The Best of Spain & Portugal A general view of the Must See in 19 days
The best part of being neighbors is that we are able to travel from Portugal to Spain easily with our rental car. We created this itinerary to offer you a program that covers the Mainland of Portugal & Spain from North to South (except the islands, which we are able to add to this program if you wish). Based on this goal, we had to include some stays of only 1 night that we balanced with other stays of 2 or 3 nights for a more comfortable travel. If you choose this program you will certainly have a good perception of both countries, though we recommend you revise it and adapt it to your needs. You will meet different lifestyles, different gastronomies and interaction between people. Both countries are so diverse in itself that combining all of it will be an experience of a lifetime.
THIS IS IBERIA
Day by Day Itinerary and suggested Accommodation
Day 1: Arrival in Lisbon and private transfer to hotel with driver. Day at leisure.
Accommodation for two nights at: Hotel Pousada de Lisboa *****
Day 2: Day at leisure in Lisbon.
Day 3: Hotel check-out and rental car delivery. Departure to Évora.
Accommodation for one night at: Hotel Convento de Espinheiro *****
Day 4: Hotel Check-out and departure to Seville. Stay at a small hotel in the outskirts of Seville that will give you complete car commodity.
Accommodation for two nights at: Hotel Hacienda San Rafael
Day 5: Day at leisure Seville
Day 6: Hotel check-out and start of the road trip to the outskirts of Granada .
Accommodation for two nights at: Barcelo Hotel Bobadilla del Monte *****
Day 7: Day at leisure. Get the car and visit the city of Granada and the magical Alhambra.
Day 8: Hotel Check out Road trip to the Capital city of Madrid. On the way we will enjoy an amazing stop in two small cities of Ubeda and Baeza dating back to the Moorich 9th century and to the Reconquista in the 13th century.
Accommodation for two nights at: Hotel Unico ***** / Hotel Urso *****
Day 9: Day at leisure in Madrid.
Day 10: Early in the morning we will drive you to a world heritage city of Toledo.
Accommodation for one night at: Parador de Toledo ****
Day 11: Hotel check-out and commence of your road trip to Barcelona with some local stops along the way.
We will have a long trip ahead of us but with two beautiful stops, starting at the city of Zaragoza, enjoying an excellent stroll through the city center. Continuing until "Tarraco Imperialis" (Tarragona), a beautiful city in front of the sea with its Roman Ruins. We will then continue to our final destination, Barcelona.
Accommodation for three nights at: Hotel Arts Ritz Carlton *****
Day 12: Day at leisure in Barcelona.
Day 13: Visit the outskirts of Barcelona, including the Monastery of Montserrat and its surroundings.
Day 14: After check out you will commence your road trip to the Basque Country. Stopping along the way in the known city of Pamplona, especially during the month of July where the famous Running of the Bull’s Fiesta takes place. Then continue to our famous last destination facing the Atlantic Sea, San Sebastian.
Accommodation for one night at: Hotel Vila Soro ****
Day 15: Check out and start road trip to Santiago de Compostela. Stop during the way at the city of Bilbao and the Guggenheim Museum.
Accommodation for two nights at: Hotel Quinta da Auga Relais & Chateaux *****
Day 16: Relax during the morning and visit Santiago then commence your trip to Porto, Portugal.
Accommodation for three nights at: The Yeatman Hotel *****
Day 17: Day at leisure in Porto.
Day 18. Day at leisure in Porto. We recommend you spend the day in the Douro Valley.
(Optional: Private Cruise in the Douro. Please consult us for more details.)
Day 19: Hotel Check-out and departure to Lisbon International Airport to deliver your car.
CITIES AND TOWNS ON THE ITINERARY
If you wish to know a bit more about the places to go
Lisbon: Capital of Portugal, located at the mouth of the Tagus River and from where the Portuguese boats set sail overseas in the 15th and 16th centuries towards East. At that time, the Maritime Discoveries period, the city became the centre of a large empire, still visible in the monuments of Belém section. Well known for its historic traditional neighborhoods you'll be amazed with the sections of Chiado, Bairro alto and Alfama as well as the Castle of Saint George and the gorgeous views you can enjoy from the top of its hill.
Alentejo: The widest region of Portugal. Here the landscape is "gentle" composed by rolling hills covered by cork oak trees, vineyards and wheat fields. The lifestyle is serene in the small villages with white washed houses where the time slowly passes by… The gastronomy is robust and creative with wines to match it, in contrast with the calmness of the local people of the region.
Évora: A beautiful small town in the Alentejo region. Still surrounded by the old walls it is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and will attract you for its medieval appearance, the narrow streets, the historic center and the kindness of the locals. Amongst several interesting monuments, you shall not miss the Roman Temple from the 1st century, unique of this kind in both Portugal and Spain. This is also the perfect place for a great gastronomic and wine experience, as this is one of the regions in Portugal with more traditional and quality at this level. You shall not miss the opportunity of having a meal in one of the city's restaurants.
Andalusia: One of the widest regions of Spain, larger than countries like Belgium, Holland, Denmark or Austria. Its privileged location in the axis between Europe and Africa brought many different cultures throughout history and prehistory. You will feel the magic of the Arabian Nights’ tale visiting fortresses (alcazabas), palaces (alcázares), mosques and gardens all over the region. You will be amazed by the fact that all these Moorish constructions takes place nearby catholic churches and synagogues, resulting in a marvellous architectural and cultural mix. Land of culture and native region of Velázquez, Murillo and Picasso, you will fall in love with its cities and be amazed with its main monuments declared World Heritage Site. You will discover the impressive Moorish, Renaissance and, above all, Baroque architecture on the region. You will also find a diversity of landscapes and experiences and will have the opportunity to taste delicious products from local gastronomy. Andalucía is definitively a great destination which offers a good combination between history, nature, holidays and also very good gastronomy.
Seville: The Andalusian Capital, will enchant you with its impressive monuments and history. It has already been Arab, Jewish and Roman, which provides her a very rich culture. A walk by the district of Santa Cruz will lead you through the streets of the historic and artistic quarter where you will see 12th century buildings like the Royal Citadels, the Hospital of the Venerable and the City Hall. Don’t miss the architectural and artistic heritage which includes the Cathedral, the Alcazar Arab fortress and the India’s Archive. These patrimonial sites have been declared World Heritage Site, by the UNESCO.
Granada: Probably one of the most attractive city of Andalucía. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountain, it is also famous for its impressive Al-Andalus heritage and its unique Moorish essence, since it is the last Moorish kingdom in the Peninsula which has been reconquered by the Catholic Monarchs. That’s why you will easily find both Moorish and Christian elements in the streets of the city. Discover the eclectic cultural mix neighbourhood of the Albaicín quarter. You’ll be fascinated with the splendour of the Alhambra and Gardens of Generalife, the country residence of the sultan. All these sites have been awarded the World Heritage designation. You will remember Granada for sure!
Alhambra Palaces: A beautiful complex of monuments and gardens. Splendour of the Nasrid era, it was the largest political and aristocratic centre of the Moslem West. Discover its astonish Palace and its beautiful rectangular patios and numerous fountains. You’ll be amazed by the courtyard of the Lions with its fountains, one of the most beautiful site of the compound. Visit also the Alcazaba citadel, the oldest building and the La Vela tower which offers one of the loveliest views of the Alhambra.
Ubeda: Located on the hills and in a landscape of olive trees, Ubeda is known as the capital of the Andalusian Renaissance. Its old town was declared a Historic-Artistic site and has been awarded the World Heritage designation. You’ll be surprised by a splendid legacy of monuments, churches, palaces and noble houses. We also suggest a walk along the walls to enjoy the beautiful views.
Baeza: A calm and quiet city which presents an outstanding beauty and an incredible legacy of Renaissance architecture. Also awarded by the World Heritage designation, you’ll see the splendour of the city at every corner: palaces and churches alongside white houses, façades, porticoes, towers, squares and fountains. It is a wonderful place for tasting its pure olive oil, focused of the Mediterranean diet.
Madrid: Strategically located in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, it is the Capital City of Spain and therefore, one of the most touristic and important cities of the country. Because of its central location and high altitude, the climate of Madrid is characterized by warm dry summers and cool winters. Madrid is a city of great monuments. Among its highlights are the medieval centre dating back to the Habsburg Empire and the Prado Museum. As capital, Madrid is home of the Royal family, the Spanish Government and many other national institutions. The town has a long and fascinating history and all over Madrid there are monuments and museums of great artistically value. Apart from Madrid the province is also full of interesting sites to visit such as El Escorial, Aranjuez and Alcala de Henares all names UNESCO world Heritage Cities. It is a city full of life where travellers will feel welcome. Enjoy the street life and the numerous tapas bars and cafes where you will enjoy the “madrileños” love of life lifestyle.
Toledo: Located on the banks of the river Tagus, was known as Toletum during the Roman presence before the 2nd century BC. A very important area for a long period in history, Toledo became known as the “city of the three cultures”, for Christians, Arabs and Jews dwelled together here for centuries. This accounts for the incredible cultural legacy to be found here, which led to the declaration of World Heritage by UNESCO. In Toledo, you can admire several monuments with influences from these different cultures, such as the Gothic Cathedral, the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, the church of Santo Tomé, where you can find a famous painting by El Greco, and the Alcazár Fortress.
Zaragoza: A vibrant, elegant and welcoming city. Located on the banks of the mighty Río Ebro. Founded by the Iberians, would later be Roman, then the royal Arab capital and even the Christian capital of the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. The historical sights span all the great civilizations that have left their indelible mark on this towns soul. Amongst several unique monuments, you shall not miss the UNESCO classified Cathedral-basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, where is said that, the Virgin Mary appeared in AD40; and the natural Park of the Monasterio de Piedra, that offer great views of luxuriant green landscapes and water cascades, and where is located the 12th century Cistercian Monastery, embellished with different architectural styles. Here you’ll also find a Wine museum and the exhibition about the history of chocolate production that will leave you mouth-watering.
Tarragona: On the shores of the Mediterranean, Tarragona is a fascinating mix of Mediterranean beach life, Roman history and medieval alleyways. Spain´s second-most important Roman site, Tarragona’s as a wealth of ruins, including a seaside amphitheatre. The towns medieval heart is one of the most beautiful designed in Spain, its maze of narrow cobbled streets encircled by steep walls and crowned with a splendid cathedral. Here you can make countless trips, like the one that brings visitors to get to know one of the best preserved Cistercian monasteries, which is also a World Heritage Site: the monastery of Poblet. This is a cultural option added to those offered by a coastline on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea: seaside towns, tasty fish and seafood and any number of water sports.
Barcelona: The capital of Catalonia, is located at the Mediterranean Sea in the very north of the Spanish coast. With an old history heritage, here you will find monuments of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods. From the legendary modernist architecture legacy by Antoni Gaudí to the spectacular coastline that opens the city to the Mediterranean, Barcelona and leader in leisure and cuisine seduces the visitor in numerous ways. Strolling around the streets will bring surprises at every turn. Pedestrian streets in the old quarter, green spaces, and a splendid seafront with a range of modern facilities are a reflection of its multi-faceted character. Barcelona has cleverly succeeded in embracing its past without forgetting its commitment to the future. A city that is always pulsating creativity and life.
Montserrat: The Montserrat Natural Park, which emerges as if from a dream, protects the spiritual essence of Catalonia. For almost 1,000 years, a Benedictine community has lived in these mountains located 60 km away from Barcelona. Their Basilica houses the serene image of the Virgin of Montserrat, the patron saint of Catalonia.
Pamplona: The capital of the tradition and modernity live harmony with a significant collection of monumental buildings covered by its churches and historic streets and squares. If you like history, you shall not miss the Castle Square surrounded by amazing 18th century buildings that is the highlights of the visit to Pamplona. You will also be delighted with varied and traditional Navarre cuisine and their traditional festivals too. If you like to know better the people of Pamplona, visit the city during the Sanfermines festivities: in honour of the city’s patron saint these festivities include a running in front of the bulls in the streets of Pamplona
Running of the Bulls Festivity (Fiesta de San Fermin) (6th – 14th july): The festivities of San Fermin are celebrated every year in Pamplona, in the region of Navarra, from the 6th to the 14th of July. The official opening of the festival is marked by the launching of the rocket chupinazo from a city hall balcony with an audience of thousands of people watching and celebrating as it sets off towards the sky. Later on, but only for the bravest, starts the famous Running of the Bulls- Encierro-, where hundreds of people run down the streets of Pamplona in front of six bulls until they reach the bullfighting ring for the bullfighting exhibition.
Basque Country: Located in northern Spain, is well known for its really diverse landscapes. Between wild and isolated beaches, kissed by the Atlantic Ocean, and high and Rocky Mountains, you will be captivated by its natural wonders. Rich in History and Culture, Basque Country has its own language, the Euskara, considered one of the oldest languages of Europe. Due to the ocean breeze, you can expect moderate temperatures, even when the rain falls – something that is not so rare among the region.
San Sebastian: A charming and romantic city. Concha Bay is its most iconic site, with a big promenade along the sea, where locals and tourists go to enjoy the beautiful view. Keep in mind that San Sebastian is the place where you will like to eat. The city, besides being popular among surfers, is also well known for its remarkable culinary scene: from the seven restaurants in Spain awarded with 3 Michelin stars, three are in San Sebastian.
Bilbao: A unique city, surrounded by dense forests, high mountains and beautiful beaches. It is a privileged destination, where past meets future. Historic monuments, like the Cathedral-Church of Bilbao and the Basilica of Begoña, both from the 16th century, coexist with modern architectural projects, like the Guggenheim Museum and the Isozaki Towers, buildings that are catching the World’s attention. These recent investments have been crucial for the regeneration of the city as a dynamic metropolis.
Guggenheim Museum: Opened its doors in 1997, bringing a wave of energy to Bilbao, completely transforming the city. Nearly a million people travel from anywhere in the world, not only to see the incredible collection of modern and contemporary art, but also to admire the stunning architecture of the building, already named “a masterpiece of the 20th century” and “the greatest building of our time” by the critics.
Galicia: Although being a part of Spain’s mainland, is an autonomous community with its own cultural heritage and peculiar climate and geography. Located in the north western corner of the country, Galicia has the particularity of being bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Cantabrian Sea, resulting in a temperate climate. This region is divided in four different provinces, and each one of these has a lot to offer to its visitors. Well known for its history, tradition, culture and architecture, this “green” side of Spain will amaze you!
Santiago de Compostela: The capital of Galicia and therefore its showcase. This city knew how to expand in harmony, combining tradition with contemporary, bursting in life, commerce, services and culture. Declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1985, amongst others, we recommend a visit to the majestic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela itself and to the rest of the complex which comprises a museum, excavations, the Portico de la Gloria and the Corticela Chapel. A stroll on the old town can’t be missed, where you will have the opportunity to experience the local gastronomy and get a true feeling of the city, with its convents, churches, palaces and museums.
Porto: At the same time the name of a city and a fortified wine, one of the most famous in the world, aged at the wine cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, next to the Douro River. Its historical center has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and preserves many beautiful monuments, namely from the Baroque period which is contemporary to the glory and wealth achieved with the trade of Port Wine. You shall not miss a visit to the Cathedral (Sé), the Church of Saint Francis and the Clérigos Tower.
Douro Valley: Where the terraced hill slopes hide one of the country's most valuable treasures: the beautiful vineyards from where the worldwide famous Port wine is still nowadays produced. Driving through Marão Mountain range get prepared to enjoy one of the most wonderful landscapes in the world, with endless rows of vines dotting the slopes in the banks of the Douro River. We advise you to visit one of the wineries in the region and taking a river cruise.
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