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 Moorish Alhambra Palace and 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, Hotel El Palace Barcelona. A transfer is included from Barcelona Airport or Barcelona Franca or Sants Train Station to El Palace Barcelona, located in the center of the city, near the pedestrian thoroughfare of Las Ramblas and your home for two nights. Join us for a welcome reception followed by dinner tonight at the hotel.
Discover the best of Barcelona
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 a visit to architect Antoni Gaudi’s unconventional, unfinished la Sagrada Familía, begun 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. Explore further on a guided culinary walking tour through the lively village-like neighborhood of Grácia where you’ll get an authentic look at daily Catalan life, as well as a sampling of their local delicacies! The rest of the day is free to explore as you please.
A choice in Barcelona & embark ship
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; Gaudi’s unconventional, unfinished la Sagrada Familía, begun by the architect in 1882. 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). Embark your Windstar ship this afternoon and set sail for Mallorca.
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 more of Palma as you please. Dine at leisure tonight aboard your Windstar ship following a welcome reception.
A Day at Sea & Cartagena
Experience the onboard pleasures of your Windstar yacht today as you spend the morning at sea. A 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. After Wind Surf arrives in Cartagena around midday, 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. Your ship sets off again early this evening bound for Almeria.
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 town on 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.
Taste of 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. Later, enjoy a panoramic tour of 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). If you wish, join us for a visit to the famed Picasso Museum. You'll have a few hours to explore Málaga as you wish before returning to your ship; after dinner, sail for 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. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the rest of the day onboard and set sail for Cádiz.
Sights of Seville
After breakfast, arrive in the port of Cádiz and drive to Seville, standing on the banks of the Rio Guadalquivir. Guided exploration includes visits to the Plaza de Espana 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, enjoy 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; One option is a walk through Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville’s old Jewish Quarter, to visit 15th-century Seville Cathedral – the largest Gothic church in the world – where you'll see Christopher Columbus’ tomb, or alternatively, visit the royal palace complex, Real Alcázar. Your yacht departs for Portugal after dinner tonight.
Pleasures of a day at sea
Today, you have another full day 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 Lisbon, Portugal.
Disembark Lisbon; Sintra & Cascais
Disembark ship in Lisbon this morning. 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. 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 check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to enjoy as you wish.
A guided tour of the city 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 afternoon at your leisure. Join us tonight for an exclusive private farewell evening at the 18th century Palácio Nacional de Queluz, including a reception and a dinner held at the Throne Room.
Tour ends: Lisbon. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included to Lisbon Airport from InterContinental Lisbon. Allow three hours for flight check-in.