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A 17 day journey through northern Iberia

  • 10/18/2020 - 11/03/2020
  • 17 Days
  • Starting price $5,895

Become immersed in the cultural and architectural heritage of Portugal and Northern Spain on a once-in-a-lifetime journey. From historic Lisbon to vibrant Barcelona, visit and explore 14 cities and 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites while enjoying world class accommodations and fine regional dining. Sip Oporto’s famed port wine, see Santiago’s monumental cathedral, tour the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and see where the bulls run in Pamplona before traversing the breathtaking Pyrenees Mountains en route to Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea.

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Max. guests - 24

Architectural highlights

  • Visit Lisbon’s Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Tour Oporto, Portugal’s second largest city, and see its historic center proclaimed a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1996.
  • In León, tour the thirteenth century León Cathedral and see Casa Botines, a Modernist building designed by Antoni Gaudí.
  • Tour the cobbled streets of Bilbao’s medieval Old Town before visiting the world-renowned, Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum.
  • Visit Antoni Gaudí’s most iconic works, Casa Milà and Sagrada Família, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Join a Modern architectural expert for a tour of Barcelona’s 22@ District, one of Europe’s biggest urban regeneration efforts featuring buildings by Jean Nouvel.

 

More highlights 

  • Walk through the walled town of Óbidos and take in its medieval streets and squares.
  • See Santiago de Compostela’s iconic cathedral, featuring the silver crypt believed to hold the remains of St. James, one of Jesus’ apostles.
  • Walk the storied streets of Guernica and Pamplona in the Spanish Pyrenees.
  • Visit a port lodge in Oporto for a tasting of the fortified wine exclusive to the region.

 

Accommodations

  • Corinthia Hotel Lisbon - Located near the historic city center, this is one of the finest luxury hotels in Lisbon and offers stunning views of the city.
  • Pousada do Porto - The public areas of this 87-room pousada were converted from a former palace built in 1742 and exemplify Portuguese Baroque architecture.   
  • Parador de Santiago de Compostela - Built-in 1486 as a hospital for pilgrims, this 137-room parador is considered one of the world’s oldest hotels and is situated in the historic Plaza do Obradoiro adjacent to the famed cathedral.
  • Hotel Conde Luna - Located in central León, Hotel Conde Luna sits within easy walking distance of many of the city’s landmarks, restaurants, and shops.
  • Melia Bilbao - The contemporary 211-room Melia Bilbao houses a collection of contemporary art and is located in the city center close to the museums, shops, and restaurants.
  • Parador de Bielsa - Perched on the mountain slopes in the Pyrenees, this 39-room parador features traditional regional architecture and offers sweeping views of this mountainous region of Northern Spain.
  • Hotel Avenida Palace - Built in 1952, the 151-room Hotel Avenida Palace stands in the heart of Barcelona and offers an excellent location from which to explore.

 

Also included

  • An experienced Tour Director, in addition to the Architectural Adventures Educational Expert.
  • Entrance fees for all included visits
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout the trip
  • Gratuities for local guides, bus drivers, porters, airport, hotel and restaurant staff
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person

 

What to expect

  • Appropriate for people in good health with overall good mobility
  • Traveler should be comfortable participating in a full day of sightseeing
  • Activities range from light to moderate intensity at an easy pace, but with lengthy walks, sometimes on uneven terrain, and climbing on stairs.

 

Price

  • Land only price: $5,895 per person, based on double occupancy
  • Air inclusive price: $6,674 per person, based on double occupancy from Los Angeles or San Francisco. ($6,095 air & land inclusive plus $579 airline taxes and fees). Air inclusive pricing form other US departure cities available upon request.
  • $1,495 single supplement
  • A deposit of $500 per person, payable by credit card or check is required to reserve a space
  • Deposits are applied to payment of the total price and the final payment is due by January 12, 2020

 

Not included

Airfare and air departure taxes and fees if purchasing a land-only package; passport/visa fees not specified; meals not specified in the itinerary; food and beverages not part of the included meals; personal items and expenses; gratuities to tour director, gratuities other than specified; travel and trip cancellation insurance; airline baggage fees and excess baggage fees; pre or post-tour extension; optional sightseeing; communication charges; other items not specifically mentioned in the itinerary or as included.

Prices, itinerary, accommodations and experts subject to change.

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Architectural Adventures tours are managed by professional tour operators retained as independent contractors by The American Institute of Architects. To read Architectural Adventures full Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer visit architecturaladventures.org/travel-terms. To read the tour-specific terms and conditions from our tour operator Odysseys Unlimited visit architecturaladventures.org/odysseys.  

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Overview

Begin your journey

Depart your gateway city for Lisbon, Portugal.
Overview

Arrive in Lisbon

Arrive in the Portuguese capital and check into the 5-star Corinthia Hotel. There is no structured sightseeing today, so rest and replenish or venture into the city at your leisure. In the evening, meet your Tour Director and dine at the hotel.

Accommodations: Corinthia Hotel Lisbon
Meals: Dinner
Overview

The Treasures of Lisbon

In the morning, visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites, beginning with the majestic Jerónimos Monastery, one of the foremost examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture and the final resting place of explorer Vasco de Gama. Next, see the nearby Belém Tower, the ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. Situated on the edge of the Tagus River, the tower was built in the 16th century, also in the Manueline style. While in the Belém District, tour the National Coach Museum, which houses a trove of historical carriages. After viewing the Monument to the Discoveries, commemorating Portugal’s proud seafaring and literary heritage, head outside the city to the National Palace of Queluz, residence of the Portuguese royalty. The evening is yours to do as you wish.

Accommodations: Corinthia Hotel Lisbon
Meals: Breakfast
Overview

Óbidos and Nazaré en route to Oporto

Leave Lisbon today and head north, stopping in the small walled town of Óbidos for a walking tour of its medieval streets and squares. The Romans and Moors had settlements here until Portugal’s first king wrested it from the latter in 1148. Continue on to the seaside village of Nazaré for lunch and leisure. Legend holds that the Virgin Mary rescued a knight from a fall here in the 12th century; the chapel he built to commemorate the miracle still stands on the cliffs. Spend the evening in Oporto, Portugal’s second largest city and one of Europe’s oldest urban centers (the city’s historical core is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Today Oporto is the headquarters of the port wine industry and a city famed for its many stately bridges.

Accommodations: Pousada do Porto
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Overview

A Day in Oporto

Oporto’s history dates back to its origins as a Phoenician settlement in the 8th century BCE and later a Roman town in the 1st century BCE. It is the hometown of Henry the Navigator, and in 1820, it witnessed the Liberal Revolution, which gave birth to Portugal’s constitutional government. Tour the city, stopping at the renowned Bolhão Market for local delicacies and continuing on to the historic city center, where you’ll see the grand Romanesque cathedral, the Neoclassical Stock Exchange Palace, and the Manueline-style Church of Santa Clara. After a stop in the trendy Foz oceanfront district, board a boat for a six-bridge cruise along the Douro River, source of the microclimate responsible for the grapes that make the city’s famous port wine. The tour concludes with a visit to a port lodge for a tasting of the fortified wine exclusive to the region. The afternoon is yours for independent exploration.

Accommodations: Pousada do Porto
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Overview

Pontevedra

Journey on to Spain today and to Santiago de Compostela, the final stop on the pilgrimage route of the Way of St. James, traveled by thousands of peregrinos (pilgrims) for 1,200 years and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. But first, stop in the old Galician town of Pontevedra and take a walking tour of its historic city center. In recent years, Pontevedra has transformed itself into one of most accessible European cities and has been widely awarded for its urban quality. Continuing on, arrive in Santiago in the mid-afternoon and check into the Parador de Santiago de Compostela, an upscale 5-star hotel that occupies a former pilgrim’s hospital built in 1499.

Accommodations: Parador de Santiago de Compostela
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Overview

A Day in Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is one of Spain’s most beautiful and visited cities. Today’s tour begins with the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, featuring the silver crypt believed to hold the remains of St. James, one of Jesus’ apostles. The Spanish king commissioned the rebuilding of the Cathedral after its destruction in 997; construction lasted from 1060 to 1211 and stonemasons added the elaborate baroque façade in the 17th century. Exit the Cathedral through the magnificent 12th century Portico de la Gloria (Port of Glory) and enter Plaza de Obradoiro, the monumental square surrounded by Santiago’s most impressive Neoclassical, Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic buildings. The afternoon is yours for independent exploration in this eminently walkable city.

Accommodations: Parador de Santiago de Compostela
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Overview

A Day in León

Leaving Santiago in the morning, travel east to León, another stop on the Way of St. James known for its religious festivals and Easter week processions. It was the seat of Western Europe’s first parliament under King Alfonso IX in the 12th century. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch before an afternoon tour that includes the 13th century León Cathedral with its beautiful sculpture-covered façade and stained glass windows. Next see Casa Botines, a Modernist building designed by Antoni Gaudí; to pay tribute to León’s architectural heritage, he added a medieval air and numerous neo-Gothic features. Dinner will be served at the hotel in the evening.

Accommodations: Hotel Conde Luna
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Overview

Santander and Bilbao on the Bay of Biscay

Continuing your Iberian journey, stop in the Spanish port city of Santander, situated on a beautiful bay. On your walking tour, see Santander’s beaches, the cape of Cabo Mayor with its cliff-top vista and iconic lighthouse, and the renowned gardens of Magdalena Palace. After lunch in Santander, travel on to Bilbao, an industrial port city on the Bay of Biscay best known for its Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, an architectural marvel of titanium, glass, and limestone. Dine on your own this evening in Bilbao, a city known for its fine cuisine.

Accommodations: Melia Bilbao
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Overview

Bilbao and the Guggenheim

This morning’s tour begins along the cobbled streets in Bilbao’s medieval Old Town. See the Catedral de Santiago and the Plaza Nueva, a monumental square built in Neoclassical style in 1821. Then visit La Ribera market, an Art-Deco gem from 1929. The rest of the day is devoted to the arts, with a trip to the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum to marvel at its design and explore its avant-garde 20th and 21st-Century collection. Your last stop is Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum, featuring a rich collection of Spanish and Basque works.

Accommodations: Melia Bilbao
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Overview

Basque Country

Venture into the countryside of Spain’s Basque region today, stopping first in Guernica, the city that was immortalized in one of Picasso’s most famous paintings after it was razed by Nazi bombs in 1937. Visit two cherished symbols of democracy and self governance for the Basque people—the Assembly House and the storied Tree of Guernica. Next, stop in the fishing village of Mundaka and the islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, with its 10th century hermitage dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Continue on to a winery to sample the Basque coast’s unique Txakoli wine. Following your tasting, you’ll enjoy a lunch of pintxos, the region’s signature tapas. The evening is yours to continue exploring or to rest and relax.

Accommodations: Melia Bilbao
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Overview

Pamplona en route to Bielsa

Travel to Bielsa in the Pyrenees today, stopping en route in fabled Pamplona, famous for its annual Encierro, better known as the Running of the Bulls. Your tour here features the striking monument to the Encierro, a bronze sculpture created to commemorate the bulls and daring humans who run every July. Visit the city’s favorite meeting place, Plaza del Castillo, known as Pamplona’s Living Room.” After lunch in Pamplona, continue into the picturesque Pyrenees and traverse mountain roads with panoramic vistas to the city of Bielsa, arriving in the late afternoon.

Accommodations: Parador de Bielsa
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Overview

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park

Fresh mountain air and stunning scenery are on tap today as you visit Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, a 56,000 acre UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Established in 1918, Ordesa is Spain’s oldest and one of Europe’s first national parks. Its dramatic, glacier-carved landscape provides habitat for over 170 bird species and 32 mammal species, including the endangered ibex. Touring by smaller vehicles, you’ll take in the beauty of the limestone Pyrenees with its lush valleys, blue streams, and fir trees. The afternoon is free for you to hike or relax amidst the natural beauty.

Accommodations: Parador de Bielsa
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Overview

Bielsa to Barcelona

From Bielsa, travel to Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, Spain’s second largest city, and one of the most visited cities on earth. Arriving in the late afternoon, check into the Hotel Avenida Palace and have time for dinner and exploration on your own. The hotel is located in the heart of the city, which is renowned for its easy walkability.

Accommodations: Hotel Avenida Palace
Meals: Breakfast
Overview

Gems of Barcelona

Begin your tour of Barcelona in its Gothic Quarter, a maze of charming medieval streets, squares, and mansions. Walk along Las Ramblas, the tree-lined pedestrian mall, before paying tribute to Barcelona’s native son, renowned Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí. Visit Casa Milà (known as The Quarry), a modernist building with an undulating stone façade and wrought iron balconies and windows. It was the last civil work Gaudí designed and is also now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Next, tour the world-famous Sagrada Família, a still-unfinished Catholic church that’s been under construction for over 130 years. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and widely considered to be Gaudí’s greatest achievement. After a tapas lunch, a modern architectural expert will show you the 22@ District, which the city is transforming into a tech and innovation corridor. The ongoing project is one of Europe’s biggest urban regeneration efforts; it features buildings designed by Jean Nouvel.

Accommodations: Hotel Avenida Palace
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Overview

A Free Day in Barcelona

Today is yours to do as you please in a city with limitless attractions. Spend time by the sea, go shopping, or sample Barcelona’s fine dining. You might visit the Picasso Museum, Gaudí’s Park Guell, the FC Barcelona futbol museum, or Tibidabo Hill, to name just a few options. Tonight, after two wondrous weeks in Portugal and Spain, you bid adios to the peninsula and to your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner featuring Spanish paella.

Accommodations: Hotel Avenida Palace
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Overview

Depart Spain

Transfer to the airport this morning for connecting flights back across the Atlantic.

Meals: Breakfast
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