|Jewels of Spain & Portugal – 8 Nights / 9 Days|
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Day 1 Arrive in Madrid, Spain.
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to start exploring lively Madrid. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers. (D)
Day 2 Madrid–Avila–Salamanca–Coimbra, Portugal.
Journey west to fortified Avila, then on to Salamanca, just six miles from the spot where Wellington routed Napoleon’s army in 1812. Make sure you spend some time wandering around Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor, the most beautiful square in Spain. Leave Salamanca and journey into the valley of the Serra da Estrela on your way for an overnight in Coimbra. (B,D)
Day 3 Coimbra–Fátima–Obidos–Lisbon.
This morning, enjoy an orientation tour of Coimbra, strategically situated on a hill overlooking the Mondego River. Next, Fátima. Stop here to see the SANCTUARY, made famous by the Virgin Mary’s apparition to three shepherd children—Francisco, Jacinth, and Lucia—on May 13, 1917. A few more miles for a stop in Obidos, a fortified city still flanked by towers and bastions overlooking the countryside dotted with windmills. Overnight in Lisbon. (B)
Day 4 Lisbon.
Henry the Navigator made Lisbon the 15th-century “Mistress of the Seas.” You’ll see his monument, the Belem Tower, the Moorish Citadel, the impressive Black Horse Square, and other highlights on the guided sightseeing excursion. Spend the afternoon in the Alfama’s tile-decorated streets, or take an optional excursion along the Estoril Coast to Cascais and Sintra. (B)
Day 5 Lisbon–Seville, Spain.
Drive southeast this morning into the Alentejo through the countryside famous for its production of cork. Then, on to the border at Vila Verde and cross into Spain for the journey into Andalusia, enjoying quite different scenery as you skirt the Sierra de Aracena before reaching delightful Seville for two overnights. (B,D)
Day 6 Seville.
One of Spain’s most colorful cities. Perhaps you’d like to spend the morning enjoying an optional sightseeing tour including the main highlights of this vibrant city. (B)
Day 7 Seville–Cordoba–Madrid.
Drive north towards Carmona, an Old World country town dominated by an ancient Alcazar (fortress), to Cordoba. This is Spain’s most Moorish city with its great mosque, which is rightly known as one of Islam’s greatest pieces of architecture outside the Arab world and now a Catholic cathedral since 1236. Later, into the very heart of La Mancha, famed for its castles and windmills. Overnight in Madrid. (B)
Day 8 Madrid.
Not only is it the capital of Spain, but because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards rightly say Madrid is the nearest thing to heaven. Enjoy the main highlights on the included guided sightseeing excursion. The optional trip to Toledo is rewarding in more ways than one; the splendid setting of this old walled city above the Tagus was made famous in El Greco’s painting, and even now it’s like a great open-air museum of Spanish history and art. (B)
Day 9 Madrid.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)