Full buffet breakfast daily; 1 tapas lunch in Pamplona; 4 three-course dinners, including dinners at a local restaurant in Santiago and Barcelona
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN LISBON, PORTUGAL Welcome to Lisbon! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
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, followed by a pleasant 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, stop for pictures of Belem Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries, and visit JERONIMOS MONASTERY with the tomb of Vasco da Gama. An optional excursion is available to the royal palace of Queluz, as well as dinner at a traditional taverna with Fado-style entertainment.
LISBON–FATIMA–OPORTO. Visit the SANCTUARY OF OUR LADY OF THE HOLY ROSARY in Fátima, where Mary appeared to three shepherd children in 1917. Next is Oporto, where sightseeing with a Local Guide includes a panoramic drive to the mouth of the Douro River, the soaring cathedral, the Church of São Francisco, and the STOCK EXCHANGE with its contemporary ARABIAN HALL, inspired by Granada’s Alhambra. Of course, [LF] a PORT WINE TASTING has been included at the famous Sandeman & Co. Port Wine Cellar to sample the delicious wine produced from grapes of the Douro Valley.
OPORTO–VIGO, SPAIN–LA TOJA ISLAND–SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA. A scenic drive along the coastline brings you to Galicia and to the city of Vigo, which was built over a Roman settlement. See the remnants of the former city walls, and hear about its turbulent history during your walking tour. Continue to La Toja, a small island just off the shore, which has become a popular holiday resort. Enjoy [LF] a coffee at the Gran Hotel La Toja, a spa resort. The island is famous for its spring waters, discovered in the early 19th century. Marvel at the unusual church completely covered with seashells before returning to the mainland to continue your journey to Santiago de Compostela. This evening, dinner has been prepared at one of the city’s fine local restaurants.
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA. Santiago de Compostela has been 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. Later, an optional excursion is available to La Coruna.
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA–LUARCA–OVIEDO. Along the Asturian coast is Luarca, a renowned quiet town of white houses. Time to wander around the port or to have a coffee in one of the many taverns. Enter España Verde (Green Spain) and arrive in Oviedo, capital of Asturias. Guided sightseeing features a visit of the CATHEDRAL OF SAN SALVADOR, where the Way of St. James began. Then, [LF] visit a traditional Sidreria for a CIDER TASTING.
OVIEDO–SANTANDER–BILBAO–SAN SEBASTIAN. After a stop in the seaside resort of Santander, arrive in 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 lovely San Sebastian, the “Pearl of the Cantabrian Coast.”
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. Follow your Local Guide for a walking tour of the Parte Viejo OLD QUARTER, with time to try tasty pintxos snacks, which you will find in many bars. You may wish to join an optional excursion to the beautiful French resort of Biarritz.
SAN SEBASTIAN–PAMPLONA–SARAGOSSA. In Pamplona, at the foot of the Pyrenees, a special treat awaits: [LF] walk along the Calle Estafeta, where the famous “running of the bulls” takes place, and have lunch with traditional tapas and Rioja wine at Basaburua restaurant. Then, continue to Saragossa where you will visit PLAZA DEL PILAR, one of Spain’s grandest squares. Time to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, where, according to legends, the Virgin Mary appeared to St. James. (B,L)
SARAGOSSA–BARCELONA. Arrive in Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and host of the Olympic Games in 1992. Choose from a range of optional excursions to make the most of your stay.
BARCELONA. A morning optional excursion to Montserrat can be arranged. In the afternoon, sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Columbus Monument, Plaza de Cataluña, and Paseo de Gràcia. Highlights are a visit to the spectacular SAGRADA FAMILIA BASILICA, Gaudi’s masterpiece, and a panoramic view of the city and harbor from Montjuïc Hill. Tonight, a special farewell dinner has been prepared at La Fonda del Port Olimpic restaurant to say adios to your traveling companions.
BARCELONA–MADRID. Travel by HIGH-SPEED AVE TRAIN (first class) to Madrid. Your Local Host can help you make the most of your stay.
MADRID. Morning guided sightseeing includes a visit to the PRADO MUSEUM.
MADRID. Your Local Host will have many suggestions for your day at leisure.
MADRID. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.