Spain attracts every year millions of foreign tourists making it one the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Easier to escape the crowds, Portugal offers an old-fashioned charm, with medieval castles and picture-perfect villages, meandering coastlines and flower-covered hillsides. Experience the magic of both countries on this 18 day grand tour.
- Arrival to Barcelona airport. Individual transfers to the hotel. Welcome dinner either at the hotel or at the local restaurant. Overnight.
- After breakfast begin a guided FD s/s tour of Barcelona (4+4 hrs), which includes Barcelona’s most important artistic sights: Gaudi’s famous buildings Casa Batlló, Casa Milá, the Cathedral Sagrada Familia (entrance fee to the cathedral included) and Guell Park, declared an artistic monument and mankind’s heritage by the Unesco. We pass by the Barcelona’s Monumental Bull Ring and the city park La Ciutadella.
- Around midday free for lunch and in the afternoon continuation of the city tour featuring Plaza Cataluña, Vía Laietana, the Cathedral, the Gothic Quarter and Plaza Sant Jaume. Continue to the Vila Olímpica and the Port Olímpic, pass the Montjuic Mountain, and see the harbour.
- Evening free for strolling around on your own. Overnight.
- Breakfast in the hotel. Departure to Valencia. Upon arrival, afternoon guided HD s/s tour of Valencia (3,5 hrs), one of the most lively Mediterranean cities, known for its numerous gardens. Tour of the old part of the town includes the Cathedral with a bell tower of 8 angels – the symbol of the town, Puerta del Real, Puerta de la Trinidad, Puerta de las Serranos and a walk through the lively streets of Barrio de Carmen. Overnight.
- After breakfast departure to Granada, passing by a famous tourist centre Alicante and the town Murcia.
- Arrival to Granada in the evening. Overnight.
- After breakfast start the guided HD s/s tour of Granada (3,5 hrs), one of the most charming cities in Spain with its unique architecture, a mixture of Moorish, Muslim and Catholic art. We shall visit the famous Alhambra Palace (entrance included) and the amazing gardens of Generalife (entrance included). Walk through the old part of the city and visit of the Royal Chapel (entrance included), where King Ferdinand and Queen Elisabeth are buried. Overnight.
- After breakfast transfer to Cordoba and upon arrival HD SS tour of Cordoba. You will be able to visit Mezquita de Cordoba, a Roman Catholic Cathedral and former Mosque. Under the rule of Islam, it was built as the second-largest mosque in the world, and is perhaps the most accomplished monument of the Unmayyad dynasty of Cordoba. After the Spanish Reconquista it was transformed into a church, and some of the Islamic columns and arches were replaced by a basilica in early Baroque style. After visit you will be able to walk through the streets of barrio de la Judería, known for its interesting interior patios. After visit free time for personal activities and lunch.
- In the afternoon way to Sevilla and overnight.
- After breakfast begin a guided HD s/s tour of Seville (3,5 hrs). We will visit the two most important highlights of central Sevilla: the Cathedral of Santa María (entrance included), biggest in Spain and place where is buried Christopher Columbus, and the Royal Alcazar (entrance included), Arabic palace from the 14th Century and nowadays residence of the Spanish kings, to end with a nice walk through the historical Jewish section called Santa Cruz.
- In the evening optional Tapas dinner & Flamenco show. Overnight.
- After breakfast depart direction Lisbon. En route stop in Évora, a place which is classified as World Heritage by Unesco. This city accomplishes a great harmony of all époques that marked the prestigious history of Évora. On the Giraldo Square, from the arcades you will have a great perspective; you’ll notice the right architectural proportion and balance of the city. This city with six kilometres of ramparts can be visited by foot: the historical quarter, with the roman and gothic cathedral, the Roman Temple, Saint Francis church and the Bone Chappel.
- From Evora proceed to Lisbon. Overnight.
- After breakfast begin a guided HD s/s tour of Lisbon (4 hrs). We start with a panoramic tour that will take us through the most historical and traditional points of the city, such as the Park Edward VII, Liberty Avenue, Restauration Square, Rossio Square, the Downtown (rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755) and Commerce Square. Afterwards we continue to Belém, that is known as the “Discoveries Quarter” – it was from here that the caravels set sail to their trips to South America and to the Orient. First we stop at the Tower of Belém (outside visit) – built in Manueline style on the north bank of the River Tagus for the defence purposes of the city – and afterwards we make a photo stop at the Monument to the Discoveries, that celebrates the Portuguese discoveries and specially Henry the Navigator. We continue by visiting the Jeronimus Monastery (entrance included), built in the 16th century in Manueline style. This monument celebrates the power of King Manuel I and the magnificence of the empire.
- Proceed to Alfama, the quarter where the city was born. In the afternoon begin the excursion: travel to Estoril for panoramic view of its gardens and Casino. On to Cascais, where we stop for a beautiful view of the fishing port. Due to its strategic position Cascais became a look-out for Lisbon during the age of the Discoveries. It became very famous at the end of the 19th century, when it was chosen as a summer residence by the Portuguese Royal Family. From Caiscais we drive along the coastline towards Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in Continental Europe with wonderful views over the Atlantic and with a unique flora.
- Continue to Sintra, a beautiful town situated on the green slopes of a mountain range. This town used to be the residence of the Portuguese royal family during the middle ages and it was considered World Heritage by UNESCO. In Sintra you will have an opportunity to taste the local cheese cake – queijadas, and visit the impressive Sintra Palace (entrance included). From Sintra return to Lisbon. In the evening optional Fado dinner. Overnight.
- After breakfast we depart North direction Coimbra. Stop in the medieval fortress village of Obidos, still surrounded by high walls, which date back to the 12th century.
- On to Nazare, a fishing village with historical points related to legends, and known for its excellent cuisine.
- From there we continue to Batalha, the town was that was founded to pay homage to the Portuguese victory at the Battle of Aljubarrota (August 14, 1385) that put an end to the 1383-1385 crises.
- On to Fatima, famous for the Marian apparitions, recognized by the Catholic Church, that took place there in 1917. From Fatima proceed towards the last destination of the day. Overnight in Coimbra.
- The city of Coimbra is divided into two: the baixa (lower town) by the river is the main commerical centre and alta (upper town) is the older part of the city where the university and many of Coimbra’s main attractions are located. After breakfast start a guided HD s/s tour of Coimbra (4 hrs), a charming town with an ancient and traditional University, where we mingle in the atmosphere of students. Inhabited by Romans and Arabs, it was once the capital of Portugal, before Lisbon took its place. During the tour we visit the University & Library (entrance included), the first to exist in Portugal, since the XIII century and one of the most important universities in Europe: see the Library, a masterpiece of gilt wood-work and its courtyard from where we have another nice view over Mondego river.
- Afternoon free time for lunch and to walk through the narrow streets of the ancient area, see the antique Cathedral, dating from the XII century. Overnight.
- Departure to Aveiro, city of the clourful houses and numerous canals, known as the “Portuguese Venice”, where you shall have time to see the graceful boats “moliceiros” and taste the local sweets “ovos moles”. After short orientation tour there will be free time to enjoy this city on your own. Early afternoon departure to Porto.
- Upon arrival free time for lunch and afterwards HD guided visit (4 hrs) of Porto’s most attractive areas such as the Ribeira quarter, St. Francisco Church (entrance included), the Stock Exchange (entrance included), and the one of the Porto’s wine cellars to enjoy the tasting of Porto wine. Continue with enjoyable 1 hour cruise on the Douro River (included). Overnight in Porto.
- Full day at leisure. Possibility for the optional excursion along the Douro valley. Overnight in Porto.
- After breakfast departure to Salamanca. an ancient city famous for its university founded by Alfonso IX in the early 1200’s. All the buildings in the center of town, even the new ones, are made of the stone from Villamayor, which contains a high concentration of iron making possible very filigree works. Together with its characteristic golden color gives strong personality to all the town. Our panoramic tour features the highlights such as Casa de las Conchas, the Roman Bridge, Plaza Mayor, Old and New Cathedral and the University Quarter with its famous Salamanca University.
- The reminder of the day is free to stroll around on your own. Overnight in Salamanca.
- Early departure toward Avila. Sta. Teresa de Jesús, a great mystic woman of the Catholic Church, was born in the city of Avila, which conserves the most ancient and complete fortified complex in Spain (XI century). Its 2500 m wall and its 90 fortified towers surround the old city, which houses great part of its monumental treasure including a large number of Romanesque style churches, gothic palaces and a fortified cathedral of the XII century.
- After orientation tour of Avila proceed to Segovia. The Roman Empire left in Segovia the Aqueduct, which is 16 km long. It was the residence of some of the kings of Castilla and preserves one of the most important medieval groups of buildings in Spain. The cathedral is considered “the Lady of the Cathedrals” thanks to its elegance, and the Alcazar is the most spectacular castle in the country.
- After orientation tour of Segovia we proceed to the final destination of the day, Madrid. Overnight.
- Breakfast. Start a guided HD s/s tour of Madrid (4 hrs), a multi-faced city, with its Arab-fortress which origins to the court days during the reign of Philip II and that of Charles III, at which period some important building schemes were undertaken and, finally, present day Madrid, one of the most important European capitals. We’ll drive past such well-known avenues as those of Gran Vía and Castellana, famous squares such as the Plaza de España, Oriente, Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Atocha, Neptuno, Cibeles, Puerta de Alcalá, Colón and Plaza de Castilla, quarters of major historical relevance such as that of the Austrias, the Borbouns and Salamanca, the Oeste and Retiro parks, commercial and financial areas Coliseums such as the Bullring, the Santiago Bernabeu soccer stadium, University Campous, etc. Time permiting we shall visit also the Basilica San Francisco.
- The afternoon is at leisure. Overnight.
- After breakfast begin a HD excursion to Toledo. In Toledo, guided HD tour of the city (3 hrs) with included inside visits to the Cathedral (entrance included) and Santo Tome Church (entrance included).
- From Toledo return to Madrid. Afternoon at leisure. Farewell dinner at the local restaurant (walking distance, without the coach transfer). Overnight.
- Breakfast. Individual transfers to Madrid airport for your home bound flight.
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