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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 Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a delightful evening of dinner and wine.
With a Local Expert, visit the the city of Toledo and join a master craftsman in a Damascene workshop for a personal insight into this ancient craft. Walk through the cobbled streets to visit the Church of Santo Tomé, housing El Greco's famous painting, ‘The Burial of the Count of Orgaz'. Continue 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 stone-cut lace, arabesque gardens and fountains, built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century. With a Local Expert, you will also visit the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer residence. Relax here in the sunshine and enjoy the fine views over the town and its three verdant hills, before embarking upon a scenic drive to Seville. 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. You will 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 enriched with the spoils of the New World. At night, enjoy the flavours of Andalusia and share in the passion of Spain's most fiery region at a flamenco show and dinner.
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 panoramic tour 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 Belem Quarter from where sailing ships set forth to discover unknown lands. Visit an old patisserie that has managed to hold on to the secret recipe of Portugal's finest pastry for over 100 years and enjoy a tasting of the famous 'Pasteis de Belem'. See the Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belem 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. Enjoy free time in the afternoon. Perhaps join an optional experience to the beautiful town of Sintra which was the summer residence of the Kings of Portugal?
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 Castile, towards the city of Avila, still entirely enclosed within 11th century walls and unique in Europe. Walk within the ancient city before returning to Madrid for sightseeing. Here, a Local Expert takes you along the Gran Via and through the Puerta del Sol. You'll see the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España, Royal Palace and Cibeles Fountain. In the evening, bid farewell to your new-found friends with a lively Celebration Dinner at a local restaurant.
In the morning, a Local Expert will guide you along the noble avenues past the Cibeles Fountain and down the Gran Vía to the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España. Cross the Puerta del Sol and continue to the Prado Museum, housing works by Velázquez, Goya, Titian, Botticelli, Rubens and others. You will then have free time to relax at a cafe or shop in the boutiques.
Venture through the Guadarrama Mountains to the infinite horizons of Old Castile. Some of Spain’s most fashionable white wines are produced in the Rueda region, so stop for a tasting. 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.
In the morning, become acquainted with some of Europe’s finest historical buildings with a Local Expert. The monumental square, Spanish Plaza del Obradoiro, is pure grandeur in granite. Look up from the steady trickle of present-day pilgrims to the cathedral façade - an ensemble of soaring towers, arches and windows, festooned with architectural frills. Once through the ‘Gateway of Glory’, you’re privy to the same vision that has greeted pilgrims since the Middle Ages. The faithful can pass behind the ornate high altar to touch the giant 13th century gilded effigy of St. James. Follow the steps of the pilgrims on The Way of St. James, then indulge in some free time to explore the narrow streets and old squares.
Get your cameras ready for a scenic drive along the Costa Verde. This Green Coast of Asturias is one of Spain’s most beautiful, named after the colour of the sea and the pine and eucalyptus trees that line the shore. Your route reveals glorious coastal vistas before turning inland to the modern town of Oviedo. A Local Expert will show you the 9th century churches built when the city was the capital of Christian Spain. Visit the church of San Julian covered with 1,000-year-old wall paintings and the cathedral in the stately square of Plaza Alfonso II. Round off the day with an introduction to Northern Spain’s drink of choice in the ‘Boulevard of 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. After time to explore, drive 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. Now a pleasant drive along part of the Costa Vasca, dotted with small coastal fishing villages. Pause in Zumaia, at the mouth of the Urola, where you can see El Ratón, the mouse-shaped rock. Continue to San Sebastián, pearl of the Cantabrian coast, set on its shell-shaped bay. The city harbour is filled with fishing boats and pleasure crafts, so you can enjoy a number of sporting activities on its large sandy beach. Spain’s northern Basque country has evolved into the best place to eat in the Western world. Discover the city's rich gastronomic tradition in the old city's pintxos (tapas) bars and be sure to try the local Txakoli wine.
In the morning, admire the beauty of San Sebastián on a guided walking tour of 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. Ascend Monte Igueldo for beautiful views of the town and La Concha Bay. The afternoon is free to stroll along San Sebastián’s boardwalk, and maybe partake in an excellent dinner with drinks in a restaurant in the heart of Lo Viejo (Old town).
Your first stop is in Pamplona, famous for the 'Running of the Bulls' festival. Perhaps take a stroll to the famous Estafeta Street before moving on past the famous Rioja wine producing region. 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 Gothic Quarter and walk through the Roman gate to tour the narrow lanes and old squares. Next, head along the Passeig de Gràcia, adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district for a visit inside Gaudi’s extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Church. See its giant, tree-like pillars and spectacular vaulting. The afternoon is at leisure. In the evening, raise your glass at your finalé Celebration Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.
Departure transfers arrive at Madrid Airport in the early evening, followed by the Madrid tour hotel.
8 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Signature Evening (SE), 1 three-course table d'hôte Dinner (DW) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee. Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year's Eve enjoy a festive Highlight Dinner.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|26 May 17||13 Jun 17||$4,395pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|9 Jun 17||27 Jun 17||$4,395pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|16 Jun 17||4 Jul 17||$4,295pp||Request Quote|
|23 Jun 17||11 Jul 17||$4,475pp||Request Quote|
|7 Jul 17||25 Jul 17||$4,475pp||Request Quote|
|14 Jul 17||1 Aug 17||$4,475pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|28 Jul 17||15 Aug 17||$4,495pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|11 Aug 17||29 Aug 17||$4,495pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|25 Aug 17||12 Sep 17||$4,450pp||Request Quote|
|1 Sep 17||19 Sep 17||$4,595pp||Request Quote|
|15 Sep 17||3 Oct 17||$4,495pp||Request Quote|
|22 Sep 17||10 Oct 17||$4,395pp||Request Quote|
|29 Sep 17||17 Oct 17||$4,250pp||Request Quote|
|6 Oct 17||24 Oct 17||$4,250pp||Request Quote|
|13 Oct 17||31 Oct 17||$4,250pp||Request Quote|
|20 Oct 17||7 Nov 17||$4,225pp||Request Quote|
These departures stay at the Turim Terreiro do Paco Hotel in Lisbon.
These departures stay at the Hotel Bahia in Santander. There is a 15% reduction to the Single Supplement charge for the June 2nd departure and a 35% reduction for May 5th and October 19th departures, subject to availability.
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 $830 p.p.
Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $158 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.
Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.
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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