- Get a culture fix in Barcelona and graze its tapas
- Tour Porto's historical heart in a vintage car
- Go wine-tasting and ride a boat through the Douro Valley
- Explore the mountainside castles and palaces of Sintra
|Day 1||Arrive in Barcelona (Spain), Tapas Experience||Barcelona|
|Day 2||Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Família||Barcelona|
|Day 3||Catalonia Day Trip: Wine & Olive Oil Experience||Barcelona|
|Day 4||Train to San Sebastián, Pintxo Experience||San Sebastián|
|Day 5||Food Market & Cooking Class in San Sebastián||San Sebastián|
|Day 6||Free Day in San Sebastián or Visit Bilbao||San Sebastián|
|Day 7||Fly to Porto (Portugal), Vintage Car Tour||Porto|
|Day 8||Explore Porto: Canning Factory & Wine Experience||Porto|
|Day 9||Day Trip to Douro Valley, Wine Tasting & River Cruise||Porto|
|Day 10||Private Porto Cooking Class & Market Visit||Porto|
|Day 11||Transfer to Lisbon via Coimbra||Lisbon|
|Day 12||Free Day in Lisbon||Lisbon|
|Day 13||Private Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril||Lisbon|
|Day 14||Depart Lisbon|
Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona (Spain), Tapas Experience
Welcome to Spain! Your foodie adventure starts in the gastronomic city of Barcelona, the eclectic and independent capital of Spain's autonomous region of Catalonia. A private driver will whisk you from the airport to your accommodation in the city. In the afternoon, you'll join a local expert to stroll the city's historic streets and neighborhoods in search of beloved tapas (small, sharing plates of food) to taste a range of typical dishes.
Each district has a theme, so you'll start with cheese and meats in the Gothic Quarter, transition to seafood by the beach in Barceloneta, then end with traditional Catalan plates in El Born. At each stop, pair your bites with local wine, beer, or nonalcoholic drinks. As you dine, your guide will help you understand the tradition of tapas, the history of late-night dining, and why sharing food and drink is so important to Spanish culture.
Day 2: Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Família
Today is all about enjoying Barcelona's cultural highlights on a private expert-led tour. A highlight is a visit to the UNESCO-listed Sagrada Família, a Roman Catholic church designed by the renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Gain an early entrance to the monument to avoid the crowds and learn about its detailed facades, unique interior, and views from atop the tower, Torre de la Pasión.You'll have the afternoon free to relax. If the sun is out, head to Barceloneta Beach, the main stretch of sand in the city. This 2-mile (3 km) artificial beach is located in the traditional fishing district, and great seafood is still a big part of the experience. Come the evening, you'll also find vibrant nightlife in this neighborhood, from laid-back beach bars to clubs that stay open till dawn.
Day 3: Catalonia Day Trip: Wine & Olive Oil Experience
Today's excursion takes you on a day trip into the heart of Catalonia's Pla de Bages, a historic wine-growing region nestled between the Montserrat and Castelltallat mountain ranges. You'll start with a visit to an organic, family-run winery, where fifth-generation winemakers cultivate rare and native grapes like the rare black sumoll, the red-skinned mandó, and the ancient picapoll. See the typical Catalan farmhouse, wander through the vines, tour the production plant and barrels room, and join a tasting, where appetizers accompany a selection of wines.
Next, you'll discover another of Catalonia's prized products with a stop at an olive oil farm in the beautiful countryside of Vall d'Hortons. Stroll through thousand-year-old olive groves as your guide explains the cultivation of this Mediterranean staple and introduces you to varietals like corbella and arbequina. Visit the workshop where oil is produced, then sit down to a tasting alongside locally and organically-grown Catalan products like cheese, honey, and cured meats.
Day 4: Train to San Sebastián, Pintxo Experience
It's onward bound today, via a five-hour train journey from Barcelona, up the Atlantic coast to the city of San Sebastián. Located in the Bay of Biscay near the border with France, it puts you at the heart of the Basque Country, one of Spain's most beautiful regions and a haven for foodies. Today, you'll dive into the Basque's culinary heart on a four-hour food tour led by a professional chef.
The Basque region is known for its dainty version of tapas, called pintxos (pronounced "peenchos"). Most bars, cafés, and restaurants in the Parte Vieja (Old Quarter) serve some version of these bite-sized delicacies, and naturally, they're best paired with some delicious local wines. Here it's possible (and indeed encouraged) to hop from pintxos bar to pintxos bar, grazing to your heart's content.
After meeting your guide, they will take you around the Parte Vieja, which is situated east of the city between the ocean and the River Urumea. An elegant promenade with railings and street lamps runs along the crescent-shaped La Concha Beach. Here, you'll find the largest concentration of pintxos bars. At each one, you can feel free to sample as many of these bite-sized morsels as you'd like. Be sure to pair this incredible food with a chilled glass of txakoli, the local white wine.
Day 5: Food Market & Cooking Class in San Sebastián
Now, it's your turn to try making Basque Country-style food characterized by fresh ingredients and ancient recipes. During a four-hour private experience, a local chef will show you how to whip up a series of dishes you'll want to recreate repeatedly. You'll also learn more about the region's culture and why food is at the heart of it all.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Free Day in San Sebastián or Visit Bilbao
Today is at your leisure. You could relax along the city's glamorous beaches, hit the vintage amusement park of Monte Igueldo, or ask your local expert to arrange another food-themed treat. One option is a private four-hour tour to a Basque cider house, or sidreria, in the town of Astigarraga. In this cradle of cider tradition, you'll visit the Cider Museum and learn the manufacturing process of this prized product.
Alternatively, strike out on a private tour to the coastal city of Bilbao, an hour's drive to the west. Staggeringly innovative architecture, a venerable dining scene, and fertile green mountains just outside the city center combine to make Bilbao one of the great treasures of Basque Country.
Your guide can tailor the tour according to your interests. You'll want to carve out plenty of time to see the Guggenheim Museum, a masterpiece of contemporary architecture by the legendary Frank Gehry. Inside is a treasure trove of works from great artists such as Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, and Eduardo Chillida.
Day 7: Fly to Porto (Portugal), Vintage Car Tour
Bid Spain adiós this morning as your driver takes you to the airport to catch a short flight to Porto. Portugal's second-largest city is located on the beautiful west coast and has captivated visitors since the Romans first laid eyes on the riverside settlement in the fourth century. Today, you'll find a charming historic center threaded with cobbled alleys, glamorous buildings adorned with iron balconies, and plenty of sumptuous food and wine.After settling in at your hotel, get ready for something unexpected! A guide will pick you up in a vintage 1920s car for a three-hour tour of Porto. Discover the city's most important highlights and hidden corners in style. The car makes the perfect prop for pictures as you pause outside the city's colorful stacked houses.
Then, choose between heading toward the fishing village of San Pedro da Afurada or staying in the city's Foz neighborhood. Away from the historic center, Foz has pretty beaches, an atmospheric lighthouse, and few other visitors. End the excursion with a guided visit to a port cellar to enjoy a tasting of the area's famous fortified wine. The tour includes an expert local guide, pick up and drop off at the hotel, and wine tasting.
Day 8: Explore Porto: Canning Factory & Wine Experience
Start today with a two-hour visit to a small-scale canning factory to see how Portugal's famous gourmet-quality tinned fish is made. What makes this purveyor unique is its handmade processing techniques, which have been used here for the last century. Tinned fish isn't only a delicacy in Portugal; it's a traditional way of life that continues to adapt to the times.
Next, enjoy a 90-minute wine experience. Portugal not only lays claim to founding one of the very first demarcated wine regions in the world, the Douro but also has one of the most diverse collections of native grapes in the world. Taste six top Portuguese wines, learn their histories, and orient yourself to Portuguese wine styles. Small nibbles as you sip will keep your stomach lined and your palate in shape.
Day 9: Day Trip to Douro Valley, Wine Tasting & River Cruise
In the morning, journey to the Douro Valley, a fertile grape-growing region that produces some of Portugal's best wines. This full-day guided tour begins with a visit to a quinta (winery), where you can visit the vineyards and production facilities and enjoy a wine tasting. The next activity is a leisurely lunch of traditional Portuguese cuisine in a nearby town, followed by another wine tasting.
In the afternoon, hop aboard a riverboat for a cruise down the tranquil Douro River. Relax and admire the beautiful scenery of the valley and the rolling hills along the riverbanks. After the cruise, return to Porto and have the evening to yourself to continue exploring the city.
Day 10: Private Porto Cooking Class & Market Visit
You're off to the local market this morning to meet the locals, see what's in season, and pick up produce for today's private cooking class with a top chef. Your four-hour hands-on workshop starts with buying everything you need before diving into Portuguese cuisine's traditional flavors and secrets. Discover unique cooking techniques that you can bring back home, and—of course—afterward, you'll sit down to taste everything you've created, paired with local wines and spirits.
After, explore Porto at your own pace. An excellent place to start is the Ribeira neighborhood, which sits right along the Douro River and is one of the city's oldest parts. Famed for its narrow and colorfully-tiled dockside houses and views of the iconic double-decked Dom Luís I Bridge, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see. If you're curious about port wine, pop across the river to Gaia and visit one of the dozens of traditional port wine cellars on the southern bank for a tasting.
Day 11: Transfer to Lisbon via Coimbra
Hit the road south this morning as a private driver transfers you to Lisbon. About halfway through the trip, you will make a stop in Coimbra to stroll around and have lunch. Perched atop a hill, with commanding views over the winding river below, Coimbra is filled with medieval & Roman streets, squares, and architectural details for you to discover. Once the medieval capital of Portugal, it remains one of its most elegant and enchanting cities and is now best known for its university—the first in Portugal and one of the oldest educational institutions in Europe.
After your exploration in Coimbra, you will continue on to Lisbon to check in to your hotel and have the rest of the day to relax and explore the capital on your own. In one of Europe's most popular capital cities, cheery yellow trams still trundle along the cobblestone streets. The Lisbon experience is about many things: biting into the world's best custard tart at a legendary Belém bakery, watching the sunset over the Alfama from a panoramic viewpoint, and exploring the city's fascinatingly diverse neighborhoods.
Day 12: Free Day in Lisbon
Lisbon's markets and fairs embody the city's soul: they are excellent places to meet locals and buy authentic food and souvenirs. Each market has an entirely different atmosphere too, and visiting several of them will give you some compelling insights into the city and its day-to-day rhythms. There is a market or fair to suit every taste, whether that be local produce, vintage objects, traditional handicrafts, or contemporary urban arts and crafts.
The best-known fair is the Feira da Ladra flea market, where you can find everything from vintage clothing to quirky antiques. The market is held on Tuesdays and Saturdays in Campo de Santa Clara, near São Vicente de Fora monastery. There are also countless small markets popular with a younger crowd, such as the Feira das Almas, a cool creative hub with a monthly art and flea market, and the trendy Sunday market at LX Factory, where you can find vintage clothing and products made by young and upcoming craftspeople.
Don't forget to visit the local produce markets in the city either. Start with the city's biggest traditional market, the daily Mercado da Ribeira, and then visit the fashionable food hall Time Out Market next door, open daily from 10 am to midnight.
Day 13: Private Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril
Just beyond Lisbon, a host of romantic treasures attract day-trippers. Meet your guide this morning for a day trip to enchanting Sintra, a memorable must-see on any visit to Portugal. Located just half an hour east of Lisbon, this resort town is known for its forested hills, upscale villas, and Moorish palaces.
Start at the Palacio Nacional da Pena (Pena Palace), a 19th-century romanticist castle that blends Moorish and Portuguese late-Gothic architectural styles. Its canary-yellow towers perch above the pine forests of the Parque de Pena, where you'll stop next for a pleasant stroll around the abundant gardens.
Continue on to Cascais, the charming seaside town that was once the coastal playground of Portuguese royalty, whose lavish mansions can still be seen in the area. You'll visit the awe-inspiring Cascais Natural Park, where you can see the dramatic coastal cliffs of the Cabo de Roca, the westernmost point in Europe once known as the "edge of the world." After the tour, you'll be returned to your hotel in Lisbon for the evening.
Day 14: Depart Lisbon
It's time to say goodbye to Portugal! At the designated time, a private driver will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!