Explore Lisbon, Portugal, Europe’s second oldest capital city. Visit the pilgrimage center of Fatima, the picture perfect fishing village of Nazare and the medieval walled town of Obidos. Then experience Spain’s colorful pageant of art, history and culture. Set against a backdrop that spans sunny Mediterranean shores and grand mountain ranges, this stunning destination is dotted with white pueblos and groves of oranges and olives. Witness the priceless masterpieces of the Prado Museum, including works by artists such as Velazquez and Goya. Visit the exotic and expansive Alhambra palace, resplendent with Moorish regal flair. See the Cathedral of Seville, the third largest in the world. Enjoy reserved seating at a flamenco show and feel the passion of this famous dance. Explore Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba and Toledo. Become part of an authentic “paella experience,” and learn how this rice dish is made and where it originated. Choose to marvel at Valencia’s “City of Arts & Sciences” and see how precious Lladro figurines are made by hand. Or choose to explore the old town of Valencia inclusive of its historic market and Gothic cathedral. View Antonio Gaudí’s architectural masterpieces, including La Sagrada Familia, and visit Parc Güell. Spain beckons.
- Itinerary Type : Alternative
- Activity Level : 3
- Number of Days:14
- Number of Meals:19
- Hotels:Altis Grand Hotel (Lisbon), NH Collection Abascal (Madrid), Crowne Plaza Fira Center (Barcelona), AC Hotel by Marriott (Valencia), Barcelo Seville Renacimiento (Seville), Catalonia Granada (Granada)
- Experiences:Feel the energy of Spain at a flamenco performance in Seville.
In Cordoba, take a walking tour of the Mezquita, a religious marvel.
- Must Sees:Step back in time in Toledo, the former capital of the Spanish Empire.
Join a local expert for a tour of the world-famous Alhambra palace.
Get to know Seville's quaint, old Santa Cruz Quarter.
- Culinaries:Savor a "paella experience" including a paella-making demonstration and lunch.
Enjoy local cuisine and regional wines at dinner.
Dine on traditional Portuguese cuisine and enjoy Fado music.
Itinerary (13 days)
Lisbon, Portugal - Tour Begins
Welcome to Portugal, where quaint farming villages and cork & olive tree plantations dot the landscape. Enjoy Lisbon, Portugal's vibrant capital city. Tonight, begin your journey with a welcome dinner.
A tour of Lisbon features the Moorish Alfama Quarter, Jeronimos Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage site), the Monument to the Discoveries, and the Tower of Belem (UNESCO). Tonight, enjoy a dinner complete with local cuisine, wines and Fado music (UNESCO).
Lisbon - Fatima - Nazare - Obidos - Lisbon
Your day on Portugal’s “Silver Coast” begins in the pilgrimage town of Fatima. View the Batalha Monastery (UNESCO), an example of Manueline architecture; then travel to the quaint seaside town of Nazare and the charming medieval walled town of Obidos.
Lisbon - Madrid, Spain
Depart Lisbon and cross the border into Spain. Enjoy your day viewing the countryside of Portugal and Spain before arriving into the capital city of Spain – Madrid.
Madrid - Prado Museum - Toledo - Madrid
During a locally guided tour of Madrid’s historic center, see the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, where events have been held since the 17th century. Join a local expert to explore the priceless masterpieces of the Prado Museum* which opened in 1819 and boasts the world's finest collection of art by masters such as Velazquez and Goya. This afternoon travel to Toledo, a UNESCO site and the capital of medieval Spain until 1560. A comprehensive tour highlights the magnificent Gothic cathedral and the 13th-century synagogue, a testament to Toledo’s Jewish heritage. Also stop in the Church of Santo Tome to view El Greco’s masterpiece painting, The Burial of Count Orgaz.
Madrid - Cordoba - Seville
Travel to the extraordinary Moorish city of Cordoba. You may opt to take the AVE high-speed train to reduce travel time and increase leisure time in Cordoba. Upon arrival, embark on a walking tour of the Mezquita. This UNESCO site, an architectural marvel built by the Moors in the 8th century as a magnificent mosque, was converted into the city’s cathedral in the 16th century. Continue your exploration of Cordoba in the city's well-preserved and historical old Jewish Quarter. Later, transfer to Seville, considered Spain’s “cultural capital.”
Today you will see Columbus’ tomb, the ornate cathedral (UNESCO), and the Giralda Bell Tower. Enjoy a walking tour of the quaint old Santa Cruz Quarter with its bright flowers, white-washed buildings and winding streets; then continue to Plaza de España and the beautiful Maria Luisa Park, one of the loveliest in all of Europe. This evening, enjoy an authentic flamenco show (UNESCO) featuring Seville's top performers.
Seville - Granada
Travel along the peaceful Sierra Nevada to Granada, the last great capital of the Moors in Spain before it fell to the Catholic monarchs in 1492. Join a local expert for a tour of the world-famous Alhambra,** an immense hilltop palace (UNESCO). Also tour the Generalife, meaning “garden of the architect,” where the grounds are beautifully designed with waterfalls, courtyards and smaller secret gardens.
Granada - Valencia
Today you travel through Spain's amazing landscape viewing rolling hills dotted with picturesque olive groves while en route to the Mediterranean coast. Arrive in the city of Valencia, a treasure trove of Roman and Arabic architecture, surrounded by citrus groves.
Valencia - Paella Experience - Valencia
It’s your choice! Take a walking tour of historic Valencia to see the ornate 14th-century Serranos Towers and imposing 15th-century Quart Towers; then arrive at the bustling central market, one of the largest in Europe, where you’ll shop side-by-side with the locals before concluding your tour at the impressive 13th-century Gothic cathedral -OR- explore the impressive City of Arts & Science, an ultramodern, multi-faceted educational institution, followed by a tour of the Lladro City of Porcelain to learn about the history and creative process of the world-famous, handmade Lladro figurines.*** Later, gather together and travel to the area where paella cuisine originated. A “paella experience” features a boat ride on the canals surrounding rice field plantations; a visit to a traditional fisherman’s home known as a “barraca”; a paella-making demonstration and an authentic paella lunch. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Valencia - Barcelona
Travel to Barcelona, one of Europe’s most beautiful and exciting cities. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Barcelona’s fascinating boulevards including the famous Las Ramblas, dotted with colorful bird and flower stalls.
Today, get an in-depth look at vibrant and lively Barcelona. Your locally guided tour showcases the Columbus Monument and the Parc de Montjuic, plus Antoni Gaudí’s UNESCO sites including La Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, Batllo House and the unconventional Casa Mila building. Gather this evening for a farewell dinner celebrating the end of an unforgettable trip to Portugal and Spain!
Barcelona - Tour Ends
You return home with vivid memories of a spectacularly beautiful land with an old, rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon offers all the delights you’d expect of Portugal’s star attraction, yet with half the fuss of other European capitals. Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums are all part of the colorful cityscape, but the real delights of discovery lie in wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets. The Lisbon experience encompasses so many things, from enjoying a fresh pastry and bica (espresso) on a petite leafy plaza to window-shopping in elegant Chiado. It’s mingling with Lisboêtas at a neighborhood festival or watching the sunset from the old Moorish castle.
Whatever your beliefs, you can’t help but be impressed by the vast reserves of faith that every year lead as many as 6 million people to the glade where, on May 13, 1917, the Virgin Mary is said to have first appeared to three awestruck peasant children. Where sheep once grazed there are now two huge churches on opposite ends of a vast 1km-long esplanade. For Catholic pilgrims, Fátima has a magnetic appeal like few places on earth, and a trip here will provide any visitor with new insights into Portugal’s religious facet.
Nazare is a town and fishing village on the Silver Coast of Portugal. It is one of the most popular resorts in this coastal region, which is situated on the Atlantic coast of the country. Nazare is considered by some to have the best beaches in Portugal. The town is said to be named after the Legend of Nazare, in which a monk brought a statue of the Virgin Mary here from Nazareth in the Holy Land to a monastery nearby in the 4th century. It is said that the town derived its name from this statue.
Obidos is a small town located on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal. The town’s origins can be traced back to an early Roman settlement. The area of the town is located on a hilltop, surrounded by a fortified wall. From its streets, squares, fortified wall and castle, the town remains as a well preserved example of medieval architecture. It is because of this that the town is a popular tourist destination.
Madrid is the capital and the largest city in Spain. Madrid sits on the Manzanares River, just northeast of the center of the Iberian Peninsula. It is estimated that the origins of Madrid can be traced back to the 2nd century B.C. Madrid is home to the head of the Spanish government, the Spanish royal family and the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization. Madrid’s influence on politics, education, entertainment, fashion and culture make it one of the world’s major global cities.
The Prado Museum
Stroll the halls and galleries inside the world-famous Prado Museum. On a guided tour, step back in time as you view its priceless collection of paintings and sculptures. Open since 1819, the Prado houses the works of legendary European artists from the 15th century through the early 19th century. Stand before the works of Velázquez and Goya, Spain’s greatest painters. Through their genius, gain insight into the rich culture surrounding you. Notable in the museum’s collection is Velázquez’s Las Meninas, one of the most important and studied paintings in the western tradition. Goya’s groundbreaking The Third of May 1808 also calls the Prado home.
Toledo is a municipality located in central Spain, about 43 miles south of Madrid and is the capital of the Toledo province. The history of Toledo dates back to the Roman occupation circa 192 B.C. The old city of Toledo is located on a mountain surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River, and medieval walls on the fourth side. From the top of the mountain it features a 150 degree view of the rest of the city.
Córdoba is located in Andalucía, southern Spain, and is the capital of the province of Córdoba. This city has an interesting history full of many diverse cultures and was the capital of a Roman province, the capital of an Arab State and a form of an Islamic government. It has the second largest old town in Europe, featuring Roman architecture, including a Roman bridge, as well as several Islamic and Jewish mosques.
Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Seville is the top destination in the Andalusia region for travelers. Approximately 2,200 years old, the early origins of the city date back to the year 712. It is situated on the Guadalquivir River which splits the city into two halves. Seville is famous for being the birthplace of the Flamenco dance. It is also known for its culture, monuments, traditions and artistic heritage.
The heartbeat of Spain can be found in the houses of flamenco artists. A traditional flamenco show can be found in many of the small towns and cities scattered through the southern region of Spain, Andalusia. Flamenco is a style of dance encompassing the rhythm of lifestyle, personality and beauty of Spaniards. There is eminent beauty in every aspect of a Flamenco show from Andalusian décor, castanets, flamenco attire, polka dots, and the unforgettable strumming of the Spanish guitar. Flamenco is a type of Spanish folk music and dance originating in the region of Andalucía in southern Spain. It includes, singing, dancing, guitar playing and handclaps.
Granada is the capital of the province of Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain and sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at the intersection of four rivers. This city is only an hour from the Mediterranean Coast. Granada has been continuously inhabited by people for the past 2500 years, starting under Ancient Roman rule and features rich cultural elements, historic architecture, beautiful beaches and the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. The first palace on the site was built in the 11th century and in the 12th and 13th century a fortress-complex palace was built. It is a vast complex, comprised of many structures. The Alhambra is part fortress, part palace, part garden and part government city. Many visitors come to Grenada specifically just to visit and see the Alhambra.
Valencia is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia, Spain. It is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. The city is located on the banks of the Turia River on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 B.C. Its historic center is one of the largest in Spain at 169 hectares in size. The region of Spain, specifically Valencia, is known for its paella: a rice dish native to the country of Spain.
Choice on Tour
Set out on a walking tour of historic Valencia or explore the Lladro City of Porcelain.
Paella is a type of rice dish originating in the Valencian region on the east coast of Spain. The dish is widely regarded as Spain’s national dish, however most Spaniards consider it to be the regional dish of Valencia. Valencian paella is considered to be the original recipe, even though there are several different kinds of paella. The Valencian dish is comprised of white rice, green vegetables, meat, land snails, beans and seasoning.
Barcelona is an enchanting seaside city with boundless culture, fabled architecture and a world-class drinking and dining scene. Barcelona's architectural treasures span 2,000-plus years. Towering temple columns, ancient city walls and subterranean stone corridors provide a window into Roman-era Barcino. Fast forward a thousand years to the Middle Ages by taking a stroll through the shadowy lanes of the Gothic quarter, past tranquil plazas and soaring 14th-century cathedrals. In other parts of town bloom the sculptural masterpieces of Modernisme, a mix of ingenious and whimsical creations by Gaudí and his Catalan architectural contemporaries for which this city is so well known. Barcelona has also long-inspired artists, including the likes of Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, whose works are in bold display in the city's myriad museums.
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia, the Holy Family, is a church of the people, built by the people, with the money of the people. While it is not the cathedral of Barcelona, it is widely known due to its unique architecture and phenomenal design initiated by architect Antoni Gaudí. Work on the exploratory church began in 1882 and continue to this day, but with modern technology and the rising number of visitors and donations, the church’s completion date has rapidly become closer. The facades of the church are breathtaking in their intricate and artistic details all of which were inspired by Gaudí. The church is divided into parts including the apse, chapels, cloister, crossing and transepts, crypt, glory façade, the nativity façade, the passion façade, the main nave and the sacristies.
Parc Guell is a park located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona, Spain. It is comprised of gardens and other architectural elements. The park was designed between 1900 and 1914, and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. Designed by famous architect Antoni Gaudí, Parc Guell is famous for its intricate stone structures, fascinating buildings and stunning tiling. The focal point of the park in the main terrace, which overlooks the city. This terrace features a long bench in the form of a sea serpent, and the wall of the back of the bench is made up of intricate tile work.