36. Spain & Northern Portugal

36. Spain & Northern Portugal

Departure point: Madrid
Kicks off every Monday, till Oct 21, 2019
Duration: 14 days

Price from: €1699
Duration: 14 days

Tour starts on every single MONDAY between March 25th and  October 21st.


Tour code: C-1142

Included in tour:

- accommodation in **** hotels

- 13 breakfasts, 9 dinners

- modern and air-conditioned bus

- multi-lingual tour escort

- sightseeing tour with local guide in Cordoba, Sevilla, Granada, Barcelona, Santiago and Porto

- tickets to Cordoba's Mosque

- tickets to Alhambra in Granada

- tickets to Santiago's Cathedral

- visit to a wine cellar with a tasting of Porto wine

- travel insurance

- free Wi- Fi on board 

- porter service (1 suitcase per person)

- tips 

Join us for the two-weeks ''All Spain & Northern Portugal'' tour - 14 days to explore the incredible natural and cultural diversity of Spain and northern Portugal. You will see the hot and passionate Andalusia, the beautiful cities of the Mediterranean coast, and the green yet windy regions of northern Spain.

Seville, Granada, Valencia, Barcelona, Zaragoza, San Sebastian, Oviedo, Lugo, La Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, Vigo, Viana do Castelo, Braga, Oporto, Salamanca – you're pretty visiting all the main highlights Spain and northern Portugal has to offer. 

You will be taken into the heart of Andalusia to the cities that form the ''golden triangle'' of Southern Spain and are truly encompasses the spirit of the Spanish culture - Cordoba, Seville and Granada. Spanish guitars, flamenco, heady wines and tapas, surrounded by passionate people – characteristics that are authentically Spanish.

Next, your path takes you to the beautiful Mediterranean Coast with the main cities of Valencia and Barcelona. Enjoy their sandy beaches, unusual architecture and experience delicious, fresh seafood. 

From Barcelona you will relocate to the north of the country to see its amazing top spots - charming San Sebastian with excellent sandy beaches; Bilbao with its world-famous Guggenheim Museum; many charming small villages that are typical for this area, like Santillana de Mar and Covadonga; the National Park ‘’Picos de Europa’’; La Coruna, - the most western city of Spain; and one of main pilgrimage centers in Europe - Santiago de Compostela. You will see north-western cities like Vigo, Oviedo and a region of Rias Bajas, as well as the beautiful old fisherman’s town of Oporto and its surroundings. 

The ancient city of Salamanca will be your last spot before heading back to Madrid, your starting point. This completes two weeks of travel around the Iberian Peninsula. 

Day 1. Madrid - Cordoba - Seville (530 km ~ 329 miles)

Departure from the bus terminal at 08.00 in the morning towards Cordoba.

On the way you will pass the beautiful region of La Mancha.

Upon arrival you will take a tour around Cordoba where you will experience the true charm and atmosphere of this Andalusian city. The tour includes entrance to the famous Mosque-cathedral of Córdoba and a visit to the Jewish Quarter. The Mosque-cathedral was originally a Catholic Christian church built by the Visigoths, however it was later converted into an Islamic mosque in the Middle Ages. After the Reconquista, (the “Reconquest”), it was converted into a Catholic Christian church once again.

After the sightseeing tour, the bus departures to Seville.

Dinner and accommodation.

 

Day 2. Seville

Breakfast.

A city tour with a local guide to see Seville’s most beautiful places and notorious sights:

  • Park of Maria Luisa – Seville’s main public park, and the largest green area that stretches along Guadalquivir river,
  • the Plaza de España – most famous square in Seville and one of the largest in Spain,
  • the Cathedral of Saint Mary
  • the Minaret of Giralda;
  • the typical Quarter of Santa Cruz (former Jewish Quarter) with its white houses and tiny narrow streets.

After the city tour you will have the afternoon off to rest or explore more on your own.

You can also join an optional tour to the Reales Alcazares (Royal Palaces of Seville). 

Dinner and a night in Seville.

 

Day 3. Seville - Granada (250km ~ 155 miles)

After breakfast, you will continue onward to Granada. Here you are going to visit the impressive monumental fortresses of La Alhambra, its Arabian palaces Nazaries, and its green and picturesque Generalife Gardens. Besides Granada´s absolutely awesome and historical sights, this city is known as one of Andalusia’s hippest, most youthful places, with a free tapas culture (when you get a free ´tapa´ or snack, along with each drink ordered), cool bars and intimate flamenco haunts.

In the evening you will have the possibility to visit the Sacromonte caves and experience a passionate Zambra flamenco show.  

Dinner and accommodation.

 

Day 4. Granada - Valencia (498km ~ 309 miles)

Breakfast.

Departure towards Valencia. On the way you will pass the beautiful, small towns of Guadix, Baza and Puerto Lumbreras. Upon arrival in Valencia, you will have the afternoon free to explore the city on your own. Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city.

Highlights not to be missed:

  • futuristic City of Arts and Sciences (''Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias''), built by world famous architect Antonio Calatrava,
  • an older segment of the city with the beautiful Plaza de Ayutamiento and one of Europe's biggest markets - Mercado Central.
  • Walk through the Turia Garden, and ’not forgetting Valencia's famous long, sandy beach - considered one of the best in Spain.

Accommodation.

 

Day 5. Valencia - Barcelona (355km ~ 220 miles)

After breakfast you will have some more free time to explore Valencia before continuing your trip to Barcelona. Barcelona is the capital city of the Spanish autonomous region, Catalonia, with a population more than 1.6 million (4 million if counting the suburbs). It is the country’s 2nd largest city after Madrid.

Few places in Europe can offer you such a wide variety of things to do and see.

Thanks to its great location, vibrant street life, spectacular Gaudi architecture, incomparable cuisine, and its football team, this city has become one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

Once you have reached Barcelona in the late afternoon, exploring the city's sights and attractions comes highly recommended.

Accommodation.

 

Day 6. Barcelona

Breakfast.

Sightseeing tour around the city in the first half of the day.

You will see Barcelona’s most famous and impressive monuments:

  • Park of Montjuic, situated on the mountain with its spectacular overviews of the City,
  • the Olympic Ring,
  • the Columbus Statue, and
  • the old Gothic Quarter.

In the afternoon you will have plenty of free time to discover additional highlights around Barcelona's in your own time. You may want to check out the famous creations by Antonio Gaudi:  the Sagrada Familia – the longest ´under construction´ building in the world, and the Park Guell, with its unique mosaic. Walk down the famous artistic and pedestrian Las Ramblas street, shop in the old town or at the numerous shopping malls dotted around Barcelona.

Second night in Barclona.

 

Day 7. Barcelona - Zaragoza - San Sebastian (575km ~ 357 miles)

Breakfast, then departure from Barcelona at 08.00 in the morning towards Zaragoza. 

On your way you will pass through the ancient cities of Lleida (Lerida) and Zaragoza.

Lleida is one of the oldest towns in Catalonia, with recorded settlements dating back to the Bronze Age period.

In Zaragoza you will have free time to visit the local sights, such as the impressive Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar or the bridge ‘Puente de Piedra’.

Later, we continue on to San Sebastian.

Dinner and accommodation.

 

Day 8. San Sebastian - Bilbao - Santander (205km ~ 127 miles)

Breakfast.

Departure to Bilbao, where you will have a brief panoramic tour to admire the Guggenheim Museum building. The Guggenheim Bilbao is a museum of modern and contemporary art, designed by the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. Although it has a very impressive collection of art some might say that it is more famous for its architecture than its content.

Continue on to Santander, one of the most gorgeous northern towns, where you can enjoy its beautiful beaches, such as Playa de la Magdalena and “El Sardinero”, as well as a historic city center with the Cathedral.

Dinner and accommodation.

 

Day 9. Santander - Santillana - Covadonga - Oviedo (320km ~ 199 miles)

Breakfast. Departure towards Santillana del Mar, a small village considered one of the most ancient in Spain.

After a short stop in Santillana del Mar, you will continue to Covadonga. Once you reach this beautiful town, you have some free time to explore the Santa Cueva de Covadonga (the Holy Cave of Covadonga), which is a Catholic sanctuary within the cave. The meaning of ‘Covadonga’ is derived from the Latin Cova Dominica, which means ‘’Cave of the Lady.’’ The place is dedicated to the cult of the Virgin of Covadonga. We continue onward to Oviedo.

Dinner and accommodation upon arrival.

 

Day 10. Oviedo - La Coruna (347km ~ 216 miles)

Breakfast.

Departure to the region of Galicia.

Arrival to La Coruna - a port. It is beachy, hot spot, a cruise-ship destination, a busy commercial center and a cultural enclave, a historic city and a modern metropolis with a buzzing nightlife. All in all, it is a very intriguing place to discover.

After a short panoramic tour through the city, you will have free time to explore it on your own.

We offer an optional excursion to visit the villages of Pontedeume and Betanzos - well-preserved historical villages in the area.

Dinner and accommodation in La Coruna. 

 

Day 11. La Coruna - Santiago de Compostela (75km ~ 47 miles)

Breakfast.

Departure towards Santiago de Compostela. The City is a very important pilgrimage center and the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia. Locals say that the stone streets of Santiago de Compostela are at their most beautiful in the rain, when the old city glistens with rain drops. Most would agree, that it's hard to catch Santiago in a bad light.

Whether you're wandering the medieval streets of the old city, nibbling on tapas in the taverns, or gazing down at the rooftops from the top of a cathedral, Santiago seduces all with its brilliance.

Upon arrival you will join a city tour to discover all the beautiful sights, such as the Plaza de Obradoiro or the main Cathedral (with entrance-fee included).

Free time in the late afternoon.

Dinner and accommodation.

 

Day 12. Santiago de Compostela - Rias Bajas - Vigo (90km ~ 56 miles)

Breakfast.

Departure towards the region of the Rias Bajas. The ´Rias Bajas,´ which stands for ‘lower rivers,’ are a series of four estuarine inlets located on the southwestern coast of Galicia.

Some spectacular views along the way include, Isla de la Toja, and the Ria de Arosa or Pontevedra.

In the afternoon you can take part in an optional excursion to Santa Tecla and Valenca Domino, where you will cross the border, and can visit Portugal.

We continue onto Vigo.  

Dinner and accommodation.

 

Day 13. Vigo - Viana do Castelo - Braga - Oporto (220km ~ 137 miles)

Breakfast.

Departure towards Viana do Castelo - the jewel of the Costa Verde, blessed with an appealing medieval center and lovely beaches just outside the city.

You will have free time to explore the beautiful old town with its cobbled streets.

Afterward, we depart to Braga, the third largest town in Portugal, known as the town of the archbishops due to its splendid array of baroque churches.

We depart to Oporto. This lovely town is part of the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO, and it's the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. During the panoramic excursion, you will discover the Cathedral and the Santa Clara Church, while enjoying the colorful and picturesque landscape.  

At the end of the day, you will be escorted to a local winery to get a taste of the world-famous Porto Wine, Vino de Porto.

Accommodation and a free evening.


Day 14. Oporto - Salamanca - Madrid (566km ~ 352 miles)

Breakfast.

On the last day of this tour you will leave Oporto behind and make your way towards Salamanca. Whether floodlit by night or bathed in the sunset, there's something magical about Salamanca. This is a city of rare beauty, awash with golden sandstone, overlaid with ochre-tinted Latin inscriptions and an extraordinary virtuosity of 'plateresque' (typical Spanish architecture).

After a short stop in Salamanca to visit the old town and its central square Plaza Mayor, you will continue to the Capital.

Arrival in Madrid and the end of the tour.

--------------- 

Please click here to see the route on a map.

Please click here to see the optional day trips for this tour.

Prices:

Per person in double/twin room: 1699€

Single Supplement: 545€

Supplement July to Oct.: 100€

Supplement for departure on April 15 and May 6: 100€


Discounts:

- Children less than 4 years old: free, without granted seat in the bus

- Children between 4 and 7 years old: 25% discount off adult price, in a room with adults

- Teenagers between 8 and 18 years old: 5% discount off adult price 

- Seniors (65+ years old): 5% discount off adult price 

- Third person in triple room: 5%

Discounts cannot be combined. 

Seville

NH Viapol**** A modern hotel located in the heart of Seville’s business area, a pleasant 15-20 minute walk to Santa Cruz Quarter and Maria Luisa Park – some of the main attractions of the City. Tram (public transport) station is just few meters outside of the hotel too. This modern hotel offers plenty of peace and quiet, yet there are many of shops, tapas bars and restaurants nearby. The hotel has 96 rooms spread over 6 floors. Rooms are nicely decorated, and have elegant hardwood floors. Hotel’s restaurant, bar and outdoor terrace is at your disposal.


Granada

Abades Nevada Palace**** - located in the new residential area, this hotel is just a few minutes from downtown of Granada. Thanks to the elliptical shape of the hotel, all 258 rooms have spectacular views of Sierra Nevada and the Alhambra complex of Palaces, - a place that you will definitely enter during your excursion. Hotel is modern and perfectly equipped with Spa, Fitness center and outdoor swimming pool. 

 

Valencia

Silken Puerta Valencia**** is a luxurious 4-star property, conveniently located.  Drawings traced over its glazed facade are the work of Javier Mariscal, and brings an eye immediately. All rooms have satellite TV, Canal+, air conditioning, mini-bar, safe, and Internet. All have modern fittings and the contemporary and excellent design puts special emphasis on comfort with laminate floors and orange-beige colors. From the hotel you will have an easy walk to the beach that is only 10 min away. You can also walk to L'Oceanografic and City of Arts and Sciences - those are 20 min away. Cathedral and Gothic Quarter both are close too - only about 1km from the hotel.


Barcelona

Catalonia Barcelona 505**** hotel located in the sophisticated zone of Sarria – Sant Gervasi and not too far from the famous Park Guell – beautiful park, which was designed by the world-famous architect Antonio Gaudi. Hotel has an outdoor pool, is modern looking and offers a rich and satisfying buffet breakfast as well as a restaurant for dinner. Few train stations around makes a City center easily reachable, it will only take around 15 min. 


San Sebastian

Silken Amara Plaza**** is the hotel in a modern building, the work of renowned architect Peña Ganchegui. Its bold exterior and advanced technology contrast with an interior in harmony with the elegance of San Sebastián City. Located near the beginning of stunning walk to the Concha Bay and to the old part of the city, where you can try some of the best ’pintxos’ (local tapas) made with typical products from the region. Hotel’s restaurant offer a perfect mix between local Basque Cuisine and international dishes. 


Santander

Hotel Santemar**** enjoys a perfect location, just couple minutes away from the long Sardinero beach and its fine sand and very close to La Magdalena, - the old residence of King Alfonso XIII. Spacious and elegant rooms with parquet floor have all necessary for a comfortable stay: air conditioning, free wi-fi, television, hair dryers, safe boxes, magnifying mirrors and much more. Gym, currency-exchange point, restaurant and room-service are all at your disposal for a perfect stay.

 

Oviedo

Gran Hotel Regente****: conveniently located at the very center of the city, this hotel will not disappoint you. It is very close to numerous museums, and also Bulevar de la Cidra - street, where many famous ‘‘cidrerias’’ are located (cidra of Asturias - sort of light alcoholic beverage, very popular in northern Spain).


La Coruna

Tryp Coruña**** hotel is located in the leisure part of the city, next to huge shopping centers El Corte Inglés and Cuatro Caminos.  Also, it is only 20 min walk to the Riazor - Orzan beaches. TRYP Coruña provides 181 spacious and modern rooms; different dining spaces, such as breakfast room with show cooking and cafeteria; free high speed Wi-Fi internet and 24h mini gym. All rooms are outward facing, all large, bright and fully furnished.


Santiago

Gran Hotel Santiago**** is a luxurious 4-star property in Santiago De Compostella, located just outside of the City center. It is perfectly designed and will please you thanks to the natural plants that bloom in the yard throughout the whole year. Also, elevators have panoramic views of the hotel and in the main lobby a cascading fountain greets visitors in an atmosphere of serenity. Hotel’s restaurant offers nice variety of fish, that Galician region is famous for - sea bass, lamprey, monkfish, and hake. All 115 rooms are exterior and perfectly equipped.


Vigo

Hesperia Vigo**** Hotel boasts a fantastic location in the center of the city’s financial district. You'll also be exhited to know how easy it is to get to the beach. The hotel has 123 guestrooms distributed over 10 floors. Standard rooms include air conditioning, satellite TV, free wifi, spacious bathrooms and lots of natural light. The hotel restaurant serves delicious meals with both local and international flavors. There is also an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy your meal or drink under the sun or moonlight. 

 

Oporto

The hotel Mercure Porto Gaia**** The hotel enjoys a privileged location, in Vila Nova de Gaia, only 5 min from port wine cellars and 12 km from Porto international airport and the Exponor exhibition centre. The hotel is decorated with a port wine theme and offers a restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, WiFi Internet and parking. Next to the Mecure Porto Gaia you will find the Arrabida Shopping Centre. 


In some cases hotels can be substituted with the ones of the same category and level.

Here you will find commonly asked questions regarding our tours. Although you can find most of the information under the ''Overview'', ''Itinerary'' and ''Prices'' sections, we decided to lay it out below:

 

 Are the tours for individuals, families, small groups of friends?

- Yes. Our tours are for single travelers, couples, families, and groups of friends whom we put together with other travelers to form a larger group.

 

How many people are normally included on a tour?

- We cannot guarantee an exact number per tour. Normally it ranges from 10-20 people per group, but these numbers can vary greatly depending on the season in question. In summer, groups tend to be larger as this is a popular time of year while the Winter season usually attracts smaller groups. There are certain tours that combine travelers if the destinations follow the same routes, e.g., you may be on a 10-day tour package with companions travelling on a 5-day package. The tour will cover the same areas and the 5-day package guests will break off thereafter.

 

Is there is a guide in the bus?

- Yes. An accompanying guide (tour leader) usually travels with the group during the entire tour. An exception may occur when there are minimal numbers signed up for a particular tour. These small groups will travel with an experienced, English-speaking driver/guide. For the city tours, we use local professionals and licensed guides.

 

What languages do the guides use?

- English and Spanish. All our tour guides speak both languages fluently. If a tour group consists of an English-speaking group only, the tour will run in English.

 

Do your tours run during certain times of the year?

- Most of our tours run all year long. Some tours, e.g., those running to the northern regions of Spain, only run from March till October. Each tour’s description provides all the relevant information needed For example: ''Sundays all year'' means that a tour will start on every Sunday of the year, regardless of the numbers.

 

What cities do the tours start from?

- The first four tours start in Madrid and the rest start in Barcelona, however the description for each tour is listed.

 

Where are the meeting points for the tours?

In Madrid, it is Calle Ferraz 3 (Ferraz str., 3). The meeting point is in the City center, right off Plaza España.

- In Barcelona, it is in the reception of the Hotel ‘’Catalunya Barcelona 505’’, Carrer de Muntaner, 505, 08022, Barcelona.

 

Do you pick up from the hotels on the first day of the tour?

- By default, no. We do not pick up from hotels because that would delay the tour launch time.

However - if your hotel is enroute, using the same bus route on launch day, we will pick you up. A week before travel, we require the name of your hotel in Madrid, and will inform you if you can be picked up directly from your hotel or need to head over to the meeting point at 7.45am.

In Barcelona, the meeting point is always in the reception of the ''Catalunya Barcelona 505'' hotel.

 

What type of vehicles do you use?

- Buses for larger groups and minibuses for smaller ones. Vehicles are modern with air- conditioning.

 

Are meals included?

- Lunches and dinners are included anywhere that's mentioned in the itinerary (section ''Itinerary''). Buffet breakfasts are included every morning in all hotels our guests occupy during their tour.

 

I am a vegetarian or allergic to certain products, any problem?

- No problems at all. Inform the tour leader and he will assist you. On a side note, many dinners are of the buffet-type, so you can simply choose what you prefer. For those with allergies, if in doubt, please remind tour leader during mealtimes. Alternatively, ask the restaurant staff about the content of the dishes. 

 

What time do you depart for Madrid on the last day of travel? Can I book a flight on the same day, flying out of Spain?

- Normally we return to Madrid between 17.00 and 19.00 on the last day of the excursion (depending on the specific tour). However, it is not recommended to book the flight out on the same evening/night, as traffic jams in Madrid or other possible events may delay your flight.

 

I need a night in the hotel or transfer from/to the airport to be booked before or after the tour.

- Sure. Just let us know when.

  

Can I just show up for the trip without reservation and pay directly in the office, on the spot?

- Unfortunately, not. The tour must be booked in advance, as we need to make all the arrangements beforehand.

 

How long in advance should I book a trip?

- If you book at least 2 weeks in advance, the trip is guaranteed, though we recommend booking even earlier, if possible. Requests received with less than 2 weeks to go prior to launch date, usually work out 80% of the time, just contact us.

 

Can I customize one of the tours for myself?

- No. However, if you are a group of 20+ persons, the route can be customized upon your request as the tour could be run privately for your group. Please contact us regarding the terms and conditions.

 

What is the booking process?

- It is very simple. Once you have chosen the tour, there are 6 steps:

   a) you confirm the tour by e-mail, indicating starting date, tour code, number of persons travelling and their names,

    b) we send you an invoice,

    c) you pay 10% to book the tour,

    d) we issue the confirmation,

    e) 2 weeks before the starting date, you pay the rest of the monies due, and

    f) you show up for the tour on the appointed date and time.

 

How much should I pay and when?

- We require a 10% deposit during reservation, and the remaining 90% in no less than 2 weeks before the tour commences.

 

How would I pay?

- You can pay in one of four ways:

1) Bank wire to our company’s bank account. Our banking details are included on the invoice that you receive,

2) We can charge your credit card. Please keep in mind that in this case we charge an additional 2% on top of the amount (bank charges), we need you to sign an Authorization form and you need to send us your passport copy and copy of the credit card (the front) to verify ownership,

3) Western Union (normally for short-notice reservations, and when amount needs to be received urgently), and

4) Transferwise.com – an online system allowing the transfer of funds. There is a small commission attached.

 

What is the cancellation and refund policy?

- 10% paid at the time of reservation is non-refundable. The other 90% is fully refundable if cancelled in no less than 2 weeks (e.g., if you paid 100% upfront during reservation). There are no refunds for cancellations made with less than 2 weeks to go before the trip.

 

Are there any discounts?

- Yes. Discounts are listed under the section ''Prices''.

 

Are taxes included in the tour prices?

- VAT and Tourist Taxes are always included, except for the Tourist Tax in Cataluña (the region where Barcelona is located) that needs to be paid at the hotel. The amount is currently 1 euro/person and per night.

 

Most of the multi-day tours start and ends in Madrid. What are the options for a “Day Tour” and excursions in Madrid on my own/o, if we have a few days in the Capital before or after a multi-day tour?

- We have numerous day tours around Madrid and to the surrounding areas. If you have time before or after your multi-day tour, please check our website for options. If you wish to start in Barcelona, please check this link.

 

How do I know if I need a visa for Spain or Morocco?

- Please check the visa information on the official website for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Spain. The visa requirements for Morocco can be found here. Please note that all trips to Morocco will require your Schengen visa to be of an ''multiple entry'', as you will enter Spain for the second time.

 

I am ready to go ahead and book one of your tours, but I need a Visa to enter Spain.

- Yes, we do help our customers to get their Visas, after a trip is confirmed and the deposit has been paid. As we are a fully licensed tour operator in Spain, after the deposit paid, we can issue the confirmation, which you later bring to Spanish Embassy/Consulate. In this letter we confirm that you booked and partly (or fully) paid for a tour with us. Please note, we do not guarantee the issue of visa and cannot influence the process. The decision is up to the Embassy, as they have their own rules and regulations for each country. At the same time, we do our best to ensure we provide assistance where possible.