The Tour begins and ends in Madrid. Discover the best of two colorful countries on this exciting vacation to the regions of Castile, La Mancha, Andalusia, Costa del Sol, Lisbon and Porto. Among the highlights: visit the walled city of Toledo with its St. Tome Church, made famous by El Greco’s paintings, and Granada’s royal Alhambra complex. Also experience sunny Malaga and its surrounding resort villages, the “White Villages” of Andalusia, historic Ronda, spectacular Seville, enchanting Evora, delightful Lisbon, and the famed Fatima sanctuary. Stop in Porto, rich in culture and history and known for its Port wine production, as well as Salamanca, Avila, and Segovia, precious jewels in the heart of Spain. Spend your last two nights in Madrid, discovering this dynamic capital city.
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid, Spain
Check into your hotel. Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
Day 2 Madrid–Toledo–Granada
The morning begins with a short drive south to Toledo. Spectacularly situated on a granite hill surrounded by a loop of the Tagus River, the ancient Castilian capital attracts more visitors from around the world than any other Spanish town. Time to visit the old walled city with a Local Guide and visit the 12th-century CHURCH OF ST. TOME, known for its large-format painting by El Greco of The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Later, cross the Guadalquivir River and head for the olive and orange groves that dot the rolling Andalusian hills. Overnight in history-steeped Granada at the foot of the Sierra Nevada.
Day 3 Granada–Malaga
Today, join a Local Guide for an included visit of the ALHAMBRA, a lavish complex built by Moorish kings. With construction dating back to 889 AD, you'll marvel at its architectural beauty and magnificent gardens. Then, through the countryside to the coastal town of Málaga for an overnight. Don't miss out on the optional excursion to Mijas, a typical Andalusian market town with some enchanting views of the coast from its upper terrace.
Day 4 Malaga - Ronda-Seville
Today is an included visit to Ronda, one of the most historic towns in the region. Then, drive through the stunningly scenic area of Pueblos Blancos—the “White-Washed Villages of Andalusia.” This picturesque region is famous for the deep El Tajo Gorge that literally cuts it in two, and is the birthplace of modern bullfighting. On to vibrant, festive Seville.
Day 5 Seville
Capital of Andalusia and the cultural and financial center of southern Spain, colorful Seville has much to offer: the Cathedral of Seville, once the third-largest church in the world after St. Peter's in Rome and St. Paul's in London; the beautiful La Giralda minaret tower, a symbol of Seville; the Real Alcázar palace with its extravagant architecture and opulent gardens; Plaza de España, used in the filming of Episodes I and II in the Star Wars trilogy; and so much more. An optional sightseeing tour of the main highlights provide a great introduction.
Day 6 Seville - Evora - Lisbon
This morning, enjoy the scenery of the Sierra de Aracena before crossing into Portugal and the fertile plains of the Alentejo. Admire the forest of cork trees and make a stop in Evora, a delightfully attractive Moorish city with arches, alleys, flower-decked balconies, and brilliant white houses. Take the motorway for the drive into Lisbon for two overnights.
Day 7 Lisbon
Henry the Navigator made Lisbon the 15th-century “Mistress of the Seas.” You’ll see his monument, the Belem Tower, the Moorish Citadel, the impressive Black Horse Square, and other highlights on the guided sightseeing excursion. Spend the afternoon in the Alfama’s tile-decorated streets, or take an optional excursion along the Estoril Coast to Cascais and Sintra.
Day 8 Lisbon - Fatima - Coimbra - Porto
Head north this morning by way of Santarem and stop in Fatima for a visit of its world-famous SHRINE dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Later, continue to Coimbra, known for its university, one of the oldest in Europe, and to Oporto on the northern bank of the Douro River. For the perfect way to round out your day, why not join an optional Douro River cruise and dinner?
Day 9 Porto
Included sightseeing with a Local Guide shows off many of the city's highlights this morning. This afternoon, maybe join an optional excursion to Guimarães, considered the "cradle" of Portugal and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its magnificent 10th-century castle in the center of town has been classified one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Tonight, enjoy the included dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 10 Porto - Salamanca, Spain
A profusion of woodlands and mountains on your way to Spain along the scenic Douro Valley. Reach the ancient and beautiful university town of Salamanca in the early evening.
Day 11 Salamanca - Avila - Segovia - Madrid
Leave Salamanca this morning, still visualizing its charming Plaza Mayor. Journey to fortified Avila with its many towers for an orientation tour. Visit St. Theresa’s CONVENT before continuing to Segovia for a visit of this medieval town picturesquely set on a rocky hill. Cross the boundary between new and old Castile to arrive in Madrid.
Day 12 Madrid
Not only is it the capital of Spain, but because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level the Spaniards rightly say Madrid is the nearest thing to heaven. Enjoy the main highlights on the included guided sightseeing excursion. Breakfast is included.
Day 13 Madrid
The tour ends with check out this morning. Breakfast is included.