Tour description

Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal

Take in the beauty and flavour of Spain & Portugal on this Sights & Delights tour! Not only will you venture to the exciting cities of Madrid, Seville & Lisbon, you will also travel through picturesque villages, and beautiful wine regions; including the incredible Douro Valley. Tasting the food and wine of the Iberian peninsula is at the core of this tour, visiting artisan food producers and exploring excellent wineries. You will also have the opportunity to see some of the finest sights in Spain and Portugal with your private guides, including the astonishing Alhambra. For a vacation in Spain & Portugal which includes its cultural delights, you need look no further than our fantastic customizable Sights & Delights tour!


Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal

On arrival at Madrid airport our chauffeur will be awaiting you with a luxury vehicle and will transfer you to your boutique 4* hotel, in the heart of Madrid. Formerly the residence of the Duke of Noblejas, the hotel has maintained its frescoes, mirrors and stained glass whilst being equipped with modern comforts, and is a stone’s throw away from the Prado Museum and famous Santa Ana square. So begins your Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal Tour! This afternoon a Gourmand Breaks representative, also an Officially Licensed Guide, will meet you to go through your itinerary and answer any queries you may have. You will also receive your printed Personal Travel Journals for your private tour, with itinerary details and plenty of suggestions for restaurants and free time activities.

You will then set off on your private guided tour of Madrid, which will first take you to El Prado Museum, the biggest art gallery in the world. Your private guide, additionally qualified in Spanish History and Art, will make sure you don’t miss anything – you are in excellent hands! Your private tour of Madrid will take you to Plaza Oriente and the Cathedral. You will walk through the Old town and on to Mercado de San Miguel, the hottest gastronomic spot in Madrid where its bars and restaurants make it the place to meet! On your journey you will enjoy some fantastic bites to eat, and a beverage or two, as you sample the best variety of wine and tapas the city has on offer!

Tour in a nutshell: Tour in a nutshell: Chauffeured transfer from Madrid airport. Meeting with your Gourmand Breaks representative. Private guided tour of El Prado and Old Madrid. Lunch of tapas and wine on your tapas-hopping tour. Overnight in a 4* boutique hotel in Madrid.


Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal

You have the day free in Madrid on your Sights & Delights Tour today. Perhaps you wish to visit the Reina Sofia Museum or the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in the company of our expert guide? The Reina Sofia Museum is the national museum for 20th century art in Spain. The museum was officially inaugurated in Madrid in 1992 and is named after the former Queen of Spain. The Reina Sofia museum collection consists of more than 20,000 works from the late 19th century to the present day, mainly dedicated to Spanish art with highlights including two of the greatest 20th century masters; Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. The most famous painting displayed is Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ – incredible to see up close. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is a collection of art which in the 1980s, was one of the greatest coups in European art history. Amassed by a central European collector beginning around 1920, and formerly displayed in Lugano, Switzerland, its 700 canvases, by artists ranging from El Greco to Picasso, are arranged in chronological order. This fantastic collection rivals the legendary holdings of the Queen of England herself.

Maybe you wish to return to the Royal Palace (Palacio Real) to view its interesting interior? Otherwise, take a leisurely walk through El Retiro Park, a great place to enjoy the open air as you stroll along the paths, passing fountains, statues, the delicate Palacio de Cristal and the boating lake. This evening we have many recommendations for fine dining in Madrid, be it old style Spanish food or a Michelin starred extravaganza!

Tour in a nutshell: Free day Madrid. Overnight Madrid.


Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal

This morning you have the morning to relax in Madrid, before heading to your next destination – southern Spain. The hotel will gladly call you a taxi for the short journey to the train station, where you have 1st class tickets on the fast and comfortable high speed train to Andalucia. On arrival in Granada, you will check in to your excellent 5* hotel, a luxuriously converted former convent, that has also been declared an artistic monument. Granada has the usual array of monuments for a southern European city. The true draw-card of Granada is its incredible Alhambra (which you will be visiting tomorrow). While in Granada you may like to visit the Royal Chapel “Capilla Real” commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs and built in a flamboyant Gothic style. Here you will find the mausoleums of Isabel and Ferdinand and their children Phillip “The Beautiful” and Joan “The Mad”. The Cathedral stands next to the chapel and is considered as the first renaissance church in Spain although it is a mixture of styles with it’s Baroque exterior, Renaissance interior and Gothic Roof Vaults.

You may like to visit the Old Arab market “Alcaiceria”. It is an interesting place to wander around and besides looking at the goods for sale, there are some good examples of Islamic architecture, and tiled wall decorations. The small archway off the famous Bib Rambla Square magically transports you to North Africa and into the narrow, tented streets of this market which is full of color, scents, music and vendors. This evening we have many dinner suggestions in your Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal Tour travel journal, perhaps something typically Andalusian would suit.

Tour in a nutshell: High -speed train on a 1st Class basis to Andalucia. Overnight in 5* luxury hotel in Granada.



The Alhambra awaits you today, with our Officially Licensed guide you will undertake a private guided tour of one of the most incredible structures in Spain! The Alhambra is considered to be one of the 10 wonders of the world. The Alhambra – gardens, fortifications and sumptuous palaces – was home to many Arab Sultans who ruled the province over the years. From outside, its red fortress towers and walls appear plain, yet imposing, as they rise from cypress and elm woods, with the Sierra Nevada forming a magnificent backdrop. The Alhambra was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889 AD and was then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-11th century by Moorish king Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar who built the current palace and walls. With each new section that was added, the consistent theme of “paradise on earth” was attained. Column arcades, fountains with running water, and reflecting pools were used to add to the aesthetic and functional intricacy. Today, the Alhambra exhibits the country’s most significant Islamic architecture, together with interior design and garden elements. There is no doubt that visiting the Alhambra will astonish you!

The rest of your afternoon is free to wander around Albaicin; the old Arabic quarter located on the hill opposite the Alhambra. It is characterized by cobblestone streets with white-washed houses. Despite several centuries of neglect and architectural barbarities allowed by the town council, it still retains a strong and serene Arabic feeling. There are many squares with terraces and places to laze about and have a bite to eat. The Albaicin is an oil painter’s paradise and almost at every turn of the head there is an attractive view, almost always involving glimpses of the Alhambra!

Tour in a nutshell: Private guided tour of Granada including entrance to the Alhambra. Overnight Granada.



This morning our private chauffeur will be waiting to transfer you to Seville, but on the way you will be stopping in beautiful historical Ronda with time for a bit of sightseeing and a delicious lunch with wines. The Serrania de Ronda is a mountainous area that is famous throughout the world for it’s beautiful white villages, in Spanish known as the Pueblos Blancos. Ronda is remarkably appealing with a beautifully preserved old town, Arab Baths and many great bars and restaurants, but the most famous landmark in Ronda is the Puente Nuevo or New Bridge. Completed in 1793 the bridge took forty two years to build and joins the old Moorish town and the newer, El Mercadillo parts of the city. Ronda is also said to be the home of modern day bullfighting in which you will visit the Real Maestranza bullring, one of the oldest and most picturesque in Spain.

Alternatively, if you’re a wine lover, you may prefer a detour to Jerez, the cradle of sherry, where you will first stop for lunch in the lively coastal town of Puerto Santa Maria, famous for its “cocederos” – seafood, shops and restaurants. Onwards to Jerez, you will have a Sherry date at a fantastic winery, founded in 1896; at one of the major producers of Sherry in Spain. After a full tour of the facilities with a wine specialist guide you will then be able to undertake an extended tasting of their fabulous sherries.Once in Seville, you will check into your boutique 5* hotel situated in a delightful area, in the picturesque and authentic Barrio de Santa Cruz. This evening we have many suggestions for dinner in your Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal Tour travel journal.

Tour in a nutshell: Private chauffeured transportation to Seville with a stop over in Ronda. Delicious lunch with wine. Optional private guided visit to a top sherry producer with sherry tastings. Overnight in a boutique 5* hotel in Seville.



Today your officially licensed Seville tour guide will be waiting for you and you will depart on a private sightseeing tour of the Barrio Santa Cruz, which is the old Jewish quarter. You will amble around its beautiful squares and narrow streets, which form a jasmine and orange scented labyrinth.The area abounds in small stores and artisan shops, as well as good art galleries. Your tour continues through historic Seville, including a visit to Seville Cathedral, the oldest and most spectacular Gothic cathedral in the World, and La Giralda, a tower which provides spectacular views of the city.

You will have worked up an appetite on this fascinating tour so your guide will lead you now to a tantalizingly delicious tapas lunch. Seville boasts more than 4,000 tapas bars – roughly 1 for every 200 locals. Tapas hopping is part of Andalusian life and as you step into some of the many foodie hotspots you can try a variety of dishes that come freshly out of the kitchen. Plate after plate of hot and cold food appears on the bar to tempt your palate, so maybe try cold roasted pepper salad or anchovies in vinegar, a hot dish of meatballs in sauce or a slice of potato omelet ….. the choice is yours. Of course, as is customary, you will accompany your mouth watering bites with a glass of dry Spanish sherry, wine or draft beer. One of the delights of your Spain & Portugal Tour this evening is a wonderful Gypsy Flamenco Show, where the swirling skirts and tapping heels of the dancers will excite and amaze the senses!

Tour in a nutshell: Private guided tour of Historic Seville to include the Cathedral. Lunch of authentic tapas-hopping. Gypsy Flamenco show. Overnight Seville.



The high speed train takes you to Cordoba, once the biggest city in all of Europe, where at the station you will be met by our Officially Licensed Cordoba tour guide. The mix of cultures once seen in Cordoba is expressed with a visit to La Mezquita, the most significant Muslim architectural achievement in the Western world. This 8th century structure was first a church, then a mosque, and today has a cathedral oddly placed in its center. Walk the street leading up to the Juderia, with its whitewashed houses and colorful courtyards and shops. Though not Jewish in its current expression, a few signs hint of the Golden Age of Jewish life. The Jewish Quarter is the best-known part of Cordoba’s historic center and is one of the largest in Europe. As you wander down picturesque and evocative streets in the restored heart of Cordoba – one of the largest medieval quarters in Europe – it is not difficult to imagine the days when Cordoba was one of the most important cities in Europe.

Your private tour guide will then take you to some local taverns to savor some typical Cordobese tapas. Taverns in Cordoba used to be the place where the local people could go to drink wine and every tavern had an interior courtyard with a well, that was not only for decoration but also to refresh the drinks. Nowadays Cordoban taverns are designed as lively, yet less frenetic, venues to taste tapas. Try the specialties such as Flamenquin (battered pork or ham), Salmorejo (cold tomato soup thickened with breadcrumbs), Rabo de Toro (Bulls tail) and for dessert the typical Pastel Cordobes – a pastry filled with sweet pumpkin.

Tour in a nutshell: High-speed return train to Cordoba. Private guided tour of Historic Cordoba to include the Mezquita. Lunch of typical tavern tastings. Overnight Seville.



From Spain to Portugal today! A representative of our car rental company will deliver your luxury rental vehicle (Mercedes E, Audi 4 or similar) equipped with automatic transmission and GPS to your hotel this morning. You will now commence your journey to Lisbon. En route, you will be stopping at a unique family run estate with a long tradition of Iberian ham produce, established in 1818! Nowadays the 4th generation of the family continues the tradition of producing the finest Iberian ham and cold cuts. Located in a village of only 600 inhabitants, the area enjoys a unique microclimate and is very beneficial for the Iberian pigs to pasture freely. You will learn about the land and the life of the business; as you are given a full tour of the premises; including the traditional elaboration of their products. At the end of your tour you will enjoy an Iberian ham tasting lunch in their bodega, accompanied with cheese and wine.

When you arrive in Lisbon, you will check into your genuine 4* Art Deco hotel, which echoes the glamour of the 1940’s. Classified as a historic building, this small and unique hotel is located on a quiet street right alongside the cosmopolitan Avenida da Liberdade. We are sure you will be tired after your journey, but a short siesta is the answer before you start to get acquainted with this fabulous city! Lisbon is a charming mix of old world architecture and modern city life, still welcoming ships into its large port; as it has done for centuries. In your Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal Tour personal travel journal, we can recommend many restaurants in Lisbon to discover some Portuguese cuisine this evening!

Tour in a nutshell: Rental of a luxury vehicle with automatic transmission and GPS. Tour & tasting lunch at Jabugo ham producer. Overnight in a 4* hotel in Lisbon.



Your Officially Licensed guide will be waiting at your hotel, to take you on a private gourmet and historical tour of Lisbon. You will start with Moorish St George’s Castle, from where you will have impressive views over the sea and city below. Leading down from the castle to the river, you will traverse the Alfama, the old sailors’ quarter. Its tangled street plan is one of the few parts of Lisbon to survive the big quake, making the Alfama a cobbled playground of Old World color. Urban-jungle roads are squeezed into a maze of confusing alleys, designed to frustrate invaders trying to get up to the castle. Gnarled houses snuggle together in their romantic shabbiness; the air drips with laundry and the smell of clams and raw fish. Onward now to the Baixa and Chiado districts where there are many well-known cafes to enjoy a coffee stop and a typical Portuguese cake. You will be visiting a specialized gourmet delicatessen stocked with authentic local delights such as the typical Bacalhau (dried, salted cod), exclusive wines, traditional sweets, chorizo sausages and much more.

This evening you are set for a fabulous Fado experience, Portugal’s national music. You will dine at an authentic, elegant Portuguese Fado restaurant in Lisbon’s picturesque Bairro Alto. Founded in 1931 this institution in Lisbon has entertained prime ministers and presidents. The show is composed of Fado Sessions until 2am so you can stay as long as you wish, although most of our guests leave around 11pm.

Tour in a nutshell: Private guided gourmet & historic tour of Lisbon. Delicatessen lunch with wine. Fado Evening. Overnight Lisbon.



Your Sights & Delights Tour takes you to the stunning Douro Valley today, but first you will stop in Coimbra; one of Portugal’s oldest cities. In 711 the city was occupied by the Moors and remained Islamic for more than 300 years, despite brief interludes when Christian troops regained control. With the final Reconquest, in 1064, Coimbra was ideally situated to be a point of contact between the Muslim south and the Christian north and became home to an important Mozarabic community. Today, its atmospheric, beautiful historic core cascades down a hillside in a lovely setting on the east bank of the Rio Mondeg: it is a multicolored collage of buildings spanning nearly a millennium. Take time out to see the Old Cathedral Se Velha – the present church, and Torre de Almedina, which was built above the Almedina Arch in the 11th century.

Onward now to one of the finest wine regions of the world – arrive in Pinhao, the heart of the Douro Valley, and check into your hotel, a charming 5-star property. Your hotel was once a Port winery, so enjoy a privileged location overlooking the Douro River. Later on you may wish to explore Pinhao, itself. Spectacularly located at the confluence of the Douro and Pinhao rivers, this small town is the epicenter of the Port wine making area. This afternoon, you may like to enjoy a guided visit to a great Douro Valley winery that is just a short stroll from your hotel. We will be delighted to include a visit and a tasting of their wines in your itinerary if you so wish. For dinner tonight we have many suggestions in your Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal travel journal.

Tour in a nutshell: Drive to the Douro Valley via Coimbra. Optional afternoon Douro Valley winery tour with wine tasting. Overnight in a charming 5* hotel in the Douro Valley.



More wine tasting delights await you today! You will head to a fantastic Quinta, famous for its sophisticated wines as well as for its dramatic views. This single vineyard property dates as far back as the early seventeenth century, long before the Douro became the world’s first demarcated wine region in 1756. In the company of their in-house expert, you will have a full private tour of the vineyards and cellars, followed by a tasting of their incredible wines and ports, with lunch included. What better place to enjoy a gourmet lunch, than overlooking the Douro Valley? After lunch you will return to Pinhao where you will join a cruise along the Douro River. You will be able to revel in the fantastic area that surrounds you, as you head upstream toward the mouth of the river Tua. This stretch of river is not visible from national roads and is one of the most beautiful stretches of the Douro river. You will most definitely be able to imagine how Port wine was carried downriver from the Quintas of the Douro Valley to the Port Wine lodges in Porto on the traditional Portuguese cargo boats known as Rabelos. Please note: The group cruise is taken on normal river boats but should you wish to have a private cruise on one of the Rabelo Boats then this can be arranged in advance.

This evening, why not take a walk beside the Douro River or even take a train which follows the river? Pinhao station is considered one of the symbolic locations on the Upper Douro wine circuit, with 25 blue glazed tile panels covering the main building, representing the local landscapes and habits, predominantly of wine making.

Tour in a nutshell: Private Douro Valley winery tour. Gourmet 3 course lunch with wine. Cruise on the Douro River. Overnight Douro Valley.



Your Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal Tour takes you back to Spain today, to the wonderful city of Salamanca. On the way we suggest visiting Viseu, a fine Portuguese city whose old center retains its medieval feel with its impressive twin-towered cathedral, and Guarda, which boasts an ancient Jewish Quarter or “Judiaria” dating back to the 12th century. In Guarda alone there are over 20 frontier castles to see and while not enough time to see them all we will be delighted to provide you all the information you may require.

*Please note: a private guided tour of Salamanca, with our Officially Licensed local guide, can be arranged, if you so wish.

Onward now to Salamanca, whose university is the oldest in Spain. The city’s historic center has important Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque monuments. The Plaza Mayor, with its galleries and arcades, is particularly impressive; considered to be one of the finest squares in Spain and known as the living room of the Salamantinos. Here, in Salamanca, you will check into your excellent 4* boutique hotel, formerly the private mansion of a wealthy family. The building contains some beautiful details over the windows and doors, and wrought-iron balconies. It is steps away from the Roman bridge, a short walk to the Cathedral and just seven-minutes to the spectacular Plaza Mayor. The main square is the perfect place to sip a glass of wine or cava whilst watching the world go by and there are many restaurants for a delicious dinner this evening. Your printed Sights & Delights personal travel journals will include our restaurant recommendations as well as personalized sightseeing options.

Tour in a nutshell: Visits to Viseu, Guarda and Salamanca. Optional private tour of Salamanca. Overnight in 4* boutique hotel in Salamanca.



Why not have a lazy breakfast this morning and a wander through Salamanca before continuing your journey to Madrid? The direct drive to Madrid is only two hours, but on the way we suggest a stop in Avila and/or Segovia: we will of course provide you with all the info on what to see and do! Avila is a small Spanish town locally renowned for its harsh winters, but really famous for its impressive medieval town walls, the best-maintained example to be found in Europe. The City Walls were built between the 11th and 12th centuries and today still surround the city. Other top attractions here include the Avila Cathedral, which also dates back to the 12th century and the Romanesque basilica of St. Vincent’s.

Segovia is a city with centuries of settlement resulting in a rich architectural legacy, including medieval walls, Romanesque churches, a former royal palace and a Gothic cathedral. The iconic ancient Roman aqueduct of Segovia is remarkably well preserved and forms part of the setting of the magnificent historic city of Segovia. Your printed Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal personal travel journals will include our restaurant recommendations as well as sightseeing options for all the areas covered in your itinerary. On your eventual arrival in Madrid you will return your rental car to the local office before relaxing at your palace hotel. You may wish to dine at one of the oldest restaurants in the world tonight – yes, it is in Madrid, but we also have several suggestions for dinner tonight, or maybe you would prefer to re-visit the San Miguel market and enjoy some delicious tapas and local wine!

Tour in a nutshell: Suggestions to visit Avila/ Segovia on the way to Madrid. Drop off rental vehicle, re-check into your 4* palace hotel in Madrid.



You have high speed return train tickets from Madrid to Toledo today. Your local officially licensed tour guide will be waiting for you at the train station when you arrive and will lead you on a visit to the Cathedral, which is one of the most outstanding buildings in the city, considered to be one of the high points of Gothic art. The construction of this monumental building commenced in 1226, although it was not finished until the 15th century. Your tour guide will lead you next to the Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca. Remains of the Jewish community are still preserved in the city in the synagogues of Santa Maria la Blanca and El Transito. The former, built possibly in the 12th century, is also a good example of Toledo’s Mudejar art. It has five naves with decreasing heights as well as the characteristic geometrical and botanical decoration and horseshoe arches. Meanwhile, in the synagogue of El Transito, built in 1357, you can admire one of the best Mudejar coffered ceilings of all those preserved in Toledo, along with walls richly decorated with geometrical and botanical designs and Hebrew inscriptions. Your fantastic tour of Toledo, will terminate with a visit to the church of Santo Tome, famous for housing the famous El Greco picture entitled El entierro del Conde Orgaz (The burial of Count Orgaz). You will then have free time to enjoy Toledo and have lunch, for which we have several suggestions, prior to returning to Madrid.

Back in Madrid, the rest of the evening is free to do as you wish!

Tour in a nutshell: High-speed return train tickets to Toledo. Private guided tour of Toledo to include the Cathedral, Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca and Church of Santo Tome. Overnight Madrid.



It is always sad to say goodbye, but this is the last day of your Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal tour and after breakfast you will check out of your hotel and have a chauffeured transfer to the airport for your onward journey.

We do hope you will join us for this fascinating, delicious and fun food and cultural tour. You will keep memories for life!

Tour in a nutshell: Chauffeured transfer to Madrid airport.

Tour quotation

Sights & Delights of Spain & Portugal Quote Request

We are excited that you are considering joining us on one of our fabulous custom-built tours of Spain, Portugal, SW France and/or Italy! Please fill in the form below and we will happily provide you with a non-committal initial quote for the sample tour itinerary chosen.

In case you would prefer us to build a personal tour proposal for you from scratch, please e-mail us at [email protected] and we will be delighted to start working with you on your personal and very special travel itinerary with us.

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Tour in a Nutshell

Private guides in Madrid, Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Toledo & Lisbon

The wonders of L’ Alhambra, La Mezquita & the beautiful Douro Valley

Top winery visits & gourmet tastings, Flamenco & Fado

Self-drive, high speed trains & chauffeured tours

15 days/14 nights, boutique 4* and 5* hand selected hotels

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