Roman Theatre in Merida, Badajoz Province, Extremadura, Spain
Roman Theatre in Merida, Badajoz Province, Extremadura, Spain

Spain & Portugal


18 days From $6,795

October 14 2018

A vast expanse of history is waiting to be uncovered across the Iberian heartlands of Portugal and Spain. Discover glorious Roman monuments, amazing feats of engineering, and Moorish and Renaissance wonders that linger long in the memory. Join us to discover the captivating lands of the Conquistadors…

What's included?

  •  Expert Scholar & Tour Manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Local Transport
  •  Entries & Tips

Led by...

Rafael Blanco Guzmán

Rafael is a professor at the University of Córdoba, where he graduated with a degree in Art History for undertaking a Masters in Archaeology and Heritage.

Book Now $6,795
Includes deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $950

Tour highlights:

  • Explore magnificent Roman ruins in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Mérida
  • Discover the Alhambra, a love letter to Moorish culture in Granada
  • Take a walking tour of Évora, one of Portugal’s most marvelous medieval towns
  • Enter the exclusive world of Bodegas Lustau for an afternoon sherry tasting
  • Enjoy free time to independently explore the Andalucían metropolis of Seville
  • Wander through the monumental tombs of Carmona necropolis

Tour details

Dates October 14 2018 - October 31 2018
Duration 18 days
Cost $6,795
Single supplement: $950
Deposit: $1,250 , balance due by 22 July 2018
Activity Level
Tour code B18SPO

Book Now or call 866-740-5130 if you have any questions

October 14 2018: Itinerary

We arrive in Lisbon on the morning of day 2, Portugal’s historic and happening capital, and transfer directly to our hotel. This evening we are welcomed with a lecture from our Expert Scholar before enjoying our first dinner as a group.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Pestana Palace, Lisbon

We begin our journey with a walking tour of Lisbon. Our starting point is the Tower of Belém, a lasting legacy of the Portuguese age of discovery, used not only to fortify the harbor, but as a custom house for both visiting and returning vessels. We then make our way along the river to the city’s superb Archaeological Museum, and finally to the 15th-century Jerónimos Monastery, an ornate example of Portugal’s unique Manueline architectural style. After lunch, we visit the Millenium bcp Foundation, where building works during the nineties revealed archaeological structures left by civilizations over various periods, some of which date back 2500 years. Finally, we enter Lisbon’s Roman Theater Museum, where we view the traces and artefacts that remain of this 1st-century BC site.

All meals included

Hotel: Pestana Palace, Lisbon

This morning we leave Lisbon and travel to Tróia, a former Roman ‘factory’ in which fish was salted and made into garum, a popular fermented sauce. This is not just any Roman ruin, but the largest known facility of its type in the Roman world.

We continue to the medieval town of Évora. Once the residence of Portuguese kings, Évora’s historic center is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site; a wonderful destination for archaeology enthusiasts. While here we embark on a walking tour of the town’s many Roman sites, including the colonnaded remains of the Templo Romano de Diana, which looms over the main square. We also visit the unusual 16th century Chapel of Bones, another of Evora’s best known sites.

All meals included

Hotel: M'AR De AR Muralhas, Évora

We make an early start this morning and head out to the Almendres Cromlechs, a megalithic complex and the largest existing group of structured menhirs in the Iberian Peninsula. It is believed that the monument had a ceremonial purpose or functioned as a primitive astronomical observatory. We then turn back on our tracks and continue our exploration of Évora with a visit to the town’s museum, which contains some 20,000 pieces, including Medieval paintings, and Roman statues unearthed in the local area.

Afterwards, we head to Elvas for a short stop at the 16th-century Amoreira Aqueduct, a marvellous construction spanning the length of the municipality. If time permits, after crossing into Spain, we also pause at Badajoz for a visit to the Provincial Archaeology Museum, an old fortress in which thousands of artefacts chart the region’s history from the Bronze Age to the Moorish era, and all that’s in between.

Our day ends at Mérida, a city first founded by veterans of Emperor Augustus’ army in around 25 BC – and our home for the next two nights.

All meals included

Hotel: Parador de Mérida

We devote the entirety of our fifth day to admiring the plentiful Roman sites of Mérida. As the former capital of Lusitania, the city contains arguably the best collection of Roman remains in the whole of Spain. We first visit the city’s amphitheater and theater, the latter of which is generally considered one of the best-preserved examples of its kind from the Empire. We then peruse the marvellous display of paintings, tombstones and sculptures on display at Merida’s Archaeological Museum. After lunch, we enjoy a walking tour of the city, including attractions such as the Trajan Arch and the Puente Romano, the longest of all the surviving Roman bridges, still standing and frequently used to this day.

All meals included

Hotel: Parador de Mérida

This morning, we head out of the city to the Dolmen of Lacara, a megalithic complex set in beautiful natural surroundings. Our next stop is the burial site of Huerta Montero Tholos, a Bronze Age or Chalcolithic burial site remarkable for its exact alignment with the sun at the time of the winter solstice. A Megalithic marvel.

This afternoon, we journey to the splendid city of Seville, where we enjoy free time to stroll the immaculate Andalusian streets before regrouping for a delicious dinner.

All meals included

Hotel: Gran Melia Colón, Seville

An early start takes us to Itálica, just a short drive from Seville. This Roman city is famed as being the birthplace of both Trajan and Hadrian, and its impressive remains not only include elaborate mosaic floors but an amphitheater with space for up to 25,000 spectators.

We return to Seville this afternoon for an excursion to the Archaeological Museum, home to many artifacts from Itálica, as well as other Roman sites in the area. The museum also displays the El Carambolo treasure, almost three kilos of ancient gold jewelry and statues, including that of a Phoenician goddess. Later we take a leisurely walk through the park to view the Plaza de España, a magnificent landmark notable for its ceramic depiction of Spain’s various provinces.

All meals included

Hotel: Gran Melia Colón, Seville

Our first visit today is to the monumental Alcázar of Seville – a former royal palace of Moorish kings, with a rich blend of architecture that demonstrates a striking amalgamation of influences. Though originally established in the 11th century, the sprawling rooms and courtyards of the palace are still used by the Spanish royal family.

Next we enter Seville Cathedral. As well as being the largest Gothic building in Europe, and the third largest church in the world, the Cathedral is also famous as the final resting place of Christopher Columbus and his son, Diego. Its bell tower, the Giralda, was converted from its previous incarnation as a minaret after Seville was taken by the Christians in the mid-13thcentury. From its highest heights it offers outstanding views of the city. The afternoon is free for us to spend as we please.

All meals included

Hotel: Gran Melia Colón, Seville

We make our way to Cádiz this morning for a visit to the Archaeological Museum, where we find evidence of the city’s past as the ancient Phoenician and Punic city of Gadir – one of the most important settlements in the Western Mediterranean. Highlights include two beautifully carved Phoenician stone sarcophagi.

Next we head to the Gadir archaeological site, where we learn even more about the Phoenician way of life by seeing streets, homes and tools dating back as far as the 9th century BC. This afternoon we head to Cádiz’s Teatro Romano, a 1st-century attraction that features in the writings of Cicero. We round off the afternoon with a drive to Jérez where we enjoy a tasting of the city’s most famous export, sherry. As the night draws in we return to our hotel in Seville.

All meals included

Hotel: Gran Melia Colón, Seville

We bid farewell to Seville this morning and drive east to Carmona Necropolis, an intriguing complex of Iron Age and Roman tombs that contain such amazing monuments as the Tomb of the Elephant, with its kitchen and three dining rooms, and the Tomb of Servilia, which was built to resemble a Roman villa.

Following this, our journey leads on to Córdoba, where we spend time admiring the extraordinary Cathedral. A former mosque, and converted to Christianity in the 13th century, it remains an impressive example of Islamic architecture.

All meals included

Hotel: Las Casas de la Judería de Córdoba

This morning we take an excursion to Medina Azahara, the ruins of a vast Moorish palace-city which once served as the de facto capital of Muslim Spain. Though it flourished for only 80 years during the 10th century, a romantic complex of decorated archways and halls remains.

Returning to Córdoba, we have the afternoon free to spend as we wish. Feel the rhythms inside the Flamenco Museum, explore its atmospheric mosques and churches, or simply watch the world go by at the 17th-century Plaza de la Corredera. This evening the group enjoys dinner at a local restaurant.

All meals included

Hotel: Las Casas de la Judería de Córdoba

Our travels take us over to gorgeous Granada today, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Once here we spend the rest of our morning at a little-known jewel of the High Baroque period: the Cartuja Granada Monastery, a charterhouse founded in 1506, which contains a spectacularly-decorated tabernacle.

This afternoon we move on to view the resplendent Granada Cathedral, before taking a gentle walk around the Albaicin. This traditional quarter lies at the foot of the Alhambra, and is home to a network of winding streets flanked by traditional architecture. We celebrate our first night in the area with an evening meal at one Granada’s lovely local restaurants.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Alhambra Palace, Granada

We simply must devote this morning to the peerless Alhambra Palace, a hilltop Moorish and Renaissance fantasy set against the backdrop of the Sierra Morena. This legendary UNESCO World Heritage site is certainly set to take our breaths away. A huge complex of carved ceilings, flawless courtyards and glorious gardens, it rightly draws in visitors from all corners of the globe.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we relax during a long drive to Toledo, also known as the “City of the Three Cultures” for the cultural influences of Christians, Muslims and Jews reflected in its history. The journey will be a perfect opportunity for our Expert Scholar to give a lecture on some of the sites in store.

All meals included

Hotel: Sercotel Pintor El Greco, Toledo

After breakfast we explore Toledo on foot – a real feast for the senses. Before the expulsion of the Moors and Jews from Spain, the city was well known for its religious tolerance, and is home to some of the last mosques and synagogues built in Spain before it became forbidden to do so. We stop to admire such sites as the ancient mosque of Cristo de la Cruz, the synagogue of Santa Maria la Bianca, arguably the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing, as well as the ornate synagogue of El Transito . After lunch we admire Toledo’s impressive Gothic cathedral, a 13th-century sanctuary streaming with natural light. We also enter the Church of Santo Tomé, home to El Greco’s stupendous 1580s masterpiece, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.

All meals included

Hotel: Sercotel Pintor El Greco, Toledo

Before heading to Madrid in the late morning, we can either enjoy a leisurely start, or some free time for a further exploration of Toledo. We arrive in Madrid in time for lunch, and begin our adventures in Spain’s buzzing capital with a visit to the Museo del Prado. The country’s principle museum of art, Prado exhibits renowned works by Goya, Velázquez, and many, many more.

All meals included

Hotel: NH Collection Palacio de Tepa, Madrid

Our final full day of the trip starts with an enlightening tour of the National Archaeology Museum. Within its collections are gathered artifacts from all over the country, including the renowned Dama de Elchethe most famous piece of Iberian art in existence. Little can compare to the intricacies of this limestone bust, which dates back to around the 4th century BC.

The afternoon is free for us to explore Madrid at our leisure, leaving plenty of time to go wherever our curiosity takes us. Marvel at Picasso’s Guernica at the Centro de Arte Reína Sofia, connect with 17th-century Spain in the Plaza Mayor, or wander the luxurious lawns of the Parque del Buen Retiro. We mark our last night with a delectable farewell dinner and drinks as a group.

All meals included

Hotel: NH Collection Palacio de Tepa, Madrid

We transfer to the airport and make our return journey home.

Meals include: Breakfast

October 14 2018: Additional Info

October 14 2018: Accommodation

The 5-star Pestana Palace Hotel is a restored 19th-century palace, featuring private parklands and views of the Tagus River. It offers 2 swimming pools, a sauna and wellness center. Each spacious room is elegantly furnished and fitted with a flat-screen TV and a minibar. Many also open onto a furnished balcony with views of the lush garden. Some feature a seating area with a plush sofa. Overlooking the gardens, the chic, sophisticated restaurant at Pestana Palace Hotel serves traditional Portuguese dishes. The bar offers a range of snacks and drinks.

The 4-star hotel in Évora’s historic center is just a 5-minute walk from Giraldo Square. It offers a spacious outdoor terrace with sun loungers and a pool in the gardenRooms at M’AR De AR Muralhas are bright and elegant and include a spacious seating area with an LCD TV. Each room also has a CD player, DVD player and free bathroom amenities. Some rooms have a balcony. Restaurant Sabores do Alentejo serves traditional Portuguese cuisine as well as international meals. Room service provides in-room breakfast upon request. Guests can enjoy a refreshing drink on the terrace, which overlooks the exotic garden. For colder days, there is also a cozy lounge with a fireplace where guests enjoy music while having a warm drink.

Set in a former convent, dating from the 18th century, the Parador de Mérida provides attractive accommodation. It is within 10 minutes' walk of Mérida's main attractions. Parador de Mérida boasts a pleasant, traditional-style inner courtyard and beautiful gardens, where you can relax and read a book and keep cool in the midday sun. Dine in the Marmitia on-site restaurant with family or friends, where you can enjoy local-style cuisine, without leaving the hotel. There is a sauna and a gym in the Parador de Mérida, where you can do some exercise. Then you can take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, or simply lie back in the sun on one of the sun loungers

A design hotel located in the center of Seville, a 10-minute walk from the Giralda Tower and Seville Cathedral, Gran Meliá Colón offers a gourmet restaurant and a terrace with boutique rooftop pool. The stylish rooms at the Colón feature free WiFi, automatic lighting and a flat-screen satellite TV. Bathrooms include a rain shower or bath, and a selection of Clarins toiletries. All beds include a feather topper for extra comfort. The Gran Meliá Colón’s leisure facilities include a 24-hour fitness centre, as well as a hot tub and sauna in the spa. You can also use PlayStations or Wii games consoles, which are available from reception. The hotel’s elegant El Burladero Restaurant serves traditional dishes from Seville with a modern twist. There is also a café, a cocktail lounge and a striking lobby with a Modernist dome. The Alcazar Palace is a 15-minute walk from the Gran Meliá Colón and Plaza de Armas Square is just 200 yards away. 

Featuring an outdoor pool and bar, this charming hotel is 250 yards from the Mezquita. It is made up of attractive 17th and 18th-Century houses with lovely gardens, fountains and patios. Located 900 yards from Cordoba City Center, the Casas de la Judería combine modern facilities with historic buildings. There are many authentic, hand-made details. The property's snack bar, Patio de Mudéjar, serves typical Andalusian dishes. Rooms at the Casas de la Judería are large and comfortable. Each room has satellite TV and a private bathroom with toiletries. 

Alhambra Palace is located just outside the Alhambra’s ancient walls, offering spectacular views over the city of Granada. It features stylish rooms with Moorish-inspired décor, free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. The hotel’s à la carte restaurant serves Mediterranean and International food. There is also a bar with a terrace boasting impressive views of Granada and Sierra Nevada. The Hotel Alhambra Palace’s front desk is open 24 hours a day, allowing you greater flexibility during your stay. There is an on-site cash machine, as well as a currency exchange service. The hotel offers parking with valet service for an extra charge. It is a 10-minute walk to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Albayzín, the medieval Moorish quarter. 

Set in a renovated 17th-century bakery, Pintor El Greco is located 50 yards from the El Greco Museum in Toledo’s historic Jewish quarter. It offers a cocktail bar, and rustic rooms with free WiFi. The chic rooms at Sercotel Pintor El Greco include authentic wooden beams and exposed brick work. They come with a modern bathroom with a hairdryer and some feature a hydromassage bath. A buffet breakfast is served and there are vending machines for snacks. 

Set in a restored, 19th-century palace, NH Collection Madrid Palacio de Tepa offers a 24-hour gym, free WiFi and on-site restaurant. Elegant, spacious rooms come with a flat-screen TV, balcony, air conditioning and a minibar. The modern bathroom includes free toiletries. The hotel was built in a Neoclassical style and you can still see the remains of the historical canal system inside. The hotel has an elegant and contemporary restaurant. Breakfast includes a wide range of quality products.

October 14 2018: Enquiries

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