Stay in historic lodgings as you journey from Lisbon to Barcelona, discovering breathtaking architecture and stunning scenery, fishing villages and cosmopolitan cities, and Basque and Catalan cultures.

Starting at: $6,774 * 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: Lisbon to Barcelona

Featuring Historic Paradores and Pousadas

17 days from $6,774 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Stay in historic lodgings as you journey from Lisbon to Barcelona, discovering breathtaking architecture and stunning scenery, fishing villages and cosmopolitan cities, and Basque and Catalan cultures.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

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.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL VALUE

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.

Overview

Travel the breadth of the Iberian Peninsula on a sweeping journey to Portugal and northern Spain that includes world-class cities such as Porto and Barcelona, fortified villages and fishing harbors, stunning coastlines and the soaring mountain peaks. Visit stops along the legendary Way of St. James pilgrimage route, and explore an array of World Heritage sites. Encounter the whimsical architecture of Gehry and Gaudí. Spend a day ensconced in Basque Country, and another discovering centuries-old villages and lush valleys in the Pyrenees. Throughout the trip, stay in historic pousadas and paradors and enjoy free time to pursue your own interests.

Highlights Include

  • Paradores and Pousadas Stay in three historic accommodations, including a seaside palace in Porto built in 1742, a 15th-century hostel for pilgrims established by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, and a historic lodge in the Pyrenees.
  • Lisbon and Porto: Discover the treasures of Lisbon, including the rococo-style Queluz Palace, and visit the fortified village of Óbidos and seaside Nazare. In Porto, a World Heritage site, take a city tour and short cruise on the Douro River, and enjoy a special tour and tasting at a traditional port lodge.
  • Santiago de Compostela: Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims who walked along the Way of St. James on a tour of the city’s magnificent cathedral, now a World Heritage site. 
  • León and Bilbao:  Encounter the architectural and historical heritage of León, with visits to its beautiful 12th-century basilica and Casa Botines, a fairy-tale-like building designed by Antoni Gaudí. In Bilbao, stroll through the medieval Old City and see the cathedral, then tour the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry, and the Fine Arts Museum, with its rich collection of Spanish and Basque art.
  • Basque Country and the Pyrenees: Make stops in poignant Gernika, the town razed during the Spanish Civil War, and various seaside villages that reflect the Basque culture. Travel through Pamplona on your way to the Pyrenees and spend a full day explore the majestic mountainscapes near Bielsa.
  • Barcelona: Pay homage to native son and architect Antoni Gaudí at Casa Mila, Parc Güell, and his surreal cathedral, La Sagrada Familia. Stroll through the Gothic Quarter and bustling Las Ramblas and enjoy plenty of time at leisure to explore this exciting city on your own.

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.

Itinerary

Day 1 and 2 — Depart the U.S. for Lisbon, Portugal

Fly overnight to Lisbon, and transfer to your hotel upon arrival. Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon before meeting for tonight’s welcome dinner. (D)

Day 3 — Lisbon

Lisbon is a city of grand squares and winding cobbled streets, topped by the medieval Castelo São Jorge. A morning tour introduces you to the city’s important momuments, including the Tower of Belém and the superb Jerónimos Monastery—together designated a World Heritage site. Then head just outside the city for a tour of the National Palace of Queluz, an 18th-century baroque and rococo residence surrounded by lovely gardens. The afternoon is yours to explore Lisbon as you wish.  (B)

Day 4 — Óbidos, Nazaré, and Porto

Leave Lisbon via the coastal road, then head north, stopping for a guided walk through the picturesque medieval streets of the walled village of Óbidos. In the seaside town of Nazaré, enjoy lunch on your own. In the mid-afternoon, reach lovely Porto and settle into your pousada, a waterfront baroque palace that was named a National Monument in 1910. (B,D)

Day 5 — Porto

Inhabited for more than 2,000 years, Porto brims with remarkable architecture, from ornate palaces to the Dom Luis I bridge, designed by a disciple of Gustav Eiffel. Set out on a city tour, exploring its World Heritage-listed historic center as well as the colorful Bolhao Market and the baroque Clerigos Church. Stroll the promenades of the Foz do Douro neighborhood, set where the Douro River meets the sea, and enjoy an hour-long cruise on the Douro River. End the tour with a visit to a renowned port lodge for a special tasting of the region’s fortified wines as well as chocolates and local cheeses. (B,D)

Day 6 — Pontevedra and Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Cross into the Spanish province of Galicia today and visit the riverside old town of Pontevedra, an important port in the 16th century. Continue to Santiago de Compostela, a World Heritage site and the end point for the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) pilgrimage route.  Your home here is the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, a 15th-century Gothic building designed as lodgings for arriving pilgrims and now one of Spain’s most celebrated paradors. (B,D)

Day 7 — Santiago de Compostela

Delve into the heart of stunning Santiago de Compostela on a guided tour, discovering cultural treasures such as the ornate cathedral where millions of pilgrims have paid homage at the silver crypt where St. James is believed to be buried. Admire the stone architecture of Plaza del Obradoiro, the monumental square surrounded by Santiago’s most important buildings. Take advantage of a free afternoon to get acquainted with this delightful—and walkable—city on your own. (B,D)

Day 8 — León

Travel east to vibrant León, a stop on the Way of St. James pilgrimage route that is known for its religious festivals and Easter Week processions. Learn about the city’s history architectural heritage on a visit to the 12th-century León Cathedral, covered with elaborate sculpture and filled with intricate stained glass. Encounter a different architectural era at the Casa Botines, a Modernist buidling designed by architect Antoni Gaudí that now houses a museum dedicated to him. Then visit the Basilica of Saint Isidoro to see the Royal Pantheon, where the kings of León lie buried amid stunning frescoes. At the Castile and León Museum of Contemporary Art, admire the outstanding architecture as well as the artwork displayed in the  dynamic interior.  Reach your hotel early this evening and dine there tonight. (B,D)

Day 9 — Santander and Bilbao

Head north to Spain’s Cantabrian coast, stopping for lunch and a tour in the elegant provincial capital of Santander. Continue to Bilbao,  an industrial port city that has become known for its architecture since the bold Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was built here in 1997. (B,L)

Day 10 — Bilbao

Begin the day exploring Bilbao’s medieval Old City with a guide. Meander through narrow cobblestoned streets to the grand Plaza Nueva, and see the 14th-century Catedral de Santiago, also a stop on the Way of St. James pilgrimage route. Peruse local produce and epicurean delicacies at the Art Deco La Ribera market, Europe’s largest indoor marketplace. Then take a guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and its contemporary art collection. One of Frank Gehry’s most famous creations, the museum is a fantastic sculpture of limestone, titanium, and glass that has helped revitalize the city.  End the day with a visit to Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum, home to a rich collection of Spanish and Basque art, including paintings by Goya and El Greco. (B,D)

Day 11 — Basque Country

Immerse yourself in Basque culture and history during a full-day excursion. From the seaside village of Bakio, follow the rugged coast to the islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, where a hermitage to St. John the Baptist sits perched amid dramatic rocks. Then visit Gernika, a town that was razed by Nazi bombing in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso later immortalized the tragic event in his poignant masterpiece, Guernica. Travel through the countryside, passing traditional Basque homes and villages. Visit the colorful fishing town of Bermeo and the medieval harbor village of Mundaka, and take in magnificent views of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve where wetlands and stunning beaches are surrounded by sheer cliffs. Cap off your excursion at a local winery, where you’ll have the chance to taste the area’s unique Txakoli wine, grown in vineyards overlooking the sea. (B,L)

Day 12 — Pamplona and Bielsa

On your way toward the Pyrenees, visit fabled Pamplona, a haunt of Ernest Hemingway known for its annual running of the bulls. Continue to your mountain parador near Bielsa, a village tucked among the high peaks of the Huesca Pyrenees, just across the border from France. (B,D)

Day 13 — Bielsa and the Pyrenees

Wake up to fresh mountain air and stunning scenery: your parador is perched above a verdant river valley and backed by craggy, snow-laced summits. The natural splendor continues on today’s excursion to the Chistau Valley. Set out on nature walks or hikes as you make your way through this broad and tranquil valley, discovering trickling streams, stunning mountain vistas, and timeless stone villages. (B,D)

Day 14 — Barcelona

After a last morning in the Pyrenees, drive toward Spain’s eastern coast to Barcelona. Upon arrival, take a brief orientation walking tour. Then enjoy the remainder of the day to discover this dynamic city on your own. (B)

Day 15 – Barcelona

Get acquainted with unique culture and history of this Catalan capitale history on  a guided tour of the winding medieval streets of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) and Las Ramblas,  the famous pedestrian boulevard lined with street performers. Encounter the imaginative creations of Barcelona’s native son, architect Antoni Gaudí, on visits to playful Parc Guell and the storied Sagrada Familia, his spectacular—and unfinished—cathedral. Following a tapas-style lunch, your afternoon is free. (2B,L)

Day 16 – Barcelona

Continue your Gaudí experience at Casa Mila, or “La Pedrera,” known for its curving stone façade and organic design. Enjoy a final afternoon at leisure; then join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner. (B,D)

Day 17 – Depart for the U.S.

Transfer to the airport this morning for flights to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)