SPAIN & PORTUGAL 2017

A CULTURAL AND CULINARY ADVENTURE

This private tour will bring you to some of the most interesting and beautiful places in Spain and Portugal, with a leisurely pace that enables you to get the most out of the experience; your accommodations have been selected on the basis of character, comfort, and convenient locations. Professional bilingual local guides at each destination will unveil its culture, history, and character. We have carefully chosen the itinerary of the Iberian Peninsula so that you will experience a variety of cultural highlights, ranging from the tranquil Lisbon and the romance of Sintra, to the ancient city of Porto, famous for its fortified wines; the medieval towns of Segovia and El Escorial, the Moorish centers of Andalusia, the Mediterranean flavor of Barcelona, the Basque country and imperial Madrid. You will see a wide range of high and popular architecture, and visit some of Europe’s most impressive art museums and historical landmarks, as well as the people’s efforts to regain control of their cities to make them “friendlier,” and on the way enjoy the culinary achievements and taste the wonderful wines of the many regions of this remarkable European peninsula.

Price per person sharing double room $9,880 (international air transportation not included).

June 5 (Mon) -- PORTO

Arrive in Porto

Accommodations

June 6 (Tue) -- PORTO

Morning sightseeing the second city of Portugal starting at the monumental central avenue (Avenida dos Aliados), all the way down to the riverfront, UNESCO has declared this a World Heritage Site, with churches dripping with gold (San Francisco Church and Santa Clara Church), and other spectacular interiors (Palacio da Bolsa’s Alhambra-like decoration and Santo Bento Station’s dazzling tiled walls), combined with a highly atmospheric and charismatic medieval quarter with colorful houses facing the river and its picturesque boats. This is the soul of the city that should be the starting point of a visit - and the place to return at night for the liveliest restaurants and bars. We continue our sightseeing to one of the famous Port Wine houses for a tasting leading to our first culinary lunch.

Regional lunch and wines included

Rest of the day at leisure.

June 7 (Wed) PORTO -- LISBON

Morning flight to Lisbon. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

This afternoon we begin our sightseeing in this charming old capital of Portugal. The center of Lisbon is an ideal place for strolling, people watching, shopping, and eating. This is one of the earliest and best examples of town planning, for Lisbon was completely re-built after the city was destroyed in a massive earthquake 200 years ago. The resulting comprehensive design created one of the most pleasing and pretty cities in the world. There are many historic landmarks that survived the quake, including the fortress of Saint George overlooking the town, and the medieval hillside Alfama district, with its winding pedestrian alleys and friendly residents. This afternoon we enjoy a visit to the monuments built to the memory of the great Portuguese sea adventure along the river Tagus, visiting, the Belem Tower, and the Jeronimos Monastery, with its mix of gothic and baroque architectural elements; built with money gotten in the profitable India trade, is one of the most outstanding example of Manuelin style, an elaborately ornamented architecture embellished with natural and nautical motifs.

June 8 (Thu) LISBON - SINTRA - LISBON

Today’s full day sightseeing will take us to the outskirts of Lisbon where we visit the Rococo Palace of Queluz, the summer residence of Portuguese royalty, built in 1747, with rich interior gilded decorations, and beautifully laid formal gardens. Next we visit the Medieval Palace of Sintra, and return to Lisbon via the coastal villages of Cascais and Estoril which are famous for their pleasant weather and for the nobility of past residents, including deposed kings, queens and other aristocratic types who found in the Portuguese shores a friendly home.

Regional cuisine lunch and wines included

June 9 (Fri) LISBON - GRANADA

Morning transfer to the airport, flight to Granada. Transfer to the hotel.

This afternoon visit this stronghold of the Moors in Europe, the Alhambra, still clinging tenaciously to many of its ancient customs in the midst of this modern contemporary social scene. We will visit two of the most impressive edifices ever built -- the hilltop fortress of The Alcazaba, and the palace complex of the Alhambra, the last refuge of the Moors in Spain. The Alhambra embraces hundreds of years of architectural history that includes private dwellings still occupied today. It also includes several churches, a restaurant, gardens, statues and fountains, and the centerpiece 16th-century Renaissance palace.

June 10 (Sat) GRANADA

Morning sightseeing of the historical center, visiting the Cathedral, followed by the Royal Chapel, and a walk to the Albaicin. Lunch today will be an introduction to Spain’s Southern cuisine. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy this charming southern capital and explore some of its famous tapas bars. This evening enjoy a Flamenco show. Regional cuisine lunch and wines included

June 11 (Sun) GRANADA - CORDOBA - SEVILLA

Today we drive to Cordoba to visit one of Europe’s historical Mosques. Originally the site of a Visigothic Christian temple turned into a Mosque at the onset of Muslim occupation of Spain. The Cordoba Mosque operated from 784 to 1236 when the site was converted to a Christian temple again. Slowly, Christian chapels were built inside the mosque until the early years of the 16th century when a large section was demolished to allow the building of a Renaissance Cathedral. After lunch, continue to Sevilla

Regional cuisine lunch wines included.

June 12 (Mon) SEVILLA

Seville is a theatrical and festive place. Spain’s most important city during the age of exploration and colonization of America. Even today it houses the world’s largest gothic Catholic cathedral, a symbol of supreme power 500 years ago, and standing as a monument to the city’s sense of history and culture. The Alcazar of Seville is one of the most representative monumental compounds in the city, the country and the Mediterranean culture as a whole. The historical evolution of the city in the last millennium is held within its walls and gardens, amalgamating influences starting from the Arabic period, late Middle Ages Mudejar right through to the Renaissance, Baroque and the XIX century.

Sevilla offers a splendid network of pedestrian streets that makes walking around the city a friendly affair, stopping for some “tapas” to charge your batteries when needed.

June 13 SEVILLA - BARCELONA

High Speed Train to Barcelona. Transfer to your hotel. This afternoon we will enjoy a tour of the old city, including the fabulous Ramblas, the main pedestrian shopping zone where people love to stroll and show off their stuff - where the “paseo” reaches its absolute zenith in an entertaining display of chic fashion and style. This cutting edge modernity contrasts beautifully with the medieval atmosphere of the Gothic Quarter, which we will explore on foot.

Rest of the day free.

June 14 (Wed) BARCELONA

Today’s sightseeing will take us to visit some of the main works of the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, among which are the Sagrada Familia, the Casa Mila and the Parc Guell; our visit will also bring us to the “modern” district where the city expanded at the end of the19th century and where the current Barcelona leaders are working on ways to improve the quality of the air and return the city to the residents.

Lunch today will bring the Catalan cuisine to our palate’s enjoyment.

Regional cuisine lunch and wines included.

June 15 ( Thu) BARCELONA -- BILBAO (BILBO)

Transfer to the airport and flight to Bilbao. Transfer to the hotel.

Afternoon sightseeing medieval Bilbao, with its cobbled streets, charming corners and squares, which have witnessed the port’s hustle and bustle that made the Village grow. Its walls, Saint James’s Gothic Cathedral, the Plaza Nueva (New Square), the emblematic San Anton Church and the ancient ruins it was built on, and the busy Mercado de la Ribera (Seaside Market) account for more than 500 years of history and an urban life not affected by the passing of time. Bilbainos take pride in the Pintxos bars, where they enjoy socializing among friends and savoring small or large bites of the house’s specialties, and we will encourage all group members to practice this aspect of Basque culture.

June 16 (Fri) BILBAO - THE GUGGENHEIM

ABANDOIBARRA:

Today’s sightseeing will take us to Bilbao’s architectural and urban development from the 19th century to the present. A look at the throbbing heart of a city where tradition and modernity converge. Walking around the Ensanche and Abandoibarra, you will experience Bilbao’s thriving spirit and find a genuine outdoor museum of sculpture and architecture which reveals the Village’s forward looking character.

Today’s included lunch will explore the achievements of the Basque cuisine.

June 17 (Sat) BILBAO - VITORIA/GASTEIZ

Today’s sightseeing will take us to Vitoria/Gasteiz, capital to the Basque Autonomous Region. Founded in the year 1181 by Visigoth invaders around Gateiz the original Basque village.

Vitoria Gasteiz today is the second largest city in the Basque country, second to Bilbao. Appointed European Green Capital in 2012, Vitoria Gasteiz embarked in an ambitious plan to bring nature into the city.

Vitoria-Gasteiz is comprised of concentric circles, with the city itself at center. The “Green Belt‚” a semi-natural green area partially reclaimed from degraded areas, surrounds the center and brings nature into the city. The third circle is dominated by forestry and mountains.

The city has a high proportion of green public areas, ensuring that the entire population lives within 300m of an open green space. Numerous tangible measures are in place to assist and increase biodiversity and ecosystems services.

Flora and fauna are monitored, habitat fragmentation is reduced wherever possible, and measures have been introduced to decrease light pollution. Besides being recreational areas and natural habitats for plant and animal life, the green areas also have an educational purpose: the community gardens, for example, enable the population to study horticulture at close range.

You’ll feel it as soon as you arrive - it’s friendly and convenient, designed for living in: everything is close at hand, including the so-called Green Ring, a perimeter around the city formed by six large parks you can explore on foot or by bicycle. In one of them, Salburua, you can see several lakes which, thanks to their privileged location on a migration route, are visited by a wide variety of birds.

Vitoria-Gasteiz gets international certification as a destination for sustainable tourism, Biosphere Responsible Tourism. The capital loves fine food and wine in all their dimensions. Both in the Old Town and in the center there are “pintxo trails” where you can try the irresistible flavors of haute cuisine in miniature washed down with some of the best wines from Rioja Alavesa.

Regional cuisine lunch and wines included.

June 18 (Sun) BILBAO - MADRID

Morning at leisure.

High Speed train to Madrid.

Today’s Madrid panoramic tour will take us to the main districts, including the Castellana Avenue, the Cibeles Square, the Retiro Park, Salamanca district, etc.

June 19 (Mon) MADRID - EL PRADO

Morning visit to Spain’s main museum, the Prado Museum.

The Prado Museum is renowned as being the largest art gallery in the world. It also exhibits

sculptures, drawings, coins and other works of arts, but it is undoubtedly its large collection of paintings, which has given it fame worldwide. It houses more than 8,600 paintings, of which they exhibit less than 2,000 because of lack of space available.

Rest of the day at leisure.

Regional cuisine lunch and wines included.

June 20 (Tue) MADRID - SEGOVIA - EL ESCORIAL

A full day of activities. First we first drive to Segovia, famous for its Roman Aqueduct, built in the 1st century and in use until the late 19th century. The Cathedral, built in 1525-1678 is the

last great Gothic church constructed in Spain. The Alcazar, built between 1410 and 1455, has been a Royal Castle, and site of many historical events. Together with its impressive renaissance architecture and very attractive urban spaces, Segovia is popular for its “cocina castellana,” Castillian cuisine. After lunch we will drive to El Escorial, built by Phillip II in 1567 in an austere renaissance style, as a final resting place for Spanish monarchs. El Escorial houses many important works of art, among which are the Basilica with the cenotaphs of Phillip II and his father, Emperor Carlos V, and the famous Library with over 40,000 books. Lunch today will include the famous local specialty, suckling pig.

Regional cuisine lunch and wines included.

June 21 (Wed) MADRID

Day at leisure in Madrid to enjoy this exciting capital; visit any of its great museums, like to Thyessen, with its important 19th and 20th century collection of Western Art, the Contemporary Museum, exhibiting the famous Guernica, Pablo Picasso, and many others. Visit the Salamanca district, one of Madrid’s more elegant and one of the best shopping districts; the Old Madrid is around the corner from your hotel and full of interesting sights like to Royal Palace, the Royal Theater and the city’s Main Square.

June 22 (Thu)MADRID

Departure back Home

GENERAL INFORMATION

Reservations: A deposit of $400.00 per person is required at the time of booking. No reservations can be processed without deposit. A second deposit in the amount of $2,000.00 will be due upon confirmation of domestic flights. Balance is due 90 days prior to departure
Tour Prices: Prices shown in this brochure are in US dollars based on a per person for hotel accommodations, transfers, sightseeing, and selected meals. Prices are based on current exchange levels and are subject to change. International flights to the Iberian Peninsula are not included.
Price per Person Sharing Twin Room $9,880 Single Room Supplement $3,680
Cancellations: Deposits are non-refundable. All cancellations received within 90 days of tour departure will be charged the full cost of the tour.  Passports, Visas, and Health Requirements: All clients are reminded that a valid passport is necessary in all cases. They must also make sure that all visa requirements of the countries they will visit are complied before departure. The same applies with regard to health requirements in force at the time of travel. The cost of obtaining these documents will be borne by the traveler. The organizer assumes no responsibility whatsoever should a client, for any reason be refused entry into any particular country, and the subsequent costs entailed will have to be met by the traveler in accordance with obligations that the organizer has in virtue of the contracts held with third parties.
Luggage advice: Domestic flights: One piece of luggage 40Lbs.
Accommodations: Based on double occupancy (two persons sharing the same twin bedded room).
Meals: Included meals as per itinerary.
Insurance: To protect you against loss, theft, injury, accident and medical expenses can be arranged and is strongly recommended since the organizer and other providers will not accept responsibility for any such losses or expenses.
What is included: Inclusions are shown under each itinerary.
Accommodations, domestic Air  and High Speed train transportation, transfers and sightseeing, gratuities to drivers and guides and meals as per itinerary.
What is not included: International Air Transportation, airport departure taxes, passport and visa fees, beverages, dining room items not on the set table menu, hotel porterage, laundry, excess baggage charges, cost of vaccinations, items of personal nature, loss of deposit, Travel insurance,
Brochure
Content
: Every effort has been made to see that, content of this brochure is as accurate as possible and up-to-date at the time of printing.
Responsibilities: BESTOURS and other tour organizers act only as agents for transportation companies, hotels, and other services, under the express condition that they shall not be held liable for injuries, delays, damages, losses, accidents or irregularities incurred by the passenger, which may be occasioned either by reason of any defect in transportation services, or other conveyances, or through the neglect or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passengers therewith, or of any hotel proprietor or servant, or other services. BESTOURS and other tour organizers are not to be held responsible for losses or additional expenses due to delays, and/or changes in the itinerary, flights, trains, ships or other services, sickness, weather, strikes, war, quarantine, and/or other causes. BESTOURS also reserves the right to change the routing, hotels, sightseeing offered, prices given in the brochure; to decline, accept, or retain any person as a regular member of a tour and to pass on to tour members any tour costs incurred due to delays or circumstances beyond control. The airlines and other transportation companies concerned will not be responsible for any act, mission, or event during the time passengers are not on board the aircraft or conveyance. The passenger’s contract, in use by the carriers concerned, when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and the passenger.