After your arrival in exciting Lisbon, you’ll have a few hours to relax before joining your fellow travellers for a welcome drink followed by a Portuguese feast at a lively local restaurant. Sleep in Lisbon .
Lisbon is well known for its dynamic character, culinary delights (you must try bacalhau!) and mesmerizing “Fado” music. We'll start our day with the city's most important sights including Jeronimos Monastery, the Castelo de Sao Jorge, and we'll take time to walk the enchanting streets of Alfama, Lisbon's oldest district. Tonight you will experience Fado -- a form of ballad characterized by soulful tunes and lyrics, usually about the sea, love or desperation. The rhythm and tones of the music are deeply connected with the character of the people and capture the atmosphere and beauty of the city -- something that can't be fully explained if not experienced first-hand. Sleep in Lisbon.
This morning we will visit the impressive UNESCO World Heritage site of “Palacio de Pena” in Sintra. This romantic castle is an architectural masterpiece that was built to host the friends of King Ferdinand II. The gardens that surround the castle are arguably the most beautiful of Portugal and inspired Richard Strauss to create a few of his masterpieces. In the afternoon we will journey onto Cascais, a former fishing village that grew up to be an elegant beach town. Sleep in Lisbon.
From Lisbon you will discover the Alentejo wine region, with its large, gently undulating plains and cork forests. This region is considered by experts to be Portugal’s ‘new world’ in wine-making. You will visit a superb estate where you will have a delicious lunch and savour Alentejo wines that are famous for their intense fruitiness and richness. On the way back to Lisbon we will stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Evora. This city is a true open-air museum with a large number of wonderfully preserved monuments and buildings. Sleep in Lisbon.
We will say adeus to Lisboa this morning, and drive to Oporto, the Jewel of the North. Oporto is the second most important city in Portugal and it is also a UNESCO Heritage site. En route we will stop in the charming city of Obidos. With its tiny alleys, quaint white houses and bright flowers, Obidos is a truly enchanting place. Upon arrival in Oporto we will start our exploration of its beautiful historical centre, the Clerigos Church and the riverfront (Ribeira). Tonight you will enjoy another feast of local specialties. Sleep in Oporto.
Today you will travel to Vila Nova de Gaia, a lovely town across the Douro River famous for lodges -- the traditional storage caves for Port wine. You will visit one of the best producers of Port wine in the world and then have an awesome lunch overlooking the river and the city. You will then head back to Porto, where you can tour the city with a great local guide and take a river cruise. In the late afternoon you will have time to soak in the lively atmosphere of Porto’s city centre and pay a visit to Lello, one of the oldest bookshops in Portugal and the inspiration for Harry Potter’s library in Hogwarts. Sleep in Oporto.
The North of Spain awaits you today with one of the most beautiful areas of the country – the Rίas Baixas in the Galicia region. A beautiful green area, Rίas Baixas is characterized by rίas - deep, wide inlets encroaching many miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. The southern group of these rίas is known as Rίas Baixas (the lower estuaries). We will stop to visit the small village of Combarro and, weather permitting, the Iron age settlement of Baroña and small beaches nearby. This afternoon we will go back to Oporto. Sleep in Oporto.
This morning you will fly from Oporto to Madrid. Once in Madrid you will visit the amazing Rastro open air Sunday market, and will then enjoy a visit to the Royal Palace and a city tour. Sleep in Madrid.
Any visit to Madrid wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Prado – one of the world’s finest art museums. You are free this afternoon to visit the amazing Museo Nacional Reina Sofia, shop and people watch in the vibrant Puerta del Sol. Tonight you will enjoy an awesome farewell dinner. Sleep in Madrid.
This morning you will fly back to the US or begin your post-trip extension in Barcelona.
If you choose to extend your trip, this morning you will be taken to the train station where you will board your high-speed train to Barcelona. With its bustling streets, magical architecture, array of tapas restaurants, and gorgeous beaches, Barcelona is truly a festival for the senses. Upon arrival in Barcelona you will be taken to your hotel in the center of town and begin to take in the heart of this cosmopolitan capital city. Sleep in Barcelona.
This morning you will have the option to tour the city with a very special local guide. Experience the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, as your tour stops at Park Güell, a garden city right out of a fairy tale, and the Sagrada Família, the most famous attraction in Barcelona. You will also have time to explore the amazing gothic quarter, or Barrio Gòtico, with its little alleyways, many monuments, and impressive cathedral. Sleep in Barcelona.
This morning you will say goodbye (or “until next time!”) to Barcelona, and you will be taken to the airport for your flight back to the US.