A Renewal of Faith: A Pilgrimage From Lisbon to Barcelona Itinerary

A 9 day trip to Portugal & Spain 
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Renowned pilgrimage trails and elegant cathedrals offer historical acts of devotion, inspiring a renewal of faith during your customizable Spain and Portugal itinerary. Ringing church bells in Braga convey the new day. Christian Pilgrims following the Camino de Santiago string shells to their bags, indicating their acts of piety. Fountains bubble as adornments along an elegant switchback stairway. The tomb of Vasco de Gama commemorates a golden age of exploration that helped build the Jerónimos Monastery. From the distinctive La Sagrada Familia Basilica to remnants of a 2nd-century pillar relic, you will find majesty in the spiritual monuments of Spain and Portugal. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Barcelona, Zaragoza, Burgos, Santiago de Compostela, Cape Finisterre, Lisbon, Fatima, Tomar, Braga 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Lisbon – Renewing the Spirit

Lisbon is a city of majesty and history, charm, and spirit. The whitewashed homes and orange-tiled rooftops of the Alfama district contrast the golden walls of Saint Gorge’s Castle. The faint aroma of the ocean sweeps in from the Atlantic in the west and the waters of the Tagus River ripple beneath the image of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. The monument was erected to commemorate the 500th-anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator, who helped usher in the Golden Age of Discovery. Images of famous Portuguese explorers, including Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco de Gama, adorn the ship-like image.

The esplanade contains a compass and mosaic map charting the world, along with the dates in which the Portuguese discovered new lands. Your flight lands at Lisbon Portela Airport. Your private transfer greets you upon your arrival and escorts you to the comforts of your hotel offering views of the riverbanks and the cobbled lanes of the historical city. Funiculars traverse the various hills and patrons of charming cafes watch passersby from patio tables. After settling into the serene charm of your hotel, you set out with your guide for an introductory walking tour of the city, leading you to treasured churches of Lisbon. Igreja da Pena was erected in the 18th century with baroque aesthetic gilding the nave and altar. The aromas of frankincense and myrrh continue to drift beneath the archways and along the vaulted ceiling, accentuating the opulent décor.

What’s Included: airport transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 2: Fatima – Individual Journey

The morning light washes over the golden Romanesque façade of the Catholic cathedral. The structure was erected in the 12th century and balances castellated bell towers and stunning brickwork connoting renovations over the centuries. At breakfast, you delight in the aromas of rich coffee and fresh-baked pastries covered with granulated sugar. You step out into the city with your guide eager to explore the religious history of Lisbon embodied in the Jeronimos Monastery. The grounds were established in the 16th century with exuberant Manueline architecture. Fluid stonework contains maritime motifs symbolized in iconic twisting ropes and armillary spheres. The South Portal brims with more than 40 statues decorating ornate stonework and pillars.

Images of Henry the Navigator and St. Jerome border the large, arched doorway. The vaulted ceilings of the interior loom tall and large, with a cool temperature from the stone, contrasting the Iberian sunlight outside. Your guide points out the tomb of Vasco de Gama, who blazed the sea-trail connecting Western Europe to India at the end of the 15th century. The marble monument depicts a resting, life-like image of the famous explorer clasping his hands over his heart. You can stroll amongst the cloisters to view the elaborate filigree wrapping around the courtyard. A lion-shaped fountain connects the beauty and tranquility of the cloister to the purity of St. Jerome, whose heraldic animal is the lion.

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

Day 3: Fatima – In Honor of the Shrine

The golden sunlight of the Iberian Peninsula washes over the spire of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. Thin, rounded stairs texture the colonnade around the main plaza. At breakfast, the scent of coffee and milk accompanies the aroma of buttery cakes stuffed with cream. You stroll along the monument of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the center of the plaza, which was erected above a natural spring. Make your way to the town of Tomar, an enchanting town on the banks of the Nabão River. You can hear the water rushing against the small arches of the bridge. The sunlight glints against the whitewashed walls and red-tiled roofs of the buildings framing the main square of Praça da Republica.

The 15th-century church maintains an opulent entrance in the tradition of Manueline architectural style. The Castle-Monastery of the Knights Templar was erected in the mid-12th century and remains a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. The portal contains intricate, dramatic sculptures setting the tone of the structure and its interior. Buttresses and round windows adorn the upper echelons of the edifice, reminiscent of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Eight columns frame the walking space, each adorned with capitals depicting animals or produce. The Window of the Chapter House is richly sculptured, with a wealth of detail illustrating Portugal’s power over the sea. Images of sails, mariners, and knots add to elegant and proud motifs.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Santiago de Compostela – Inside Portuguese Rome

After breakfast, you leave Fatima behind, watching the white spire of the basilica fade over the horizon. The landscape shimmers with cork trees and sporadic vineyards rushing along the hills before your reach Braga. The city is often referred to as “Portuguese Rome,” due to its ancient narrow lanes, public plazas, and lavish churches. Bells chime at all hours of the day emitting a sense of the city’s religious devotion. The imposing central cathedral was built in the 11th century but completed more than a century later. The eclectic style of the church derives from its renovations from the 16th century onwards.

The interior shimmers with a gilded wood choir and an 18th-century organ adorned with intricate motifs. Just outside of the city center stands the Bom Jesus do Monte, an impressive sanctuary surrounded by a lush greenery of a public park. The aroma of fresh grass fills the air. The baroque 18th-century façade stands atop the plateau decorated with a unique granite staircase. A series of chapels along the zigzagging stairwell show the 14 Stations of the Cross. Fountains trickle along the edges of the stairwell amongst statues depicting biblical figures and allegories. From the plateau, you have stunning views of the gardens, fountains, and grottos decorating the stairway. You can also enjoy the view circling the church, leading outwards to the beaches of Esposende.

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

Day 5: Santiago de Compostela – On the Path of Pilgrims

At breakfast, you think back to your time inside the St. James’ Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The scent of myrrh brings a whirlwind of images as well as the picture of a devoted crowd eager to view the remains of the Apostle James. He is located beneath the high altar, making the city one of the top pilgrimage destinations in the Middle Ages. After the meal, you set out along the pilgrimage route to follow a portion of the trail known as the Cabo Finisterre. The route pre-dates Christianity by more than half a millennium. Pagans would venture to the edge of Finisterre where they believed the sun “died.” You make your way to the windswept cape where historically, pilgrims would burn their robes at the end of their long journey.

The breeze carries the aroma of the sea across the rugged coastline speckled with short grass. A lighthouse adorns the coastal summit above the rocks. Return to Santiago to follow a portion of the St. James’ Way. The trail gained notoriety in the 9th century with routes connecting all of Europe to Santiago to reach the tomb of St. James. Scallop shells adorn the city, the trail, and hikers as the sign of the devout pilgrim. The Museum of Pilgrimages offers insight into the history of the Apostle and the pilgrims who have steadfastly followed in the footsteps of St. James. Ancient artifacts and religious objects from Jaffa, Israel shed light on Jacobean worship.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Burgos – Magnificence in the Cathedral

The orange-tiled roofs of Old Town Santiago shimmer in the sunlight in the morning. Cafes line the cobbled lanes of the antique city fill the air with the aromas of sponge cake and hot chocolate. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to Burgos; a city celebrated for its marvelous cathedral and medieval city center. The city was once the capital of the Castile-Leon region between the 10th and 14th centuries. The pleasant ambiance emanates from the castle and flowing waters of the Arlanzon River. The Arco de Santa Maria has guarded the entrance to Old Town since the 14th century.

The large archway and semicircular towers give the gateway the appearance of a castle entrance. The cathedral was erected over a 500-year period stretching between the 13th and 18th centuries. The vast Gothic edifice maintains a western facade adorned with three-dimensional archways and a rose window. Spires adorn the elegant towers soaring above the main plaza. Moorish features decorate the nave near the elaborate dome, including a stunning vaulted ceiling. Candles flicker along the votive and the gilded edges of the 16th-century golden staircase layer opulence over piety. 

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

Day 7: Barcelona – Treasures of Zaragoza

The morning casts light on the traditional conservative architecture of Burgos, with a stunning skyline and somber gray stones of the historic center. The streets return to life amidst the Romanesque spires of the cathedral and hidden lanes lined with celebrated restaurants. The aromas of bonbons and almonds drift out of the cafes, mixing with the herbaceous scent of the trees shading the riverside Paseo del Espolon. Your guide escorts you from the hotel to Barcelona, stopping en route to explore the stunning historic gems of Zaragoza. Roman ruins provide glimpses into the life of the ancient settlement now surrounded by the vibrant, contemporary streets. Pipes, old market walls, and remnants of the theater decorate the galleries inside the Museo del Foro de Caesaraugusta.

You make your way to the soaring towers gracing the grand edifice of Our Lady of Pillar Basilica. The 17th-century baroque wonder rises above the cityscape, visible from across the banks of the Ebro River. Colorful trees blossom near the entrance, providing a sweet scent to the public plaza. The basilica was erected on the spot where Mary descended atop a marble pillar to speak to Santiago in the 1st century AD. A portion of the original pillar is exposed in the chapel’s western side where devout visitors brush their lips against the polished figure. An alabaster altarpiece was crafted in the 16th century and adorns the western wall of the choir. 

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

Day 8: Barcelona – A Culmination of Devotion

Barcelona has an atmosphere of relaxation and elegance, splendor and charm. The breeze carries the aroma of the Mediterranean Sea. Medieval architecture in the Gothic Quarter shimmers with golden stones and apparitions of dragons protruding from the cathedral columns. The unique aesthetic of Antoni Gaudi’s architectural designs provides visions from storybooks to life. Your guide leads you on an encompassing tour of the legendary city, offering panoramas from the summit of Montjuïc, at more than 4,000 feet above sea level, and images of the renowned Spanish artist Pablo Picasso inside the eponymous museum. Your tour culminates at the iconic Sagrada Familia Basilica, which broke ground in the late 19th century and will be completed on Gaudi’s death centennial.

Gaudi designed the edifice to comply with his unique vision of intricate detail and lofty grandeur. The spires adorn the basilica at heights reaching 560 feet above the city streets. Allegorical statues decorate the Nativity Façade, which faces east to catch first light over Barcelona. You notice a tortoise and turtle supporting the thick columns flanking the doorway. The nave captivates you with pastel stalactites resembling a colorful cave. The indentations honeycomb the ceiling for a unique texture and unforgettable glint in the natural light. The organ installed in the presbytery contains nearly 1,500 pipes to counteract the acoustics of the vast and uniquely designed interior.

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

Day 9: Barcelona – Reaffirmation of Wonder

Cafes open their doors in the morning the aromas of pistachio and cream. The relaxed lull of the waves along the golden beaches filters into the lifestyle of the city. You find the scent of frothy cappuccino filling the dining room of the hotel at breakfast, accompanied by an enticing aroma of cream filled pastries. Vendors in the colorful mark of La Boqueria call out to passersby, promoting their fruits, vegetables, and artisan cheeses. The cathedral of Santa Eulalia in the Gothic Quarter rises out of a maze of narrow lanes with illustrious Romanesque architecture crafted in the 13th century. Your private transfer meets you in the hotel lobby when you are ready, escorting you to Barcelona—El Prat Airport for your flight home. 

What’s Included: breakfast, airport 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.