Amazing Spain & Portugal - Insight Vacations

Amazing Spain & Portugal (Summer 2017)

Duration: 10 days Visiting: Portugal, Spain

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

Delve beneath the surface of these two amazing countries, sample their signature dishes, share in their culture, and marvel the legacy of their rich sea-faring history.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    Welcome to Madrid

    Your airport transfers depart from Madrid Airport to your hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:30 & 16:00. The rest of the day is at leisure to begin to get to know this stylish city. Later, join your Tour Director for a warm Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a delightful evening of dinner and wine.

  3. Day 3

    The old Capital of Toledo and on to Granada

    With a Local Expert, visit the city of Toledo and join a master craftsman in a Damascene workshop for a personal insight into this ancient craft. Walk through the cobbled streets to visit the Church of Santo Tomé, housing El Greco's famous painting, ‘The Burial of the Count of Orgaz'. Continue to Granada.

  4. Day 4

    The Alhambra Palace and Seville, City of Carmen

    'There is no pain in life so cruel as to be blind in Granada', cries the inscription on the walls of the Alhambra. Bathed in morning light, the Alhambra Palace awaits: a fantasy of stone-cut lace, arabesque gardens and fountains, built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century. With a Local Expert, you will also visit the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer residence. Relax here in the sunshine and enjoy the fine views over the town and its three verdant hills, before embarking upon a scenic drive to Seville. A Local Expert will guide you through the maze of narrow lanes and shady squares of the Santa Cruz Quarter. Emerge by the huge walls of the fabulous Alcazar. You will see La Giralda, the former minaret of the Great Mosque, but now the cathedral bell tower. Enter the immense 15th century cathedral, the final resting place of Christopher Columbus and enriched with the spoils of the New World. At night, enjoy the flavours of Andalusia and share in the passion of Spain's most fiery region at a flamenco show and dinner.

  5. Day 5 - Relaxed Start

    Free Time in Seville

    (Relaxed Start) This is a free day, so take your time to bask in the city's romantic aura. Or you might like to join an optional experience to Cordoba for a visit to the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th century mosque with a Christian cathedral built inside it?

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    The plains of the Alentejo to Lisbon

    (Relaxed Start) Pass through the oak forests where black Iberian pigs are bred for the famous Spanish hams. Stop in Jabugo for an insight into the history and curing process of jamón Ibérico. The subtle differences will be revealed with a delicious tasting. Then venture across the wide Alentejo Plateau to Lisbon.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Lisbon and the Age of the Discoveries

    (Relaxed Start) During your stay, a guided panoramic tour takes you along the avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco, the finest square in the city. Visit the Belem Quarter from where sailing ships set forth to discover unknown lands. Stop by a patisserie and enjoy a tasting of Portugal's finest pastry, 'Pasteis de Belem'. See the Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belem Tower - a fortress originally set in the middle of the river, but now left high and dry on the riverbank. Next, visit Jeronimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture. Enjoy free time in the afternoon. Perhaps join an optional experience to the beautiful town of Sintra which was the summer residence of the Kings of Portugal?

  8. Day 8

    Holy Fatima and Golden Salamanca

    Drive into the green hills north of Lisbon to visit Fatima, the most celebrated place of pilgrimage in Portugal. Visit the Basilica commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917. Then cross the border back into Spain and continue to Salamanca, famous for its golden stone buildings. See the handsome arcades of the Plaza Mayor and the Puente Romano across the River Tormes – 15 of its 26 arches date from the time of the ancient Romans.

  9. Day 9

    Old Castile, to St. Teresa of Ávila and on to Madrid

    Cross the rock-strewn hills of Castile, towards the city of Avila, still entirely enclosed within 11th century walls and unique in Europe. Walk within the ancient city before returning to Madrid for sightseeing. Here, a Local Expert takes you along the Gran Via and through the Puerta del Sol. You'll see the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España, Royal Palace and Cibeles Fountain. In the evening, bid farewell to your new-found friends with a lively Celebration Dinner at a local restaurant.

  10. Day 10

    Depart Madrid

    After breakfast, your airport shuttle service from the tour hotel arrives at Madrid Airport at 07:00, 09:00 & 11:00 hours.

Highlights

 

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Toledo: At a Damascene workshop, meet a master craftsman for a personal insight into this ancient craft.
  • Toledo: With a Local Expert, visit the Church of Santo Tomé and see El Greco's masterpiece.
  • Granada: Join a Local Expert at the Alhambra Palace, the ultimate in Muslim architecture, an arabesque fantasy in stone, complemented by the glorious Generalife gardens.
  • Seville: Step inside the cathedral, past the altarpiece, dripping with gold, to the Tomb of Columbus, held aloft by four kings.
  • Lisbon: Visit Jeronimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture.
  • Fatima: Join the faithful at one of the world's holiest sites and pay homage at the Chapel of the Apparitions.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Seville: Enjoy a walking tour through the pretty squares and narrow lanes of the Santa Cruz Quarter. Emerge by the walls of the Alcazar.
  • Lisbon: Tour the spacious avenues and elegant squares. See the Monument to the Discoveries and the ancient Belem Tower.
  • Salamanca: See the Plaza Mayor and Puente Romano.
  • Ávila: Walk within the ancient walls of this unique town.
  • Madrid: Your guided tour shows you the statue of Don Quixote in the Plaza de España, Royal Palace, Gran Via, Cibeles Fountain and Puerta del Sol.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Seville: Tables are reserved for dinner, drinks and a fiery evening of Spanish dance and music. Get ready for throbbing guitars, lamenting solos, colourful dancers and the rhythmic stomp of flamenco.
  • Jabugo: In a small village dotted with chestnut trees and holm oaks, experience the lingering aroma and incomparable taste of pure Iberian ham.
  • Lisbon: Enjoy a tasting of the famous 'Pasteis de Belem' - a Portuguese delicacy.
  • Madrid: Toast the culmination of your tour at a fabulous Celebration Dinner with wine, at a local restaurant.
  • 8 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 three-course table d’hôte Dinner (DW), 1 Signature Evening (SE) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee. Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year's Eve enjoy a festive Highlight Dinner.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Granada: The 4-star Vincci Albayzin is located in the centre of Granada and is typically Andalusian in style. It boasts a magnificent enclosed patio that bathes its rooms in natural light. Guests can enjoy the modern facilities, including a gym, steam room and dry sauna.
  • Salamanca: The centrally located Alameda is close to a range of restaurants and shops and only a short walk to the Plaza Mayor. The spacious rooms all have marble bathrooms and antique-style furniture.
  • Madrid: Located on Madrid’s most chic avenue, the Hotel Hesperia Madrid is a centrally located, modern hotel offering comfortable and contemporary rooms.

ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR SERVICES

  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will guide you on your journey. Serving as your 'travelling concierge', this skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trips. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.

Tapas Dinner in Seville With a Horse and Carriage Ride

Tapas is more than a way of eating, it's a way of life and while regional divisions remain strong in Spain, the nation is wholly united in its love of the bite-sized bar tapa! Tonight we'll enjoy a wonderful array of traditional Andalusian tapas specialities, served in a local restaurant with wine, beer & soft drinks included. After a wonderful meal we'll then finish with a magnificent horse & carriage ride through the old town of Seville which is especially magical in the evening.

Adult Price: EUR 66.00

Code: SEV0003

Cordoba & The Mezquita

Join your local expert for a walking tour of the perfectly preserved Moorish city of Cordoba. The highlight is undoubtedly the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th-century mosque with a Cathedral built inside. Walk with your guide through the forest of horseshoe shaped arches to the Baroque choir stalls of the Cathedral and the richly ornamented Mihrab prayer niche.

Adult Price: EUR 45.00

Code: SEV0002

Lisbon By Night

Drive to the Bairro Alto, the old quarter of Lisbon, to admire the beautiful views over the city. Then take a funicular ride to the downtown Baixa area where cobblestones sparkle in the light of the shops, bars and cafes. Returning to your hotel, you'll pass monuments and buildings, lit up in all their glory.

Adult Price: EUR 19.00

Code: LIS0003

Seafood Dinner By The Tagus River

Across the mighty Tagus River are some of Lisbon's famous seafood restaurants and wonderful views of the city from afar. Board your ferry across the wide blue waters for a delightful evening of Portuguese seafood and fish specialities. After dinner, even more sweeping views over the Portuguese capital, as you return to your hotel via the impressive suspension bridge.

Adult Price: EUR 53.00

Code: LIS0004

Sintra, Cascais & Estoril Excursion

Like the Kings of Portugal before you, travel to the glamorous resort of Cascais and scenic hilltop Sintra – veritable jewels in the crown of Portugal. After visiting the Royal Palace, return to Lisbon via the wealthy playground of Estoril with its famous Casino. (Occasionally the visit to the palace may not be possible. EUR 35).

Adult Price: EUR 46.00

Code: LIS0001

Fado Evening

Fado is the bluesy, melancholic folk music for which Lisbon is famous, traditionally sung by a woman accompanied by two guitarists. Savour dinner in a typical Portuguese nightspot, specialising in beautiful and haunting Fado melodies. Wine included.

Adult Price: EUR 65.00

Code: LIS0002

Classical Madrid

Drive to the magnificent Prado Museum, housing master pieces by El Greco, Velasquez, Goya and many others. Walk with an art expert through the halls and galleries for an in-depth look at the world's finest collection of Spanish painting.

Adult Price: EUR 34.00

Code: MAD0005

Madrid Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Madrid is Spain's most sumptuous and impressive royal residence, jam packed with the riches and glory of Spanish history. Join a local historian to explore the extensive collection of armoury, porcelain, tapestries, gilt mirrors, works of art and period furniture. Highlights include the gold and scarlet Throne Room and magnificent State Apartments. A rare and enlightening look into the history and lifestyle of the Spanish monarchy.

Adult Price: EUR 30.00

Code: MAD0007

Cascais, Estoril & Queluz Excursion

Like the kings before you, travel to glamorous Cascais, a veritable jewel in the crown of the country, found on the Portuguese Riviera. Passing Estoril with its famous casino, and Guincho with its views of the most westerly point in Europe, we reach the region of Sintra to visit the Queluz Palace, one of the last in rococo style to be built in Europe. Admire the ornate architecture of this once royal retreat before returning to Lisbon.

Adult Price: EUR 46.00

Code: LIS0005

Accommodation

 

Miguel Angel Madrid

Madrid (Central) - Spain

Miguel Angel, Madrid

Vincci Albayzin Granada

Granada (Traditional) - Spain

The 4-star Vincci Albayzín is located in the centre of Granada and is typically Andalusian in style. It boasts a magnificent enclosed patio that bathes its rooms in natural light.

Ayre Sevilla Executive Rooms Seville

Seville (Contemporary) - Spain

A dominant hotel which is fantastically-located in the centre of Seville.

Turim Saldanha Lisbon

Lisbon (Contemporary) - Portugal

New addition to the Turim Hotel Chain, this hotel will be located in the heart of the historic part of Lisbon, next to the Terreiro do Paco Square.

Hotel Alameda Palace Salamanca

Salamanca (Traditional) - Spain

The centrally located Hotel Alameda Palace is close to a range of restaurants and shops and only a short walk to the Plaza Mayor. The spacious rooms all have marble bathrooms and antique-style furniture.

Hesperia Madrid

Madrid (Contemporary) - Spain

Located on Madrid’s most chic avenue, the Hesperia Madrid is a centrally located, modern hotel offering comfortable and contemporary rooms.

  • great trip

    4 out of 5

    St Petersburg (FL), United States

    WE had a wonderful time, Our host Elena was very knowledgeable and fun, Jaime our driver kept us safe and was very kind. We had a great group for the tour it was so nice meeting people from other countries and getting their perspective about things. Spain and Portugal were beautiful and my sister and I were planning another trip by the end of our tour! I hadn't realized how similar life in Spain was to our culture here in Florida, much of the same foods, many of the same plants, though much older than ours, similar arch. styles. We had a great time.

    2 out of 2 people found this comment useful

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  • Fabulous

    5 out of 5

    St Albert, Canada

    We enjoyed this tour very much. Our tour director Brad was excellent. The itinerary was very good, as were the optional excursions. I feel the trip captured the essence of Spain and Portugal. I especially loved the Flamenco evening.

    52 out of 52 people found this comment useful

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  • most awesome trip ever

    5 out of 5

    Eldridge (IA), United States

    My wife and i have traveled on several tours overseas. We both agreed we enjoyed this tour more than any other tour we have been on. Every aspect of the tour was outstanding. The tour guide director was outstanding in taking care of our needs and arranging the tour. The tour guide's knowledge and enthusiasm made everyday of the trip a delight. The accommodations, food, transportation, sites where awesome. We were so delighted we are considering our next tour with insight and the north tour of Spain. Heiman's

    29 out of 29 people found this comment useful

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  • Fun in Spain-Portugal

    5 out of 5

    Elizabeth (NJ), United States

    Thank you Insight for a really great vacation touring Spain and Portugal. The tour guide, Jorge, and the driver, Jose, were friendly, knowledgeable and professional. They made the group feel relaxed and made our vacation a memorable one. We learned so much about the towns we visited and made new friends along the way, Thank you! Lou and Brigid

    16 out of 17 people found this comment useful

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  • Amazing Spain and Portugal

    5 out of 5

    Sherwood Park, Canada

    Totally enjoyed the trip and the people we met on it. Our Tour Director, Dawn is an excellent guide. She obveously does a lot of things behind the scence to make all things flow so very smoothly. Very easy to become comfortable with all the new people you meet and the week you spend with them. Was all totally good. Thanks to all.

    6 out of 7 people found this comment useful

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  • Travels with my granddaughter

    4 out of 5

    Vernon, Canada

    Although Zoe was by far the youngest on our tour and a vegetarian to boot, because Anita was so adept building a sense of community, we never felt odd man out. Our guide made sure there was always a veggie meal, not easy in the lands of glorious pork or sea food and fish. It is a well balanced intro to Spain and Portugal , the history, geography, economy, music, and dance. But more, we learned to treasure the fun of trying out limited Spanish and making discoveries at every turn. Carol St Jean

    13 out of 17 people found this comment useful

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  • awesome

    5 out of 5

    Redwood City, United States

    we just returned and have nothing negative to say. I was great.I didn't think the tour guide could be as good one the Italy tour but I was wrong. He made our trip great! It seemed that more meals were included in the excursions not just the optional excursions. We were on our own just enough to enjoy the other people we befriended. Insight never seems to disappoint. All the hotels were high end and centrally located. All the planned special evenings introduced us to the local cultures and foods. We are in the process of planning another one, This will be our third!The only way to travel

    34 out of 35 people found this comment useful

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  • Excellent tour happy with all the happenings.Tour mananger was fantastic in taking care of all our needs.

    5 out of 5

    Charlottetown, Canada

    We enjoyed our tour very much especially the fact you have extra leg room on the bus.Stops were often so no need for concern about food or bathroom stops.

    27 out of 30 people found this comment useful

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  • Very, very good!

    4 out of 5

    Cambria, United States

    Jon(tour guide) and Rui (driver) were awesome!! Jon was very helpful and ensured that everyone was accounted for (not an easy feat!) The destinations were excellent too - would like a little more time to spend at each one, but understand that we would have had to cut our time in one location to gain time in another.

    20 out of 20 people found this comment useful

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  • excellent

    5 out of 5

    Mowbray, South Africa

    Wonderful tour director,bus driver & lovely group.We just feel we should havespent 2 nights in Granada & 1 night in Seville instead of 2 nights in Seville.Could you please also note that this was our 2 nd tour with insight, the first was a 21 day of Europe about 12 years ago. The tour director was not aware of this.Thanks for making our tour such a memorable one.Loved Lisbon.

    15 out of 22 people found this comment useful

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  • excellent

    5 out of 5

    Mowbray, South Africa

    Wonderful tour director,bus driver & lovely group.Thanks for making our tour such a memorable one.Loved Lisbon.

    12 out of 12 people found this comment useful

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  • Unforgettable Memories ~ Spain & Portugal

    5 out of 5

    Oshkosh, United States

    We just returned from a Fabulous 10 Day Trip to Spain & Portugal! This was our 2nd Insight Tour but most certainly won’t be our last. Everything was amazing from the first class hotels in great locations, motor coaches, tour director, local guides and excursions all I can say is WOW!! We had a fun group which really enhances the experience. Can't wait for our next Insight in 2014!

    85 out of 88 people found this comment useful

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