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Tailor Made Highlights of Northern Spain & Portugal (2016)
Days: 13 | From: $11,045
Luxury Tailor Made Journeys depart on the dates that work for you and feature expert local guides throughout your journey. The itinerary below can be customized to your interests.
Day 1: Arrive Barcelona, Spain
Arrive in Barcelona — the capital of Catalonia — where you are met by your Guardian Angel and assisted with hotel check-in.
Days 2-3: Barcelona | Getting to Know Gaudi
Discover the masterpieces of Catalonia's most famous architect, Gaudi, alongside your expert guide. See the Art Nouveau-style Casa Mila (La Pedrera), now a cultural center and art exhibition space. Witness the visually stunning-yet-incomplete Sagrada Familia Basilica, which combines Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. Continue to Parc Guell, a pretty municipal garden with panoramic city views. Gaudi lived in the gatehouse during his later years; it is now a museum dedicated to him. The next day, explore the old city’s medieval Gothic Quarter with your guide. The narrow, maze-like streets and quiet squares are in contrast to the rest of the city. See the 13th-century cathedral, notable for its fine Gothic chapels, medieval choir stalls and shady cloister. Also, visit the Picasso Museum, where some of the painter's earliest works are housed in a part-Gothic, part-Roman palace setting.
El Palace | Meals: B
Days 4-5: San Sebastian | Culinary Epicenter
Transfer to the airport and fly to San Sebastian, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. After time to relax, set out on an evening culinary tour. San Sebastian is the gastronomic capital of Spain, and it features a bevy of Michelin-honored restaurants. Experience the real soul of Basque cuisine in its small bars and restaurants that throng the narrow streets of the “Parte Vieja” — the oldest district in town — accompanied by your local guide. Along the way, you may sample a wide variety of tapas and one-bite "pintxos” (toothpick-speared appetizers), for which the region is known. The next morning, discover the nearby fishing village of Getaria. Visit the Balenciaga Museum, dedicated to dress designer Cristobal Balenciaga, who was born in the village. On the hills overlooking the sea are several of the most important vineyards producing small-batch txacolí. Take a tour and enjoy a tasting before returning to San Sebastian for an evening at leisure.
Hotel Maria Cristina | Meals: B
Day 6: Bilbao | Frank Gehry’s Masterpiece
Transfer to Bilbao and explore the city alongside your expert guide. Visit the Guggenheim Museum, the masterpiece of Frank Gehry, with its gleaming titanium structure. Apart from the works that form the Guggenheim’s permanent collection, it offers an array of intriguing temporary exhibitions. Visit the historic Siete Calles (Old Town) district, beautifully restored after catastrophic floods. Wander through its boutiques, small bars and restaurants before checking in to your hotel.
Silken Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao | Meals: B
Days 7-9: Porto, Portugal | Port Wine Country
Transfer to the airport and fly to Porto, Portugal, where you are met by your Guardian Angel and transferred to your accommodations, set within a luxurious 18th-century palace. The next day, take a guided tour of the city of Porto, which is perched on a steep hillside above the River Douro. Visit the Cais da Ribeira, the quayside of the fascinating Ribeira district; here, encounter some of the city's most beautiful monuments, including the opulent 19th-century Stock Exchange and the St. Francisco Church. Enjoy a port wine tasting at one of the famous port wine lodges. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. The following day, explore the Douro, or Alto Douro Wine Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Protected by the Marão and Montemuro Hills, the breathtaking, terraced area is known for its port and table wines. Follow the river upstream from the river port of Regua, stopping at the Sandeman winery at Quinta do Seixo for a tour, tasting and panoramic views. Continue to the river port of Pinhão to see the glazed tiles of the railway station before heading north to the city of Vila Real, where you explore the Baroque-style Casa de Mateus and its sumptuous gardens.
InterContinental Porto | Meals: B
Days 10-12: Lisbon | Discovering the Capital
Bid farewell to Porto and head south to Lison, Portugal’s capital city, stopping en route in Coimbra. Discover the country’s oldest university, seeing its Old Cathedral cloister and the university library. Upon arrival in Lisbon, check in to your hotel and take time to relax at leisure. Meet your guide the next morning to tour Lisbon’s Belem district, seeing its Jerónimos Monastery, an extraordinary example of Portugal's “Manueline” style of architecture. Also, discover the Coach Museum, a former riding school that features a collection of painted and gilded baroque coaches. On your final full day, explore Sintra. Once the summer residence of Portuguese kings and aristocrats, this charming town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the northern slopes of the Serra de Sintra. Here, visit the National Palace of Sintra, a former Royal residence.
Bairro Alto Hotel | Meals: B
Day 13: Depart Lisbon
Transfer to the airport and board your homebound flight.