Your airport transfer departs Madrid airport for your hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:30 or 16:00. The rest of the day is at leisure to begin to get to know this stylish city. At 18:00, join your Travel Director for your Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant and enjoy the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers over a delightful evening of good food and wine. During your time in Madrid you will travel along the main historical areas in the Capital of Spain known as Madrid of the Bourbons. Your drive will take you through the Old Quarter discovering the origins of the city.
Venture south to meet a master craftsperson in a Damascene workshop for a personal insight into this ancient craft handed down by the Moors centuries ago. Continue to the fascinating city of Toledo, situated high above the River Tagus. This was Spain's capital during the golden era, where Arab, Jewish and Christian cultures flourished side-by-side through the Middle Ages. Walk within the city walls, through the narrow cobbled streets, led by your Local Expert. Visit the Church of Santo Tomé, housing El Greco's famous painting, ‘The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.' Your journey continues to Granada.
'There is no pain in life so cruel as to be blind in Granada', cries the inscription on the walls of the Alhambra. Bathed in morning light, the Alhambra Palace awaits - a fantasy of arabesque gardens, fountains and stone cut like lace. Explore with your Local Expert and also visit the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer residence. Take a moment to relax in the sunshine as you enjoy the fine views over the town and its three verdant hills.Embark on a scenic drive to Seville where a Local Expert will guide you through the maze of narrow lanes and shady squares of the Santa Cruz Quarter. Emerge by the huge walls of the fabulous Alcazar to see La Giralda, the former minaret of the Great Mosque, but now the cathedral bell tower. Enter the immense 15th century cathedral, the final resting place of Christopher Columbus and see his tomb enriched with the spoils of the New World. During a highlight evening enjoy the flavours of Andalucía and share the passion of Spain's most fiery region as you experience a flamenco show.
Enjoy a relaxed start and a day to relax, shop or continue exploring this fascinating city at your own pace. Our suggestion is to join an Optional Experience to the ancient city of Córdoba, where you will visit the magnificent Mezquita, see the old Jewish Quarter, and enjoy some free time to shop or explore as you wish.
Pass through the oak forests where black Iberian pigs are bred for the famous Spanish hams. Stop in Jabugo for an insight into the history and curing process of Jamón Ibérico. The subtle differences will be revealed with a delicious tasting. Then venture across the wide Alentejo Plateau to Lisbon.
During your stay, a guided orientation of the city with your Local Expert takes you along the avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco, the finest square in the city. Visit the Belém Quarter and enjoy a taste of Pastéis de Belém from the patisserie that has been using the same, secret recipe for almost 200 years. View the Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belém Tower. This fortress was originally set in the middle of the river, but is now left high and dry on the riverbank. Visit the 500-year-old Jerónimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps join an Optional Experience to the beautiful Portuguese Riviera?
Travel into the green hills north of Lisbon to visit Fátima, the most celebrated place of pilgrimage in Portugal. Visit the Basilica commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917. Cross the border, returning to Spain and continue to Salamanca, famous for its golden stone buildings and the handsome arcades of the Plaza Mayor. Across the River Tormes, see the Puente Romano with 15 of its 26 arches dating from the time of the ancient Romans.
Cross the rock-strewn hills of the Castile, to arrive at Ávila. Walk within the ancient city that is still entirely enclosed within 11th century walls, a unique occurrence in Europe. Return to Madrid to explore more of the capital with your Local Expert. At a local restaurant, join your Travel Director and newfound friends for a lively Celebration Dinner.
Board your onward flight, taking home memories of this exciting journey. Departure transfers arrive at Madrid Airport at 07:00, 09:00 and 11:00.