Iberian Cultures Educational Tour
Iberian Cultures tour map

Iberian Cultures

9 Days Lisbon 2 • Algarve Coast 1 • Seville 2 • Madrid 2

Accommodations

Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $280 per person.

Transportation

Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline. Deluxe touring motorcoach.

Meals

All breakfasts. All dinners.

Guides

Services of a specially-trained passports Tour Director throughout.

Inclusions

Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.

Travel Protection

passports provides and pays for a Post Departure Travel Protection Plan that includes coverage for Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss or Delay, Medical Expense and Evacuation and more.

Days 1-2: Arrival Lisbon

Arrival transfer

Day 3: Lisbon

Half-day city sightseeing: Local Guide, Visit to the Jerónimos Monastery

Excursion to Sintra and Cascais: Local Guide, Visit to the National Palace of Sintra, Sightseeing stop in Cascais, Sightseeing stop at the Mouth of Hell

Optional Fado Performance

Day 4: Lisbon - Algarve Coast

Day 5: Algarve Coast - Seville

Flamenco show

Day 6: Seville

Half-day city sightseeing: Local Guide, Visit to Seville Cathedral (with Christopher Columbus' tomb) and the Giralda Tower, Visit to the Royal Alcázar of Seville

Optional Guadalquivir River Cruise

Day 7: Seville - Madrid

Guided walking tour in Córdoba, Visit to the Mezquita, AVE train Córdoba-Madrid, Arrival transfer

Day 8: Madrid

Half-day city sightseeing: Local Guide, Visit to the Prado Museum, Prado headset

Visit to the Reina Sofia Museum

Optional Casa de Campo Amusement Park: Teleférico de Madrid cable car ride

Day 9: Departure

Departure transfer

Days 1-2: Arrival

It's a short night's sleep as you fly across the Atlantic to awaken with the dawn. Beneath you, glimmering in the early morning sun, is the wide and generous delta of the River Tagus, once Europe's main point of departure for the New World. This is Portugal and her capital city, Lisbon.

Get settled into your centrally-located hotel. Soon you're out enjoying the narrow streets, markets and squares of Lisboa, which was called Alis Ubbo ("pleasant bay") by its early settlers, the Phoenicians.

Day 3: Lisbon City Sightseeing, Optional Excursion to Sintra, Optional Fado Performance

Get introduced to historic and contemporary Lisbon on a city tour past iconic sights: St. George's Castle, the Belém Tower, the Vasco da Gama Bridge, the historic Alfama district, the popular cafés of the Praça do Rossío, the Monument to the Discoveries, and Lisbon's cathedral (), which houses the baptismal font where a local baby who became St. Anthony of Padua was baptized in 1195.

A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Lisbon and its surroundings, will accompany your group.

Visit to the Jerónimos Monastery

Visit one of Lisbon's great landmarks, the beautiful convent built of all white marble, which was founded in 1502 to give thanks for the successful return of Vasco da Gama's fleet from the Indies. Said to be "built by pepper," or monies from the spice trade, the Jerónimos Monastery displays a profusion of sea motifs: seashells, ropes and anchors typical of the Manueline style that peaked during the reign of Manuel I (1495-1521).

Free time in Lisbon

The afternoon is unscheduled.

Perhaps you'd like to visit the Oceanário, the aquarium located on the waterfront that's a proud legacy of the 1998 World's Fair.

Excursion to Sintra and Cascais

Set out on an excursion to a beautiful town classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Lord Byron called Sintra a "glorious Eden," for its enchanting setting and its lush gardens adorned with trees and plants brought back from the far reaches of the Portuguese empire.

A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Lisbon and its surroundings, will accompany your group.

Visit to the National Palace of Sintra

Visit the Palácio Nacional de Sintra, a royal residence which dates back to the Middle Ages. It is recognizable by its two conical kitchen chimneys.

Sightseeing stop in Cascais

Enjoy a sightseeing stop in Cascais, a fishing village that became a fashionable resort in the 19th century. Nowadays, tourists still come for its sand beaches and marina, as well as its Manueline church with Baroque paintings by the 17th-century artist Josefa de Óbidos, one of the rare female painters of her time.

Sightseeing stop at the Mouth of Hell

Less than two miles from downtown Cascais, you'll come across the spectacular Boca do Inferno, a grotto carved by the surf in the rugged coastline, best seen at high tide when thundering waves crash against the rock.

Optional Fado Performance

Tonight, attend a performance of the hauntingly beautiful Portuguese music known as Fado ("fate"). This is the country's most famous musical form, traditionally performed by one singer accompanied by a twelve-string Portuguese guitarra.

Day 4: Travel to the Algarve Coast

Travel to Portugal's ruggedly beautiful Algarve coast. The Algarve (Arabic for "the west") is Portugal's southernmost province, fringed with eerie rock formations and white-sand beaches. Traditional fishing villages with pastel houses color the shoreline.

Day 5: Travel to Seville, Flamenco Show

Today, travel on due east along the Algarve coast, through lemon and almond orchards. You're headed to the Spanish frontier, Andalucía, and the loveliest city in all of Spain, Sevilla, the home of Carmen, Figaro, and Don Juan himself.

Flamenco show

This evening, enjoy traditional entertainment, flamenco! The poet Federico García Lorca called it "the most gigantic creation of the Spanish people." You will long remember its complex and insistent rhythms, castanets, guitars and clacking heels as a highlight of your trip to Spain.

Day 6: Seville City Sightseeing, Optional Guadalquivir River Cruise

Get acquainted with Sevilla on a tour of the city. You'll stop for photos at the Plaza de España and explore on foot the well-preserved Barrio de Santa Cruz, a picturesque maze of alleys and patios which once was the Jewish quarter. You will see the ancient minaret called the Giralda, the Parque María Luisa, the famous tobacco factory where Bizet's Carmen worked and the crenelated tower called the Torre del Oro, which was built in the 13th century to protect the port.

A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Seville, will accompany your group.

Visit to Seville Cathedral (with Christopher Columbus' tomb) and the Giralda Tower

A visit is included to the great Gothic cathedral, where you will see the flamboyant monument to Columbus, and the tomb of Ferdinand III: its trilingual inscription in Arabic, Hebrew and Castilian symbolizes this 13th-century king's vision of his kingdom as the home of all three faiths.

Then, climb the Giralda, a former minaret that stands near the cathedral. Instead of stairs, this tower was designed with an interior ramp which makes the climb almost effortless. From the top, visitors have a great overview of the cathedral's roof and buttresses.

Visit to the Royal Alcázar of Seville

Enjoy a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site over a thousand years old that's a stunning blend of Mudéjar and Christian architecture. Regarded as the most beautiful palace in Spain, El Real Alcázar de Sevilla was a residence of Spanish kings for nearly seven centuries after the Reconquista.

Free time in Seville

The afternoon is unscheduled.

Check out Calle Sierpes, the awning-covered street that is Sevilla's outdoor market.

Optional Guadalquivir River Cruise

Enjoy a scenic boat ride along the picturesque Guadalquivir River. Listen to the commentary while you enjoy the sights from a different perspective.

Day 7: Córdoba, Train to Madrid

Travel to Córdoba, which was once as prominent as Baghdad in the Islamic world. At that time, Córdoba's cultural life was centered around its 70 libraries, with the Caliph's library alone holding 400,000 volumes! Throughout the ages exceptional scholars have blossomed here, including Seneca, the Roman author/statesman, and the medieval philosophers Maimónides and Averroës.

Guided walking tour in Córdoba

A local guide will lead you on a tour of in the which the old quarter. which includes the Jewish quarter (Judería) with Maimónides' statue and Calle Judíos which lead to a sinagoga that dates back to 1315, the only Andalusian synagogue to have survived the 1492 expulsion of the Jews.

Visit to the Mezquita

You will enjoy a visit to the Great Mosque (Mezquita) and its Patio de los Naranjos. Admire its forest of "candy cane" arches and precious stones. Marvel at its ceiling of carved cedar, its 4,000 bronze and copper lamps, and its Mihrab shrine where the Koran was kept. See the Christian cathedral built right inside the mosque.

AVE train Córdoba-Madrid

There's excitement aboard an Alta Velocidad train ride (no clickety-clacks on these smooth rails), all the way to Madrid. Time flies aboard the streamlined train which, inside, looks and feels like an airplane. En poco tiempo, you're in the bustling capital of Spain.

Get settled in your madrileño hotel and explore your surroundings.

Day 8: Madrid City Sightseeing, Reina Sofia Museum, Optional Casa de Campo Amusement Park

On a tour of the city, you will be introduced to the sights and the city grand squares: Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Plaza de España with the Cervantes Monument, Gran Vía, Calle Alcalá, Plaza de Colón, and Plaza de Cibeles with its fountains.

A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Madrid and its surroundings, will accompany your group.

Visit to the Prado Museum

View world-famous paintings by El Greco, Goya, and Velázquez, and much. much more, at the magnificent Museo del Prado.

Visit to the Reina Sofia Museum

At the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía you will see the permanent collection of modern works by artists such as Dalí, Miró, and Picasso, notably Picasso's haunting Guernica, a memorial to the victims of the Nazi bombing of a Basque village, long kept out of Spain because of the artist's refusal to recognize Franco's dictatorship.

Free time in Madrid

The afternoon is unscheduled.

You may want to check out the elegant El Corte Inglés department store at the Puerta del Sol.

Optional Casa de Campo Amusement Park

Visit the Parque de Atracciones, the amusement park that's located in Casa de Campo, Madrid's largest public park. Rides, arranged in four zones, feature star attractions such as Fjords, with aquatic thrills, as well as Top Spin and Vertigo, known for their spectacular dives.

Enjoy a ride on the teleférico that goes up to Casa de Campo, the largest public park in Madrid.

Day 9: Departure

¡Adios España! Madrid's airport recedes and you're 500 miles closer to home with each hour in the air. Race the sun westward, arriving home later today, eager to share your experiences with family and friends.

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