Iberia... rediscovered, on a journey unlike any other that explores scenic and cultural contrasts of Spain and Portugal, sharing the Iberian Peninsula for centuries.
There’s a lot of history to be rediscovered in Lisbon at places such as Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, the Discoveries Monument and the Tower of Belém, and in the World Heritage Site towns of Porto and Sintra, where rich cultural landmarks and traditions chronicle lifestyles of centuries past. Neighboring Spain entices with landscapes dressed in romance, from storybook villages in Andalucía to tales of "the Rock" in Gibraltar, flower-decked streets in Seville, and sun-kissed beaches in Marbella. The Moors lingered in Granada and Córdoba the longest, and the royals set up palaces, elegant city squares and the treasured El Prado in majestic Madrid. Rediscover them all, in depth, for two glorious weeks...
Tour begins: 6:30 PM, InterContinental Porto. A transfer is included from Porto Airport to your hotel, InterContinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas, set within a recently renovated 18th-century palace in the heart of the city. Meet your traveling companions this evening at a welcome reception and dinner at your hotel.
Treasures of Porto
Begin the day with a panoramic guided tour of Porto and its historic district – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – with its beguiling architecture, from medieval to baroque to Beaux-Arts, winding alleyways, miradouros (lookout points), opulent palaces and churches. Following your city tour, go for a ride along the Douro River aboard a traditional, flat-bottomed rabelo boat like those used for centuries to transport port wine from vineyards along the river to Porto on the Atlantic. Visit a port wine cellar for a tour, tasting and lunch; then spend the rest of the day and evening exploring as you wish.
Enjoy the stunning coastal scenery and lunch by the sea as you travel from Porto to Lisbon today, arriving in Portugal’s capital city mid-afternoon. A guided sightseeing tour provides an introduction to this intriguing city and its most famous landmarks; view the famous monastery Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the nearby Tower of Belém – both UNESCO World Heritage Sites from the mid-16th century – and see the Discoveries Monument commemorating Portugal's "Age of Exploration" of the 15th and 16th centuries. Check into your Four Seasons hotel for a two-night stay; dine at the hotel this evening.
Sintra & Lisbon
An excursion from Lisbon today takes you to Sintra – once a favored summer retreat for Portugal's monarchs and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – for a visit to the National Palace of Sintra, and time to explore on your own before returning to Lisbon for a visit to the National Coach Museum. Enjoy the rest of the day and evening as you please.
Fly from Lisbon to Seville
A brief flight takes you from Portugal's capital to the historic Spanish city of Seville; Andalucia's provincial capital blends the vibrant Spain of today with centuries of culture and old-world charm. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch and an equestrian show. Spend the next two nights in the heart of the city at one of Europe's most luxurious hotels, commissioned by the king of Spain for the famous Exposition of 1929. You may have dinner at your hotel this evening, or choose to enjoy an included lunch or dinner at the hotel tomorrow.
A carriage ride & more in Seville
After getting your bearings (and an introduction to many of Seville's historic and cultural attractions) on a sightseeing tour with your local guide, ride a horse-drawn carriage through the city's historic heart. Enjoy a walking tour through the fascinating Barrio de Santa Cruz and the maze of old streets in the city's former Jewish Quarter, and a guided visit inside Seville Cathedral, one of the largest Roman Catholic churches in the world, and the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. The evening is free to spend as you wish; enjoy lunch and dinner as you please today.
Gibraltar & coastal Marbella
Depart Seville for famous Gibraltar, where you'll tour the fabled "Rock" by mini-coach (weather permitting), and spend some time exploring on your own with lunch as you please. Your final destination today is the glamorous coastal resort town of Marbella on the Costa del Sol, for a two-night stay.
A Day by the 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, Bob Hope and many more... and you, spending a perfect day as you please.
Moorish influences in Ronda & Granada
As your tour continues, journey from the Spanish coast into the mountains to visit scenic Ronda, perched on a cliff overlooking the spectacular El Tajo gorge. Ronda is synonymous with the evolution of the art of bullfighting; along with revealing the town's Moorish heritage and remains, a guided walking tour includes a visit to one of Spain's oldest bullrings, the Plaza de Toros. Continue on to Granada, situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range. The city boasts extraordinary architecture from over 250 years as the capital of a Moorish kingdom; your hotel is steps away from Granada's celebrated Moorish palace, the Alhambra. Enjoy a private flamenco show tonight, followed by dinner at your hotel.
Discovering the treasures of the Alhambra in Granada
A highlight of your journey is today's guided visit to Granada's famed Moorish palace, the Alhambra, constructed to be a "paradise on Earth" by caliphs who ruled here in the 13th century. Tour the Alhambra itself, considered to be one of the world's most beautiful palaces, and stroll through the Generalife, the grounds of the summer palace of former sultans. Enjoy free time to explore on your own and join us for dinner at a popular local restaurant this evening.
Córdoba, La Mezquita & on to Madrid
Continue 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 three 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. A light dinner will be served at your hotel this evening.
Discovering Madrid & the Prado
Join a local guide for a morning orientation tour of Madrid's landmark sights that includes a walking tour of the vast Plaza Mayor and the Mercado San Miguel. Then view the art treasures of Madrid’s celebrated Museo del Prado – one of the most famous art museums on Earth, just a block away from your hotel – on a guided visit with a local expert. The remainder of the afternoon and evening are yours to spend as you wish in Spain's storied capital city.
Toledo & more of Madrid
Today, set off on a morning excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Toledo that features some guided sightseeing in this monument-filled city; a walking tour includes the 12th-century Synagogue Santa María La Blanca, and the Church of Santo Tomé. Return to your hotel in Madrid, where the rest of the afternoon is free. Please join us this evening for a farewell reception followed by dinner with Castilian entertainment at your hotel.
Tour ends: Madrid. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The Westin Palace, Madrid to Madrid Barajas Airport or Madrid Atocha train station. Allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport.