Days
15
Price from
4695EUR
Map of Northern Spain & Portugal Explorer including Portugal and Spain

Discover the best of Northern Spain and Portugal.

Carve your own path through Northern Spain and Portugal and capture the feeling that defines these western European havens. Travel from the buzz of Madrid through Burgos and the Picos de Europa, heading to Porto after a brief pilgrimage in Santiago de Compostela. Continue to explore picture-perfect Portugal through Guimaraes, Coimbra and Lisbon, all teeming with rich history, vibrant regional cultures, stunning landscapes and refined cuisine. With plenty of time to explore at your own pace, this 15-day adventure captures the authentic sides to Spain and Portugal.


Start
Madrid, Spain
Finish
Lisbon, Portugal
Destinations
Portugal, Spain
Style
Peregrine
Code
PEEBC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Spend a day exploring Segovia, where the towering Roman aqueduct is just one of the historic monuments that decorate the town.

  • Sample regional delicacies like local ciders in Asturias, sweet carbayon pastries in Oviedo and, of course, Porto’s eponymous tipple.

  • Walk the final stretch of the Camino alongside weary pilgrims and feel their joy as the spires of the Santiago de Compostela come into view.

  • Feel the royal heritage and the student-led vibrancy in the Old Quarter lanes and squares of the university town, Coimbra.

  • Get an insight into Fado – an atmospheric amalgamation of music and poetry, and a very popular art form in Portugal.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Travel on this trip takes place in a comfortable private vehicle, but please note that two days on this trip feature significant time spent driving (5 and 6 hours respectively). There are breaks to use the bathroom, eat and sightsee scheduled during the travel days.

  • There are two walks included in this itinerary – a hike in Picos de Europa and the final stretch of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. The difficulty will be adjusted depending on group ability, but you will need a basic level of fitness in order to enjoy them.

  • This tour is bookended by two incredible cities – Madrid and Lisbon. However, time in these cities is limited, so please allocate extra days if you would like to discover these destinations in depth.

  • On this trip you will visit a lot of interesting places and you will discover them predominantly on foot. That means you’ll be expected to walk for, often, most of the day which will be tiring in hilly Portugal. Good, comfortable pair of walking shoes will definitely help!

  • Summer temperatures can be very high in this region (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat, and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season. Picos de Europa is known for its diversity of weather. It can be relatively cold even in the height of summer, so please pack appropriately with layers.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together and rooms in Europe can seem rather small by American or Australian standards.

  • Cobblestones are common in Portuguese cities and so in that case you may prefer to bring a backpack instead of rigid wheelie suitcase. It's also important not to exceed the luggage weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.

Itinerary

Ola! Welcome to Madrid! Your welcome meeting, which marks the beginning of your tour, does not take place until 7 pm this evening. Until then you are free to explore Madrid at your own pace, provided you arrive with time to spare. Following the welcome meeting, attend a group dinner with your leader and fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Emperador or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Markets of Madrid - Urban Adventure - EUR47
  • Madrid Tapas Adventure - Urban Adventure - EUR82
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR6
  • Royal Palace-Madrid - EUR11
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

As this trip spends very little time in Madrid, we recommend you spend a few extra days before your trip if you want to experience all the city has to offer.
Spend a day exploring Segovia on a daytrip. This World Heritage-listed city is full of sights such as the monumental aqueduct constructed by the Romans almost 2000 years ago. You’ll also see the rough-hewn stones that make up the narrow alleyway of the Old Jewish Quarter, stately churches and the fairy-tale-esque towers of the Alcazar de Segovia. Enjoy time to stroll along the city's green belt – lined in part with orchards – then return to Madrid, arriving in the late afternoon. Once back in Madrid, perhaps ask your leader where to find a bocadillo de calamares (fried calamari sandwich), a local favourite.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Emperador or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Alcazar of Segovia tour inc audioguide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to Burgos (approximately 2.5 hours) and take an orientation walk with your leader on arrival. This walk will introduce you to the historic Old Town, which is packed with medieval structures, limestone apartment blocks and features the majestic Burgos Cathedral. Spend the afternoon and evening as you wish. Named the Gastronomic Capital of Spain in 2013, Burgos is a great place to seek out traditional Castilian fare. Ask your leader for advice on where to find the best blood morcilla de Burgos (spiced blood sausage).
Accommodation
  • Hotel Sercotel Corona de Castilla or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Burgos leader led tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today involves 5 hours spent on the road in a private vehicle. While the journey will be broken up with a handful of stops, it’s a good idea to have an audio book loaded up on your phone in case you need it. The destination today is Picos de Europa National Park, which holds the limestone mountain range from which so many historic Spanish buildings get their materials. This evening you can kick back and sample the so-called lifeblood of Asturias – cider. Enjoy a tasting of a few local ciders and learn about the significance of this tipple to the region.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Los Lagos Nature or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Locally produced Cider tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Lace up your boots and take on a trail during a guided walk. The exact path will be determined on the day but no matter the direction you will have stunning vistas to contemplate along the way. Green meadows with low shrubs are dotted with grazing cattle, framed by impossibly tall mountains of grey and white. Stop along the way for a picturesque picnic, including some regional cheeses.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Los Lagos Nature or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Picnic lunch including locally sourced cheese
  • Covadonga Lake walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The walk will take 2—3 hours, but the difficulty will be adjusted depending on the overall ability of the group.
Drive towards Santiago de Compostela (6 hours) stopping en route at Oviedo. Enjoy a short walk around this historic town, taking in sights of white stone buildings, then stop to eat a carbayon. This local sweet was created to represent Oviedo and is made from almond meal and sweet alcohol. Wash it down with a glass of cider, then hit the road once again. Arrive in Santiago, check in to your hotel and then spend the evening at your leisure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Monumento San Francisco - feature stay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Carbayon tasting in Oviedo
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Spend a half day on the final leg of the Camino de Santiago, joining pilgrims as they finish their journey. Enjoy the fresh air of the woodlands and Galician countryside and drink in the sight of the Santiago de Compostella’s spires as they come into view. Spend the evening relaxing in Santiago, perhaps munching on a Galician specialty like piments de padron (fried green peppers).
Accommodation
  • Hotel Monumento San Francisco - feature stay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage guided walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to colourful, coastal Porto (2.5 hours). Get your bearings on an orientation walk with your leader, then enjoy a free afternoon to explore. Perhaps visit the Clerigos Church and Tower or stop by the very popular Lello Bookstore. In the evening, gather with your fellow travellers for a feast and port tasting. Make a toast to new friends and old history.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Moon Sun or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Port Tasting - Porto
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today, you have a day at your leisure in Porto. Why not go deeper with an Urban Adventure tour, which takes you on a cultural, historical and culinary journeys, from an afternoon coffee and pastry to cocktail hour. Find out more and discover the options at urbanadventures.com/destination/Porto-tours. In the evening, meet with your tour leader and new travelling companions at 6 pm, where you will be given a briefing of what lies ahead on the tour. This is followed by a welcome dinner in a local restaurant – your group leader will know of some delicious options close by.
Accommodation
  • Hotel MoonSun or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Porto - City Tasting Tour - EUR160
  • Bolhao Market - Porto - Free
  • Lello Library - Porto - EUR6
  • Clerigos Tower - Porto - EUR5
  • Serralves Foundation - Porto - EUR5
  • Tower of Clérigos - EUR3
  • Porto Cathdral - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group will likely change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. We suggest you attend, as this is also a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Discover Porto: Portugal’s second largest city and the capital of the north that sits between the River Douro and the Atlantic Ocean. The World Heritage listed Ribeira district is filled with a collection of twisting alleys, crisscrossing staircases and baroque churches. On a guided tour, discover one of Portugal's most romantic cities. You will pass majestic bridges, medieval riverside district with cobbled streets, merchants’ houses and cafes, stop by the cathedral, the Tower of Clerigos, and the impressive hall of Porto’s Sao Bento Railway Station. Clerigos Tower offers sensational sweeping views across the whole city, while the grand train station and its historic entrance hall panels evokes a more refined age of rail travel. On your exploration today, discover lesser known parts of the city to tourists (in fact they are known well, but only to the local people and experts). Go under the skin of this beautiful city with an included tasting of some of the region’s specialties, and go out and try some coffee and pastry in small, classic cafes, enjoying best local Port wine in a cosy local tavern with dishes like codfish and the Francesinha (Portuguese sandwich). You can spend the evening soaking up the atmosphere of this coastal town, strolling along the riverside or observing local life in action from one of many rooftop bars.
Accommodation
  • Hotel MoonSun or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Porto guided food tasting tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will journey outside Porto to Guimaraes (approximately 1 hour). Portugal’s first capital and the birthplace of the country’s first king (the ‘conqueror’, which gives the town its name), the town consists of a well-preserved old city and an impressive castle. Explore Palace of the Dukes of Braganza located in the historical centre of the city and witness the grandeur of the Guimaraes Castle: one of the most complete medieval strongholds in Portugal, dating from the 10th century. As the believed birthplace of King Afonso Henriques, the castle is something of a national shrine. Next you will travel to Braga (approximately 30 minutes), considered by many to be one of Portugal’s most stunning cities. It has long been a religious centre, and overflows with churches, monasteries, and chapels. The charm of this place lies in its impressive Baroque buildings, most notably the Bom Jesus Sanctuary. On the western slopes of Monte Espinho, the sanctuary is lead to by a magnificent criss-crossing staircase that has 14 different chapels, each representing a station of the cross. Venture back to Porto for the evening and night’s stay.
Accommodation
  • Hotel MoonSun or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of Guimarães
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, farewell Porto and travel to your next stop, and base for the evening, which is the university city of Coimbra. Sitting dignified on the banks of the River Mondego, Coimbra was once the capital of the county, and its royal heritage can be felt in its ancient streets and buildings. Join your tour leader on a wander through the lanes and squares of the Old Quarter, passing the University of Coimbra – the oldest in Portugal. This evening, regroup and experience more of Portugal’s cultural heritage by heading to an included traditional Fado music show. Tonight’s dinner is at your own expense.
Included Activities
  • Coimbra - Fado Show
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll travel to Lisbon (approximately 2 hours), which is located on the banks of the Tagus (Tejo) River and is truly one of Europe’s great cities. Much of Lisbon’s character and charm lies in its beautiful renovated buildings, grand boulevards and impressive castles and churches. We will visit one of the most symbolic buildings in the city, Lisbon Cathedral, which was built on the site of an old mosque in 1150 by Lisbon’s first bishop, Gilbert of Hastings. Inside are nine chapels, each with their own story to tell, and the wonderful Gothic cloister. We will also have time to visit the medieval citadel of Sao Jorge Castle. The citadel dates back to Moorish times and sits on the highest point of the Old Town. Although much of the original castle has been destroyed throughout history, some sections of walls and 18 different towers remain today. Look down on a city swarming with endless angular white houses and buildings with distinct red terracotta rooftops. The afternoon is free to make further discoveries of Lisbon – perhaps roam through the charming narrow streets of local neighbourhoods and see local life play out, visit Belem Tower (a wonderful building originally designed as a lighthouse) or the spectacular Monastery of the Jeronimos.
Included Activities
  • Explore Lisbon with a Local Guide
  • Castle of Sao Jorge
Optional Activities
  • Belem Tower - Jeronimos Monastery - Entrance (Combo) - EUR12
  • Entrance to Belem Tower - EUR8
  • Entrance to Jeronimos Monastery - EUR10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel outside of the city for a full-day excursion from Lisbon. First to Sintra, which is a jewel of Portugal. This bewitching place, with its fairy-tale atmosphere, is set amidst lush vegetation and rugged, mystical hills. The cooler climes made it a summer retreat for royalty, and it has drawn and inspired many poets, writers and travellers for centuries, including Lord Byron. Spend some time here exploring Sintra’s Pena Palace and Gardens. The views across the Serra de Sintra mountain range are stunning. Then, continue to Cabo da Rocha: a cape which forms the westernmost extent of mainland Portugal and continental Europe. After the colourful Bay of Cascais and its dazzling beaches, stop in cosmopolitan Cascais. Once a quiet fishing village, later Cascais became a residence of the Portuguese royal court in the 19th century and is now a glamorous holiday destination of designer boutiques and upscale restaurants. During your free time here, why not sit down in one of the little restaurants and try some local delicacies? On the drive back to Lisbon along the coast in the afternoon, see a different perspective of the capital as you approach from the other side of the Tagus River. After a great full day of sights, enjoy this evening at your leisure in Lisbon.
Included Activities
  • Pena Palace Sintra
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
There are no activities planned for today, and as such, you are free to leave at any time. Included with your tour booking is an airport transfer if you happen to fly out today. If you wish to spend some more time exploring Lisbon, we will be happy to arrange additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Metro, Minibus, Tram, Train

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (11 nights), Feature stay (3 nights)

Included Activities

  • Alcazar of Segovia tour inc audioguide
  • Burgos leader led tour
  • Locally produced Cider tasting
  • Picnic lunch including locally sourced cheese
  • Covadonga Lake walk
  • Carbayon tasting in Oviedo
  • Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage guided walk
  • Port Tasting - Porto
  • Porto guided food tasting tour
  • Guided tour of Guimarães
  • Coimbra - Fado Show
  • Explore Lisbon with a Local Guide
  • Castle of Sao Jorge
  • Pena Palace Sintra

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. Please note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent.

ARRIVAL TRANSFER
An arrival transfer from the airport to the start point hotel is included in the price of the trip. Please advise your travel agent of your flights times at least 2 weeks before your departure date. If you are planning to reach the destination by train or bus, please enquire the possibility of re-scheduling the transfer with your travel agent at the time of booking.

Essential trip information

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