Follow the Michelin Starred restaurants across Western Europe for an unforgettable journey through Spain and Portugal. Restaurateurs gain inspiration from the local tastes and culinary traditions to create meals comparable to works of art and shape unimaginable flavor profiles. The radiant culture of Barcelona brings a different aesthetic than the modernist lifestyle of Madrid, while the historical desire for discovery has influenced the now traditional spices of Lisbon and promises of port structure...
Barcelona – Arrive in Fabulous Barcelona for a Flavorful Introduction
Barcelona is a city of architecture and art, excellent cuisine, and an enticing mix of joy and relaxation. The sea breeze rustles against the palm trees that shade the promenade as beachgoers bask in the sunlight on the hot golden sand. Shadows sweep across the narrow lanes of the Gothic Quarter cast by the tall walls of medieval homes and cathedral towers. The aromas of decadent chocolate fade beneath the captivating scent of simple, flavorful ingredients, such as lemon and fresh prawns. Your flight will land at Barcelona El-Prat Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival. In the afternoon, locals and visitors alike enjoy conversation, wine, and small plates inside the city’s celebrated tapas bars.
After settling into the comforts of your centrally located hotel, you can traverse the walkways of Las Ramblas for a perfect introduction to the lifestyle and flavors of Barcelona. The boulevard travels for nearly one mile between Port Vell and Plaça Catalunya, and oak trees shade the paths and cafés that offer strong coffee and buttery pastries. The colorful entrance to La Boqueria Market frames the plaza on which the marketplace has stood since the 13th century, and produce vendors provide arrays of color in the form of oranges, tomatoes, and cherries. Individual food stalls prepare diverse cuisine that has been shaped by the customary flavors of Catalonia, culminating in the Mediterranean cuisine of the Universal Kiosk.
Barcelona – Enjoy a Full Day Tour of Barcelona and a Michelin Star Dinner
In the morning, the aroma of pour-over-coffee will fill the dining room of Cafés el Magnifico. Pastries with flaky crusts, honey syrups, and pear jellies make for lavish window displays. After breakfast, your guide will greet you at your hotel and escort you through the historical districts and captivating artistry of the city, beginning in the Gothic Quarter. The Old World returns to life along the narrow cobbled lanes and alleyways that are framed with hanging arches. Musicians perform in the tranquil courtyard as the sound of acoustic guitar echoes against the old walls that border the lanes and plazas.
Saint Agata Chapel was erected in the 14th century atop the site of the Roman town wall. The brownstone exterior features arched windows that have faded with time but still allows for natural light into the dramatic Gothic interior. Coats-of-arms decorate the interior windows along the choir and gallery to provide insight into the noble families who helped to fund the structure. You can also enter into the Picasso Museum for a look at the evolution of the famous painter’s artistic style over his illustrious career. In the evening, make your way to Lasarte, a restaurant with three Michelin Stars that offers not just a meal, but a dining experience. The menu highlights the beauty of the cuisine found around Catalonia, pampering guests with enchanting dishes that are focused on flavor, texture, and look. Your first dish of slightly marinated warm oyster arrives at the table atop a bed of slushed ice watercress, accentuated by the aromatics of sea mist and garnished with parsnip.
Madrid – Venture to Madrid for a Remarkable Exploration of Spain’s Capital
The fresh scent of the seaside blends with the aroma of freshly made churros that have been dusted with powdered sugar at the beachfront café of La Roseta. Baristas melt dark chocolate into small cups and then top the delicious beverage with whipped cream. After breakfast, you will have a private transfer to Barcelona Sants Railway Station to board your first-class car for the scenic and quick high-speed train bound for Madrid. The capital city brims with activity throughout the day, and the ambiance is noticeably faster-paced than Barcelona, embodied in the way people hustle along the elegant walkways of the Grand Via. Beaux-Arts architecture borders the boulevard and frames the graceful window displays of opulent boutique shops.
After settling into the comforts of your accommodation in the heart of the city, your guide will lead you to the Royal Palace to tour the stunning 18th-century Bourbon monument. Opulence breathes life into the nearly 3,000 salons that spread across more than 1.45 million square feet, and you will make it in time for the changing of the guard. A parade of three horses will march along the entrance of the palace grounds to meet the former guards. The soldiers are dressed in full regalia, mounted upon their noble steeds, and the guards mirror one another in their movements, with their horses circling until the new guard stands in place of the old guard at the door. The foot soldiers follow, saluting one another at the gate and trading places with constant focus.
Madrid – Visit Toledo, the Prado Museum, and Enjoy a Michelin Star Meal
The sunlight will wash over Madrid and shine against the ripples of the lake in El Retiro Park. Madrilenos take to the pathways to the 350-acre park in the morning to jog, walk, or run amidst the blossoming roses and shaded trails. After breakfast, you will venture to Toledo for a half-day tour of the medieval streets before returning to Madrid to enjoy the stunning works on display in the Prado Museum.
The galleries hold more than 2,300 pieces of art that spread across 100 rooms. The former palace provides a magnificent framework for exhibiting some of the greatest artwork of Western European masters found between the 12th to 19th centuries. The neutral tones of the galleries allow the artwork to burst from the surrounding walls with beauty speaking for itself. The renowned 17th-century piece of Las Meninas, by Diego Velazquez, features the courtly life of the royal family centered upon five-year-old Margaret Theresa.
In the evening, you will make your way to the restaurant DriverXO, which has received three Michelin Stars. After a day spent focused on historical artwork and the evolution of Spanish artwork over the centuries, you will find the atmosphere at DriverXO a refreshing change from tradition into modern, avant-garde dining. Each dish is born of creativity in its display, but focuses on simplicity in its combination of flavor, turning your table into a flavorful artistic canvas with hints of mushroom, sour chili, and sea urchin.
Lisbon – Enjoy a Bonus Salamanca Michelin Star Lunch en route to Lisbon
The cafés in Plaza Mayor set their tables and chairs outside of the arcades that encircle the 18th-century palaces that border the cobblestones. The scent of fresh, buttery pastries dusted with granulated sugar emanates from the entrance archways that bisect the opulent palace walls. After breakfast, your private transfer will escort you out of Madrid en route to Lisbon, Portugal. Stop in Salamanca, Spain along your trip to enjoy the golden sheen of the sandstone architecture that glows above the stones of Plaza Mayor.
The University of Salamanca opened in the 13th century and continues to draw students from around Spain and the globe. Students studying music dress in period costumes and offer traditional Renaissance rhythms to the charming atmosphere of Plaza Mayor. The nearby Old Cathedral has a remarkable altarpiece crafted in the 15th century that features 53 panels that depict scenes from the life of Jesus. You will stop for lunch at the celebrated Restaurante Victor Gutierrez for a bonus meal at the Michelin Starred restaurant known for its local ingredients to create exotic dishes fusing Southeast Asian and Peruvian flavors. You find a decadent sample with a light texture in a dish containing foie gras and green apples to balance the richness with the sweetness.
Lisbon – Relish a Private Cultural Tour of Lisbon and Michelin Star Dinner
The orange-tiled rooftops and whitewashed walls of the historical Alfama district shine brightest in the morning light atop the hillside that overlooks the Tagus River. Funiculars return to their routes that travel up and down the undulating streets of the city. The marvelous silver-stone walls of the Belem Tower were built in the 16th century as a fortress to protect the mouth of the river. Turrets along the tower’s top terrace provide elaborate panoramas of the rippling water and cityscape that grow along the hills. More than a dozen cannons continue to look out over the river as a reminder of the powerful protection the fortress provided before the Tagus River shifted away from the grounds.
A marble tablet near the entrance of the lower battery explains the taxes and waivers to passing Portuguese ships in the 17th century while a marvelous spiral staircase leads to the second level known as the King’s Chambers. Cafes in the Praça do Comercio offer serene views of the riverbanks and the 19th-century Arco da Rua Augusta at the northern edge of the plaza as the arch once acted as the welcoming gate for those entering Lisbon through the port. In the evening, you will arrive at Belcanto, recipient of two Michelin Stars. The cuisine takes inspiration from the traditional taverns found across the city and utilizes the history of Portuguese cuisine with modern cooking techniques. The aroma of coriander emanates from your plate, followed by the delightful scent of fresh crackling.
Lisbon – Delight in Fairytale Architecture in Sintra and a Michelin Star Meal
The morning light will filter through the windows of Church of Sao Roque in the Bairro Alto as the stained glass windows radiate a rainbow of colors against the glistening gilded filigree in the 18th-century nave. Nearby, the cafes around Lisbon provide the subtle aromas of rising pastries stuffed with citrus cream and dusted with sugar. Your guide will greet you in your hotel lobby and escort you to the majestic town of Sintra with its fabled hills that are dotted with storybook castles.
The ruins of Castle Mouros rise out of the forest and the staggered boulders atop the summit more than 1,350 feet above sea level. The peak provides a stunning view over the valley to the cobalt waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The castle grounds were erected in the 10th century with ramparts undulating with the mountain ridges. The Regaleira estate retains a sense of majesty with neo-Manueline architecture known for its dramatic spires and maritime motifs. The interior contains fireplaces adorned with metal filigree, elaborate frescoes, and stunning Venetian glass mosaics that gleam in the passing sunlight.
Hidden grottoes decorate the gardens with the interior halls that conceal a tunnel stairway that leads outdoors. In the evening, you will stop at LAB, an intimate restaurant with only 22 seats that received a Michelin Star for its innovative gastronomy, divine tasting menus, and wine list with more than 550 different bottles from around the globe. You can view the wines from your table and peer inside the glass box cellar. You will find a refreshing bisque and light flavor of cucumber ravioli to begin the meal.
Porto – Discover History in Tomar and Charm in Coimbra en route to Porto
The scent of chocolate cakes and vanilla whipped cream mix with the aroma of fresh coffee emanating from Royale Café. The life of Lisbon returns to the streets as boats cross the waters of the Tagus River. Funiculars ring their bells at pedestrians, and the golden sandstone walls of the Cathedral glistens in the returning sunlight. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you north to charming Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city. En route, you will stop in Tomar, where the town has pedestrian-friendly streets that are decorated with historical significance along the banks of the Nabao River. Swans and herons graze in the marshes as trees blossom in the Seven Hills National Forest roll beneath the edges of the crenelated walls of the Convento de Cristo.
For nearly a millennium, the castle-monastery has drawn visitors’ eyes with Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance styles as founded by the Knights Templar. The castle broke ground in the 12th-century and has stood above Tomar along the wooded hill. The 16-sided church imitates the layout of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem with a circular design that will allow knights to attend mass on horseback. Images of dangling ropes and cork boats decorate the walls near the windows, and as you stand in the footsteps of the Templars, you will take in the flamboyant architecture alongside the sober columns and pillars that lead to a spiraling staircase.
Porto – Revel in the Stunning History and Michelin Star Cuisine of Porto
Porto provides a perfect snapshot of life in Portugal through the cobbled lanes of the medieval heart, the bustling restaurants, and the charming locals who offer a charismatic welcome. Towers and church spires offer a refreshing skyline alongside the hand-painted ceramic tiles and street art layered with both history and contemporary artistic vision. Lookouts provide spectacular streaks of color from the orange-tiled rooftops and the soaring bell towers of the Cathedral. Beaux-Arts buildings lead to palm trees around the gardens and riverside promenades. Caravels, traditional fishing boats, traverse the waters of the Douro River, often carrying wine from the vineyards in the Douro Valley.
Your guide will lead you on an in-depth tour of the city and its monuments beginning at the Serralves, a cultural institution situated inside a former mansion. The pink exterior contrasts with the manicured hedges of the garden, both embodying the staples of art deco design. Lilies sweep across the pond and lead to the sweet fragrance of the rose garden while the sounds of the trickling fountains provide a serene soundtrack to relax visitors amongst the tranquil ambiance. In the evening, you will enter into The Yeatman, which has earned two Michelin stars over the course of its service. The chef is celebrated for offering a contemporary twist on traditional Portuguese dishes familiar to Porto and inspired by the city’s surroundings. Your meal will begin as the scent of ginger emanates from your plate to accentuate the bright carrots and ruby prawns that have been positioned with precision.
Porto – Depart for Home
The sunlight pours through the elegant collection of windows that adorn the San Francisco Church. The 14th-century edifice features both Gothic and Baroque architectural elements that lead to dramatic giltwood carvings along the pillars and columns that are supported by the vaulted ceiling. The woodwork shows animals, cherubs, and plants that shimmer in the natural light and contrast with the marble Gothic arches. The boats return to the river as the cafes along the riverside neighborhood of Cais da Ribeira open to the aromas of chocolate and oranges. The thin, soaring 18th-century Clerigos Tower remains the crowning image of the skyline at the height of nearly 250 feet above the surrounding streets. Your private transfer will greet you at the hotel when you are ready to escort you to Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport for your flight home.
- Discover the distinctive flavors and unique inspirations of the diverse menus crafted by Michelin Star chefs across Spain and Portugal
- Sample the traditional flavors of Barcelona during a visit to La Boqueria Market connected to the pedestrian avenue of Las Ramblas
- Wander along the preserved grounds of a fortress-monastery built by the Knights Templar in the 12th century in Tomar, Portugal
- Listen to students of the Salamanca University perform 16th-century music in the city’s main square while wearing period costumes
- Relish a unique view of the Changing of the Guard at Spain’s Royal Palace while touring the opulent grounds that encompass nearly 3,000 rooms
- Wander through the halls and salons of the Prado Museum in Madrid for a private tour of Spanish Masters between the 12th and 19th centuries
- Explore the fairytale palaces and historical castles that decorate the countryside outside the town of Sintra in Portugal
- Allow your dinner table to become a canvas for the artistic dishes crafted in DriverXO in Madrid
Your 10-day Michelin Star tour of Spain and Portugal will layer the flavor found in culture, history, luxury, and cuisine for a delicious adventure across the Iberian Peninsula. Your journey will begin with your arrival in Barcelona, Spain. Your private transfer will greet you at the airport and escort you to your gorgeous hotel in the heart of the distinctive city. The remainder of the day will be yours to enjoy the lifestyle found along Las Ramblas as the aromas fill the marketplace of iconic La Boqueria. The next day, you will have a private tour of Barcelona’s monuments in the Gothic Quarter to the architecture of Antonin Gaudi. In the evening, you will savor your first of a variety of Michelin Star restaurants across Spain and Portugal with dinner at Lasarte.
Wake the next morning, and your private transfer will take you to the train station to board your first-class car on the high-speed train bound for Madrid. Once in the Spanish capital, your guide will lead you on an engaging tour of the Royal Palace to see the Changing of the Guard, and then to wander along the bustling street of the Grand Via. Discover the medieval charms of the city of Toledo the next day, and you can add a bonus Michelin Star restaurant for lunch in Toledo before returning to Madrid to visit the Prado Museum. In the evening, you will discover the intersection of art and gastronomy at DriverXO.
Your private transfer will greet you in your hotel lobby the following day and escort you to Lisbon, Portugal. On your way, stop in the city of Salamanca, Spain to enjoy the historical architecture, unique ambiance, and lunch at Michelin Starred Restaurante Victor Gutierrez. The next day, you can traverse the undulating cobbled lanes of Lisbon to experience the culture of Portugal’s capital city with its gorgeous architecture and bustling cafes. Dine in the Michelin Star restaurant of Belcanto for insight into the evolution of traditional flavor, and then travel to Sintra the next day for time spent amongst the storybook palaces and castles. Relish the unique atmosphere, and then enjoy a fantastical meal at LAB.
The following day, you will travel with your private transfer to the town of Tomar to view the fortress-monastery built by the Knights Templar. Continue to the captivating streets of Coimbra to enjoy the streets that overflow with history before reaching Porto. The next morning, your guide will lead you on an in-depth tour of Porto that will include the riverside promenades, the elegant museums, and the charismatic culture. Your day will conclude with your final Michelin Starred meal in the Iberian Peninsula with dinner at The Yeatman, and then conclude the next day as your private transfer will escort you to the Porto airport for your flight home.
$2,195 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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