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The fiery Spanish capital of Madrid paves the way for an unforgettable journey through centuries of history and cultural highlights across the Iberian Peninsula. Embrace la buena vida and soak up the vibrant city atmosphere, before joining your fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation of the city's iconic sights.
Witness the dramatic honey-coloured clifftop hanging houses of Cuenca, before your journey continues to Valencia, renowned for its modern verve and spirit of innovation. An orientation drive will include views of the 15th-century Towers of Serrano and Quart, and the City of Arts and Sciences, a large-scale urban recreation centre for culture and science and designed by Santiago Calatrava. This evening, consider indulging in Valencia's fragrant flavours and aromas of paella.
Our journey takes us through the sierra of Spain, before arriving in Guadix to view the troglodyte cave dwellings that blend effortlessly into the surrounding ochre landscape. Witness how generations of Guadix locals have carved cosy abodes into their rocky surrounds, then travel through the jagged Mora Pass to Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors in Europe. This evening, sample the hearty flavours of Andalusia during a special Regional Dinner at a local restaurant.
Tread in the footsteps of Spain's last emirs, joining your Local Specialist for a visit to the incredible Alhambra, with its amazing palaces, gardens and fountains. Inspired by poetry, the architecture is said to be a reflection of paradise as described in Islamic verse. Immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere in quiet courtyards, follow its colossal ancient walls and admire the ornate stone carvings. We leave Granada behind for Córdoba where we'll join a Local Specialist to visit the mesmerising Cathedral of Córdoba, the former mosque of the caliphs and a jewel of Hispano-Islamic art featuring striking arches and Byzantine mosaics. Our final stop for the day is alluring Seville, our home for the next three nights.
Seville takes centre stage today as we spend the day exploring this charismatic city. We'll see the symbolic Giralda Bell Tower with a Local Specialist, then visit the Maria Luisa Park, the centrepiece of the 1929 Exposition. The park was built in a Moorish style and features half a mile of fountains, ponds, pavilions and lush plantings. We'll walk through the imposing Plaza de España and visit the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, where the explorer Christopher Columbus is entombed. Consider an Optional Experience this evening to witness the twirling of colourful skirts and rhythmic clapping of castanets at a fiery flamenco performance.
We indulge in the aromatic flavours of Jerez today as we 'Dive Into Culture' and into the centuries-old tradition of Spanish sherry production. The leafy boulevards and quiet plazas of romantic Cádiz are our next stop. Tread in the footsteps of Columbus, who used this historic port city as his launch pad to the 'New World', and see the exotic plants and trees dotted throughout the city, said to have been brought here by him upon his return.
We journey from Spain to the sun-kissed shores of southern Portugal's Algarve, a retreat for sun-worshippers with its spectacular natural landscapes. Enjoy the delicious flavours of piri piri chicken and grilled sardines against the picture-perfect backdrop of the Atlantic, relax on its golden beaches or consider joining an Optional Experience.
Travel north to the Serra da Arrábida mountains and the golden landscapes of the Alentejo where you'll 'Connect With Locals' over a Be My Guest lunch at a traditional Stud Ranch which has been rearing Lusitano horses since the 18th century. We arrive in the seafaring Portuguese capital of Lisbon this afternoon, where we'll join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of the spectacular 16th-century Hieronymite Monastery. See Belém Tower, built as a tribute to Vasco da Gama's journey of discovery, before a free evening to spend as you wish. Consider visiting the hillside Bairro Alto in search of delicious Portuguese flavours or witness the melancholic tunes of the fado.
Today is yours to connect with the Portuguese capital. Relax at a sidewalk café with a creamy pasteis de nata and venture to the Castle of São Jorge and admire the sea of pastel pinks, yellows and blues that clad Lisbon's seven hills. You may choose to join an Optional Experience to the historic towns of Cascais and Sintra.
Follow the road taken by pilgrims over the last 100 years to the Shrine at Fátima, a site of celebrated religious miracles. We leave Portugal, travelling to the historic Spanish city of Salamanca with its golden-hued façades and ancient university heritage, where we will view its 18th-century Plaza Mayor during our orientation tour.
See the walled city of Ávila, the town of stones and saints, so named for its vast collection of Romanesque and Gothic churches. We arrive in the clifftop city of Toledo, where we'll visit the Church of Santo Tomé, home to one of El Greco's most famous paintings - The Burial of Count Orgaz. Join a Local Specialist for a guided walk through its streets and see the former Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca. Later, 'Dive Into Culture' and witness local craftsmen at work creating inlaid steel the traditional way. We arrive in Madrid this evening, our home for the next two nights.
This morning, we join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of Madrid, where we'll see the Royal Palace and the Cervantes Monument with its stone representations of Don Quixote's "true love". Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city on your own. Admire the world's finest collection of Spanish art at the Prado Museum, indulge in some last-minute shopping on Gran Vía or consider an Optional Experience to the medieval UNESCO-listed City of Segovia. This evening, marks the end of our memorable journey through the Iberian Peninsula. Join your fellow companions and Travel Director for a Farewell Dinner.
For now it's time to say a fond adiós to our travelling companions, your Travel Director and the beauty of Spain and Portugal at the end of a memorable holiday. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.
Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
Adult Price: € 34
Your opportunity to experience the coastal Algarve region, with wonderful photo opportunities at Ponta da Piedade. Next, we'll walk around Lagos and then to photogenic Praia da Rocha before you’ll enjoy free time in one of the well-known yachting marinas. This is a fully-guided tour.
Adult Price: € 34
Enjoy an evening in Granada’s old quarter, which offers the finest views over the illuminated Alhambra Palace. We’ve organised tickets for you to see the Zambra dances by Sacromonte's famous gypsies – a fiery, emotive performance unique to this part of Spain. And we've also included a drink, too.
Adult Price: € 53
Your opportunity to enjoy the exclusive district of Estrela, its park, basilica and the Portuguese Parliament, on the way to a delicious gourmet dinner. You’ll finish the evening with a drive along the banks of the mighty River Tagus.
Adult Price: € 65
An evening's entertainment Portuguese style. You’ll savour a typical meal with local aperitifs and wines and hear beautiful, traditional Fado singing.
Adult Price: € 53
Take a ferry across the mighty Tagus River and enjoy typical Portuguese seafood and fish specialities at a local restaurant. After dinner, we’ll cross the impressive Suspension Bridge for a sweeping view over the Portuguese capital.
Adult Price: € 46
We'll visit the impressive Royal Palace of Sintra before passing through the fashionable resort of Estoril. Then, we'll explore the picturesque fishing village of Cascais, with its beautiful array of mansions and exclusive residences.
Adult Price: € 61
This evening you'll have the chance to admire the elegance of Madrid's new city, with its wide, tree-lined avenues and decorative fountains, before you experience the flavour of the old. Join the locals in a chat, and people-watch as you sip an aperitif before enjoying a delicious dinner.
Adult Price: € 45
Enjoy a visit to Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which sits on a rocky outcrop between two rivers. With your Local Specialist, you’ll visit the 13th-century castle, reputed to have inspired Walt Disney, as well as seeing the best-preserved Roman aqueduct which has remained intact for 2,000 years.
Adult Price: € 38
On this trip, you’ll begin with a visit to the elegant Moorish Alcazar, set in its own beautiful gardens. You'll then journey to the famous exhibition site of Plaza America which is a must for any visitor to Seville.
Adult Price: € 53
Join us for a dinner of mouth-watering tapas-style specialties. You’ll get the chance to taste different flavours and wines, before taking an atmospheric evening stroll through the charming old quarter of Seville.
Adult Price: € 40
Discover the passion, rhythm and magic of an Andalucian flamenco show with us this evening. We've organised tickets to the best show in town, where you’ll experience 90 minutes of memorable entertainment with an included drink.
Adult Price: € 69
After a three-course dinner of Andalucian specialities, you’ll discover the passion, rhythm and magic of flamenco this evening. We've organised tickets to the best show in town, where you’ll experience 90 minutes of memorable entertainment with an included drink.
Adult Price: € 50
Spain's famous rice dish "The Paella" originated inValencia. This evening, we'll travel to a seafront restaurant where we'll sample several of its many variations. We'll also enjoy great beach views and a drive through the new yachting marina, home of the America's Cup 2007.
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