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Kick-start your epic encounter with Spain and Portugal in Europe's highest capital city, Madrid. Spend your day rambling along tree-lined boulevards and people-watching in the city's lively squares before joining your fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive past some of Madrid's most iconic sites.
We journey south for an excursion to the hilltop city of Toledo, where we'll join our Local Specialist for a walking tour. Visit the Church of Santo Tomé, home to El Greco's most famous painting, 'The Burial of the Count of Orgaz', and visit the former synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca. This afternoon, join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of the Spanish capital, which includes views of the Royal Palace, the former residence of the Spanish royal family and the Cibeles Fountain.
Venture to Segovia and see the Roman Aqueduct, by far the most impressive Roman structure in Spain - delivering drinking water across its impressive 160 arches to the people of Segovia in ancient times. View the Alcázar of Segovia and the city's medieval and Moorish architecture. Travel to the city of Zamora in the Castilla y León region. Your orientation tour includes views of the cathedral and the Church of Mary Magdalene. Then, Dive Into Culture and savour the fruity flavours of the city's refreshingly sweet sangria.
Travel to Santiago de Compostela, where you'll join a Local Specialist, who will share insights into the 'Way of Saint James' and explain why thousands of people attempt the life-changing pilgrimage annually. Visit the vast Cathedral, reputed to be the final resting place of Saint James the Great, and the Praza do Obradoiro, a square dominated by four architectural styles.
Embark on a sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist today in Porto. Wander past Baroque churches and along the winding lanes that tumble down towards the Douro. See the remarkable bridges that span the river, the medieval Ribeira Quarter and the city port. Visit the Stock Exchange Palace with its splendid Arabian Hall inspired by Granada's Alhambra, before you Dive Into Culture and the centuries-old tradition of local Port production at a tasting in a Port cellar. Spend the rest of the afternoon strolling through the historic centre of Porto. Check in to your impressive Stays With Stories accommodation, the Neya Porto Hotel, built from the ruins of a convent founded in 1533. Discover the fascinating history of the Convento Madre Deus de Monchique turned hotel while admiring the magnificent Douro River views.
Follow the road taken by pilgrims over the last 100 years to the Shrine at Fátima, site of a celebrated religious miracle. We arrive in colourful Lisbon later - our home for the next two nights. This evening perhaps enjoy a traditional Portuguese dinner amidst the heart-wrenching, melancholic sounds of the fado.
Delve into Lisbon's centuries-old seafaring heritage today, paying tribute to the brave men who set off from these shores to discover a new world. We'll see the shimmering white Monument to the Discoveries, the iconic suspension bridge spanning the River Tagus, and Belém Tower when we join a Local Specialist on a sightseeing tour of Lisbon. We'll Dive Into Culture at the UNESCO-listed Hieronymite Monastery, an exquisite testament to 16th-century Manueline architecture and art. Join an Optional Experience to the historic towns of Cascais and Sintra.
We travel east through Portugal's picturesque rural landscapes of the Alentejo - the country's cork capital and cross into Spain, journeying through the province of Huelva, renowned for its Jabugo ham, before arriving in Seville. This evening, explore the fine art of olive oil production at a Be My Guest experience and Connect With Locals over a memorable dinner at an olive oil estate.
The charisma of Seville is unmistakable. Join a Local Specialist for a walking tour through the city. View the symbolic Giralda Bell Tower, see the tiled fountains, pavilions and lush palms in the Maria Luisa Park and walk through the imposing Plaza de España. Later, we'll stroll through the historic Jewish Quarter before visiting the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world.
Multicultural Granada takes centre stage today as we visit the magnificent Alhambra in the company of a Local Specialist. A fine example of Moorish architecture, the Alhambra complex was built during the 14th century towards the end of Islamic rule in Spain. Wander through the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal Summer Palace, once linked to the other palaces by a covered walkway across the ravine, and admire the intricate design and detail around every turn.
This morning, we journey via the Mora Pass to Guadix in the northern foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains where you will see the whitewashed troglodyte dwellings lodged in the ochre-coloured cliffs of the surrounding area. We travel to Valencia, where we'll stay overnight to view the Bullring and admire the architecture of its medieval cathedral and the Serrano and Quart Towers. Embrace the city's spirit of innovation and stop to view the City of Arts and Sciences, a large-scale urban recreation centre for culture and science, designed by Santiago Calatrava.
Head north along the coast through the Levant region and stop at Peñíscola, the 'City in the Sea', to view the ancient castle of the 'Spanish Pope', built by the Knights Templar and used in the film, 'El Cid'. We continue along the Costa Dorada to Barcelona with its whimsical Gaudí architecture. Join a Local Specialist and see the unfinished La Sagrada Família then explore the Plaça de Catalunya and pay tribute to Christopher Columbus at the monument that bears his name.
Embrace the charm of Barcelona, ramble through El Born for delicious tapas or consider joining an Optional Experience to the mountaintop monastery of Montserrat to see the shrine of the Black Madonna - affectionately known in Catalonia as La Moreneta - or spend the rest of the day exploring the city's enchanting barrios. This evening, we join our fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Farewell Dinner.
For now it's adios to Spain at the end of a memorable holiday. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers. ( B )
Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.
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