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Classic Barcelona to Lisbon


Indulge in the colour and culture of Spain and Portugal on this 15-day adventure. Start in Barcelona, uncovering the city’s many highlights before making your way along Spain’s beautiful eastern coastline. Immerse yourself in Tarragona’s Roman history, sip on locally made wine in the Catalonia region and look out over the Mediterranean Sea from Peniscola Castle. Then pass into Portugal, where even more unforgettable moments await. Journey into the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Douro Valley, pause for a port tasting in Porto and wander around the cobbled streets of Lisbon. With a local leading the way, this trip will be sure to stick with you.

15 days, from

$6,237

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ZMKBC
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Portugal Spain
Accommodation: Hotel (14 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Train , Taxi , Metro
Included Meals:

  • 14 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Tick Madrid, Salamanca, Porto and Lisbon off your bucket list and spend afternoons wandering around narrow, cobbled streets, colourful architecture with hilltop views and glittering coasts as you wait for nightly sunsets to transform these cities into glittering havens.

  • Learn about the history and artistry of the unique Fallas festival of Valencia by meeting a professional artist in their workshop to find out how they construct these intricately detailed and often enormous statues.

  • Savour Spanish sweets that support the community – cinnamon and sugar-dusted churros with velvety chocolate sauce from a churreria that provides training and employment opportunities to refugees.

  • Feast on Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, snacks and local wines with a delicious tapas welcome dinner in Madrid, a port tasting in Porto, a bacalhau dinner in Coimbra and the unmissable pasteis de nata from the best spot in Lisbon – yum!

  • Spend a day discovering the history of Tomar – a 12th century town of relaxed streets, public gardens and the Castillo de Tomar, a Templar castle just waiting for the curious to explore its ramparts and cloisters.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Barcelona

Hola! Welcome to Spain. Whether you’re here for the architecture, the food, or the football team, there’s something for everyone in Barcelona. This evening, you’ll be meeting up with your leader and group for a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, there’s plenty to do – check out the incredible architecture by Antoni Gaudí (making an essential stop at Sagrada Familia), wander La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous street, or get up close to Pablo Picasso’s early works at the Picasso Museum. After your welcome meeting, take a trip to a local bar for an aperitivo – the perfect opportunity to get to know your group. Why not keep the good times rolling and grab an optional dinner together, cheersing to what promises to be an excellent week ahead.

Day 2: Tarragona

Head south to the charming Catalan town of Vilafranca del Penedes. Today you’ll be stopping for lunch at a vineyard, where you’ll feast on cured meats, cheeses, and other local favourites. Wander through the vines and enjoy a tasting of cava (a Spanish sparkling wine). After lunch, continue into town where your leader will take you on a walk around the streets. As the wine capital of Catalonia, there’s plenty of delicious wines to sample – just check in with your leader for the best streetside bars to sample another glass or two of Spanish vino. Take a walk through the Gothic district and visit the Santa Maria Basilica, where you can climb to the top of the bell tower and look out on the city below. Hitting the road again, you’ll reach your home for the night – Tarragona. Why not gather your group and head out for dinner, finding the best cassola de romesco (a signature dish traditionally made of fresh seafood cooked in romesco sauce).

Day 3: Tarragona

Waking up in Tarragona, step out with your leader for an orientation walk through this beautiful coastal town. Stopping by Tarragona’s Roman Amphitheatre, you’ll have as much time as you’d like to explore the 2nd century BC structure. Overlooking the ocean, the amphitheatre was built to hold up to 14,000 spectators and was host to rowdy gladiator fights. The rest of the day is your own. Why not explore more of this beautiful beachside town’s Roman history or wander down to El Serrallo – Tarragona’s port district, where you’ll find some of Spain’s best seafood. Stroll through the medieval city centre and up to the crowning glory of the Catedral de Tarragona, where you can find both Romanesque and Gothic features, the remains of an ancient Roman temple, or book yourself in for a rooftop tour to get the best view of Tarragona in town. Looking to stretch out and relax? This is the perfect place to lay on a patch of golden sand and enjoy the sounds of the Mediterranean.

Day 4: Valencia

Your first stop today is at the Les Ferreres Aqueduct – an ancient Roman bridge and part of an aqueduct that supplied water to the region. Built in the 1st century BC, and at over 200 m long and 24 m high, you’ll take a stroll across this still-standing piece of history. Travel onwards to Peniscola where your leader will take you on an orientation walk of this ‘City in the Sea.’ Head up to the stunning coastal cliffs where you’ll find the Peniscola Castle. Built on the highest point of the city by the Knights Templar, the castle and its grounds jut out into the ocean and overlook the city below. Why not grab some lunch by the beach before jumping back in your vehicle and continuing on to Valencia.

Day 5: Valencia

Birthplace of paella, home to Gothic architecture, quirky galleries and museums, and more festivals than you can keep track of – there is no shortage of fun to get up to in the coastal city of Valencia. This morning, you and your group will make your way to the Fallas Museum, where you’ll learn all about the traditional Fallas Festival. Each year between the 15th and 19th of March intricate sculptures (many of them enormous) are erected around the town. On the last day, these sculptures are set on fire to mark the end of the festival and welcome spring, with only two chosen to be saved and placed in the museum. After checking out the museum, you’ll have a private tour of a workshop where you can watch a fallero artist designing and building their sculptures for the next festival. After the museum, you’ll be treated to a traditional paella lunch. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore the city.

Day 6: Madrid

Today, you’ll be hopping on the train and heading off to your final destination on this Spanish adventure – Madrid. On arrival your leader will take you on an orientation walk, finishing up at Chirusa Experimental where you’ll indulge in the local favourite – churros! The rest of the day is yours so be sure to ask your leader how to tailor your afternoon to your interests. You might like to visit the Golden Triangle of Art – three world-renowned museums that are home to some of the world’s most valuable collections of art, jump on the Teleferico and see the city from the world's most horizontal cable car, or wander through an ancient Egyptian temple at Templo de Debod. Tonight, you can rejoin your group for an optional farewell dinner where you can send off your new friends in style!

Day 7: Madrid

Make the most of a free day of exploring Madrid! If you didn’t yesterday, maybe have a picnic in Buen Retiro Park or explore the rich culture of European art at the Prado Museum, which houses works by Goya, Velaquez and other Spanish masters. Then, you'll have a second meeting at 6 pm to meet a new group of fellow travellers. After the meeting, enjoy a welcome dinner of traditional tapas, maybe try patatas bravas, tortilla or croquetas.

Day 8: Douro Valley

Take the train to Salamanca – home to the 10th century university that continues to bring vibrancy to the town through its diverse student population. When you arrive, head out on an orientation walk, taking in the ornate sandstone architecture of the city. Then, enjoy some free time for lunch. Drive to the Douro Valley by private vehicle. This UNESCO World Heritage area is set on the highest flowing river of the Iberian Peninsula and the region is known for its wineries and unforgettable scenery. When you arrive, you have the option to take a Rabelo boat ride – the traditional Rabelo was once a Portuguese cargo boat used to transport barrels of port wine. Take in the sights from the water or enjoy your free time on the banks. As the sun goes down, maybe stroll along the river or take in the views at a local bar and sample some local wines.

Day 9: Porto

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, maybe heading out for a morning walk or taking the chance to rest and recharge for the day ahead. Today, you’ll enjoy an included lunch and wine tasting at a local vineyard. As you tuck into some local Portuguese cuisine and choose your new favourite afternoon wine, soak in the last of the sweeping green hill views and then head in a private vehicle to Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal. When you arrive, you have a free afternoon to wander this coastal city. Maybe visit Livraria Lello – a bookstore that’s been standing since 1906. If the romance of books isn’t your thing, you can head to the Serralves Foundation – this art foundation boasts a contemporary art museum, a park and a villa, all demonstrating contemporary Art Deco architecture and Modernism.

Day 10: Porto

This morning, you’ll head out on a leader-led walk around Porto, taking in the city’s colourful architecture and stately bridges. Wander through the medieval riverside district, the narrow cobbled streets and the countless cafes that are all surrounded by the Douro River. You’ll visit the local market, too, where you can grab some snacks before heading to a port wine tasting – port wine production is this city’s namesake, after all! This afternoon is at your leisure to explore how you wish. Maybe take the chance to take a boat ride to see the colourful buildings of Porto from a new perspective. Tonight, ask your leader for the best local restaurants and people watch as the sun goes down.

Day 11: Coimbra

This morning, take the train to Coimbra – the former capital of Portugal. Coimbra is now a university city home to a well-preserved medieval Old Town. When you arrive, you can explore however you wish – maybe stroll by the 12th-century Romanesque cathedral of Se Velha or wander the Jardins da Quinta das Lagrimas – 12 hectares of gardens and a palace that has been converted into a luxury hotel – and take a walk through the woodlands. Tonight, head out for dinner with your group and feast on traditional Portuguese favourites at a restaurant specializing in the nation’s favourite – bacalhau (salted cod).

Day 12: Coimbra

Join a local guide this morning for a tour of the University of Coimbra, including the famed Biblioteca Joanina (the baroque library). After, you have a free day to choose your own adventure. You might like to keep exploring the wonderful architecture of this region and visit the Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery and the Santa Clara-a-Nova Monastery. Tonight, maybe head to a fado show to immerse yourself in the culture’s traditional music scene. Coimbra was elected the European Region of Gastronomy for 2022, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding the perfect spot for a delicious dinner!

Day 13: Lisbon

Drive to Tomar – a city perfect for history and architecture buffs! When you arrive, take a leader-led orientation walk to get your bearings and then visit the Castillo de Tomar – this castle of the Knights Templar is a national monument built by King Afonso Henriques around 1160 near the river Nabao. After exploring the Convent of Christ inside, enjoy free time for lunch and then maybe take an afternoon walk in the National Forest of Sete Montes or visit the Church of Santa Maria do Olival. Later, you’ll continue your journey to Lisbon, arriving in the late afternoon. You’re free in the capital city tonight, so maybe ask your leader for the best dinner spots and watch the city light up as the sun goes down.

Day 14: Lisbon

Join your leader for an orientation walk to get your bearings, making a stop at the Fabrica de Nata for coffee and pasteis de nata (the famed Portuguese tarts that you’ll soon be obsessed with if you’re not already). This is home to one of the best custard-filled pastries (is your mouth watering yet?) in the world, so it’s a good idea to buy a few extras to take with you. The rest of the afternoon is free, so maybe wander to the Belem Tower, tour the Castelo de Sao Jorge or take a leisurely boat trip on the Tejo River. Tonight, you might like to rejoin your group for an optional farewell dinner and toast to a trip well-travelled with another glass of port or local wine.

Day 15: Lisbon

With no activities planned today, your trip comes to an end after breakfast. If you’d like to spend more time in this charming capital (as is recommended), just speak to your booking agent.