambra. Bathed in morning light, the Alhambra Palace awaits - a fantasy of arabesque gardens, fountains and stone cut like lace. Explore with your Local Expert and also visit the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer residence. Take a moment to relax in the sunshine as you enjoy the fine views over the town and its three verdant hills. Embark on a scenic drive to Seville where a Local Expert will guide you through the maze of narrow lanes and shady squares of the Santa Cruz Quarter. Emerge by the huge walls of the fabulous Alcazar to see La Giralda, the former minaret of the Great Mosque, but now the cathedral bell tower. Enter the immense 15th century cathedral, the final resting place of Christopher Columbus and see his tomb enriched with the spoils of the New World. During a highlight evening enjoy the flavors of Andalucía and share the passion of Spain's most fiery region as you experience a flamenco show.
This is a free day, so take your time to bask in the city's romantic aura. Or you might like to join an optional experience to Cordoba for a visit to the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th century mosque with a Christian church built inside it?
Pass through the oak forests where black Iberian pigs are bred for the famous Spanish hams. Stop in Jabugo for an insight into the history and curing process of jamón Ibérico. The subtle differences will be revealed with a delicious tasting. Then venture across the wide Alentejo Plateau to Lisbon.
During your stay, a guided orientation of the city with your Local Expert takes you along the avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco, the finest square in the city. Visit the Belém Quarter from where sailing ships one set forth to discover unknown lands. See the traditional patisserie that has managed to hold on to the secret recipe of Portugal's finest pastry for almost 200 years and enjoy a taste of the famous Pastéis de Belém. View the Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belém Tower. This fortress was originally set in the middle of the river, but is now left high and dry on the riverbank. Visit the 500-year-old Jerónimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps join an Optional Experience to the beautiful Portuguese Riviera?
Drive into the green hills north of Lisbon to visit Fatima, the most celebrated place of pilgrimage in Portugal. Visit the Basilica commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917. Then cross the border back into Spain and continue to Salamanca, famous for its golden stone buildings. See the handsome arcades of the Plaza Mayor and the Puente Romano across the River Tormes – 15 of its 26 arches date from the time of the ancient Romans.
Cross the rock-strewn hills of the Castile, to arrive at Ávila. Walk within the ancient city that is still entirely enclosed within 11th century walls, a unique occurrence in Europe. Return to Madrid for time at leisure. At a local restaurant, join your Travel Director and newfound friends for a lively Celebration Dinner.
Your Local Expert will guide you along the noble avenues past the Cibeles Fountain and down the Gran Vía to the monument to Cervantes in the Plaza de España. Cross the Puerta del Sol and continue to the Prado Museum. Your visit will be a highlight of your escorted journey. Discover countless works by Velázquez, Goya, Titian, Botticelli, Rubens and others as you are guided by a local art historian. The afternoon is free for you to relax at a cafe or shop in the boutiques.
Journey through the Guadarrama Mountains to the infinite horizons of Old Castile. Some of Spain's most fashionable white wines are produced in Rueda and this morning we have the opportunity to learn how they are made and sample the delights of the Verdejo grape. Your travel continue past the impressive Castillo de la Mota, conquered by Queen Isabella, and on to Santiago de Compostela, where the tomb of the Apostle St. James was miraculously discovered in the Middle Ages.
Become acquainted with some of Europe's finest historical buildings during an orientation with your Local Expert. The monumental square, Praza do Obradoiro, is pure grandeur in granite. Look up from the steady trickle of present-day pilgrims to the cathedral facade to see an ensemble of soaring towers, arches and windows, festooned with architectural frills. Venture inside and once through the Gateway of Glory, you're privy to the same vision that has greeted pilgrims since the Middle Ages. The faithful may choose to pass behind the ornate high altar to touch the giant 13th century gilded effigy of St. James and follow in the steps of the pilgrims along The Way of St. James. Relax during your free time or explore the narrow streets and old squares of this city.
Pass through the ancient forests of Galicia and cross to the Green Coast of Asturias - one of Spain's most beautiful, named after the color of the sea and the pine and eucalyptus trees that line the shore. Your route reveals glorious coastal vistas before turning inland to travel through old villages and deep valleys en route to Oviedo. A Local Expert will show you the 9th century churches built when the city was the capital of Christian Spain. Visit the Cathedral of the Holy Savior in the stately square of Plaza Alfonso II. Venture inside to see the 9th century Crypt de Saint Leocadia in the lower chamber. A short drive brings you to the Asturian coast and the Bay of Biscay. Stop at the delightful city of Gijón that has a history dating back 5,000 years. Meet a true local, Flor, who will invite you to join her for dinner. Hear about daily life in this up-and-coming seaside city as you enjoy a delicious meal, typical of the region, that Flor has freshly prepared from locally-sourced ingredients, accompanied by delicious local apple cider.
See the unique Roman bridge in Cangas de Onís as you head into the foothills of the Picos de Europa, a National Park encompassing spectacular mountain and gorge scenery. Visit the holy cave of Covadonga, a shrine to Pelayo, who achieved the first Christian victory over the Moors in 722. Enjoy views of the Costa de Cantabria while journeying to Santillana del Mar, arguably ‘the most beautiful village in Spain.’ Stroll through the rustic cobblestone streets admiring stone houses decorated with carved, heraldic symbols and reach the delightful church square. Continue on to the sophisticated beach resort of Santander.
In nearby Bilbao, admire the striking modern architecture of the Guggenheim Museum, one of the world's most spectacular buildings. Enjoy the views as you are driven along part of the Costa Vasca, dotted with small coastal fishing villages. Pause in Getaria, at the mouth of the Urola, to see El Ratón, the mouse-shaped rock. Continue to San Sebastián, pearl of the Cantabrian coast, set on its shell-shaped bay. Admire its beauty as you walk with your Local Expert through the Old Quarter. See the numbered balconies of the Plaza de la Constitución, a reminder of the days when bullfights were held in the square. Atop Monte Igueldo there are breathtaking views of the town and La Concha Bay.
Enjoy a day at leisure to stroll along San Sebastián's boardwalk and with the city harbor filled with fishing boats and pleasure crafts, you can enjoy a number of sporting activities on its large sandy beach. Perhaps you'll want to explore the nearby French village of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, also known as Little Paris? Maybe venture further into Northern Spain's Basque Country, which is said to be the best place to eat in the Western world?
Journey to the famed town of Pamplona, known for its Running of the Bulls festival. With time free for you to explore, perhaps take a stroll to the famous Estafeta Street or visit Café Iruña, immortalized by Ernest Hemingway in the 'The Sun Also Rises.' Your travels continue to Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, a land that retains its own distinctive language, culture and traditions.
Wake up ready to embrace the city's artistic heritage. Join a Local Expert in the heart of the Barri Gotic, the Gothic Quarter, and walk through the Roman Gate to see its narrow lanes and old squares. You are driven along the Passeig de Gràcia, adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district to behold Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Família. As you venture inside, look above to see its giant, tree-like pillars and spectacular vaulting. Admire the wonderful rainbow of the incredible stained-glass windows. With the afternoon at leisure, you are free to relax or continue your exploration on your own. In the evening, join your Travel Director and newfound friends at a local restaurant. Raise your glass and toast your travels during your delightful Celebration Dinner.
After breakfast, departure transfers arrive at Barcelona airport at 07:00, 09:00 or 11:00. Alternatively, departure transfers arrive at Madrid Airport in the early evening, followed by the Madrid tour hotel.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|6 Apr 18||24 Apr 18||$4,950$4,579pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|20 Apr 18||8 May 18||$4,975pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|27 Apr 18||15 May 18||$4,975pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|4 May 18||22 May 18||$4,975pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|18 May 18||5 Jun 18||$5,075pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|1 Jun 18||19 Jun 18||$5,025pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|15 Jun 18||3 Jul 18||$5,025pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|29 Jun 18||17 Jul 18||$5,175pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|13 Jul 18||31 Jul 18||$5,250$4,856pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|27 Jul 18||14 Aug 18||$5,275$4,879pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|10 Aug 18||28 Aug 18||$5,275pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|24 Aug 18||11 Sep 18||$5,275$4,879pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|7 Sep 18||25 Sep 18||$5,125pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|21 Sep 18||9 Oct 18||$5,095pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|5 Oct 18||23 Oct 18||$5,095pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|19 Oct 18||6 Nov 18||$4,975$4,602pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
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 $1,230 p.p.
Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $208 per person.
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.
Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.
17 Buffet Breakfasts (BB) and 7 Dinners with Wine (DW) all tea or coffee.
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 24 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.
Optional Experiences are subject to change and seasonal availability. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip and pricing. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can only be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
Tapas is more than a way of eating, it's a way of life and while regional divisions remain strong in Spain, the nation is wholly united in its love of the bite-sized bar tapa! Tonight we'll enjoy a wonderful array of traditional Andalusian tapas specialties, served in a local restaurant with wine, beer & soft drinks included. After a wonderful meal we'll then finish with a magnificent horse & carriage ride through the old town of Seville which is especially magical in the evening.
Join your local expert for a walking tour of the perfectly preserved Moorish city of Cordoba. The highlight is undoubtedly the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th-century mosque with a Cathedral built inside. Walk with your guide through the forest of horseshoe shaped arches to the Baroque choir stalls of the Cathedral and the richly ornamented Mihrab prayer niche.
Drive to the Bairro Alto, the old quarter of Lisbon, to admire the beautiful views over the city. Then take a funicular ride to the downtown Baixa area where cobblestones sparkle in the light of the shops, bars and cafes. Returning to your hotel, you'll pass monuments and buildings, lit up in all their glory.
Across the mighty Tagus River are some of Lisbon's famous seafood restaurants and wonderful views of the city from afar. Board your ferry across the wide blue waters for a delightful evening of Portuguese seafood and fish specialties. After dinner, even more sweeping views over the Portuguese capital, as you return to your hotel via the impressive suspension bridge.
Fado is the bluesy, melancholic folk music for which Lisbon is famous, traditionally sung by a woman accompanied by two guitarists. Savor dinner in a typical Portuguese nightspot, specializing in beautiful and haunting Fado melodies. Wine included.
Like the Kings of Portugal before you, travel to the glamorous resort of Cascais and scenic hilltop Sintra – veritable jewels in the crown of Portugal. After visiting the Royal Palace, return to Lisbon via the wealthy playground of Estoril with its famous Casino.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is Spain's most sumptuous and impressive royal residence, jam packed with the riches and glory of Spanish history. Join a local historian to explore the extensive collection of armory, porcelain, tapestries, gilt mirrors, works of art and period furniture. Highlights include the gold and scarlet Throne Room and magnificent State Apartments. A rare and enlightening look into the history and lifestyle of the Spanish monarchy.
Spain is known for its incredible music and tonight this music is brought to life whilst we dine to a wonderful three-course menu with included wine. An amazingly talented group of singers, trained at a local academy, take you on a musical journey around Spain without leaving the comfort of your seat. A truly memorable experience.
Drive to the fortified city of Segovia where a local expert leads you through the medieval streets from the ancient aqueduct to the magnificent Alcazar, one of the inspirations for Walt Disney's Cinderella castle. Inside this 14th century palace, experience the paintings, tapestries, weaponry and armory of the Spanish medieval era. Then take a panoramic drive outside the walls to admire stunning views over the Eresma valley, the Roman aqueduct and picturesque buildings of this medieval jewel.
Tonight, we drive to a Traditional "meson" to be tempted by dishes for which the capital is famous. Our dinner includes regional wines, beer or soft drinks or you may like to try Spain's signature "Sangria". During your meal a local "Tuna de Madrid" will be playing your favourite Spanish songs while dressed in 18th-century costumes. Afterwards, we drive the grand avenues and boulevards to see the spectacular fountains that remind us of the glory of Madrid.
Tonight we have the chance to sample a wonderful variety of typical Galician dishes, all complemented with fantastic locally produced wine. Later in the evening, we'll listen to local musicians and experience the Celtic influences in their traditional music - played using authentic Galician Instruments. A truly wonderful evening.
Southward to the RIA DE AROUSA one of the deep fjord-like estuaries of GALICIA. Beautiful coastal scenery with beaches, vineyards, palm trees, grand villas and old stone houses. Visit a typical Galician granite 'Pazo' grand manor house of the old aristocracy, the island of A Toxa and the port of O Grove.
This evening, we cruise the beautiful Bay of Santander to admire the magnificent stately manor homes and palaces with the wonderful backdrop of the Cantabrian mountains We then head to an authentic Cantabrian restaurant where we'll try many of the local dishes for which this region of ‘mountains and oceans’ is known. Local wines are included.
View the beach and fishing port as we head to the lively heart of the old town of Spain's gourmet capital for a sumptuous supper in one of the city's boutique restaurants. Wine and soft drinks included.
With your local expert, explore St. Jean the Luz, jewel of the Basque Country and visit the church where Louis XIV "The Sun King" married the Spanish princess Maria Teresa. An extra surprise awaits us next as we drive to the famous Biarritz summer residence of Napoleon III with its sophisticated spa resort.
Enter a strange fantasy world at Parc Guell, Spain's most impressive public park! Here Gaudi designed mushroom-like houses, "bird nest" pillars and a stunning mosaic dragon. The huge central terrace is enveloped by a ceramic-encrusted serpentine bench (reputedly the world's longest seat) and offers panoramic views of Barcelona and the bay. We then head to the coast and Port Olympic, built for the athletes of the 1992 Olympics, where we'll have free time to try one the numerous waterfront restaurants.
Ascend the sacred mountain of Montserrat, Catalonia's most important pilgrimage site for a thousand years. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic views before entering the dark, ornate “Basilica Real” and climbing the stairs to the mystical Black Madonna, surrounded by an altar of gold.
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