Stay in historic lodgings as you journey from Lisbon to Barcelona to explore breathtaking architecture and important religious shrines, fishing villages and cosmopolitan cities, and Basque and Catalan cultures.

Starting at: $6,374 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Belem Tower, Lisbon  Sunset over the Douro River, Porto  <i>Rabelos</i>, boats on the Douro River in Porto  Symbol of Santiago de Compostela, found throughout the city and along the Pilgrims Way  The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela  The Guggenheim Museum of Contemporary Art, Bilbao  The rolling hills and Pyrenees Mountains of the Basque countryside  Monument to the running of the bulls in Pamplona  Vista from Gaudi's Parc Guell in Barcelona  The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona  Older architectural style of Barcelona  La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona  Gaudi's masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia  Interior of Antoni Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia  Gaudi's Casa Mila apartment building  Traditional <i>tapas</i> bar in Spain. Credit: Peter Horree/Alamy  Spanish tapas

Across Northern Spain and Portugal

Featuring Historic Paradores and Pousadas

17 days from $6,374 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Stay in historic lodgings as you journey from Lisbon to Barcelona to explore breathtaking architecture and important religious shrines, fishing villages and cosmopolitan cities, and Basque and Catalan cultures.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

brochure iconbrochure

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This trip was a trip through time. We learned about historical events and places all the way to current events. Our guides provided us with context to tie all our new knowledge together into a "big picture" of the Iberian Peninsula. it was SO enlightening

- Sherry B.

The tour itself was excellent and quite enlightening. The addition of the local guides, the personal touches of being in a private home, brought the experience to a much more complete level giving us a piece of Spanish culture we would not have had otherwise.

- Lois C.

One of the very best Smithsonian trips we have taken! 

- John & Helen A.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Corinthia Hotel Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

Situated a short distance from the historic city center, the Corinthia Hotel Lisbon overlooks Monsanto National Park.  The 518-room hotel features two restaurants and an indoor/outdoor lounge, indoor swimming pool, gym, spa with massage treatments, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, solarium, jewelry shop, and laundry and dry cleaning services.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone. 

Number of nights: 2

Pousada de Porto

Oporto, Portugal

The public areas of the Pousada de Porto were converted from a former palace built in 1742 on the banks of the Douro River, which exemplifies Portuguese Baroque architecture and has been classified as a National Monument. The 87-room hotel features pieces from various Oporto museums along with contemporary furnishings, and its amenities include a restaurant and bar; fitness center; outdoor and indoor pool; spa with sauna Turkish bath, and massage treatments; complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning service. Air-conditioned guest rooms include private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Parador de Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Considered one of the world's oldest hotels, the Hostal dos Reis Catolicós as it is also known was built by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1499 as a hospital for pilgrims. The 137-room parador is situated in the historic Plaza do Obradoiro adjacent to the famed cathedral and its architectural flourishes include a carved entrance façade, vaulted ceilings, stone archways, a Renaissance chapel, and four courtyards. The hotel features two restaurants and a bar, coffee shop, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, library, gift shop, and laundry and dry cleaning service. Air-conditioned guest rooms are furnished in historical style and offer private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Hotel Conde Luna

Leon, Spain

Located in the city center of León, the 142-room Hotel Conde Luna is close to the Cathedral, Colegiata San Isidro and the Humedo neighborhood, an old part of the city within the intact Roman city walls known for its many restaurants and bars.  Amenities include two restaurants and bar including the terrace on the tenth floor overlooking the city, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, a fitness center, spa, and laundry service.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hairdryer, minibar, TV, and phone. 

Number of nights: 1

Melia Bilbao

Bilbao, Spain

The contemporary Melia Bilbao is located in the city center close to the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and other cultural attractions, shops, and restaurants. Housing a collection of contemporary art, the 211-room hotel has two restaurants featuring Basque specialties and a bar; wellness center with gym, heated outdoor pool, sauna, and massage and beauty treatments; complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning service. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Parador de Bielsa

Bielsa, Spain

Perched on the mountain slopes of the Pyrenees in Monte Perdido National Park, the Parador de Bielsa offers sweeping views of this mountainous region of Northern Spain from its terrace. The 39-room parador features traditional regional architecture with local stone and offers a restaurant and bar, terrace, garden, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, laundry service, and gift shop. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone. A Note about Air Conditioning Hotels in Spain generally adhere to guidelines issued by the government regarding the availability of air conditioning. Many lodgings provide air conditioning in guest rooms only from late April or May until late September/early October.

Number of nights: 2

Hotel Avenida Palace

Barcelona, Spain

Built in 1952, Hotel Avenida Palace stands in the heart of Barcelona and offers a good location from which to explore. The 151-room hotel is just minutes from La Ramblas, the Picasso Museum, and the museum housing the works of modern architect Antoni Gaudi. The hotel features a restaurant and bar and laundry and dry cleaning services. Air-conditioned guest rooms offer private bath with hair dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone. A Note about Air Conditioning Hotels in Spain generally adhere to guidelines issued by the government regarding the availability of air conditioning. Many lodgings provide air conditioning in guest rooms only from late April or May until late September/early October.

Number of nights: 3

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: One of our Classic Land Journeys, this tour features visits to many cities, iconic sites, hidden gems, and various regions. Although comprehensive, it's not rushed, but well paced and finely tuned. Expectations include longer touring days with many full-day motor coach excursions and seven different hotels. Many hotels are historic buildings that have been restored or renovated as hotels; although modern in most amenities, they can sometimes require additional walking to get to guest rooms (and several do not have an elevator).

Mostly full-day excursions from four to six hours, with seven afternoons at leisure. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and outdoor activities. Daily walks of up to three miles; walking over sometimes difficult terrain that includes cobblestones and city hills (especially in hilltowns), uneven pavement, stairs without handrails, and absence of elevators; longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. There are four longer coach rides of approximately three to four hours duration. 

Please note that evening dinners in Spain are typically later in the evening than we are accustomed to here in the United States. The majority of the dinners on this tour will take place at approximately 8:30 pm. 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Tour Extension

Barcelona Post-Program Option  3 Days, 2 Nights

Discover more of this lively, spirited city at your leisure. Your tour extension price includes:

  • Accommodations at Hotel Avenida Palace (Superior First Class)
  • Two meals: two (2) breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport
Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This trip was a trip through time. We learned about historical events and places all the way to current events. Our guides provided us with context to tie all our new knowledge together into a "big picture" of the Iberian Peninsula. it was SO enlightening

- Sherry B.

The tour itself was excellent and quite enlightening. The addition of the local guides, the personal touches of being in a private home, brought the experience to a much more complete level giving us a piece of Spanish culture we would not have had otherwise.

- Lois C.

One of the very best Smithsonian trips we have taken! 

- John & Helen A.
Reading List

Highly Recommended

Small Memories
By: José Saramago
“Small Memories is a . . . nourishing last gift from a great writer.”—Washington PostShifting back and forth between childhood and his teenage years, between Azinhaga and Lisbon, this is a mosaic of memories, a simply told, affecting look into the author’s boyhood: the tragic death of his older brother at the age of four; his mother pawning the family’s blankets every spring and buying them back in time for winter; his beloved grandparents bringing the weaker piglets into their bed on cold nights; and Saramago’s early encounters with literature, from teaching himself to read by deciphering articles in the daily newspaper, to poring over an entertaining dialogue in a Portuguese-French conversation guide, not realizing that he was in fact reading a play by Molière.Written with Saramago’s characteristic wit and honesty, Small Memories traces the formation of an artist fascinated by words and stories from an early age who emerged, against all odds, as one of the world’s most respected writers.“Like a nostalgic progenitor bestowing his wealth of life experience upon a younger generation, Saramago digs deep into his peasant roots to sketch a rough outline of the little boy who would become one of the greatest Portuguese-language writers”—Portland Oregonian
Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past
By: Giles Tremlett
"An invaluable book . . . A country finally facing its past could scarcely hope for a better, or more enamored, chronicler of its present."-Sarah Wildman, New York Times Book Review The appearance, more than sixty years after the Spanish Civil War ended, of mass graves containing victims of Francisco Franco's death squads finally broke what Spaniards call "the pact of forgetting"-the unwritten understanding that their recent, painful past was best left unexplored. At this charged moment, Giles Tremlett embarked on a journey around the country and through its history to discover why some of Europe's most voluble people have kept silent so long. In elegant and passionate prose, Tremlett unveils the tinderbox of disagreements that mark the country today. Ghosts of Spain is a revelatory book about one of Europe's most exciting countries.
Spain: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: Peter Bush, Lisa Dillman
Explore Spain's rich literary landscape with some of the country's best contemporary writers. Arranged geographically, these thirty stories — many of which appear in English for the first time — transport the reader through Spain's many enchanting regions: experience a bull-run with Juan Goytisolo in Albacete, join Bernardo Atxaga in a Basque village, travel to the misty woods of Galicia with Manuel Rivas, and reminisce nostalgically with Julio Llamazares over black-and-white photos of his childhood Spain. Contributors include Nuria Amat, Bernardo Atxaga, Julián Ayesta, Carlos Blanco, Antón Castro, Agustín Cerezales, Rosa Chacel, Dulce Chacón, Rafael Chirbes, Miguel Delibes, Lucía Etxebarria, José Ferrer Bermejo, Laura Freixas, Amaia Gabantxo, Federico García Lorca, Juan Goytisolo, Julio Llamazares, José Jiménez Lozano, Javier Marías, Juan Marsé, Quim Monzó, Javier Puebla, Fernando Quiñones, Carme Riera, Manuel Rivas, Germán Sierra, Nivaria Tejera, and Angela Vallvey.
DK Eyewitness Northern Spain (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness

Also Recommended

DK Eyewitness Lisbon (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
DK Eyewitness Barcelona and Catalonia (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela
By: Brand: Italica Press
"The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela" presents the first complete English translation of Book Five of the Liber Sancti Jacobi or Codex Calixtinus. This twelfth-century guidebook traces the route from southern France to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The medieval Christian world knew three major pilgrimage sites - Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela. Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries Santiago de Compostela was by far the most popular. Pilgrimage to Compostela was a once-in-a-lifetime human adventure. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims came year after year through France and across the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela near the Atlantic shores of Galicia. In his study of the road to Santiago, Professor William Melczer discusses Relics and Pilgrimage The Origin of the Cult of St. James Myth and Historical Reality The Iter Sancti Jacobi The Liber Sancti Jacobi Pilgrimage without Ideology The Iconography of St. James. This book also includes extensive commentaries and notes that highlight historical, geographical, art-historical, hagiographic, and general cultural matters along the route traced by the Guide. Illustrated, introduction, gazetteer, hagiographical register, bibliography, index.
Portugal - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Sandy Guedes de Queiroz
Culture Smart! Portugal will help you to navigate this multifaceted society. It gives insights into different aspects of life, from sleepy seaside towns to modern, trendy cities, so that you can experience firsthand how this society, which protects family and privacy so fiercely, is eager and proud to show visitors everything the country has to offer. Portugal is a small country that has had a huge cultural and political impact on the modern world. Portugal is now on the radar of world travelers and multinational corporations alike, and this has made its people more receptive to change and more modern in their outlook. This adventurous spirit is evident in the urban and cultural renewal that has swept the country, in harmonious contrast with its historic and traditional backdrop. Portuguese idiosyncrasies can be both confusing and enchanting. While rising to the challenges of the times, they have managed to maintain their values intact, preserving the history and traditions that give their country its flavor.
Spain - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Aguado Viguer, Bélen, Meaney, Marian
Spain: The Root and the Flower: An Interpretation of Spain and the Spanish People
By: John A. Crow
This is the late John A. Crow's classic study of the cultural history of Spain and its people, which he last updated in 1985 but which seems as fresh and pertinent as when he first wrote it. Crow devoted a lifetime to Hispanic studies and here provides a historical interpretation of Spanish civilization from its earliest beginnings to the present. The scope of this study is remarkable and includes chapters on Roman Spain, the Jews in Spain, the Moors, life in medieval towns, and the Golden Age of Spain, plus a view of Franco's legacy.
Conquerors: How Portugal Forged The First Global Empire
By: Roger Crowley
The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation
By: Mark Kurlansky
From Mark Kurlansky, the bestselling author of Cod, Salt, Birdseye, and Paper—the illuminating story of an ancient and enigmatic peopleStraddling a small corner of Spain and France in a land that is marked on no maps except their own, the Basques are a puzzling contradiction—they are Europe's oldest nation without ever having been a country. No one has ever been able to determine their origins, and even the Basques' language, Euskera—the most ancient in Europe—is related to none other on earth. For centuries, their influence has been felt in nearly every realm, from religion to sports to commerce. Even today, the Basques are enjoying what may be the most important cultural renaissance in their long existence, as displayed by new cookbooks like chefs Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero's The Basque Book and restaurateur Jose Pizarro’s Basque.Mark Kurlansky's passion for the Basque people and his exuberant eye for detail shine throughout this fascinating book. Like Cod, The Basque History of the World, blends human stories with economic, political, literary, and culinary history into a rich and heroic tale.Among the Basques' greatest accomplishments:   • Exploration—the first man to circumnavigate the globe, Juan Sebastian de Elcano, was a Basque and the Basques were the second Europeans, after the Vikings, in North America    • Gastronomy and agriculture—they were the first Europeans to eat corn and chili peppers and cultivate tobacco, and were among the first to use chocolate    • Religion—Ignatius Loyola, a Basque, founded the Jesuit religious order    • Business and politics—they introduced capitalism and modern commercial banking to southern Europe    • Recreation—they invented beach resorts, jai alai, and racing regattas, and were the first Europeans to play sports with balls “A delectable portrait of an uncanny, indomitable nation.” –Newsday“Exciting, Illuminating, and thought provoking.” –The Boston GlobeEntertaining and instructive… [Kurlansky’s] approach is unorthodox, mixing history with anecdotes, poems with recipes.” –The New York Times Book Review
A Traveller's History of Spain
By: Juan Lalaguna
During its "golden age," Spain was a political giant whose influence spanned the world from Germany to the Western Pacific. Rich on American gold and silver, Spain was able to send the Armada against England, defeat the Turks and challenge France for the hegemony of Europe. This book will unlock the secrets of Spain's vibrant and colorful past, its people and culture for the interested traveller. It takes the reader on a journey from the earliest settlements on the Iberian Peninsula, through the influences of the Romans, the Goths and the Muslims, the traumas of expansion and the end of the Empire, right up to the present.
A Traveller's History of Portugal
By: Ian C. Robertson
A definitive concise history of Portugal, from its earliest beginnings right up to the politics and life of the present day.It was not until the twelfth century that Portugal became a country in its own right, having been a Roman colony and then having suffered both Barbarian and Islamic invasions. The golden age of discoveries, the reign and foresight of Henry the Navigator, and great seamen such as Vasco da Gama led to the founding of Portugal's empire and wealth. Troubled times followed: in 1755 Lisbon was virtually leveled by the "Great Earthquake, " and the country had hardly recovered its former prosperity when it was overrun by Napoleon's troops at the start of the Peninsular War, to be followed not long after by the Miguelite civil war. The middle decades of the nineteenth century saw the Port Wine trade flourishing, and further expansion into Africa. During the last quarter of the twentieth century, ever since the bloodless revolution of 1974 overthrew the right-wing dictatorship of Salazar, the country has regained its stability, and now takes its rightful place in the European Community.
Road to Santiago (Directions)
By: Kathryn Harrison
Displaying her "real talent for conjuring far-flung times and places," Kathryn Harrison tells the mesmerizing story of her 200-mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In the spring of 1999, Kathryn Harrison set out to walk the centuries-old pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. "Not a vacation, " she calls it, "but a time out of time." With a heavy pack, no hotel reservations, and little Spanish, she wanted an experience that would be both physically and psychically demanding. No pain, no gain, she thought, and she had some important things to contemplate. But the pilgrim road was spattered with violets and punctuated by medieval churches and alpine views, and, despite the exhaustion, aching knees, and brutal sun, she was unexpectedly flooded with joy and gratitude for life's gifts. "Why do I like this road?" she writes. "Why do I love it? What can be the comfort of understanding my footprint as just one among the millions? ... While I'm walking I feel myself alive, feel my small life burning brightly." Throughout this deeply personal and revealing memoir of her journey, first made alone and later in the company of her daughter, Harrison blends striking images of the route and her fellow pilgrims with reflections on the redemptive power of pilgrimages, mortality, family, the nature of endurance, the past and future, the mystery of friendship. The Road to Santiago is an exquisitely written, courageous, and irresistible portrait of a personal pilgrimage in search of a broader understanding of life and self.
Prince Henry the Navigator
By: Sir Peter Russell, Peter Russell
Henry the Navigator, fifteenth-century Portuguese prince and explorer, is a legendary, almost mythical figure in late medieval history. Considered along with Columbus to be one of the progenitors of modernity, Prince Henry challenged the scientific assumptions of his age and was responsible for liberating Europeans from geographical restraints that had bound them since the Roman Empire’s collapse. In this enthralling account of Henry’s life―the first biography of “The Navigator” in more than a century―Peter Russell reaps the harvest of a lifelong study of Prince Henry. Making full use of documentary evidence only recently available, Russell reevaluates Henry and his role in Portuguese and European history.Examining the full range of Prince Henry’s activities, Russell discusses the explorer’s image as an imperialist and as a maritime, mathematical, and navigational pioneer. He considers Henry’s voyages of discovery in the African Atlantic, their economic and cultural consequences, and the difficult questions they generated regarding international law and papal jurisdiction. Russell demonstrates the degree to which Henry was motivated by the predictions of his astrologer―an aspect of his career little known until now―and explains how this innovator, though firmly rooted in medieval ways of thinking and behaving, set in motion a current of change that altered European history.
Journey to Portugal: In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture
By: José Saramago
When José Saramago decided to write a book about Portugal, his only desire was that it be unlike all other books on the subject, and in this he has certainly succeeded. Recording the events and observations of a journey across the length and breadth of the country he loves dearly, Saramago brings Portugal to life as only a writer of his brilliance can. Forfeiting the usual sources such as tourist guides and road maps, he scours the country with the eyes and ears of an observer fascinated by the ancient myths and history of his people. Whether it be an inaccessible medieval fortress set on a cliff, a wayside chapel thick with cobwebs, or a grand mansion in the city, the extraordinary places of this land come alive. Always meticulously attentive to those elements of ancient Portugal that persist today, he examines the country in its current period of rapid transition and growth. Journey to Portugal is an ode to a country and its rich traditions.
Alentejo Blue
By: Monica Ali
Following her National Book Critics Circle and Los Angeles Times Book Award-nominated, bestselling debut, Brick Lane, Monica Ali's splendid Alentejo Blue "rewards readers with characters who etch themselves into one's memory" (People). Set in a small Portuguese village, Alentejo Blue is a story of displacement and modernization told through the lives of the locals and of people who are just passing through. The residents of Mamarrosa whose ancestors occupy the graveyards are restless and struggle to make a living. They watch as tourists and expats move in. Monica Ali's characters are profoundly sympathetic. Her understanding of their dreams, desires, and disappointments is rare and moving. Alentejo Blue is evidence that Monica Ali is one of the most gifted voices of her generation.
The Sun Also Rises: The Hemingway Library Edition
By: Hemingway, Ernest
The High Mountains of Portugal: A Novel
By: Martel, Yann
Baltasar and Blimunda
By: Jose Saramago
From the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature, a “brilliant...enchanting novel” (New York Times Book Review) of romance, deceit, religion, and magic set in eighteenth-century Portugal at the height of the Inquisition. National bestseller. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero.
Antoni Gaudi (Big Art)
By: Zerbst, Rainer
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.