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Insight Vacations Best of Spain and Portugal (Summer 2017) (E932)

16 Days from Madrid to Barcelona Print
Tour Style: Regional Trip
Europe & Britain 2017/18
Visits: Portugal, Spain

Follow the fortunes of the Spanish, Portuguese and Moorish Kingdoms as evidenced in their grand castles, stupendous religious buildings and incredible works of art.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Madrid: Your guided tour shows you the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España, Royal Palace, Gran Via, Cibeles Fountain, Parliament and Puerta del Sol.
  • Toledo: Walk the cobbled streets.
  • Salamanca: See the cathedral in the university town.
  • Porto: See the bridges and buildings decorated in tiles. See the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores.
  • Obidos: Visit this ancient fortified city.
  • Lisbon: Tour the spacious avenues and elegant squares. See the Monument to the Discoveries and ancient Belem Tower. Visit Lisbon Cathedral.
  • Seville: Enjoy a walking tour through the squares and lanes of the Santa Cruz Quarter. Emerge by the walls of the Alcazar
  • Mijas: Journey to this white-washed village.
  • Valencia: See the ultra modern Centre of Arts and Sciences. See the huge City Gates of Serranos and Quart
  • Peñíscola: View the stone castle from the film El Cid.
  • Barcelona: Drive down the elegant Passeig de Gracia to witness some of the finest Modernist architecture. Stand in awe beside Gaudi's incredible Sagrada Famila.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Porto: Sample a selection of famous Port wines at a tasting at the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores.
  • Lisbon: Enjoy a demonstration and tasting of the famous ‘Pasteis de Belem' - a Portuguese delicacy.
  • Seville: Tables are reserved for dinner, drinks and a fiery evening of Spanish dance and music! Get ready for throbbing guitars, lamenting solos, colourful dancers and the rhythmic stomp of flamenco.
  • Granada: For your Dine-Around evening, choose from a selection of restaurants for a more intimate experience.
  • Valencia: Learn the authentic recipe of paella in a fun cookery demonstration and savour the flavours of this classic dish for dinner, washed down with a glass of sangria.
  • Sant Sadurni: Join a wine expert for a visit and tasting at the great Cava vineyards and cellars.
  • Barcelona: With fantastic sea views, be seated for an exceptional Catalan Celebration Dinner incorporating classic cooking with only the freshest produce.
  • 14 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 2 three-course table d’hôte Dinners (DW), 1 Signature Evening (SE), 1 Dine-Around (DA), 1 Highlight Dinner (HD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee. Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year's Eve enjoy a festive Highlight Dinner.

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Madrid: Witness the world's finest collection of Spanish paintings plus an impressive foreign collection as you tour the Prado Museum with an expert art historian.
  • Toledo: With a Local Expert, visit the Church of Santo Tomé and see an El Greco's masterpiece.
  • Fatima: Join the faithful at one of the world's holiest sites and pay homage at the Chapel of the Apparitions.
  • Lisbon: Visit Jeronimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture, reflecting Portugal's trade over the centuries.
  • Seville: From the Moorish Patio de los Naranjos, step inside the cathedral, past the altarpiece dripping with gold, to the Tomb of Columbus, held aloft by four kings.
  • Gibraltar: Tour the Rock of Gibraltar, one of the pillars of Hercules, affording magnificent views and see the meeting of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Spanish Sierra. Visit St. Michael's Cave and see the Barbary Apes.
  • Granada: Best interpreted with the help of a Local Expert, the Alhambra Palace is the ultimate in Muslim architecture, an arabesque fantasy in stone, complemented by the gardens of the Generalife.
  • Barcelona: A Local Expert will take you inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Basilica.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Salamanca: The Hotel Alameda Palace is an exclusive and cosy 5-star hotel in a city that is a World Heritage Site.
  • Lisbon: Dom Pedro Palace is located across the street from one of the largest Lisbon shopping centres: the Amoreiras Shopping Centre with 250 high-quality shops, cinemas and restaurants. On the top of the hotel there is the most exclusive Lisbon Penthouse Suite with a 360º degree view overlooking the city. This deluxe hotel offers elegant guest accommodation with great city views and a fantastic spa.
  • Granada: The 4-star Vincci Albayzin is located in the centre of Granada and is typically Andalusian in style. It boasts a magnificent enclosed patio that bathes its rooms in natural light. Guests can enjoy the modern facilities including gym, steam room and dry sauna.
  • Valencia: The Barceló Valencia hotel is situated right in the centre of the 'City of Arts and Sciences' opposite the Queen Sofia Palace of Arts, a building which was designed by the renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and is situated in one of the most modern and attractive areas of the city of Valencia.

ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR SERVICES

  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will guide you on your journey. Serving as your 'travelling concierge', this skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Insight Vacations Tour Itinerary

Day: 1 Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).
Day: 2 Welcome to Madrid
At Madrid Airport, transfers depart for your hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:30 & 16:00. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and a beautiful evening of dinner and wine.(WD)
Day: 3 Madrid of the Bourbons
A guided sightseeing tour takes you along the elegant Paseo de la Castellana past Madrid's most famous fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles. Drive down the Gran Vía to the Royal Palace and Cervantes Monument before crossing the Puerta del Sol. The highlight of your tour is a visit to the magnificent Prado Museum to admire the paintings of Velázquez, Goya and many others.(BB)
Day: 4 The old Capital of Toledo and Golden Salamanca
The morning is devoted to Toledo. With your Local Expert, walk through the maze of narrow, cobbled streets. See El Greco's painting in the Church of Santo Tomé. Join a master craftsman in a Damascene workshop for a personal insight into this ancient craft handed down by the Moors centuries ago. Later, pass the ancient walls of Ávila, en route to Salamanca, with its handsome arcaded Plaza Mayor, honey-coloured cathedral and 16th century university buildings.(BB)
Day: 5 Porto, Grande Dame on the Douro
(Relaxed Start) Cross the Portuguese border to reach Porto, situated on the River Douro and celebrated internationally as the capital of Port wine. See the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores that house the famous wines. Walk along corridors of casks and get to know your tawnys and vintages during a tasting. Admire the multi-coloured houses and churches covered in glazed tiles, as well as the iconic bridges (or ‘Eiffel Towers on end' according to one Frenchman).(BB / DW)
Day: 6 Holy Fatima, Ancient Obidos and Lisbon
Head south for a visit to miraculous Fatima. See the basilica or visit the Chapel of the Apparitions, which commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three young shepherds in 1917. Then continue to the fortified town of Obidos, where you'll walk inside the walls to explore the flower-bedecked houses and narrow, medieval streets. Your destination is the Portuguese capital.(BB)
Day: 7 Lisbon and the Age of the Great Discoveries
(Relaxed Start) Sightseeing with a Local Expert takes you along the spacious avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco, the finest square in the city. Visit the Belem Quarter from where sailing ships once set forth to discover unknown lands. Stop by a patisserie and enjoy a tasting of Portugal's finest pastry, 'Pasteis de Belem'. See the Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belem Tower - a fortress originally set in the middle of the river, but now left high and dry on the riverbank. Next, visit Jeronimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture. The afternoon is free, perhaps take the funicular up into the steep alleyways of the old town, or explore the terraces of the Alfama district?(BB)
Day: 8 Seville, the City of Carmen
Leave Lisbon via the modern Tagus Bridge and cross the border to reach Seville. With a Local Expert, tour the immense cathedral, burial place of Christopher Columbus, and the slender Giralda Tower. Explore the labyrinthine Santa Cruz Quarter and see the Alcazar. At night, settle back for a Signature Evening with dinner and entertainment featuring a fiery flamenco show.(BB / SE)
Day: 9 Free Time in Seville
(Relaxed Start) The following day is completely yours to relax, explore, or continue sightseeing in this fascinating city. Our suggestion is an optional experience to the ancient city of Cordoba, where you will visit the magnificent Mezquita, see the old Jewish Quarter, and enjoy some free time to shop.(BB)
Day: 10 Head for Gibraltar and the Costa del Sol
Head south to Gibraltar, attached to Spain yet an overseas territory under British... along the Costa del Sol through exclusive resorts where the rich and famous holiday.(BB / DW)
Day: 11 At Leisure on the Costa del Sol
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy the following day at leisure on the sun-drenched Costa del Sol. Relax by the blue Mediterranean waters, stroll along the promenade, savour the specialities in the local restaurants or consider exploring Malaga, the birth city of Picasso.(BB)
Day: 12 Mijas, Granada and the Alhambra
(Relaxed Start) Drive through the green hills above the Costa del Sol to the white-washed village of Mijas. Stroll through the old streets and gardens and take in the views of the coast. Continue to Granada to visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace. With a Local Expert, see the Lion Court, as well as the water gardens of the royal summer residence. In the evening, choose your own personal ambience and cuisine from our Dine-Around selection of restaurants.(BB / DA)
Day: 13 On to Valencia.
Journey to Valencia the 'City of Arts and Sciences'. Circumnavigate the old town, past the City Gates of Serranos, to reach your hotel. In your free time perhaps take a stroll to the Cathedral and El Miguelete? Valencia is home to one of the world's greatest dishes, paella. Learn the authentic recipe in a fun cookery demonstration with a local chef and savour the flavours of this classic dish, washed down with a glass of sangria.(BB / HD)
Day: 14 Along the coast to Peñíscola and on to Barcelona
Follow the coast to Peñíscola to view the sea-lapped castle used in the film 'El Cid'. Continue along the Costa Dorada to the Cava Bodegas at Sant Sadurni d'Anoia. Enjoy a taste and learn the sparkling secrets of Spanish ‘bubbly' before heading on to your hotel in Barcelona.(BB)
Day: 15 Barcelona Sightseeing
(Relaxed Start) Join a Local Expert to drive along the Passeig de Gràcia. Continue through the Eixample district for a visit inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Família Basilica. In the afternoon, maybe experience the great Monastery of Montserrat and see the Black Madonna? In the evening, enjoy a Celebration Dinner with wine.(BB / CD)
Day: 16 Depart Barcelona
Your journey ends after breakfast. Departure transfers arrive at Barcelona Airport at 07:00, 09:00 & 11:00.(BB)

Available Room Types: Single, Twin, TwinShare, Triple

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Insight Tour Dates


Guaranteed Departure  indicates Guaranteed Departure
*Air(USA) DepartsInsight RetailRequest Quote
Guaranteed Departure 08/31/2017 $3,525.00
Guaranteed Departure 09/01/2017 $3,525.00
Guaranteed Departure 09/02/2017 $3,525.00
Guaranteed Departure 09/23/2017 $3,525.00
Guaranteed Departure 09/28/2017 $3,425.00
Guaranteed Departure 10/26/2017 $3,295.00
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