Tour begins: 6:00 PM, InterContinental Lisbon. A transfer is included from Lisbon Airport to the InterContinental Lisbon, located in the heart of the city overlooking the Tagus River. Join us for a welcome reception and dinner tonight at the hotel.
A vision of carefully planned, elegant streets steeped in history, Lisbon's city center welcomes with an 18th-century ambiance that bears witness to its days of glory during the Discovery Age. A guided tour this morning showcases the downtown Baixa area and Trade Square and visits Edward VII Park, named in honor of the king of England who visited here in 1902, and Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. The monastery, commissioned in 1501 soon after Vasco da Gama's return from his historic voyage around the Cape of Good Hope, was built with "pepper money," profits made from the spice trade. Stop for a picture of 16th century Belém Tower, built as a fortress in the middle of the Tagus River, before returning to your hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Sintra, Cascais & embark ship
Enjoy a choice of visits to the Maritime or Coach museums before heading to Sintra for a tour of eclectic Sintra National Palace. Considered Portugal's best preserved medieval Royal Palace, it was continuously inhabited by Portuguese royalty from roughly the early 15th to late 19th centuries, and is part of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra UNESCO World Heritage Site. Drive to seaside Cascais, then head back to Lisbon to board your Windstar yacht for the start of your cruise; have dinner aboard ship tonight.
Pleasures of the Algarve Coast
A sightseeing drive through the Algarve countryside begins in Portimão and includes the sandy coves of Praia da Rocha; the pretty fishing town of Alvor, picturesque with white houses; Lagos, set on one of the largest bays in the Algarve and resplendent with 8th-century Moorish architecture, and the spectacular caves and rock formations of Ponta da Piedade. After lunch, join us for an afternoon tasting at an award-winning wine estate. Cocktails and dinner aboard ship this evening invite with camaraderie and regional cuisine.
Sights of Seville
Wake up this morning for your ship's arrival in the port of Seville, standing on the banks of the Rio Guadalquivir. Guided exploration includes visits to the pavilions of the 1929 World Fair on the grounds of Maria Luisa Park; the Palacio de San Telmo built as a university in 1682 to train ships' pilots, navigators and high ranking officers; 13th century Moorish Torre del Oro, towering over the port; the bullring; and the tobacco factory of Carmen fame. Walk through Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville's old Jewish Quarter, to the Cathedral to see Christopher Columbus' tomb and visit the royal palaces, Reales Alcazar. This afternoon brings a special dance performance at the Museo del Baile Flamenco, where the passion of the dancers resonates with the soul of Andalusia. Dine aboard ship tonight as we chart a course toward Gibraltar.
A day in Gibraltar
Just 2¼ square miles, Gibraltar is a town that is also a British ruled country and has a recorded history that dates from A.D. 711. The massive limestone Rock of Gibraltar rises out of the sea to a height of 1,396 feet and is often referred to as the gateway to the Mediterranean. In Greek mythology Gibraltar was the northern bastion of the two Pillars of Hercules. Hercules is said to have stood with a foot on each "pillar," pushed them apart, and formed a bridge across the straits. When the Phoenicians ruled here, the town that was called Calpe then, marked the end of the world, the point beyond which no trader should venture. Stay on "the Rock" today as you visit the storied sites of this legendary place, including streets steeped in British traditions. Dine onboard tonight and set sail for Malaga.
Taste of Malaga
The land of dancing Andalucían horses and sherry welcomes you ashore in Malaga and invites you inside a typical manor for a tapas tasting and a private horse show at an Andalucían manor. This afternoon you have a choice of sightseeing - a panoramic tour of Malaga highlighted by visions of 14th century Gibralfaro Castle; Plaza Merced; the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, where the painter spent his early years, today the headquarters of the Picasso Foundation, and the ruins of the vast 8th century Alcazaba (Moorish castle). Alternatively, join us for a visit to the famed Picasso Museum. You'll have a few hours to explore Malaga as you wish before returning to your ship.
The Alhambra & Granada
Your ship arrives in Almeria this morning for a scenic drive to the 13th century Moorish Alhambra Palace and the Generalife gardens in Granada, created to reflect the Moors' vision of paradise on Earth. Explore them during a guided visit, then continue to Granada for a tapas lunch amidst inspiring views of the city. The guitarist Andres Segovia described Granada, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, as a "place of dreams." Return to your ship late afternoon and enjoy dinner at leisure onboard.
Day at Sea
Experience the onboard pleasures of your Windstar yacht today as you spend the day at sea. An onboard lecture by your Tauck Director shares insights about the region you explore on this cruise; a spa visit pampers; and a chance to relax on deck with your favorite book is nothing short of heavenly.
Palma de Mallorca
Disembark this morning in Palma, Mallorca, for a guided walking tour of the beautiful city of Palma, located on an island exceedingly rich in cultural treasures. Visit Gothic-style Bellver Castle as well as the Gothic Cathedral, La Seu, built of golden limestone and standing in a dramatic location near the waterfront; its interior was remodeled by Antoni Gaudí and it's considered to be one of the most breathtaking buildings in all of Spain. This afternoon you have an opportunity to explore Palma as you please, or join us for a drive to the beautiful hilltop village of Valdemossa, an inspiration to many famed residents including Frédéric Chopin and George Sand. Dine at leisure tonight aboard your Windstar ship as you sail to Barcelona.
Disembark ship in Barcelona where you'll spend the next two nights in the capital of Catalonia. In Barcelona, you will find a parade of historical monuments along with outstanding examples of the Modernisme period of art and architecture. Your discoveries begin on an orientation drive through the city, including visits to Gaudi's unconventional, unfinished la Sagrada Familía, begun by the architect in 1882; and Gaudí's whimsical Parc Güell, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of colorful buildings embellished with glass and ceramic mosaics, sculpted animals and creative furnishings, set in a 50-acre garden city. Enjoy a guided culinary walking tour through the lively village-like neighborhood of Grácia where you'll get an authentic look at daily Catalan life. Arrive at your hotel this afternoon and spend the remainder of the day as you wish.
Discover the best of Barcelona
Your day starts with a private visit to the Palau de la Musica Catalana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that truly is a palace of music. The only concert hall in Europe lit by natural light, it is a Modernista celebration of tile work, sculpture and stained glass. This morning you'll have choice of sightseeing excursions; visit the medieval quarter of Barri Gotíc, the historic heart of the city. Alternatively, explore the amazing architectural style of Passeig de Grácia on walking tour that also includes a visit inside Gaudí's astonishing Casa Milá (La Pedrera). Bring your cameras with you as this afternoon brings you to the site of the 1992 Olympic Games on Montjuic, today towering over the harbor with art galleries and museums, an amusement park, nightclubs and a rose-studded open-air theatre. The views of the city and Mediterranean Sea from here are wonderful (day of visit may vary). Join us tonight for a very special farewell reception and dinner at an 18th-century Baroque-styled guild house recognized as a National Cultural Heritage Site.
Tour ends: Barcelona. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included to Barcelona International Airport from El Palace Barcelona. Allow three hours for flight check-in.