13-Nights Spain and Portugal - Land Journey
Spain and Portugal
Iberia... rediscovered, on a journey unlike any other that explores scenic and cultural contrasts of Spain and Portugal, sharing the Iberian Peninsula for centuries. There’s a lot of history to be rediscovered in Lisbon at places such as Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, the Discoveries Monument and the Tower of Belém, and in the World Heritage Site towns of Porto and Sintra, where rich cultural landmarks and traditions chronicle lifestyles of centuries past. Neighboring Spain entices with landscapes dressed in romance, from storybook villages in Andalucía to tales of "the Rock" in Gibraltar, flower-decked streets in Seville, and sun-kissed beaches in Marbella. The Moors lingered in Granada and Córdoba the longest, and the royals set up palaces, elegant city squares and the treasured El Prado in majestic Madrid. Rediscover them all, in depth, for two glorious weeks...
13 nights from $6290 per person
The capital of Spain since 1562, Madrid is located on the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula. Because of its central location and high altitude, the climate of Madrid is characterized by warm dry summers and cool winters. Madrid is a city of great monuments. Among its highlights are the medieval center dating back to the Habsburg Empire and the Prado Museum. Madrid is not just a cultural destination. It is also a lively metropolis with many pubs, cafes, discotheques and nightclubs open late into the night.
Portugal’s capital is an 18th-century city - elegant, open to the sea and carefully planned. Most places of interest are within easy walking distance. Rossio Square, the heart of Lisbon since medieval times, is an ideal place to start exploring. Many rebuilt houses with original façades provide stores and restaurants with modern interiors. High above Baixa is Bairro Alto - with its teeming nightlife. There are many monuments and museums, such as San Jeronimos Monastery, Royal Coach Museum and Gulbenkian Museum. Two well-known landmarks are the Monument to the Discoveries and the Tower of Belem. A statue of Christ looms above Europe’s longest suspension bridge. Madragoa, Bica and Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s older sections, offer a variety of sights: the Church of Sao Roque, with its beautiful tiles; St. George Castle, which offers a splendid view from its location above the Alfama quarter; the botanical gardens, featuring an unusual, cold greenhouse; and the cathedral, stunning with its Moorish design. Renowned Gulbenkian Museum is the cultural center of Portugal.
Seville is one place most beloved by visitors to Spain. Although today Moorish influence is architectonically most evident - Andalusia was occupied by Moors for about 800 years - it has been a cultural center long before. Seville was home of famous and infamous figures of history, the legendary "Don Juan" started from here to conquer the hearts of women across all Europe, while Columbus started from a port close to Seville to discover a new world. Prosper Merimée's "Carmen", who couldn't make her decision between the officer Don José and the bullfighter Escamillo, can still be watched today in opera houses. Seville is the very heart of Andalusian culture and the center of bullfighting and Flamenco music. Take it easy and interrupt sightseeing from time to time to have a few "tapas", those typical "small spanish dishes", and a glass of Sherry wine in one of the many bars in this city.
Marbella which formerly was just a small Andalusian fishing-village turned into one of the most exciting holiday resorts along the Mediterranean coast, one of the favourite places of the rich and beautiful and all those who wish they were. This center of the Jet-Set and Show Business offers beautiful boulevards, parks and gardens, as well as those romantic narrow lanes in the best Moorish or Andalusian tradition that make Marbella's unmistakable personality. Great beaches, great climate, and a unique offer in sports, gastronomy and entertainment. A visit to Marbella is a guarantee for unforgetable exclusive holidays.
Porto (Oporto), Portugal's second largest city, is full of interest, and the district it heads offers the visitor plenty to see. Along the coast, there are resorts like the cosmopolitan beach of Espinho, busy ports like Matosinhos, with splendid seafood, or traditional fishing towns like Póvoa de Varzim, and there is also an animated casino. Charming Amarante has 17th century mansions overlooking the river and is famous for a sweet egg pastries called "papos de anjo" (angel bellies). In Vila Nova de Gaia, there are lodges where Port wine is blended and aged and where tasting are offered, or visitors may take a river cruise along the Douro. The whole district is filled with prosperous towns, but there are also many calm roads with wonderful views over the river and a rugged and still unspoilt coastline.
Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Andalusia, Spain. Granada has been inhabited by many empires for 2,500 years from the Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and the Moors. Remainder of each reigning era is prominent in Granada’s cultural and architectural influences. Imprints of the past can be found in Albaicin, an old Arabic quarter paved with cobble stoned streets, ogee arches, voussoirs, and decorative tile work. When the sun sets, Alhambra is at its most beautiful and radiant complimenting Byzantine courtyards and muqarna details. Homes also reflect the Mediterranean and Renaissance elegance long past. Present-day Granada attracts visitors by recapturing the past and evoking the co-existence of different cultures.
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