Epicurean’s Delight: Tapas and Wineries of Spain & Portugal Tour

A 12 day trip to Portugal & Spain 
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Simple flavors bring big impressions, and traditional wineries offer unforgettable memories during your customizable Spain and Portugal itinerary. Tapas bars offer little dishes across Spanish cities that feature fresh seafood, simmering stews, and delightful cheeses as Portuguese cafes fill with the enchanting sounds of Fado music. Estates in the Douro Valley brim with vines that overtake the terraced hills and you can explore a private farm that produces Iberico ham and then wander the historical marketplace of Barcelona. Discover Moorish mosques and taste supple marzipan as from decadent wines to fine chocolates, radiant history to inviting culture, you will find a complete gourmet experience in Portugal and Spain. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Segovia, Toledo, Cordoba, Avila, Lisbon, Pinhao, Porto, Coimbra

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Barcelona – Arrive in Charming Barcelona to Enjoy a Day at your Leisure

Barcelona is a city of unimaginable culture that is embodied in the relaxed pace of pedestrians along the main avenue of Las Ramblas, and beachgoers bask in the sun along the golden shores of Nova Icaria. The turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea lap against the coastline and the breeze rustles the palm trees while surrealist and medieval architecture decorate the lanes of the city. The aromas of chocolate, orange, and the seaside drift along the walkways. Your flight lands at Barcelona Airport—El Prat and your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival and escort you to your luxurious hotel that overlooks the captivating harbor.

The masts of sailboats wade in the water like a maritime skyline and the pier connect to the honey-yellow Baroque façade of the Church of Saint Miguel of the Port. The remainder of the day will be yours to enjoy the pleasures of Barcelona, a city known for indulging in the finer details of life. You can make your way to Las Ramblas, the pedestrian boulevard shaded by beautiful trees and art-deco architecture. The metal roof hovers were constructed in the early 20th century over the market grounds that date back to the 1200s. The scent of lemon and apples emanates from the produce aisles while the olives soaked in olive oil offer a decadent, savory treat. The scent of sautéed garlic and grilling onions emanates from the stalls that provide high quality, original cuisine shaped by the ingredients found in the market.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer

Day 2: Barcelona – Visit the Sagrada Familia and Gothic Quarter with a Food Tour

In the morning, the enticing aroma of chocolate and churros fills the air while the sea breeze rustles the palm trees along the promenade of Nova Mar Bella Beach. Cafes in the Gothic quarter set out their tables and chairs along the cobblestone lanes to allow patrons to view the preserved stone facades and the narrow, labyrinthine alleyways. Your private guide will greet you after breakfast eager to introduce to you the captivating architecture of Antonin Gaudi, beginning with the Casa Batlló and culminating with the grand spires of the iconic Sagrada Familia Basilica. The church broke ground in the 1880s and is still under construction, with spires that reach heights of 560 feet above the city streets.

Your guide will point to the features of the Nativity Façade, which faces the sunrise to capture the first light of day. Images of the birth of Jesus accompany allegorical symbols, including a tortoise at the base of a large column and two chameleons that flank the doorway. The interior shimmers with natural light as you stand beneath the honeycomb ceiling in the nave while the pastel colors shimmer against the stained glass windows with formations similar to stalactites. The subtle aroma of frankincense has hints of spice in the church chambers. After exploring the Gothic Quarter, you can take some time to experience the flavors of Bellota Ham amongst a feast of Catalonian delights for a true taste of Barcelona’s past and present culinary scene. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Madrid – Travel to Madrid to Find El Prado, Old Madrid, and Gourmet Tapas

The streets of Barcelona are at their most peaceful in the morning as cafes open their doors to the aromas of fresh cappuccino that blends with the seaside. The narrow lanes of the Gothic quarter lead to the shadows beneath the 14th-century Cathedral while the Picasso Museum continues to draw visitors with galleries that trace the career of the famous Spanish artist and offer a thoughtful, visionary experience of the evolution of his process. After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Barcelona Sants Train Station.

You will board your first-class car of the high-speed train bound for Madrid. The capital city offers an atmosphere much different than Barcelona, carrying an air of importance and an environment filled with movement. Elegant architecture along the main boulevard of the Gran Via contains Beaux-Arts features framing lavish boutique shops. Your private transfer will escort you from Madrid Atocha Train Station to your gorgeous hotel situated in a former residence of an 18th-century Duke. Your guide will greet you at your hotel keen to introduce you to the splendors of Madrid’s architecture and culture, beginning with a visit to the Prado Museum.

The galleries of the Prado maintain collections of Western European art and the Spanish masters between the 12th and 19th centuries with over 2,300 pieces across 100 rooms. The 19th-century palace grounds will bring your first glance at artistic elegance with the entrance portico adorned with pillars as the interior shimmers with neutral tones bathed in natural light from the windows. Venture first to the gallery that features Las Meninas, a painting that depicts the Spanish royal family in the mid-17th century. Famous artist Diego Velazquez cast a captivating spell over the observer through the realistic figures of the Royal Court and offered a peek into the daily life of the aristocracy.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

Day 4: Madrid – Sample Historical Flavors and Tour Segovia and Avila

In the morning, cafes pour decadent hot chocolate with freshly fried churros coated with cinnamon and sugar. The sweet dough of the churros provides a luxurious, balancing scent to the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate drink.  After breakfast, you will venture to the remarkable city of Toledo, known for its preserved medieval architecture and the harmonious manner in which the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities once lived. The city rises above the banks of the Tagus River with the elegant arches of the 13th -century Moorish Bridge continuing to connect to the opposite shores. The sunlight washes over the golden stone of the San Servando Castillo outside of the city.

The formidable crenelated towers and walls give way to a Moorish gateway with its iconic keyhole arch. The narrow, winding lanes of the city lead beneath the 15th-century spires of the San Juan de Los Reyes Monastery. Chains of Christian prisoners once held in Moorish captivity decorate the exterior walls as 28 graceful horseshoe arches bring a stunning view inside the church of Santa Maria la Blanca, which was formerly a 15th-century Sephardic synagogue. Upon returning to Madrid, go first to the San Miguel Market to tour the tavernas and restaurants of the Old City. Aromas abound in the covered plaza that calls attention to the simmering pork stew, fried eggs with sausage, and the popular fried calamari sandwich.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Madrid – Discover the Remarkable Medieval Streets of Toledo

The boutique shops along the Gran Via feature opulent window displays to entice and entertain passersby. When the shops open their doors, hints of jasmine and azaleas bring the graceful aroma of the countryside along with hints of roasted coffee. Your guide will greet you at your hotel and escort you to out of the city to begin your exploration of Segovia and Avila. Before arriving at the heart of Segovia, you will follow the archways of the ancient Roman aqueduct as the engineering feat has nearly 170 arches and reaches heights more than 90 feet tall as you travel from the Granja Palace to Alcazar above the town.

Warehouses, private homes, and shops have sprouted between the archways over the centuries, allowing the 1st-century AD stone pillars to frame the more contemporary edifices. The cobbled lanes of Old Town Segovia fill with the aromas of chocolate, marzipan and confectionaries fill their windows with marvelous sweet treats molded into statues or delicious fruits. The storybook figure of the Alcazar adorns the hilltop above the historical city as the conical towers, and tall, thick walls represent a 19th-century romanticized interpretation of the 14th-century fortress. Your guide will lead you into Pasteleria Acueducto to sample a selection of local confections, including the luscious lavender chocolates. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Seville – Travel to Seville for a Half-Day History, Tapas, and Flamenco Tour

In the morning, you will find the familiar aroma of churros accompanying the distinctive scent of tortilla de patatas, a customary dish of eggs and potatoes similar to a quiche. After enjoying a slice, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel in the morning and bring you to Madrid Atocha Train Station. You will board your first-class train car bound for Seville and enjoy a scenic journey through the rolling hills of the countryside. Olive orchards and orange trees decorate the landscape in the foreground with the remarkable foothills of the Sierra de Andujar.

You will arrive in the Seville, a city known for its grand Moorish architecture, savory tapas, and flamenco dancing. The aroma of oranges fills the city and emanates from the orchards both in and outside of town as trams glide across the cobbled streets of the newer neighborhoods with horses drawn carriages beneath the shading trees. After taking the time to settle into the comforts of your luxury hotel near the streets of Barrio Santa Cruz, your guide will take you on a fascinating tour of the Seville.

The aromas of orange zest and jasmine fill the air as the soaring spire of Giralda Tower casts a shadow over Plaza del Triunfo. You can make your way to the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes, a 17th-century Baroque mansion once used as a hospice for the priest. Spanish artistic masterpieces decorate the interior, including Santa Rufina by Velazquez. Before partaking in a spectacular flamenco show, your guide will lead you to a hand-picked selection of the more than 4,000 tapas bars of the city, featuring Andalusian specials such as fried fish, gazpacho, and roasted peppers. 

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

Day 7: Seville – Discover the Beauty and Flavors of Cordoba

In the morning, the taverns will fill with the aromas of almonds being reduced to make a sauce for savory meatballs as boutique wineries and wine bars feature bottles of luscious olive oils in their windows. You will make your way to Cordoba with your guide for a full day spent sampling the local dishes and remnants of the Moorish culture in a city that once encouraged the arts, literature, and science to rival that of Rome and Paris. Confectionaries offer aromas of buttery filo dough infused with citrus cream as the narrow lanes of the Jewish Quarter wind between whitewashed walls and flower pots that adorn second-story windows.

The 15th-century synagogue represents the Mudejar style of architecture and features whitewashed walls along the exterior with keyhole archways and tiles. The interior has galleries that illustrate the life of the Jewish Sephardic community of the times through music and paintings. You will discover the difference between the character of the synagogue and the grandeur of the Mezquita, also known as the Grand Mosque. Enter through the patio of oranges to find the blossoming fruits that dangle beneath the leaves as the 8th-century interior features nearly 900 columns that support awe-inspiring archways. The scents of toasted sesame and sweet potatoes emanate from the taverns along Calle Cardenal Gonzalez. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Lisbon – Visit an Iberian Ham Producer en route to Lisbon, Portugal

In the morning, the aroma of decadent olive oil filters out of the taverns across Seville while the early-hour breeze carries the scent of orange zest. After breakfast, your private transfer will greet you at your hotel ready to escort you over the Portuguese border to reach Lisbon. En route you will stop at a historical farm known for its Iberico ham. The oak and cork trees shade the 19th-century estate as the black pigs feast on acorns. The owner is a fourth generation farmer who enjoys the microclimate of the hills that reach more than 1,875 feet above sea level.

Enjoy time spent with the farmer to learn about how the meat is processed and cured. The flank of the pig is dangled from the roof and ages slowly in the climate-controlled cellar. At lunch, you can taste the efforts of the farmer with a full lunch focused on the Iberian ham. The savory, salty flavor accentuates the subtle plum and cherry tastes of the wine produced in the region while after lunch you can continue into Portugal and settle into the comforts of your Art Deco boutique hotel in Lisbon.

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

Day 9: Lisbon – Embrace the History of Lisbon and Fado Music

Lisbon is a city of luster and charm that is embodied in the images of the whitewashed walls and orange-tiled rooftops of the Alfama district. The golden towers of the Castle of Saint Jorge adorn the hill that guards over the former Muslim district. The scent of buttery dough stuffed with rich cream emanates from the cafes and bakeries across the city. Your guide will greet you at the hotel ready to lead you along the cobbled hills of the distinct neighborhoods to experience the enchanting ambiance with its relaxed pace, verdant gardens, and narrow lanes.

Venture to the Saint Jorge’s Castle to traverse the battlements of the 12th-century stronghold as the edifice feels like something from a storybook as the flags flutter above the towers with views over the tiled rooftops to the river. The observation terrace provides an uninterrupted panorama that goes as far as the Atlantic Ocean with funiculars that traverse the hills and markets with their displays of fish caught fresh that morning beside clams, mussels, and squid. Nearby, the Belem Tower rises with silver stone along the shallows near the banks of the river. The 16th-century building once protected the city from oncoming ships before the waterway shifted over the centuries. In the evening, the aroma of cod cooked in olive oil fills the restaurant, and you will discover the fascinating, soothing sounds of Portugal’s national music of Fado.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Pinhao – Explore Charming Coimbra en route to the Douro Valley

The funiculars return to their courses to traverse the heights of Lisbon. The cafes open their doors to aromas of strong espresso and light citrus cream that accompany buttery pastries. The morning light will wash over the figure of Vasco de Gama along the monument that is dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator on the banks of the Tagus River. Your private transfer will greet you after breakfast and escort you to the wine region of the Douro Valley, stopping first in the city of Coimbra, the capital of Portugal between the 12th and 13th centuries.

The old streets contrast with the youthful ambiance that rises from the student population thanks to the university first opened in the late 13th century. Old Town stands atop a hill that looks over the Mondego River as the narrow streets lead to beautiful old churches. The lower town has pastry shops that fill their windows with rich cakes and boutique shops that offer splendid displays of Portuguese fashion. Wander along the courtyard of the university to discover the whitewashed walls framed by Baroque and neoclassical architecture. The library was built in the 18th-century and has exotic wood features that frame the trompe l’oeil as frescoes fade beneath the grandeur of the nearly 300,000 medieval books and manuscripts housed in the gallery. 

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

Day 11: Pinhao – Relish a Private Wine Tour and Lunch in the Douro Valley

The sunlight will wash over the vines and hills of the world’s oldest wine region as the aroma of grapes and arid soil floats across the plains and over the banks of the Douro River. The town of Pinhao stands at the center of terraced hills at the bend of the river, and wineries stand out with their whitewashed walls and orange-tiled roofs. The local train station glistens with hand-painted ceramic tiles that depict the grape harvest as the water rushes alongside the billowing grass beneath the dangling branches of oak trees.

After breakfast, you will make your way to a celebrated estate known for its sophisticated wines and spectacular views of the terraced vineyards. The property you will explore was cultivated in the 17th century, even before the region’s demarcation as a wine region. Your guide will lead you on a private tour of the vines so that you can stroll along the pebbles that protect the roots from oversaturation. You can touch your fingers to the dry soil as your guide explains the reason to keep the grapes struggling as it fortifies the flavor. From the center of the terraces, you can look up to the hilltops and notice the texture of the hills and then look down to the riverbank and enjoy watching the water. The cellar provides a refreshing cool against the warmth of the day while in the tasting room, your guide will present a sample of the Quinta port. The aroma of red berry, plum, and spices fill the glass, perfectly pairing with dark chocolate and tart berries.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Pinhao – Travel to Porto for your Flight Home

In the morning, the aroma of olive oil, rosemary, and bay leaves blends with the subtle scent of the vine leaves while bakeries craft rice pudding with cinnamon and vermicelli. In season, cherries and apples fill tarts with almonds that offer a sweet flavor in the form of marzipan. The vineyards glisten with green leaves above the Douro River while in the city of Porto, cafes open their doors along the waterfront that leads to a maze of narrow streets. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel in Pinhao after breakfast and escort you to Porto. Take some time to wander along the riverside quarter of the Cais da Ribeira before continuing to Francisco Sa Carneiro 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.