See the best of Spain and Portugal with a harmonious mix of the "must-sees" and the off-the-beaten-track. Start in Barcelona before continuing to the country's capital, Madrid. From here, catch a short flight up to enchanting Porto for a few nights before making your way down through Lisbon, Évora, and the Alentejo region. Transfer back across the border to Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain, which is known for its flamenco, bullfighting, tapas, and cultural traditions. 

Highlights

  • Visit the famous Basílica de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona
  • Wander through the elegant city of Madrid
  • Explore Porto and the Douro Valley
  • Tour Lisbon, Portugal's bustling capital
  • Experience a flamenco shows over Andalusian tapas

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Barcelona & Guided Walk of the Gothic Quarter with Tapas Dinner Barcelona
Day 2 Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Família Barcelona
Day 3 Day Trip to the Costa Brava for All Things Dalí Barcelona
Day 4 Travel from Barcelona to Madrid by Train Madrid
Day 5 Private Guided Tour of Madrid with Prado Museum Madrid
Day 6 Day Trip to Toledo Madrid
Day 7 Fly from Madrid to Porto Porto
Day 8 Private Tour of Porto & Afternoon Port Winery Visit Porto
Day 9 Day Trip to the Douro Valley with a River Cruise and Winery Visit Porto
Day 10 Travel by Train from Porto to Lisbon Lisbon
Day 11 Private Tour of Lisbon Lisbon
Day 12 Day Trip to Sintra & Cascais Lisbon
Day 13 Excursion from Lisbon to Évora & Private Guided Tour of the Historic City Évora
Day 14 Enjoy a Morning of Cork Harvesting & Countryside Lunch Évora
Day 15 Relax at Your Hotel & Spa Évora
Day 16 Transfer from Évora to Seville & Evening Flamenco and Tapas Seville
Day 17 Private Guided Tour of Seville Seville
Day 18 Enjoy a Day Out in Seville Seville
Day 19 Transfer from Seville to Granada via Ronda Granada
Day 20 Private Tour of the Alhambra & Dinner with a View Granada
Day 21 Depart Spain  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona & Guided Walk of the Gothic Quarter with Tapas Dinner

Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona
Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona

Welcome to Barcelona! Upon arrival at either the airport or train station, meet your private driver who will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Before heading out to explore the city, take some time to settle in and get your bearings. Use the afternoon to visit the most famous area in all of Barcelona: the medieval Gothic Quarter and its trendy El Born neighborhood. Stroll its narrow cobbled streets and discover its highlights on a two-hour tour before hitting some of Barcelona's best tapas bars for a two-hour tapas crawl.

Your guide will lead you through the streets and point out the rich history as you pass Roman ruins, the grand Plaça Reial, and the gothic Barcelona Cathedral, which dates to the 13th century. As you learn more about the city, sample a range of classic and modern tapas while rubbing shoulders with locals. Stop in several atmospheric and authentic tapas bars for a drink and bite to eat while learning to tapejar (eat tapas) like a true Catalan.

Day 2: Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Família

La Sagrada Familia
The impressive and unfinished La Sagrada Família

Start your day with a 4-hour private guided walking tour of Barcelona, including its most significant monument, the Basílica de la Sagrada Família. This spectacular Roman Catholic church and UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and is the world's largest unfinished Roman Catholic church.

During this half-day excursion, you will see some of the city's most emblematic spots and hidden corners while learning about Gaudí and the history of Catalan Modernism, the unique architectural movement he was a part of. Later, your guide will take you to a recommended tapas bar or restaurant before parting ways, leaving you to enjoy the afternoon exploring Barcelona at your own pace.

Day 3: Day Trip to the Costa Brava for All Things Dalí

Dali Museum in Figueres
The Dalí Museum in Figueres

Meet your guide in your hotel and travel together to the northern border of Catalunya to experience where surrealist artist Salvador Dalí was born and raised. Discover the landscape, culture, and politics that helped shape and inspire his world-renowned art and eccentric lifestyle.

During this full-day excursion, visit the quintessential Dalí House Museum in Port Lligat, where Dalí lived and worked until 1982. Next, head to the scenic seaside town of Cadaqués and the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, where the artist is buried. As you travel through the heart of the Catalan countryside and Costa Brava, you'll get an authentic feel for the Catalan Mediterranean culture, architecture, traditions, and cuisine. 

Day 4: Travel from Barcelona to Madrid by Train 

Barcelona's Park Güell
Barcelona's Park Güell

Meet your driver at your hotel for the transfer to Barcelona-Sants Train Station, where you'll connect to your high-speed train to Madrid—a journey of three hours. With comfortable reclining seats and a cafeteria on board where you can buy refreshments if desired, the train is an ideal way to travel longer distances in Spain. 

Upon arrival in Madrid, your driver will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel in the center of the bustling town. If you're feeling energized, get out and start sightseeing. Wander through peaceful El Retiro Park, enjoy some drinks and tapas at a café in the Plaza Mayor, or explore the bustling nightlife of Chueca. Otherwise, relax and settle into your accommodations.

Day 5: Private Guided Tour of Madrid with Prado Museum

The Prado Museum in Madrid
The Prado Museum in Madrid

Meet your private guide for a walking tour where you'll discover the city's highlights, and hear interesting anecdotes to bring it all to life. Your guide will be with you for four hours, and will be able to adapt to your desired speed and style.

During the tour, you will cover some of the main highlights of the magnificent El Prado, Spain's largest art museum. Along with the nearby Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Museo Reina Sofía, the Prado forms part of Madrid's UNESCO-listed "Golden Triangle of Art." This museum is home to one of the finest collections of European art in the world, including paintings like Diego Velazquez's "Las Meninas," El Greco's "Fable," and Francisco Goya's "The Countess of Chinchón." At the end of the tour, your guide will leave you to continue exploring at your leisure or drop you in a nearby restaurant or tapas bar.

Day 6: Day Trip to Toledo

The citadel of Toledo
The citadel of Toledo

Head out on an 8-hour day trip to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Toledo, an hour's drive from central Madrid. Start your morning with an introduction to the most important monuments of Toledo on a three-hour walking tour, led by an expert local guide. Wander through the 13th-century Cathedral of Toledo, considered one of Spain's most beautiful examples of Gothic cathedral architecture. Next, visit the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, a museum and former synagogue built in 1180 and potentially the oldest synagogue in Europe still standing.

Finally, end your tour at the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, a Franciscan monastery built by Spain's Catholic Monarchs. You'll also hear the legends and folk stories of the tiny cobblestoned streets surrounding these stunning monuments. In the afternoon, return to Madrid and take the evening to explore the city at your leisure, enjoying its many restaurants and tapas bars. 

Day 7: Fly from Madrid to Porto

Porto's riverside setting
Porto's riverside setting

This morning, a private driver will collect you at your hotel and take you to Madrid's Barajas Airport, where you'll catch your flight to Porto. Upon arrival at Porto's airport, meet another driver who will transfer you to your hotel. Take some time to rest, then start exploring this 2,000-year-old UNESCO-listed city. 

Use your first day in Porto to explore the hilly old town, overlooking the Douro River. You'll have plenty of opportunities for photos as you wander through the streets looking at various monuments. An excellent place to start is the medieval Ribeira (riverside) district, whose narrow cobblestone streets are filled with charming bars and cafés. Key monuments to visit include the neoclassical Bolsa Palace and São Francisco Church, known for its Baroque interior decoration. In the evening, sample Porto's dining scene, which features fresh seafood, local organic produce, and wine from the nearby Douro Valley.

Day 8: Private Tour of Porto & Afternoon Port Winery Visit

Vila Nova de Gaia
Tasting port wines in Vila Nova de Gaia

Explore the historic center of Porto with a local guide. During your 3-hour tour, you'll see historic palaces and churches and wander through the city's most emblematic neighborhoods. You'll also discover the history of Porto's famous iron bridge, the Dom Luís I Bridge, and the characteristic rabelo boats (Portuguese wooden cargo boats) lined up along the riverfront in front of the old port wine cellars. At the end of the tour, your guide will drop you at a recommended bar or restaurant for lunch and give you some tips on enjoying the rest of the day in the city.

Later, cross over to Vila Nova de Gaia to visit one of their famous port wineries. Learn about port wine production and history, and sample some delicious wines during a 90-minute experience and tasting.

Day 9: Day Trip to the Douro Valley with a River Cruise and Winery Visit

Boneca Mountain Range in Douro Valley
Boneca Mountain Range in Douro Valley

Embark on a memorable trip into the Douro Valley, home to some of Portugal's best wines, wine estates, and scenery. Your guide and driver will collect you in Porto to travel to the heart of the valley and explain the region's history and background. During the day, visit two different quintas, or wineries. After an in-depth visit to the estate and behind-the-scenes installations, enjoy tasting a selection of their delicious wines.

Then, move on to a nearby town for a traditional local lunch with recommendations from your guide. After a bit of time to explore, step on board a traditional boat for an hour-long relaxing cruise to admire the setting and the idyllic estates overlooking the river. Afterward, return to Porto to soak in the day's adventures and spend the evening at leisure in the city's lively Ribeira area.

Day 10: Travel by Train from Porto to Lisbon

View of rooftops in Lisbon
View of rooftops in Lisbon

Today board a train for Lisbon, where a driver then whisk you away to your accommodation in the city center. After checking in and refreshing, head out for a stroll around this gem of a capital, whose hilly waterfront neighborhoods are a quilt of cobbled plazas and pastel-colored buildings dating back hundreds of years. Old cable cars lurch up winding roads, and well-preserved medieval castles are perched atop the city's highest points--grand relics of a time when they served to protect the Port of Lisbon and Portuguese galleons returning from the New World laden with pilfered gold and silver.

The best way to acquaint yourself with Lisbon's culture is through its cuisine. Some of the city's traditional foods include pastéis de bacalhau (cod fritters), grilled sardines, squid stuffed with sausage and onions, Queijo de Azeitão (a creamy cheese made from sheep's milk), pastéis de nata (egg custard tarts), and the quintessential street food, the bifana. This sandwich of pork marinated in white wine is pure heaven after one too many vinho verdes (a young wine, often with fruity and citrusy notes, produced in northern Portugal).

Day 11: Private Tour of Lisbon

Rossio Square, in Baixa, the historic heart of Lisbon
Rossio Square in Baixa, the historic heart of Lisbon

There's no better way to get to the heart of a historic city like Lisbon than by venturing from neighborhood to neighborhood on foot. Head out through the winding streets on a three-hour walking tour led by an expert local guide. Along the way, the guide will point out all the major sights of central Lisbon, recounting anecdotes and local lore. It's a great introduction to the culture of this fascinating city. 

The tour includes stops at such highlights as Chiado Square and the 12th-century Lisbon Cathedral, which is the oldest church in the city. You'll also visit Baixa, the city's historic heart, where is central square, Rossio, has been one of Portugal's main plazas since the middle ages. Another famous square is the Praça do Comércio, which is located on the banks of the Tagus River and is the location of the Arco da Rua Augusta. This triumphal arch dates to the 18th century and features six impressive columns—cap off your tour with a tasting of ginjinha, Portugal's famous liquor made from sour cherries.

Day 12: Day Trip to Sintra & Cascais

Palacio Nacional da Pena
Palacio Nacional da Pena in Sintra

The next day, head out for a full-day tour of Sintra and Cascais. Start with a visit to Pena Palace, a fanciful palace built using Moorish, Gothic, and Manueline motifs. The palace was once a medieval chapel and monastery and later served as the residence of King Ferdinand II of Portugal. After seeing the palace, take some free time for lunch and explore the historic town of Sintra at your leisure. In the afternoon, finish your excursion with a wander through the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

On your way back to Lisbon, stop for a photo opportunity at the Cabo da Roca cliffs, take a few hours to relax on Guincho Beach, and visit the glamorous town of Cascais on the Estoril coast. Use the evening to dive back into Lisbon's culinary culture. You can head to a bar in the Alfama or Bairro Alto districts for some petiscos (small dishes) and a glass of wine. 

Day 13: Excursion from Lisbon to Évora & Private Guided Tour of the Historic City

Exterior of Evora Cathedral
The exterior of Évora Cathedral

Travel with your guide to Évora, a journey of under two hours. On arrival, embark on a private walking tour of the city's historic center. During the tour, visit the 18th-century Évora Cathedral and the aptly-named Chapel of Bones, whose walls are decorated with skulls and bones. You'll hear many anecdotes about the Cathedral's many Roman and Moorish-influenced architectural features and artifacts. 

Later, stop at a local restaurant for lunch, where you can ask for recommendations from your guide. At the end of the tour, your guide will drop you at your hotel and say goodbye. Use the rest of the day to explore at your leisure. Wander through the old town, relax at a café, pop into the Évora Museum, or have a peek at the city's Roman Temple (one of the largest and best-preserved in the Iberian Peninsula) and Roman Aqueduct

Day 14: Enjoy a Morning of Cork Harvesting & Countryside Lunch

A cork plantation in Alentejo region
A cork plantation in the Alentejo Region

Montado (cork harvesting) is one of the most famous activities in the Alentejo Region. At a traditional Alentejo homestead, learn how this ancient tradition has carried into modern times and how cork farmers combine modern agroecology with the medieval montado ecosystem to build a future for this industry and craft.

After visiting the cork farm and learning about the harvest and the Alentejo countryside, enjoy a chickpea stew cooked in clay pots on an open fire made with organic products and wine from the estate. For dessert, taste a traditional sericaia (Portuguese sweet made from milk and eggs), along with some fresh fruit. After lunch, return to your hotel and take the rest of the afternoon to rest and relax.

Day 15: Relax at Your Hotel & Spa

Enjoy a wine tasting at your hotel
Enjoy a wine tasting at your hotel

Take the entire day today to unwind and relax at the Convento do Espinheiro, a converted 15th-century convent located about 10 minutes' drive from Évora in a beautiful countryside setting. The convent is named for a legendary tale of an apparition of the Virgin Mary above an espinheiro (thorn-bush). It is located on eight hectares of gardens and is home to a historic chapel that can be visited daily.

Use the morning and afternoon to wander the grounds, take advantage of the hotel spa, or relax by the pool. In the evening, visit the property's ancient water cistern for an informal wine tasting. 

Day 16: Transfer from Évora to Seville & Evening Flamenco and Tapas

View of the Torre del Oro in Seville
The Torre del Oro and Guadalquivir River in Seville

Leave Portugal and head across the border into Spain, arriving mid-day in Seville to check into your hotel, freshen up, then explore the old town. Begin in Parque de María Luisa at the Plaza de Españabuilt in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition. The buildings here are a mix of Renaissance and Moorish-revival styles. The Parque de María Luisa was designed by a famous French landscape architect and takes up a sizable portion of the south of the city. It features gazebos, pavilions, plazas, tiled fountains, and ponds, set off by orange groves, palms, Mediterranean pines, and beds of blooming roses.

In the evening, meet your guide for a live flamenco show. Before the show, take the opportunity to learn about flamenco, including its roots, complex rhythm, and what makes this masterful dance and music so typical of southern Spain. After the show, head to some of Seville's lesser-known dinner spots, and keep chatting with your guide about life in Andalusia over tapas.

Day 17: Private Guided Tour of Seville

Seville Cathedral
View of Seville Cathedral

Start your day with a 3-hour tour of Seville's most emblematic landmarks. Begin at the Seville Cathedral, which was once an Almohad mosque. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is known for its famous bell tower, La Giralda. The Cathedral includes Christopher Columbus' tomb and many outstanding architectural features, such as 80 chapels containing religious paintings and two enormous twin-pipe organs. 

Once you've finished seeing the Cathedral, head over to the Seville Alcázar, a sprawling complex of intricately-detailed Mudéjar (Neo-Moorish) palaces and oasis-like gardens. The Alcázar was once an Abbadid Muslim fortress and was later converted into a residence of Spain's Catholic monarchs. At the end of the tour, your guide will drop you off at a local tapas bar. Take the rest of the afternoon to explore the city at your leisure. 

Day 18: Enjoy a Day Out in Seville

Seville's Metropol Parasol
Seville's Metropol Parasol

Choose between a range of guided tours and excursions in Seville, or spend the day wandering through the city's museums, Baroque churches, and winding medieval lanes at your own pace. Maneuver around on foot or via two wheels by renting a city bicycle.

Spend your afternoon visiting the Metropol Parasol, a modern building that opened in 2011. Known locally as Las Setas (The Mushrooms), this city icon is said to be the world's largest wooden structure. Its design features surreal-looking mushroom-shaped pillars and a curved honeycombed roof. Take the elevator to the top to enjoy some scenic views of the city from the building's winding rooftop walkway and café. You can also have a peek at the Roman ruins preserved beneath the building. Finish the day sipping a drink on one of Seville's many plazas before heading out to enjoy the bustling tapas bar scene. 

Day 19: Transfer from Seville to Granada via Ronda

Ronda, Spain
Cliffside view of Ronda

Head off on a journey to Granada, breaking up the drive along the way with a stop in Ronda. Ernest Hemingway once famously recommended this mountainside town to honeymooners, saying that "the entire town and as far as you can see in any direction is romantic background." On the way to Ronda, you may spot some of the region's famous "white villages" as you skirt the edge of the scenic Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.

Use the day to explore Ronda with a local private guide. Visit the spectacular Bullring of the Royal Cavalry of Ronda, largely considered one of the most important bullrings in Spain, as well as numerous buildings, churches, convents, and palaces that belong to Ronda's long and illustrious Roman and Moorish history. Wander along the town's cliffside walkways and across the famous Puente Nuevo (New Bridge). After taking in the picturesque landscapes and allowing plenty of time for a good lunch, hop back in the car for the final leg of the journey to Granada. 

Day 20: Private Tour of the Alhambra & Dinner with a View

Stunning view of the Alhambra
Aerial view of the Alhambra

Catch a ride with your driver to the entrance of the Alhambra, where you'll meet your guide for a private tour. Wander through the site's many palaces and buildings, taking in their intricate wall carvings and scalloped archways. With as many myths and legends as there are arches and fountains, this UNESCO World Heritage-listed fortress and palace complex was once a self-contained Nasrid city separate from the rest of Granada. The complex was originally built in 1238, with later construction campaigns taking place in the 14th century. In 1492, the Alhambra was transformed into the Royal Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

After your visit, use the rest of the day to relax, or explore Granada, losing yourself in labyrinthine streets and perhaps stopping at the Granada CathedralRoyal ChurchAlcaicería (old silk market), or Madraza (medieval Koranic school). Finish your visit with a dinner of traditional Granadan food on the balcony of a carmen (Moorish palace house) overlooking the Alhambra, with the silhouette of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance. Stroll back to your hotel after dinner, wandering through narrow streets lined with tea houses and stalls selling everything from clothes and shoes to traditional tajines. 

Day 21: Depart Spain

Granada cityscape
Granada cityscape

Say goodbye to Granada as you prepare to depart from Spain. Meet your driver in reception and head over to Málaga Airport. From here, continue your journey home or onward to your next destination. Buen viaje! (Have a good trip!)

More Great Spain Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Spain? Check out these other Spain itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.

Map

Map of Best of Spain & Portugal: Barcelona, Porto, Lisbon & Andalusia - 21 Days
Map of Best of Spain & Portugal: Barcelona, Porto, Lisbon & Andalusia - 21 Days