. Welcome to Lisbon! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel. (D)
Day 2: Lisbon
. Lisbon was the center of Europe’s longest-lived overseas empire. Portugal’s imperial ambitions date back to Prince Henry the Navigator’s 15th-century discoveries in West Africa. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide features a drive through the Baixa quarter’s main squares. Then, enjoy a walk through the cobblestone alleys of quaint ALFAMA, the popular quarter of the seamen and Fado singers. Drive along the grand Avenida da Liberdade up to Pombal Square, and stop for pictures of Belem Tower and the Monument of the Discoverers. Also visit JERONIMOS MONASTERY with the tomb of Vasco da Gama. Exciting optional excursions are available to Sintra and the royal palace of Queluz, and dinner at a typical taverna with Fado-style entertainment. (B)
Day 3: Lisbon–Oporto
. A comfortable drive to Oporto, where sightseeing with a Local Guide includes a panoramic drive to the mouth of the Douro River, the soaring cathedral, the richly decorated CHURCH OF SAO FRANCISCO, and the STOCK EXCHANGE with its contemporary ARABIAN HALL inspired by Granada’s Alhambra. Next, visit the [LF]famous Sandeman & Co. PORT WINE CELLAR to taste the Port wine produced from grapes of the Douro Valley. This evening, a special dinner with local specialties awaits you at one of Oporto’s fine restaurants. (B,D)
Day 4: Oporto–Vigo–La Toja–Santiago de Compostela
. Follow the coastline and enter Gallicia. Stop in Vigo, built over a Roman settlement, see the remnants of the former city walls, and hear about its turbulent history. Continue to La Toja, a small island just off the shore, which has become a popular holiday resort. See the unusual church completely covered with seashells before returning to the mainland and to continue your journey to Santiago de Compostela. (B)
Day 5: Santiago de Compostela.
Santiago de Compostela is one of the most popular pilgrim destinations since the Middle Ages. For over a thousand years pilgrims have been walking the Camino de Santiago. Guided sightseeing includes a visit to the CATHEDRAL, where the relics of St. James the Apostle, brother of St. John the Evangelist, are held. Afternoon at leisure. (B)
Day 6: Santiago de Compostela–Oviedo.
Enter España Verde (Green Spain) and arrive in Oviedo, capital of Asturias. Guided sightseeing features churches dating back to the 9th century, a visit to the CATHEDRAL OF SAN SALVADOR, and [LF] an exclusive visit to the CÁMARA SANTA DE OVIEDO, dating back to 802, which houses the Arca Santa chest reliquary of the Sudarium of Oviedo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (B,D)
Day 7: Oviedo–Santillana Del Mar–Bilbao–San Sebastian.
This morning, stop in picturesque Santillana del Mar, and walk through its cobblestone streets. Enjoy [LF] a visit to the nearby ALTAMIRA CAVE, and admire the upper paleolithic cave paintings. This cave was the first one where prehistoric cave paintings were discovered at the end of the 19th century. Continue to Bilbao, the great port city of the Basque region, and enjoy a special highlight: a guided visit to the GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, an amazing feat of construction created by North American architect Frank O. Gehry. Arrive in Basque Country and lovely San Sebastian, the “Pearl of the Cantabrian Coast.” (B)
Day 8: San Sebastian.
San Sebastian is a popular resort that attracts tourists from everywhere—not just for its picturesque location and harbor, but also for the many festivals that are held here yearly, like the San Sebastian Film Festival. Enjoy a guided walking tour of the Parte Viejo OLD QUARTER, and later, try out the tasty pintxos snacks, which you will find in many bars. Choose from our optional activities to make the most of your stay. (B)
Day 9: San Sebastian–Pamplona–Saragossa.
In Pamplona, at the foot of the Pyrenees, a special treat awaits you:
[LF] enjoy a walk through the Calle Estafeta, where the famous “running of the bulls” takes place, and enjoy lunch with traditional tapas and Rioja wine. Then, continue to Saragossa for your overnight stay. (B,L)
Day 10: Saragossa–Barcelona.
This morning, visit PLAZA DE PILAR, one of Spain’s grandest squares. Free time to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, where, according to legends, the Virgin Mary appeared to St. James. Then, continue to Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and the host of the Olympic Games in 1992. Tonight, why not join an optional dinner at a typical Catalonian restaurant? (B)
Day 11: Barcelona
. Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Columbus Monument, Plaza de Cataluna, and Paseo de Gracia. Admire the spectacular Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s masterpiece, and enjoy a panoramic view of the city and harbor from Montjuïc Hill. Also visit the GOTHIC QUARTER. This afternoon, an optional excursion to Montserrat can be arranged, and this evening, a special farewell dinner with wine has been prepared at a local restaurant to say, “Adios” to your traveling companions. (B,D)
Day 12: Barcelona
. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)