The fiery Spanish capital of Madrid paves the way for an unforgettable journey through centuries of history and cultural highlights across the Iberian Peninsula. Embrace la buena vida and soak up the vibrant city atmosphere, before joining your fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation of the city's iconic sights.
Witness the dramatic honey-coloured clifftop hanging houses of Cuenca, before your journey continues to Valencia, renowned for its modern verve and spirit of innovation. An orientation drive will include views of the 14th-century Towers of Serrano and Quart, and the City of Arts and Sciences, a large-scale urban recreation centre for culture and science and designed by Santiago Calatrava. This evening, consider indulging in Valencia's fragrant flavours and aromas of paella.
We travel through the Sierra Nevadas bound for Guadix, where we'll witness how generations of locals have carved cosy abodes into their rocky surrounds. We'll view the troglodyte cave dwellings that blend effortlessly into the surrounding ochre landscape. Witness how generations of Guadix locals have carved cosy abodes into their rocky surrounds, then travel through the jagged Mora Pass to Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors in Europe. This evening, sample the hearty flavours of Andalusia during a special Regional Dinner at a local restaurant.
Tread in the footsteps of Spain's last emirs, joining your Local Specialist for a visit to the incredible Alhambra, with its amazing palaces, gardens and fountains. Inspired by poetry, the architecture is said to be a reflection of paradise as described in Islamic verse. Immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere in quiet courtyards, follow its colossal ancient walls and admire the ornate stone carvings. We leave Granada behind for Córdoba where we'll join a Local Specialist to visit the mesmerising Cathedral of Córdoba, the former mosque of the caliphs and a jewel of Hispano-Islamic art featuring striking arches and Byzantine mosaics. Our final stop for the day is alluring Seville, our home for the next three nights.
Seville takes centre stage today as we explore this charismatic city. We'll see the symbolic Giralda Bell Tower with a Local Specialist, then visit the Maria Luisa Park, home of the 1929 Exposition. The park was built in a Moorish style and features half a mile of fountains, ponds, pavilions and lush plantings. We'll walk through the imposing Plaza de España and visit the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, where the explorer Christopher Columbus is entombed. Consider an Optional Experience this evening to witness the twirling of colourful skirts and rhythmic clapping of castanets at a fiery flamenco performance.
We indulge in the aromatic flavours of Jerez today as we Dive Into Culture and into the centuries-old tradition of Spanish sherry production. The leafy boulevards and quiet plazas of romantic Cádiz are our next stop. Tread in the footsteps of Columbus, who used this historic port city as his launch pad to the 'New World', and see the exotic plants and trees dotted throughout the city, said to have been brought here by him upon his return.
Leaving the zesty scents of Seville behind, we head to the golden landscapes of the Alentejo, where the Brito Paes family await our arrival for a special Connect With Locals lunch on their traditional stud ranch, which has been rearing Lusitano horses since the 18th century. Enjoy a Be My Guest experience in the home of their ancestor before continuing to Évora for a guided sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist of its cathedral, Roman temple and Chapel of Bones. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.
We arrive in the seafaring Portuguese capital of Lisbon this afternoon, where we'll join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of the city's highlights. A particular highlight of this afternoon is an opportunity to Dive Into Culture at the UNESCO-listed Hieronymite Monastery, an exquisite testament to 16th-century Manueline architecture and art.
Today is yours to connect with the Portuguese capital. Relax at a sidewalk café with a creamy pasteis de nata and venture to the Castle of São Jorge and admire the sea of pastel pinks, yellows and blues that clad Lisbon's seven hills. You may choose to join an Optional Experience to the historic towns of Cascais and Sintra.
Follow the road taken by pilgrims over the last 100 years to the Shrine at Fátima, a site of celebrated religious miracles. We leave Portugal, travelling to the historic Spanish city of Salamanca with its golden-hued façades and ancient university heritage, where we will visit its 18th-century Plaza Mayor during our orientation tour.
See the walled city of Ávila, the 'Town of Stones and Saints', so named for its vast collection of Romanesque and Gothic churches. We arrive in the clifftop city of Toledo and join a Local Specialist for a guided walk through its streets. We'll visit the Church of Santo Tomé, home to one of El Greco's most famous paintings - 'The Burial of the Count of Orgaz' and the former Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca. Later, Dive Into Culture and witness local craftsmen at work creating inlaid steel the traditional way. We arrive in Madrid this evening, our home for the next two nights.
This morning, we join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of Madrid, where we'll see the Royal Palace, Cibeles Fountain and Retiro Park, originally created as a retreat for the royal family. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city on your own terms. Admire the world's finest collection of Spanish art at the Prado Museum, indulge in some last-minute shopping on Gran Vía or consider an Optional Experience to the medieval UNESCO-listed city of Segovia. This evening marks the end of our memorable journey through the Iberian Peninsula. Join your fellow companions and Travel Director for a Farewell Dinner.
For now it's time to say a fond farewell to our travelling companions, your Travel Director and the beauty of Spain and Portugal at the end of a memorable holiday. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.