“A good listener needs few words”.
Catch a short flight from Madrid to Granada – the last Arabic kingdom in Spain until 1492. Leave your suitcases at the hotel and meet your guide at the entrance to the Alhambra. We’ll go back 900 years to visit the 11th wonder of the world. Gardens of Paradise, Alcazar Fortress and the renowned Nasrid Palaces are just some parts of the Alhambra Forbidden City that you’ll visit on tour. After leaving the palaces, take few hours of free time in Granada center. In the afternoon, enter the Fundación Rodriguez-Acosta on your own, a private garden with Nasrid architecture. To end the day, meet your driver near your hotel to go to the Gypsy caves at Sacromonte just outside the city limits. Watch an authentic display of flamenco guitar and dancing over a 3-course dinner.
Drive up into the nearby Alpujarra mountains. Stop in Lanjarón which is famous for its mountain springs and spa, Pampaneira, Bubion, Portugos and Trevélez – the highest village in Spain. This entire area was inhabited by the moors until the mid-1500’s when they were expelled from Spain. Drink the thermal waters at the Lanjarón Spa and taste the Iberian ham and wine typical of Trevélez. There are some great nature walks in these mountains and we’ll allow you some free time to discover them. Return to Granada in the evening.
Meet your driver for the ride across the plains to Córdoba. We’ll make two stops along the way. First is Priego de Córdoba, a perfect Baroque jewel in the Córdoba countryside. Tour on your own. Stroll through the geranium-dotted streets to the Fountain of the King; 139 spouts coming from a natural spring with an excellent statue of Neptune. Enter some of the local homes that have been turned into museums to showcase Spanish life in the countryside. Finish with a quick look into San Francisco Church to see the large Baroque altarpiece. Continue on your way to Córdoba. A short distance outside the city, stop in the ancient Caliphal city built by the Caliph for his favorite wife, Zahara. Your guide will lead you through the ruins of the palaces, making them come back to life with stories of the royalty and noblemen who inhabited these streets over 1000 years ago. Finish the visit at the Interpretation Center, viewing artifacts and a model of Madinat Al-Zahra as it might once have been. Stay in Córdoba tonight.
Wake up in Córdoba. Your guide will be waiting by the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos to begin your tour of what was once the most culturally advanced city in Europe. Enter the mosque, converted into a cathedral after the Reconquest in 1236 and listen to the stories of sultans and commoners who built it together. Wander the Jewish Quarters, known for their jewelers, strolling among the whitewashed houses and red gardenias. Your guide will explain why the Jews lived in such cramped quarters. You’ll be able to visualize their customs at the Sephardic House. Later visit the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos to see the gardens and fountains along the river. In the evening, walk over to Hammam Al Andalus for an Arab Bath Experience in the Jewish Quarters.
Meet your driver for the ride to Sevilla, once the royal port for all ships arriving with riches from the Americas. Your guide will be waiting at your hotel to take you on a walking tour. Begin at the city walls, passing the Murillo gardens and entering the small labyrinth of Barrio Santa Cruz – the Jewish Quarters. Also visit the Alcazar, Cathedral and Giralda. End your tour at the Guadalquivir River where you’ll take a short cruise under the bridges.
Meet your driver for the short ride to Jerez. Today, learn about Spanish cuisine from start to finish in the small town of Jerez de la Frontera. Your driver will drop you off with your guide beside the Alcázar in the old town. Begin the day with your guide in the local fresh and fish market to purchase the ingredients you’ll cook with. Continue through the Jewish Quarters and the city center to Bodegas Díez Mérito where the local sherry is made. Taste and select the perfect vintage to add to your meal. Arrive at a typical Andalucían home in the center of town. Here your chef will teach you the perfect combination for mouthwatering Andalusian dishes. Finally dig into your own 3-course meal, accompanied by local wine. Return to Sevilla in the afternoon.
Meet your driver for the ride to Sevilla Airport. Catch a flight directly to Lisbon where we’ll have another driver waiting to take you to your hotel. Your guide will pick you up in the afternoon for a food and wine tour. Begin with a visit to San Jeronimo Monastery and Belem Convent where you can try the famous Belem pastries. Learn about Lisbon’s café culture near Rossio Plaza, try codfish cakes, stop at a wine bar in Bairro Alto for the local white wine. Visit the Mouraria, Alfama and Castle Hill to see the best views of the city and discover Lisbon’s best sausages and cheeses, paired with a glass of port. Finish with a meal in one of Lisbon’s traditional restaurants.
Meet your driver for the ride east of Lisbon. Begin the day at some of Evora’s Megalith sites: Cromelech of Almendres and Dolmen of Zambujeiro. View similar stone arrangements as Stonehenge and a burial site that have been in existence for more than 7000 years. Later drive on to Evora for an afternoon tour. Discover Giraldo’s Square, Diana’s Temple, the Moura Gates, city walls and the Bone Chapel. Walk through what was once the Jewish Quarters. Finish the day with a meal at a classic restaurant with wine pairing. Return to Lisbon in the afternoon.
DAY 9– SINTRA
With your guide and driver, drive through Sintra Natural Park to Quinta de Regaleira, Seteais and Monserrate Palaces. Make a short stop at Cabo Roca for a view of the Atlantic from this side of the world. Continue along the coast past the Mouth to Hell and arrive at Cascais (surf town) in time for lunch. Return to Lisbon in the afternoon.
Meet your driver for the ride north towards Porto. Along the way, we’ll stop in a collection of important Portuguese towns. First on the list, Obidos, a charming Moorish village just outside Lisbon. Walk through the old town and see the castle. Our next stop is Tomar – the home to the Convent of Christ, a Templar Castle. Continue north to Coimbra to visit the famous UNESCO University. Enter the halls where Portugal’s best have studied for centuries. Also visit the Joanina Library, with its mahogany desks and Baroque ceiling paintings. Peruse the books, many more than a hundred years old. Climb up the university’s tower before heading into the old town for a walking tour. Arrive in Porto in the evening.
Your guide will meet you at the hotel. Take a food tour of the old town and see the fishermen’s village and the Crystal Palace Gardens. Then walk down to the Douro River for a port tasting followed by a boat ride on the river, passing under all the bridges.
In the morning, meet your guide for the day and visit Santuario do Bom Jesús do Monte and the University. Leave Braga for the short ride to Citania de Briteiros. Stop here for a tour of a ruined Celtic town. See the small houses built on “blocks” high above the plains. Continue to nearby Guimaraes, where your guide will take you on a visit of the fortress/castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. In Guimaraes, combine your history tour with stops in different taverns around town. Your guide will order typical dishes like arroz de cabidela, breaded cod, rojoes or toucinho-do-ceu. In the evening, return to your hotel in Porto.
Meet your driver for the ride to Porto Airport for a short flight back to Madrid.
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