Family-Friendly Tour of Spain & Portugal

A 9 day trip to Portugal & Spain 
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Search for dragons, explore royal palaces, and then indulge in the sweet flavors of freshly made chocolate during your customizable family friendly tour to Spain and Portugal. Play amongst the life-sized gingerbread architecture of Park Guell and then explore the inspiring ambiance of a bookstore that inspired Harry Potter. Dramatic cathedrals will capture the attention of all ages as the captivating artwork found on a scavenger hunt through a museum will bring an atmosphere of fun to the exploration of history.  Your time spent together as history comes across these two countries will bring your family closer together in Spain and Portugal. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
portugal porto wine cellar with bottles of wine
portugal porto boats on the river
portugal braga jesus de monte monastery
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Salamanca, Porto, Douro Valley, Braga, Guimaraes 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Barcelona – Arrive in Barcelona for a Fabulous Introductory Tour

Barcelona is a city of history and scenery, lively plazas and colorful markets. Trees shade the walkways of Las Ramblas as the Mediterranean Sea splashes at the golden shoreline. The architecture of Antonin Gaudi resembles the buildings of a storybook while the Gothic Quarter captivates visitors, young and old, with radiant images of history that bring the past to life. Your flight will land at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival and escort you to your luxurious hotel at the heart of the city. Your guide will meet you in your lobby, eager to lead you on an introductory tour of the city focused on the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard of Las Ramblas.

The street performers will delight your kids as they pose as life-like statues while fire-eaters puff out their cheeks and breathe out smoke. You will enter into the aisles of La Boqueria, a market first established in the 13th century and located beneath the metal rafters. Vendors will wave to your family as you pass the vibrant strawberries and oranges as cheese mongers offer free samples for the kids to taste the variety of cheeses found in Spain and popular in Catalonia. The aroma of baked goods emanates from a pastry shop inside the market that offers displays of the traditional xuixo, a deep-fried pastry coated with granulated sugar and stuffed with custard.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, tour

Day 2: Barcelona – Discover Gaudi Architecture and the Gothic Quarter

In the morning, the kids will be excited that the traditional breakfast is that of churros and chocolate. The aromas of sugar and cinnamon will fill the air as your children happily dip their freshly fried churros into the chocolate as they smile from ear to ear. Your guide will greet you at your hotel after the meal excited to lead your the family through a tour that will highlight the fantastical atmosphere of the city, beginning at Park Guell. Antonin Gaudi designed the park in the early 20th century with modernist Catalan architectural style. The guard gates at the edges of the park resemble gingerbread houses topped with icing, and will quickly set the minds of your family into the fairytale landscape.

A giant mosaic salamander referred to as “The Dragon,” adorns the entrance and is nestled between flanking stairways. As you enjoy the unique artistry of the architecture and the mosaic terrace offers views to Barcelona’s captivating spires, the kids will run through the Doric columns and point out the colonnaded footpath that looks more like the wall of a cave. Once in the Gothic Quarter, your guide will fascinate your family with tales of knights and queens. The fascinating tour will bring the chance to see dragons as your family embarks on a scavenger hunt through the narrow, cobbled lanes of the city’s oldest district. The kids will begin to point out the dragons they find that are etched into the columns and tucked beneath the archways that border the Cathedral.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Madrid – Enjoy a High-Speed Train to Madrid and a Tour of the Capital

In the morning, the beaches fill with locals and visitors alike both eager to relax on the soft golden sands that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. Cable cars connect the lowlands of the city to the summit of Montjuic, which offers views of the coastline and access to the stunning crenulated walls of the old castle. At breakfast, your kids will once again dip their churros into the rich melted chocolate to begin their day with a grin. Your private transfer will soon greet you at your hotel and escort the family to Barcelona Sants Railway Station.

Board your first-class car on the high-speed train bound for Madrid, the capital of Spain. The kids will be excited to sit on the train and watch the countryside pass through the windows. They will marvel at the speed of the train as you reach more than 215 miles per hour. You soon arrive at Madrid Atocha Railway Station where you private transfer will await, and your gorgeous hotel is located in the heart of the bustling city.

Trees shade the walkways of the main boulevard, the Gran Via while Beaux-Arts architecture embodies the images of Spanish aristocracy and frames the lavish displays of boutique shops set in the windows. After settling into the relaxing ambiance of your hotel, your guide will lead you on an introductory tour of the city to view the unique Egyptian Temple of Debod. The edifice was first erected in 200 BC and transferred to Spain in the 1970s due to threats from the Aswan Dam. Continue to Kamchatka Magic Toys, a shop dedicated to the majesty of playtime with toys from around the world, with a particular focus on wooden toys made in Spain. 

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

Day 4: Madrid – Explore the Royal Palace and a Scavenger Hunt in the Prado

In the morning, the aroma of frothy cappuccinos will fill the dining room at your hotel. You will find the scent refreshing and the flavor a satisfying accompaniment to the traditional flavors of Spanish tortilla, similar to a quiche stuffed with potatoes. Your guide will greet your family after your meal to begin your private tour of the day at the Royal Palace. The kids will marvel at the size of the palace before learning that the grounds encompass nearly 1.5 million square feet. The edifice was erected in the 18th century atop the foundations of a 10th-century Moorish castle. The grandeur of the palace will capture everyone’s imagination as you learn about the more than 2,800 rooms.

You will then enjoy the unexpected view of the countryside beyond Madrid as seen from the courtyard that leads to the entrance. Enter the palace to discover the immaculate, bright grand staircase. The feature was carved from a single block of marble and shines in the natural light that pours through the windows. The kids will look up to find a lavish fresco that adorns the ceiling with heavenly figures and clouds. In the Throne Room, your guide will point out the bronze sculptures that act as allegories for the four Cardinal Virtues, asking the family if they can match the virtues to the artwork.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Madrid – Stroll along the Medieval Streets of Toledo that Bring History to Life

At breakfast, the kids will recount their favorite moments spent in the palace, which will likely include seeing the paintings that depict the courtly life of Spanish kings and queens. You will again indulge in the vibrant flavor of a fresh espresso before meeting your guide and heading for the city of Toledo. The cobbled lanes and medieval architecture will rise above the rushing waters of the Tajo River, and the dramatic walls and storybook gates will capture the family’s attention. You can cross over the 13th-century Moorish bridge as the river rushes against the pillars and along the grass-lined banks. Inside the city, the narrow cobbled lanes will lead you to Cambron Gate, the former entrance to the Jewish Quarter.

Guards once lived inside the gallery, and your kids will point out the massive iron doors that when closed would divide the neighborhood from the city. The Cathedral soars above the city with Gothic features that date back to the 13th century. The interior still has hints of spice from frankincense that lingers in the walls as the massive interior contains five naves that stretch across nearly 400 feet in length. 88 decorative columns create a striking image that contrasts with the open space. After exploring it all, you can enter into a sword shop to find full-size swords forged by a local crafter while the light glints against the polished metal. The artisan will happily show your family the way he shapes the swords as sparks fly from metal as the forger grinds the sword to shape its edges.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Porto – Visit Salamanca and the Douro Valley en route to Porto

At breakfast, the kids will still be talking about their favorite swords and imagining their life in a medieval town with ancient walls and hidden alleyways. After breakfast, you will meet your private transfer and make your way towards the Portuguese border with a stop in the city of Salamanca. The sunlight will wash over the golden sandstone of the cityscape as the Renaissance buildings frame the youthful ambiance that is brought by the student population. The University was founded in the early 13th century and continues to draw students from around Spain and the world.  

A band of minstrels composed of students in Renaissance costumes performs in the square. Their voices will echo off of the stone facades with their period costumes with buckled shoes, capes, and ribbons. They strum their mandolins and tap tambourines and create an authentic ambiance in the historical city. Continue to the Casa de las Conchas to view the stunning detail of the large shells that adorn the 16th-century edifice, and your kids will listen intently to the story of the knight who built the home. You will leave Salamanca behind and cross the border into Portugal to find the rolling hills of the Douro Valley leading to terraced vineyards that overlook the Douro River.

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

Day 7: Porto – Relish a Chocolate Tour, Bike Ride, and a Majestic Bookstore 

In the morning, the spirit of Porto will return along the riverfront plaza of Praça da Ribeira while traditional riverboats continue to glide along the water. Cafes set out their umbrellas to shade patrons as they enjoy watching the pastel colors of the surrounding buildings glow in the natural light. The aroma of buttery pastries stuffed with citrus cream fills the air, and after enjoying some, your guide will greet your family at the hotel and take you on a cycling tour over the cobbled lanes of the historical city. The Cathedral situated near the waterfront was established in the 12th century and altered in the 18th century, and the Romanesque features remain prevalent in the barrel-vaulted ceilings along the nave.

A 14th-century rose window allows light into the Gothic cloister as the scent of chocolate emanates from the famous confectioners at Arcadia, which opened in the 1930s. You will enter the shop with the kids eager to press their noses to the display cases for a better look at the macaroons and chocolate cat tongues. You can sample the various types of chocolates found in the shop and indulge in the creamy texture and decadent taste. Continue to Livraria Lello, the bookshop celebrated for inspiring the library of Hogwarts as JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter. The majestic ambiance emanates from the 19th-century architecture with its stained glass ceiling, and stairwell reminiscent of the moving stairs at Hogwarts.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Porto – Traverse Historical Guimaraes before Visiting Braga

In the morning, the aroma of fresh éclairs will float out of a bakery that claims the oldest recipe in the city. Custard fills the pastries that are topped with chocolate, vanilla, or maple glaze. The kids will continue to talk about their favorite chocolates from their sampling of the previous day, and will likely beg you to stop for more. Your guide will greet you at your hotel after breakfast and lead you to the town of Guimaraes to begin your historical tour in an area often referred to as the “Cradle of Portugal.” The medieval castle will capture the attention of your family, with crenulated towers dominating the skyline. A maze of narrow lanes wanders through the historical center, framed by worn granite facades.

The 10th-century grounds are the birthplace of Portugal’s first king Afonso Henriques. At the foot of the castle hill stands the Duke’s Palace, a 15th-century residence modeled after the French Burgundy style of architecture. Continue to the array of Baroque churches, public plazas, and chiming bells of Braga. The spiritual ambiance of Portugal’s third-largest city is catching, embellished with charming cafes and elegant boutique shops. Just outside of town, the kids will discover the fun of historical architecture on the lavish zigzagging steps that lead to the doorway of Bom Jesus do Monte.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Porto – Depart for Home

In the morning, Rabelo boats return to the river and pass the beautiful plaza of Cais de Gaia. The double-decker figure of Dom Luis Bridge frames the view in the distance while cafes provide stunning panoramas alongside the Port warehouses bedecked in terracotta filigree. The 19th-century neoclassical façade of Palacio da Bolsa features an ornate oval chamber in imitation of the grand reception room of the Alhambra Palace in Granada Spain, capturing the Moorish details and enchanting atmosphere. At breakfast, you will join your kids in sharing your favorite moments on your trip, glossing over the churros for breakfast and chocolate tasting with reminders of the castles and palaces across the Iberian Peninsula. Your private transfer will meet your family at the hotel after your meal and escort you to Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport for your flight home.  

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast 

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.