Discover enchanting areas of Spain and Portugal often overlooked by travelers on this exceptional journey featuring the Extremadura and Alentejo regions! Hugging the border between Spain and Portugal, these breathtaking regions share a centuries-old, intertwined heritage of conflict and cooperation. Explore atmospheric walled towns, a magnificent Spanish monastery, Portugal’s marble-adorned beauties and stellar Roman ruins. You’ll also enjoy the Prado’s masterpieces in Madrid and the cultural riches of Segovia and Toledo!
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
Apr 27, 2022 - May 8, 2022
Hotel Wellington – Stay in one of Madrid’s most exclusive neighborhoods, the Barrio de Salamanca. Leafy Retiro Park is at the end of the block and the famed Prado Museum also is within walking distance of this deluxe hotel. A stroll through the neighborhood reveals a wealth of restaurants, boutiques, architectural treasures and more. The hotel itself has a Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant, an innovative Basque restaurant, a casual dining restaurant and a terrace restaurant featuring the organic herbs and vegetables grown on the hotel’s rooftop garden. Each guest room is well-appointed, featuring an array of thoughtful amenities. Wi-Fi is complimentary.
day 1 & 2
Arrive at the Madrid airport and meet your AHI Travel representative, who will take you to the Hotel Wellington in the elegant Salamanca neighborhood next to Retiro Park. After getting settled, meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception in the hotel.
Examine the Iberian peninsula’s dramatic history with a local expert before heading off to admire the world-famous art collection of the Prado Museum. View impressive paintings by Velázquez, Rubens, Goya, El Greco and other artists as a private guide escorts you through the galleries. Later, see the stately Palacio Real and stroll to bustling Plaza Mayor for lunch on your own and some free time. Tonight, savor flavorful, traditional dishes at a Welcome Dinner at a restaurant.
Soak up the splendor of Old Castile as you explore the ochre-tinged landmarks and lively streets of Segovia, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. See Plaza Mayor, the ornate Gothic cathedral and Segovia’s colossal aqueduct, one of the best-preserved, elevated Roman aqueducts in the world. Step inside the fairy-tale Alcázar, the fortified palace of the Castilian kings that sits majestically on an outcrop above the plains.
Toledo | Trujillo
Immerse yourself in magnificent Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and see firsthand the rich heritage that resulted from the fusion of Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures. Go inside the glorious cathedral to see its artistic treasures and visit a former 12th-century synagogue decorated in the Mudéjar style. In a modest chapel, study El Greco’s finest painting, “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.” Then, enter the ruggedly beautiful Extremadura region on your way to Trujillo and check in to the Parador de Trujillo.
Within this romantic, walled town, see the wealth of medieval and Renaissance landmarks that line its winding streets, including beautiful palaces, churches and manor houses built with riches that native son Francisco Pizarro and other 16th-century explorers brought back to Spain from the New World. This evening, learn more about the Extremadura’s many explorers from an expert.
Step back in time inside Cáceres’ splendid, walled old town lined with Roman, Islamic, Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture. Meander through lovely plazas, walk under majestic stone arches and see Moorish towers topped with storks’ nests. Visit the 16th-century cathedral and explore the Jewish Quarter. Back in Trujillo, choose a themed evening walk and (1) see medieval sites, (2) sample authentic local cuisine with insights on Trujillo’s culture, or (3) explore the arts and crafts scene.
Admire the exquisite Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, where legend says a 14th-century shepherd discovered a long-lost statue of the Madonna. Since its founding, it has been one of Spain’s most important pilgrimage sites, drawing those devoted to Santa María de Guadalupe, including explorer Christopher Columbus who gave thanks after his successful return from the New World. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site, the dazzling building blends Mudéjar, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. On your guided tour, admire the lavish interior and artwork.
Mérida | Vila Viçosa, Portugal
This morning, depart for Vila Viçosa, Portugal, and visit Mérida. Founded by the Romans in 25 B.C., it became the provincial capital of Lusitania, which included most of modern Portugal. Envision the Empire’s glory as you explore the superb ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Stand within the amphitheater where gladiators battled and appreciate the classical beauty of the Roman theater. Later, view marvelous artifacts unearthed around Mérida at the National Museum of Roman Art. Arrive in Vila Viçosa and check in to your hotel.
Elvas | Estremoz | Vila Viçosa
Relish the Alentejo’s scenery of rolling hills dotted with olive and cork trees on your way to Elvas. See the extensive, 17th-century fortifications of this border town that once protected a key crossing between Madrid and Lisbon. Then take in the Alentejo’s gleaming marble towns, Estremoz and Vila Viçosa, packed with grand architecture clad in the local white marble. Enjoy guided strolls through both towns, plus a visit to Vila Viçosa’s spectacular Ducal Palace. Finish the day with an enlightening talk about the Alentejo’s historical significance.
The royal city of Évora is a breathtaking, open-air museum that reveals fascinating chapters of Portuguese history. See Roman ruins, Moorish-influenced architecture, handsome 16th-century palaces and noble houses, and quaint, whitewashed homes decorated with azulejos, traditional, glazed ceramic tiles. Inside the Royal Church of St. Francis, visit one of Évora’s most popular and unusual monuments, the Chapel of Bones, constructed by Franciscan monks in the 16th century. Later tonight in Vila Viçosa, celebrate your fabulous Iberian adventure at a Farewell Reception and Dinner.
Depart for home city
After breakfast, bid farewell to your fellow travelers. Depart for the airport in Lisbon and head home.
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