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Tours

Spain and Portugal

Tour departs: 19 June 2021
Tour length: 32 Days

Spain and Portugal offer a totally different experience from other regions of Europe – from the beauty and grandeur of the Alhambra Palace, the picture-postcard region of the Costa del Sol, the Old Town of Marbella, the magnificent coastline, the pretty fishing villages of Portugal and so much more.

Overview

Tour departs: 19 June 2021.

Tour length: 32 days.

Spain and Portugal offer a totally different experience from other regions of Europe – from the beauty and grandeur of the Alhambra Palace to the contemporary modern design of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the magnificent coastline, the pretty fishing villages of Portugal and so much more. New for 2018, and repeated again for 2019, is our journey through northern Spain with its well preserved medieval villages, picturesque wine regions, the beautiful Bay of Biscay coastline, Basque country and more. An added highlight is our 7 night river cruise through the spectacular Douro River Valley.

Highlights:

Spain

  • Madrid, the majestic Spanish capital
  • Toledo, redolent of the past glories and packed with memorable sights
  • Beachside San Sebastian and Santander
  • Bilbao and the Frank Gehry designed contemporary Guggenheim Museum.
  • Picos de Europa National Park
  • Santiago de Compostela – final stop in the Camino Pilgrimage trail
  • Seville, passionate, romantic, festive
  • Granada, home to the magnificent Moorish Alhambra Palace
  • Barcelona, the Catalonian capital, and home to the architectural works of Gaudi

 

Portugal

  • World Heritage listed Porto – port wine capital of the world with unique Azulejo painted ceramics adorning houses and churches
  • Vila Real and Mateus Palace
  • Historic Coimbra
  • Sintra & Cascais – beautiful coastal towns
  • Lisbon, the stunning capital of Portugal and home to some of the greatest explorers

 

7 Night Douro River Valley Cruise

Sandwiched between our coach touring, we spend seven nights relaxing on board our floating hotel, cruising the World Heritage listed Douro River Valley. Enjoy lovely vistas, grand cities, terraced vineyards and hilltop villages. Along the way uncover a land of genuine beauty and breathtaking charm; meet warm hearted people, friendly and welcoming with open arms. On board our premium river ship Amalia Rodrigues, unwind in your river view stateroom. Take pleasure in the French & European cuisine including French and regional wines and beer and friendly attentive crew. Shore excursions are included during the cruise.

 

Itinerary

Tuesday 30 June
Auckland – Hong Kong
Early this afternoon we depart on our flight to Hong Kong. On arrival in Hong Kong we are met and transferred to our hotel for an overnight stay.

Wednesday 01 July
Hong Kong – Madrid (B,D)
This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Hong Kong Island including the Peak Tram and Sampan ride at Aberdeen. The afternoon is at leisure with hotel check out at 6.00 pm. This evening we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before transferring to the airport to join the overnight flight to Madrid.

Thursday 02 July
Madrid (D)
On arrival this morning, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a four night stay. The remainder of the day is free to relax and rest up before meeting for dinner.

Friday 03 July
Madrid (B)
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of the city, down the tree lined avenues to see the Puerta del Sol, Gran Via, Pasco de La Castellana, Royal Palace, Park Retiro, Cibeles Fountain and the Cervantes Monument in Plaza de Espana. The afternoon is at leisure.

Saturday 04 July
Madrid – Toledo Excursion (B)
Today we spend the day in Toledo. Enjoy a guided tour through the old town where you will see churches, mosques, synagogues and houses heaped upon one another in a haphazard, cobblestoned spiral.

Sunday 05 July
Madrid – El Escorial, Segovia Excursion (B,L)
Today’s excursion takes us to El Escorial Monastery followed by a visit to the Valley Of The Fallen Monument erected in memory of the millions who died in the Spanish Civil War. We learn about Spain’s intriguing history shaped by church, monarchy and 20th century conflict. Later we visit Segovia, strategically sited on a rocky ridge, it is deeply and haughtily Castilian, with a panoply of squares and mansions from its days of Golden Age grandeur, when it was a royal resort and a base for the Cortes (parliament).

Monday 06 July
Madrid – San Sebastian (B,D)
After breakfast, we commence our journey north to San Sebastian. After settling in to our hotel we have free time to explore or to relax before we enjoy dinner together at a seaside restaurant.

Tuesday 07 July
San Sebastian (B)
This morning’s orientation tour will show us the old town – Plaza de Constitucion, San Vicente Church, Basilica of Santa Maria and San Telmo museum. Free time to further explore – perhaps visit Bahia de la Concha beach or find a shady café for some people watching.

Wednesday 08 July
San Sebastian – Bilbao – Santander (B,D)
Today we travel the short distance to Bilbao, Spain’s northern city for art and culture. Following an orientation tour of the city we then visit the famous Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim Museum. Later, we continue our journey to Santander, capital of the Cantabrian region.

Thursday 09 July
Santander – Oviedo (B)
A full day of touring as we drive through scenic Picos de Europa National Park stopping in the alpine village of Covadonga, continuing on to the coastal city of Gijon followed by our final destination – Oviedo. The old quarter of Oviedo is pedestrianised with squares and narrow streets, perfect for exploring and enjoying an al fresco dinner.

Friday 10 July
Oviedo – Santiago de Compostela (B,D)
Today we take the coastal route stopping to visit the Galician town of Betanzos before continuing on to A Coruna – consisting of a modern port on one side of the city and a beach resort on the other. Look out for the distinctive glass-fronted galleries of the sea-facing buildings, rising six storeys high along the Avenida da Marina in front of the port. They were originally designed so local residents, whose lives were intertwined with the ocean, could watch the activity of the harbour in shelter. We continue on to Santiago de Compostela for a two night stay.

Saturday 11 July
Santiago de Compostela (B)
We have a full day to explore Santiago de Compostela – a world famous pilgrim town and the final destination of the Camino de Santiago – a pilgrim route that starts on the border of France. Our local guide will show us the sights in the morning with free time in the afternoon.

Sunday 12 July
Santiago de Compostela – Porto (B,D)
Today we travel to Porto via the coastal city of Vigo. We board our river cruise ship late afternoon and enjoy a welcome cocktail followed by dinner. Later we enjoy an orientation tour of Porto.

Monday 13 July
Porto (B,L,D)
After a buffet breakfast on board, we set off to explore Porto on a guided tour. Porto is one of the oldest cities in Europe, whose historic centre is classed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Unspoilt old quarters, a maze of winding narrow streets, arcaded houses, superb churches and above all, Port wine. In Vila Nova de Gaia, we visit a famous cellar where this exceptional wine slowly ages in the greatest secrecy. We return to the ship for lunch, followed by a free afternoon to discover Porto at your own pace. We enjoy dinner and a fado evening on board tonight.

Tuesday 14 July
Porto – Regua (B,L,D)
Following a buffet breakfast on board, you will enjoy a free morning in Porto, or take an excursion to Braga, nicknamed “Rome of Portugal” because of its high-quality religious architecture. Return to the ship for lunch, during which you will be able to admire the fabulous landscapes during the cruise to Regua. We will cruise through the locks in Crestuma and Carrapatelo, the highest in Europe at 36 metres. Dinner is enjoyed on board followed by a dinner-dance. We arrive in Regua later this evening.

Wednesday 15 July
Regua – Barca d’Alva (B,L,D)
After breakfast we depart for an excursion to Vila Real, where aristocrats built grand palaces during the 16th and 17th centuries. The architecture of the religious buildings here are extremely varied, and we have a chance to take a beautiful walk in the garden of Solar de Mateus. During our time here, the boat will sail to Pinhao where we will join it for lunch. Continuing, we sail into the heart of the vineyards of Porto, past the magnificent hillsides covered in trellised vines planted in terraces up to 700 metres, plunging towards the river. We go through the locks in Valeira and Pocinho to reach Barca d’Alva during the evening and enjoy dinner followed by a flamenco show.

Thursday 16 July
Vega de Teron – Salamanca (B,L,D)
Today we travel to Salamanca, awarded world heritage status by UNESCO. This town of dazzling beauty houses some extraordinary Romanesque, Arab and Christian architectural treasures. We enjoy lunch in Salamanca before returning to the boat. Dinner is served on board with this evening’s entertainment.

Friday 17 July
Vega de Teron – Ferradosa – Pinhao (B,L,D)
We depart early this morning following a buffet breakfast on board. Our morning sailing takes us through the locks in Pocinho and Valeira, stopping in Ferradosa around 2.00pm. We then depart on a Wines of Porto excursion, following the road through vineyards and on to Belvadere in the heart of the vines. We then take part in a tasting of the wines of Porto. There will also be time to explore the old station in Pinhao at your own pace, with its splendid azulejos. We join the ship again for dinner and a gala evening.

Saturday 18 July
Pinhao – Porto (B,L,D)
On arrival in Regua we board a coach to Lamego for a guided tour of the city centre both by coach and on foot. Lamego is a charming episcopal and commercial town where you’ll get to discover the Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Sanctuary. This 18th century church stands out with its white façade dominating a baroque staircase with 686 steps ending in a shrine built in the rocaille style and adorned with azulejos. The first stone was laid on February 14th, 1750 and gave way to the construction of a massive temple overlooking the city and providing a breathtaking view over the misty mountains of the surrounding landscape.

Sunday 19 July
Porto – Lisbon (B,D)
We farewell Porto and our river cruise ship and travel by coach to Lisbon stopping in Portugal’s third largest city, Coimbra, birthplace of six of Portugal’s kings and home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. Within the university is the Biblioteca Joanina, a gem of a library with books from the 12th-century. A visit to the University library is included. We continue on to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, for a two-night stay. This evening we enjoy a dinner featuring traditional Portuguese cuisine.

Monday 20 July
Lisbon (B)
Our guided tour of Lisbon takes us to the historic district of Belem and the Belem Tower, the traditional starting and ending point of Portuguese voyages of discovery. We will then visit the magnificent cloister of San Jeronimos built in the early 16th century as a celebration of Portugal’s territorial expansion and an expression of a unique national style. Later in the day we visit magnificent Sintra and Cascais.

Tuesday 21 July
Lisbon – Seville (B)
Today we head back to Spain, travelling via Faro to Seville for a two night stay.

Wednesday 22 July
Seville (B,D)
We enjoy a guided tour of Seville in the morning followed by a free afternoon. You’ll see Plaza de España and Parque Maria Luisa, Barrrio de Santa Cruz and the famous Alcazar. This evening we get together for a flamenco show including dinner.

Thursday 23 July
Seville – Granada (B)
En route to Granada we stop in Córdoba and enjoy a morning guided tour. You will get a glimpse of this beautiful city by visiting its highlights such as the Roman Bridge, the Mosque Cathedral, the Jewish quarter, Alcazar – to just name a few. We continue on to Granada for a two night stay.

Friday 24 July
Granada (B)
We have a full day exploring Granada – the Cathedral, Royal Chapel and Granada’s amazing parks and gardens. The highlight of today’s tour will be a guided tour through the world famous Alhambra – a palace and fortress that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

Saturday 25 July
Granada – Valencia (B)
Today we travel to Valencia. During our guided tour we see landmarks such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Valencia, Parque Natural de Albufela and the old town.

Sunday 26 July
Valencia – Barcelona (B,D)
This morning we travel to Barcelona stopping on the way to visit the ancient Roman city of Tarragona. Tonight we dine together in the Ramblas district.

Monday 27 July
Barcelona (B)
We enjoy a sightseeing tour of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and one of Spain’s most spectacular and vibrant cities. Our tour includes the Gothic Quarter with its magnificent Cathedral and also Gaudi’s Segrada Familia including an inside visit. We also visit Park Guell.

Tuesday 28 July
Barcelona (B)
Today is free for independent exploration, shopping or relaxation. Tonight we get together for a final dinner.

Wednesday 29 July
Barcelona – Hong Kong (B)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by a transfer to the airport for our early afternoon flight to Hong Kong.

Thursday 30 July
Hong Kong – Auckland
We arrive into Hong Kong early morning and have day rooms reserved for rest and relaxation before our overnight flight to Auckland.

Friday 31 July
Auckland
Arrive late morning.

Map

 

“The tour itinerary is absolutely excellent, as was our tour leader.  Overall, our expectations on this tour were certainly exceeded.”

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