Trip Duration: 12 Nights / 13 Days
Itinerary: 1 Nights Madrid | 1 Nights Granada | 1 Nights Cordoba | 2 Nights Seville | 2 Nights Lisbon | 2 Nights Porto | 1 Nights Salamanca | 2 Nights Madrid
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is for you to relax or start exploring Madrid. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers. (D)
Drive south to Toledo. Spectacularly situated on a granite hill surrounded by a loop of the Tagus River, the ancient Castilian capital attracts more visitors from around the world than any other Spanish town. Visit the walled Old Town with a Local Guide and marvel at the 12th-century CHURCH OF ST. TOME, known for its large painting by El Greco of The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Later, cross the Guadalquivir River and head for the olive and orange groves that dot the rolling Andalusian hills. Overnight in history-steeped Granada at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. (B,D)
Granada was the Arabs most treasured city, and they still mourn its loss in their prayers. With a Local Guide, visit the ALHAMBRA COMPLEX, built by Moorish kings. More grand scenery as you travel to Loja. Captured and held by the Moors, it was formerly known as Medina Lawsa until it was recaptured by the Christians in 1486 during the Reconquista. Explore this \'flower among thorns\' before reaching Montilla to visit a local WINE CELLAR and taste some of its wine. Then, continue to Cordoba on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. (B)
With a Local Guide visit the magnificent MEZQUITA, famous for its 850 pillars of porphyry, marble, and jasper. Then, travel through the stunningly scenic area of Pueblos Blancos - the 'White - Washed Villages of Andalusia'. This picturesque region is famous for the deep El Tajo gorge that literally cuts it in two, and is the birthplace of modern bullfighting. On to vibrant, festive Seville. (B,D)
Get to know Seville on the included city tour. Capital of Andalusia and the cultural and financial center of southern Spain, colorful Seville has much to offer: the cathedral, the third-largest church in the world after St. Peter's in Rome and St. Paul's in London; the beautiful La Giralda minaret tower, a symbol of Seville; the Real Alca¡zar palace with its extravagant moorish architecture and opulent gardens; Plaza de Espana, used in the filming of Episodes I and II in the Star Wars trilogy; and so much more. (B)
Enjoy the scenery of the Sierra de Aracena before crossing into Portugal and the fertile plains of the Alentejo. Admire the forest of cork trees and make a stop to visit Evora, a delightfully attractive Moorish city with arches, alleys, flower-decked balconies, brilliant white houses, and the Temple of Diana. Continue to Lisbon. (B)
Henry the Navigator made Lisbon the 15th-century 'Mistress of the Seas'. You'll see his monument, the Belem Tower, the Moorish Citadel, the impressive Black Horse Square, and other highlights on the guided sightseeing tour. Spend the afternoon at leisure in the Alfama's tile-decorated streets, or take an optional excursion along the Estoril Coast to Cascais and Sintra. (B)
Stop in Fatima to visit its world-famous SANCTUARY, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Continue to Coimbra, known for its university, one of the oldest in Europe, and to Oporto on the northern bank of the Douro River. For the perfect way to round out your day, why not join an optional Douro River cruise and dinner? (B)
Discover Oporto's highlights on the guided city tour. See its historical cathedral, overlooking the Port wine cellars along the banks of the Douro River. This afternoon, maybe join an optional excursion to Guimaraes, considered the 'cradle' of Portugal and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tonight, sample local cuisine on the included dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Enjoy the profusion of woodlands and mountains on your return to Spain via the scenic Douro Valley. Reach the ancient and beautiful university town of Salamanca in the early evening and maybe take a stroll in the Plaza Mayor. (B)
Journey to fortified Avila with its many towers and visit ST. THERESA\'s CONVENT before continuing to Segovia, a medieval town picturesquely set on a rocky hill. Spend some time in Segovia before crossing the boundary between new and old Castile to arrive in Madrid. (B)
Not only is it the capital of Spain, but because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards say Madrid is the nearest thing to Heaven. The day is dedicated to discover Madrid\'s main highlights on the included guided city tour. (B)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Trip Duration: 13 Nights / 14 Days
Itinerary: 2 Nights Madrid | 1 Nights Bilbao | 1 Nights Pamplona | 2 Nights Barcelona | 2 Nights Ibiza | 2 Nights Granada | 1 Nights Seville | 1 Nights Cordoba | 1 Nights Madrid
Two weeks drifting around Spain - you'll be hablando Español before you know it! Our Spanish ... More
Check-in to the hotel and head straight out into Madrid to get a feel for the city's high energy life style. Moving to a whole lot of different beats, Madrid is packed with diverse barrios (neighbourhoods), lively plazas and a healthy nightlife.
Later, meet up with the other Contiki travellers and your Trip Manager over dinner.
This morning, get inspired as your Local Guide opens up Madrid's monumental heart with a look at its bustling centre, complete with the Gran Via, the Plaza de Espana and Puerta del Sol. Then, step into the largest palace in Europe with our Local Guide and experience a slice of the royal lifestyle as our expert shows you through the Royal Palace's lavish rooms. If there's a state function happening, we'll head to the world-famous Prado Museum instead.
In your free time, snack on the local favourite, churros (Spain's version of the doughnut) or grab a chilled cerveza (beer) and put your feet up. There's also a chance to explore the Valley of the Fallen where our Local Guide will tell you the story about the Spanish Dictator Franco and the Civil War. This city never sleeps, so get some pointers on the city's hot spots.
Head North to Bilbao, the Basque country's busiest city. Stop by the pretty hillside town of Segovia, with its grand mansions and many squares. See the jaw-droppingly beautiful Roman Aqueduct, made up of 166 granite arches. This bridge is an impressive feat of ancient engineering. Onwards to Bilbao.
An up-and-coming cultural hub, Bilbao is the down-to-earth home of one of the world's most famous and iconic museums, the Museo Guggenheim. Use your free time to check out its amazing collection of 20th century art and keep a camera handy for the extraordinary architecture of the museum itself.
Hotel, Breakfast and Regional Dinner
Start the day off with free time in San Sebastian - beach resort and surf hot spot. With one of the world's most stunning urban beaches, a gorgeous Art Nouveau shopping district, loads of restaurants and the best pinxtos (bite-sized snacks on toothpicks) in Spain, you've got many ways to spend your time here. Later, pull into Pamplona, home to the extreme Running of the Bulls.
Your Trip Manager will walk you along the route taken for the Running of the Bulls and show you the bullring, as well as the well-preserved old town and its incredible Gothic cathedral. Then take some time to explore Basque culture at the table by tasting regional specialties like barbecued lamb, fresh trout and red peppers.
Chill out on the coach, plug in your headphones and watch the world go by. Heading to the coast, our next stop is the Baroque city of Zaragoza, set on the banks of the Rio Ebro. Check out the town\'s fantastic cathedral, with its colourfully tiled cupolas and towers. Grab a table in the casco (old town), order a traditional Spanish churros for a snack and take in the unique, historic architecture and atmosphere. Next up is Barcelona. A sizzling, festive city any night of the week, Barcelona is all about action. First up: admire Montjuic. The hilltop has full-blown vistas of the city and it's where we stop to check out the 1992 Olympic Games complex.
Hotel, Breakfast and Dinner
Today there\'s free time to discover more of Barcelona\'s creative core. Pick up some quirky buys in the side streets or hit the big label shops on Gran Via or the Gothic Quarter. Take in all of Barcelona's buzzing street life on the tree-lined La Rambla a boulevard packed with street performers, artists, shops and stalls. Give an optional bike tour a go and get off the beaten track and onto Barcelona\'s side streets with our Local Guide.
Other ideas for your afternoon off include hanging out in the colourful gardens of Parc Guell or kicking back with the locals on the beach and taking a swim in the Mediterranean sea. For lunch, there\'s plenty of delicious local seafood to try as well as Spain\'s signature dish, paella. Tonight get the low down on Barcelona\'s hottest spots and maybe hit the pumping clubs of Port Olympico by the water.
Barcelona Bike Tour Euro 23.00
Flamenco Show with Dinner & Drinks Euro 61.00
Jump on a plane to Ibiza, Spain\'s party paradise. Dishing up a bit of everything, Ibiza is popular with sun worshipers, backpackers and those that want to party! Honour the birthplace of the rave by checking out Ibiza\'s world famous clubs, which keep going until the sun comes up.
Although this seems to be an island that never sleeps, you\'re going to need to drag that head out of bed so you can see the incredible beauty of the place when drenched in daylight. Go snorkelling, explore Ibiza\'s cute old town and it\'s little souvenir shops, and watch the sun set on another perfect day.
Ferry back to the main land and wind down on the coach as we head to Granada. Granada is crammed with romance and is filled with reminders of its North African heritage. With the famous palace fortress of Alhambra dominating the hills, the town is soaked in age-old atmosphere. Tonight, learn why Granada\'s got such a reputation for amazing food. Try their fresh seafood, eat some more tapas (perfect for trying a bit of everything) and for dessert, the speciality Arab pastries are just right!
Start the day at the palace fortress of Alhambra, this Moorish Palace is beautiful, with it\'s intricate patterns and stunning architechture leaving you wondering why you haven\'t been here sooner. To top it all off, it offers the best views in the city. The Muslim quarter of Albaicin and the Capilla Real are just some of the other ways your day today can be filled. Granada is also known for its incredible food - not least of all its Arab pastries - so you could also fill your whole day pleasuring your sense of taste.
Hotel, Dinner and Breakfast
Guided Tour of Albaicin & La Capilla Real Euro 20.00
Pass the port cities of Marbella and Malaga. We stop in the unusual and quirky territory of Gibraltar, with its interesting mix of British culture, Spanish influence and some North African wildlife! Make sure you check out Gibraltar\'s world-famous monkeys and learn about the legends surrounding how they got here all the way from Morocco. On a clear day, you\'ll get views across the strait to the continent of Africa. Back on the road, unwind on the coach before our final stop in Seville.
Gibraltar Rock Tour Euro 23.00
We spend the morning in the region\'s stylish capital, Seville. It\'s a fun, laid back city where the locals focus on the good life siestas, late dinners, long lunches and dancing. With a run down on Seville\'s background, your Trip Manager will show you the flamboyant Plaza d\'Espana, the world\'s 3rd largest cathedral, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Alcazar, still used by the royal family. In your free time, you could visit Christopher Columbus tomb, or check out one of the oldest bullrings in Spain. For something different, head to El Jueves street market and pick out some bargains. We keep travelling into the heart of rural Andalusia, through to Cordoba. It\'s soaked in history and serves up an old-world atmosphere, with little patios, time-worn lanes and flower-filled balconies.
Your Trip Manager kick starts your experience of the city by taking the group to the Mezquita (Mosque of the Caliphs). This famous site combines Islamic and Roman Catholic structures in a stunning series of buildings, complete with an orange tree garden and courtyards. Then there\'s free time to wander around Cordoba\'s historic centre and to take in its famously beautiful streets, like the Calle de Flores (Street of Flowers). Otherwise, learn about Spain\'s checkered past with a visit to the 13th century Alcazar fortress, the former hub of the Spanish Inquisition.
Guided walking Tour Inc. Bullring Minimum 15 people. Euro 19.50
Hit the road and travel to the hill-top town of Toledo. With its mix of mosques, churches and medieval buildings, this gorgeous town is known as the Imperial City and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You\'ll see Toledos enormous Gothic cathedral, El Grecos house and the site of sieges, revolutions and treason: the Alcazar fortress. Then it\'s back in to the Spanish capital. Make your last night on tour one to remember and head out with the group for an optional traditional Spanish tapas dinner (a feast of plate-sized nibbles) in the heart of the city, right on the famous Plaza Mayor.
Traditional Madridlenos Dinner Euro 34.50
Your trip ends after breakfast and it\'s time to say farewell to your new friends.