Chart a course for a treasure trove of Iberian discoveries along the trade routes of the first Portuguese and Spanish explorers... discovering monuments of heroes past, ancient rock formations and embracing local life at a family vineyard...
Set sail for a 13-day Spain and Portugal cruise adventure aboard your Windstar yacht, view monuments to heroes past in Lisbon at Jeronimo’s Monastery church, Belém Tower and the Coach Museum or the Maritime Museum. Drive to Sintra for a palace visit and indulge in the village charms of seaside Cascais. Explore the countryside towns and rock formations of Portimão and get a taste of local life at a family owned vineyard. In Spain, take a sightseeing tour of old Seville, sizzling with a passionate flamenco performance; experience British traditions and monkeys in Gibraltar; and in Malaga, sip sherry and sample tapas as you watch a private horse show at a typical Andalucían manor house before exploring the city where Pablo Picasso was born. The Generalife Gardens take your breath away during a full day ashore in Granada and on the island of Palma de Mallorca, visits to the Cathedral and Bellver Castle share the day with a private Windstar-hosted afternoon in the Old Quarter. A two-night stay in Barcelona bookends this Iberian cruise to introduce you to Catalan cuisine and wow you with a private visit to the Music Palace, a walk in whimsical Parc Güell, and an opportunity to view the fantastical images of Gaudí’s la Sagrada Familia; a choice of Barcelona sightseeing excursion includes a look inside the medieval maze that is Barri Gòtic or a walking tour of the amazing architectural highlights along Passeig de Grácia. Welcome aboard!
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, Trade Square and Edward VII Park, named in honor of the king of England who visited here in 1902, and includes visits to the Maritime Navy Museum; the Discoveries Monument; and Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and Cloister. 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. Return to your hotel and spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Sintra, Cascais & embark ship
You'll drive to Sintra early this morning for a tour of the 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, where you'll enjoy lunch before heading back to Lisbon to board your Windstar yacht for the start of your cruise; Dinner will be served aboard the ship tonight.
Pleasures of a day at sea
Today, you're free to enjoy all the amenities of Windstar's 5-masted flagship Wind Surf – the world's largest sailing yacht, and a sight to see with her tall sails billowing – fresh from a recent renovation, as you spend an entire day at sea, bound for Cádiz, Spain.
Sights of Seville
After your ship's morning arrival in Cádiz, Spain, drive to historic Seville, standing on the banks of the Rio Guadalquivir. Guided exploration includes visits to the Plaza de España and the pavilions of the 1929 World's 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; the 13th-century Moorish Torre del Oro, towering over the port; the bullring; and the tobacco factory of Carmen fame. After an early tapas lunch, walk through Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville’s old Jewish Quarter, followed by a special dance performance at the Museo del Baile Flamenco, where the passion of the dancers resonates with the soul of Andalusia. This afternoon, you'll have a choice of excursions in Seville; one option is a visit to the 15th-century Seville Cathedral – the largest Gothic church in the world – where you'll see Christopher Columbus’ tomb. Or visit the royal palace complex, Real Alcázar. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. 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 Málaga.
Horses & Picasso in coastal Málaga
The land of dancing Andalucían horses and sherry welcomes you ashore in Málaga and invites you inside a typical manor for a tapas tasting and a private horse show at an Andalucían manor. This afternoon, enjoy a panoramic tour of coastal Málaga 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) followed by a visit to the famed Picasso Museum. You'll have a few hours to explore Málaga as you wish before returning to your ship.
Your ship arrives in Almeria this morning for a scenic drive to Granada, created to reflect the Moors’ vision of paradise on Earth. Explore this wondrous city during a walking tour followed by lunch at the Alhambra Palace Hotel. 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 & Cartagena
After Wind Surf arrives in Cartagena early this morning, walk to the city’s Roman Forum for a private visit of the 1st-century thermal baths, atrium and a temple dedicated to Isis and Serapys; then enjoy a wine tasting inside the Forum and a demonstration of the art of ham slicing. Set off again aboard Wind Surf around midday, and have more time to experience the onboard pleasures of your Windstar yacht on another full day at sea, bound for Palma de Mallorca.
Palma de Mallorca
Disembark this morning in Palma de 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 more of Palma as you please. 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 (and sample Catalan delicacies). 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). Following lunch at leisure, enjoy an opportunity to explore Barcelona at large before joining 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, Casa de la Seda.
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.