- Experience the sights and flavors of Porto
- Zip around the hills of Lisbon in a tuk-tuk
- Go hiking at Sintra and the Algarve coast
- Enjoy cycling and walking tours of Seville and Granada
- Explore the beaches, villages, and coast of Mallorca
|Day 1||Arrive in Porto (Portugal), Foodie Tour||Porto|
|Day 2||Private Guided City Tour||Porto|
|Day 3||Free Day in Porto||Porto|
|Day 4||Transfer to Lisbon via Nazaré & Óbidos||Lisbon|
|Day 5||Lisbon Tuk-Tuk Tour, Visit Ericeira||Lisbon|
|Day 6||Day Trip to Sintra-Cascais Natural Park & Coastal Hike||Lisbon|
|Day 7||Drive to the Algarve, Explore Lagos||Algarve|
|Day 8||Island Catamaran Cruise & Snorkeling||Algarve|
|Day 9||Visit Ilha da Barreta & Beaches||Algarve|
|Day 10||Transfer to Seville (Spain), City Bike Tour||Seville|
|Day 11||Free Day in Seville||Seville|
|Day 12||Transfer to Granada, White Villages & Flamenco Show||Granada|
|Day 13||Granada Walking Tour, Visit the Alhambra & Gardens||Granada|
|Day 14||Fly to Mallorca, Optional Activities||Mallorca|
|Day 15||Mallorca Catamaran Trip & Snorkeling||Mallorca|
|Day 16||Discover the Villages of Mallorca||Mallorca|
|Day 17||Explore the Beaches of Mallorca||Mallorca|
|Day 18||Fly to Barcelona, Private City Tour||Barcelona|
|Day 19||Barcelona Market & Cooking Class||Barcelona|
|Day 20||Day Trip to Girona & Costa Brava||Barcelona|
|Day 21||Depart Barcelona|
Day 1: Arrive in Porto (Portugal), Foodie Tour
Welcome to Portugal! This country on the edge of the Iberian Peninsula is in the history books for having the longest colonial empire of any country in Europe—almost 600 years. But Portugal's legacy dates back even before its conquistadors set sail in the 15th century. The country was founded in 1143, which makes it older than any other nation on the continent.
You'll see this medieval history right away when you arrive in the city of Porto, in the country's north. This 2,000-year-old city sits on the Douro River and is famous for its cobbled streets, historic landmarks, grand plazas, and colorful waterfront skyline, which is lined with old merchant houses. On the river, colorful wooden rabelo boats line up in front of the old port wine cellars and pass under Porto's iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, an iron-arched bridge that rises 279 feet (85 m) over the water. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel in the city center.
Day 2: Private Guided City Tour
In the morning, you'll meet a local guide and embark on a three-hour tour of Porto. During this excursion, you'll visit historic enclaves, trendy areas, and cultural hubs as your guide reveals the city's rich history, which includes tales of ancient heroes, battles, and civil wars. You'll also learn how Porto earned its famous nickname "Invicta" (the Invincible City), which derives from a time in the 19th century when Porto beat back an enemy after surviving a year-long siege.
Highlights of the tour include a walk down Boavista (the longest avenue in Porto) and a visit to Foz, an affluent seaside district that boasts fine museums, monuments, and public gardens. Next, you'll head to Porto's historic center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—to admire architectural landmarks that run the gamut from Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and neoclassical. These include the São Bento Railway Station (built in 1900 on the site of a former convent), Clerigos Tower, Church of St Francis, and Bolhão Market, to name a few.
After visiting the 18th-century Porto Cathedral with its superb silver altarpiece, you'll finish the tour along the banks of the Douro River with views of Ribeira Plaza. On your own, you can choose to continue exploring Porto's Ribeira neighborhood, which sits right on the river. Famed for its colorful waterfront houses, this historic enclave offers a true taste of authentic Porto. Have fun getting lost in the windy streets leading up from the river.
Day 3: Free Day in Porto
The day is yours to enjoy Porto however you wish. In the morning, you can head out for a self-guided walking tour of any landmarks you might have missed the previous couple of days. Perhaps visit the Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Square), the city's largest and most impressive plaza. Other highlights include Rua Santa Catarina (the main shopping thoroughfare), Gomes Teixeira Square, and the Baroque Igreja dos Clérigos church, which dates to 1750.
Consider heading to one of Porto's waterfront wine cellars in the evening to taste world-famous port wine. You can participate in a one-hour experience during which a local guide will lead you through the wine's history as you sample various tawny and ruby ports in the tasting room. Afterward, enjoy one last dinner in Porto's historic center.
Day 4: Transfer to Lisbon via Nazaré & Óbidos
After breakfast at your hotel, your driver will pick you up for the ride south from Porto to Lisbon. The drive takes about three hours, but this will be a full-day trip, as you'll break up the ride with stops at some of Portugal's incredible towns.
The first stop is at Nazaré, a traditional fishing village famous for its long, sandy half-moon-shaped beach fronting the Atlantic. Keep an eye out for the town's iconic wooden fishing boats piloted by fishmongers in traditional dress. More importantly, beware of the coastline's massive waves that can reach world-record heights—the main reason Nazaré attracts big-wave surfers from all over the world.
Then continue about 30 minutes south to Óbidos. Located on high ground near the Atlantic coast, Óbidos' historic center is a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed houses spackled with yellow and blue paint. Explore the narrow streets and impressive 14th-century castle. Afterward, you can browse the handicraft and souvenir shops. Following lunch, you'll drive about an hour more to Lisbon, where you'll check into your hotel and can explore Portugal's capital on your own.
Day 5: Lisbon Tuk-Tuk Tour, Visit EriceiraWelcome to Lisbon! Located at the mouth of the Tagus River, Portugal's capital is four centuries older than Rome (the Phoenicians first settled in Lisbon around 1200 BCE). As such, there's plenty of history written on the cobbled streets here in the form of castles, forts, monasteries, plazas, and more.
You'll get an exciting introduction to the "City of Seven Hills" as you zip around on a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw). Led by a knowledgeable guide, you'll travel to all corners of the city, from the waterfront Baixa district to the cobblestone alleys of the bohemian Bairro Alto. Throughout the two-hour tour, you'll learn about the city's medieval history as you stop at hidden enclaves and at stunning panoramic viewpoints. These include São Pedro de Alcântara, Parque Eduardo VII, Senhora do Monte, and Santa Luzia.
After the tuk-tuk tour, you'll hop in a car and head 40 minutes outside Lisbon to Ericeira. Besides its imposing fortress walls, this seaside resort town is one of Portugal's surf meccas due to its ideal waves and right-hand point breaks. But you don't need to ride waves to Ericeria—its golden sandy beaches are perfect for families and anyone who wants to do some sunbathing. You'll have the entire afternoon here to relax on the beach, while away the hours at a café with a good book, or indulge in the famous seafood. At the end of the day, you'll transfer back to Lisbon.
Day 6: Day Trip to Sintra-Cascais Natural Park & Coastal Hike
In the morning, you'll leave Lisbon again for a day trip to another stunning nearby region. Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is a 56-square-mile (145 sq km) protected area comprising the forested Sintra Mountains, coastal hills, and cliffs. You'll experience this natural wonderland in all its majesty on a 12-mile (20 km) scenic hike along breathtaking cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
The excursion will take you through small traditional towns to Cape Roca, near the westernmost point of continental Europe. Here you can admire the historic lighthouse that has been watching over the coast since 1772. Afterward, you'll return to Lisbon.
Day 7: Drive to the Algarve, Explore Lagos
It's time to start the road trip portion of your Iberian adventure as you pick up your rental car and head three hours due south of Lisbon to Lagos. This seafaring town on the western side of the Algarve region is situated along Portugal's southern coast, an area famous for dramatic coastal cliffs, charming seaside villages, unique rock formations, and great beaches.
Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring on your own. Highlights of Lagos include its charming inner-walled Old Town, pretty harbor, sandstone cliffs, golden beaches, delicious seafood restaurants, and buzzing nightlife. Locals are proud to say that Lagos has not succumbed to mass tourism like other areas of the Algarve, and the city still retains its distinctive character and laid-back charm.
Day 8: Island Catamaran Cruise & Snorkeling
See the highlights of the Algarve coast on a catamaran cruise to the world-famous Benagil Cave. In the morning, you'll transfer to the marina in the nearby city of Portimão and head out on the water. Along the way, you'll pass the beaches of Carvoeiro and Algar Seco, the Alfanzina Lighthouse, and the unique rock formations at Praia da Marinha. Relax on the catamaran's twin nets and enjoy the scenery while cruising the dramatic coastline. Then anchor in the lovely cove of João de Arens to explore the otherworldly Benagil Cave, followed by some swimming and snorkeling.
Back on dry land, the rest of the day is yours to explore the scenic Algarve region. If beaches are high on your list, you'll find several dreamy options. The peaceful cove of Pinhao is known for its secluded, picturesque setting, while Ponta da Piedade features more dramatic sandstone cliffs and bright turquoise water. Praia do Camilo gives way to a memorable view from the top of a staircase whose 200 wooden steps lead down to a sheltered sandy cove.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 9: Visit Ilha da Barreta & BeachesAfter breakfast, you'll drive about an hour east along the coast to Faro, the capital of the Algarve region. Then continue a little way south to Ilha Deserta (literally "Deserted Island"), a 4-mile (7 km) barrier island accessible by ferry. The name of this island is fitting, as there are no permanent residents here. People come for the beautiful windswept beach, unspoiled nature, and great seafood. You'll spend the day here, enjoying the remoteness of this place, free of tourist crowds and the frenetic pace of modern life. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel.
Day 10: Transfer to Seville (Spain), City Bike Tour
In the morning, you're off to Spain! Drop off your rental car, then enjoy a scenic three-hour transfer from the Algarve coast into Spain's southern Andalusia region and its capital, Seville. Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel in the city and have time to relax and unwind.
Don't get too comfortable, because soon you'll hop on a bike for a three-hour cycling tour of one of Spain's most romantic cities. After meeting your guide, you'll hit the road and pedal around this ancient metropolis, whose historic center dates back to the eighth century BCE. You'll cycle along scenic areas and landmarks like the Plaza de España, Guadalquivir Riverfront, Las Setas Marketplace, Plaza de San Francisco, and some of the city's most beautiful gardens and parks.
During the excursion, your expert guide will share anecdotes and explain the mysteries and stories that define Seville. Overall, it's a fun, educational, and healthy way to get a feel for the city. Following the tour, you'll have the rest of the day to spend as you please, perhaps taking a long paseo (stroll) along Seville's ancient streets.
Day 11: Free Day in Seville
Seville is a city with lots of history. It's been around since the time of the Phoenicians and has been influenced by the Romans, Moors, and even the Americas. Here, ships set sail for the New World in the 16th century; explorers left in search of spices and new lands and returned with gold and silver. You can learn all about this on informal self-guided tours to discover the city at your own pace.
If you'd like to see the most impressive historical landmarks first, head to the Seville Cathedral, a 15th-century Roman-Catholic church home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the largest Gothic church in the world, and an awe-inspiring testament to pious grandiosity. Also, here is La Giralda, the cathedral's looming bell tower. There's a noticeable stylistic difference between the two structures, as this 12th-century pillar was originally built as a minaret for the Great Mosque back when the Moors ruled Andalusia.
Then you can visit fashionable Santa Cruz, which was once the Jewish Quarter in the city. It's a colorful and well-preserved part of the historic center, with many cafés and tapas bars—the perfect excuse to take a break and enjoy some small plates and local wine. You can also visit markets and local shops where artisans produce intricate silverwork and elegant garment embroidery. In the evening, be sure to take in a flamenco show at a local tablao (performance hall). Andalusia is the birthplace of this evocative and passionate musical styling, and Seville is a great place to catch a show.
Day 12: Transfer to Granada, White Villages & Flamenco Show
After breakfast, you'll embark on a road trip through southern Spain—but with a private driver, you'll get to sit back and enjoy the views as you pass through olive groves, rolling meadows, cork forests, and mountains on your way east to Granada. The journey takes about three hours, but you'll stop on the way at historic hillside villages and towns.
The first stop will be at Grazalema, one of Andalusia's famed Pueblos Blancos (White Villages). Located in the province of Cádiz, these villages are famous for their whitewashed houses and stunning views overlooking the countryside. After some time to snap photos, you'll continue to Ronda, the capital of the Pueblos Blancos, which dates back to the sixth century. It's a storybook locale carved out of a mountain and situated over a deep gorge. No less than Ernest Hemingway said of Ronda: "The entire town and as far as you can see in any direction is romantic background."After marveling at the landscapes and allowing plenty of time for photos, you'll hop back in the car for the final leg of the journey to Granada. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and will have some free time. Then, in the evening, you'll enjoy a flamenco show. Granada is famous for its centuries-old caverns that doubled as music halls in the 17th and 18th centuries and where Roma musicians (some of the earliest practitioners of the music) performed for travelers. The tradition continues today, and it's at one of these rustic venues where you'll enjoy a 1.5-hour performance.
Day 13: Granada Walking Tour, Visit the Alhambra & Gardens
Spend today exploring more of Granada, a city that rivals any other in Spain for history and beauty. The combined Moorish/Christian influences in Granada's architecture and landmarks are particularly pronounced. A classic example (and where you can begin a walking tour) is the massive Granada Cathedral. Built in the 16th century, this Gothic/Renaissance marvel was constructed over the site of a mosque, and inside features grand marble columns and stunning stained glass windows.
On the other side of Gran Vía from the Cathedral, you'll find the city's oldest square, Plaza Nueva. Lining the square are some of the city's most important buildings, such as the Royal Chancellery and the 16th-century House of Pisa. From here, it's a 10-minute walk down the ancient and scenic Carrera del Darro to Albacín, the city's old Arabic quarter, Granada's artistic center. Many streets are lined with colorful clothes, rugs, and glassware, and you should stop in at one of the many tea houses for spiced coffees and churros con chocolate.
Day 14: Fly to Mallorca, Optional Activities
Leave the mainland behind for now as your driver picks you up and takes you to the airport in Granada to catch a 1.5-hour flight northeast to Mallorca. The largest of Spain's Balearic Islands, Mallorca is one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations due to its beautiful Mediterranean beaches, rugged coves hugging turquoise waters, ancient villages, mountains ideal for hiking, and great nightlife and shopping in the capital of Palma de Mallorca.
Upon arrival at the airport in Palma, you'll pick up a rental car and drive to your hotel in the capital. Take some time to relax before heading out to explore. Not only is Palma de Mallorca an exciting metropolitan capital, but it's also a medieval historic gem. All around, you'll find Moorish fortresses, royal palaces, and Gothic landmarks. One can't-miss landmark is the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma. The Catalan Crown of Aragón built this expansive Roman Catholic church in the 13th century over the site of a former mosque that had been erected during Moorish rule.
Day 15: Mallorca Catamaran Trip & Snorkeling
After an early breakfast, you'll transfer to the port in Mallorca and hop aboard a catamaran for a full-day trip along the coast. First, you'll sail to a beautiful cove south of the Bay of Palma. Then, depending on the wind, you'll drop anchor at either La Cueva Verde or Illetas, where you can enjoy a swim and some snorkeling, kayaking, or paddleboarding. Then you'll break for a delicious lunch consisting of a delicious selection of Iberian cold cuts, accompanied by a glass of wine, cava, beer, or a soft drink.
After eating, sail to Cala Vella or Portals Vells, idyllic beaches with crystal clear waters. Enjoy more swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and/or paddleboarding before savoring a delicious barbecue prepared on board. Spend some time sunbathing or swimming before sailing back to port along the scenic coastline of the Bay of Palma.
Day 16: Discover the Villages of Mallorca
While Mallorca is famous for its coastline and beaches, the country's interior is stunning too. Today is yours to drive around the island and visit the many charming villages dotting the countryside. If you like, drive to the northwest side of Mallorca, around the high peaks of the Tramontana Range. Here you can visit towns like Fornalutx, Valldemossa, and Sóller. Fornalutx, in particular, is regarded as one of Spain's most beautiful villages.
Or, if you prefer to linger by the sea, there are plenty of coastal villages to explore. These include Porto Colom with its colorful buildings, Port d'Andratx, which boasts clear, turquoise waters, and the long and inviting beaches of Port de Pollença.
Day 17: Explore the Beaches of MallorcaIt is the perfect day to relax at the beach! In the morning, hop in the car and visit a few of the 262 beaches on this island, many of which are right out of a romantic dream. You can drive to all corners of Mallorca in search of the perfect stretch of sand to enjoy some downtime. Options include Cala Agulla, which is located on the west side and boasts soft white sands and crystalline waters; Portals Vells, popular with locals and families who love its sandy bays and calm, crystal-clear water; and Cala de Sa Calobra, a fine northside beach that enjoys a privileged location hemmed in by 656-foot (200 m) cliffs.
Day 18: Fly to Barcelona, Private City Tour
Bid Mallorca farewell today and transfer to the airport to catch a one-hour flight to Barcelona. The capital of Spain's Catalonia region, Barcelona, is a Mediterranean gem of a city that exudes culture, art, and history. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel in the city.
Once you've settled in, you'll meet your guide and head out on a half-day tour to discover the city. One highlight landmark you'll visit is what is quite possibly Barcelona's grandest monument: La Sagrada Família. Designed by renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, this iconic Roman Catholic basilica is an impressive mix of Gothic, Catalan-modernism, and Art Nouveau styles. Despite construction on the church beginning in 1882, it's still technically under construction and was only consecrated in 2010.
Day 19: Barcelona Market & Cooking Class
Spend the morning relaxing in your hotel or strolling the streets of Barcelona. Maybe go for a walk down Las Ramblas, the pedestrian thoroughfare running through the heart of Barcelona's medieval Gothic Quarter. You can also visit famous landmarks like the open-air architectural museum of Poble Espanyol.
Later, during a half-day cooking class, you'll dive deeper into Barcelona's rich culture. This small-group tour begins when you meet at Barcelona's gastronomic epicenter, Boquería Market. Open since 1835, this is the most famous covered market in the city. Each day over 200 vendors sell everything from fresh produce to spices, fresh fish, cured meats, and artisanal cheeses. Here, you'll source your ingredients for today's cooking class.
After picking up the ingredients, your group will head to a local kitchen to meet your expert instructor. Under his or her guidance, you'll learn to make traditional Spanish specialties, including the Valencian rice dish paella. When the cooking is done, only one thing remains: to sit down with your classmates and enjoy what you've prepared for lunch or dinner.
Day 20: Day Trip to Girona & Costa Brava
After breakfast, you'll leave on a day trip to the famous Costa Brava, a beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coastline running north of Barcelona to the border with France. On the way there, you'll stop in the ancient city of Girona. Boasting over 2,000 years of history dating to the Roman era, Girona's medieval center and ancient Jewish Quarter are some of the most well-preserved in all of Europe. You'll have time to do some sightseeing as you get lost in Girona's maze of narrow cobbled streets and admire the colorful houses lining the Onyar River.
Next, you'll hit the road along the scenic Costa Brava, which stretches 125 miles (200 km) up the coast amid pine forests and golden beaches. Enjoy the breathtaking coastal scenery and views over the azure waters of the Mediterranean as you pass by old fortresses and medieval villages. You'll stop at one such village, Pals, and walk amid its ancient plazas, towers, ramparts, castle, and 10th-century church. Stop for a bite at Calella de Palafrugell, a traditional fishing village where you can indulge in delicious local seafood. At the end of the day, a transfer will take you back to Barcelona.