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Premium Portugal and Spain in Depth

Get swept up in the colours, tastes and delights of two of Europe’s most beloved countries - Spain and Portugal - on an epic 27-day Premium journey through the Iberian Peninsula. See flamenco in Seville, feel the history of the Alhambra in Granada, visit the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, dine with locals at an exclusive gastronomic society in San Sebastian, bask in the beauty of Barcelona, discover the birthplace of port and the treasures of the Douro Valley, and get to the heart of glorious Lisbon. Travel with passionate local leaders eager to share the magic of their homelands as you discover a land of rich history, vibrant regional cultures, stunning landscapes and refined cuisine.

27 days, from


per person


12 people max


Trip code: ZMPPD
Style: Premium
Theme: Explorer


Countries Visited:  Portugal Spain
Accommodation: Comfortable hotel (21 nights), Feature stay (5 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , High-speed train , Local train , Plane
Included Meals:

  • 24 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 11 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Taste the best of local cuisine during Exclusive Experiences – sample olive oil at a family-run farm in Andalucia, try delicious marzipan in Toledo, take a wine-tasting tour in the Douro Valley, and visit a traditional cider house in San Sebastian.

  • Stay at three amazing Feature Stays throughout your trip: a converted 18th-century mansion in Seville, a historic Parador in Spain's La Rioja region, and a fabulous hotel nestled within the famous vineyards of the Douro Valley.

  • Experience the enchantments of the Iberian Peninsula with spectacular Exclusive Experiences, including visiting the Alhambra by day and night, and dining at a historic gastronomic society in San Sebastian.

  • See the key cultural icons of Spain and Portugal with local guides to lead the way: visit the Mesquita in Cordoba, explore the Pena Palace in Sintra, wander the Guggenhiem in Bilbao, and more!

  • Explore the tranquil waterways of Spain and Portugal to see its cities and valleys from a new perspective - boat down the beautiful Douro river surrounded by vineyards, stop for lunch on the Galacian coast, and take a boat tour to Lake Albufera in Valencia.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Lisbon

Welcome to Portugal! Your trip starts today with your arrival in Lisbon, Portugal’s joyful capital city. You will be picked up from the airport and taken to your centrally located hotel. In the evening, meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions for a 6pm welcome meeting, where you will be given a briefing of what lies ahead on the tour. If you arrive with time to spare, perhaps head to one of many outdoor cafes to soak up the city’s energy. After your meeting, join your leader and small group for a welcome dinner at one of Lisbon’s magnificent restaurants. Going out to eat is one of Portugal’s great pleasures, and this evening your leader will introduce you to traditional Portuguese recipes and a local culinary scene that’s exploding with regional flavour.

Day 2: Lisbon

Lisbon is one of Europe’s great cities, famed for beautifully renovated buildings, grand boulevards and impressive castles and churches. Join a local guide for a walking tour through the city. First, take a ride on the historic Gloria cable car – this bright yellow funicular is one of Lisbon’s most photographed images. Then explore the trendy neighbourhood of Bairro Alto, the popular Chiado area and the narrow, cobbled streets of Alfama, dotted with hole-in-the-wall eateries and charming old homes. Pop into a local establishment to try a pastel de nata, a sweet and delicious custard tart and Portugal’s most famous pastry. Visit one of the most symbolic buildings in the city, Lisbon Cathedral. Hear how the cathedral was built on the site of an old mosque in 1150 by Lisbon’s first bishop, Gilbert of Hastings. It wouldn’t be a tour of Lisbon without stopping off to sample some ginjinha, Portugal’s iconic cherry liqueur. Finally, say goodbye to your local guide, then your leader will take you to the fantastic medieval citadel of Sao Jorge Castle and share stories of its history. Although much of the original castle has been destroyed, some sections of walls and 18 different towers remain today. Look down on a city swarming with endless angular white houses and buildings with distinct red terracotta rooftops. The afternoon is free to make further discoveries of Lisbon – perhaps roam through the delightful streets of distinct local neighbourhoods, visit Belem Tower, or the spectacular Monastery of the Jeronimos.

Day 3: Cascais / Cabo da Roca / Sintra / Coimbra

Head outside of the city for a full-day excursion from Lisbon. First drive to cosmopolitan town of Cascais (approximately 2 hours). Once a quiet fishing village, later Cascais became a residence of the Portuguese royal court in the 19th century and is now a glamorous holiday destination. Take some time to explore the fabulous little restaurants and try some local delicacies. Continue to Cabo da Roca (approximately 1 hour), a cape which forms the westernmost extent of mainland Portugal and continental Europe. Then on to Sintra, a bewitching place set amidst lush vegetation and rugged, mystical hills. Your leader will explain how the cooler climate made Sintra a summer retreat for royalty, and why it has drawn and inspired many poets, writers and travellers for centuries, including Lord Byron. Spend some time exploring Sintra’s colourful Pena Palace before making the journey to Coimbra with a late arrival (approximately 2.5 hours).

Day 4: Coimbra

Sitting dignified on the banks of the River Mondego, Coimbra was once the medieval capital of the county, and its royal heritage can be felt in its ancient streets and buildings. Get to know the city as your leader guides you through the lanes and squares of the Old Quarter. The real star of the show is Coimbra’s prestigious university – one of the oldest in the world. This evening, immerse yourself in Portugal’s cultural heritage by heading to an included traditional Fado music show. Portugal’s version of the blues is hauntingly beautiful and hearing it performed live is an experience to remember. Your leader can recommend some superb spots to eat after the show.

Day 5: Douro Valley

Travel this morning from Coimbra to the Douro Valley. Famous not only for its sublime scenery, the Douro Valley is known for producing some of the world’s most wonderful wine. Today you will have the chance to find out why as you head out for a tasting tour at one of the region’s best wineries. You can’t spell Portugal without Port, and to taste this iconic fortified wine is to taste thousands of years of Portuguese history. Learn the story of its origins and the history of wine production in the area while discovering which locally produced vino is your tipple of choice. Sit down to a light picnic lunch of rustic regional specialities prepared with fresh local ingredients (and paired with more wine, of course!). Enjoy a gentle boat ride on the Douro River, stopping by the lovely little riverside village of Pinhao, then continue on to your Feature Stay accommodation, tucked away between the rolling hills and terraced vineyards of the spectacular Douro Valley, boasting unbeatable views of the Douro River. On arrival, you may like to make the most of your hotel's scenic outdoor pools, or perhaps grab a meal on the terrace and soak in the scenery.

Day 6: Porto

Make your way to Porto, a romantic city on the banks of the Douro River. On arrival, join your leader for an orientation walk of the city’s collection of twisting alleys, crisscrossing staircases and baroque churches. Pass majestic bridges, explore the riverside district’s cobbled streets, merchants’ houses and cafes. In the evening, head to the nearby city of Vila Nova de Gaia to end the day with some sunset drinks.

Day 7: Matosinhos / Porto

Take the local train to the seaside city of Matosinhos where you’ll have some time to relax on the beach, dine at the fresh seafood restaurants or stroll along the promenade. Return to Porto and enjoy a free afternoon. Perhaps head to one of the city’s riverfront cafes for a coffee and pastry overlooking the colourful rows of old houses, or take a walk around the World Heritage listed Ribeira district. Regroup in the evening for a final dinner at one of Porto’s excellent local restaurants.

Day 8: Madrid

After breakfast, check out of your hotel for an unescorted flight to Spain. Your adventure continues in Madrid, a city filled with elegant boulevards, manicured parks and superb cuisine. You will be collected from the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel, where you will meet your new leader and small group for a Welcome Meeting this evening. If you have time before the meeting, you may like to visit the Museo del Prado, then discover modern Spanish masters, including Picasso and Dali, in the Museo Reina Sofia. Finish at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which displays eight centuries of European painting. Tonight, get to know your leader and group over dinner at a wonderful restaurant that showcases Madrid’s famous tapas.

Day 9: Madrid

Travel to the city of Toledo this morning. The unique old town of this city sits on a high craggy rock and is encircled by the Tagus River. As a former capital of Spain, Toledo has immense historic significance and holds many architectural treasures. Examples of buildings from most architectural periods in Spain’s history can be seen here, from the Gothic to the Baroque. Today you’ll experience Toledo’s culture in the form of a marzipan tasting. While a few countries compete for the rights, the Spanish argue that marzipan was invented in Toledo. Either way, the sweet treat made from almond meal, honey and sugar has been produced in this city for generations, and is some of the world’s best. Find out how it’s made, its significance to Toledo, and taste some yourself. Return to Madrid for a free afternoon – you may like to check out the Royal Palace, or stroll around the Parque del Retiro.

Day 10: Seville

Drive from Madrid to Seville by train. The largest city in southern Spain, Seville is famous for its cultural vitality and dazzling architecture. On arrival, check in to your Feature Stay accommodation, a gorgeous family-run boutique hotel. Converted from an 18th-century mansion, the hotel celebrates its roots with its elegant décor and antique furnishings. Personal touches are everywhere, from incredibly friendly service to hand painted details in the rooms and the owner’s great-grandmother’s shawl hanging in reception. Not to mention, the hotel boasts an unbeatable location on the Alameda de Hercules, lined with cafes, restaurants and music venues. This evening, join your group for a live flamenco show – a traditional Spanish style of dance with roots in Seville. This colourful, lively and rousing performance will certainly be one to remember.

Day 11: Seville

This morning, meet with a local guide who’s an expert on all things Seville and get to know the city during a walking tour. Explore narrow streets, hidden squares filled with orange trees and flower-adorned patios as your guide provides local insight into the history of the city and how it’s enjoyed today. Visit the Alcazar of Seville, a grand royal palace, and uncover its secrets with your guide. Known as one of the most beautiful in Europe, the Spanish royal family still to this day use the Alcazar as their residence in Seville. The rest of the afternoon is yours for further discoveries - you may wish to take an optional visit to the Giralda Tower and the famous Seville Cathedral, one of Europe’s largest cathedrals and home to Christopher Columbus’ elevated tomb.

Day 12: Cordoba

Today you will journey to the city of Cordoba, where Muslim, Jewish and Christian influences are present in the architecture, culture and cuisine, via a private transfer. Cordoba is also home to the Mezquita – a rare site which has served as both a mosque and a cathedral throughout the centuries. Today a cathedral stands within the centre of this amazing mosque – an interesting example of the interplay of Christian and Muslim cultures in Spain. Discover this supreme example of Islamic architecture on a comprehensive guided tour with your leader which continues outside of the Mezquita and explores the charming quarters and hidden corners of Cordoba. Tonight, join your group for an included dinner at an atmospheric local restaurant.

Day 13: Granada

Depart Cordoba and travel to Granada. Along the way, you will learn more about the importance of olive oil production in the Andalucia region by visiting an oil mill. Let the passionate owner of the family-run business walk you through the process of olive oil production, and taste some different variations of the final result yourself, along with olives, olive marmalade, olive pate and wine. On arrival, check in to your hotel. This evening, perhaps head out to explore Granada’s drinking and dining scene with your group.

Day 14: Granada

This morning you will get acquainted with Granada during an orientation walk with your leader. Learn the fascinating history of the city and discover Islamic architecture and Arab influences at every turn. Enjoy some time for your own explorations of the city – perhaps head to a local teahouse to sample some Moorish pastries. In the afternoon, join an expert local guide for a tour of Alhambra and its perfectly manicured gardens. Dating back to the 11th century, Alhambra represents Muslim art in its final European stages. With ancient defensive walls, turrets and fountains set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, touring this magnificent site is an experience that will stick with you. After seeing the monumental Alhambra during the day, join your group for an included dinner at a nearby restaurant. After this break you’ll return to the Alhambra after dark and explore the famed Nasrid Palaces with your local guide. By now the crowds have dispersed and you are free to explore the site in all its glory. Your guide will bring history to life and provide expert insight as you explore the dominating red fortress towers, opulent palace decor and a multitude of architectural styles through the intricate Nasrid Palaces.

Day 15: Valencia

Depart Granada and travel to Valencia. Along the way you will travel through the distinctive countryside of the region and pass through Elche, capital of the region of Bajo Vinalopó. The historic quarter of Elche preserves part of its Muslim past and Baroque splendour. Walk around palm tree grove, one of the largest and the only one in Europe. Your leader will explain how the grove was established by the Phoenicians and expanded by the Arabs in the 8th and 9th centuries. The palmeral consists of several parts spreading across downtown. Then it's on to Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, to soak up its unique cultural identity and explore the old town centre that dates back 2000 years. On arrival, you’re free to explore the city and discover the harmonious mix of Roman, Muslim and Christian influences in its buildings, monuments and magnificent gardens.

Day 16: Valencia

Start the day with a short drive south of Valencia to discover Albufera Lake, an important ecological site of the region. The lake is surrounded by beach, dunes, lagoons, wetlands and Mediterranean forest, and is home to six small islands. You will visit the island of El Palmar and discover its typical ‘barraca’ houses. Travel by boat to the middle of the lake and learn about the important agricultural crop of the area, namely the local rice. Finish off with an included lunch of the most famous Valencian dish – paella. The rest of the day is yours to explore Valencia. You may like to visit the city's major landmark – the City of Arts and Science, a large and futuristic museum complex designed by Calatrava. Or perhaps head out to a local cafe to enjoy the treats that Valencia has to offer – from horchata to artisan chocolates, the city is a gastronomical heaven.

Day 17: Barcelona

After a leisurely breakfast, bid farewell to Valencia and travel to Barcelona. Barcelona's quirky character and fabulous Catalan cuisine mixes seamlessly with a ground-breaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife, making it a city you won't soon forget. After a walking tour with your leader, today is yours to explore the city your way. You might like to head to one of the city’s galleries or historic corners or perhaps lose yourself in the wonders of Gaudi's bizarre La Sagrada Familia Basilica. The heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre and this evening you’ll get to enjoy it during an included dinner at a local restaurant with your group. Celebrate the final night of your trip as you dine on some of the region’s most delicious foods like olives, pickled garlic, lomo Iberico de Belotta, Catalan cheeses, olive oil, and sweet desserts.

Day 18: Barcelona

Today you'll have a free day to explore Barcelona's iconic sites and fabulous Catalan cuisine. You'll meet new additions to your group at a Welcome Meeting at 6:00pm. There are plenty of galleries, cafes and historic corners to keep you busy until then. After your Welcome Meeting, join your leader and fellow group members and discover why the heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre at a delicious welcome dinner.

Day 19: La Rioja

Travel by private vehicle to Zaragoza, the capital of Spain’s Aragon region, which is filled with lavish buildings and palaces. After a brief orientation walk with your leader, you’ll have time to explore Zaragoza your way. Perhaps check out the stunning Basilica of El Pilar or visit the Goya Museum. The famous artist was born in a small town just 45kms south of here. After you’ve enjoyed the sights of Zaragoza, continue to your feature stay in the La Rioja region, an elegant hotel surrounded by lush palm gardens. After you have checked in and freshened up, join your group for dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Day 20: La Rioja

After breakfast, join your leader for a walking tour of Laguardia, a medieval town that was founded in the 10th century and remains virtually unchanged. Famous for being one of the country’s most beautiful villages, you’ll enter the walled city through one of four grand stone gates and stroll around the streets of this delightful village. After you’ve explored the town, you’ll make your way to a family-owned business rich in history where you´ll enjoy a guided tour and tasting of a couple of local wines, accompanied with small tasting bites, followed by an authentic lunch. After lunch and perhaps another glass of wine, you’ll head back to your hotel for a relaxing afternoon.

Day 21: San Sebastian

Today you’ll drive to Pamplona, the heartland of the Basque country, and join your leader for an orientation walk and get acquainted with this well-preserved fortified medieval town. Pamplona, named after its founder, Pompey the Great, has served for centuries as both a military stronghold and an important point on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. It’s also world famous as the home of the annual San Fermin, a weeklong festival that features the running of the bulls. Meander down winding alleys and step inside ornate buildings like Pamplona's Gothic cathedral – one of the most important religious structures in Spain. The city has also recently opened a museum of modern art designed by a prize-winning architect, inspired by the cultural renaissance achieved by Bilbao and its Guggenheim. After spending time in Pamplona continue to San Sebastian, the jewel of the Basque country. Tonight you’ll enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by local brews at a local cider house.

Day 22: San Sebastian

Delve deeper into Basque culture on an orientation walk with your leader around San Sebastian, a place that’s obsessed with food. Discover some of San Sebastian's landmarks and the Port and Old Town during a leisurely paced walk of this city. With its sunny beaches and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is a fantastic place to stroll along the promenade, shop, or just to soak up the sun. In the evening, it is time for a truly special experience as you’ll have dinner at a gastronomic society. Traditionally only available via an invitation from an existing member, gastronomic societies play an important role in the social fabric of Basque communities as an important social outlet.

Day 23: Oviedo

After breakfast, drive to Bilbao for an orientation walk with your leader followed by the opportunity to visit the famous Guggenheim Museum. Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum is an eye-catching work of art in itself and home to a stunning collection of contemporary art works. After some free time for lunch, continue to the town of Oviedo, in the heart of Asturias where you’ll spend the next two nights at a comfortable hotel.

Day 24: Oviedo

Oviedo is a great town to explore on foot and today you’ll be joined by a specialist local guide who will take you on a guided walk of the city. Stroll around the handsome city centre, with its unique personality, quaint pre-Romanesque churches, elegant streetscapes, fine monuments and grand houses. At the heart of the town sits the impressive Gothic San Salvador Cathedral, the birthplace of the Camino de Santiago. You’ll also enjoy an introduction to wonderful local products of Asturias at El Fontan market, home to excellent fish stalls beneath a canopy of wrought-iron and glass. This afternoon is free for you to explore your way. Perhaps take a trip up to the port city of Gijon for fresh seafood and sweet-filled bakeries, or the fishing village of Luanco for a relaxing drink on the promenade. For dinner, consider heading to Calle de la Gascona, which is lined with lively sidrerias (cider houses) serving a wide range of raciones (tasting plates).

Day 25: Santiago de Compostela

Travel by private vehicle along the northern part of Asturias and after crossing the Ria de Ribadeo, enter the Spanish region of Galicia. Stop in one of the small seaside villages with time to explore and enjoy lunch (on own) before the route takes you south-west and away from the coast as you head towards Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and a symbol of the Spanish Christians' struggle against Islam. This destination is famous as the culmination point for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. Soak up the beauty of the cathedral where St James, one of the 12 Apostles, is purportedly buried. Elaborately carved stone facades open onto grand plazas filled with pilgrims and locals going about their day. Perhaps join them in one of the cafes where you can sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

Day 26: Santiago de Compostela

Today you'll have the opportunity to join pilgrims on the last stretch of the Santiago de Compostela route. Walk alongside those who may have trekked over 800 kilometres to be here. It is important that you wear comfortable footwear and bring a raincoat, as weather in this region of Spain can be unpredictable, even during the summer months. Once back in Santiago, the rest of the day is free for you to explore your way. Santiago de Compostela is a World Heritage site, an open-air museum that holds many wonderful sights within its walls – lively squares, the market and the University buildings are must sees. Tonight, join your fellow travellers for an included Galician dinner and raise a glass to the penultimate night of your Northern Spain adventure.

Day 27: Santiago de Compostela

After breakfast, your tour adventure comes to an end. If you would like to extend your stay, we would be happy to arrange additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).