The Charms of Portugal & North West Spain
6 day tour

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See Portugal’s beautiful towns; travel to the edge of ancient Europe; and explore Salamanca, Galicia, El Escorial and the treasures of Spain.


Highlights

Boat Cruises
Wine
Palaces
Roman Ruins
National Parks
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Beaches

Places you explore


Coimbra - This historic, cultured town was once the capital of Portugal and boasts the oldest university in the country

Porto - A historic centre, charismatic locals, sumptuous food, and famous port: no one can resist the charms of this UNESCO World Heritage city

Douro Valley - Admire steep terraced vineyards by the Douro River on an optional boat cruise

Peneda-Gerês National Park - Protecting the ecosystem and a disappearing local way of life, this park will leave you speechless

Santiago de Compostela - Combine artistic and spiritual delights when you visit this grand city, the final stop of the epic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route

Cape Finisterre - Stare into the horizon on this beautiful cape once believed to be the end of the known world

Costa da Morte - Plunging cliffs, remote sandy beaches and rocky headlands; this is the stunning and treacherous ‘Coast of Death’

Las Médulas- Marvel at the reddish mountains that once hid the most important gold mine in the entire Roman Empire

Salamanca - Steeped in history and golden sandstone buildings, this university city has been a centre for learning for centuries

El Escorial - A 16th-century combination of royal institutions by the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama, north-west of Madrid


Your journey


The ancient civilizations of Europe left behind a wealth of wonders.

The monks of Porto created delicious drinks for religious ceremonies, the Romans shaped entire mountains in their pursuit of gold, and the 16th-century kings used their riches to build ostentatious plazas and palaces.

On this journey, you leave behind the modern world and venture to the edge of ancient Europe to discover the tastes, traditions, and treasures of the past.

You wander through the cobbled lanes of Portugal’s old towns. You learn about the influential universities of Coimbra and Salamanca. You explore the cathedral that marks the end of the world-famous pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. And you experience some of the greatest achievements of the Roman Empire.

It’s the perfect trip for someone who loves ancient history, delicious seafood, and stunning natural landscapes.


Tour Details

Starts
Check-in closes at 08:15 (tour departs at 08:30) - Lisbon Pick Up Point, Hotel Roma, Lisbon,
Finishes (approx.)
19:00 - Madrid Drop Off, Hotel Porcel Ganivet, Madrid,
Luggage
You’re restricted to 20kg (44lbs) of luggage per person. This may consist of a small bag for onboard personal items and a larger suitcase or rucksack.
Discounts
Important information
  • Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views
  • Your holiday’s more fun when you protect yourself from the sun
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a luxury mini-coach with a local driver
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking guide
  • 5 nights in 3-4 star hotels with continental breakfast
  • Entrance to Coimbra University Library and El Escorial
Tour exclusions
  • Meals, unless listed above
  • Attractions, unless specified above

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Marvel at the Moorish architecture in the town of Óbidos
  • Learn about the thinkers of the past in one of the oldest universities in the world in Coimbra

You say ‘bom dia’ to your guide and fellow travellers, leave the coastal capital city of Lisbon, and travel the short distance to Óbidos.

This quaint walled town has a wealth of wonders for you to discover. You can study the sturdy walls of their Moorish Castle; amble through the little cobbled shopping lanes; or combine two of your favourite guilty pleasures in a drink of Ginjinha d’Óbidos, a sweet liqueur served in a chocolate cup.

Back on the road, you venture further north to Coimbra. This former Portuguese capital is famous for being the home of one of the oldest universities in the world. You will explore this magnificent institution, whose roots go back to the 13th century, before finding some local food for lunch.

After you’ve soaked up the history, it’s time to head to Aveiro. You feel like you’ve been teleported into little Venice in this town that’s lined with canals and art-nouveau architecture.

Your final stop of the day is in Porto, your home for the next two nights. It’s been a busy day, but hopefully you’re not too tired to walk to a sunset spot in this many-tiered town.


Included Activities

• Entrance to Coimbra University Library


Accommodation

Grande Hotel do Porto or similar, Porto

Day 2

  • Peruse shops and restaurants of Porto’s cobbled lanes
  • Marvel at the terraced vineyards on the banks of the Douro River

Today, you have an important decision to make.

Do you lounge around and take in the cathedrals, cellars, and cuisine of beautiful Porto? Or do you hop on the mini-coach with us and venture through the Douro Valley?

Lucky for you, there’s no wrong option.

When you join our optional half day excursion, you travel to Pinhão by coach to enjoy a river cruise on a traditional rabelo boat. Once you’ve arrived at this small port-producing town, it’s time to savour its delicious tipple and admire the stunning vistas before returning to Porto mid-afternoon.

The rest of the day is yours to discover more of the city and indulge in its wines and flavours in your own style. And if you’re a fan of live music, don’t miss out on a performance of Fado, Portugal’s emotionally stirring traditional music.


Optional Activities

• River Douro boat cruise and wine tasting


Accommodation

Grande Hotel do Porto or similar, Porto

Day 3

  • Rejuvenate your senses in the natural landscapes of Portugal’s national park
  • Cross the border into Northern Spain

Your last few days have been packed with bustling towns and boozy flavours. So now it’s time to refresh your senses with a taste of the great outdoors.

You head to the Peneda-Gerês National Park, the only national park in Portugal. You spend the morning here enjoying views of lakes, mountains, and waterfalls before travelling to the tiny town of Soajo.

This town not only boasts beautiful views, it’s also one of the most rustic villages you’ll have ever laid your eyes upon. You have time here to take a look at their famous 17th-century granite granaries and grab lunch.

And now, it’s over the border and into Spain. You arrive in Santiago de Compostela, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in the world, where you stay for two nights.


Accommodation

Hotel Gelmirez or similar, Santiago de Compostela

Day 4

  • Explore the architecture, atmosphere, and history of Santiago de Compostela
  • Journey to Cape Finisterre, the furthermost edge of ancient Europe

Today, you can relax and enjoy the sights of Santiago de Compostela at your own pace or come on a half-day adventure with us to the Costa da Morte, ‘the Coast of Death’.

And no, this isn’t a shoreline infested with pirates and cannibals, it’s a place that was once notorious for shipwrecks.

If you join our trip to the coastline, you start the day by going to Ézaro waterfall. Here, you go for a small walk to take in the views of a rare wonder - the Ézaro River tumbling straight into the sea.

After you’ve enjoyed the waterfall, we travel to the ‘End of the World’ at Cape Finisterre. Ancient civilisations believed this was the end of the earth. You have time here to admire the lighthouse and look out over the wild Atlantic Ocean.

Your next stop is in Muxía. This lovely, historic harbour town is the perfect spot to sample the fresh seafood that this region is famous for and watch the ships set off to sea.

You arrive back in Santiago de Compostela in the afternoon. The evening is yours to try Galician specialities or admire the famous cathedral built over the remains of St James, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.


Accommodation

Hotel Gelmirez or similar, Santiago de Compostela

Day 5

  • Roam upon the ramparts of the ancient Romans in Lugo
  • Survey the other-worldly landscapes that were created by the Roman gold excavating technique, ruina montium (wrecking of mountains)

Your first stop of the day is in Lugo. This town has a lot to be proud of. Apart from a stunning cathedral and oodles of charm, it has the only fully intact Roman city walls in the world. So feel like a Roman Legionnaire and take a stroll along the defences.

You continue to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans and travel to Las Médulas. Strange red pinnacles and holes in the mountains make this landscape look and feel otherworldly. The Romans created what you see before you by boring into the earth in their quest for gold.

You explore this area and enjoy your lunch before continuing the journey to Salamanca for your overnight stay. This mesmerising city is adorned with the riches of the Spanish Golden Age and boasts a great culinary scene.


Accommodation

Hotel Artheus Carmelitas or similar, Salamanca

Day 6

  • Admire the artistic achievements of the Spanish Golden Age in Salamanca
  • Become envious of the lifestyle of kings in the palace of El Escorial

You have time in the morning to marvel at the golden-hued landmarks of Salamanca’s Old Town and university. Or you can have a lie-in if you enjoyed the famous nightlife a little too much the night before.

Grab early lunch and cast a last glance at the stunning architecture of the city before we head off. You continue the journey through the vast plains of Castile and León to visit El Escorial, the remarkable residence of the Spanish Royals and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After having been immersed in the riches of Spain, we take you to Madrid in the evening.


Included Activities

• Entrance to El Escorial

Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay two nights in Porto, two nights in Santiago de Compostela, and one night in Salamanca. For examples of the accommodation, please see the tour itinerary.


How does the accommodation work?

A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.

So we’ve hand-picked three-star to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys.

Your accommodation is included in the tour price; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want double rooms, twin rooms, or single rooms.


Are there any extra accommodation costs?

The price you see is for all your tour's accommodation and for the tour itself. It also includes a tourist tax. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.


FAQs

Do I need a visa to take this tour?

You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.


Are the tours suitable for people with mobility issues?

Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it's worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.

So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email tours@rabbies.com .


Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we start our trip from hotels located conveniently on the edge of cities. We choose hotels with good public transport connections to the city centre, so you can enjoy your evening explorations.

To make your tour more convenient, you can add an optional pre and post-departure accommodation in the hotel we use as a pick up or a drop off point.


When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.


What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this time frame, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.

We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.

Click here to view full terms and conditions.


What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.


Can routes change?

Your friendly driver and guide are passionate about the places they visit and know all the local gossip. This means your tour itinerary can change a little due to festivities, attraction opening hour changes, and spontaneous photo opportunities.


Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches offer a good view.


Are there toilets on the bus?

We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.


Do you take children on your tours?

Unfortunately, we’re unable to have children under the age of five on our Europe tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.


How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.


What are 'included activities' and 'optional activities'?

We've arranged experiences for you on your tour. The 'included activities' are already booked and paid for as part of your trip, whereas you can purchase 'optional activities' while on your tour. You also have free time in many destinations to pick and choose which attractions you visit.


Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.


What should I do if I have too much luggage?

It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.

But if you're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to the majority of our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.


Should I tip the driver and the guide?

Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.


What about travel insurance?

We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.


What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you book a tour with us. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

Our packages are covered by the Package Travel Regulations. For full details of your key rights please click here.


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com, or check out our full FAQs.

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities

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