The passionate dancing of flamenco, the magical lights of Alhambra at night, the vibrancy of Porto’s markets… this tour is all about colour, light and passion.
Not only do we visit the must-see destinations of Lisbon, Madrid and Sevilla, but we spend plenty of time in charming little places – Douro Valley in Portugal, Ronda for a taste of true Andalucía, and Vejer de la Frontera; a labyrinth of white-washed homes.
Food is king in this region and we’ll discover it all, through a cooking class with a local chef, hosted dinner parties and plenty of local street food.
Tour Leader: Rosie Richardson
Contact Rosie for more information about this tour and to book your spot today
On arrival to Lisbon, you’ll be transferred to our hotel in the heart of the city. Lisbon is Portugal’s star attraction!
Tonight we’ll come together for a welcome dinner and introduction to the vibrant and fiery Portuguese food.
This morning, with our local Guide, we’ll embark on a walking tour of the city. We’ll visit the Lisboa Cathedral, the Eden Theatre and Foz Palace, but most importantly, our Guide will take us off the beaten track and into the backstreets to discover the hidden gems that Lisbon has to offer.
Tonight we’ll show you something special – a traditional fado music performance!
Today we head west out of the city, to Sintra. Fairy-tale-like Sintra is UNESCO world heritage listed for it’s National Palace and colourful manors in the old town. This afternoon, we’ll take the scenic coastal route to Cascais, on the Atlantic coast, where we can go for a swim or people watch from one of the numerous cafes dotting the shore.
Spend this evening at leisure in Lisbon.
Approximate driving time: 2 hours.
Leaving Lisbon, today we head north towards Porto. Our first stop is at gorgeous little Obidos, a hill-top village laden with flowers and cobble-stoned streets. A great place for a walk and a morning coffee and Portuguese tart!
Continuing on, we’ll stop at Coimbra, the site of the country’s university for over 5 centuries.
This afternoon, we’ll arrive into Porto, Portugal’s 2nd city.
Lets explore Porto by foot this morning and get to know this colourful, small, wine-soaked city.
This afternoon, speaking of wine-soaked, we’ll visit a Port warehouse for a tour and tasting.
Upon arrival to Sevilla, check in at your Hotel Casa de la Judería, a perfect embodiment of the towns and eras that have provided this city with its name.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
Today, with a local chef, we’ll head to the famous local markets, to check out the haul of fish fresh from the Atlantic, vibrantly-coloured fruit, cured meats… you name it! Lets then head back to the chef’s house for an exclusive Portuguese cooking masterclass, followed by a long lunch. Washed down with local wines of course!
This morning we’ll take a scenic train ride from Porto, along the Douro River and vineyards, to Pinhao (approximately 2.5 hours).
Upon disembarking, lets head to a lovely local winery for a tasting and lunch, before checking in at our vineyard hotel in the countryside.
Approximate driving / train time: 4 hours
Spend this morning at leisure before we whisk you away on a private cruise down the Douro River this afternoon. Heaven!
For those interested, lets do some light hiking this morning through the unspoilt countryside of the Douro Valley. Be rewarded by a fabulous picnic lunch in the middle of the vineyards! (Don’t worry, the non-walkers will be driven there!)
Spend this afternoon at leisure at the B&B, enjoying the pool and other facilities.
Goodbye Portugal! We cross the border this morning into Spain. Hola! We’ll stop in magical Salamanca for lunch, before continuing on to the great capital of Spain, Madrid.
Madrid is one of the world’s most vibrant and seductive cities. A city that takes unabashed pleasure in its past traditions, it is proud to display a wealth of cultural treasures and architectural glories.
In the evening enjoy an Insider’s Tapas Tour of Madrid!
Who better than a local resident to show you the ropes into the world of Spanish food?
We’ll discover the intricacies and delightful simplicity of Spanish cuisine amidst informal, authentic settings.
This morning, lets explore Madrid on foot.
Our expert guide will share with us the architecture, history and anecdotes of Spain’s capital.
We’ll visit some of the capital’s most impressive sights, such as the Plaza de Oriente and the historic quarter including the 17th-century Plaza Mayor, a wonderful Baroque square lined with arcades filled with picturesque cafes.
This morning we’ll jump on a train for the short journey to Toledo.
Toledo is a thousand-year-old masterpiece created by various cultures including the Romans, Moors, Jews and Christians. Its heyday was in the 16th century when it became the capital of the mighty Spanish empire. The beautifully preserved buildings of this ancient town provide striking testimony of Toledo’s rich and colorful past.
We’ll enjoy a short walking tour with a guide, before exploring the old town and lunching at leisure. We’ll return to Madrid in the afternoon, and the rest of the day is at leisure.
This morning, we’ll head to the train station again for a high-speed train to Cordoba (approx. 1 hour and 50 minutes).
Upon arrival we’ll check into our XVIIth century hotel in the historic heart of Cordoba!
This afternoon we’ll embark on a short tour of Cordoba, discovering evocative corners and streets in one of the largest medieval quarters in Europe!
After a leisurely morning, we’ll continue further south to Granada.
In the early evening, after some time to relax, we’ll meet a long-time resident of Granada who will take us on a stroll through the old Moorish Quarter, the Albaicín. We’ll will take in a magnificent view of the Alhambra Palaces as twilight falls, the sun casting its brilliant hues on this amazing piece of history, with the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
From here you will be taken through the winding cobbled streets of the Albaicín, stopping at a couple of typical local bars. In Granada the tradition is that each drink is accompanied by a small snack, the tapa!
Approximate driving time: 2.5 hours
This morning will be one of the highlights of our trip… a visit to the Alhambra.
Dominating the skyline above the city, this Moorish palace was the jewel in the crown of Moorish kingdom in Spain. With its spectacular location, high on a hill top with the Sierra Nevada Mountains rising in the background, the Alhambra is highly impressive from afar. Once within its walls, there are so many delights to revel in.
Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight: Granada
Today we drive to Ronda, one of Andalusia’s most beautiful towns, famous throughout Spain.
We’ll check into our luxury retreat – these next few days will be a breath of fresh air and a taste of Andalucían country life… essential to your experience of Spain and Spanish hospitality!
Either relax in the beautiful surroundings of the hotel for the rest of day or head into Ronda on your own.
Approximate driving time: 2 hours
Lets take it easy today! Mid-morning, we’ll venture out to visit two beautiful wineries in the región, before having lunch in a secret local spot. The chef used to run a Michelin starred restuarant, and uses the best local ingredients available.
This afternoon and evening at leisure.
This morning we’ll take a scenic drive west, first stopping in at Jerez de la Frontera which is the epitome of Andalucía!
We’ll then continue on to the delightful Vejer de la Frontera; a labyrinth of whitewashed houses & winding cobbled streets set 200m above the surrounding countryside.
Vejer is one of the jewels of southern Spain. This stunning Moorish village perches high about the steep gorge of the Barbate River. Here you will find sloping lanes, hidden patios and delightful houses.
Spend this afternoon at leisure enjoying our B&B and exploring the town.
Approximate driving time: 2.5 hours
We’re in for a treat today with a private cooking class with Annie!
Annie ran her own successful catering and corporate hospitality company in London for 15 years before deciding to head for Vejer. Her love of Spanish food, wine, Sherry (she qualified as a Sherry Educator in October 2011), music and culture led her to the fabulous diversity of Andalucia.
We’ll head to her house (yes, we have great contacts!!) for an exclusive cooking class in her world class kitchen, where we’ll learn how to cook typical Andalucian dishes and of course, enjoy them at the end, with some local wine and sherry!
Spend this evening at leisure.
Our first stop this morning is the seaside town of Cadiz, for a stroll along the promenade, and a coffee.
We’ll then continue you to Seville, and spend the afternoon at leisure.
This evening we’ll enjoy an insider’s night of authentic flamenco culture!
Forget all the clichés… this is a one-off unique opportunity to really discover the gypsy world of flamenco…
In an exclusive collaboration with well-known local flamenco musicians in Sevilla, we’ll experience an extraordinary (and somewhat surreal) journey into the flamenco heartland of Spain.
Although the gypsy community has lived alongside the rest of Spanish society for centuries, their culture has remained a closely guarded secret and still today, they are an almost unknown group.
In an intimate setting, with the musicians sharing their passion, music and humour, this evening will give you a totally different idea of what the gypsy flamenco world is.
Approximate driving time: 2 hours
Lets explore this city by foot this morning, with our local guide. If you would rather explore the city on wheels, we can arrange for a bike tour instead!
We’ll visit the enormous cathedral, the largest Gothic building in the world, featuring the tomb of Christopher Columbus and its 12th-century bell-tower, La Giralda, originally built by the Moors as a minaret.
Visit the ornately decorated Alcazar Palace and its Andalusian gardens. Originally a Moorish palace, it was re-built and designed by Mudejar craftsmen for the Christian royalty after the expulsion of the Moors.
Once you have emerged from the Alcazar’s gardens, wander through the Barrio de Santa Cruz: originally the Jewish Quarter and now the prettiest quarter of Sevilla. See the Murillo Gardens, a typical Sevillan garden full of arcades and foliage.
Enjoy the afternoon and evening at leisure.
Sadly, our tour must come to an end this morning, after breakfast. We can arrange transfers to the airport for those heading home, and tailor-made packages for those wishing to extend their holiday and explore Barcelona, or even Morocco!
*Travel insurance can be arranged by us at an additional charge