Follow the fortunes of the Spanish, Portuguese and Moorish Kingdoms as evidenced in their grand castles, stupendous religious buildings and incredible works of art.
- Cruises & Water Tours
- Culture, History & Arts
- Family Vacations
- Rail Journeys
- Walking & Biking
- Wildlife & Nature
At Insight Vacations, we have been in the business of creating magical experiences for travelers for 40 years. But for us, it’s never been just a business. Travel in its truest sense – not just going to incredible places, but really connecting with them, in an authentic way – is both a joy and a personal passion, for every member of our team. Let us share that passion with you. We’ll take you on an unforgettable journey. We’ll immerse you in unique experiences, and we’ll introduce you to amazing people. The magic begins here!
- Madrid: Witness the world’s finest collection of Spanish paintings plus an impressive foreign collection as you tour the Prado Museum with an expert art historian.
- Segovia: Walk the medieval streets of this fortified city with your Local Expert and see the 14th century Alcazar Palace.
- Gibraltar: With your Local Expert, explore the Rock of Gibraltar, one of the pillars of Hercules, affording magnificent views and see the meeting of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Spanish Sierra. Visit St. Michael’s Cave and see the Barbary Apes.
- Granada: Best interpreted with the help of a Local Expert, the Alhambra Palace is the ultimate in Muslim architecture, an arabesque fantasy in stone, complemented by the gardens of the Generalife.
TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS
- Madrid: With your Local Expert, travel along the Paseo de la Castellana and see the Cibeles Fountain, down the Gran Vía to the Royal Palace and the monument to Cervantes in the Plaza de España and cross the Puerta del Sol.
- Salamanca: See the handsome arcaded Plaza Mayor, the honey-coloured cathedral and the 16th century university buildings as you explore the city with your Local Expert.
- Porto: See the iconic bridges and buildings decorated in tiles.
- Fátima: Join the faithful at one of the world’s holiest sites and pay homage at the Chapel of the Apparitions.
- Obidos: Lead by your Travel Director, walk through the picturesque narrow streets up to the main square of this ancient walled town.
- Lisbon: Explore with your Local Expert, from the Lower Town, beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco. Visit the Belém Quarter to see the Monument to the Discoveries and the ancient Belém Tower.
- Lisbon: Visit the Jerónimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture, reflecting Portugal’s trade over the centuries and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Seville: From the Moorish Patio de los Naranjos, step inside the cathedral and pass the altarpiece dripping with gold, to the Tomb of Columbus, held aloft by four kings. Your Local Expert will also show you the Giralda Tower and lead you through the streets of the Santa Cruz Quarter to the Alcazar.
- Alfarnatejo: Visit the beautiful, quiet town and walk the town centre to see the 18th century Iglesia del Santo Cristo de Cabrilla.
- Mijas: Journey to this white-washed village and stroll the streets to admire the coastal views.
- Valencia: See the ultra-modern Centre of Arts and Sciences and the huge gates of the old town, Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart.
- Peñíscola: See the castle featured in the film ‘El Cid’.
- Barcelona: A Local Expert will show you the narrow lanes and old squares of the Barri Gotic, the Gothic Quarter. View the lively Las Ramblas, see the wrought-iron street lamps and narrow lanes and old squares of the Barri Gotic, the Gothic Quarter. View the lively Las Ramblas, see the wrought-iron street lamps and Modernist buildings as you travel along Passeig de Gràcia.
- Barcelona: A Local Expert will take you inside Gaudi’s extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Família, to admire the beautiful architecture.
- Scenic Drives: Enjoy the scenery as you travel along the River Douro, Costa del Sol, through the Provence of Malaga, across the Sierra Nevada and along the Costa Dorada.
- Porto: Sample a selection of famous Port wines at a tasting at the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores.
- Lisbon: Delight in a taste of the famous Portuguese delicacy, Pastéis de Belém.
- Seville: Tables are reserved for dinner, drinks and a fiery evening of Spanish dance and music! Get ready for throbbing guitars, lamenting solos, colourful dancers and the rhythmic stomp of flamenco.
- Torremolinos: Hear the stories of local life as you are invited into the home of a local family to join them for a freshly prepared, traditional lunch, with wine.
- Torremolinos: Taste a selection of freshly pressed olive oils with locally made farmer bread when you stop at Almazara, the oldest olive grove in the region.
- Valencia: Learn the authentic recipe of paella when you join a local chef for a Cooking Demonstration. Savour the flavours of this classic dish for dinner, washed down with a glass of Sangria, during your Highlight Dinner.
- Sant Sadurni d’Anoia: Join a wine expert when you visit Cava Dorada. Enjoy a tasting at the great Cava vineyards during your delicious Highlight Lunch.
- Barcelona: With fantastic sea views, be seated for an exceptional Catalan Celebration Dinner incorporating classic cooking with only the freshest produce.
- Included Quality Dining: 14 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 2 Lunches with Wine (LW) and 5 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with wine tea or coffee. Festive Highlight Dinners: 20 Dec Christmas Day in Lisbon & New Year’s Eve in Valencia. 27 Dec New Year’s Eve in Lisbon.
INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES
- Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
- Enjoy the comfort of Insight’s luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
- Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert’s fascinating commentary.
- We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
- Hotel and restaurant tips are included – you’ll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
- Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
- From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
- If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.
YOUR JOURNEY BEGINS
Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).
WELCOME TO MADRID.
Your transfer will depart Madrid airport at 09:00, 11:00, 13:30 or 16:00. Join your Travel Director at 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner in a local restaurant and get to know your fellow travellers over a beautiful evening of good food and wine.
MADRID OF THE BOURBONS.
Enjoy sightseeing with your Local Expert as they take you along the elegant Paseo de la Castellana, passing Madrid’s most famous fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles. Drive down the Gran Vía to the Royal Palace and the monument to Cervantes in the Plaza de España before crossing the Puerta del Sol. The highlight of your trip is a visit to the magnificent Prado Museum to admire the paintings of Velázquez, Goya and many others.
SEGOVIA AND GOLDEN SALAMANCA.
Travel to the fortified city of Segovia where you will walk through the medieval streets from the ancient aqueduct to see the magnificent Alcazar fortress. Journey west, passing the ancient walls of Ávila, en route to Salamanca. During your orientation see some of the golden stone buildings the city is famous for, including the handsome arcaded Plaza Mayor, the honey-coloured cathedral and the 16th century university buildings.
PORTO, GRANDE DAME ON THE DOURO.
(Relaxed Start) Cross the Portuguese border to reach Porto, situated on the River Douro and celebrated internationally as the capital of Port wine. Visit the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores that house the famous wines and walk along corridors of casks. Get to know your tawnys and vintages during a tasting. Continue your exploration of the city, admire the multi-coloured houses and churches covered in glazed tiles, as well as the iconic bridges (or ‘Eiffel Towers on end’ according to one Frenchman).
HOLY FÁTIMA, ANCIENT OBIDOS AND LISBON.
Head south for a visit to miraculous Fátima. See the Basilica or visit the Chapel of the Apparitions, which commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three young shepherds in 1917. Journey to the fortified town of Obidos and walk inside its walls, exploring the narrow, medieval streets with houses covered with flowers. Your travels continue to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
DAY 7 – RELAXED START
LISBON AND THE AGE OF THE GREAT DISCOVERIES.
Sightseeing with a Local Expert takes you along the spacious avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco, the finest square in the city. Visit the Belém Quarter from where sailing ships once set forth to discover unknown lands. See the traditional patisserie that has managed to hold on to the secret recipe of Portugal’s finest pastry for almost 200 years and enjoy a taste of the famous Pastéis de Belém. View the Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belém Tower. This fortress was originally set in the middle of the river, but is now left high and dry on the riverbank. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Jerónimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture. With the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps join an Optional Experience to the Portuguese Riviera? It is often visited by surfers, occasionally royalty, and even James Bond.
SEVILLE, THE CITY OF CARMEN.
Leave Lisbon via the modern Tagus Bridge and cross the border to reach Seville. With your Local Expert, visit the immense cathedral to see the Tomb of Christopher Columbus and the slender Giralda Tower, the former minaret of the Great Mosque. Explore the labyrinthine Santa Cruz Quarter and see the Alcazar.
DAY 9 – RELAXED START
FREE TIME AND FLAMENCO IN SEVILLE.
Enjoy a relaxed start and a day to relax, shop or continue exploring this fascinating city at your own pace. Our suggestion is to join an Optional Experience to the ancient city of Cordoba, where you will visit the magnificent Mezquita, see the old Jewish Quarter, and enjoy some free time to shop or explore as you wish. In the evening you are treated to dinner, wine and entertainment featuring a fiery flamenco show.
HEAD FOR GIBRALTAR, THE COSTA DEL SOL AND MIJAS.
Head south to Gibraltar, part of mainland Spain yet an overseas territory under British control since 1704. With your Local Expert, visit the Rock of Gibraltar and St. Michael’s Cave to see the Barbary Apes, legendary guardians of the colony. Relax as you travel the scenic route along the Costa del Sol through exclusive resorts where the rich and famous holiday. Your journey continues through the green hills to the white-washed village of Mijas. Stroll through the old streets and gardens and take in the views of the coast.
DAY 11 – RELAXED START
AT LEISURE ON THE COSTA DEL SOL.
Enjoy the following day at leisure on the sun-drenched Costa del Sol. Relax by the blue Mediterranean waters, stroll along the promenade, savour the specialities in the local restaurants or consider exploring Malaga, the birth city of Picasso.
DAY 12 – RELAXED START
DINING WITH LOCALS AND THE ALHAMBRA.
Travel to the oldest olive grove in the region and stop at the rural mill-factory of Almazara to taste a selection of different oils with locally made farmer bread. Continue to Alfarnatejo, a quiet town with a population of just 500 people and surrounded by stunning mountainous landscape. Walk the town centre to see the 18th century Iglesia del Santo Cristo de Cabrilla. In small groups, you are invited to into the home of a local family to join them for a delicious Highlight Lunch made of fresh, local produce with flavours typical of the region. Continue to Granada to visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace with your Local Expert. Built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century, it is a wonder of beautiful gardens, fountains and stone cut like lace.
ON TO VALENCIA.
Journey to Valencia, home of the City of Arts and Sciences. Pass through the Old City and see the city’s ancient gates, Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart. In your free time perhaps take a stroll to the Cathedral and El Miguelete? Or sit back to with a drink and watch the Valencian’s go about their day. Valencia is home to one of the world’s greatest dishes, paella. Meet the chef of a local family-run restaurant in the heart of the old town and learn the traditional recipe during a Cooking Demonstration, before savouring the delicious flavours of this classic dish, washed down with a glass of sangria, during your Highlight Dinner.
ALONG THE COAST TO PEÑÍSCOLA AND ON TO BARCELONA.
Follow the coast to Peñíscola to view the sea-lapped castle used in the film ‘El Cid’. Continue along the Costa Dorada to the Cava Bodegas at Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. During a delicious freshly prepared Highlight Lunch, enjoy a tasting as you learn the sparkling secrets of Spanish bubbly. Continue along the coast to reach Barcelona.
DAY 15 – RELAXED START
(Relaxed Start) A Local Expert joins you for a drive along the Passeig de Gràcia adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and some of the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district to visit inside Gaudi’s extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Família. See the central nave with its giant, tree-like pillars, spectacular vaulting and the beautiful rainbows flooding in through the intricate stained-glass windows. At a local restaurant, join your fellow travellers to toast newfound friends and a wonderful journey as you enjoy a Celebration Dinner with wine.
Your journey ends after breakfast. Departure transfers arrive at Barcelona airport at 07:00, 09:00 and 11:00.
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