Spain and Portugal: History, Traditions and Gastronomy

Trip Overview

On this 11-day deep dive into Portuguese and Spanish culture, discover the centuries-old Moorish and Jewish influences that have shaped these two enchanting countries. Discover the historic wonders and UNESCO world heritage sites scattered throughout Andalusia and tucked away in the lesser-known coastal cities of Portugal. Explore the former capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba, the medieval palace-city of Medina Azahara. Travel to Granada, where you’ll be overwhelmed by the magnificence of the iconic Alhambra. Get lost in the winding streets of Carmona and discover some of the most important works of 16th-Century Manueline art in Belém, Portugal.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Explore UNESCO World Heritage sites in Granada and Córdoba in Spain, and in Belém in Portugal
  • Marvel at the Moorish royal residences of La Alhambra, the Generalife, and the Albaicín
  • Wander the lanes of Córdoba’s old town and discover the splendid Great Mosque, now a cathedral
  • Discover the fairy-tale town of Sintra and its eighth-century castles and palaces

10 NIGHTS / 11 DAYS
SPAIN & PORTUGAL

Price From: $ 4,595

Pricing is per person based in double occupancy.

What´s included:

  • A customized Itinerary
  • Local expert guidance
  • Airport-Hotel-Airport private transfers
  • Private transportation and activities per itinerary
  • Lodging and meals as indicated in final itinerary
  • Full breakfast daily
  • Entrance fees and taxes
  • Gratuities

Itinerary

You’ll be transferred from the airport to your luxurious hotel for a welcome cocktail and dinner.

Today will begin on a high note, as you discover La Alhambra, the masterpiece of the Nasrids, the last Muslim dynasty in Iberia. Explore its opulent rooms and lavish patios and gardens, often built around the water features and lush vegetation characteristic of this culture. Later, walk through the Albaicín and see examples of the ways in which Christian influences impacted Granada. In the evening, enjoy a Flamenco show in the Sacromonte Caves.

This morning, head to The Hills of La Alpujarra, a noted source of health and well-being. Situated less than 30 minutes from the coast of Granada and Almería, the hills are known for their vast number of fountains and springs with therapeutic properties. After relaxing in one of the spas here, enjoy an afternoon visit to an Iberian ham producer in the picturesque hilltop village of Trevélez.

The expedition continues in the flourishing olive groves of Jaén and Córdoba. Visit an olive mill and learn about the different qualities of Baena’s olive oils. Afterward, continue to the hilltop white town of Montilla, famous for its wines and olive oils. Stroll through its winding streets and discover the many palaces, churches and monasteries dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. In the evening, head back to Córdoba for a private cooking lesson in an old Arab steam bath, followed by dinner.

At its peak, Córdoba was perhaps the most powerful city in Andalusia, or the Al-Andalus, as it was then known. The Grand Mosque bears witness to that glorious era, and to the dramatic changes that followed. It is now a Catholic cathedral. After exploring this splendid building, enjoy a leisurely walk through the atmospheric streets and charming courtyards of the old town. On the way to Seville, stop to explore the charming towns of Medina Azahara and Carmona.

Seville was one of the three great cities of Islamic Andalusia, and later became an important Christian city when the Christian kings chose it as their capital. Start the day with a visit to the Alcázar, a masterpiece of the Mudéjar-style architecture. Continue to the imposing Gothic cathedral, followed by La Giralda bell tower. Later, stroll through the old quarter of the city. In the afternoon, discover the Roman city of Italica, which was founded in 206 B.C. In the evening, it is tapas night.

Jerez has always enjoyed a privileged economic position, which since the 18th century has been reinforced by the export of sherry. Today, take the chance to taste and learn about this type of wine, particular to Southern Spain. Later, visit the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art to witness a fascinating demonstration of horsemanship and dance of the Andalusian horses. Afterward, enjoy a seaside lunch in the ancient port city of Cádiz, a former base for exploration and trade dating back to the 16th century.

Today, head to Tavira in Portugal, a beautiful city founded more than 2,000 years ago. This lovely destination sits amid the rolling hills of the Algarve and the sparkling Gilão Rivers, making for a picture- perfect setting. Lose your way in the narrow, characterful streets of the city and visit a fish salting factory to see traditional skills in action. In the evening, enjoy a tasting menu composed of some of the traditional dishes of the region.

The wonderful city of Lisbon, capital city of Portugal, is yours to discover today. Set out in the morning for a full day’s exploration of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Visit the Church of San Antonio, the sprawling fortress, and the elegant Chiado and La Baixa districts. Visit the National Museum of Ancient Art on an exclusive curator-led tour. Over an exquisite dinner tonight, be treated to a traditional Fado musical performance.

Start the day with a visit to the beautiful village of Sintra. Located at the foot of the mountain range of the same name, Sintra has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its high density of remarkable historic buildings, including Moorish palaces and medieval fortifications. In the afternoon, continue to the port of Cascais, an old fishing town that used to be the royal summer retreat of King Luís I. On the way back, stop in Belém to enjoy an off-hours visit of the Monasterio de los Jerónimos, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the evening, enjoy a private farewell cocktail and dinner.

With the journey at an end, the group will share one last breakfast together before being transferred to the airport.

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