30. Galicia, Portugal & Andalusia

30. Galicia, Portugal & Andalusia

Departure point: Madrid
Every Tuesday from March 31 till Oct 20
Duration: 14 days

Price from: €1709
Duration: 14 days

Tour starts on every single TUESDAY between March 31st and October 20th.


Tour code: C-2142

Included in tour:

- accommodation in **** hotels

- 13 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 8 dinners

- modern and air-conditioned bus

- multi-ligual tour escort

- sightseeing tour with local guide in Santiago, Porto, Lisbon, Sevilla, Granada and Toledo

- tickets to Santiago's Cathedral

- tickets to Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon

- tickets to Alhambra in Granada

- tickets to St. Tome and St. Maria Blanca churches in Toledo

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

- travel insurance

- free Wi- Fi on board

- tips 

This package is for travellers that can allow two good weeks, discovernig the beauty of the countries that form the Iberian Peninsula - Spain and Portugal.

First, passing by historical city of Leon, we'll head to Asturias and Galicia - the regions in the northwestern corner of Spain, above Portugal. With its spectacular rugged coastline, rolling green hills and soaring mountains, it's no wonder that this part of Spain's is home to many beautiful towns and villages. Galicia is also famous for some of Spain's most gourgeous beaches (however, water is colder comparing to Mediterranean beaches or Costa del Sol, because here you swim in Atlantic ocean), and some of the best seafood in the country (especially the octopus and the shellfish).

Our way lies further through northern of Spain, with its picturesque landscape, and includes the cities of La Coruña, Santiago de Compostela and Vigo.

Later we'll continue from north to south across the whole Portugal - a country with a rich history and beautiful nature - seeing all the best places on our way: the old fisherman’s town of Oporto (nowadays the second largest city in the country); Coimbra with its ancient university, Fatima - one of the main pilgrimage centers in Europe, and of course, splendid Lisbon - the capital of Portugal, as well as some smaller places like Viana do Castelo and Braga.  

From Lisbon you'll be taken the the ancient town of Caceres, then later - to the very heart of Andalusia to the cities that truly encompasses the spirit of the Spanish culture - Seville and Cordoba. Guitars, flamenco, wine, tapas, and passionate people – characteristics that are essentially Spanish and what you will find on this part of the trip. With its curious mishmash of Moorish majesty and Roman relics, rustic charm and indelibly beautiful back country, where mountains tower above gushing rivers and canyons carve through the ground, it’s hardly surprising that Andalusia remains one of the most visited regions in Spain. 

We'll pass through the ancient village of Ronda on the way to south of Spain, where you can enjoy wonderful beaches of Costa del Sol (Sunny Coast).

The next stage - slowly rounding off, going back to Andalusia - exploring the beautiful city of Granada with its magnificent Alhambra Palaces and Generlife Gardens. 

On the way back to Madrid, you will see the former capital of Spain - Toledo. 

Please click here to see the route on a map.

Day 1. Madrid - Leon - Oviedo (446 km ~ 277 miles)

Departure at 8am to the north-west of Madrid. First stop - Spanish city Leon, offering an excellent variety of things to see. Leon is home to a wealth of grand, historic buildings, which include some of the most important in Spain. Some sights in the city center you may explore in your free time:

  • Leon’s Cathedral (the Catedral de Santa María de Regla de Leon) - is a French style gothic cathedral, which was built on the site of King Ordoño II’s royal palace. He wanted to give thanks to God after he was able to defeat the Moors, and the cathedral was his way of doing this. It has a stunning facade, decorated with a huge rose window and lots of colorful stained glass.
  • The Basílica de San Isidoro - is a grand caramel-colored old church and collegiate college sitting at the edge of the Old Town. It was consecrated in 1063 and comprises a Royal Pantheon, covered in stunning colorful frescoes; an Oriental and Biblical Museum; and a collegiate library.
  • Gaudí's Casa Botines - the famous architect Antoni Gaudí not only designed buildings in Barcelona, but in northern Spain too. One of these is Leon’s Casa Botines, which opened in April 2017 for the first time in 125 years. From the outside, it looks like a medieval fortress, but it was actually inspired by Leon’s gothic cathedral.
  • The Convento de San Marcos - the old convent of San Marcos is one of the most famous and stunningly beautiful buildings in Leon. It’s made up the convent itself, which is now a luxury five-star hotel; a church consecrated in 1541; and a fascinating archaeological museum. It was a gift from Fernando the Catholic to the city of Leon, and today is considered to be the most important Spanish Renaissance buildings in the country.
  • At the center of the city sits the grand Plaza Mayor, surrounded by colonnade arches, beautiful architecture and buildings painted in crimsons, mustards and rose. The original name of the square was Plaza Pan, or Bread Square, because it was home to so many bakeries. Have a snack and a coffee or a proper lunch in one of the numerous restaurants and cafeterias, located along the inner perimeter of Plaza Mayor.  

Later, we continue onward to Oviedo. Accommodation and dinner upon arrival. 


Day 2. Oviedo - La Coruna (295 kms)

Breakfast and departure the very northwest corner of Spain - La Coruna (or A Coruna - how locals say). A Coruña sits in the very northwest corner of Spain, in the autonomous community of Galicia. A vibrant coastal city with plenty in the way of culture, history, gastronomy (famous for its seafood) and natural sights. Enjoy a panoramic city tour upon arrival and, later - a free time. Things you'll see during the city tour (and explore later on your own):

  • Torre de Hercule - the oldest working lighthouse in the world, the Tower of Hercules has become somewhat a symbol of the city. Built in Roman times, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also some lovely nature walks around the area.
  • Galerias - A Coruña is known as the ''Glass City'' due to its unique architectural style of constructing galerías - enclosed glass balconies - onto the side of its buildings. Most date back to the 19th century and feature patterns, as well as colors and embellishments.
  • Castillo de San Anton, a 16th century fortress set on a small island, connected to the mainland via a bridge. Today the castle houses the Museo Arqueológico e Histórico - Museum of Archeology and History.
  • Estrella Galicia is one of Spain’s best-loved beers and its home is here in A Coruña. Founded in 1906 by Jose Mª Rivera, it’s possible to visit the original location of the first Estrella Galicia brewery in the neighborhood of Cuatro Caminos. The site is now the brewery-restaurant Estrella de Galicia, and you can enjoy food and fresh, unpasteurized beer straight out of the brewery.

Accommodation, dinner and night in La Coruna.

 

Day 3. La Coruna - Santiago de Compostela (75 km ~ 47 miles)

Breakfast in hotel in La Coruna, then transfer to Santiago de Compostela. In Santiago we'll have a proper city tour with the entrance and city tour inside its Cathedral. City is renowned for its shrine of Saint James the Great and was built to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims that would, and still do, gather there every year. The architecture and atmosphere of the city are impregnated with history and visitors may feel like they've taken a step back in time. Some highlights of the tour:

  • Cathedral of Santiago de Composetela - you simply cannot go to Santiago and not visit its cathedral. Built during the 1300s, the changes over the subsequent centuries have added Gothic and Baroque features to its Romanesque architecture. The grand Plaza del Obradoiro leaves enough room to admire the Cathedral’s impressive size and design, and through the front doors you will find the Portico de Gloria, the Corticela chapel and the relic of Saint John. 
  • Casco Historico (or Historical Center). We’ll take time to explore the little streets around the cathedral and you will find lots of hidden squares, like the Plaza de Cervantes, with beautiful statues and intricate fountains. The district is alive with activity, and as you walk around the old streets you are likely to chance upon a mass or the gathering of a procession. There are also lots of cafés and restaurants where later on during the day you can sit down to enjoy some Spanish tapas and watch the world go by.

On your free time in the afternoon you can visit:

  • San Francisco Convent - if you’re feeling hungry you should head over to the San Franciscan convent, which housed Franciscan monks in the 18th century. The monks have now moved to a more modern building and the old convent serves as a restaurant. The food is delicious, and they offer a special Pilgrim menu with typical convent or monastery dishes. The unique food, combined with the architecture and décor, will make for an unforgettable experience. If you have time, check out the chapel and Holy Land museum next door.
  • Alameda park - this is a beautiful park with wonderful views of the cathedral and the old town from the Ferradura walk. Alameda park is great place to seek peace and quiet away from the busy center. One of the park’s many statues is Las dos Marias (''the two Mary''), which depicts a fun piece of local history, when two women became famous during the 1950s and 1960s by walking through the city center every day at 2pm sharp, dressed and made up in what was considered an eccentric manner, and flirting with the university students.
  • San Martin Pinario Monastery - this 10th-century baroque Benedictine monastery and church has a beautiful stairway and its walnut choir stalls made by Mateo de Prado are considered the most impressive in Galicia.

Dinner and accommodation.

 

Day 4. Santiago de Compostela - Rias Bajas - Vigo (90 km ~ 56 miles)

Breakfast, then transfer thru beautiful area of Rias Baixas (''lower rivers'').

  • Rias Bajas is a set of largest estuaries in the area. The coastline of the province boasts three magnificent inlets surrounded by cliffs, islands, ports, hills, beaches and stunning landscapes that make it a perfect destination to visit. On both the coast and inland, you’ll definitely enjoy unforgettable views.

First stop - at small town, called O Grove, in the Isle of Toja (Isla de la Toja - a small peninsula in the area). O Grove is a privileged location in the heart of the Galician Rías Baixas, a place that stands out for its history and traditional fishing. Highlights to see on your free time:

  • Chapel of the Shells – it was built for San Caralimpio and the Virgen del Carmen. It stands out because its structure is decorated with scallop shells and its conservation level is very high.
  • Aldea dos Grobits Village - the ''Grobits'' are fictional creatures that, as story tells, were living in the depths of the thermal waters in the Island of the Toja. On some special days, the soil of the well is transformed into water and the grobits rise up the well. They walk among the centenary pines, playing among them and when they are tired, they go to these houses to rest.
  • O Grove Beaches offer the ideal complement with international prestige. Starting from one of the most famous beaches for surfers, such as A Lanzada, we continue with recognized and appreciated sites such as ''Dogs beach''. The other beaches are: As Pipas in Reboredo, Area Grande, Area da Cruz and Raeiros. Most of them have plenty of places to eat nearby and spectacular views.

Later we will continue to Vigo. Arrival and accommodation. Main highlights to see and explore:

  • Vigo’s old-town is set on a slope that meets the estuary at the old port, with alleys that lead onto handsome arcaded squares like, for example, - Praza da Constitución. This is the part of the city where fishermen's houses and grander buildings like plush townhouses, and the 19th-century church of Santa María were set side-by-side. Almost all were built with Galician granite, which gives the old-town a dignified atmosphere distinct from many Spanish old quarters. Many of the street names correspond to old trades, and Rúa Cesteiros you can still find basket-weavers in business and of course, Calle de las Ostras.

Dinner and night in Vigo.

 

Day 5. Vigo - Viana do Castelo - Braga - Porto (220 km ~ 137 miles)

Breakfast as usual. Departure towards Portugal and crossing the border to arrive to Viana do Castelo - a town, located between the mouth of the river Mino and Porto.

  • Viana do Castello - visually stunning town, who's architecture includes Baroque, Manueline, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau styles and influences. Especially beautiful is an Old town old town with its 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'' - a form of intricate metalwork, a specialty of this area.

Free time, later continuation to Braga .

  • This 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 to explore Braga. Later we'll departure to Porto. Arrival, accommodation and night in Porto. 


Day 6. Porto

Breakfast in the hotel, then we’ll head to a proper city tour of Porto, with a local guide. There are plenty of things that this lively and extraordinary city has to offer. Slightly timeworn and weathered, the gray skies and dated buildings add character, while the twinkling lights along the Douro River reflect off the water and illuminate a central part of the city. Pair these features with the reserved yet friendly locals, the charming trams, beautifully adorned architecture, and the wine, and Porto’s charm may put anyone under its spell. Here are some highlights of the tour:

  • Porto’s bustling Ribeiro district is the most eclectic part of the city, inviting everyone to sit by its banks from locals to students and tourists. As a historical center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is lots to see here, and the picturesque quality of the river, cafés, buildings, and statues only adds to the allure.
  • Porto’s Cathedral: (Sé do Porto in Portuguese) is the most important religious edifice in the city and has been declared a National Monument. It is situated in the upper part of Porto. The building looks a bit like a fortress with crenels from the outside.
  • The Cathedral sits on a square with a column in the middle which offers impressive views over the city, the Douro River and the wine cellars on the waterfront.
  • Palacio da Bolsa is a 19th-century Stock Exchange Palace - the neoclassical product of a combined effort from several architects. It was created in the late 19th century to attract European businesses but today stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national monument.
  • Igreja de Santa Clara - the 15th century Santa Clara church may actually be one of the most exquisite examples of Portugal’s 17th century woodwork, reflecting Baroque and Rococo styles.
  • Dom Luís Bridge - Porto’s bridges are well known, but the Dom Luís Bridge is perhaps the most popular. This metal, double-decked arch bridge is a popular spot for photographers looking to snap a unique angle of the city and an easy way to traverse over to Vila Nova de Gaia and its wineries. Opened in the late 19th century, it was the longest arch bridge at the time.

Later we will continue our tour with a visit an antique wine cellar, experience the wine-making process and definitely taste famous local fortified wine – Port, which in many cases get served straight from the barrel.

On the second half of the day fell free to explore the city on tour own. Some suggestions:

  • Experience Livraria Lello - this bookstore is one of the most beautiful in the world and has become extra famous as one of JK Rowling’s favorite haunts when she lived in Porto (and began developing the Harry Potter series). There is no doubt that the Livraria Lello & Irmão, which has been in business since 1906, is one of Porto’s most popular and busiest landmarks; there is even a cover charge to enter. Centrally located, near the locals’ favorite Piolho Café and a block from Igreja do Carmo, it’s easy to find, but be prepared to stand in a line to enter.
  • Appreciate the city’s azulejo art - azulejo (ceramic tiles) are unique to Portugal in the way they are used to decorate buildings, streets, and homes, and this is especially noticeable in Porto. A few landmarks popular for their stunning artistic and cultural mosaics include the Estação São Bento, the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, and the Igreja do Carmo. To see some amazing displays, you won’t need to try hard because azulejos are practically everywhere in the city.
  • Eat traditional and local treats - it’s impossible to visit Porto and not eat well. The gastronomy scene is among the best in the country and restaurants serve all sorts of recipes from the most traditional to modern and sophisticated. Porto is also a city that knows its comfort food.

Second night in Porto.

 

Day 7. Porto - Coimbra (120km ~ 75 miles)

Breakfast, then transfer to Coimbra. Coimbra was Portugal’s capital for 124 years between the 12th and 13th centuries, but this classical city is still often eclipsed by metropolitan Lisbon or distinguished Porto. However, Coimbra is mainly about its University - the city’s 700-year-old patrimonial jewel. Founded in 1290, it is the oldest institution of higher education in Portugal and one of the oldest universities in the world. It made a UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2013.On your free time you'll have the opportunity to explore it. Some facts:

  • As is the case across Portugal’s other regal cities, Coimbra and Coimbra's University showcase an exemplary mix of old vs new, modern versus traditional, and has moved forward holding strong to ancient customs while flourishing progressive initiatives. Among the University’s eight academic faculties, extra recognition is noticed towards science, technology, and medicine/pharmacy, keeping in line with the country’s focus on technological and scientific advances.
  • At Coimbra University, you may first notice the student uniforms, and you’re not alone if they remind you of Hogwarts. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling began writing the first book of the HP series in Portugal, and the similarities may hit you like a quaffle to the face.
  • Coimbra University’s Joanina Library is considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It seems fitting that some of Portugal’s greatest writers and poets were also alumni of Coimbra University, including Luís de Camões (the ''Portuguese Shakespear''), José Maria Eça de Queiroz, and Almeida Garrett.

Dinner and night in Coimbra. 

 

Day 8. Coimbra - Fatima - Lisbon (222 km ~ 138 miles)

Breakfast in the hotel, then a tour to Fatima - one of the world's largest Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world - with its Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima (Santuário de Fátima). A tour and a free time here to feel and appreciate this sacred place. Some facts about Fatima:

  • Portugal is known as a Catholic country filled with dramatic monasteries and ancient churches, but the Sanctuary of Fátima is one of the most sacred Catholic destinations that receives around 5 million visitors every year. Here, between 13th May and 13th October 1917, three shepherd children are believed to have witnessed six apparitions of the Virgin Mary, who imparted various messages and predictions about the future.  During the last of these apparitions it is said that around 50,000 observers witnessed the sun moving around in the sky in a way which defied the laws of cosmology.
  • Among the various buildings associated with the sanctuary, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary (Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário) is a solid limestone church built between 1928 and 1953 in Neo-Baroque style.  The basilica has a 65-metre-high bell tower and there is a large statue of Our Lady of Fatima above the main entrance to the church. 
  • Across the square from the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Basilica of the Holy Trinity (Basílica da Santíssima Trindade) is a relatively austere, modern structure built between 2004 and 2007 to accommodate the crowds who flock here on the anniversaries of the apparitions.  With a seating capacity of over 8,000 this is among one of the biggest Catholic churches in the world. 

Later we will continue to Lisbon. Accommodation and overnight.

 

Day 9. Lisbon

Breakfast, followed by a tour around Lisbon with a local guide.

Lisbon offers a rich and varied history, a buzzing nightlife and is blessed with a glorious year-round climate. It is a bustling and exciting city, that boasts a wide choice of activities and fascinating tourist attractions. The city has a welcoming atmosphere, while still embracing its deep-rooted heritage and extensive history. Some of the highlights of the tour:

  • Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries) - this 50m tall sculpture is a monument to the Portuguese ''Era of Discovery'' and to ''Henry the Navigator'', Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan - total of 33 statues line the sides of the monument, each representing an important figure from that epoch: monarchs, cartographers, and scientists stand alongside explorers, artists, and missionaries.
  • Belem Tower. The Torre de Belém was built in the 16th century as a military fortress and ceremonial entrance to the city. And yet, despite its primary function as a defensive structure, the tower’s delicate ornamentation, which includes arcaded windows, intricate sculptures and Moorish-style watchtowers, make it a real architectural marvel.
  • Jeronimos Monastery. The undisputed highlight is the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Construction of this former monastery began in 1501 and, as designs became increasingly elaborate (fueled by trade with Asia), it eventually took nearly a hundred years to complete. Today, it stands as a testament to the prosperity of Lisbon at the height of the Portuguese empire. Check out its impressive cloisters, replete with ornate sculptural details and masterful stonework, and pay your respects to the major historical figures buried here, including Vasco da Gama and celebrated poet Luís de Camões. Entrance and tour inside.
  • Alfama Quarter. A maze of narrow, winding streets, Lisbon's Alfama quarter is the oldest and most historical part of the Portuguese capital, having survived the great earthquake and subsequent fires and tidal waves of 1755 almost intact. Mostly traffic-free these days except for the occasional 100-year-old tram creaking and rattling through, this ancient labyrinth of twisting lanes and cobbled stairways is in many ways the heart and soul of the Portuguese capital.

Enjoy an evening in Lisbon on your own. Please do not miss on opportuntiy to try famous pastel de nata (egg tart) - local culinary's iconic pastry, who's recipe dates back to the 16th century. You can buy it in any coffee/bakery shop. 

Another night in Lisbon. 

 

Day 10. Lisbon - Caceres - Seville (575 km ~ 357 miles)

After breakfast we are heading back to Spain. We'll cross the border and pass again thru province of Extremadura, but this time we'll head to Caceres - a town, founded by the Romans in 25BC. Visiting Cáceres will bring you back to the old medieval era. The streets climb and twist among hoary palaces and mansions. As you turn your head up, you can see the skyline decorated with gargoyles, spires, and gigantic storks' nests. The fortress has been serving as defensive walls since the 16th century. You will have a good hour and a half there, so, go ahead and check the main highlights, those are very close to each other:

  • Plaza Mayor, Cáceres - town’s most-lively square. There are several must-see places located in Plaza Mayor. Climb up the steps from the Old Town and turn left. You will see the great Torre de Bujaco, or Bujaco Tower. At the top of the tower, you will be treated to a storks’ eye view of the Plaza Mayor. To climb the tower, you need to spend 2 euros.
  • Next to Torre de Bujaco, at the top of the stone stairs, you will see Arco de La Estrella, (Star Archway). This archway serves as a traditional entrance to the Old Town. Built in the 18th century, this archway is considered to be the most important gate in Cáceres.
  • The essential part of travelling to Cáceres is what lies inside the fortress. As you enter through Arco de la Estrella, several antique buildings greet you. If you walk left from the archway, you will find Palacio de Toledo-Moctezuma, built between the 14th and 15th centuries. Though you can only visit the palace from the outside, the front-facing architecture is worth seeing.
  • Additionally, the small streets in the Old Town have different small shops selling local products, such as homemade pastries and sweets. Other local products definitely worth trying are goat cheese (Torta de Casar) and fig cake.

Continuation to Seville. Arrival, dinner and accommodation.

 

Day 11. Seville

Breakfast in the hotel, followed by a proper city tour throughout Seville with a local guide, to admire this beautiful and also the largest city of Southern Spain. With a numerous sights and attractions, this city will never leave visitors stuck for choice. Main highlights of the tour:

  • Plaza de España was built as a centerpiece for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition. Described as one of Seville’s most impressive sights, this plaza (square) measures at 50,000 sq. meters. Only a twenty-minute walk from Seville Cathedral, this is one of Seville’s more popular locations and with a canal measuring 500 meters, the plaza is known as ''the Venice of Seville’’. It is a magnificent sight and a must see, with its colored ceramics and 48 tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain. This place is not only popular with tourists and visitors as it has been used for the location of a number of films including Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars.
  • Maria Luisa Park acted as the site of the Ibero-American Exhibition in 1929. Filled with orange trees, palm trees and flower beds, it is the perfect place to unwind. With a number of colorfully tiled benches and fountains erected in a Moorish style, this park brings a touch of the exotic to the city. It is surrounded by a number of historic sites and wonderful architectural buildings which allows visitors to indirectly appreciate the beauty of Seville.
  • Seville’s Cathedral is one of the largest in the world. It stands at an enormous 126 meters long and 83 meters wide with a ceiling height of 37 meters. The classical exterior draws visitors into an equally impressive interior. For example, the main alter piece, consists of 36 gilded panels, gently glimmering through the space. Globe-trotters can also pay their own homage to one of the world’s greatest travelers – the cathedral holds the sarcophagus of Christopher Columbus. A definite must-see.
  • Barrio Santa Cruz - Seville’s most famous area and a former Jewish Quarter. Its unfeasibly narrow streets, white houses, secret squares and small churches creates an unforgettable atmosphere, just enjoy it.

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

  • You can check out the inside of the Cathedral, or visit the famous Giralda Bell Tower , attached to it. This is most iconic representation of the Islam and Christian traditions that define Seville’s history. You can walk to the very top, and, except for the final section, which features stairs, the route almost all the way up (for stunning views!) is via ramps.
  • Go to Metropol Parasol, also known as the ''Mushrooms of the Incarnation'', built just a few years ago - and now is one of Seville’s newest architectural ventures. It is the largest wooden structure in the world, and from the top of it you can have a truly spectacular view. The structure also hosts a museum, which houses Roman remains found during the beginning of construction.
  • Another suggestion for your free time - to explore disrict of Triana - Seville’s former Gypsy quarter and one of the city’s most distinctive attractions. Its colourful, quaint streets are lined with old-style tapas bars, the walls of which are often plastered with faded bullfighting posters, photos of flamenco artists and weeping Virgin Marys. It is also known for its locally made ceramics, which adorn the walls of its old, whitewashed houses, and one of Seville’s best and most lively markets - the Mercado de Triana.

Night in Seville.

 

Day 12. Seville - Ronda - Costa del Sol (190 km ~ 118 miles)

Breakfast. Transfer and a first stop in a beautiful town of Ronda. Steeped in dark myths and bullfighting folklore, whilst boasting one of the most extraordinary locations in Spain, it is no wonder that Ronda has become Andalusia’s third most visited place. With its world-famous New Bridge and bullring, as well as the hidden corners of the gorge on top of which it perches, Ronda will definetely not disappoint. You will have a free time to explore the main highlights of this beautiful town.

  • Puente Nuevo (the New Bridge) - one of southern Spain’s most famous attractions, Ronda’s epic bridge, spans the 100m-deep El Tajo gorge, connecting El Mercadillo (The Little Market) - the newer part of town, with La Ciudad (The Town) - the old Moorish quarter. The bridge was completed in 1793, and it took some forty years and the lives of 50 construction workers to build.
  • Puente Viejo (Old Bridge) - is the more notable of the two crossings that the gigantic Puente Nuevo was built to improve upon. Comprising a single stone archway, this early 17th-century structure is reached by strolling down through the beautiful Jardines de Cuenca (Cuenca’s Gardens), and from its center, there are some spectacular views of the countryside beyond Ronda.
  • Bullring – simply the largest (by diameter!) bullfight ring in the world.
  • Old and New Town - El Tajo canyon not only rendered necessary Ronda’s most iconic attraction, it also divides the town into two separate halves, each with its own style and atmosphere. La Ciudad – or The Town – is the original Moorish part and weaves around one central Street - Calle Armiñan, south of Puente Nuevo. On the northern cliffs of El Tajo is the more commercial part of town, known as El Mercadillo (The Little Market).

Later we'll continue to Costa del Sol. 

  • Situated in the province of Málaga, in the south of Spain, Costa del Sol (or Coast of the Sun) is among the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. Having marvelous weather (with over 300 days of sun a year) ensures that Costa del Sol gets bombarded by tourists any time of the year. Coming to there means finding not only beautiful landscapes and scenery, but also outstanding beaches. Each town is rich in cultural heritage and tasty food. 

Depending on a date, number of people for the tour and other factors, you'll go either to chic Marbella o flashy Torremolinos. Both places are beautiful coastal towns with excellent beaches, vibrant nightlife and very relaxed atmosphere.

Arrival, dinner and accommodation. 

 

Day 13. Costa del Sol - Granada (180 km ~ 112 miles)

Breakfast, then transfer to Granada - a beautiful southern city right at the foot of the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains. The popular favorite of the region of Andalusia, Granada has a rich history, fantastic range of sites to see, and a bustling nightlife. With Arab influences and Spanish charm, there is plenty of culture and history to explore here. Upon arrival you'll have a guided tour to see famous complex of La Alhambra, its Arabian palaces Nazaries, and its green and picturesque Generalife Gardens.

  • Alhambra is definitely number one on the list of unmissable things to see in Granada, and the most visited sight in the whole Spain. The world-renowned Alhambra gets its name from the Arabic for ''Red Castle'', and has been poetically described as the place where the air is clear and the fresh water from the mountains reaches. Partly palace, partly fort, the Alhambra is now a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts spectacular medieval architecture which captivates its thousands of visitors. It tends to get quite crowded, given its magical nature, with around 6,000 visitors a day, but its beauty can be appreciated even in the busiest of moments.

The tour to Alhambra, is already quite extensive and include a good part of walking, so it’s your choice the rest of the day - to relax in the hotel or continue to explore the city of Granada on your own. Suggested places to visit on the second half of the day:

  • Alcaicería - best known as ‘mini Morocco’, the Alcaicería is the home of the Great Bazaar of Granada. Consisting of a series of streets that are very much reminiscent of a Moroccan souk, this is not only another example of the rich Arab history of the city, but also very similar to Morocco itself. Selling everything from spices to henna, there are many little treasures to be found in these streets. Look out for traditional Arabic handicrafts such as fajalauza – traditional, beautifully painted ceramics – or the gorgeous granadino farolas – rounded lamps made from intricate stained glass.
  • Albaicín - Another UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of the city of Granada, Albaicín is a district of the city boasting narrow winding streets that have stood here since its medieval Moorish era. Often described as a different world inside Granada, the strong Muslim influence makes Albaicín somewhat of an open-air museum. After touring the narrow and characterful streets to experience the charm of the past, you can relax in one of its many bars and terraces and enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Alhambra.
  • Granada’s Cathedral, located near the Plaza Nueva, was built on the site of a former mosque by Queen Isabella as a symbol of the Christian victory over the Moors. With parts of it decorated with beautiful intricate sculptures, there is much beauty and architecture to be admired. Complete with numerous chapels, each with their own character and artistic style, this iconic and historical building is definitely worth a visit.
  • Try free tapas ''culture''. Tapas (an appetizer or snack in Spanish cousine) is certainly one of the first things that comes to mind whenever Spain is mentioned, and Granada is probably the city most renowned for its popular tradition of free tapas. With the fantastic ''buy a drink, get free tapas'' phenomenon, this timely Spanish tradition is even more popular here. With countless numbers of bars and tapas restaurants, you’ll certainly be left with plenty of choice of where to get these tempting little snacks. Offering everything from gourmet and international tapas like sushi and caviar, to traditional Spanish jamón (dry-cured ham), you can’t leave Granada without experiencing this culinary delight.

Dinner and night in Granada. 

 

Day 14. Granada - Toledo - Madrid (446 km ~ 277 miles)

Breakfast, then transfer to Toledo, am ancient capital of Spain. Toledo is an incredibly cultural-diversified city; it has seen numerous different cultures and dynasties pass through its walls, as well as many wars, royalty, and artists. The legacy that it guards is an essential part of Spanish culture, so visiting Toledo is bound to be an extremely unique experience. Some of the highlights of the tour:

  • Cathedral. Toledo’s Cathedral is one of the most important places to visit when in this stunning city. It is a grand monument built in Gothic style with an obvious French influence, and there are people who say that it is the best and most impressive building in that style in the entire country. It was finished towards the end of the 15th century, over 200 years after construction began.
  • The Juderia (''the city of the Jews'') district is what once used to be the city’s Jewish quarter, and nowadays it is one of the most beautiful parts of the city, with some excellently preserved buildings. A tour through this part will enable you to learn what life was like under Muslim and Christian domination for Jews, as well as to explore their culture and architecture.
  • You will see and enter the important buildings of synagogues of Santa María la Blanca (12th century) and also the church of Santo Tomé. The last one has a fine tower and a chapel containing the painting Burial of the Conde de Orgaz by El Greco.

Lunch in the restaurant. Later, we'll visit a traditional craftman's workshop to discover the ancestral techniques and the phases of the true Toledano sword-making elaboration process.

Towards the evening transfer and arrival to Madrid, where the tour ends.

--------------- 

Please click here to see the route on a map.

Prices:

Per person in double/twin room: 1709€

Single Supplement: 570€

Supplement July to Oct.: 80€

Supplement for departure on March 31, also on April 14 and 21: 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. 

 

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, also types of rooms preferred (Single/Double/Triple).   

   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 (our bank charges), and we need you to sign an Authorization form (which we will provide) 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).

4) Transferwise.com - an online system, allowing the transfer of different currencies, with a small fees (much smaller than bank charges). Ask us to send you an invitation to join a system if you are not a member - there normally is a bonus for new members.

 

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 right away). There are no refunds for cancellations made in less than 2 weeks to go before the trip.

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 away from the Riazor - Orzan beaches. TRYP Coruña has 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 hotel in Santiago De Compostela, located just outside of the center of the city. The plants that bloom in the yard throughout the whole year will giove you the sensation of being surrounded by nature. 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 best 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.

 

Seville

Silken Al-Andalus Palace****. This hotel is located among the gardens of the Heliopolis neighborhood and close to the María Luisa Park and Plaza de España, in the southern part of the city, a short walk from the historic center of the Andalusian capital. Rooms are spacious, full of natural light, comfort and serenity. Among the services of the Silken Al-Andalus you will find a fantastic outdoor pool, with bar service. The hotel also offers a gym, beauty salon, as well as terraces, gardens and open spaces to relax in.

 

Marbella

The NH Marbella**** hotel is an ideal place for exploring Marbella’s upmarket shops, bars and restaurants. It’s located along the ‘Golden Mile’, roughly halfway between the city center and famous Puerto Banus. It is less than 10 minutes walking to the beach. Hotel’s 163 rooms are spacious, modern and comfortable. They all have balconies and many come with mountain or sea views. Free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and satellite TV are standard. Hotel’s restaurant serves classic Mediterranean dishes. In spring and summer you can dine outside on beautiful terrace. In the gardens, you’ll find a pool with a poolside bar, also hotel possess a free gym.

or

Torremolinos

Sol Principe**** hotel, located on the beach front in close suburb of Malaga - Torremolinos, right in the middle of Costa del Sol. It offers lagoon-style outdoor pools, tropical gardens and a heated indoor swimming pool. Rooms at the Sol Principe have a balcony with sea or pool views. Each features bright, simple décor. They all have a mini-fridge and seasonal air conditioning (from June to September). The hotel has a buffet restaurant with sea views and a terrace. Guests can enjoy of a buffet restaurant in the pool area during the summer. There is also a pool-side snack bar and a stylish coffee bar with a dance floor.


Granada

Los Angeles and Spa**** hotel located right in the heart of Granada, close to La Alhambra’s peaceful and quite residential area. This recently refurbished family hotel is perfectly equipped to provide the most relaxed stay for its customers.  Comprised of 6 floors, the Los Angeles & Spa offers a number of facilities amongst which is Spa, equipped with 2 pools, and massage rooms with bathrobes. During the evenings, guests can enjoy typical Andalusian dishes before relaxing with a cocktail at the bar. 


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. 


1. 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.

 

2. How many people are normally included on a tour?

- We cannot guarantee an exact number per tour. Normally it ranges from 10 to 25 people per group, but these numbers can vary greatly depending on the time of the year. In summer, groups tend to be larger as this is a popular time of year, while the winter season usually attracts less people, thus smaller groups are formed. 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. Also, more people may be joining in for the other part of the package. 

 

3. Is there is a guide/tour leader 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. In all major cities, we use local professionals and licensed guides.

 

4. 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. But most of the tours will have both English and Spanish (from Latin and Central America) passengers, so the guides will explain in English and then in Spanish. 

 

5. 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. Just look up at the Calendar the specific dates Sundays are falling on and make sure you arrive a day before. 

 

6. What cities do the tours start from?

- Tours start from Madrid or Barcelona. 

 

7. Where are the meeting points for the tours?

In Madrid, it is Calle Ferraz 3 (Ferraz str., 3). This 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).

 

8. 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.

 

9. What type of vehicles do you use?

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


10. If there is a Wi-Fi on your buses?

- There is a Wi-Fi on all our buses in Spain. But please keep in mind that sometimes during the transfers between the cities, Wi-Fi signal can be weak or intermitting, due to poor coverage from the main operators. Please do not expect to downoad or to steam movies during the transfers. In Morocco's buses there is no Wi-Fi. 

 

11. Are meals included?

- Buffet breakfasts with all the drinks are included every morning in all hotels our guests occupy during their tour. 

Lunches and dinners are included anywhere that's mentioned in the itinerary (sections ''Itinerary'' and ''Included in tour''). Normally dinners held in the hotel's restaurants, many times it will be buffet (''eat as much as you want''), and only drinks will be at an extra cost. Also, sometimes lunches and dinners will be held in the restaurants. 

 

12. 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. 

 

13. What time do you arrive to 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. Fell free to talk to us (before starting the tour!), and we'll organize your overnight stay in Madrid after the tour. 

 

14. 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 at the time you organize the whole trip. 

  

15. 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.

 

16. 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, as in these cases we have wider range of hotels to accommodate the early reservations - better options. 

Requests received with less than 2 weeks to go prior to launch date, usually work out 80% of the time, just contact us. 

 

17. Can I customize one of the tours for myself?

- No, as there are more people travelling with you. However, if you are coming already as 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 for more information.

 

18. 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, also types of rooms preferred (Single/Double/Triple). 

    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.

 

19. 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.

 

20. 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)

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

 

21. 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 right away). There are no refunds for cancellations made with less than 2 weeks to go before the trip.

 

22. Are there any discounts or surcharges?

- Yes. Discounts are listed under the section ''Prices'', under each package. 

 

23. Are taxes included in the tour prices?

- Yes, VAT and Tourist Taxes for different cities are included.

 

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

- Please check the visa information for Spain here. 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.

 

25. 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 of 10% 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.