fascinating tour of two colorful countries. Learn about ancient cultures, explore modern cities, and relax in the delightful climate of the Iberian Peninsula. During the tour, we will adapt to the customary later time schedule for Spain & Portugal by departing at 9:00 a.m. and having dinner at 8:00p.m. on several days.
Start with two nights in Lisbon, the Portuguese capital full of brightly painted boats, broad boulevards and mosaic sidewalks. Cross the border into Spain where you’ll explore Seville, the ancient capital of Andalusia where people love to relax and socialize outdoors on cozy streets and cafes. Two nights in Algeciras provide opportunities for an afternoon visit to Gibraltar and a full-day visit to Morocco. In Granada, take a guided tour of the legendary Alhambra Palace, which houses a village, military stronghold, royal houses and gardens. Also visit the hilltop village of Ronda, the vibrant city of Cordoba, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Baeza. End your journey with three nights in Madrid, the exciting capital of Spain where you will visit the Prado Art Museum and have a full day to pursue personal interests. Get ready for an unforgettable Iberian adventure!
Refer to “Preparing for your Departure” in your Trip Documents for easy check-in procedures. Take time to relax on your transatlantic flight with the assurance that Image Tours has taken care of all the details.
Upon arrival, clear passport control and collect your luggage. The “Arrival Instructions” page in your Trip Documents provides directions on where and when to meet your tour manager. Transfer to your Lisbon hotel to check in and freshen up. An afternoon walk is an excellent way to form first impressions of this vibrant city with its pastel-colored houses, brightly painted boats, broad boulevards, and mosaic sidewalks. This evening meet your fellow tour members during the “Welcome to Europe/Get-acquainted” dinner. (Dinner)
During the morning hours, get to know Lisbon with your tour manager. Highlights include Belem Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries honoring Prince Henry the Navigator. In the afternoon, continue sightseeing in Lisbon. A great way to spend your time here is to go up to Lisbon’s São Jorge Castle. Then walk the narrow, winding streets of the Moorish Alfama District. In the alluring shops you can browse the finest Portuguese products, such as hand painted ceramic tiles. Another consideration for your afternoon is to join the optional Cascais & Cape Roca excursion. Return to your Lisbon hotel for an included dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Cross the Sado River at Alcácer do Sal. After a lunch stop in the Algarve Region, enter southwestern Spain, also known as Andalusia, and travel through the province of Huelva. It is from the nearby port of Palos de la Frontera that Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas in 1492. Your day’s journey ends in Seville, one of the three largest Old Towns of Europe. (Breakfast, Dinner)
On the city tour of Seville, a local guide will introduce you to the Plaza de España, the cathedral housing Columbus’ tomb, Giralda Tower, City Hall and the tobacco factory of “Carmen” fame. The afternoon may be spent as you wish. You can explore the Alcazar Palace (€9.00), the Flamenco Museum (€10.00), or the intriguing alleys and courtyards in the former Jewish Quarter of Barrio de Santa Cruz. Seville’s gardens provide a lovely setting for a picnic lunch. Of particular beauty is the Maria Luisa Park on the Guadalquivir River banks. With its cozy streets and outdoor cafés, Seville is a delightful city where people love to relax and socialize outdoors well into the evening. Tonight, dinner is on your own to experience the regional specialties, or join the optional Flamenco Dinner Show excursion. (Breakfast)
Tour a sherry bodega in Jerez with a short explanation on the history and production as well as a sampling. The Phoenicians introduced wine-making to this area in 1100 BC, and the distinctive beverage which later became known as sherry was further developed through refinements provided by the Romans and Moors. Jerez is also known as the training center for the elegant Andalusian horses. During your free time, choose between a visit to the training grounds of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art (€10.00) or a visit to the Old Town. Continue to your hotel in Algeciras, situated on the Strait of Gibraltar. For the remainder of the day, relax at your hotel or join the optional Gibraltar excursion to the British Overseas Territory. End the day with an included dinner at your Algeciras hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Spend this day as you like in the Port of Algeciras, one of the largest in Europe. Visit the Plaza Alta, shop at the daily market, people-watch in the peaceful park, or relax at your hotel. If you would like to add another country to your travels, book the full-day optional Morocco excursion (Note: This excursion must be reserved prior to and paid with your final tour payment). Return to your Algeciras hotel for a late dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Heading north, wind your way up the thrilling mountain roads to Ronda, a village whose unique location creates dramatic views over the Tajo Ravine. A local guide will share the history of this special village and point out photo opportunities. Your final destination today is Spain’s Sun Coast. The Costa del Sol, in the province of Malaga, is the location of your seaside resort for the next three nights. After an included dinner at the hotel, you may wish to sip a Sangria or other refreshment amid the festive atmosphere created by the many sidewalk cafés along the beach boulevard. (Breakfast, Dinner)
This day focuses on the city of Granada, elegantly enrobed by the surrounding Sierra Navada mountains and crowned by the astonding Alhambra. In Arabic, Alhambra means “Red Castle.” This was in fact a fortified compound, complete with protective walls, lookout towers, two palaces, a goarden and a village for the families of the nobles. Your local guide will share the fascinating stories of this area and reveal the history leading to the interwoven Arabic and Christian influences. After exploring the center of Granada, return to your Costa del Sol hotel for a late dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
A day for relaxation! Walk the beach, swim in the Mediterranean, or linger over a plate of paella during an independent lunch. The airy boutiques along the lively beachside boulevard are a shopper’s paradise, especially for Mallorca pearls, gold jewelry and Lladro figurines. For lunch and dinner, numerous sidewalk cafés offer traditional dishes from a wide selection of nationalities. For those who are eager to see more of the Andalusian countryside, your tour manager will offer an optional morning Malaga excursion and an optional evening Mijas & Country Dinner excursion. (Breakfast)
Travel to Córdoba, where a local guide will explain the cultural landmarks, including the Old Jewish Quarter, La Mezquita (built as an immense mosque in the 8th century and currently used as a cathedral), the Viana Palace and the Roman bridge. Take a stroll through the Old Town where splashing fountains decorate the patios and the scent of flowers fills the air. Depart Córdoba to travel amongst the infinite olive groves and rolling mountains of Jaén Province. Your hotel for tonight will be located in Baeza, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The town is located on a hill, and a small open-top tram will take you up to the hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
After learning more about this region at the Museum of Olive Tree Culture, head north through the region of La Mancha, the Arabic name for “parched earth.” Make a morning stop in Valdepeñas, located in the south of La Mancha’s wine growing region. Along the way you may catch glimpses of the windmills made famous by Cervantes’ story of Don Quixote. Ahead lies Madrid, Spain’s modern capital and your final tour destination. Visit the Prado Art Museum with commentary from a local guide before transferring to your Madrid hotel for check-in and dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
You have a full day in Madrid to pursue your personal interests. Those who prefer more structured sightseeing might consider joining the local guide for an optional Madrid Royal Palace excursion. Three popular choices for afternoon sightseeing are the Old Town of Madrid (referred to as Puerta del Sol), EI Retiro Park (where you can rent a row boat on its Great Lake), or the Reina Sofía Museum (home to Picasso’s Guernica). Tonight’s independent dinner allows you to choose between the hotel, an outdoor café in Puerta del Sol, or the optional Madrid Dinner excursion. (Breakfast)
One last day to explore Madrid. A favorite spot to finish your souvenir shopping is around the Plaza Mayor, in the heart of the city. This lively square also attracts a variety of street entertainers. Another possibility for today is the optional Toledo excursion to one of Europe’s most ancient cities. An included “Farewell Dinner” provides a final opportunity to enjoy the company of your fellow tour participants. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Transfer to the Madrid Airport for the return flight home. (Breakfast)