Welcome to Spain! Join up with your new crew today and we'll start our adventure by heading to Córdoba.Flowers adorn storybook balconies & charming little lanes will take your breath away in this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, overflowing with history. We'll start with a walking tour to fall head over heels with Córdoba, and a trip to the Mezquita (Mosque of the Caliphs) will be the perfect way to spend our day. This evening we'll stay in for an included dinner together at our Special Stay for the night, a 15th Century monastery with vaulted ceilings, outdoor pool and internal courtyard.
Ready to explore more of Andalucía? This morning we'll leave historical Córdoba with our sights set on sun-soaked Seville.13th century architecture and one of the world's biggest cathedrals wait for us in the passionate arms of Southern Spain's capital, Seville. We'll be seduced with a guided stroll of the city, admiring the city's river, Mudéjar palaces & aristocratic mansions, before settling down to an included dining experience together tonight.
Another day free to explore Seville? Don't mind if we do. Take a wander through picturesque Barrio Santa Cruz, visit the Alcazar (a Game of Thrones location for those in the know) and explore winding medieval lanes to your heart's delight. Just be sure to save some energy for our optional EatWith dining experience tonight, an authentic feast on Seville's rooftops.
We couldn't think of a more perfect way to say goodbye to Spain, and say goodbye we must, because our agenda today sees us moving westwards on the Iberian penninsula to Portugal. Crossing the border, spirits are high as we cruise along the Algarve, where petiscos and pastéis de nata await.Welcome to yet another example of incredible Europe – how can countries sit so geographically close yet be so distinctly different? Here in Lisbon, vintage looking trams roll down cobbled streets and tiny intricate tiles make everything beautifully picturesque. With plenty of time for exploring tomorrow, you're free to take to the streets and check out some of the sidestreet cafes or restaurants for dinner, and real foodies won't want to miss the optional Tastes of Lisbon experience to discover the best authentic food spots around the city.
Starting to feel fully immersed in all things Portugal, this morning we'll get guided around the city and check out all the hotspots including Portugal's Christo Rei (Christ the Redeemer), Rossio Square, the Belem District, home to the famous tower of the same name, and feel some Moorish vibes at a monastery where Vasco de Gama's tomb is held. With free time this afternoon, those looking for local vibes will fall head over heels for bohemian bars, riverside clubs and plenty of cute boutiques. Tonight, you'll be able to join an optional dinner experience at Al Faro restaurant.
After breakfast this morning we'll head up the coast to Leiria, but not before stopping en route at Cascais and Sintra. Our first stop this morning is in the coastal town of Cascais, known for its stunning beaches and tasty seafood. Stroll along the marina or opt in for a Contiki Cares experience hosted by local residents: a street art tour showcasing the culture of a neighbourhood shaking off old perceptions by creating an urban art gallery unlike anywhere in the world. We couldn't leave Lisbon without a visit to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sintra. This fairytale town features turreted pastel-coloured palaces and charming castle ruins, with the star of the show being the insta-famous Pena Palace. You may not have heard of Leiria before, but we promise it'll soon charm you. A medieval old town, an iconic castle, outdoor restaurants and sweet Portuguese cakes greet us in this modest town between Lisbon and Porto. We'll come together tonight for an included dinner and a chance to swap stories about everything we've seen today.
Saying 'Tchau' to Leiria after breakfast, we'll take the coach towards Porto, via Aveiro.This mini-Venice is a gorgeous town built on canals. We'll have an optional traditional boat tour to cruise the winding canals, admiring the colourful houses and learning about the area's history.Cruising into the terracotta washed city of Porto, we'll enjoy a free evening tonight with plenty of time to explore tomorrow.
Alive with galleries & coffee shops, the city of Porto is basically a dream. We’ll find heritage in the old wooden tram that rattles along the streets & in the UNESCO stamped alleys of Ribeira. You'll have the chance to explore Porto in your free time today, seeing all the main sites like the lavish São Fransisco Church and 19th century Palácio de Bolsa and wandering the picturesque coastline, before an optional but must to experience this evening: a walking tour of Porto complete with port tasting.
See ya Portugal, you've shown us all your best places and we're feeling very thankful!Rolling back over the border to Spain, we'll settle for the night in Salamanca. We're just 2 hours from Madrid but somehow Salamanca feels like a whole other world, with a 13th century University, mysteriously futuristic gargoyles, a painted indoor sky fresco, and a Cathedral dotted with carved stone shells. After orienting ourselves to the city we'll have some free time to find some food (think cheeses, cured meats, wine & sweet almond cookies) and explore more this evening.
Satisfied with our time in Salamanca, we'll make our way back to Madrid with a stop in Ávila. Ávila is best known for its perfectly preserved 11th century medieval walls, protecting the medieval UNESCO World Heritage-listed city inside. We'll stop to admire them and find ourselves some lunch before jumping back in the coach, bound for Madrid. Back where it all began, again! Here in Madrid you'll be able to make the most of our final night together with an optional dinner of traditional food at an iconic Spanish restaurant near the Plaza Mayor.
Tears and tissues and pinky swears for a reunion trip will mark the blur of sadness that is our morning departure. These are the memories that will stay with you a life time; make sure your next Contiki adventure is just around the corner.