Spain and Portugal    *alt*

14 days, from £3440
Tauck
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Description

Tauck's comprehensive holidays to Portugal & Spain reveal the scenic and cultural contrasts of the fascinating countries sharing the Iberian Peninsula. Explore Portugal's capital of Lisbon and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sintra and Evora, and savor the best of Spain in Seville, Toledo, Cordoba, Madrid and more. Special Tauck experiences include lunch at a sherry bodega, a taste of authentic Andalucian cuisine during a family-style dinner at a local restaurant, and a visit to the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art. Tauck's Spain and Portugal tours offer you a delightful and culturally enriching holiday experience!

Itinerary


 Day 1 Tauck's Spain and Portugal tours start in Lisbon

Our Spain and Portugal tours begin at 2:00 PM at Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, Portugal. A transfer is included from Lisboa Airport to your hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon. The afternoon's guided sightseeing tour in Lisbon provides an introduction to this intriguing city and its most famous landmarks. Visit the famous monastery Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and the National Coach Museum, and view the nearby Tower of Belem, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites from the mid-16th century; and see the Discoveries Monument commemorating Portugal's "Age of Exploration" of the 15th and 16th centuries. Meet your travelling companions this evening at a welcome reception and dinner.


 Day 2 Sintra & Cascais on the Portuguese Riviera

An excursion from Lisbon today takes you to Sintra - once a favoured summer retreat for Portugal's monarchs and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - for a visit to the 14th-century Royal Palace of Sintra, a highlight of every Portugal tour, and time to explore on your own. Continue to the fishing village of Cascais, its bay dotted with brightly colored boats, before returning to Lisbon to spend the rest of the day and evening as you please.


 Day 3 A mix of Roman, Moorish & more in Evora

Cross one of Europe's longest bridges - the Vasco da Gama Bridge over the Tagus River - en route to the medieval, walled city of Evora, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A city tour with your local guide reveals how Evora's Roman ruins, Moorish arcades, and a score of churches and monasteries create a fascinating cultural tapestry; see the Capela dos Ossos in the 15th-century Church of Sao Francisco, and the Cathedral of St. Mary. Spend this night of your Spain and Portugal tours at a 15th-century convent-turned-luxury hotel and spa in a picturesque location in Evora.


 Day 4 On to storied Andalucia & Seville in Spain

As your Portugal tour concludes, your exploration of Spain heats up! Spain's famous southern province of Andalucia is as famous for gypsies and flamenco dancing as it is for its seaside resorts and small, whitewashed villages; see the Roman ruins of Merida, some of the best-preserved in Europe, on a guided visit. The provincial capital of Seville blends the vibrant Spain of today with centuries of history and old-world charm. Spend the next two nights in the heart of the city at one of Europe's most luxurious hotels, commissioned by the king of Spain for the famous Exposition of 1929.


 Day 5 A carriage ride & a Gothic cathedral in Seville

After taking in many of Seville's historic and cultural attractions on a sightseeing tour with your local guide, ride a horse-drawn carriage through the city's historic heart. Visit Seville's impressive Gothic cathedral, one of the world's most beautiful; see its renowned Giralda bell tower (once the minaret of a mosque during Seville's Moorish days), and the tomb of explorer Christopher Columbus. Enjoy a walking tour of fascinating Barrio de Santa Cruz, the city's Jewish Quarter, prior to exploring Seville as you wish for the remainder of the day, with lunch and dinner on your own.


 Day 6 Jerez de la Frontera, Gibraltar & Marbella

Depart Seville for Jerez de la Frontera, known for its fine horses, sweet wines, and sherry (whose name is derived from the town's). Visit the palatial Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestre (Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art) - where you may watch the famous Andalucian horses that are bred here in a training session - and its renowned Carriage Museum (subject to availability due to holidays or other closures; alternative sightseeing may include a visit to the Royal Alcazar of Seville). Enjoy a true taste of the region during a tapas lunch at a sherry bodega; then it's on to Gibraltar, where you'll view the fabled Rock (weather permitting) and see the famed Barbary Macaques in the Apes' Den. Your final destination today is the glamorous coastal resort town of Marbella on the Costa del Sol, for a two-night stay.


 Day 7 A day by the beautiful sea in Marbella

The entire day is yours to enjoy the pleasures of your elegant resort hotel, Grand Melia Don Pepe, a paradise for the senses in the heart of the Costa del Sol. On one side is the famous Port of Marbella; on the other, gleaming white boats anchored at the exclusive Puerto Banus. And on the horizon, you can see Gibraltar and the North African coast, majestic in the distance, against the magnificent backdrop of the mountain peak La Concha de Marbella. Long a favourite of celebrities in Marbella's privileged enclave of Sierra Blanca, the resort's guest list has included Sean Connery, Julio Iglesias, Prince, Maximillian Schell, Arthur Rubinstein, Begun Aga Khan, Alain Delon, H.R.M. Prince Edward, Bob Hope and many more... and you, spending a perfect day as you please.


 Day 8 Moorish influences in Ronda & Granada

As your Spain and Portugal tour continues, journey from the Spanish coast into the mountains to visit scenic Ronda, perched on a cliff overlooking the spectacular El Tajo gorge. Ronda is synonymous with the evolution of the art of bullfighting; along with revealing the town's Moorish heritage and remains, a guided walking tour includes a visit to one of Spain's oldest bullrings, the Plaza de Toros. Continue on to Granada, situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range. The city boasts extraordinary architecture from over 250 years as the capital of a Moorish kingdom; your hotel is steps away from Granada's celebrated Moorish palace, the Alhambra. Enjoy a private flamenco show tonight, followed by dinner at your hotel.


 Day 9 Treasures of the Alhambra & the Generalife

A highlight of your Spain and Portugal tour is today's guided visit to Granada's famed Moorish palace, the Alhambra, constructed to be a "paradise on Earth" by caliphs who ruled here in the 13th century. Tour the palace itself, considered to be one of the world's most beautiful, and stroll through the Generalife, the grounds of the summer palace of former sultans. Enjoy free time to explore on your own and join us for an a la carte dinner at a popular local restaurant this evening.


 Day 10 Cordoba, La Mezquita & on to Madrid

Travel from Granada to Cordoba today for a visit that begins with a guided walking tour through the cobblestone streets of the Juderia, Cordoba's former Jewish Quarter; from its alleyways, you can see the walls and decorative details of the candy-striped La Mezquita (Spanish for "mosque.") Your visit to this masterpiece of architecture and art reveals its nearly 1,200-year history as an early Christian church, a Moorish mosque, and, since the 16th century, a Roman Catholic cathedral. Late this afternoon, board the AVE train in Preferente class for a rail journey to Spain's amazing capital city. Arrive in Madrid for four nights at The Westin Palace, Madrid - a Belle Epoque landmark in the heart of the city, a short walk from the tapas bars that American novelist Ernest Hemingway made famous.


 Day 11 Discovering Madrid, Spain's capital city

On your first full day in the Spanish capital, join a local guide for an orientation tour of landmark sights that includes a walking tour of the city's vast Plaza Mayor and the Mercado San Miguel, and a guided visit to the Royal Palace. Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring more of Madrid as you please; enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Madrid this evening.


 Day 12 An excursion to Toledo then back to Madrid

An excursion today from Madrid to Toledo features guided sightseeing of this monument-filled city. Join your local guide for a walking tour that includes the 12th-century Synagogue Santa Maria La Blanca, the Church of Santo Tome and a visit inside the 13th-century High Gothic-style Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Toledo before returning to your hotel in Madrid for an evening spent as you wish in Spain's storied capital city.


 Day 13 The Prado & more museums of Madrid

This morning, view the art treasures of the celebrated Museo del Prado, one of the best-known museums on Earth - and just a block away from your hotel - with a local expert. The rest of the day is free to spend as you please in one of the world's most popular cities. Tauck includes admission to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, illustrating the history of Western art through its collection of masterpieces by Titian, Goya, van Gogh and Picasso, which you can visit at your leisure. Please join us for a farewell reception followed by dinner with Castilian entertainment at your hotel, as we celebrate this most memorable of Spain and Portugal tours.


 Day 14 Journey home

Tauck's Spain and Portugal tours end in Madrid, Spain. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The Westin Palace, Madrid to Madrid Barajas Airport or Madrid Atocha train station. Allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport.