Sku: 229659SINTRA

Capture the spirit of two iconic European countries and explore some of their most beautiful locations with the Spain and Portugal Iberian Explorer. This 15-day holiday package includes flights, a hotel stay, an expert guide, transport, meals and much more. Begin your journey in Barcelona before travelling to 14 other destinations across Spain and Portugal until you reach your final destination in Porto.


Tour highlights

Exploring the fascinating culture of Spain and Portugal awaits you on this two-week adventure through the Iberian Peninsula. From modern Metropolitan Madrid to Tarragona’s Roman amphitheatre, Seville’s tiny alleyways to Cordoba’s impressive eight-century mosque, soak up the unique atmosphere of each place. Sample fresh oysters in Setubal, sip cava in Penedes and savour Lisbon’s famous custard tarts from Belem district. No matter what your taste, there is something for everyone here!

Barcelona – Explore the maze of alleys and delightful squares in this iconic city

Granada – Visit the spectacular Alhambra Palace

Porto – Stroll the colourful cobbled streets to picturesque Cais da Ribeira



Tour itinerary

Day 1 Join trip in Barcelona
Visiting BarcelonaTo begin our travels, we arrive at Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia. Founded by the Romans over two thousand years ago, this stunning city is home to iconic architecture and delectable gastronomy as well as a rich cultural heritage. Our tour leader plans to gather with you at 6pm for a welcome meeting and afterwards our first group dinner. Complimentary airport transfers are available today; just remember to arrive into Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN). To ensure you make it to the hotel on time, we recommend leaving yourself an hour from immigration upon landing. The journey from BCN to the hotel usually takes around thirty minutes so please be aware that your flight should land no later than 4:30pm. There are no activities scheduled for today but any necessary information will be provided when you join us for the welcome meeting.

Day 2 Discover the backstreets of Barcelona
Our tour of Barcelona commences today with a guided orientation. We will explore the old town and its “backstreets” on foot (4 hours). The journey begins in the Gothic Quarter, a maze of alleys, streets and small squares that lies at the very heart of the city. Here we have an opportunity to see Barcelona Cathedral, a magnificent example of 14th century Catalan Gothic design. Going on from there, we reach El Born, an area full of narrow medieval streets as well as Picasso Museum. Afterward, we proceed to Barceloneta neighborhood beside both harbour and beach. Finally taking Torre Sant Sebastia cable car across Port Vell leads us to Torre Miramar in Montjuic. Walking around this hilltop park there are fantastic panoramic views over the city and there is the opportunity to visit the castle and Olympic Park, built for the 1992 summer Olympics. The tour will end at Ramblas with the afternoon left free to soak up the atmosphere from a café in one of the squares or wander down the myriad of winding alleys, there is always something hidden to discover. There is the option to take a 10km guided bike tour or visit the Sagrada Familia (advisable to pre-book tickets online).

Day 3 Cava wine tasting. Stay in the ancient Roman city of Tarragona
As we journey south into the Penedes region, we have the opportunity to explore and sample Cava wine. This sparkling varietal gets its name from the Italian word ‘cova’, meaning ‘cave’. Catalan winemakers used this term to distinguish their produce from French champagne. Next stop is at Santa Maria de Poblet, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Spain’s largest Cistercian monasteries. With free time for exploration and lunch, it’s off to Tarragona – a port city with exquisite Roman ruins and sandy beaches where the popular Concurs de Castells (human tower-building) festival takes place annually. This afternoon we explore the historical centre and UNESCO World Heritage complex of Tarraco, the oldest Roman settlement on the Iberia peninsular, with its well-preserved Amphitheatre overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, built in the 2nd century (viewable from the outside only as closed on Monday’s). Tarragona was (together with Merida) one of the two Roman capitals on the Iberian Peninsula, a really important and wealthy place in those days.

Day 4 Train to Madrid. Walking tour of the city ending at Mercado de San Miguel for dinner
Exploring MadridThis morning, we hop aboard the AVE train to Madrid, a two hour and forty-five minute journey with an arrival time of early afternoon. We check into our hotel and set off for a walking tour led by our tour guide (approx. four hours). Situated on the Manzanares River, Madrid holds vast treasures for travelers seeking grandeur architecture, fantastic nightlife, fine dining, culture and shopping. Our first stop is the Barrio de los Austrias neighbourhood; here we pause at a nearby cafe overlooking the majestic Palacio Real. Next up is Mercado de San Miguel – Spain’s gourmet market where sample regional delicacies are readily available! With full bellies from dinner at the market, it’s time to make way for Plaza Mayor – an enormous square adorned with red-brick buildings dating back centuries ago.

Day 5 Discover Madrid’s art neighbourhoods and parks on foot. Free afternoon
This morning, we’re journeying around the effervescent capital on our walking tour. Kicking off in Barrio de las Letras, the Literary Quarter, and then onwards to lively Lavapies neighbourhood for a look at its eye-catching artworks decorating the walls. After that, it’s time to learn about the craft of churro making – these scrumptious doughy sticks are fried to perfection and traditionally enjoyed with coffee or hot chocolate for breakfast. As our expedition concludes near El Retiro Park, you have the afternoon ahead free to rest up in this gorgeous open space, explore Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen museums or search for tapas bars hidden away on side streets.

Day 6 Train to Granada, explore the Moorish Albaicin neighbourhood
Around 7:35am, our journey to Granada commences with a 3 hour 45 minute train ride. This region of Spain is known by its Arabic name Al Andalus, due to the Islamic control that lasted here for 800 years. Upon arriving at our hotel and settling in, our tour leader will lead us on a walking exploration of the city. Notable stops include the Albaicin – with its white walls and narrow streets – as well as a viewpoint providing remarkable glimpses of both the Alhambra and Generalife, surrounded by The Sierra Nevada mountains. As evening falls, what better way to conclude your sightseeing than with an illuminated stroll around the old Moorish Quarter?

Day 7 Alhambra Palace guided visit and Generalife gardens
We have planned a special guided trip to the astounding Alhambra Palace and Generalife gardens today. Construction of the complex began in 1239 by Muhammad al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty and Sultan of Granada. It exhibits the last trace of a refined civilization right before its downfall with its flamboyant stucco ornaments indoors as well as outside of its buildings. The summer residence of Caliphs and nearby gardens at Generalife are reckoned amongst the world’s loveliest landscaped parks. Because admissions to visit Alhambra are limited, we shall stay flexible in our itinerary for sightseeing in Granada around our tour to Alhambra. Regrettably, tickets can’t be provided within 30 days prior to travel for those that booked late, thus your exploration may not be guided unless you decide to use an audioguide. Please note that in order for our local agent to book the Alhambra tickets we require full passport details for all passengers, this should be provided at the time of booking or as soon as possible in order for the tickets to be confirmed.

Day 8 Train to Cordoba, visit the Mezquita Mosque. Continue by bus to Seville via the white village of Carmona
Today, we journey to Cordoba, situated along the banks of the Guadalquivir river. Prior to 719 AD, when the Moors landed there, Cordoba was a bustling Roman city and they have left their stamp on this place with an old bridge still standing today. The hidden alleys are filled with charming patios secluded behind pretty metal grates. Within these corridors lies two synagogues – relics from medieval times and unique as they are the only two that are still present within Spain. Upon arrival we visit the iconic Mosque (Mezquita), a monument where history has embodied two faiths and constructed dual oratories at one spot; you can even opt for a local guide to help you understand more about it! Dating back to as early as 800 AD, an immense Islamic structure boasts 850 coloured columns that hold up its roof. At its centre lies a spectacular Mihrab which has remained intact since then. After reconquista, rather than tearing it down, a Catholic king ordained for a church to be built inside this remarkable edifice. Later in our journey we’ll make a stop at Carmona – a dainty white-washed town – to take in some of its Moorish architecture and visit Alcázar del Rey Don Pedro where you can ascend its tower for beautiful views of Carmona. Then, continuing onto Seville, one will be welcomed by Andalucia’s prestigious capital city renowned for its splendour and opulence garnered from New World trade.

Day 9 Discover Seville on foot. Free afternoon
In the morning, you will embark on an exploration of Seville, taking in its Jewish Quarter and meandering down narrow alleyways that link Mudejar palaces and baroque churches. During the afternoon, visitors are encouraged to explore freely: check out Alcázar Palace or take some time to appreciate the Gothic Cathedral – boasting one of the world’s largest bell towers, a leftover from the great Almohad mosque. Other attractions worth visiting include General Archive of the Indias, Plaza de San Francisco, Casa Pilatos or Maria Luisa park. In the evening (optional), experience some quintessential Spanish culture with a performance of flamenco music and dancing.

Day 10 Jamon tasting. Cross into Portugal, stay in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Evora
As we bid farewell to Spain, our next destination is Portugal. On the way, we take a break at Aracena to visit Cueva de las Maravillas – an extensive system of underground rivers and pools. This also gives us the opportunity to sample Iberian ham delicacies and learn about the production. Our next stop is Monsaraz – a fourteenth-century walled settlement near the Alqueva Reservoir built around the River Guadiana. There will be plenty of time here to wander around these old-fashioned parts taking in its remarkable views before journeying onto Evora – capital city of Alentejo province arriving in the afternoon. Also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this place flaunts some age-old architecture like Roman Temple which is believed to be one of best preserved ruins on Iberian Peninsula as well as 16th century aqueduct with houses underneath it. Tonight’s boutique hotel is located just outside the old city walls with a rooftop terrace overlooking historic Evora, its’s a 10-minute walk to the centre.

Day 11 Drive to Lisbon. Oyster tasting at Setubal market
From Evora to Lisbon this morning, we take the opportunity to explore the Capela dos Ossos “bone chapel” – a unique and slightly eerie experience. Travelling towards the coast, we come across Setúbal, on the estuary of the River Sado. It is an important centre for Portugal’s fishing industry, and offers a great chance to sample some fresh oysters at Mercado do Livramento. Making our way into Lisbon, we stop by Belem where its traditional pastelaria serves up delicious Pasteis de Belem – Portuguese custard tarts! Founded after its conquest from Moors back 1147, Lisbon went on to become Portugal’s capital as well as a key hub of international trade during their 15th century Golden Age of Discovery. This period that shaped Lisbon today can be seen through its various monumental architecture around the city. In 1755, Lisbon was almost totally destroyed when it was hit by an enormous earthquake and tsunami. However, the city was later carefully rebuilt in the 18th century. After dinner, visitors to this historical locale can experience traditional ‘Fado’ music—the word meaning “fate”. This melodic expression is rooted in African slave songs and speaks directly to the hearts of those who hear it. It has become symbolic of Portuguese saudade, or nostalgia; something only they could fully comprehend. To end your evening with deep emotion and understanding of the culture, attending one of these performances is highly recommended.

Day 12 Explore Lisbon’s Bairros on foot.
On an introductory tour of the incredible city of Lisbon, three hours are devoted to exploring a selection of its diverse bairros (neighbourhoods). A sightseeing path takes visitors through the winding streets with their characteristic trams and decorative tiles. Climbing Alfama Hill, one can see the Tagus River in all its glory from the Miradouro de Graca viewpoint before coming to Arco da Ragusta and ending at Time Out Market. Here, traditional culinary delights such as food, desserts and drinks can all be sampled! Spending your afternoon in Lisbon is a great opportunity to explore some of its breathtaking museums, like MAAT and Calouste Gulbenkian. As night falls, experience something truly special – live traditional Fado music. Believed to originate from songs sang by African slaves, Fado music is deeply personal and emotive – expressing a sentiment called ‘saudade’, which only Portuguese people truly understand. Feel this sense of nostalgia while enjoying a performance after dinner – it will be an unforgettable experience!

Day 13 Follow the coastline to Porto, visiting Obidos and Aveiro
Starting our journey today, we travel up the Atlantic coast to Porto with some stops along the way. Our first destination is Obidos, a stunningly preserved medieval town and home to a magnificent castle as well as its maze of winding streets and religious buildings. We taste Ginjinha, an alcoholic drink made from sour cherries, before continuing to Aveiro. This charming city has coined it self ‘The Venice of Portugal’ with canals lined by Art Nouveau architecture and traditional Moliceiros boats. After free time for lunch, we reach Portugal’s second largest city – Porto – late on this afternoon. Here visitors can explore its range architectural attractions and delve into its rich culture. This evening you might like to visit the nearby city of Matosinhos where you can sample a barbequed fish dinner on the seafront.

Day 14 Porto walking tour and port tasting. Free afternoon
Today, our tour guide will lead us on a two hour walking tour of the vibrant city of Porto. Our first stop will be Cais da Ribeira where its iconic Dom Luis I Bridge stands tall. Built by Gustave Eiffel’s apprentice in 1886, it is encompassed by old buildings with balconies hung full of laundry that overlooks the still waters and boats lining up at the waterfront. Despite its decline in activity today, it preserved its lively past atmosphere with its fish market and restaurants buzzing as ever. After our tour we head off to a port lodge to discover more about white, ruby and tawny port wines – educating ourselves on its production processes before indulging in a special tasting session! Later on in the day you will have plenty of free time to explore Porto further for yourself. There are a number of fascinating buildings to visit whilst walking in the heart of the city. You may choose to climb the tower of the 18th century Baroque Igreja dos Clerigos, which affords superb views across the city. You may consider venturing further afield and taking the train or a local bus the short distance to the attractive towns of Guimaraes or Braga. Porto offers a good selection of restaurants to celebrate the end of our journey this evening.

Day 15 Trip ends in Porto
At our hotel in Porto, breakfast marks as a conclusion to this trip. As no activities have been planned for today, you are free to choose when it is most convenient for you to leave. Should your flight be set later in time, we offer luggage storage services for added convenience. Alternatively, complimentary airport transfer can be provided should you wish to depart from Oporto Airport (OPO) which takes about half an hour by car.



What’s included

13 nights comfortable hotel
1 nights premium hotel

International flights are not included

Explore Tour Leader
Local Guide(s)

COVID-19 Health & Safety Measures
At Explore, we do everything we can to ensure responsible and hassle-free travel.
You do not need to be vaccinated or provide a negative test unless it is a condition of entry of the destination country you are visiting.
For many countries, at least one of these requirements remains a condition of entry, so please ensure you check the specific entry requirements well in advance of travel.

A key facet of our responsible approach to tourism is that we encourage our groups to eat in local restaurants that prepare locally grown food. We give customers choice as to their meals and do not use rather bland and impersonal hotel restaurants or all- inclusive options
14 Breakfasts

Additional Services
Barcelona – Explore the maze of alleys and delightful squares in this iconic city
Granada – Visit the spectacular Alhambra Palace
Porto – Stroll the colourful cobbled streets to picturesque Cais da Ribeira


What’s not included

Travel insurance is not included

Other activities and services are not included

Additional Services
Other activities and services are not included


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Voucher Info:
You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

Local Operator Information:
Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination, are included on your Confirmation Voucher. Our Product Managers select only the most experienced and reliable operators in each destination, removing the guesswork for you, and ensuring your peace of mind.
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