Authentic Experiences of Portugal & Spain Tour through Music, Dance and Cuisine

A 12 day trip to Portugal & Spain 
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Immerse yourself in the authentic culture and heritage found in Portugal and Spain on your customizable tour. Images of Portugal’s seafaring past decorate monuments and historical palaces in Lisbon while the jewels of Moorish architecture cover the preserved halls and galleries of the Alhambra in Granada. Roman ruins rise out of the cobbled streets of Évora as the aroma of zesty orange trees drifts through the narrow lanes of Seville. Whether basking in the soothing sounds of Fado or indulging in the flavors of homemade paella, you will relish Portugal and Spain’s authentic spirit.

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General Information

Photos
spain madrid cibeles fountain lit up at night
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Lisbon, Obidos, Nazare, Fatima, Évora, Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Toledo, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Lisbon – Arrive in Portugal’s Capital for an Introductory Tour and Dinner

Motifs of the sea connect the neighborhoods of Lisbon with the red-tiled roofs found along the hills of the Alfama district, as well as to the artistry of the mosaic plaza in the Plaça do Comércio. The waterfront monument along the mouth of the Tagus River commemorates the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator’s passing, who played a key role in Portugal’s Age of the Discovery. The dramatic artistic rendering features a nine-foot tall Prince Henry leading other famous Portuguese figures across the waters along a featured ship reaching nearly 185 feet tall. Before you begin to take it all in, your flight will land at Lisbon Portela Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival.

A subtle aroma of the Atlantic will drift in from the coastline as you see the structure of the Ribeira Market.  Built in the late 19th century, today the building houses the cities oldest food market. A circular mosaic stands at the entrance and stalls present fresh, local items for passersby ranging from glowing carrots to crisp lettuce, and bright, zesty oranges. People from all walks of life linger in the food court amongst the aromas of decadent fish dishes, including a stew served in a traditional bread bowl.   

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, dinner

Day 2: Lisbon – Discover Historical Architecture on a Guided Tour

In the morning, the stalls of the Ribeira Market opens once again to the fanfare of locals and visitors alike. Butchers present their cured meats as they lay out delicate hams, offering samples to passersby. The aroma of fresh coffee will emanate from a celebrated café on the Liberdade Avenue. The 19th-century garden terrace brings secluded views of the Lisbon’s surrounding rooftops. After breakfast, your guide will greet you in the lobby eager to take you on an encompassing tour of Portugal’s capital city. After discovering Vasco da Gama’s tomb in the vast complex of Jerónimos Monastery, you can continue to the Alfama, the medieval quarter of the former Moorish and communities. Palm trees rise above the sloping red-tiled rooftops, and the sunlight will glint against the whitewashed walls of the antique homes.

The dramatic ramparts of Jorge’s Castle continue to run along the summit. The district offers a perfect introduction to the medieval style architecture embodied in the narrow cobblestone lanes and tall structural walls. The aroma of grilling fish with lemon will emanate from a hidden restaurant as azulejos, traditional Portuguese ceramic tiles, decorate door frames and businesses. The hillside opens up to a panorama of the low-lying streets along the riverbanks as you reach a charming restaurant enticed by the aroma of fresh seafood and simmering garlic. The sounds of traditional Fado, the national music of Portugal, will fill the dining room and lure you to your seat for a memorable multi-course meal.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Lisbon – Follow Pilgrims to Fatima and Visit Charming Nazare and Obidos

Cyclists and joggers alike take to the esplanade in the morning to enjoy the refreshing breeze that carries a mixture of freshwater and seaside aromas. Cafes open to the scent of caramelized sugar and flaky pastries accentuate the fresh coffee. After an early breakfast, you will make your way with a private transfer to the town of Fatima before you arrive in the seaside charm of Nazare. The scent of the sea will grow more acute, lingering beneath the rugged cliff that presses against the town. Narrow cobblestone avenues wind through the heart of Nazare before reaching the golden sands of the Atlantic coastline where umbrellas shimmer with colors of the rainbow and rustle in the passing breeze. Restaurants located along the sand fill the air with the aroma of grilled prawns with garlic and lemon.

The lulling waves splash against the shoreline as you make your way to the top of Promontorio do Sito via the scenic funicular located 360 feet above sea level. You will continue to the medieval walled town of Obidos, located along the water. Fishing boats moored in the marina sway in the calm wake as the crenelated walls shimmer with flecks of golden hues along their seasoned surface. Dashes of yellow and blue paint burst from the whitewashed walls of the coastal houses that lead to the labyrinthine streets. Enter through the main gate of Porta da Vila where the aroma of chocolate and cherry liqueur drifts out of the collective shops.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Seville – Visit the Town of Évora before Passing into Spain to Reach Seville

In the morning, the locals and the visitors of Lisbon venture to the Jardim da Cerca de Graça to indulge in the decadent flavor of fresh coffee and a stunning view of the castle towers. Fishing trawlers return from the ocean carrying nets filled with seafood ready for Ribeira Market. Your private transfer will soon collect you at your hotel ready to lead you over the border into Spain. En route, you will stop in the town of Évora which is known for its preserved medieval streets and Portuguese charms. Olive groves and historical villages rise out of the sunbaked landscape outside the city as the aroma of oranges drifts from the sporadic trees that grace the walkways.

The Cathedral was erected in the early 13th century, and its age shows along the façade as the granite hues of a fortress set beneath the asymmetrical bell towers are shown in the sun. Romanesque and Gothic features blend together and culminate in the 14th-century Apostle sculptures that adorn the main entrance. Whispers echo against the old walls and the aromas of frankincense and myrrh linger in the nave. Wander through the streets that lead you to the Temple of Diana, situated atop an impressive granite base. The structure was erected between the 2nd and 3rd century BC, with 14 preserved Corinthian columns capturing your imagination of life in the city during Roman times.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Seville – Experience Seville’s Vibrant Streets, Architecture, and Flamenco

You will find that the mornings in Spain bring different aromas than those of Lisbon. Whereas Lisbon is filled with the scent of the sea and cinnamon, Seville brings fragrant oranges and decadent chocolate to the air. Your guide will greet you at your hotel before leading you on an enriching tour of the captivating city. Antique street lamps continue to decorate the cobbled walkways as palm trees shade the boulevards. Horse-drawn carriages meander down the wider promenades, clopping their hooves against the stone streets. You will begin your tour in Plaza de España, which encompasses 538,195 square feet with balustrades imitating the grandeur of the Moorish style that adorns the encircling balconies. A peaceful canal runs along the square framing the fountain at the center.

Rowboats drift along the waters, and the greenery of Maria Luisa Park borders the edges of the plaza with orange trees, elms, and Mediterranean pine trees. After a full day exploring the preserved medieval neighborhoods and enchanting Cathedral grounds, you will make your way to a Flamenco performance. The company offers a brief overview of the dance and its evolution of entwining the movements into Spanish history and heritage that date back to the 15th century. The guitars strum, the dancers clap and create a beat. Their garments flow with their footsteps, and each movement exudes spirit, an expression of self as much as an appreciation for the technical process delivering a captivating dance that you will always remember.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Granada – Visit the Mezquita in Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada

Today you will depart Seville with a private transfer bound for Granada and the jewel of preserved Moorish architecture, the Alhambra. En route to the city, you will stop at Cordoba, home of one of the greatest architectural structures built during the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. Locals traverse the streets by foot or on bicycle as patios grow blossoming flowers along the narrow lanes of the former Jewish and Muslim quarters. Contemporary life blends seamlessly with the historical architecture that reaches the shores of Guadalquivir River. You will venture to the Mezquita, the Great Mosque erected in the 10th century and converted into a Cathedral in the 16th century.

Pass through the Patio of Oranges where the air fills with the zesty citrus. Fruit continues to grow along the trees with bright, lush hues and smooth, textured rinds. The prayer hall has 856 columns creates endless rows of archways that feature red and white stripes. The Nuevo Mihrab, a specific prayer niche, was crafted from a single block of marble with verses from the Koran in elegant script. You will reach the labyrinthine streets of Granada in the early afternoon to find the majestic image of the Alhambra crowning Sabikah Hill.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Valencia – Transfer to Valencia for a Paella Class and Tour of the City

The view of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountains fades as you make your way out of Andalusia towards Spain’s city of art and sciences. Valencia pays homage to its past and celebrates the future with a blend of modern architecture and medieval spires. Antique churches glisten with domes adorned with bright azulejo tiles as palm trees shade the cobblestone plazas. The Gothic figure of the Cathedral was built atop the old Moorish mosque in the 13th century and has vibrant elements of Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque architectural styles. Your guide will greet you at the hotel and escort you first to Valencia’s celebrated Central Market.

The complex has more than eight centuries of history with the modernist metal structure constructed in the early 20th century. Your guide will lead you down the aisles in search of the necessary ingredients to craft the perfect traditional paella. Chicken brings a nice spice, and fresh prawns offer a touch of decadence while tomatoes add acid and rosemary for herbaceous quality. You will enter into the kitchen to find a huge pan set atop an open flame. Follow the guidance of your instructor and chop green beans and simmer olive oil. The scent of saffron will fill the air, making your mouth water.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Barcelona – Travel to Barcelona to Enjoy the Day at Leisure

In the morning, the aroma of coffee will accompany the scent of cinnamon and sugar that drifts from cafes that serve fresh churros. After breakfast, your private transfer will escort you along the coastline to the celebrated city of Barcelona, the capital of the Catalonian region. The city effortlessly blends historical neighborhoods and a casual lifestyle set alongside the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Take the time to settle into the comforts of your hotel located near the Barcelona Cathedral. The remainder of the day will be yours to indulge in the relaxed pace of the city and the eclectic ambiance embodied in the people, architecture, and tree-lined boulevards. The central boulevard of Las Ramblas runs for a mile and was originally designed in the 1760s.

Trees shade the walkways, and the food court inside historic La Boqueria Market fills the air with simmering garlic, roasted potatoes, and delicious grilled eggplant. You will walk along the walkway to find the Miró Mural, a vibrant work of tile that helped shape the artistic reputation of the neighborhood. The artistic nature of the boulevard culminates in Centre d’Art Santa Monica, a gallery known for hosting contemporary exhibitions for artists from around the world. Flower stalls along the boulevard fill the street with color and the sweet fragrance of blossomed carnations and roses. You will venture next to the Gothic Quarter to wander the cobbled streets and flying buttresses that bring you to a different age.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Barcelona – Relish the Cultural and Historical Marvels of the Celebrated City

The morning light will wash over the gold sand beaches of Barcelona and glints against the funicular that climbs to the top of Montjuïc. After breakfast, you will set out on a full day guided tour of the history found on the steps of the city and the unique artistry embodied in the architecture of distinct neighborhoods. After visiting the Columbus Monument, continue to the icon of Barcelona architecture, La Sagrada Familia. Antonin Gaudi designed the Cathedral in the 1880s, and the edifice has been under construction ever since, taking more than 135 years to complete. The eight soaring spires reach a height of 560 feet with the interior nave accommodating up to 9,000 people.

The magnitude of the project is fully realized as you approach the doorways and discover the intricate details that adorn the façade. The Nativity façade features three porticos and endless symbols related to the birth of Jesus, including the Tree of Life and the turtle and tortoise figures situated at the base of the framing columns. The interior is breathtaking, making you feel as though you stepped into a cave painted with a kaleidoscope. Pastel hues shimmer along the columns that lead upwards nearly 250 feet to the apse. The unconventional architecture remains a theme in Barcelona’s modernist architecture and Gaudi’s captivating designs.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Madrid – Delight in a First-Class Train and Introductory Tour of Madrid

In the morning, the Gothic Quarter will fill with the aromas of pour-over coffee and quintessential Catalonian pastries emanating from Cafes el Magnifico. Make your way to the Barcelona Sants Railway Station after breakfast to board your first-class car aboard the high-speed train bound for Madrid. The plush seats will offer views to the Spanish countryside, and you will enjoy sitting back to take it all in. Spain’s capital city has a unique, fast-paced culture that is spread through the verdant parks, magnificent museums, and the continued regal ambiance. You will meet your private transfer at Madrid Atocha Railway Station before taking the time to explore the luxuries of your hotel situated in the elegant district of Salamanca.

Venture next into the streets of Madrid as you follow your private guide to view the marvels of the Prado Museum. The complex rivals the Louvre in Paris as it displays more than 2,300 pieces of work across 100 rooms. The archives contain more than 7,000 paintings. The museum is located inside an 18th-century palace that is adorned with intricate details that rival the artwork on display. The natural light washes through the hallways and filters through the large windows. Your guide will lead you to the work of El Greco, whose 16th-century aesthetic created the surreal and vivid portrayal of the Nobleman with His Hand on His Chest.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Madrid – Explore Spain’s Opulent Past and the Treasured City of Toledo

The pace of Madrid moves faster than that of other Spanish cities, with locals awake and eager to venture to work in the early hours of the morning. Your guide will collect you after breakfast and lead you to the Royal Palace for an unforgettable view of the lavish regal lifestyle. The grounds cover nearly 1,500,000 square feet, with more than 3,400 rooms. 50 of those rooms are open to visitors, including the grand staircase.

The steps were carved from a solid block of marble and set beneath a gorgeous painting swathed over the ceiling. Velvet-crimson drapes create a layered flourish to entryway. Spanish master painter Tiepolo fresco of Venus and Vulcan was crafted in the 18th century, depicting the goddess of love charging Vulcan with the responsibility of forging the arms of Aeneas. Exuberant stucco borders the ceilinged painting. Later in the day, leave the streets of Madrid and head for the shores of the Tajo River and the preserved medieval cosmopolitan streets of Toledo for an afternoon basking in the beauty of Spain’s multicultural past. The city was once home to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities living in peace and prosperity.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Madrid – Depart for Home

The cafes along Plaza Mayor will set out their tables and chairs along the cobblestones. The aroma of pastries dusted with granulated sugar accompanies the scent of coffee as locals and visitors alike enjoy basking in the returning sunlight washing over the opulence of the city’s central square. Antique palaces continue to frame the plaza, which was first erected in the early 17th century. Ochre colored facades shimmer behind wrought-iron balconies. Your time spent amongst the authentic cultures of the Iberian Peninsula will end after breakfast as your private will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$2,635
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.