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A Journey through Spain and Portugal
11 September – 8 October 2020
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Friday 11 September: Australia – Lisbon
We depart Gippsland in the afternoon and travel by coach to Melbourne Airport in time for our flight to Lisbon, Portugal.
Saturday 12, Sunday 13, Monday 14 September: Lisbon, Portugal
On our arrival in Lisbon, we will be met and transferred to our hotel, the SOFITEL LIBERDADE, or similar, for the next 3 nights. During our time in Lisbon we visit the Belém district and the magnificent Jerónimos Monastery, an extraordinary example of Portugal’s ‘Manueline’ style of architecture. We shall take a cable car ride through the narrow streets and visit the National Tile Museum. Today you will have your first opportunity to taste the National Portugal Custard Tart.
We shall lunch at a beachside restaurant in Cascais and also visit the charming town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former summer residence of Portuguese kings and aristocrats and see the National Palace of Sintra, a former royal residence characterised by a variety of architectural styles
Tuesday 15, Wednesday 16, Thursday 17 September: Seville, Spain
Depart Lisbon this morning and drive towards the border. After an included lunch stop we arrive in Seville and will check into the HOTEL ALFONSO XIII, or similar, for a 3-night stay.
Seville is one of Spain’s most fascinating and exciting cities. Over the next couple of days, we will take a walking tour and visit the 15th century cathedral, one of the most breathtaking, and see La Giralda, Seville’s most famous monument. The massive cathedral is the burial place of Christopher Columbus.
We visit the Alcazar, a magnificent 14th century Mudejar palace that is one of the oldest royal residences in Europe still in use, and enjoy a walk through the Barrio de Santa Cruz, a maze of narrow streets, whitewashed houses and small squares.
The best way to appreciate the city is by a horse drawn carriage ride through the streets. No visit to Seville is complete without attending a performance of the region’s famous Flamenco and one evening you’ll see an authentic Flamenco Show.
We shall also visit the haunting Casa de Pilatos, which is still occupied by the ducal Medinaceli family, and is one of the city’s most glorious mansions. It’s a mixture of Mudéjar, Gothic and Renaissance styles, with some beautiful tilework and artesonados (ceilings of interlaced beams with decorative insertions).
Friday 18 & Saturday 19 September: Ronda – Granada
After breakfast we shall drive past the olive groves and the gleaming white villages. We stop at Ronda and visit the Bull Fighting Museum then continue on to glorious Granada. On arrival, we will check into the NH COLLECTION VICTORIA HOTEL, or similar, for a 2-night stay.
Overlooking the town is one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built, the Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces. We shall explore these exquisite palaces, a fantasy of stone, and we will walk on to the exotic water gardens of Generalife, the royal summer residence.
Sunday 20 September: Cordoba
We set off early along the Guadalquivir Valley, for the well-preserved Moorish city of Cordoba. On arrival we will check into the LAS CASAS DE LA JUDERIA HOTEL, or similar, for an overnight stay.
While in Cordoba we will see the 2000-year-old bridge and the famous Plaza de Porto. Afterwards we shall have a walking tour through the flower-filled streets of the Jewish Quarter and visit the Mezquita, built between the 8th and 10th centuries, considered one of the most extraordinary buildings in all of Europe.
Monday 21, Tuesday 22, Wednesday 23 September: Madrid, Spain
This morning we shall transfer to the rail station for our AVE train journey to Madrid. On our arrival in Madrid we shall check into the HOTEL ORFILA, or similar, for the next three nights.
Madrid is a vibrant, sophisticated city which we will explore on a walking tour through the historic centre and the arcaded 17th century Plaza Mayor. We shall also see the Puerta del Sol before visiting the Palacio Real, whose rooms are filled with antiques and treasured artworks.
During our time in Madrid we will have a full day trip travelling south to the fortified city of Toledo which dates from Roman times. We shall visit the 6th century cathedral and the Church of Santo Tomé which houses some of El Greco’s most important works. Before returning to Madrid, we shall also visit the city’s oldest synagogue, the 12th century Santa Maria la Blanca. Along with a gourmet tapas walking tour and many other highlights we shall visit in Madrid, there will be plenty of free time for shopping and additional sightseeing.
During your free time you may like to visit the Prado Museum, one of Madrid’s main attractions where works by Spain’s three great masters Goya, Velazquez and El Greco are on show or the Reina Sofia Art Centre which concentrates on 20th century art, its most famous work being Picasso’s ‘Guernica’.
Thursday 24, Friday 25 September: Barcelona
This morning we re-board the AVE train for our journey to Barcelona, Spain’s second city. We shall transfer to the MAJESTIC HOTEL, or similar, for a 2-night stay.
Our time on Barcelona will be spent exploring many attractions including a guided introduction to Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces starting off at the Casa Mila, one of Barcelona’s best-known Art Nouveau buildings, considered architecturally innovative for its steel structure and curtain walls. Next is the impressive, but as yet unfinished, Sagrada Familia Basilica and Parc Güell, a beautiful municipal garden with a superb panoramic view over the city. We shall also explore the heart of the old city – the medieval Gothic Quarter. The narrow, labyrinthine streets and quiet squares are quite distinct from the rest of the city. We shall see the magnificent 13th century cathedral, notable for its fine Gothic chapels, medieval choir stalls and shady cloister. And also visit the Picasso Museum, where some of the painter’s earliest works are housed in the remarkable setting of a part-Gothic, part-Roman palace.
Saturday 26, Sunday 27 September: Bilbao – San Sebastian
This morning we shall transfer to the Barcelona El Prat Airport for our short flight to Bilboa where we will visit the Guggenheim Museum. Hailed as the most important structure of its time when it opened in 1997, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum has changed the way people think about museums and continues to challenge assumptions about the connections between art, architecture, and collecting.
After lunch we drive to beautiful San Sebastian. On arrival we shall check in to the HOTEL MARIA CHRISTINA, or similar, for a 2-night stay.
San Sebastián is a resort town on the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country. It’s known for Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta, a very upmarket district known as a millionaires' belt on account of its lavish holiday homes, beaches framed by a picturesque bayfront promenade, and world-renowned restaurants.
In its cobblestoned old town (Parte Vieja), upscale shops neighbour vibrant bars pairing local wines with bite-size regional specialties.
During our time in San Sebastian we shall also take a walking tour of the Old Quarter. We shall see the numbered balconies of the Plaza de la Constiticion, a reminder of the days when bullfights were held in the square.
Monday 28, Tuesday 29 September: Santillana del Mar
We leave San Sebastian and head west along the coast to picturesque Santillana de Mar with a stop at a Cider House. After checking into our hotel, PARADORE GILBLAS, or similar, for a 2-night stay, we will have time to stroll the rustic cobblestone streets to the church square.
Santillana del Mar is a historic town situated in Cantabria, Spain. Its many historic buildings attract thousands of holidaymakers every year. There is an old saying that Santillana del Mar is The Town of Three Lies, since it is neither a Saint (Santo), nor flat (llana), nor is it by the sea (Mar) as implied by its name. However, the name actually derives from Santa Juliana (or Santa Illana) whose remains are kept in the Colegiata, a Romanesque church and former Benedictine monastery.
Another highlight we shall visit is The Cave of Altamira in Spain famous for its Upper Palaeolithic cave paintings featuring drawings and polychrome rock paintings of wild mammals and human hands. When the discovery was first made public in 1880, it led to a bitter public controversy between experts since many did not believe prehistoric man had the intellectual capacity to produce any kind of artistic expression. The acknowledgment of the authenticity of the paintings, which finally came in 1902, changed the perception of prehistoric human beings.
Wednesday 30 September, Thursday 1 October: Castilla y Leon
This morning we drive south west to the Castilla-Leon region, located in the interior of the northern part of Spain. Its natural heritage includes the Picos de Europa National Park, which can be explored by taking the Route of the Cares River. The area of Las Médulas, a landscape of open-air mines, has also been awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO.
The province of León is home to places with a rich cultural heritage such as Ponferrada, Astorga with its Episcopal Palace by Gaudí; as well as the capital, León, with its Cathedral and the Casa Botines building, also designed by Gaudí. We shall also visit the Knights Templar.
Our hotel for our 2 nights in Castilla Leon is the PARADOR DE VILLAFRANCO DEL BIERZO, or similar.
Friday 2, Saturday 3 October: Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. It’s known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, now considered by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, and the alleged burial site of the Apostle St. James (“Santiago”). His remains lie within the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela, consecrated in 1211, whose elaborately carved stone facades open onto grand plazas within the medieval walls of the old town. During our time we will have a walking tour of the old town, visit the Cathedral and end with drinks and tapas. We will enjoy our last Spanish lunch at a local home.
Santiago is certainly one of Spain's most monumental towns, with a particular architecture style all of its own. But it is also a town full of life, with one of the most famous Universities and a large number of students who guarantee youthful ambience in between the historical walls. Also, the region's cuisine is of great reputation, and it is said that nowhere you can eat better seafood than in Galicia.
While in Santiago we will stay at the PARADORES DE SANTIAGO, or similar, for two nights.
Sunday 4 October: Porto, Portugal
After breakfast we will drive south and visit the ancient capital town of Guimarães. After a lovely lunch we have a scenic drive through the Duoro Valley to Porto, Portugal. On arrival, we shall check into a local hotel for a two night stay.
Monday 5 October: Porto Sightseeing
We will spend the morning on a walking tour with a local guide. There’s much more to Portugal’s second city than its eponymous fortified wine—historic architecture, cutting-edge design, fabulous food and wine, and a hip, laid-back vibe. We shall have some free time this afternoon to relax, or explore the city further for those last-minute souvenirs. Tonight, we shall get together for our Farewell Dinner.
Monday 6 October: Dubai – Australia in flight meals
This morning we shall transfer to Porto Airport for our flight to Dubai via Lisbon. We shall overnight at the hotel within the Dubai Airport.
Wednesday 7 October: Dubai – Australia in flight meals
Morning departure from Dubai to Australia.
Thursday 8 October: Australia
We shall arrive in Melbourne in the morning and transfer to Gippsland by coach.
Spain is considered an exotic country in Europe due to its friendly inhabitants, relaxed lifestyle, its cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and world-famous folklore and festivities.
Portugal has a rich, unique culture, lively cities and beautiful countryside. Highlights feature Medieval castles, cobblestone villages, captivating cities and golden beaches.
YOUR TOUR ESCORTS
Jacquey Turner has more than 30 years’ experience as a highly successful travel agent and tour guide.
With this itinerary, Jacquey will show you the rich and colourful history of that the Iberian Peninsula .has to offer. Along with the local guides she will ensure you have a most memorable journey.
Our Tour Director from Lisbon to Porto will be the lovely Lucy!
Lucy has over 30 years’ experience as a Tour Director and I have worked with her on many occasions. Her incredible knowledge, sense of humour and a hint of cynicism will enhance the enjoyment of the places we see and visit.
YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:
$20,499 per person twin share
$6,287 single supplement
If you cancel more than 120 days prior to tour departure, a cancellation fee of $750 will be charged, which cannot be credited to another booking. Notice of cancellation must be made in writing to Gippsland Travel Centre.
If notice of cancellation is received less than 75 days prior to departure, the following fees apply:
Date of Cancellation
7 September 2019 to 29 February 2020
Date of Cancellation
1 March 2020 to 12 June 2020
Date of Cancellation
13 June 2020 onwards
Cancellation fee of a % of tour cost
All costs are based on the exchange rate prevailing as at 28 August, 2019