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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 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. 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.
The morning 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. 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 evening 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 perhaps 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.
Enjoy sightseeing with your Local Expert as they take you along the main historical areas in the Capital of Spain known as Madrid of the Bourbons. Your drive continues through the Old Quarter discovering the origins of the city. 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 Celebration 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 depart for Madrid. A stop is made at Madrid airport in the early evening, followed by the Madrid trip hotel.
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 28.00
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. As well as a wonderful meal, we'll experience a magnificent horse & carriage ride through the old town of Seville, which is especially magical in the evening.
Adult Price: EUR 66.00
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 41.00
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
Drive to the fortified city of Segovia where a local expert leads you through the medieval streets from the ancient aqueduct to the magnificent Alcazar, one of the inspirations for Walt Disney's Cinderella castle. Inside this 14th century palace, experience the paintings, tapestries, weaponry and armoury of the Spanish medieval era. Then take a panoramic drive outside the walls to admire stunning views over the Eresma valley, the Roman aqueduct and picturesque buildings of this medieval jewel.
Adult Price: EUR 45.00
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. We'll also 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 46.00
Travel southward to the Ría de Arousa, one of the deep fjord-like estuaries of Galicia to see where they farm local mussels. This beautiful coastal scenery is lined with beaches, vineyards, palm trees, grand villas and old stone houses. During our journey we'll also visit a typical Galician granite 'Pazo'; a grand manor house of the old aristocracy.
Adult Price: EUR 35.00
Tonight we'll have the chance to sample a wonderful variety of Galician dishes, complemented with fantastic locally-produced wine. Discover the Celtic influence in the cuisine and enjoy ingredients fresh from the Atlantic. Having experienced the heart and soul of this wonderful region, tonight is the perfect opportunity to experience Galicia through your taste buds!
Adult Price: EUR 59.00
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 38.00
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. On Friday and Saturday nights, the selling price will be €66.00
Adult Price: EUR 61.00
Enter a strange fantasy world at Parc Güell, Spain's most impressive 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 Maritime Front, why not try one of the numerous waterfront restaurants?
Adult Price: EUR 40.00
Barceló Sants, Barcelona.
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.
Barceló Torre de Madrid/Hotel Hesperia Madrid.
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
The NH Collection Santiago de Compostela delivers modern luxury in a timeless setting, just minutes from the historic Plaza del Obradoiro.