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Spain, Portugal & MoroccoRegional Journey
Duration: 18 days Visiting: Spain
Welcome to Barcelona.
Airport transfers depart from Barcelona airport for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:00. Join your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 18:00 for your Welcome Dinner in a local restaurant.
Barcelona, the City of Gaudí.
With your Local Expert, explore the narrow lanes and old squares behind the cathedral in the Barri Gòtic, Gothic Quarter. See the lively Las Ramblas as you head along the Passeig de Gràcia, adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and some of the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district for a visit inside Gaudí’s extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Família, to see the central nave with its giant, tree-like pillars, spectacular vaulting and the beautiful rainbows flooding in through the intricate stained-glass windows. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore.
Along the Orange Blossom Coast to Valencia.
Follow the sunny Costa Dorada, past the rice fields of the Ebro Delta to stop by Peñíscola and see the sea-lapped castle, used in the film 'El Cid'. Pass through the famous orange groves to Valencia, the City of Arts and Sciences. Pass the Old City and see the city's ancient gates, to reach your hotel. Valencia is home to one of the world's greatest dishes, paella. Meet the chef of a local family-run restaurant in the heart of the Old City and learn the traditional recipe during a Cooking Demonstration, before savouring the delicious flavours of this classic dish, washed down with a glass of sangria, during your Highlight Dinner.
Sierra Nevada, Alhambra and on to Granada.
Travel south toward Andalucía, passing the the castle at Lorca and troglodyte dwellings hollowed out of the soft rock near Guadix. Enjoy views of the Sierra Nevada from the distance as you reach glorious Granada. This historical city was a Moorish Kingdom for almost 781 years and was the last stronghold to fall to the Catholic Monarchs of Spain in 1492. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore as you wish. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to the Albaicín Quarter with a Local Expert and fall in love with Granada as you learn about its pivotal role in European history. Overlooking Granada stands one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built, the Alhambra. Led by your Local Expert, explore this exquisite palace built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century - a fantasy of arabesque gardens, fountains and stone cut like lace. Stroll through the elegant exotic gardens of the Generalife, the Royal summer residence.
A Scenic Drive to Seville.
Continue your travels to Seville past gleaming white villages and olive groves that stretch as far as the eye can see. This stunning capital of Andalucía is one of Spain’s most charming highlights and with the afternoon at your leisure, you are free to explore this delightful city as you wish.
Seville, the City of Carmen.
Seville has a distinctive character and presence that is best revealed by a Local Expert. During your stay, visit the Plaza de España in Maria Luisa Park. Then stroll through the fashionable Santa Cruz Quarter with its attractive wrought-iron balconies laden with flowers. Emerge by the well-preserved Alcazar, a Moorish fantasy in stone, set in richly scented gardens. Visit the massive Seville Cathedral, burial place of Christopher Columbus and enriched with the spoils of the New World. The energetic may wish to walk the ramps of the Giralda Tower, the former minaret of the Great Mosque, to enjoy panoramic views over the city. In the evening, enjoy dinner with wine and be entertained as you share the passion of Spain’s most fiery region during a flamenco show.
Moorish Cordoba and on to Madrid.
Set off early along the Guadalquivir Valley, passing villages and towns studded with Moorish towers and fortresses. Stop in the perfectly preserved Moorish city of Cordoba and see the famous 2,000-year-old Roman Bridge. Meet a local historian and visit to the magnificent Mezquita, a beautiful 8th century mosque with a Christian cathedral built inside it. Make the most of your time at leisure and stroll the narrow streets of the Old Jewish Quarter. Follow in the footsteps of Don Quixote as you travel through the Mancha and on to the capital - Madrid.
Madrid of the Bourbons.
Join your Local Expert for sightseeing along the noble avenues. See the monument to Cervantes in the Plaza de España. Continue past the Cibeles Fountain and the Parliament to cross the Puerta del Sol. Visit the Prado Museum with an art historian, a magnificent palace housing works by Velázquez, Goya, Titian, Rubens and others. The afternoon is at your leisure to relax at a cafe, shop in the trendy boutiques or perhaps enjoy an Optional Experience to beautiful Toledo? In the evening, join your Travel Director and newfound friends at a local restaurant in the heart of the city. Toast to your adventures as you enjoy a delicious Highlight Dinner of regional favourites, served with wine.
Free Time in Madrid.
Your last day in Madrid is completely at your leisure for shopping or exploring at your own pace.
Through the Guadarrama Mountains to Santiago.
Journey through the Guadarrama Mountains to the infinite horizons of Old Castile and continues past the impressive Castillo de la Mota, conquered by Queen Isabella. Some of Spain's most fashionable white wines are produced in Rueda and this morning we have the opportunity to learn how they are made and sample the delights of the Verdejo grape. Travel on to Santiago de Compostela, where the tomb of the Apostle St. James was miraculously discovered in the Middle Ages.
Saintly Santiago de Compostela.
Become acquainted with some of Europe’s finest historical buildings during an orientation with your Local Expert. The monumental square, Praza do Obradoiro, is pure grandeur in granite. Look up from the steady trickle of present-day pilgrims to the cathedral facade to see an ensemble of soaring towers, arches and windows, festooned with architectural frills. Venture inside and once through the Gateway of Glory, you’re privy to the same vision that has greeted pilgrims since the Middle Ages. The faithful may choose to pass behind the ornate high altar to touch the giant 13th century gilded effigy of St. James and follow in the steps of the pilgrims along The Way of St. James. Relax during your free time or explore the narrow streets and old squares of this city.
The Costa Verde to Oviedo.
Pass through the ancient forests of Galicia and cross to the Green Coast of Asturias - one of Spain's most beautiful, named after the colour of the sea and the pine and eucalyptus trees that line the shore. Your route reveals glorious coastal vistas before turning inland to travel through old villages and deep valleys en route to Oviedo. Meet a true local, Flor, who will invite you to join her for lunch. Hear about daily life in this up-and-coming seaside city as you enjoy a delicious meal, typical of the region, that Flor has freshly prepared from locally sourced ingredients, accompanied by delicious local cider. A Local Expert will show you the 9th century churches built when the city was the capital of Christian Spain. Visit the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour in the stately square of Plaza Alfonso II. Admire the incredible altarpiece, one of the finest in Europe. A short drive brings you to the Asturian coast and the Bay of Biscay. Stop at the delightful city of Gijón that has a history dating back 5,000 years.
Picturesque Santillana del Mar and on to Santander.
See the unique Roman bridge in Cangas de Onís as you head into the foothills of the Picos de Europa, a national park encompassing spectacular mountain and gorge scenery. Visit the holy cave of Covadonga, a shrine to Pelayo, who achieved the first Christian victory over the Moors in 722. Enjoy views of the Costa de Cantabria while travelling to Santillana del Mar, arguably the most beautiful village in Spain. Stroll through the rustic cobblestone streets, admiring stone houses decorated with carved, heraldic symbols and reach the delightful church square. Continue on to the sophisticated beach resort of Santander where you have free time in the evening to enjoy this luxurious hotel. Why not take the time to explore the hotel terrace with stunning views of the bay below or relax with one of the many therapy treatments offered at the hotels spa?
Bilbao, Costa Vasca and San Sebastián.
In nearby Bilbao, admire the striking modern architecture of the Guggenheim Museum, one of the world's most spectacular buildings. Enjoy the views as you are driven along part of the Costa Vasca, dotted with small coastal fishing villages. Pause in Getaria, at the mouth of the Urola, to see El Ratón, the mouse-shaped rock. Continue to San Sebastián, pearl of the Cantabrian coast, set on its shell-shaped bay. Admire its beauty as you walk with your Local Expert through the Old Quarter. See the numbered balconies of the Plaza de la Constitución, a reminder of the days when bullfights were held in the square. Atop Monte Igueldo there are breathtaking views of the town and La Concha Bay.
San Sebastián, Pearl of the Cantabrian Coast.
Enjoy a day at leisure to stroll along San Sebastián's boardwalk and with the city harbour filled with fishing boats and pleasure crafts, you can enjoy a number of sporting activities on its large sandy beach. Perhaps you'll want to explore the nearby French village of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, also known as Little Paris? Maybe stroll the promenade of the famous La Concha bay or enjoy the boutiques of the Old Town?
Pamplona and on to Barcelona.
Journey to the famed town of Pamplona, known for its Running of the Bulls festival. With time free for you to explore, perhaps take a stroll to the famous Estafeta Street or visit Café Iruña, immortalised by Ernest Hemingway in the 'The Sun Also Rises.' Your travels continue to Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, a land that retains its own distinctive language, culture and traditions.
Barcelona at Leisure.
Enjoy a relaxed start and a day completely at leisure for last minute shopping or to perhaps revisit some of Gaudí’s unusual creations? Walk along the leafy Las Ramblas or why not take an Optional Experience to the ancient Monastery of Montserrat, dedicated to the Black Madonna? In the evening, join your Travel Director and newfound friends at a local restaurant. Raise your glass and toast your travels during your delightful Celebration Dinner.
After breakfast departure transfers arrive at Barcelona airport at 07:00, 09:00 or 11:00.
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 trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
Ascend the sacred mountain of Montserrat, Catalonia's most important pilgrimage site for a thousand years. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic views before entering the dark, ornate “Basílica Real” and reaching the mystical Black Madonna, surrounded by an altar of gold.
Adult Price: EUR 40.00
We enjoy the beauty of Barcelona as the day ends, including a drive up to Montjuïc hill to enjoy an incredible panorama over the city and its impressive harbor. Also, enjoy free time for dinner in a Catalan restaurant with your new-found friends.
Adult Price: EUR 26.00
Take a leisurely walk with your local expert through the Albaicín neighbourhood, the last bastion of Islam in Spain. Explore the intriguing maze of narrow streets with whitewashed houses and patio gardens of bygone Moorish splendour. After a photo stop at one of the most famous views of the Alhambra Palace, visit the Royal Chapel housing the tombs of the ‘Catholic Monarchs’, Ferdinand and Isabella.
Adult Price: EUR 37.00
Seville is Spain's most majestic city and an evening out is a must! Tonight we'll enjoy a lovely array of traditional Andalusian 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
eatwith is the world’s leading community for authentic food experiences with locals in over 130 countries. Choose between our hand-selected hosts and dine like a local with a local. Fully immerse yourself in food and culture while meeting other travelers at your table and experience the magic of social dining. Transport is not included in this optional experience. Note: Bookings cancelled within 48 hours will not be refunded. €45 - €65
Adult Price: EUR
Visit the fabulous Real Alcázar - a Moorish fantasy in stone, set in richly scented gardens. Wander through the Arabesque domed halls, horseshoe arches and jewel box courtyards of this royal residence, while the garden fountains and terraces provide an oasis of tranquility. Afterwards, see the fanciful pavilions built for the Ibero-American Fair of 1929 on the way to the romantic Plaza de América in Maria Luisa Park.
Adult Price: EUR 40.00
An evening drive to the most historic area of Madrid including stops for wonderful views of the city and a walk through the lively streets and squares of old Madrid. Enjoy free time for dinner in one of the many restaurants and return home along the grand Avenida Castellana with its spectacular fountains.
Adult Price: EUR 19.00
Enjoy an evening out in the nation's stately capital city. Tonight we'll enjoy a wonderful dinner out on the town in a carefully chosen venue, accompanied by Spanish wine and great local entertainment. What a wonderful introduction to Madrid
Adult Price: EUR 61.00
A specialist guide takes you to the unique city of Toledo, Spain's capital during the golden era, and where El Greco lived and worked. Walk through the narrow cobbled streets to visit the fine Gothic cathedral and admire the old city views along the Tagus gorge. Afterwards, visit a specialist workshop where artisans create authentic Damascene ware, an ancient art perfected by the Moors and passed down over the centuries.
Adult Price: EUR 44.00
Southward to the Ría de Arousa, one of the deep fjord-like estuaries of Galicia. Beautiful coastal scenery with beaches, vineyards, palm trees, grand villas and old stone houses. Visit a typical Galician granite 'Pazo' grand manor house of the old aristocracy, the island of A Toxa and the port of O Grove.
Adult Price: EUR 34.00
Tonight we have the chance to sample a wonderful variety of typical Galician dishes, all complemented with fantastic locally produced wine. Later in the evening, we'll listen to local musicians and experience the Celtic influences in their traditional music - played using authentic Galician Instruments. A truly wonderful evening.
Adult Price: EUR 59.00
View the beach and fishing port as we head to the lively heart of the old town of Spain's gourmet capital for a sumptuous supper in one of the city's boutique restaurants. Wine and soft drinks included.
Adult Price: EUR 58.00
With your local expert, explore Saint-Jean-de-Luz, jewel of the Basque Country and visit the church where Louis XIV "The Sun King" married the Spanish princess Maria Teresa. An extra surprise awaits us next as we drive to the famous Biarritz summer residence of Napoleon III with its sophisticated spa resort.
Adult Price: EUR 37.00
Enter a strange fantasy world at Parc Güell, Spain's most impressive public park! Here Gaudí designed mushroom-like houses, "bird nest" pillars and a stunning mosaic dragon. The huge central terrace is enveloped by a ceramic-encrusted serpentine bench (reputedly the world's longest seat) and offers panoramic views of Barcelona and the bay. We then head to the coast and Port Olympic, built for the athletes of the 1992 Olympics, where we'll have free time to try one the numerous waterfront restaurants.
Adult Price: EUR 38.00
eatwith is the world’s leading community for authentic food experiences with locals in over 130 countries. Choose between our hand-selected hosts and dine like a local with a local. Fully immerse yourself in food and culture while meeting other travelers at your table and experience the magic of social dining. Transport is not included in this optional experience. €45 - €65
Adult Price: EUR
Valencia (Contemporary) - SPAIN
The Barceló Valencia hotel is situated right in the centre of the City of Arts and Sciences opposite the Queen Sofia Palace of Arts, a building which was designed by the renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and is situated in one of the most modern and attractive areas of the city of Valencia.
Granada (Traditional) - Spain
The centrally located Meliá Granada is perfectly positioned in the heart of Granada and within walking distance to exclusive shopping centres and boutiques. The classic-style décor brings a sense of elegance to the hotel while the modern designed rooms will ensure your stay is comfortable.
SEVILLE (Contemporary) - SPAIN
Perfectly positioned beside the city's historic entre, the Meliá Sevilla is just a few minutes walk from the beautiful Parque de Maria L'uisa and Plaza España. Spacious rooms with modern décor and furnishings will ensure your two night stay is very comfortable.
Santiago de Compostela (Contemporary) - Spain
The NH Collection Santiago de Compostela delivers modern luxury in a timeless setting, just minutes from the historic Plaza del Obradoiro.
Oviedo (Contemporary) - SPAIN
The Barceló Oviedo Cervantes is situated in the heart of Oviedo, 10 minutes from the Old Town and cathedral. This striking and stylish designer hotel is restored from an early 20th century mansion.
Santander (Historic) - Spain
The luxury 5-star Eurostars Hotel Real is at the heart and soul of Santander and is a hallmark of excellence and prestige, facing the Playa de los Peligros beach.
SAN SEBASTIAN (Contemporary) - SPAIN
The Barceló Costa Vasca hotel is located close to La Concha bay and offers modern, comfortable rooms with excellent facilities.
Barcelona (Contemporary) - Spain
Our guests rate us
11478 independent user reviews received during the past year.
20 November, 2018
Trip: Good, however, not as many relaxed starts as advertised. Group sizes were larger than we anticipated.
Service: good communication
06 November, 2018
Trip: So grateful so much was covered! Every city and town was so interesting and enjoyable, again thanks to Brad **** and two wonderful drivers, Jaime and Alfredo.
Service: What an amazing trip. Brad ****, our tour director and guide was just incredible! He was so knowledgeable and caring with a sweet temperament and great sense of humor. We saw an incredible amount of Spain, heard a lot about the history, and ate a lot of great food. All of the other guides from each of the major cities were also very knowledgeable and informative. All of the accommodations were great too.
04 November, 2018
Trip: I wanted a “grand tour” of Spain and that is what you gave me. Nicely paced, not too many early starts, multiple nights in interesting cities . Wasn’t so interested,personally,in optional excursions . The walking tours with local guides were excellent. The coaches were spacious and very comfortable and the onboard wifi was reliable. The drivers, Pablo on the Southern tour and Juou on the Northern tour were friendly and excellent drivers. Our Tour Director, Filippo Concollato, was the best I have ever had, with any travel company. He was extremely caring and helpful and very knowledgeable about our destinations .
Service: Easy booking process. Prompt delivery of documents. Accuracy of booking. The best Tour Director and the best coaches I have ever had on any tour with any company.
29 October, 2018
Trip: Great itinerary ... we visited all that we hoped to see and so much more in the little surprise destinations along the way.
Service: Perfect! From the comfort of the bus to the excellent accommodations ... all of the side trips and the wonderful food experiences. We enjoyed our Spanish Heritage journey even more than we expected. We traveled with Insight last year on the Country Roads of Croatia tour and didn't hesitate to book another vacation with Insight! We hope to see Italy next year with Insight.
21 October, 2018
Trip: Liked the south and the north tours together. Was weird to change out people in Madrid leaving and joining us half way but was good in a way too to meet more people.
Service: Best guide and great bus drivers. Good food included and good tours included. But, way too many churches. You need more ocean stops and days at the oceans. More beach time. Younger people would never go for so many churches. You need to rethink this approach. We had the best weather imaginable so that made the entire trip too. We loved the tours of the old city town squares etc. Leave the churches to those who want the free time to view them. People on bus were calling it the ABC tour. Another ****** Church..... The times for meals are crazy for Canadians and Americans alike. We eat lunch at noon and dinner at 6:00 pm. Most restaurants don't even open till 8:00pm and then we were going to bed on a full stomach. Not good. Need to customize meal times for your north America and Australian customers.
18 October, 2018
Trip: We saw all the highlights when the optional tours were included ( a must).
Service: The Spanish tour was well organized and executed with out a problem. The Tour director, Brad **** , was very knowlegable about the history of the varous areas of Spain.
17 October, 2018
Trip: Another amazing experience. The care and consideration of staff was excellent. The experiences and immersion in local culture both centuries old and current day exceeded my expectations
Service: Excellent customer service. The tour director and coach driver were always courteous, attentive and punctual. The driving skills, patience and passenger safety was the utmost priority of the coach driver. All requests to our tour director were never too big or too small and were dealt with in a timely manner and always to our satisfaction or a substitute would always be offered. Our local guides were very knowledgeable, informative and patient.
10 October, 2018
Trip: It was a great itinerary saw wonderful things and learnt lots from the local experts who were excellent. sometimes it would have been good to have some stops for photo opportunities as we passed some interesting places. The roadside lunch stops on the southern tour were not good, certainly insights comments on a gourmet food experience were not accurate as some of the included dinners were quite poor as well. The optional dinning was excellent but expensive compared to what you could find going out locally. the hotels were sometimes not located as centrally as they should have been for ease of getting around.
Service: Travel agent sorted all the details and dealt with it for us. service o.n tour was only from the travel director
30 September, 2018
Trip: Overall it was great. The busses were comfortable and the majority of the Hotels were comfortable and conveniently located.
Service: Professional staff, very knowledgeable guide who went out of his way to accommodate travellers.
11 September, 2018
Trip: A comprehensive inspiring tour highlighting the best of Spain’s art and architecture. I would have preferred to have had a couple of extra days in some cities and have the tour extended to 21 days. At times things seemed a bit rushed. Nevertheless it gave a wonderful overview of all that Spain has to offer.
Service: The tour included many of my passions. Art, architecture, history and food. Our tour guide Denice was exceptional. She was very informative, humorous and of a calm and friendly disposition. The standard of the hotels was high and the bus had all the comforts. Toilet, Wifi and plenty of leg room. I would recommend Insight Vacations to all those contemplating a tour.
10 August, 2018
Trip: I am Happy with the Bus, Tour, Hotel Rooms, the food, the inclusions and the tour guide all my complaints are targetted at management and the lack of direction on these matters.
Service: 1. I have toured by bus with a number of Tour Companies and have caught bad colds on the last 4 from other passengers starting the tour with serious colds including your 2 tours. The busses are sick and no health and safety was carried out until I complained and then no supervision was carried out. 2. I am retired but I spent the last 10 years doing adult education, I was blasted out of the water by some of the local experts imparting all the facts they thought we needed and some were more intent on giving over iformation rather than showing us what we had come to see. 3. My wife and I toured the South then the North of spain, when we came back to Barcelona we were not able to go to visit the Goudi's Sagrada Familia as we had visited it when touring the south, we have paid for 2 seperate tours why was it not included.
06 August, 2018
Trip: The cities visited were worth the visit and enjoyable tour. Helpful to have detail in advance of the itinerary times and direction of local tours to aid decision-making of whether to join the local tour or free time. The religious history of Spain from local guides became repetitive as each place included a visit to their main cathedral.
Service: Customer service was quite good. Coach drivers were helpful and obliging, did a great job of keeping coach clean and water supply plentiful and cold.