Grand Tour of Spain and Portugal end Madrid (Summer 2017)

A 19-Day Insight Tours tour starting from $4,225

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Starting Price: $4,225 Printer Friendly Page
Tour Length: 19 Days
Countries Visited: Portugal, Spain
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More Information About This Tour:
Tour Type:
 Escorted Tours
Tour Category:
Tour Operator: Insight Tours
Tour Code: E930N112
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Cities Visited:
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Delve beneath the surface of these two amazing countries, sample their signature dishes, share in their culture, and marvel the legacy of their rich sea-faring history.

 
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.

 
Day 1: Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).

Day 2: Welcome to Madrid
Your airport transfers depart from Madrid Airport to your hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:30 & 16:00. The rest of the day is at leisure to begin to get to know this stylish city. Later, join your Tour Director for a warm Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a delightful evening of dinner and wine.(WD)

Day 3: The old Capital of Toledo and on to Granada
With a Local Expert, visit the the city of Toledo and join a master craftsman in a Damascene workshop for a personal insight into this ancient craft. Walk through the cobbled streets to visit the Church of Santo Tomé, housing El Greco's famous painting, 'The Burial of the Count of Orgaz'. Continue to Granada.(BB / DW)

Day 4: The Alhambra Palace and Seville, City of Carmen
'There is no pain in life so cruel as to be blind in Granada', cries the inscription on the walls of the Alhambra. Bathed in morning light, the Alhambra Palace awaits: a fantasy of stone-cut lace, arabesque gardens and fountains, built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century. With a Local Expert, you will also visit the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer residence. Relax here in the sunshine and enjoy the fine views over the town and its three verdant hills, before embarking upon a scenic drive to Seville. A Local Expert will guide you through the maze of narrow lanes and shady squares of the Santa Cruz Quarter. Emerge by the huge walls of the fabulous Alcazar. You will see La Giralda, the former minaret of the Great Mosque, but now the cathedral bell tower. Enter the immense 15th century cathedral, the final resting place of Christopher Columbus and enriched with the spoils of the New World. At night, enjoy the flavours of Andalusia and share in the passion of Spain's most fiery region at a flamenco show and dinner.(BB / SE)

Day 5: Free Time in Seville
(Relaxed Start) This is a free day, so take your time to bask in the city's romantic aura. Or you might like to join an optional experience to Cordoba for a visit to the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th century mosque with a Christian church built inside it?(BB)

Day 6: The plains of the Alentejo to Lisbon
(Relaxed Start) Pass through the oak forests where black Iberian pigs are bred for the famous Spanish hams. Stop in Jabugo for an insight into the history and curing process of jamón Ibérico. The subtle differences will be revealed with a delicious tasting. Then venture across the wide Alentejo Plateau to Lisbon.(BB)

Day 7: Lisbon and the Age of the Discoveries
(Relaxed Start) During your stay, a guided panoramic tour takes you along the 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 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. Enjoy free time in the afternoon. Perhaps join an optional experience to the beautiful town of Sintra which was the summer residence of the Kings of Portugal?(BB)

Day 8: Holy Fatima and Golden Salamanca
Drive into the green hills north of Lisbon to visit Fatima, the most celebrated place of pilgrimage in Portugal. Visit the Basilica commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917. Then cross the border back into Spain and continue to Salamanca, famous for its golden stone buildings. See the handsome arcades of the Plaza Mayor and the Puente Romano across the River Tormes ' 15 of its 26 arches date from the time of the ancient Romans.(BB)

Day 9: Old Castile, to St. Teresa of Ávila and on to Madrid
Cross the rock-strewn hills of Castile, towards the city of Avila, still entirely enclosed within 11th century walls and unique in Europe. Walk within the ancient city before returning to Madrid for sightseeing. Here, a Local Expert takes you along the Gran Via and through the Puerta del Sol. You'll see the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España, Royal Palace and Cibeles Fountain. In the evening, bid farewell to your new-found friends with a lively Celebration Dinner at a local restaurant.(BB / CD)

Day 10: Madrid of the Bourbons
In the morning, a Local Expert will guide you along the noble avenues past the Cibeles Fountain and down the Gran Vía to the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España. Cross the Puerta del Sol and continue to the Prado Museum, housing works by Velázquez, Goya, Titian, Botticelli, Rubens and others. You will then have free time to relax at a cafe or shop in the boutiques.(BB)

Day 11: Over the Guadarrama Mountains to Santiago
Venture through the Guadarrama Mountains to the infinite horizons of Old Castile. Some of Spain's most fashionable white wines are produced in the Rueda region, so stop for a tasting. Continue past the impressive Castillo de la Mota, conquered by Queen Isabella and on to Santiago de Compostela, where the tomb of the Apostle St James was miraculously discovered in the Middle Ages.

Day 12: Saintly Santiago de Compostela
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, become acquainted with some of Europe's finest historical buildings with a Local Expert. The monumental square, Spanish Plaza del Obradoiro, is pure grandeur in granite. Look up from the steady trickle of present-day pilgrims to the cathedral façade - an ensemble of soaring towers, arches and windows, festooned with architectural frills. Once through the 'Gateway of Glory', you're privy to the same vision that has greeted pilgrims since the Middle Ages. The faithful can pass behind the ornate high altar to touch the giant 13th century gilded effigy of St. James. Follow the steps of the pilgrims on The Way of St. James, then indulge in some free time to explore the narrow streets and old squares.

Day 13: Along the Costa Verde to Oviedo
(Relaxed Start) Get your cameras ready for a scenic drive along the Costa Verde. This Green Coast of Asturias is one of Spain's most beautiful, named after the colour of the sea and the pine and eucalyptus trees that line the shore. Your route reveals glorious coastal vistas before turning inland to the modern town of Oviedo. A Local Expert will show you the 9th century churches built when the city was the capital of Christian Spain. Visit the church of San Julian, covered with 1,000-year-old wall paintings, and the cathedral in the stately square of Plaza Alfonso II. Round off the day with an introduction to Northern Spain's drink of choice in the 'Boulevard of Cider'.

Day 14: Picturesque Santillana del Mar and on to Santander
See the unique Roman bridge in Cangas de Onís as you head into the foothills of the Picos de Europa, a National Park encompassing spectacular mountain and gorge scenery. Visit the holy cave of Covadonga, a shrine to Pelayo, who achieved the first Christian victory over the Moors in 722. Enjoy views of the Costa de Cantabria while journeying to Santillana del Mar, arguably 'the most beautiful village in Spain.' Stroll through the rustic cobblestone streets admiring stone houses decorated with carved, heraldic symbols and reach the delightful church square. After time to explore, drive to the sophisticated beach resort of Santander.

Day 15: Bilbao, Costa Vasca and San Sebastián.
(Relaxed Start) In nearby Bilbao, admire the striking modern architecture of the Guggenheim Museum, one of the world's most spectacular buildings. Now a pleasant drive along part of the Costa Vasca, dotted with small coastal fishing villages. Pause in Zumaia, at the mouth of the Urola, where you can see El Ratón, the mouse-shaped rock. Continue to San Sebastián, pearl of the Cantabrian coast, set on its shell-shaped bay. The city harbour is filled with fishing boats and pleasure crafts, so you can enjoy a number of sporting activities on its large sandy beach. Spain's northern Basque country has evolved into the best place to eat in the Western world. Discover the city's rich gastronomic tradition in the old city's pintxos (tapas) bars and be sure to try the local Txakoli wine.

Day 16: San Sebastián Sightseeing
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, admire the beauty of San Sebastián on a guided walking tour of the Old Quarter. See the numbered balconies of the Plaza de la Constitución, a reminder of the days when bullfights were held in the square. Ascend Monte Igueldo for beautiful views of the town and La Concha Bay. The afternoon is free to stroll along San Sebastián's boardwalk. Maybe partake in an excellent dinner with drinks in a restaurant in the heart of Lo Viejo (Old town)?

Day 17: Pamplona and on to Barcelona
Your first stop is in Pamplona, famous for the 'Running of the Bulls' festival. Perhaps take a stroll to the famous Estafeta Street or visit Café Iruña, immortalised by Ernest Hemingway in the “Sun Also Rises”. Continue to Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, a land that retains its own distinctive language, culture and traditions.

Day 18: Barcelona, City of Gaudi
Wake up ready to embrace the city's artistic heritage. Join a Local Expert in the heart of the Gothic Quarter and walk through the Roman gate to tour the narrow lanes and old squares. Next, head along the Passeig de Gràcia, adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district for a visit inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Church. See its giant, tree-like pillars and spectacular vaulting. The afternoon is at leisure. In the evening, raise your glass at your finale Celebration Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.

Day 19: Depart Madrid
Departure transfers arrive at Madrid Airport early evening, followed by the Madrid tour hotel.

 
         
Touring Date
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Land + Air
Single
(Land Only)
Single
(Land + Air)


No Departure Date Information was found for this Tour. This could be due
to our website undergoing an update.

Please call a tour specialist at 1-800-942-3301 for personalized assistance.

 

Note: Departures appearing above in green are guaranteed to operate by the tour operator.
         

Airfare Disclaimer
A NOTE ABOUT AIRFARE: We encourage you to buy your airfare from the tour operator, because if your tour cancels then your airlines tickets will be covered. Purchasing flights separately at a lesser rate and incorporating it with a Non-Guaranteed Departure Date can result in loss of total cost of your flight investment. Depending on the fare rules, flights may be Non-Refundable and/or Non-Transferable. Neither the tour operator and/or Atlas Cruises & Tours will be held responsible for loss if a tour is cancelled for Lack of Participation.

Documents
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Necessary Travel Documents such as Passports and Visas is the responsibility of the traveler. Passports must be valid six months from your return travel date.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS
Seville: Enjoy a walking tour through the pretty squares and narrow lanes of the Santa Cruz Quarter. Emerge by the walls of the Alcazar. Algarve: Drive along this sun drenched coast. Lisbon: Tour the spacious avenues and elegant squares. See the Monument to the Discoveries and the ancient Belem Tower. Salamanca: See the Plaza Mayor and Puente Romano. Ávila: Walk within the ancient walls of this unique town. Madrid: Your guided tour shows you the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España, Royal Palace, Gran Via, Cibeles Fountain and Puerta del Sol. 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. Santiago de Compostela: Join a guided tour of the old town. Costa Verde: Experience the coastal vistas of Asturias. Covadonga: Visit the shrine to Pelayo. Bilbao: See the spectacular modern Guggenheim Museum. Zumaia: See the rock known as El Ratón (the mouse). San Sebastian: Enjoy a guided walking tour of the Old Quarter including Plaza de la Constitucion. Ascend Monte Igueldo for views of the town and La Concha Bay. Pamplona: Visit the city of the running of the bulls. Barcelona: Enjoy a walking tour through the old lanes and squares of the Gothic Quarter. Drive down the elegant Passeig de Gràcia to witness some of the finest Modernist architecture. Stand in awe beside Gaudi's incredible Sagrada Famila. Scenic Drives: Costa Verda, Picos de Europa, Costa Vasca, Costa de Cantabria, Rioja wine'region.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS
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. Jabugo: In a small village dotted with chestnut trees and holm oaks, experience the lingering aroma and incomparable taste of pure Iberian ham. Lisbon: Enjoy a tasting of the famous 'Pasteis de Belem' - a Portuguese delicacy. Madrid: Toast the culmination of your tour at a fabulous Celebration Dinner with wine, at a local restaurant. Rueda: Some of Spain's finest wines hail from the Rueda region. During your tasting, learn about the Verdejo grape and what to look for in a fresh white. Barcelona: Your Celebration Dinner with wine, at a typical Catalan restaurant, incorporates classic cooking with the freshest produce. 17 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 3 three-course table d'hôte Dinner (DW), 1 Signature Evening (SE) and 2 Celebration Dinners (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES
Toledo: At a Damascene workshop, meet a master craftsman for a personal insight into this ancient craft. Toledo: With a Local Expert, visit the Church of Santo Tomé and see El Greco's masterpiece. Granada: Join a Local Expert at the Alhambra Palace, the ultimate in Muslim architecture, an arabesque fantasy in stone, complemented by the glorious Generalife gardens. Seville: Step inside the cathedral, past the altarpiece, dripping with gold, to the Tomb of Columbus, held aloft by four kings. Lisbon: Visit Jeronimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture. Fatima: Join the faithful at one of the world's holiest sites and pay homage at the Chapel of the Apparitions. Madrid: Witness the world's finest collection of Spanish paintings, plus an impressive foreign collection, as you tour the Prado Museum with an art historian. Santiago de Compostela: The Romanesque interior of the cathedral is magnificent. Let a Local Expert take you through the Gateway of Glory to witness the final stage of one of the world's most ancient pilgrimages. Oviedo: See 1,000-year-old wall paintings in some of Europe's oldest churches and relax in a cider house with a glass of Asturia's famous 'Sidra'. Watch the waiters demonstrate the art of Cider pouring. Santillana del Mar: Step back in time at this perfectly preserved and 'most beautiful village in Spain.' Barcelona: Visit inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Basilica.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES
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 a gym, steam room and dry sauna. Salamanca: The centrally located Alameda is close to a range of restaurants and shops and only a short walk to the Plaza Mayor. The spacious rooms all have marble bathrooms and antique-style furniture. Santiago de Compostela: The NH Collection delivers modern luxury in a timeless setting, just minutes from the historic Plaza del Obradoiro. Oviedo: The Barceló Oviedo Cervantes is situated in the heart of Oviedo, 10 minutes from the Old Town and Cathedral. This striking and stylish designer hotel is restored from an early 20th century mansion. Oviedo: The NH Oviedo Principado hotel could not be better placed for getting to know Oviedo. Set opposite the historic university building, it's just minutes away from the Medieval old town with its cathedral and cafe-lined Plaza del Fontan. Santander: The luxury 5-star Eurostars Real is at the heart and soul of Santander, a hallmark of excellence and prestige, facing the Playa de los Peligros beach. Santander: The Bahia Hotel is located in the heart of Santander, surrounded by landmarks like the Cathedral of Santander and Porticada Square. Madrid: Located on Madrid's most chic avenue, the Hotel Hesperia Madrid is a centrally located, modern hotel offering comfortable and contemporary rooms.

 

 
 

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