Stay in historic paradores and pousadas as you make your way from Lisbon to Madrid, exploring cities brimming with history and contemporary culture, ancient Roman sites, and the Moorish strongholds and whitewashed hill towns of Andalusia.

Starting at: $5,874 * Price includes special offer * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 A plaza in charming Ronda
 The Plaza de Espana, Seville
 Belem Tower, Lisbon
 Monument to the Discoveries, Lisbon
 The interior of the Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon
 Roman theater in Mérida
 A courtyard in the Alcazar, or Royal Palace, in Seville
 The immense Gothic cathedral of Seville
 Parador de Carmona courtyard
 The mosque in Cordoba
 The evocative garden area of the Generalife at the Alhambra, Granada
 The Alhambra of Granada
 Intricate architectural design at the Alhambra, Granada
 The Alhambra and its gardens, renowned as the epitome of Moorish design
 The gardens of the Generalife, part of the World Heritage site of the Alhambra in Granada
 The landscape of medieval Toledo
 Madrid's vibrant Plaza Mayor
 <i>Las Meninas</i> by Diego Velázquez, the Prado Museum, Madrid
 Traditional <i>tapas</i> bar in Spain. Credit: Peter Horree/Alamy
 Traditional Spanish culinary delights include seafood paella
 Spanish tapas

Treasures of Southern Spain and Portugal

Featuring Historic Paradores and Pousadas

15 days from $5,874 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Stay in historic paradores and pousadas as you make your way from Lisbon to Madrid, exploring cities brimming with history and contemporary culture, ancient Roman sites, and the Moorish strongholds and whitewashed hill towns of Andalusia.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details


Portugal and Southern Spain are not to be missed by Smithsonian Journey's travelers. This is a bucket list trip that will encourage you to visit these lovely countries. The tour director is fabulous and goes above and beyond to make the trip so special.

- Joyce M.


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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.


A riveting history of Romans and Moors, explorers and invaders is etched across the gentle landscapes of the Iberian Peninsula. The interplay of hilltop citadels, ancient Roman cities, Mudejar palaces, and Gothic cathedrals speak of the many cultures that graced Portugal and southern Spain. Trace the Golden Age of Exploration in Lisbon and spend two nights in the delightful town of Évora. Then cross into Spain, discovering World Heritage sites and enchanting towns from Seville and Ronda to Granada and Toledo.   

Highlights Include

  • Paradores and Pousadas: Experience Iberia’s history up close as you spend eight nights in distinctive inns, including a medieval convent, 14th-century Moorish castle, a stately Renaissance palace, and a medieval town hall overlooking a dramatic gorge. 
  • Lisbon and Evora:  Admire the architecture of the World Heritage sites of Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery, and visit the Monument to the Discoveries and the National Palace in nearby Queluz. Cross the Alentejo to the university town of Evora, another World Heritage site, and explore the Roman and Moorish sites from your base at one of Portugal’s finest pousadas.
  • Merida, Seville, Córdoba: Discover some of Spain’s most well-preserved Roman ruins in Merida, touring the impressive amphitheater theater, temple, and aqueduct. From your parador in the charming town of Carmona, venture to Seville to tour the magnificent Gothic cathedral and the Alcazar, and explore the Mezquita of Córdoba, a city where Moorish, Christian, and Jewish cultures flourished.
  • Ronda and Granada: Stay at the edge of a plunging gorge in clifftop Ronda, and discover the town’s impressive Moorish architecture on a walking tour.  In Granada, take a guided tour of the World Heritage-listed Alhambra, the legendary palace-fortress that epitomizes Moorish architecture.
  • Toledo and Madrid: Experience medieval Toledo, the city of El Greco, visiting the Gothic cathedral, the exquisite synagogue, and other sites. Then take a city tour of Madrid, including the Plaza Mayor, the Moorish medieval district, and the opulent Royal Palace; and enjoy plenty of time at leisure to discover the city as you wish.

Portugal and Southern Spain are not to be missed by Smithsonian Journey's travelers. This is a bucket list trip that will encourage you to visit these lovely countries. The tour director is fabulous and goes above and beyond to make the trip so special.

- Joyce M.


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

Depart the U.S. and arrive in Lisbon the next day. After free time in the afternoon, gather with your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner. (D)

Day 3 — Lisbon and Queluz

On a tour of Portugal’s lively capital city, explore the waterfront area of Belém, home to two 16th-century monuments that capture the spirit of Portugal’s Age of Discovery and together comprise a World Heritage site: the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery, known for its delicate, nautically inspired Manueline architecture. See the adjacent Monument to the Discoveries, which commemorates Portugal’s storied explorers. In the nearby town of Queluz, visit the National Palace, a former hunting lodge transformed into a royal palace and surrounded by luxuriant gardens. (B)

Day 4 — Évora

Travel through the olive orchards and vineyards of the Alentejo region, stopping for lunch in the fortified hilltop town of Monsaraz. Arrive in Évora, the regional capital of the Alentejo, and settle into your pousada, a former convent arranged around several lovely cloisters. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Évora

Spend the day exploring this World Heritage-listed university town, where vestiges of the Romans and the Moorish are evident in the walled medieval center. See the Temple of Diana, a well-preserved Roman temple dramatically set in the heart of town, and visit other highlights on a morning walking tour. The afternoon is yours to explore Évora and its environs on your own. (B,D)

Day 6 — Merida, Spain, and Carmona

Continue east toward Spain, passing whitewashed villages and hilltop fortresses. In the Spanish border town of Merida, a regional capital during the Roman era, visit some of the best classical ruins in Spain, which include an amphitheater that is still used for performances, as well as an arched bridge dating back more than 2,000 years. Enjoy lunch at leisure and time to visit the city on your own. Then drive to Carmona, where your home for three nights is a parador set within a 14th-century Moorish fortress. (B,D)

Day 7 — Seville and Carmona

Today visit nearby Seville, the splendid capital of Andalusia, where flamenco culture runs deep and historic squares buzz with life. Admire the city’s exquisite blend of Mudejar, baroque, and medieval architecture on a walking tour that includes two World Heritage-listed sites: the city’s cathedral, the world’s largest Gothic building, and its La Giralda bell tower; as well as the Real Alcázar, the spectacular royal palace originally built in the 13th century and enhanced by generations of Spanish monarchs. Return to Carmona late this afternoon and dine at your parador this evening. (B,D)

Day 8 — Córdoba and Carmona

While much of Europe was in the Dark Ages from the 8th to the 11th centuries, Córdoba was the capital of Moorish Spain—a thriving center of intellectual, scientific, and artistic pursuits where Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cultures coexisted harmoniously. On a city tour, meander among the striped arches and leafy courtyards of the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th-century mosque with a cathedral built into its interior. Then enjoy free time to explore on your own before returning to Carmona. (B,D)

Day 9 — Ronda

Travel south to Ronda, where whitewashed houses perch dramatically above a deep gorge. The city was the site of the last great rising of the Moors against Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. Check into your parador, set at the edge of the precipice near Ronda’s iconic 18th-century arched bridge. This afternoon, head into the countryside to visit a local olive farm for a delightful tapas lunch. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Ronda

On a walking tour this morning, take in spectacular views of Ronda’s gorge and bridges and venture into the centuries-old Arab medina to marvel at the architecture. Sit down to a tapas lunch of regional specialties at our parador, Ronda’s original town hall. This afternoon and evening are yours to relax and enjoy this delightful town as you wish. (B,L)

Day 11 — Granada and Úbeda

Continue east to Granada, a former stronghold of Moorish Spain set in the foothills of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada. Poised on a hilltop above the city, commanding spectacular views, is the Alhambra, the fortified palace of Spain’s last Moorish rulers. Set out on an afternoon tour of this extraordinary citadel and the Generalife, a summer palace surrounded by acclaimed gardens. Journey north to the historic town of Úbeda and your next parador, a former palace dating to the 16th century. (B,D)

Day 12 — Toledo and Madrid

Your destination today is the World Heritage site of Toledo, a capital of the Romans, the Visigoths, and the kings of Castilla. Take a guided tour of the narrow, medieval lanes of the city center—little changed since El Greco painted here in the 16th century. Venture into the Gothic cathedral, considered one of Spain’s finest, and admire works by Velázquez, Goya, Titian, and El Greco displayed in the sacristy. Travel on to Madrid, arriving late in the afternoon. (B)

Day 13 — Madrid

Enjoy a morning tour of this 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. Savor a tapas lunch together at a local restaurant before a visit to the Prado, one of the world’s great museums, which you can explore at your leisure. The remainder of the day is free. (B,L)

Day 14 — Madrid

Spend your final day discovering 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 venture into the Art Nouveau Mercado San Miguel for a gastronomic adventure. Tonight bid adios to Spain at a farewell dinner. (B,D)

Day 15 — Depart for the U.S

Depart Madrid for the U.S. on individual flights. (B)

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

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