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Fixed Departure: August 22, 2016
After arriving at the airport in Lisbon, hail a taxi and make way to the hotel. Check-in and unwind.
In the evening, meet your new crew of travel buddies and get to know them over a fabulous welcome dinner at the hotel.
Stay overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast, head out and explore the city and visit some of Lisbon’s most iconic monuments along with a local guide.
This Portuguese capital is cultural, colorful and full of character which you’ll instantly notice as you walk along little cobblestone streets dotted with pastry shops, fairytale houses and blue-tiled courtyards.
Visit two of Lisbon’s most emblematic city monuments: the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belem. The Jerónimos Monastery is a very impressive ornate building and a UNESCO World Heritage site, which was built to mark Vasco da Gama's discovery of a route to India. As you walk around, you’ll notice symbols of sea voyages as well as tropical fruit and palm tree motifs carved in the sand-colored limestone walls and columns. Inside, you’ll be able to see a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci and visit the final resting place of Vasco da Gama as well.
In the evening have free time to explore Lisbon and have dinner at a local restaurant. Don’t forget to try the Portuguese national dish, bacalhau, or salt cod which is usually served as a stir-fry with rice, scrambled eggs, and onions, garnished with black olives, or if you’re vegetarian, the caldo verde which is a green soup made of cabbage, onions, and thin-sliced potatoes.
After breakfast, set off to Sintra, where Hans Christian Andersen once lived, and which has more storybook castles and palaces than any town.
The view is spectacular and charming throughout the trip. Here, visit Palacio Da Pena which was built in the 1840 and is one of Europe's most fantastic palaces. With its bright mustard, red and brown walls, elegant turrets and arches, huge elegant dome, and landscaped garden dotted with bridges, grottoes, fountains and thousands of flowering plants, it is the epitome of a fairytale castle.
Stop by the golden beaches, white-tipped foamy waves and deep blue skies of Cascais, a town on the Lisbon coast and nearby Estoril, home to the largest casino in Europe, and the inspiration for Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel.
In the evening, head back to Lisbon and stay overnight in a hotel.
Today, leave Lisbon behind as you board your flight to the capital city of Spain, Madrid.
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be transferred to the hotel in check-in.
Later on, go on a tour of the city. First, visit some of Madrid’s elegant public squares, including the Plaze de Oriente which is located opposite the Royal Palace and is lined with statues of Spanish kings, the Plaza de España which features a monument to Miguel de Cervantes, writer of the world famous story, Don Quixote.
Wander through the peaceful and leafy gardens in the Parque del Oeste which, weirdly enough, also has a 2,000-year old Egyptian temple, and stop by Principe Pio, a vibrant shopping center.
Continue the walk by the Puerta del Rey gate and the well-known Virgen del Puerto Chapel, Mayor Street, the Villa and Puerta del Sol amongst other sites.
See the memorial Retiro Park, the massive Plaza de Toros which is home of bullfighting in Spain, the Colón square that’s dominated by a statue of Christopher Columbus and finally, the Santiago Bernabéu Football Stadium.
In the evening find a local restaurant for dinner and try some Madrid specialties such as the cocido madrilène, paella and pisto con huevo.
Stay overnight in a hotel.
Begin the day with a tasty breakfast before heading off on a day trip to Toledo, ‘the city of three cultures.
A walking tour through the streets with a local guide will allow you to know the history and traditions of this intriguing city, with its beguiling mix of Roman, Arabic and Spanish history and traces of each major religion still remain.
On our route witness the immense Toledo Cathedral that dominates the skyline with its soaring tower, the Church of Santo Tome which houses a famous El Greco masterpiece, and in which buy home made sweets from the monks who still live in the monastery. Stop by the Santa María la Blanca synagogue.
During the trip, get a first-hand insight about Damasquinado, the art of decorating steel with threads of gold and silver, which Toledo is especially famous for.
Try local Toledo specialties such as partridge with wild mushrooms, stewed venison, marzipan and Manchego cheese along with a glass of chilled wine, and fresh summer fruit for lunch at a local restaurant.
In the evening return to Madrid, and enjoy an authentic flamenco performance at around 7 PM.
Sip on a cocktail as the lights dim and listen as a percussionist taps out a beat on a wooden drum, while the guitarist strums a delicate melody. The music builds, a dancer begins to twirl. It’s utterly mesmerizing.
Stay overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel, head to the train station and take the train from Madrid to Barcelona.
Upon arrival at the station in Barcelona, meet your representative and drive to your hotel. Check-in and unwind.
In the evening enjoy your free time to relax and stroll around the area.
Alternately, explore the city and have dinner on your own. Make sure you try the suquet de peix, escalivada topped off by crema catalana for dessert.
Stay overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast, get ready to explore the beautiful city of Barcelona.
First stop will be the Gothic Quarter. It’s a beautiful neighborhood dotted with courtyards, medieval mansions and old churches. Here, visit the splendid Cathedral with a grandiose facade and a magnificent interior of stained glass windows and carved choir stalls, it’s bound to be a highlight of your day.
Then, stop by the Olympic Village and La Barceloneta, the most popular beach in Barcelona, followed by Montjuïc Castle, and admire the entire city from an aerial perspective.
Another highlight will be the Sagrada Familia temple, built by Gaudi and arguably Barcelona’s most famous landmark. From the outside, it is the weirdest looking place of worship you’ll probably ever see, being a cross between a beehive and a ginormous sandcastle. But inside, it’s a spectacular architectural marvel; huge columns spiral up to the ceiling, which is decorated by geometric stars, and stained glass windows dapple the walls and floor in greens, blues, yellows and reds.
Afterwards, visit Park Güell, which was also designed by Gaudi and is equally strange, featuring a forest of 88 stone columns, a colourful mosaic dragon, amongst other surreal creations all meant to imitate the wild architecture of nature.
In the afternoon have your lunch and visit a Spanish village to witness a display of 117 typical buildings from all over Spain with restaurants and craft workshops.
In the evening head back to your hotel, and have your dinner before retiring for the night.
Today, your morning is free to do as you please. Take a siesta, drink sangria, go shopping and repeat!
In the evening head out for a tapas (bar snacks) walking tour. Delicious gourmet food coupled with a taste of Catalan culture is the perfect combination. Alongside a local guide, eat your fill of a platter of tapas made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
After you’ve filled up on tapas, drive back to the hotel at around 8.30 PM.
Time to make your way to the airport to take your flight back home.
End of tour with amazing memories experienced with new friends.
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