Vacations BWD

Spain & Portugal: Fenton Family

17 July 2020 - 29 July 2020

Spain & Portugal are two countries that have attracted travellers and sightseers for centuries. Rich in history, culture and natural beauty, the Iberian Peninsula with its 582,000km² (225,000mi²) has become one of the premium travel destinations in recent years. This itinerary not only covers many of the highlights of both Spain & Portugal but is also relaxing enough to allow you to spend time experiencing the many destinations and not just seeing them. A wonderful selection of hotels, restaurants and local guides all combine to make sure you leave Iberian not just with photos, but with wonderful memories also.

Duration: 13 days

Countries visited: Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal

Route: Madrid to Lisbon

Price: $2835.00
(Price based on twin/double share. Single supplement: €490.)

In pictures View

Itinerary (click day to see full itinerary)

Today you are transferred to your centrally located Madrid hotel. The afternoon is free to recharge the batteries after a long flight or maybe wander the Spanish capital and explore on you own. Tonight, we head to Plaza Mayor for a Welcome Drink before moving onto one of the oldest restaurants in Madrid to try some typical Madrileño dishes. During your meal, local musicians will perform several of the songs, and pieces of music, Spain is famed for. Not only a great introduction to Madrid, but a good way to begin our journey through Iberia.

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Plaza Mayor, Madrid.
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Our local guide this morning shows us the Spanish capital. We begin with a drive along the elegant Paseo de Castellanos to see the monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus and his journeys to the Americas, the Prado Museum as well as the fountains of Neptune and Cibeles. We continue to Plaza España, to see the memorial to Miguel Cervantes and his story of Don Quijote, and finish our sightseeing with a visit to Royal Palace, the largest Royal residence in Europe that is still being used. Whilst there we will see the Queens apartments, the banqueting hall, King Charles III apartments, the Royal Chapel and the Royal Armoury, considered to be the best in the world. This afternoon we will visit and tour the home of one of the world’s great football clubs, Real Madrid. The rest of the day and evening is free to explore this wonderful city.

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City Hall, Madrid.
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This morning we head to Toledo, the once capital of Spain and today the home of the Roman Catholic Church. We begin with a photo stop above the city to admire the view that was immortalised by El Greco in his masterpiece that now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. With our local guide, we then walk the streets of the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spain, through the Jewish Quarter to visit Santa Tome to view the Burial of the Count of Orgaz, considered by many to be one of the most influential paintings in the world. Our tour continues through the Medieval lanes and streets past the city hall and the Bishops palace to visit the 13th century cathedral. Afterward we will have some free time to wander one of the most iconic town in Spain before returning back to Madrid.

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Cathedral, Toledo, Spain.
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This morning we leave the Spainish capital to pass through the plains of La Mancha and the home of the legendary Don Quijote. After a short stop in Puerto Lápice, mentioned in Miguel Cervantes novel, we arrive in Córdoba, once the centre of the Arabic world in Spain. With a local guide we visit the incredible Mezquita, one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world, which today operates as a Roman Catholic cathedral. It’s arches, design and incredible decoration are so impressive that it when the city was recaptured in the 13th century it was never destroyed. Afterwards, we visit the Jewish Quarter famed for its whitewashed homes and patios all decorated with impressive flower boxes and ornaments. After some free time we then continue to Granada where we will spend the evening.

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Mezquita, Córdoba, Spain.
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“Give him alms, woman, because there is nothing sadder in life than being blind in Granada”
– Francisco de Icaza

This morning our local expert shows us the Alhambra Palace. Set against the Sierra Nevada mountains we will visit this fortified palace complex including the Comares Palalce, Hall of Kings, Patio of Lions and the Golden Room. The incredible decoration of stonework lace is wonderfully complemented by the palace and gardens of the Generalife, a wonderful ensemble of pathways, pools, fountains, trees and flowers. Afterwards we return to Granada for some free time to explore the Alcaiceria, old silk market or maybe visit the Royal Chapels. In the afternoon we head to the Mediterranean coast and the Costa del Sol, our home for the next 3 nights.

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Patio of Lions, Alhambra, Granada. The Patio of Lions, Alhambra Palace - Granada
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This morning we head to the mountains outside Malaga to walk the Caminito del Rey or the King’s little path. A walk pinned along the steep walls and narrow gorge of El Chorro provide incredible scenery as we walk in the footsteps of King Alfonso XIII for whom the path is named. The rest of the day is set aside to be entirely at leisure. Take advantage of our wonderful hotel location to enjoy the beaches, cafés and restaurants of the Costa del Sol.

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Torremolinos, Costa del Sol.
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This morning our local expert takes us to the capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga. We begin with a visit to the Gibralfaro, the 11th century Arabic fortress that overlooks the city, for incredible views of Malaga and the Mediterranean. We then continue on foot through the Casco Antiguo (Old Town) to where we will see the Roman Theatre, the Cathedral and the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. We will finish our sightseeing with a stop in El Pimpi, the city’s most famous bodega, to try some of their beloved Malaga wine. After some free-time we will then return back to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure.

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Malaga, Costa del Sol.
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This morning we follow the Mediterranean to Gibraltar, part of mainland Spain which has been a British Overseas Territory for more than 300 years. With a local guide, we visit the Rock of Gibraltar to admire its wonderful views and hear its military tales. We stop at Europa Point, to look across to Morocco, before visiting St. Michael´s cave, one of most impressive cave structures in Iberia. Our visit will allow us to see the Barbary Apes, legendary guardians of the colony and today one of the symbols of Gibraltar. After some free time for lunch we then continue to the Andalusian capital, Seville. Tonight, we enjoy a dinner of Andalusian specialties before returning back to the hotel by horse and carriage to see the city wonderfully illuminated.

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Barbary Apes, Gibraltar.
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Seville has a unique character that is best revealed by a local. So today, our local expert shows us their wonderful home town. We begin with a visit to the stunning Plaza España, built for the Ibero-American fair of 1929 and believed by most to be the finest square in all of Spain. Next stop will be the Plaza de Toros, or the bullring, one of the most important in Spain, before continuing to the Cathedral. The largest Cathedral in Spain deserves more than a look from the outside, so we will enter this magnificent building to see the its incredible interior including the tomb Christopher Columbus, much of which was financed with the spoils from the New World. We finish our visit with a walk through the most beautiful district of Seville, the Santa Cruz, with its wonderful tile filled patios. The rest of the day is at leisure.

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Plaza España, Seville.
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This morning we cross into Portugal and onto the hilltop town of Monsaraz. Located in the Alentejo region, this picture postcard village has a stunning setting surrounded by cork oaks and vineyards. The morning will be free to walk the streets and lanes of this whitewashed village and to admire the views from its 14th century castle. We then head to the great lake of Alqueva, the largest artificial lake in Europe, to cruise and explore some of its many islands. We then sit down to a delicious lunch in a restaurant which was formally an olive mill to savor several typical dishes and wine which come from the region. It is then onto Évora and our hotel located inside the medieval walls.

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Monsaraz, Portugal.
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This morning our local expert joins us to explore the highlights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our tour through one of the oldest towns in Portugal will takes us past the 1st century Roman Temple as well as visit the 13th century cathedral with its mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Our morning finishes with a visit to the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones), an amazing 17th century chapel which hold the skulls and bones of over 5000 bodies. After time for lunch, we head to Lisbon where we enter the city crossing the Vasco da Gama bridge, at 12.3km (7.6mi) it is one of the longest in Europe. Tonight, we travel to have dinner in the town of Cascilhas, this once fish market village is today home of some of the most authentic seafood restaurants in the Portuguese capital. We return to our hotel crossing the April 25 Bridge with its wonderful views over the city.

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Temple Of Diana, Évora, Portugal.
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Our local guide this morning shows us the Portuguese capital beginning with the wide avenues of the lower town and its many tree-shaded squares. We will see the memorial to the Marquis de Pombal, who rebuilt the city after the earthquake of 1755, as well as travel along Liberty Avenue with its boutique stores and cafes to Rossio Square, today the main focal point of the city. We then follow the river to the Belem Quarter to see the monuments to great Portuguese discoverers as well as Jerónimos monastery, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We finish our sightseeing at the Pastisserie de Belem to try some of their famed Pastéis de Belém, a local pastry whose recipe has been kept secret for over 200 years. After a free afternoon we travel up to the Barro Alto for wonderful views over the city and a farewell dinner together.

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Belem Tower, Lisbon, Portugal.
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Our trip finishes today after breakfast with complementary transfers to Lisbon Airport.

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Airport departures.
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Tour highlights

  • 12 nights accommodation in 4-5 star hotels including all service charges and taxes
  • A luxury air-conditioned coach with on board rest room
  • 12 full buffet breakfasts
  • 6 three course evening meals with 2 drinks included
  • 1 three course lunch with 2 drinks included
  • In depth tours with local guides in Madrid, Córdoba, Alhambra, Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville, Évora and Lisbon
  • Audio headsets for entire trip
  • Porterage (1 large bag) at all hotels
  • Arrival and departure transfers with tour coach at the time specified
  • Premium Highlights (paid entrances); Madrid Royal Palace, Toledo Cathedral, Mezquita in Córdoba, Alhambra Palace and Generalife Seville Cathedral, Évora Cathedral, Chapel of the Bones in Évora, Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon,
  • Horse and Carriage ride in Seville
  • Tips for staff at all included meals
  • Services of a professional Tour Director

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From the man in the front seat

I designed this trip focusing around four main points;

  1. Convenience is necessary for any trip to be successful. All your accommodation is at least 4-star and centrally located to allow you to not only travel in comfort but have the ability to explore places on your own. There is no Optional Excursion package, all sights and meals which I think should be included are.
  2. The opportunity to see as much of the Iberian Peninsula as possible in the time we have available. I have included guided visits in all major cities including the Royal Palace in Madrid, Mezquita in Córdoba and the Alhambra in Granada. Guides are important so you don’t just see a sight or attraction, but you understand it.
  3. Spain and Portugal are rich and varied when it comes to gastronomy, so I have tried to include as many local specialities as is possible, e.g. Asadors or roasting houses of Madrid, tapas in Seville, seafood in Lisbon to name a few. Instead of packing the itinerary full of meals of average standard, I decided to provide a less dinners but of a much better quality. I have also made sure, like the other tours I have organised, that all meals include at least two drinks.
  4. All trips need down time. This could be anything from relaxing in the hotel, getting lost in back streets or just sitting in a café trying local beers and wines. This tour includes several (on average 1 every 3 days) ‘at-leisure’ afternoons which give you the chance to do whatever you want, nothing planned and nothing booked.

This is a wonderfully planned itinerary, comprehensive enough for the avid fan of Spain & Portugal whilst being relaxing and enjoyable enough for those that are just curious.

  • Bradley W. Dick