¡Bienvenidos a Espana! A truly cosmopolitan city, Madrid is the gateway to Spain’s arts and culture, tantalising cuisine and diverse architecture.
Upon arrival at Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD), take your private transfer to your hotel for check-in, then spend the day at your leisure exploring Spain’s thriving capital. Stroll the elegant boulevards and manicured parks, then live the Spanish life and step into one of the vibrant bars for ‘la hora del vermut’ or Vermouth Hour.
This evening, meet your tour director and fellow travellers at your hotel for a briefing on the exciting adventure come.
Enjoy a buffet breakfast at your hotel, then set out for a morning tour of this thriving city. From the busy squares of Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor and Plaza de la Villa to the storied streets of Barrio de Moreria and the Habsburg neighbourhood and the neoclassical Fountain of Neptune, discover the living history of this bustling metropolis with the direction of your expert local guide.
After a morning of cultural immersion, the afternoon is yours to enjoy at your own pace. This evening, come together as a group for a welcome dinner at a local tapas restaurant and sample the fragrant flavours and piquant spices of Spanish cuisine.
- Toledo afternoon tour (surcharges apply).
After breakfast, depart for Northern Spain and the country’s famed wine country. Visit a traditional, family-run wine cellar where you’ll learn about the renowned wine, or tinto, produced among Rioja's rolling hills of rich, red soil. Taste the full-bodied, fruity terroir of these grapes, accompanied by a light lunch featuring local favourites like jamon Iberico, cured olives and white asparagus.
In the afternoon, continue to Bilbao for the rest of your day at leisure. Get to know this beacon of Basque culture with some delicious ‘pintxos’ (bite-sized tapas) or take a stroll around the central Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park, the city’s green heart.
After breakfast, set out on a guided tour of Bilbao. Marvel at the titanium, glass and limestone masterpiece of the Guggenheim Museum, designed by reputed artist Frank Gehry, then explore the medieval taverns of Siete Calles or the ‘Seven Streets’.
Spend some free time along the esplanade before travelling to San Sebastian, one of Europe’s premier destinations, known for its beautiful beach, La Concha, and an internationally lauded culinary scene. See what all the fuss is about over a pintxos lunch in one of the Old Town taverns, then spend your afternoon freely exploring this picturesque city.
Later, return to Bilbao and enjoy a restful night at your comfortable hotel.
After breakfast, depart for Santillana del Mar, one of the most important artistic towns in Spain. Home to architectural treasures such as the Colegiata de Santillana del Mar, the town is well-known for its numerous medieval towers and grand Renaissance palaces.
Continue to Covadonga and enjoy free time to explore the enchanting Santa Cueva, a sanctuary nestled into a lakeside grotto where you can see natural falls and a shrine to Our Lady of Covadonga, co-patron of Asturias.
In the afternoon, continue to Oviedo, home to the austere pre-Romanesque Santa Maria del Naranco church. Take advantage of your free time by exploring the pedestrian streets and World Heritage-listed sites, such as the Gothic Cathedral of San Salvador.
Wake to a filling breakfast, then depart for a day of exploration. Stop in Mondonedo and view the regal 13th-century cathedral, then try a delicious tarta de Mondonedo – a sticky sweet sponge cake and pastry made with almonds and angel hair pasta.
Continue to Lugo, where you’ll have time to walk the Roman Wall, cross the Roman Bridge or smell the camellias in Rosalia de Castro Park.
Later, travel onwards to Santiago de Compostela – the culmination of a host of Christian pilgrimage routes. Check in at your hotel for a restful evening at your leisure.
After breakfast, join a guided city tour and visit the central Praza do Obradoiro to gaze upon the towering Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This striking structure is reputed as the burial place of the apostle Saint James, also known as Santiago. Each year, millions of people from all over the world make pilgrimage here, and at any time of day you'll see a great many 'peregrinos,' clad in backpacks and walking sticks, arriving with celebration into this city square.
The rest of the day is yours to enjoy freely. Choose to visit the Museo do Pobo Galego for a deeper look at Galician history in a 13th-century convent, or pull up a chair in one of the local restaurants and try the Galician specialty of pulpo – boiled octopus tenticles marinated in olive oil and paprika.
Tonight, you might decide to join an optional dinner with a queimada (traditional Galician punch) ritual.
- Galician dinner with queimada (surcharges apply).
Bid farewell to Galicia as you travel to the university town of Salamanca. Tucked away among rolling hills, this medieval town is home to one of the oldest operating universities in the world.
With free time to explore, you can immerse yourself in its architectural and artistic wealth, from the stained-glass atrium of the Casa Lis art museum to the shell-covered walls of Casa de las Conchas.
Rise, shine and board your private luxury coach as you cross the border to picturesque Portugal. Stop first at serene Pinhao on the banks of the Douro River, where you’ll visit the local vineyards and centenary cellars that have earned Pinhao its place in the wine world. Explore the complex local blends on a special tasting experience and relish a delicious lunch made with local produce.
Continue to Porto, one of Europe’s oldest towns, and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Opt to stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed streets, visit the impressive Casa da Música concert hall or sample a hearty francesinha (toasted sandwich) – a Porto specialty.
Wake for a day of discovery and uncover Porto on a guided tour. Admire the fine craftsmanship of Porto Cathedral, the elaborate Stock Exchange Palace and the meticulous interior of Igreja de Santa Clara church.
Later, cruise down the peaceful waters of the Douro River. Watch as the twin cities of Porto and Gaia pass by on opposite banks, and gaze in awe at Porto’s countless stunning bridges.
Back on land, spend your evening freely, exploring the romantic streets and maybe choosing to try a glass of the city’s famous port wine.
- Guimaraes excursion (surcharges apply).
Be sure to fuel up at breakfast before embarking on the day’s adventure. Your first stop is Aveiro, known as the ‘Portuguese Venice’. See just why the city has earned this reputation as you cruise along the beautiful canals aboard a moliceiro boat, named for the algae they once harvested along the Ria de Aveiro.
Spend some time wandering at your leisure, exploring the old Beira Mar neighbourhood and the Mercado do Peixe – Aveiro’s bustling fish market.
Travel onward to Coimbra, the birthplace of fado – a popular style of traditional Portuguese music. With your abundant free time, you may choose to explore the historic streets climbing up from the banks of the Rio Mondego. Another famed university town, Coimbra’s buildings date back to the 12th century, including the Romanesque wonder of Se Velha Cathedral.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then set your sights on the idyllic towns of the Portuguese countryside. Start your day in historic Tomar, former seat of the Order of the Knights Templar, where you can see the Convent of Christ. This Gothic and Manueline masterpiece was once a 12th-century Templar stronghold and took over five centuries to complete.
Continue to the picturesque fishing town of Nazare, famed for its world-class surfing. Spend your free time appreciating the rolling Atlantic at North Beach, where thrill-seekers try their luck among gargantuan waves averaging 15 metres high.
Rounding out the day is peaceful Obidos. Wander freely through this medieval town and marvel at the superbly preserved castle and 16th-century aqueduct.
Later, arrive in the vibrant city of Lisbon, where you can get a taste of its beloved architecture, delicious seafood and thriving nightlife.
After breakfast, it’s time to hit the streets of Lisbon on a morning sightseeing tour. Traverse the main squares and avenues, passing Belem Tower and the serene Jeronimos Monastery, as well as the imposing Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoverers) on the northern bank of the Tagus River and the grand Marquis of Pombal Square.
The rest of the afternoon will be free to wander through the city streets or perhaps visit the Alfama Quarter, the oldest and most historical part of Portugal's capital.
This evening, enjoy a traditional Portuguese dinner and fado performance at one of the oldest venues in the city.
Tuck into breakfast before saying goodbye to Portugal as you travel by private coach across the border to Merida. Capital of the western Spanish region of Extremadura, Merida’s famed Roman ruins date back to the 1st century BCE.
Spend time exploring the historic remains of this ancient colony and stand at the centre of the miraculously preserved Roman Theatre.
Continue to Madrid and check in at your hotel, before joining your group for a mouthwatering farewell dinner.
Enjoy one last buffet breakfast at your luxurious hotel and bid farewell to Spain. Take your private transfer to Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD), where your Iberian adventure concludes.