Best of Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon Tour

A 10 day trip to Portugal & Spain 
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Stand beneath the soaring towers of La Sagrada Familia Cathedral and then wander the gilded halls of Spain’s royal palace.  Follow in the footsteps of celebrated Portuguese explorers and then traverse the narrow cobbled lanes of an ancient Moorish neighborhood. Your customizable tour will encompass the highlights of Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon and immerse you in natural beauty, diverse culture, and unrestrained history. Bask in the beautiful sounds of Portuguese Fado and indulge in the coastal air of the Mediterranean and Atlantic waters. Discover Spanish markets and seductive coastal cuisines, historical trollies and medieval walls while reveling in the wonders of the Iberian Peninsula. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Barcelona – Arrive in the Captivating Mediterranean Atmosphere of Barcelona

Barcelona is a sunny mixture the Mediterranean climate with boundless architecture and endless movement that sweeps through the wide boulevards and narrow Gothic lanes. The sunlight soaks the golden sand beaches and highlights the backdrop of cyclists, joggers, and handholding-couples that stroll along the coastline. The hilltop of Montjuïc shimmers with blossoming flowers, elegant sculptures, and a stunning panoramic view of the city below. Your flight will land at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, where your private transfer will greet you upon arrival.

The city will grip you with its exciting and intoxicating atmosphere the moment you step off of the plane. Trees shade the walkways along the grand boulevard of Passeig de Gracia at the heart of town as shops decorate their windows with graceful and grandiose displays to charm passersby. Colorful mosaics adorn the pedestrian street of Las Ramblas, with red, blue, white, and yellow tiles as the scent of garlic, stewed tomatoes, and fresh oranges emanates from the aisles of La Boqueria Market, whose origins date back to the 13th century. Your private transfer will escort you to the comforts of your gorgeous accommodation near the center of the city and allow you the remainder of the day to get acquainted with the unimaginable splendor of Barcelona.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer

Day 2: Barcelona – Explore the Highlights of Barcelona on a Private Guided Tour

In the morning, the stalls inside La Boqueria Market open to the fanfare of locals in need of daily groceries. The colorful array of berries, oranges, and melons adorn the stalls like pyramids as the scent of fresh coffee drifts over the cobblestone streets in the center of the city. Your guide will greet you at your hotel eager to lead you through the marvels of Barcelona’s distinct neighborhoods. Venture to the Eixample district to view the striking façade of Casa Batlló, designed by famous architect Antonin Gaudi.

The blue, mauve and green tiles along the front of the structure accentuate the surreal effect of the wave-shaped window frames. The balconies look as though they move in the breeze as the entire structure rises to meet the uneven tiled roof that shimmers with blue hues beneath the solitary tower. The house is one of three on the Manzana de la Discordia, literally translating to the “Apple of Discord.” The bright colors of the home change as you walk along the edges of the home, providing unusual movement to the structure refurbished near the turn of the 20th century. You continue to the icon of Barcelona’s skyline, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, to view the remarkable design and eclectic vision that has been in the works for more than 100 years. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Barcelona – Relish a Day in Barcelona and the Surroundings at your Leisure

In the morning, windsurfers take to the Mediterranean Sea to enjoy the breeze that flutters in their sails along the windy coves of the city’s northern coast. The scent of xuixo, a sweet pastry reminiscent of a croissant but covered with crystallized sugar and filled with sweet cream, sweeps through the city streets. The Old World charm of old Barcelona emanates from the medieval neighborhood known as the Gothic Quarter. Narrow lanes weave between the rustic bricks of and ruins of Roman occupation. A 14th-century chapel was built over the old Roman walls and contains the preserved coats-of-arms of the past counts of Barcelona.

The day is yours to enjoy the bustling city and relaxed pace of the coastline at your preferred pace, taking to the panoramic views of Montjuïc or wandering along the shops of Passeig de Gracia. Inside the Gothic Quarter stands Picasso Museum that embodies the mixture of history and contemporary artistry within the halls of a Late Gothic palace. The galleries represent the artist’s career in chronological order and allows visitors to trace the evolution of Picasso’s aesthetic. It is the largest collection of Picasso’s early works and highlights many paintings of the Cubist period. The museum opened in the 1980s and welcomes you to the interior with a series of sketches and oils crafted in the 1890s.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Madrid – Transfer by Scenic High-Speed Train to Spain’s Capital, Madrid

The aroma of chocolate drifts through the cobbled streets of the Gothic Quarter, emanating from the open doors of the Chocolate Museum, which offers insight into the history and artistry of chocolate from the New and Old Worlds. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you to Barcelona Sants Railway Station to board your first-class car on the high-speed train heading to Madrid. The plush seat will offer a comfortable station to enjoy the scenic ride through the Spanish countryside.

The scent of coffee and fresh pastries will accompany the view of rolling hills and lush plains. Your private transfer will meet you at Madrid Atocha Railway Station upon the train’s arrival and escort you to your luxurious hotel at the center of the capital city. The city will glow with more green than you expect from the remarkable gardens and manicured parks that fill more than 615,000 acres across the city. The remainder of the day will be yours to enjoy the grandeur of history and the difference in culture between the bustling movements of the capital and the relaxed pace of Barcelona.

Wander through the greenery at El Retiro Park to stroll through the tree-lined paths created in the 17th century for the Count-Due of Olivares or make your way to the 18th-century Church of San Francisco el Grande for a unique perspective of popular religious art. The structure itself is a masterpiece of neoclassical design and supports the largest dome in the city at nearly 110 feet in diameter and 190 feet in height. The interior contains subtle hints of frankincense and myrrh that drift beneath the marvelous paintings that decorate the cupola. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour

Day 5: Madrid – Discover the Monuments and Sites of Madrid on a Guided Tour

The streets of the city bustle in the early morning with locals eager to make their way to work. At night, the streets hum with music that pulses from the many clubs, bars, and endless restaurants. In the morning, the grand boulevards move to the sounds of feet clacking along the cobbled walkways and marvelous, avant-guard window displays glint against the shady trees along Chueca District. Your guide will greet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you to the Royal Palace to begin your private tour of the city’s remarkable, preserved history. The palace grounds rival Versailles in both design and size, covering 1,450,000 square feet.

The neoclassical façade contains Ionic and Doric columns imitating sculptures fashioned by famous Italian architect Bernini. Your guide will point to the balustrade, which showcases statues of past Spanish kings. The interior will shimmer with polished marble floors and natural light that spills through the endless array of windows. Pass through the entrance hall with its dramatic stairway to reach the Throne Room, which is draped in velvet wall coverings and a ceiling decorated with paintings by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The Salon de Gasparini embodies the regal nature of the palace and those once inhabited the complex. Marble creates intricate patterns along the floor set beneath silk wall hangings that match the design and each room that you enter into provides understanding to the culture of contemporary Spain and the aesthetic of the country’s past.   

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Madrid – Stroll through Madrid to Find History and Culture at your Leisure

In the morning the scent of rich coffee sweetened with natural sugar fills the air along Paseo de Recoletos. The day is yours to indulge in the marvels of Madrid at your leisure and take advantage of the fast-pace of the city to partake in a wine tasting tour accompanied by a sampling of Iberian ham, or venture to the enchanting medieval city of Toledo. For an immersive excursion into the history of Spain, you can make your way on a private tour of the walls of Pedraza de la Sierra where the village has preserved its walls that date back more than seven centuries.

Upon arriving in the town, you will feel as though you have stepped onto the set of a movie. Stone homes once awash with white hues now flicker with tan colors around the central square as the aroma of baked earth drifts upwards from the trails around the town, graced with the subtle hints of blossoming red carnations strung along the windowsill. The scent of simmering garlic and onions emanates from a historical cantina while an old prison marks the entrance to the village. The ancient stones continue to keep the interior cool against the Iberian sunlight. While wandering along the pebbled-stone walkways, the city will easily transport you back to the slower pace that may have been there in medieval times. Return to Madrid to enjoy a traditional restaurant at the heart of the city that specializes in plates such as cocido madrileño, a chickpea-based stew.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Lisbon – Fly from Spain’s Capital to Lisbon, the Capital of Portugal

The music of the previous evening fades beneath the rapid movement of locals as they fill the cafes to sip fresh coffee while  shuffling to work. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel and escort you to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport for your short flight to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Trams traverse the steep hills alongside the cobbled roads and old homes. A stunning statue near the mouth of the river portrays the Golden Age of Discovery, with national heroes adorning the monument topped by a figure of Vasco da Gama.

Venture from Lisbon Portela Airport to your lavish accommodation with easy access to the eclectic mixture of contemporary culture and historical architecture. The Arco da Rua Augusta was erected in the 19th century and frames the northern border of the Praça do Comércio. An allegorical statue of Glory crowns the victory arch with wreaths etched into the graceful stone. In the evening, you will have an introduction to the music and cuisine of Portugal during a Fado performance at dinner.

The guitarist will strum a captivating tune, fingering each string on the instrument with focus. The singer will cry out in the atmospheric restaurant accentuated with flickering candlelight. Fado is the national music of Portugal, with roots in the early 19th century and the songs present mournful and lyrical art that speak to life, the sea, and fate. The scent of salt cod cooked with potatoes, onions, and black olives fills the room, providing a welcome for all your senses.

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

Day 8: Lisbon – Relish a Sightseeing Excursion around Historic and Cultural Lisbon

Locals venture to the peaceful ambiance of a popular café in the morning light. The scent of rich espresso sweetened with sugar drifts over the 19th-century terrace that offers views to Liberdade Avenue. Your guide will greet you in your hotel after breakfast eager to lead you through an exciting tour of Portugal’s capital city, beginning with cobblestone lanes of the Alfama district. The creamy stone of the Castelo de São Jorge crowns the summit above the whitewashed homes with red-tiled roofs.

The city’s oldest quarter overtakes the southeastern slope and is connected by a maze of lanes that embody the essence of the city’s ancient Arab district. Wander beneath the small archways and stone terraces to find hidden 17th-century churches and the lingering aromas of carnations and fennel. Step beneath the massive chalk-white dome of the Church of Santa Engrácia, which adds to the wealth of the city’s skyline. The 17th-century edifice took nearly 285 years to complete and now claims the title of Portugal’s National Pantheon, housing the monuments to Vasco de Gama and Henry the Navigator. Step onto the bleached-white terraces for an unforgettable view of the city that reaches towards the shores of the Tagus estuary. The interior view offers a stellar image of the empty marble interior accompanied by the whispers that echo off of the walls.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Lisbon – Delight in an Adventurous or Relaxing Day in Lisbon at Leisure

In the morning, the sunlight will filter through the windows of the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, which is dedicated to the art of decorative tiles. The artwork continues to adorn the facades of ornate palaces and churches around Lisbon, including inside the fountains, railways, and shops across the city. After breakfast, the day will be yours to enjoy the beauty of Lisbon at your preferred pace, taking to the Museu do Oriente to see the impact the Far East had on Portugal, or by visiting the 17th-century home of a Portuguese aristocrat. Indulge in the unique properties of the Atlantic as you partake in a day trip to enchant Cascais. En route to the coastal town, you can stop at the landmark Águas Livres aqueduct.

The water system was erected in the 18th-century to help pump freshwater to the capital city. The aqueduct spans nearly a total of nearly 35 miles with an imposing section of 35 archways that reach heights of 213 feet above the roadway. Cascais wraps around the shallow bay and has a self-contained beach as whitewashed homes with red-tiled roofs overlook the medieval fishing port. Lobster traps line the walkways near the water with small boats that wade in the gentle current of the Atlantic. The seaside aroma drifts through the cobbled streets and rustles the palm fronds as the impressive walls of the Palácio da Cidadela, a 17th-century fortress, continue to protect the shoreline with images of a rich seafaring past.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Lisbon – Depart for Home

The doors to a celebrated bakery open to the aroma of pastéis de belém, a crisp pastry filled with custard and dusted with cinnamon. The mixture of sweet and spiced scents swirl beneath the vaulted ceilings. The white stone of the Jerónimos Monastery glints in the returning light and the windows over the western portal cast soft light through the church, shining along the stone tomb of Vasco da Gama. The majesty of Lisbon is endless and you have found charm around every corner of the historical lanes while exploring the city. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you to Lisbon Portela Airport for your flight home. You could always extend your time in Portugal and enjoy the beauty of the Atlantic coastline or the comforting flavors of Porto. 

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.