Combine the best of Portugal and northern Spain for 15 days of fun on the Iberian Peninsula. Zip through Lisbon by tuk-tuk and see the fantastical hilltop palaces of Sintra, then head north to riverside Porto and the Douro Valley wine country. Hop over to Spain to marvel at Barcelona's modernist landmarks and hike between the clifftop villages of the Costa Brava. Your adventure wraps up on the Bay of Biscay, enjoying the crescent beaches and renowned gastronomy of San Sebastián.

Highlights

  • Climb Lisbon's colorful hillsides by tuk-tuk
  • Go wine tasting and river cruising in the Douro Valley
  • Explore Barcelona landmarks like the Boqueria and Sagrada Familia
  • Hike between white villages and hidden coves on the Costa Brava
  • Discover San Sebastián's famous gastronomy on a pintxo tour

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon, See the Capital by Tuk-Tuk Lisbon
Day 2 Explore Lisbon with a Private Walking Tour Lisbon
Day 3 Take a Day Trip to Magical Sintra & Cascais Lisbon
Day 4 Transfer to Porto via Coimbra Porto
Day 5 Enjoy a Private Walking Tour of Porto Porto
Day 6 Day Trip to the Douro Valley: Wine Tasting & River Cruise Porto
Day 7 Fly to Barcelona, Capital of Catalonia Barcelona
Day 8 Private Tour of Park Güell & Sagrada Família Barcelona
Day 9 Guided Visit to the Boqueria Market & Private Cooking Class Barcelona
Day 10 Transfer to the Costa Brava & Coastal Hike Costa Brava
Day 11 Explore the Èmporda & Visit a Winery with Lunch Costa Brava
Day 12 Fly to San Sebastián & the Basque Country San Sebastián
Day 13 Private Tour of San Sebastián with Pintxos San Sebastián
Day 14 Free Day in San Sebastián San Sebastián
Day 15 Transfer to Bilbao & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon, See the Capital by Tuk-Tuk 

Colorful tuk-tuks lined up in Lisbon's Praça da Figueira 
Welcome to Lisbon! Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by your driver and transferred to your hotel in the city center. After checking in, you can unwind after your long journey or head out for a quick stroll. You'll find Lisbon to be an unheralded gem of a European capital. Hilly waterfront neighborhoods are dotted with grand plazas and pastel-colored buildings, many dating back hundreds of years. Old cable cars lurch up winding cobbled roads, and medieval castles sit perched atop the city's highest points. 
 
In the late afternoon, you'll hop in an eco-friendly tuk-tuk to explore Lisbon's famously steep streets in style. Your driver/guide will share fascinating details about the capital as they take you to some fabulous lesser-known areas and stop at the best viewpoints to soak in breathtaking panoramic views. At the end of the tour, your driver will return you to your hotel or can drop you off at a great local place for dinner.

Day 2: Explore Lisbon with a Private Walking Tour

Lisbon's grand Rossio Square

There's no better way to get to the heart of historic Lisbon than by exploring it on foot. In the morning, head out on a walking tour led by an expert local guide, who will paint a vivid picture of the city as they point out major sights and share anecdotes about the colorful local lore. 

The tour includes stops at the upscale shopping area around Chiado Square and the 12th-century Lisbon Cathedral, the oldest church in the city. Visit the old town of Baixa and its historic Rossio Square. Stand under the Arco da Rua Augusta, a magnificent 18th-century arch located in the Praça do Comércio on the banks of the Tagus River. End the tour with a tasting of ginjinha, Portugal's famous liqueur made from sour cherries.

Day 3: Take a Day Trip to Magical Sintra & Cascais

Sunrise in Sintra
Sunrise in Sintra

Meet your guide this morning for a day trip to Sintra, a magical and 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.

Then it's off to the awe-inspiring Sintra 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." 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. After the tour, you'll be brought back to your hotel in Lisbon for the evening.

Day 4: Transfer to Porto via Coimbra

Coimbra's idyllic riverside setting
This morning, your driver will be waiting to transfer you north toward Porto—stopping after two hours to explore Coimbra, one of Portugal's most elegant and enchanting cities. 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. 
 
Meet your local expert guide for a private three-hour tour to see the highlights and hear many local tales about this fascinating city. Once the medieval capital of Portugal, it is now best known for its university—the first in Portugal and one of the oldest educational institutions in Europe. At the end of the tour, your guide will drop you at a great local restaurant for lunch. After some more time to explore, get back on the road for another 1.5 hours to reach Porto, where you'll check in at your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Day 5: Enjoy a Private Walking Tour of Porto

Porto's riverfront Ribeira district
Start this morning with a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage city. Porto has been a key locale throughout Portugal's rich history—the site of Celtic, Roman, and Moorish occupations, an invasion by Napoleon and Spanish troops, and even a civil war, all of which can be seen in its architecture and landmarks. Learn about this past while touring Porto's historic center, including the Praça da Liberdade, the most impressive plaza in the city. Visit the shopping thoroughfare of Rua Santa Catarina and the Baroque church of Igreja dos Clérigos, which dates back to 1750.

Head to the iconic São Bento Railway Station, built in 1900 on the site of a former convent. Discover the history of Porto's emblematic Dom Luís I Bridge, a double-decked iron-arched feat of engineering that stands 279 feet (85 m) over the Douro River. On this waterway, colorful wooden rabelo boats line up in front of the old port wine cellars. At the end of the tour, your guide will drop you at a local café or restaurant for a hearty lunch and give you some tips on how to enjoy the rest of your day in the city.

Day 6: Day Trip to the Douro Valley: Wine Tasting & River Cruise

Terraced vineyards overlooking the Douro Valley
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 7: Fly to Barcelona, Capital of Catalonia

Sit back and enjoy the flight!
It's time to bid Portugal farewell as you transfer to Porto's airport and board a flight to Barcelona, the eclectic and independent capital of Spain's autonomous region of Catalonia. Upon arrival, a driver will transfer you to your hotel to get settled in. You'll have the rest of the day free to get your bearings and explore the city at your own pace.
 
A great place to get started is in the medieval Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), where you'll find atmospheric cobbled streets steeped in history and some of the city's most famous sights. Spot the ruins of ancient Roman walls, the stately Plaça Reial, and the 13th-century Barcelona Cathedral before heading into the trendy El Born neighborhood for an evening of tapas.

Day 8: Private Tour of Park Güell & Sagrada Família

Views across Barcelona from Park Güell
Meet your local guide this morning for an exploration of two of the most distinctive works by the legendary Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí. Start at the whimsical Park Güell, located atop Carmel Hill in north Barcelona. Covering over 42 acres (17 ha), this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fine example of Gaudí's boundary-pushing modernist style. Stroll the colorful walkways and gardens and take in incredible views across the city.

Next up is the Sagrada Família, the iconic Roman Catholic basilica with an impressive mix of Gothic, Catalan-modernism, and Art Nouveau architectural styles. Despite the construction of the church beginning in 1882, it's still technically unfinished and was only consecrated in 2010. Upon arrival, your guide will reveal insight into the Sagrada Familia's fascinating history, and you'll glean even more info as you explore the interior. After a fascinating four-hour tour it will be time to say farewell to your guide and spend the rest of the day at your leisure.

Day 9: Guided Visit to the Boqueria Market & Private Cooking Class

Fresh produce at the Boqueria Market
Fresh produce at the Boqueria Market
In the morning, you'll embark on a guided tour with your host to the gastronomic epicenter of Barcelona: the Boqueria. Open since 1835, this is the most famous covered market in the city. Each day over 200 vendors open their stalls and sell everything from fresh produce and spices to fresh fish, cured meats, and artisanal cheeses. You'll also find plenty of tapas bars and restaurants here serving high-quality Catalan cuisine. 

Because the market is so big and hectic (it receives over 40,000 visitors each day), it's best to let your expert guide lead the way and direct you to the best stalls. After touring the Boqueria and picking up any culinary treats that strike your fancy, you'll head to a professional kitchen for a cooking class. Under the guidance of an expert instructor, learn to make traditional Spanish specialties and work together to whip up delicious dishes such as paella and other traditional and creative concoctions. Then comes the best part— sitting down to enjoy your creations! 

Day 10: Transfer to the Costa Brava & Coastal Hike

One of many charming towns on the Costa Brava
One of many charming towns on the Costa Brava
After breakfast at your hotel, a private guide will pick you up to embark on a 90-minute drive north of the city along the Costa Brava. This beautiful coastal area stretches between Barcelona and the French border and offers incredible hiking. Popular routes pass through villages, secluded beaches, and hidden coves ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Your guide will select a suitable trail according to your fitness level. Then, it's off for a brisk hike along coastal cliffs flanked by olive orchards and oak forests on one side, and the sapphire-blue waters of the Mediterranean on the other. Your reward will come in the form of a three-course meal at the end of your trek, featuring local Catalan specialties. In the afternoon, your guide will drop you at your accommodations on the Costa Brava.

Day 11: Explore the Costa Brava & Èmporda Winery Visit

Vineyards in Catalonia
Vineyards in Catalonia
Set off to explore some of the most charming villages of the Costa Brava today. A perfect place to start is the village of Pals. Perched atop a hill, with commanding views of the surrounding valley, its cobbled pedestrian streets are full of history and charm. Head to Begur next to explore this beautiful beach town's local shops and Moorish squares, and stop for a coffee to soak up the atmosphere. From here, you'll find more jewels of the Costa Brava at your fingertips—like the nearby coastal towns of Calella de Palafrugell, Llafranc, and Tamariu.

In the afternoon, continue to a local winery, where you'll be greeted by your host and led on a guided tour around the vineyard and bodega—learning about this small winery's story and trying their delicious wines. Afterward, sit down to lunch amid the vines, pairing local wines with delicious, organic food made in the regional style. In the afternoon, continue exploring the villages and coastline at your own pace or return to your accommodations.

Day 12: Fly to San Sebastián & the Basque Country

San Sebastián's stunning location on the Bay of Biscay
Today you'll trade Catalonia for the Basque country as you catch a flight west to the elegant coastal resort of San Sebastián. Located on the Bay of Biscay on Spain's northern coast, this charming city is known for its sweeping beaches, grand architecture, and world-class culinary scene (with one of the world's highest numbers of Michelin-starred restaurants per square meter). After a transfer to your hotel, spend the afternoon getting to know this immensely walkable city's Old Town and seafront at your own pace. 

Day 13: Private Tour of San Sebastián with Pintxos

Sample some of San Sebastián's best pintxos
Discover more of San Sebastián through its cuisine today as you embark on a guided food tour through some of the city's most beloved areas. Join your guide to start a leisurely stroll around the narrow, atmospheric streets of the Old Town, and continue south into the Belle Époque grandeur of the Área Romántica. Along the way, you'll get a local's eye view of the city as your guide shares secrets of its storied past.
 
After working up an appetite, duck into some of the best pintxos spots in town to sample the Basque country's equivalent of tapas. Enjoy these "little bites"—from the simple and traditional to the most elevated and artistic—alongside local wines like red riojas and sparkling white txacolis.

Day 14: Free Day in San Sebastián

San Sebastián's colorful harbor
Today is all yours to continue exploring San Sebastián at your leisure. Wander the stone streets of the Parte Vieja and take a stroll along La Concha Promenade, which curves around the city's main beaches, Onderreta and La Concha. For great views looking back over San Sebastián, take a ferry to the offshore island of Santa Clara, or ride the funicular railway up to Mont Igualdo, which offers sweeping panoramas from the western edge of the city. 

By now, you'll have a good idea of how to order the perfect pintxos, but you'll also be armed with plenty of recommendations of where to go for more great food. Most bars, cafés, and restaurants in the Parte Vieja (Old Town) serve some version of these bite-sized delicacies, and naturally, they're best paired with local wines. Here it's possible (and indeed encouraged), to hop from pintxos bar to pintxos bar, grazing to your heart's content.

Day 15: Transfer to Bilbao & Depart

Sunset over San Sebastián's La Concha Bay
Your Iberian adventure draws to a close today. Enjoy a final morning in San Sebastián, then transfer to Bilbao Airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels! 

More Great Portugal & Spain Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Portugal and Spain? Check out these other ways to spend 11 days, 13 days, and 14 days on the Iberian Peninsula.

Map

Map of Portugal & Northern Spain: Lisbon to San Sebastián - 15 Days
Map of Portugal & Northern Spain: Lisbon to San Sebastián - 15 Days