Validity: March to December 2017
On this Spain and Portugal tour, enjoy sightseeing with a Local Guide—an expert in the city’s history and sights—in Lisbon, Seville, and Madrid. The included city tour focuses on the must-see sights, including Seville's 15th-century Cathedral of St. Mary, built on a former mosque and housing 80 chapels and the longest nave in Spain, and Lisbon's Belem Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built around 1514 to commemorate the expedition of Vasco de Gama and to defend the port of Lisbon. Today, it is a reminder of Portugal's Golden Age. In Madrid, you will see the Puerta del Sol – the “gate of the sun” – and admire the impressive architecture of the wide alleys crossing the city centre.
Arrive in Madrid, Spain.
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to start exploring lively Madrid. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Madrid – Avila – Salamanca – Coimbra, Portugal.
Spend some time to visit fortified Ávila, then on to Salamanca. Make sure you spend some time wandering around Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor, considered the most beautiful square in Spain. Journey into the valley of the Serra da Estrela on your way to Coimbra.
Coimbra – Fátima – Obidos – Lisbon.
Enjoy an orientation tour of Coimbra, strategically situated on a hill overlooking the Mondego River. Continue to Fátima to see the SANCTUARY, a famous pilgrimage site where the Virgin Mary’s appeared to three shepherd children—Francisco, Jacinth, and Lucia—on May 13, 1917. On to Obidos, a fortified city still flanked by towers and bastions overlooking the countryside dotted with windmills. Overnight in 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 city tour. Spend the afternoon at leisure in the Alfama’s tile-decorated streets, or discover the Estoril Coast to Cascais and Sintra by joining our optional excursion.
Lisbon – Seville.
Drive into the Alentejo through the countryside, famous for its production of cork. Cross the border at Vila Verde into Spain and journey into Andalusia, enjoying quite different scenery as you skirt the Sierra de Aracena before reaching delightful Seville.
Seville is one of Spain’s most colorful cities. Enjoy an included sightseeing tour with all the main highlights of this vibrant city.
Seville – Cordoba – Madrid.
Drive north towards Carmona, an Old-World country town dominated by an ancient Alcazar (fortress), to Cordoba. This is Spain’s most Moorish city with its great mosque, which is rightly known as one of Islam’s greatest pieces of architecture outside the Arab world and a Catholic cathedral since 1236. Later, into the very heart of La Mancha, famed for its castles and windmills. This evening, why not join the optional Madrid by Night excursion with dinner?
This morning, enjoy free time in Madrid, or join the rewarding optional trip to Toledo. The splendid setting of this old walled city above the Tagus was made famous in El Greco’s painting—even now, it’s like a great open-air museum of Spanish history and art. Later, join the included Madrid city sightseeing. Not only because it’s the capital of Spain but also because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards say it’s the nearest thing to Heaven.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.