5. Portugal & North of Spain

5. Portugal & North of Spain

Departure point: Barcelona
Every Sunday from March 29 to Oct 18
Duration: 12 days

Price from: €1429
Duration: 12 days, 11 nights

Tour starts on every single SUNDAY between March 29th to Oct 18th

 

Tour Code: C-71202

Included in tour:

- accommodation in **** hotels

- 7 breakfasts, 7 dinners

- modern and air-conditioned bus

- multi-lingual tour escort

- sightseeinng tour with local guides in Santiago Porto & Lisbon

- tickets to Santiago's Cathedral

- visit to wine cellar with a tasting of Porto wine

- travel insurance

- free Wi- Fi on board

- municipal tax in Porto 

- tips 

Welcome to this extensive, twelve-day tour, dedicated to Northern Spain and to Portugal.

We start in Barcelona and head North to the regions of Aragon, Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. Later we will relocate to Portugal and will cross this country from north to south, visiting its most beautiful cities - Porto, Coimbra, Lisbon - as the main ones, and smaller ones - Viana do Castelo, Braga, Fatima - along the way. 

The north of Spain has a unique and beautiful landscape, with amazing cities that harbor numerous highlights. These include the charming San Sebastian with excellent sandy beaches; Bilbao with its world-famous Guggenheim Museum; and many small villages that are typical for this area, like Santillana de Mar and Covadonga. You will also see the National Park ''Picos de Europa'', the city of La Coruna, which is the most western city of Spain; and one of the main pilgrimage centers in Europe - Santiago de Compostela. The trip also includes a day in the former fisherman's town - Porto, - nowadays known as a main port and second largest city in Portugal. Next stop - Coimbra - town with one of the oldest univercities in the world, and finally Lisbon - the capital of Spain.

We end off with the beautiful Spanish city of Caceres, not to be missed on your way back.

The tour ends in Madrid.

Day 1. Barcelona - Zaragoza - San Sebastian (575km ~ 357 miles)

Departure from Barcelona at 08.00 in the morning towards province of Aragon. 

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 2. 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 3. 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.

Later continue onward to Oviedo. Dinner and accommodation upon arrival.

 

Day 4. Oviedo -  La Coruna (347km ~ 216 miles)

Breakfast and departure to the region of Galicia.

Arrival to city of La Coruna - a beachy, a 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 5. 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 6. Santiago de Compostela - Rias Bajas - Vigo (90km ~ 56 miles)

Breakfast.

Departure towards the region of the Rias Bajas (Spanish fjords - ''lower rivers'' if literally) The ''Rias Bajas'' 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 a brief stop there included.

Later stop at O'Grove for an optional tour on a catamaran to see an oyster and mussel farms and a wine tasting in the area of Ribeiro.

Continuation to Vigo and a free time. 

Optional excursion to Santa Tecla.


Day 7.  Vigo - Viana do Castelo - Braga - Porto (150km ~ 93 miles)

Breakfast as usual. Departure towards Portugal and corssing the border to arrive to Viana do Castelo - a city, located between the mouth of the river Mino and Porto - visually stunning town, who's architecture includes Baroque, Manueline, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau styles and influences. Free time to visit the old town with cobbled streets and emblazoned buildings. Viana do Castelo is also an excellent spot to buy jewelry and home to many shops specializing in Portugal’s ''gold filigree''.

Then we continue to Braga - the city, immersed in historical and spiritual surroundings and acclaimed as a youthful center. Within the café-filled center, students from the nearby university meet to socialize and discuss ideas, while a short distance away tourists will enjoy seeing the famous Bom Jesus do Monte (Bom Jesus Sanctuary) and the oldest cathedral in the country. Braga is part of the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO too, and it's the third largest city in Portugal after Lisbon and Porto. Free time. 

Departure to Porto. Arrival and accommodation.

 

Day 8. Porto - Coimbra (120km ~ 75 miles)

Breakfast. This lovely town, and just as Braga is part of the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO, and it's the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. During the panoramic tour, you will discover the Cathedral and the Santa Clara Church, while enjoying the colorful and picturesque landscape. Later we'll visit onE of the famous Porto's wineries, - to taste it's great fortified wine - port. 

Free time. As an optional tour you can take the cruise down the Duero river.

Free evening and second night in Porto.


Day 9. Porto - Coimbra (120km ~ 75 miles)

Breakfast. Departure to Coimbra - an ancient capital of Portugal and home to the country's oldest University (founded in 1290). Coimbra played an important role in Portuguese history, and now takes its place as an important cultural center. Coimbra offers an outstanding example of an integrated university city with a specific urban typology, as well as its own ceremonial and cultural traditions that have been kept alive through the ages. And (surprise!) its historical buildings were classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO as well. 

Free second half of the day to explore the city of Coimbra on your own. 

Dinner and a night in Coimbra. 

 

Day 10. Coimbra - Fatima - Lisbon (222km ~ 138 miles)

Breakfast.

In the morning we depart from Coimbra and head to Fatima - an important pilgrimage center known for its Marian apparitions that occurred in Cova da Iria in 1917, and which were later recognized by the Catholic Church. You will have free time to visit the Basilica, thereafter you will travel on to the capital of Portugal - Lisbon.

At night, you have the choice to take in a Fado show (typical Portuguese guitar play and songs).

Accomodation and an evening in Lisbon.

 

Day 11. Lisbon

After breakfast you will join a sightseeing tour to discover the beauty of the city, located at the mouth of the River Tagus. You will see the oldest district of Lisbon - the Alfama Quarter, the fortified Tower of Belem, that was built to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s expedition, and the Jeronimos Monastery - another UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as many other impressive sights. During the second half of the day, you are free to explore the city on your own. It is recommended to try a famous Portuguese pastry (''pastel de nata'').

Optional excursions to the beautiful suburbs of Lisbon - Sintra, Cascais and Estoril - are possible.

Second night in Lisbon. 

 

Day 12. Lisbon - Caceres - Madrid (613km ~ 381 miles)

Breakfast.

Departure towards the Spanish border to go back to Extremadura, this time to Caceres - a beautiful city founded by the Romans in 25 BC. There you will have free time to explore the charming old town, (Parte Antigua), with its famous medieval quarter and ancient walls.

Caceres was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1986 because of the city's unique blend of Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture.

After a break you will take the highway towards Madrid.

Arrival and end of the tour. 


Prices:

Per person in double/twin room: 1429€

Single Supplement: 515€

Supplement July to Oct.: 90€

 

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. 

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

Hotel Exe Oviedo Center**** - hotel with all the amenities is possibly the best located hotel of Oviedo, in the city center. It's walking distance from Calle Uria and close to Mafalda Statue, and within close proximity of Woody Allen Statue and Culis Monumentalibus - city's highlights. 

The hotel features comfortable and well appointed 118 air-conditioned rooms on seven floors. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and satellite programming provides entertainment. Private bathrooms with bathtubs feature designer toiletries and bidets. Conveniences include phones, as well as safes and desks. Cafeteria and buffet breakfast with fresh products of excellent quality at your full disposal. 

 

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

Eurostars Mar de Vigo**** hotel - with its Atlantic spirit, minimalist lines and design by architect César Portela, is the newest, most avant-garde hotel in Vigo. Hotel has a privileged location in Vigo port, just a few minutes' walk from the Old Centre, the well-known Barrio de la Piedra, the Vigo financial district and Samil beach. It has 121 large, bright, state-of-the-art rooms; spacious suites with every luxury; contemporary architecture; excellent facilities; facing the Atlantic Ocean and adjoining the Beiramar Mar de Vigo Auditorium. The hotel has a restaurant, café, indoor parking, gym and three fully equipped meeting rooms. 


Porto

The hotel Eurostars Oporto**** is a modern, newly-built hotel boasting an optimal location very near the main entrances to the city. The Hospital São João, the most important universities and the Das Antas zone, the home to Oporto's Do Dragão football stadium, are all just a few minutes away from the Oporto hotel. The modern, attractive building houses a highly functional hotel in Oporto with 64 apartments. Because of its location, features and comfort, it is a great option for pleasure travel. 

 

Coimbra 

The hotel Tryp Coimbra**** is located in short distance from the historic centre, the University of Coimbra, the Botanical Gardens, Celas Convent, Jardim da Sereia and the Machado Castro Museum. With its spacious, bright and modern rooms, the Tryp Coimbra is the perfect option for discovering this fantastic Portuguese city.


Lisbon

VIP Executive Picoas**** - is a stylish and modern hotel, that is located in less than 500 m from the Tagus waterfront and Feira Internacional de Lisboa. It is only 3 minutes walk from Lisbon's Oriente transport hub. 

The spacious rooms and suites at this 4-star hotel are soundproofed and stylishly decorated. Some offer far-reaching views of the Tagus River and Vasco da Gama Bridge. Guests can enjoy a breakfast buffet in the restaurant. For lunch and dinner, traditional Portuguese dishes and international cuisine are served. The hotel also features a bar where guests can relax with cocktails and drinks. Free WiFi is available in all rooms.

The hotel is within a short walking distance of the Vasco da Gama Shopping Center and the Altice Arena. Parque das Nacoes is a great choice for travelers interested in monuments and history.


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.