Tour begins: 2:00 PM, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon. A transfer is included from Lisboa Airport to Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon; atop one of the city's seven hills, the hotel reflects the nobility and charm of historic Portugal. A guided sightseeing tour this afternoon includes a visit to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and a close-up look at the 17th- to 19th-century gilded Baroque coaches showcased in the Coach Museum; see the Discoveries Monument and the Tower of Belém, a monument to Portugal's Golden Age. Join us for a welcome reception and dinner.
Along the Portuguese Riviera to Sintra & Cascais
Not far from Lisbon, Sintra was the favored summer retreat for Portugal's monarchs and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historic cultural landscapes. With a local guide, tour the 14th-century Royal Palace, full of remarkable decorative surprises, before visiting the seaside village of Cascais. Return to Lisbon for time at leisure; the remainder of the day is spent as you please.
A mix of Roman, Moorish & more in Evora
Cross one of Europe's longest bridges - the Vasco da Gama Bridge over the Tagus River - as you travel to enchanting Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that flourished throughout the Middle Ages; a guided tour takes you through winding medieval streets flanked by 17th-century walls, revealing Roman ruins, Moorish arcades, and more than 20 churches and monasteries. Your accommodations tonight are in a former 15th-century convent, today elegantly renovated into a heritage hotel and spa. Dine à la carte tonight at your hotel.
On to storied Andalucía & Seville in Spain
It's off to Andalucía today, Spain's southern province of whitewashed villages, seaside resorts, gypsies, flamenco dancing and olive groves. A guided visit in Mérida takes in the Circus Maximus and Roman Bridge, and includes a walking tour of the well-preserved Roman theater and amphitheater. Continue to Seville for a two-night stay at one of Europe's most luxurious royal hotels, named for King Alfonso XIII of Spain.
A carriage ride, a historic cathedral & more in Seville
Explore the sights of Seville with a local guide who shares expert insights on the places you'll see. Ride aboard a horse-drawn carriage to Seville Cathedral - begun in 1401, this immense Gothic cathedral took more than a century to complete - and the bell tower, La Giralda, originally built as a minaret in 1198. View the tomb of Christopher Columbus inside the cathedral and take a walking tour of Barrio de Santa Cruz, the city's historic and artistic quarter, before exploring on your own.
Jerez de la Frontera, Gibraltar & coastal Marbella
Andalucía is a land of fortified wines, the best of which are found in Jerez de la Frontera (translated as "sherry of the frontier"), along with fine horses. Arrive in Jerez for a visit to the Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Equestre (Royal Andalucían School of Equestrian Art), where you may watch a training session with dancing Andalucían horses, and the Carriage Museum (subject to availability due to holidays or other closures; alternative sightseeing may include a visit to the Royal Alcázar of Seville). Lunch at a sherry bodega includes a tour of the winery! En route to Marbella, stop in Gibraltar to see the "rock," St. Michael's Cave and the Apes' Den. Spend the next two nights at a beachfront hotel on the Costa del Sol.
A day by the beautiful sea in Marbella
The entire day is yours to enjoy the pleasures of your elegant resort hotel, Grand Meliá Don Pepe, a paradise for the senses in the heart of the Costa del Sol. On one side is the famous Port of Marbella; on the other, gleaming white boats anchored at the exclusive Puerto Banús. And on the horizon, you can see Gibraltar and the North African coast, majestic in the distance, against the magnificent backdrop of the mountain peak La Concha de Marbella. Long a favorite of celebrities in Marbella's privileged enclave of Sierra Blanca, the resort's guest list has included Sean Connery, Julio Iglesias, Prince, Maximillian Schell, Arthur Rubinstein, Begun Aga Khan, Alain Delon, H.R.M. Prince Edward, Bob Hope and many more... and you, spending a perfect day as you please.
Moorish influences in Ronda & Granada
Travel into the mountains today amidst breathtaking views. Visit cliff-top Ronda, where a guided walking tour takes in the Moorish remains; see the Plaza de Toros, one of Spain's oldest bullrings. Next stop is the ancient city of Granada, the capital of a Moorish kingdom for about 250 years, for a two-night stay that includes a private flamenco show tonight, plus dinner. Your hotel is just steps away from the famous Alhambra Palace.
Discovering the treasures of the Alhambra in Granada
Built as a "paradise on earth" by 13th-century caliphs, the Palace of the Alhambra ranks among the world's finest examples of Moorish architecture. A guided tour goes inside the Royal Palace and the terraced quarters of the Generalife. Enjoy time at leisure and dine à la carte tonight at a local restaurant.
Córdoba, home to La Mezquita & more
Travel from Granada to Córdoba today for a visit that begins with a guided walking tour through the cobblestone streets of the Judería, Córdoba's former Jewish Quarter; from its alleyways, you can see the walls and decorative details of the candy-striped La Mezquita (Spanish for "mosque.") Your visit to this masterpiece of architecture and art reveals its nearly 1,200-year history as an early Christian church, a Moorish mosque, and, since the 16th century, a Roman Catholic cathedral. Late this afternoon, board the AVE train in Preferente class for a rail journey to Spain's amazing capital city. Arrive in Madrid for four nights at The Westin Palace, Madrid - a Belle Époque landmark in the heart of the city, a short walk from the tapas bars that American novelist Ernest Hemingway made famous.
Discovering Madrid, Spain's capital city
On your first full day in the Spanish capital, join a local guide for an orientation tour of landmark sights that includes a walking tour of the city's vast Plaza Mayor and the Mercado San Miguel, and a guided visit to the Royal Palace. Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring more of Madrid as you please; enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Madrid this evening.
An excursion to Toledo then back to Madrid
An excursion today from Madrid to Toledo features guided sightseeing of this monument-filled city. Join your local guide for a walking tour that includes the 12th-century Synagogue Santa Maria La Blanca, the Church of Santo Tome and a visit inside the 13th-century High Gothic-style Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Toledo before returning to your hotel in Madrid for an evening spent as you wish in Spain's storied capital city.
The Prado & more museums of Madrid
This morning, view the art treasures of the celebrated Museo del Prado, one of the best-known museums on Earth - and just a block away from your hotel - with a local expert. The rest of the day is free to spend as you please in one of the world's most popular cities. Tauck includes admission to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, illustrating the history of Western art through its collection of masterpieces by Titian, Goya, van Gogh and Picasso, which you can visit at your leisure. Please join us for a farewell reception followed by dinner with Castilian entertainment at your hotel, as we celebrate this most memorable of Spain and Portugal tours.
Tour ends: Madrid. Fly home anytime. A transfer from The Westin Palace, Madrid to Madrid Barajas Airport or or Madrid Atocha train station is included; allow 3 hours for flight check-in.