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Length:  13 days from Madrid to Madrid

2018 Season Departs From:  Madrid


Overview

Spain and Portugal—these are two countries with rich histories and distinct cultures, and on this affordable Best of Spain & Portugal tour, you ll see their fascinating highlights. In Spain, you’ll overnight in Madrid, Granada, Cordoba, Seville, and Salamanca. In Portugal, you’ll stay in Lisbon and Oporto.

One of the tour highlights is a visit to Toledo, a town that attracts more visitors from around the world than any other Spanish town. In this old walled town, built on a hill, you’ll visit the 12th-century Church of St. Tome, which has one of El Grecos most famous paintings.

You will be delighted by the included visit of the Alhambra complex, built in the 13th century by Moorish kings featuring one of the oldest decorative gardens in the Western World. In Avila—a UNESCO World Heritage city founded in the 11th century—see the towers and walls and visit St. Theresas Convent, a Carmelite convent opened in 1636 on the birthplace of St. Teresa.

In Portugal, visit Lisbon with a local guide, who will show you Belem Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built circa 1514 to commemorate the expedition of Vasco de Gama and Oportos cathedral, built between the 12th and 13th centuries in Romanesque style on a terrace overlooking the port wine cellars on the banks of the Douro River.

In Spain, enjoy guided sightseeing in Toledo, Granada, Seville and Madrid. These experts in the cities histories and cultures will highlight the must-see sights. All of this and more—including a visit with wine tasting to a local wine cellar in Montilla—await you on this fabulous and affordable Spain and Portugal tour designed for value-minded travelers.

Duration:  13 Days

Schedule:   

All Tours are SOLD OUT for this season. Contact us about availablity for next season.
Start Date End Date


City Highlights

Visits to Loja, Montilla wine tasting, Evora, Fátima sanctuary, Coimbra, Salamanca Plaza Mayor, Avila St. Theresa’s convent, Segovia.





Scenic Highlights

Costa del Sol, Andalusia, Douro Valley

Day 1   ARRIVE IN MADRID, SPAIN. Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is for you to relax or start exploring Madrid. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers. (D)

Day 2   MADRID–TOLEDO–GRANADA. Drive south to Toledo. Spectacularly situated on a granite hill surrounded by a loop of the Tagus River, the ancient Castilian capital attracts more visitors from around the world than any other Spanish town. Visit the walled Old Town with a Local Guide and marvel at the 12th-century CHURCH OF ST. TOME, known for its large painting by El Greco of The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Later, cross the Guadalquivir River and head for the olive and orange groves that dot the rolling Andalusian hills. Overnight in history-steeped Granada at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. (B,D)

Day 3   GRANADA–LOJA–MONTILLA–CORDOBA. Granada was the Arabs’ most treasured city, and they still mourn its loss in their prayers. With a Local Guide, visit the ALHAMBRA COMPLEX, built by Moorish kings. More grand scenery as you travel to Loja. Captured and held by the Moors, it was formerly known as Medina Lawsa until it was recaptured by the Christians in 1486 during the Reconquista. Explore this “flower among thorns” before reaching Montilla to visit a local WINE CELLAR and taste some of its wine. Then, continue to Cordoba on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. (B)

Day 4   CORDOBA–SEVILLE. With a Local Guide visit the magnificent MEZQUITA, famous for its 850 pillars of porphyry, marble, and jasper. Then, travel through the stunningly scenic area of Pueblos Blancos—the “White-Washed Villages of Andalusia.” This picturesque region is famous for the deep El Tajo gorge that literally cuts it in two, and is the birthplace of modern bullfighting. On to vibrant, festive Seville. (B,D)

Day 5   SEVILLE. Get to know Seville on the included city tour. Capital of Andalusia and the cultural and financial center of southern Spain, colorful Seville has much to offer: the cathedral, the third-largest church in the world after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London; the beautiful La Giralda minaret tower, a symbol of Seville; the Real Alcázar palace with its extravagant moorish architecture and opulent gardens; Plaza de España, used in the filming of Episodes I and II in the Star Wars trilogy; and so much more. (B)

Day 6   SEVILLE–EVORA, PORTUGAL–LISBON. Enjoy the scenery of the Sierra de Aracena before crossing into Portugal and the fertile plains of the Alentejo. Admire the forest of cork trees and make a stop to visit Evora, a delightfully attractive Moorish city with arches, alleys, flower-decked balconies, brilliant white houses, and the Temple of Diana. Continue to Lisbon. (B)

Day 7   LISBON. Henry the Navigator made Lisbon the 15th-century “Mistress of the Seas.” You’ll see his monument, the Belem Tower, the Moorish Citadel, the impressive Black Horse Square, and other highlights on the guided sightseeing tour. Spend the afternoon at leisure in the Alfama’s tile-decorated streets, or take an optional excursion along the Estoril Coast to Cascais and Sintra. (B)

Day 8   LISBON–FÁTIMA–COIMBRA–OPORTO. Stop in Fátima to visit its world-famous SANCTUARY, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Continue to Coimbra, known for its university, one of the oldest in Europe, and to Oporto on the northern bank of the Douro River. For the perfect way to round out your day, why not join an optional Douro River cruise and dinner? (B)

Day 9   OPORTO. Discover Oporto’s highlights on the guided city tour. See its historical cathedral, overlooking the Port wine cellars along the banks of the Douro River. This afternoon, maybe join an optional excursion to Guimarães, considered the “cradle” of Portugal and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tonight, sample local cuisine on the included dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 10   OPORTO–SALAMANCA, SPAIN. Enjoy the profusion of woodlands and mountains on your return to Spain via the scenic Douro Valley. Reach the ancient and beautiful university town of Salamanca in the early evening and maybe take a stroll in the Plaza Mayor. (B)

Day 11   SALAMANCA–ÁVILA–SEGOVIA–MADRID. Journey to fortified Ávila with its many towers and visit ST. THERESA’S CONVENT before continuing to Segovia, a medieval town picturesquely set on a rocky hill. Spend some time in Segovia before crossing the boundary between new and old Castile to arrive in Madrid. (B)

Day 12   MADRID. Not only is it the capital of Spain, but because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards say Madrid is the nearest thing to Heaven. The day is dedicated to discover Madrid’s main highlights on the included guided city tour. (B)

Day 13   MADRID. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Meals:  Buffet breakfasts daily; 4 dinners, including a dinner at a local restaurant in Oporto

Guides

Local Guides for city sightseeing in Toledo, Granada-Alhambra complex, Cordoba Mezquita, Seville, Lisbon, Oporto, Madrid; professional Tour Director while touring

Transportation

Touring by private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach





Note: Flights are NOT included with the Tour and unless otherwise stated above transfers are also NOT included.





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