Treasures of Southern Spain and Portugal
Stay in historic inns in Spain and Portugal and discover the spirit of Iberia's rich Roman and Moorish past.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
This was my first Smithsonian Journeys tour and I loved it. I would recommend it highly to anyone who is interested in history, art, architecture and culture of Spain and Portugal.”
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This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.
An exciting history of explorers and invaders is etched across the gentle landscapes of the Iberian Peninsula. Hilltop citadels, striking Roman sites, and elaborate cathedrals and palaces feature architectural styles that speak of seafarers and Moors. Join our popular tour of southern Spain and Portugal, showcasing many World Heritage sites. Barcelona Post-Program option available!
- Paradores and Pousadas: Spend eight nights in distinctive historic inns—including a medieval monastery, historic fortress, stately palace, and old town hall—and learn about the backgrounds of these distinguished lodgings.
- Portugal: Tour Lisbon, visit the National Palace of Queluz, and enjoy a traditional musical performance in Evora, a World Heritage site.
- Spain: Explore World Heritage sites such as lovely Cordoba, Seville’s renowned Alcazar (palace), Granada’s Alhambra, Moorish Toledo, and the Roman ruins at Merida. Conclude in sophisticated Madrid, home to the world-famous Prado Museum and historic Palacio Real.
Days 1 & 2 — U.S. and Lisbon, Portugal
Depart the U.S. for Lisbon. Upon arrival the next day, enjoy an afternoon at leisure, then gather for a welcome dinner with fellow travelers. (D)
Day 3 — Lisbon and Queluz
On a tour of Portugal’s lively capital city, visit the waterfront area of Belem. See the medieval Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery, and the Monument to the Discoveries, which commemorates Portugal’s storied explorers. In the nearby town of Queluz, visit the National Palace, the former residence of Portuguese royalty now used for state occasions. (B)
Day 4 — Evora
Travel through the Alentejo region with its olive groves, vineyards, and wheat fields. After stopping for lunch in the fortified hilltop town on Monsaraz, late this afternoon arrive in Evora, regional capital of the Alentejo. Relax at your pousada, considered one of Portugal’s finest. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Evora
Spend the day exploring this university town, a World Heritage site. A morning walking tour highlights the well-preserved Roman and Moorish heritage, while the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy this Golden Age city on your own. Tonight enjoy a traditional Tuna performance before dinner. (B,D)
Day 6 — Merida, Spain, and Carmona
Travel east through a countryside checkered with the ruins of fortresses to the Spanish border town of Merida. Upon arrival, explore the Roman ruins and then enjoy time at leisure for lunch and personal interests. Continue to Carmona and your parador, a dramatic 14th-century Arab fortress. (B,D)
Day 7 — Carmona and Seville
Today visit nearby Seville, the splendid Moorish capital of the Andalusia region and considered by many to be the cultural capital of Spain. A walking tour stops at the famous cathedral, the world’s largest Gothic building, and features the delicately ornate Moorish Alcazar, or Royal Palace. Return to Carmona late this afternoon and dine at your parador this evening. (B,D)
Day 8 — Carmona and Cordoba
Travel to Cordoba, once a major European center for art, science, and culture during the Middle Ages. Here, explore a rich legacy where Moorish, Christian, and Jewish cultures mingled successfully. After touring the highlights, including the magnificent Mezquita Mosque, enjoy free time to explore on your own, then return to Carmona. (B,D)
Day 9 — Ronda
Leave Carmona behind and travel south to tiny Ronda, scene of the last great rising of the Moors against Ferdinand and Isabella. Its whitewashed houses, and your parador, are perched dramatically near the edge of a plunging gorge, spanned by an 18th-century arched bridge. Enjoy a special afternoon excursion to a local olive farm. (B,D)
Day 10 — Ronda
After a brief walking tour, the day is at leisure to explore this charming town on your own. Take in the spectacular views of the gorge and bridges, and marvel at the impressive Moorish architecture. Tonight, dine on regional specialties at your parador, Ronda’s original town hall. (B,D)
Day 11 — Granada and Ubeda
Depart this morning for Granada, the former stronghold of Moorish Spain, is set in the foothills of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada. The city’s undisputed highlight is the Alhambra, the extraordinary palace of Spain’s last Moorish rulers. Sprawled across a hilltop above the Darro River, the Alhambra commands breathtaking views of the city below. This afternoon, tour this splendid citadel and the Generalife, the palace’s acclaimed gardens. Continue traveling north to Ubeda and your next parador, a former palace dating to the 16th century. (B,D)
Day 12 — Toledo and Madrid
Toledo, capital of medieval Spain, still looks much like it did when the artist El Greco painted here in the 16th century. See Toledo’s most important sites on a guided tour, including the massive Gothic cathedral. Continue to Madrid, arriving late in the afternoon. (B)
Day 13 — Madrid
Enjoy a morning tour of this monumental and dignified capital city including the vast Plaza Mayor, in the heart of Old Madrid; the Moorish medieval district; and the opulent 18th-century Palacio Real (Royal Palace), with its 2,800 rooms. Our tour ends at the Prado, one of the world’s great museums, where you are free to explore on your own. The remainder of the day is free. (B)
Day 14 — Madrid
Spend your final day enjoying the Spanish capital as you wish. Stroll along the city’s broad boulevards; see Picasso’s famed painting Guernica at the Reina Sofia Museum; wander through the weekly El Rastro Market; or enjoy traditional Spanish tapas (appetizers) at a local restaurant. Tonight bid adios to Spain at a farewell dinner. (B,D)
Day 15 — Madrid and the U.S
Depart Madrid for the U.S. on individual flights. (B)