Spain & Portugal Highlights- XESP
Number of Days: 9
This tour is a history and culture-packed adventure through the highlights of Spain and Portugal. We also have longer tours to both Spain and Portugal should you prefer to explore these countries in more depth.
Explore enticing route of delicious tapas and seafood, stunning Moorish architecture, centuries old Latin culture and picturesque towns. Highlights include experiencing the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Toledo, exploring the historic town of Salamanca, enjoying a port tasting in Porto and free days in Seville and Lisbon. If you are craving exquisite culture, delicious food and incredible history try the Iberian Peninsula.
Welcome to the start of your 9 day tour of Spain and Portugal. On arrival in Madrid, make your way to the hotel to meet up with your tour leader and the other travellers in the tour group. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time to explore Madrid, or alternatively relax in the comforts of the hotel. This evening, you will get your first taste of Spain with dinner included, giving you a great opportunity to meet the other travellers in the group.
Enjoy a traditional Spanish meal tonight, where you will sample local food like croquettes, fried shrimp and paella. If you arrive early, explore the Spanish capital before meeting up with the tour in the evening for dinner.D
Holiday Inn Madrid - Calle Alcala
Travelodge Madrid Torrelaguna
DAY 2: Toledo – Granada
This morning, we leave Madrid and head to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Toledo. You are sure to fall in love with this charming medieval town, with its Gothic architecture and its impressive Cathedral. The tour continues south to the Moorish city of Granada. This afternoon, a walking tour is included to give you a great insight into this beautiful region of Spain.The Arabic influence has left its traces in everything in Granada, and the food is no exception. The use of vegetables such as beans, artichokes, and aubergines is very important. Classic dishes include 'La tortilla del Sacromonte' - a type of omelette made with sweetbreads and ham, gazpacho - cold tomato soup and 'las habas con jamón' - broad beans with ham.B
Included experiences: Toledo comfort stop to see the Gothic architecture up close. Granada walking tour - witness the Moorish influence in southern Spain
Hotel Juan Miguel
DAY 3: Ronda – Seville
Sit back and relax, as we take you on a journey through Andalusia. This area is famous for Flamenco, tapas, matadors and bullfighting. Our first stop is Ronda, which is famous for its ‘Puente Nuevo’ (New Bridge) that divides the city and offers dramatic views of the surrounding countryside. Once you have explored Ronda, we head to Seville for a two night stay in a comfortable hotel. You will have time to freshen up before heading out to see the old town and many other sights on an included walking tour of the city.Seville is famous as the home of tapas - small plates of hot and cold dishes, and the city is known to have 3,000 tapas bars. Pork, fish and seafood figure prominently, with influences from across Europe and Moorish North Africa. Seville is also famous for its Oranges - you can smell the sweet perfume of bitter oranges through the city. Try them as a compote spread over a freshly toasted piece of bread.B,D
Included experiences: Ronda comfort stop - see the ‘Puente Nuevo’ (New Bridge). Enjoy a walking tour of Seville and witness its many historical buildings
Hotel Sevilla Macarena
DAY 4: Seville
Legend has it that Seville was founded by Hercules, and it has certainly had a colourful history it was named Hispalis by the Romans and Isbiliya by the Moors. With a full free day, you will have all the time in the world to explore this beautiful and pleasingly compact city. Seville is famous for its flamenco, tapas bars and orange bars. The cobbled streets of the old town make for a pleasing morning stroll, while in the afternoon you may wish to visit the Metropol Parasol for amazing views, the palaces of Alcázar Casa de Pilatos or the Museum of Flamenco.B
DAY 5: Algarve – Lisbon
Today we travel to Lisbon, Portugal. Watch the countryside glide past from the comfort of the Our coach. Upon arrival in Lisbon we take you on an orientation tour of the capital, from the imposing Sao Jorge Castle to the pastel colours of the old town, Lisbon has it all.Lisbon is culinary heaven, and its two most famous dishes are salt cod and custard tarts. Saltfish is codfish that has been covered in vast quantities of salt and dried under the hot sun, which means it can be kept for prolonged periods of time. It is then shredded into one of numerous dishes or served as sliced stakes. Pasteis de Nata - soft, sweet, custard tarts, are worth a trip to Portugal in themselves.B,D
Included experiences: Lisbon orientation tour
Hotel Roma, Lisboa
DAY 6: Lisbon
Today is your free day to explore Lisbon on your own. See Lisbon's landmarks, including the Monument to the Discoveries and the Belém Tower or discover the hill top district of Bairro Alto, with dozens of restaurants and bars lining the narrow streets and lots to see and do. Fado music is unique to Portugal, and is arguably the oldest urban folk music in the world - you are sure to discover bars in this area playing this type of music.B
DAY 7: Porto
We continue our tour of Portugal and enter into Porto - the second largest city and one of the oldest European centres. You tour leader will take you on a driving tour of Porto, where you will see Ponte deLuis - a stunning bridge which crosses the River Douro, the Clerigos Tower and many other famous landmarks. One of Portugal’s famous exports is port wine, which is named after Porto, and you will have the opportunity to taste it this afternoon at the included Port tasting. Petiscos is the Portuguese version of Spanish tapas - classic dishes include thin pork sandwiches and snails in a herbal broth. From it's colonial past spices are used abundantly in Portugese cooking, especially piri-piri, made from African bird’s eye chili peppers.B
Included experiences: Porto driving tour - experience Porto and its World Heritage Site historical centre.Port tasting experience - sample the famous Portuguese fortified wine. It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine. It is availabe in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.
HF Ipanema Porto
HF Ipanema PARK
DAY 8: Salamanca
It is time to depart Portugal and travel back to Spain, as our journey today takes us through the countryside. Once we arrive into Salamanca, you will have time to freshen up at the hotel and enjoy some free time. We recommend you visit the old town and go up the Cathedral Bell Tower, which offers amazing panoramic views of the town and its surroundings. To cap off the evening, we have a farewell dinner included, and this is your chance to taste the famous Spanish tapas. Enjoy authentic Spanish tapas tonight, like home made croquettes, Spanish omelette, cold meats, olives, patatas bravas, albóndigas (meatballs) and chorizo.B,D
Included experiences: Enjoy the final night of the tour with your fellow passengers and new friends with a delicious tapas dinner.
Gran Hotel Corona Sol
DAY 9: Avila – Madrid
Today is the last day of your Spanish and Portuguese tour. This morning we depart Salamanca and travel to Avila, where we take a comfort stop. Avila is notable for its many Romanesque and Gothic churches, and the famous and incredibly well preserved medieval walls. We then continue onto the capital Madrid, where the tour concludes late this afternoon.B
Meals as per itinerary B = Continental breakfast, L = Light lunch, D = Welcome and other specified dinners.
- 8 nights' accommodation in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities. Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room.
- 8 breakfasts, 4 dinners
- All taxes and fees
- Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)
- Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats, TV for showing DVDs, and toilet.
- 9 Experiences (including guided walking tours, orientation walks, driving tours of cities plus other exciting experiences)
- From $2300. Single supplement +$1795.