In-Depth Cultural Traditions of the Iberian Peninsula Itinerary

A 9 day trip to Portugal & Spain 
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From the movement of flamenco to the melodic harmonies of Fado, the historical towns with whitewashed walls to ranches that nurture emblematic bulls, you will discover the spirit of Spain and Portugal on your custom itinerary that will embrace tradition at every turn. Watch the elegant dance of horses as they perform with a regal air, and then explore the impressive fortresses that shimmer with the golden sandstone walls. Lattice filigree indicates Moorish architectural inspiration and crimson cliffs soar above the Atlantic coastline as you find Roman ruins, enjoy charming cafes and embrace the passionate culture of Spain and Portugal.  

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
spain seville plaza de espana
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Seville, Gerena, Jerez de la Frontera, Algarve, Tavira, Evora, Vila Viçosa, Estremoz, Elvas, Lisbon, Olhao

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Seville – Arrive in Seville for a Welcoming Introductory Dinner

Seville is a city of tradition and splendor, a doorway into Spanish history through the flamboyance and charisma of legend, preserved architecture, and captivating dance. Locals perpetuate the myth that Hercules founded the city more than three millennia ago, and Roman ruins confirm the early settlement as the Moorish filigree continues to inspire artists, architects, and visitors from around the world. Your private transfer will greet you at Seville Airport upon your arrival, and then you will make your way to your luxurious hotel that blends Old World grandeur with contemporary luxury.

Horses pull carriages along the historical city center, and their hooves clip against the cobblestones. Orange trees fill the air with the aroma of bright citrus as trams maneuver between the beaux-arts buildings of the more contemporary neighborhood. In the evening, you can make your way to a traditional tapas bar for an introduction into the small plates that are loved by locals and searched for by visitors. You will settle in a restaurant in the neighborhood of San Lorenzo, framed by two plazas and two churches. The aroma of garbanzo beans and sautéed spinach will drift from the doors and speak to the former harmony between Moorish, Jewish, and Christian communities across Spain.   

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, dinner

Day 2: Seville – Explore Seville’s Rich Cultural Past on a Private Guided Tour

In the morning, the aroma of oranges returns to the cobbled lanes along the historical center of the city. Bakeries offer layers of buttery, flaky, and chocolate scents for an enticing combination as cafes set out their tables and chairs along the walkways where patrons nibble on fresh churros dusted with powdered sugar. Your guide will greet you at your hotel after breakfast ready to lead you on an encompassing tour of Seville’s preserved history and culture. Your exploration will begin along the narrow, winding alleyways of the Jewish Quarter.

The whitewashed walls glint in the sunlight amongst the doorways and windowsills that burst with pastel colors. Azaleas and carnations blossom in the flowerpots that dangle from the upper-level windows as small churches mark what were once synagogues before the streets open into the opulence of Plaza del Triunfo, framed by the dramatic façade of the Cathedral. The edifice was constructed between the 15th and 16th centuries by renovating the former mosque, and your guide will point to the Giralda Tower, which soars more than 300 feet above the cobbled plaza and discuss the Moorish latticework and geometric style that indicates the structure’s original purpose as a minaret.

The interior of the Cathedral contains hints of frankincense and myrrh that drift along the five aisles and reach nearly 400 feet in length. The Gothic features of the nave guide visitors to the retablo in the Main Chapel, which depicts 45 scenes of the life of Jesus and Mary, with a silver image of Mary at the center. In the evening, you will venture to a restaurant that offers the traditional flavors of Seville accompanied by the customary moves of flamenco.

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

Day 3: Seville – Visit a Bull Ranch to Learn the History of Bulls in Spain

You will find the aroma of pastries stuffed with citrus cream accompanying the bright, zesty scent of oranges in the morning Seville air. The horses return to their positions beneath the trees and wait to ferry riders through the historical lanes. Boutique shops offer lavish window display within the borders of the beaux-arts structures of the contemporary city. Your guide will greet you at your hotel and lead you to the town of Gerena. Whitewashed walls in the Andalusian tradition shimmer in the sunlight along the golden hills of the iconic Spanish landscape. The bull ranch is located near Gerena and is framed by rolling hills, and evergreen oaks as the scent of eucalyptus offer a delightful herbaceous quality to the air.

Wild olive trees rustle in the refreshing breeze and travel the length of the nearly 1,550 acres of the farm. A herd of 500 cattle grazes serenely on the wild grasses, and the ranchers tend to the cattle and bulls with care and affection as they lead you along to visit with peaceful grazers. The tractor trudges along the open field as your guide recounts the history of the ranch, bull breeding, and the deep connection of bulls to Spain. You will return to the manor to find a glass of sangria waiting for you and alongside the cold, fruity glass of white wine accompanies a selection of marinated olives and divine cheeses for a genuine tapas experience in the Spanish countryside.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Tavira – View a Horse Show in Jerez de la Frontera en route to Portugal

The sunlight washes over the golden stone of the Alcazar, Seville’s remarkable 14th-century fortress built in the style of Moorish kings. The interior features a stalactite dome ceiling and an arabesque supported by 52 marble columns that bring insight into the inspiration that Moorish architecture and artwork had on the returning Christian kings. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you to the town of Jerez de la Frontera. The streets wind along the taverns renowned for their Sherries and lead to modern fashion boutiques framed by the stylish architecture of a Moorish past.

You can hear the tapping of flamenco dancing echoing in the studios during private lessons. The instructor calls out to the students as the Alcazar towers above town stand with an octagonal tower that dates back to the 12th century. Before sampling the traditional Sherries produced on wineries around Jerez, you can visit the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art for a peek into the unique elegance of the aristocratic horseback riding. The stables hold up to 60 horses with a performance space helping to promote dressage, and the regal horses trot along the soft, sandy arena and promenade with a sense of style indicative of tradition and culture of the horseback riding in the region.

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

Day 5: Tavira – Discover the History of the Region before a Sunset Cruise

The Algarve region of Portugal is known for the golden sunshine, lavish coastline, and serene ambiance. The town of Tavira embodies the tranquility of the region and the marvels of the past through the more than 37 churches that decorate the skyline with spires, domes, and bell towers. The cobbled lanes border the banks of the Gilao River with shops and cafes that fill the antique architecture north of the water. Fishers dig their bare feet into the sand bars at low tide as herons plunge their beaks into tidal pools in search of schools of fish. The Old Castle overlooks the ocean with salt flats that take shape near the edges of the coastline.

Embrace the beauty of your town and subtle aroma of the seaside before venturing to Olhao, which boasts the region’s impressive commercial fishing fleet. The fish market brims with locals eager for a deal on the catch of the day. Bream and sea bass are in high demand alongside octopus, ruby prawns, and luscious clams. Relish a traditional Portuguese tapa lunch known as petiscos. The restaurant offers tables and chairs along the narrow cobbled alleyway, and you can sit and savor the smoked flavor of farinheira sausage and regional cheeses, accompanied by a delightful calamari dish before stepping onto a private sailboat for a cruise along the Portuguese seaboard.

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

Day 6: Evora – Travel to Evora for a Stunning Tour of the Layers of Portugal’s Past

The cafes in Tavira open their doors to the aromas of fresh espresso and pastries stuffed with cream. After enjoying one of each, your private transfer will escort you north to the city of Evora where you can settle into the comforts of your luxurious hotel at the heart of history. The various civilizations that settled in Portugal have left a trace in Evora, from the Romans to the Moors, and even Neolithic caves on the outskirts of town. The main square of Praça do Giraldo features charming cafes and lavish shops that overlook the mosaic squares that decorate the cobblestone.

Wrought iron balconies adorn the encircling homes that lead to the façade of the 16th-century Santo Antao Church. Your guide will gladly lead you around the city treasures, from the 11th-century towers of the largest cathedral in Portugal to the ivory statue of the Virgin Mary located inside the Sacred Art Museum. A 3rd-century Roman temple retains its integrity at the center of Largo do Conde de Vila Flor while a granite base supports the Corinthian columns.

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

Day 7: Evora – Traverse the Marble Towns and Forts of the Alentejo Countryside

The sunlight pours through the rose window of the cathedral as the 14th-century sculptures of the Apostles wrap around the central doorway and glisten with golden hues. Vineyards outside of town rustle in the breeze with grapes dangling against the dusty leaves. The countryside of Alentejo resembles the arid gold hills of Spain, complete with olive trees, thriving cork oaks, and the occasional orange grove. You can make your way with your guide to the town of Estremoz, which is known as one of the “marble towns” of Alentejo where the opulent white walls of the historical homes glint in the light, framed by the old entrance gate.

The 13th-century castle crowns the summit of Old Town, located on the hillside with the newer sections of Estremoz situated along the lower reaches of the hillside. Enter into the Rossio Marques de Pombal, an unpaved plaza framed by marble homes, churches, and cafes. The open space is utilized for markets with vendors that offer handcrafted pottery and incredible cheeses made on family-owned dairy farms. Continue to the town of Elvas, which stands less than eight miles from the border of Spain. The heavily fortified fortress was built in the shape of a star and feature dramatic gates, inspiring curtain walls, and a 16th-century church that is adorned with Manueline décor.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Lisbon – Venture to Lisbon for a Half-Day Tour of Art, History, and Culture

The morning light will wash over the greenery along the hills outside of Evora. The orange-tiled rooftops and whitewashed homes of the city glint against the verdant landscape to frame the pillars of the Roman temple and the Moorish gate that once stood in the eponymous plaza. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel and escort you to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. The sandstone walls of St. Jorge Castle shine with gold above orange rooftops of the historical Alfama district.

Funiculars climb the hills and connect the upper neighborhoods to the banks of the Tagus River. Follow your guide on an in-depth tour of one of Europe’s oldest capital cities to discover the Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. Cobbled mosaics decorate the plazas that flank the city’s grand Avenue of Liberdade. Trees shade the beautiful walkways beside charming cafes while the Jeronimos Monastery was built in the 16th century, funded with treasures brought back from Portuguese maritime exploration.

The lavish South Portal contains remarkable statues that flank the doorway, including maritime motifs exemplary of Manueline style. Once inside the cloister, the motifs continue in the form of sea monsters and coral, coiled ropes and spheres, that lead you to the tomb of Vasco de Gama. In the evening, you will find the passionate sounds of Fado accompanying your dinner as the national music of Portugal carry hints of deep longing with lyrical passages about the sea and lost loves intrinsic in Portuguese art for centuries.

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

Day 9: Lisbon – Depart for Home

The cafes of Lisbon open their doors to the aroma of citrus cream and rich, buttery dough dusted with sugar. Patrons sit at outdoor tables and enjoy refreshing cups of espresso while the golden sheen of St. Jorge Castle returns with the spreading sunlight. For a farewell panorama of Lisbon, you can make your way to Miradouro de Santa Luzia, located above the orange-tiled roofs of the Alfama district. Pillars frame your view over the churches and houses that lead outward to the Tagus River. Decorative ceramic tiles create lavish artwork that depicts life in Comercio Plaza and an army attacking St. Jorge’s Castle. After wandering through it all, your private transfer will greet you at your hotel when you are ready and escort you to Lisbon Portela Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Starting Price 

$1,975
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.