Portugal-Spain  2016


  1. 1.Wednesday, March 23, 2016-Leave Washington Dulles at 7:15 PM for London Heathrow on British Airways Flight 216 (Business Class-A380).

  1. 2.Thursday, March 24-Arrive London Heathrow Terminal 5 at 6:25 AM (3,688 miles).  Leave London Heathrow, Terminal 3 at 3:35 PM on British Airways Flight 502 for Lisbon, Portugal (Business Class, A320). Arrive Lisbon at 6:10 PM (984 miles). Tivoli Lisboa

  1. 3.Friday, March 25-Visit Fatima. Attend Fado dinner at hotel. Tivoli Lisboa PHOTOS VIDEO

  1. 4.Saturday, March 26-Visit Sintra. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner as the tour begins. D. Tivoli Lisboa PHOTOS

  2. 5.Sunday, March 27 (Easter)-Lisbon A morning tour introduces us to the city on the River Tagus; the afternoon is free for independent exploration. B Tivoli Lisboa PHOTOS

  3. 6.Monday, March 28-Lisbon/Oporto Leaving Lisbon we head north, stopping in the small fortified town of Obidos and in the seaside village of Nazare. Mid-afternoon we reach our pousada in lovely Oporto, Portugal’s second largest city and UNESCO site. B,D. Pousada do Porto PHOTOS

  4. 7.Tuesday, March 29-Highlights of our city tour include colorful Bolhao Market, the historic city center, Baroque Clerigos Church, and the sophisticated Foz oceanfront district. Then we enjoy an hour-long cruise on the Douro River. Our tour ends with a visit to a port lodge for a tasting of the fortified wine exclusive to the region. B,D Pousada do Porto PHOTOS

  5. 8.Wednesday, March 30-Oporto/Santiago de Compostela, Spain En route to Santiago, we stop in the old Galician town of Pontevedra. We continue on to Santiago, capital of Spain’s northwest Galicia region, arriving mid-afternoon at our parador, where we dine tonight. B,D Hostal dos Reis Catolicos PHOTOS

  6. 9.Thursday, March 31-Santiago de Compostela Last stop on the celebrated pilgrimage route of the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) and presumed repository of the remains of St. James the Apostle, Santiago de Compostela also ranks among Spain’s most beautiful and visited cities. We discover this important cultural and educational capital on today’s tour, featuring the Cathedral housing the silver crypt believed to hold the remains of St. James. From here we enter Plaza de Obradoiro, the monumental square surrounded by Santiago’s most important buildings. This afternoon is free for independent exploration in this eminently walkable and lovely UNESCO World Heritage city with historic buildings lining its winding, narrow streets. B,D Hostal dos Reis Catolicos PHOTOS VIDEO

  7. 10.Friday, April 1-Santiago/Leon Leaving Santiago this morning, we travel east to vibrant Leon, another stop on the Way of St. James pilgrimage route and known for its religious festivals and Easter Week processions. Upon arrival, we encounter the city’s impressive historical and architectural heritage as we visit the 12th-century Leon Cathedral, one of Spain’s most beautiful with its sculpture-covered façade and impressive stained glass windows; and Casa Botines, a Modernist structure by architect Antoni Gaudi. We reach our parador early this evening and dine there tonight. B,D Parador de Leon PHOTOS

  8. 11.Saturday, April 2-Leon/Bilbao Today we stop in the elegant port city and Cantabrian capital of Santander for a tour and lunch. Then we travel on to Bilbao, the industrial port city almost magically transformed by the construction of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997. B,L Melia Bilbao PHOTOS

  9. 12.Sunday, April 3-Bilbao This morning’s tour begins in Bilbao’s medieval Old City, with a charming mix of narrow cobblestone streets and inviting squares. We see the Catedral de Santiago (c. 1379), once a stop on the pilgrimage route; monumental Plaza Nueva; and busy seaside La Ribera market. Then we take a guided tour of the Guggenheim and its contemporary art collection. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the jaw-dropping structure of limestone, titanium, and glass has drawn acclaim, attention, and visitors to this popular, revitalized city. Our last stop is Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum, with a rich collection of Spanish and Basque artworks. B,D Melia Bilbao PHOTOS

  10. 13.Monday, April 4-Bilbao/Basque Country A day-long excursion begins with a poignant stop: Gernika (Guernica), heart of the Basque region and the town razed by Nazi bombing in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War that was immortalized in the namesake painting by Picasso. Then we pass through countryside historically home to the Basque people of Spain’s Atlantic Coast and western Pyrenees. At the seaside village of Bakio, we follow a coastal road of wild beauty to the islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, with its hermitage to St. John the Baptist. We stop in the key fishing town of Bermeo then continue on to the medieval fishing village of Mundaka, where we enjoy magnificent views of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve of streams and a salt marsh surrounded by sheer cliffs. B,L Melia Bilbao PHOTOS

  11. 14.Tuesday, April 5-Bilbao/Pamplona/Bielsa We travel today to the Pyrenees town of Bielsa, stopping en route in fabled Pamplona, known for its annual Running of the Bulls tradition. B,D Parador de Bielsa  PHOTOS

  12. 15.Wednesday, April 6-Bielsa Fresh mountain air and stunning scenery are on tap as we visit Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Touring by coach and on foot, we see the limestone Pyrenees chain, its lush valleys dotted with clear blue streams and beech, fir, and pine trees. B,D Parador de Bielsa PHOTOS

  13. 16.Thursday, April 7-Bielsa/Barcelona We travel today by coach to the world-class city of Barcelona, arriving mid-afternoon. After a brief orientation walking tour, we are free for dinner on our own in this most gastronomic of cities. B Hotel Avenida Palace PHOTOS

  14. 17.Friday, April 8-Barcelona This morning’s city tour features Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), a maze of medieval streets; and Las Ramblas, the tree-lined pedestrian mall that attracts locals and visitors alike, day and night. We pay homage to Barcelona’s native son, flamboyant artist Antoni Gaudi, visiting his curving stone-faced Casa Milà; fanciful Parc Guell; and the landmark Sagrada Familia, his surreal – and unfinished – cathedral. Following a tapas lunch, the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. B,L Hotel Avenida Palace PHOTOS

  15. 18.Saturday, April 9-Barcelona Today is at leisure to enjoy this vibrant city as we wish. Tonight we bid!adios! to Spain, and to our fellow travelers, at a farewell dinner. B,D Hotel Avenida Palace PHOTOS

  16. 19.Sunday, April 10-Barcelona/Madrid Leave Barcelona Sants station at 1:25 PM on AVE Train 3132 (First Class). Arrive Madrid Puerta De Atocha station at 4:10 PM (386 miles).  B Wellington Hotel PHOTOS

  1. 20.Monday, April 11-Madrid Wellington Hotel PHOTOS VIDEO

  2. 21.Tuesday, April 12-Madrid Wellington Hotel PHOTOS

  1. 22.Wednesday, April 13-Madrid Wellington Hotel PHOTOS

  1. 23.Thursday, April 14-Madrid/Washington-Leave Madrid at 8:30 AM on British Airways Flight 7054 for London Heathrow (Business Class-A321). Arrive Heathrow at 9:50 AM (785 miles). Leave Heathrow at 10:50 AM on British Airways Flight 217 (Business Class-A380). Arrive Washington Dulles at 1:50 PM (3,688 miles).

Itinerary  Click PHOTOS or VIDEO to view. Slide show in PHOTOS may not work correctly on a hand-held, mobile device. Viewing on a regular computer is recommended.

OTHER TRIPS (click to view)

THIS TRIP (click to view)

Bilbao, Spain