You’re invited on a distinctive small group journey through the Iberian Peninsula to the intimate lodgings of Spain’s paradores and Portugal’s pousadas: medieval monasteries, historic fortresses, and stately palaces, each reflecting the spirit of its region. We feel the spell of Iberia’s rich Roman and Moorish past – and the pull of its vibrant contemporary life.
- Pricing from
Tour size is limited to 24 guests!
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
Oct 22, 2022 - Nov 5, 2022
13 nights’ accommodations: 5 nights in Deluxe hotels; 8 nights in First class paradores and pousadas
Optional Post-Tour Extension: Barcelona – On Your Own
November 5-8, 2022
4 days/3 nights for $795 total price
Single Supplement: $355
Enjoy this bustling seaport, Spain’s cultural and commercial capital, with its medieval Gothic Quarter and popular Ramblas waterfront promenade.
Your Tour Price Includes:
• Air transportation Madrid/Barcelona, inclusive of airline taxes and fees
• 3 nights’ accommodations at Hotel Avenida Palace (Superior First Class)
• 3 meals: 3 breakfasts
• Transfers to/from airport
*PLEASE NOTE: Your $500 per person deposit secures your space(s) on this tour. This deposit is fully refundable up until 95 days prior to departure, when final payment will be due. Full Terms and Conditions
Depart U.S. for Lisbon, Portugal
We arrive in the Portuguese capital and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times vary, we have no group activities planned during the day. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner.
This morning’s city tour includes the Jerónimos Monastery, a masterpiece of Manueline architecture; iconic Belém Tower; and the Monument to the Discoveries commemorating Portugal’s storied explorers. Then we visit the National Palace of Queluz, the former residence of Portuguese royalty now used for state occasions. After returning to Lisbon, the remainder of the day is at leisure to explore as we wish.
Leaving Lisbon this morning, we travel through the rolling hills of the agricultural Alentejo district, with its bountiful fields of wheat, fragrant vineyards, and stands of olive and cork trees. After stopping for lunch in the fortified hilltop town of Monsaraz (pop. 150), late afternoon we arrive in Evora, capital of the Alentejo and site of our pousada, considered Portugal’s finest.
Our morning walking tour of Evora introduces us to the many charms of this architectural gem – a university town, prosperous regional capital, and UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to the many relics of its Roman and Moorish heritage. We sample Alentejo wines at a local winery and then the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy this “Golden Age” city as we wish.
Today we travel east through countryside peppered with the ruins of fortresses and castles to the Spanish border town of Mérida. Once the capital of ancient Lusitania (Latin for the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal), Mérida boasts outstanding Roman ruins. There’s time to explore and eat lunch on our own before we continue on to Carmona and our parador, a restored 14th-century Arab fortress.
This morning we visit splendid Seville, Moorish capital of Spain’s Andalusia region and city of beauty and romance. This is the place that inspired Carmen and Don Giovanni; where fragrant orange trees and flower-bedecked balconies delight the senses; and home of the renowned Catédral, the world’s largest Gothic building. After a tour that includes the Alcázar palace and the Arab quarter, the afternoon is free to explore independently. We return to Carmona late afternoon and dine at our parador this evening.
Today’s visit to this cultural gem promises to be special indeed. First the capital of Roman Spain, then of Moorish Spain, Cordoba features some of the country’s most important monuments, including the Old Quarter built around the magnificent Mezquita mosque. It was here that the Moors ruled from the 8th to the 11th centuries and fostered a culture of learning and religious harmony known the world over. Cordoba also is home to Andalusia’s only synagogue to survive the expulsion of Spain’s Jews in the 15th century. After touring these and other highlights we have free time to explore on our own. Late this afternoon we return to our parador, where we dine tonight.
Leaving Carmona this morning we travel south to tiny Ronda, one of Spain’s oldest and most aristocratic towns. It’s set high in the mountains with whitewashed houses clinging improbably to the edge of El Tajo Gorge – 500 feet deep and 300 feet wide.
This morning we take a walking tour of Ronda. We return to our parador, Ronda’s original town hall, for a special tapas lunch, then the rest of the day is free for independent exploration.
Continuing our journey, we travel today to Granada, the former stronghold of Moorish Spain set in the foothills of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada. The city’s undisputed highlight is the Alhambra, the extraordinary palace of Spain’s last Moorish rulers. Sprawled across a hilltop above the Darro River, the Alhambra commands breathtaking views of the city below, as we see on our afternoon tour of this splendid citadel. We also visit the Granadian-style Generalife, the palace’s acclaimed gardens. Late afternoon we travel north to Úbeda and our next parador, where we dine tonight.
A highlight is in store today as we visit Toledo, capital of medieval Spain. Declared a Spanish National Landmark, the city is little changed visually from its 16th-century days as a subject for the artist El Greco. Toledo boasts an incomparable hilltop setting overlooking the Castillian plains and surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River. After lunch on our own we see Toledo’s most important sights on our guided tour, including the massive Gothic Cathedral. Then we continue on to Madrid, arriving late afternoon. Dinner tonight is on our own.
Our morning tour of this monumental and dignified capital city includes vast Plaza Mayor, the Moorish medieval district, and opulent 18th-century Palacio Real (Royal Palace). Then we sample some of Madrid’s specialties over a lunch of tapas. Our tour ends at the Prado, one of the world’s greatest museums, displaying treasures by Spanish masters Goya, El Greco, and Velazquez. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. Well known for its “foodie” culture, Madrid offers a bounty of restaurants for dinner on our own tonight.
A free day to enjoy the Spanish capital as we wish. Tonight we bid “Adios” to Spain and our fellow travelers at a farewell dinner.
Depart for U.S.
We transfer to the airport this morning for our connecting flight to the U.S.
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