Highlights of Spain & Portugal

Tour Highlights

On this holiday we visit many of the great cities and sightseeing highlights of Spain and Portugal, with time to enjoy the seaside and sunshine at each country’s prime resort areas. 
These two hospitable countries are rich in historical sites and architecture, fine food and wine, spectacular landscapes, dramatic shorelines and beautiful beaches. We will experience all of this at a leisurely pace, keeping our overnight stopovers to a minimum.

First, we discover the magic of Spain including the parks and gardens of Madrid, the Gothic Cathedral of Cordoba, the  amazing Alhambra Palace in Granada, the British colony of Gibraltar, the lovely mountain town of Ronda and the lively atmosphere of Spain's old capital, Seville. We also enjoy some relaxation in Torremolinos, Spain's most popular Mediterranean resort.

In Portugal we discover why visitors return again and again. We see the magnificent coastal scenery of the Algarve, the gentle Monchique mountains, old churches, castles and cathedrals, picturesque fishing villages, olive groves and vineyards.  We spend some time in Evora, one of Portugal’s most beautiful and historic cities, before finishing off with touring in the historic old capital, Lisbon.

***Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Madrid.
We arrive in Madrid and transfer to our hotel. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
On our morning city tour we start at the Puerto Del Sol old quarter, with its narrow winding streets, many bars and cafes, colourful squares, churches and historic monuments. We then tour modern Madrid with it’s boldly designed avant-garde buildings, crowned by the “Gate to Europe” towers. We visit the Royal Palace, a fine example of 18th century neo-classical architecture. Afternoon at leisure to explore this lively city on your own. Tonight we enjoy a Tapas dinner - a specialty of Spain.
We travel south to the walled city of Toledo. Here we see the Gothic cathedral, centuries old synagogue and the Church of Saint Tome with its El Greco paintings. This small charming city is delightful for strolling.
We proceed to Cordoba. After arrival, the balance of the day is at leisure.
On our tour of Cordoba we see the magnificent 8th century mosque supported by hundreds of columns of marble and onyx, and illuminated by 4,000 bronze and copper lamps. Around the mosque are the tiny shops and historic buildings of the old Jewish quarter. After our tour we drive through the Andalusian countryside, enjoying the spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to Granada.
In Granada this morning we visit the famous Alhambra Palace, Spain's most beautiful Moorish building and former residence of Moorish Kings. It has imposing towers and halls, rooms decorated with lace-like carvings, coloured tiles and gold mosaics. The exterior has courtyards with fountains and lush gardens. It is unparalleled in Europe. After our tour we continue on to the lively resort town of Torremolinos.
At leisure to enjoy the sun, beach and the lively boardwalk along the Mediterranean Sea.
We take an excursion to Gibraltar. “The Rock”, as it is commonly called, remains very British. On our tour we will see St. Michael’s Cave, the Ape’s Cave and more. During our free time you may want to enjoy a pint in a typical English pub before we return to Torremolinos.
This morning we visit Ronda, which has an unforgettable setting - perched over a rocky 300’ deep ravine spanned by three bridges. We see the oldest bullring in Spain, the gardens and the church, which was once a mosque. We continue to the beautiful and lively city of Seville.
The romantic city of Seville was influenced by the Moors who occupied the area for 700 years. A fine example of their heritage is the Giralda Tower. We also see the Alcazar, Gothic Cathedral and the fountains of Maria Lusia Park. Later we enter Portugal and the country's famed coastal area, the Algarve, for a 3-night stay. The Algarve features sandy beaches that stretch for miles, and impressive cliffs and rock formations.
We begin in Lagos where we see the beautiful church and castle walls. Then we proceed to Sagres, where Portuguese explorers learned their navigational skills. We finish off in Cape St. Vincent - the westernmost point in Europe.
Our first stop today is Alte - considered the Algarve’s most picturesque village. We will stroll the narrow flowery streets and see the 16th century church. There are several natural hot springs here. Later we will also stop at some other quiet hill towns and villages in the region.
We proceed to Evora, a beautiful city where Portugal’s Golden Age lives on. Our walking tour shows us the Roman Temple and wall, the Gothic Cathedral, the Aqueduct and more. Evora is on UNESCO’s Heritage List. After our tour we continue to Lisbon.
Our city tour begins in Belem, to see the highly ornate Jeronimos Monastery - historically associated with early explorers and a symbol of Portugal’s power during the “Age of Discovery”. We will see Belem Tower and the monument to Henry the Navigator followed by a tasting of the famous “Pasteis de Belem” custard tarts. Afternoon at leisure, followed by our Farewell Dinner.
We fly home from Lisbon.

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