Impressions of Portugal, Spain & France
13 day tour

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Travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea on a journey bursting with both rural charms and grand architectural sights.

Highlights

Wine
Roman Ruins
Art
Boat Cruises
UNESCO Heritage Sites
National Parks
Mountains
Beaches

Places you explore


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

Douro Valley - Admire steep terraced vineyards by the Douro River and indulge your taste buds with the finest ports and wines

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

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

Figueres – Embark on a surrealist journey through the bizarre world of Salvador Dalí in his famous theatre-museum.

Costa Brava – ‘The Rugged Coast’ of Catalonia dotted with golden sand beaches, hidden rocky coves, and inspirational seaside towns.

Arles - Follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh and you’ll understand why he painted over 200 works around this inspiring city.

The Regional Park du Camargue – A timeless wetland dotted with pink saltwater lakes and black bulls, white horses and flamingos.


Your journey


You compare the open Atlantic Ocean with the enclosed Mediterranean Sea. You contrast the ornate and pompous cathedrals of Spain’s Golden Age with the understated villages that inspired the 21st century’s greatest artists.

On this trip, you get to experience both the flamboyant marvels and the rustic charms of Portugal, Spain, and Southern France. You start in Portugal where you amble along the coastline, visit the western edge of Europe, and taste the delicacies of their beautiful towns and villages. You then travel through Spain where you enjoy the epitome of medieval Europe in Salamanca and Madrid. And you venture through Southern France visiting fishing villages and Roman ruins as you go.

Take this journey and venture from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea via the charms of Portugal, Spain, and France.


Tour Details

Starts
08:30 - Lisbon
Finishes (approx.)
19:00
Nice
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
  • Children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)
Important information
  • Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views
  • Carry swimwear and a towel for wild swimming spots
  • Your holiday’s more fun when you protect yourself from the sun
  • This journey combines two of our tours and a free day in Madrid. This means you swap your bus and guide during the journey.
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a luxury mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking guide and driver
  • 12 nights in a three-star hotel with continental breakfast
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions

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 wealth of wonders for you to discover. You can study the sturdy walls of their Moorish Castle; amble through the little cobbled shopping lane; 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 have time here to explore the town’s churches and history and eat some of the delicious 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 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.

Day 2

  • Peruse through shops and restaurants of Porto’s cobbled lanes
  • Discover the quintessential flavours of famous port wines in the lush Douro Valley

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.

If you come with us, your day begins with a boat cruise down the Douro Valley. This is a chance to ogle at the wine producing hills of the region from a new angle. Once you’re back on dry land, you travel to a local quinta. Here, you can go on a guided tour of a winery and taste different styles of the famous Porto wine.

You travel back to Porto in the late afternoon to continue indulging in the wines and flavours of the city 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.

Day 3

  • Rejuvenate your senses in the natural landscapes of Portugal’s peaceful 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 whole 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 look at their famous 17th-century granite granaries and grab lunch here.

And now, it’s over the border and into Spain. You arrive in Santiago de Compostela with enough time to admire the huge cathedral that’s famously built over the remains of St. James, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

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 an adventure with us to the Costa da Morte, ‘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 Carnota Bay. Here, you can clamber over a timber boardwalk and say hello to crystal clear blue seas and a lovely white 7km stretch of sand.

After you’ve enjoyed the beach, 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 early evening.

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. They have the only fully intact Roman city walls in the world, a stunning cathedral, and oodles of charm. You have free time here to choose what you visit.

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, have your lunch, and make the journey to one of the best viewpoints in the area, Mirador de Orellán.

From here, you travel to Salamanca for your overnight stay. This mesmerising city is adorned with the riches of the Spanish Golden Age.

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 explore the cathedral, university, and pretty plazas of Salamanca before we head off. Or you can enjoy a lie-in if you decided to enjoy the famous nightlife a little too much the night before.

Your first stop is in Ávila. Orson Welles once said this was the place he would most like to settle down in. And you can see why; the huge medieval walls and gothic churches are cinematic and steeped in stories. You have time here for lunch and a walk around town.

You travel further east to El Escorial. This is one of the most remarkable historical buildings in all of Spain. The huge structure was built by king Philip II and has functioned as a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university, school and hospital.

After you’ve learned about the riches of Spain, we take you to Madrid.

You will say goodbye to this group here and will join a new group on the morning of day eight.

Day 7

  • Marvel at the opulence of the Royal Palace in Madrid
  • Try tapas in one of the La Latina district’s local bars

You have a free day in the golden metropolis of Madrid and can decide how you want to spend it. Packed with tapas bars, world-renowned art, and amazing architecture; this city really knows how to live.

Start your day by trying delicious pan tumaka; crusty bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil.

You’re really spoilt for choice here because no two districts are the same.

You can begin with the oldest part of Madrid, home to the lavish Royal Palace. It boasts a staggering 3,418 rooms decorated with the paintings by world-renowned artists.

After admiring the splendour of the Royal Family’s official residence, you can stroll around the city’s grand plazas. The portico-lined square of Plaza Mayor used to be the centre of Old Madrid. And Puerta del Sol, is where the symbol of Madrid; The Bear and the Madroño Tree resides.

Next, fuel your batteries in one of their many restaurants before an exciting afternoon. For the art lovers; there’s Prado Museum and other exhibitions lined with Spanish, Italian and Flemish masterpieces. For the nature lovers; there’s El Retiro Park, a green oasis in the heart of the city where you can row a boat.

And in the evening head to La Latina; the city’s top district for tapas, mojitos, and terraces. But don’t get carried away by the city’s energy too much, because tomorrow you join the next leg of your tour.

Day 8

  • Marvel at the ‘hanging houses’ of Cuenca
  • Savour one of the most delicious Spanish wines in Requena

You leave the grand metropolis of Madrid and head east through the landscapes of Castile-La Mancha.

Your first stop of the day is Cuenca, a medieval town perched upon cliffs overlooking a river canyon. This unusually well-preserved city is famous for its ‘hanging houses’. Feeling curious? Then wander around the old town and try to spot these architectural marvels. With their balconies jutting out over the gorge, these houses appear to defy gravity.

Next, you leave the Cuenca’s mind-boggling engineering behind and continue east to the Utiel-Requena region. This undulating plain surrounded by mountains is home to countless vineyards. And its wine making tradition goes back to the 7th century BC. Get your taste buds ready because you have a chance to taste wine and have lunch in a local vineyard near Requena.

After savouring local specialities and tipples, you continue the adventure towards the Mediterranean coast. You stop for a photo of Sagunto Castle, a hill-top fortress that’s history spans over four civilisations.

In the evening, you arrive in Peñíscola, nicknamed the City in the Sea. Spend the evening strolling along the promenades and probing into the secrets of its old town.

Day 9

  • Step back in time and explore the Roman Amphitheatre in Tarragona
  • Experience the serenity of the mountain of Montserrat and its monastery

Today, you continue exploring the coast of Spain and head to Tarragona on the Costa Dorada.

Here, you have enough time to discover the city’s rich history and heritage. And you’re spoilt for choice. If you’re a history buff, visit some of Roman archaeological sites like the Tarragona Amphitheatre, Praetorium, and Roman Circus. Or if it’s atmospheric photos you’re after, head to the old town or the city’s golden beaches.

Now it’s time to contrast the beaches of Costa Dorada with the serrated peaks of Montserrat. This majestic mountain with strangely shaped crags is home to a Benedictine Monastery and one of Spain’s most venerated statues of the Madonna and Child. Enjoy your lunch here, contemplate the life of monks and hermits, and admire the magnificent cathedral or follow the footpaths.

Full of nature and spiritual delights, you travel through the green hills and mountains and arrive in Girona in the evening. This medieval city will be your home for two nights.

Day 10

  • Soak up the beauty and history of the Cap Roig Botanical Gardens
  • Laze around Begur’s beautiful beaches or discover its medieval old town
  • Stare in wonder at the surrealist art of Salvador Dalí in Figueres

There’s more to Costa Brava than the beaches, and today is all about discovering different faces of this fascinating region.

You start off with a visit to the lush Cap Roig Botanical Gardens perched on a cliff near Palafrugell. This is a truly special place where nature, art, culture and history come together. Wander through the romantic paths, breathe in the smell of over 1,000 plant species, and admire sculptures from renowned artists.

After you’ve taken in all the beauty of Cap Roig, you head to Begur, one of the most stunning spots on the Costa Brava. You’re free to choose how you spend your time here. Roam the medieval streets, enjoy your lunch, and visit a striking 11th-century castle with panoramic views of the area. Or, head to one of the nearby dreamy little coves and spend some time on the beach.

In the afternoon, you embark on a surreal journey as you discover Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí. Known for his eccentricity and grand visions, the surrealist genius converted an old theatre into a museum showcasing his most spectacular sculptures and painting. And he did it in a very flamboyant style. From a rooftop decorated with giant eggs to an interactive way of experiencing his work, this wonderfully bizarre place will give you an insight into the life and art of Salvador Dalí.

After a day full of artistic and natural experiences, you return to Girona in the early evening. Spend the evening wandering through the beautiful walled medieval old town and the Jewish Quarter or explore the Game of Thrones locations.

Day 11

  • Discover the seaside village of Collioure, an inspiration for some of the greatest artists
  • Travel to the traditional, remote village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Picturesque towns, colourful harbours and stunning vistas. This is the route along the Mediterranean Coast you take today as you leave Spain.

Your first stop of the day is the romantic seaside village of Collioure. This little slice of Mediterranean paradise will steal your heart with its pastel houses, bobbing boats, and beautiful beaches. And you won’t be the first to fall under its spell. Matisse, Derain and Picasso all loved this location.

Next, you travel north through the Regional Natural Park of Narbonne to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. Nestled in the remote area of the Séranne Mountains, this UNESCO heritage site is an oasis of serenity. Enjoy a walk through the cobbled streets and visit the abbey that witnessed more than a thousand years of history.

Then, you travel through the rolling countryside and arrive in Nîmes, where you spend two nights. The evening is yours to uncover this fascinating city full of Roman remains.

Day 12

  • Enjoy an optional cruise through the stunning Regional Park of Camargue
  • Follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh in Arles
  • Rub your eyes in disbelief at the perfection of Pont du Gard, the Roman aqueduct

In the morning, it’s time to explore the Regional Park of Camargue. This is where the Petit Rhône and Grand Rhône meet the Mediterranean to create an unforgettable sanctuary to flora and fauna. The vast wetland encompasses land, salty lagoons, marshland and beaches. And did we mention it’s roamed by black bulls, white horses and pink flamingos?

You’ve got the option to explore the heart of the park on a typical paddle boat. Guided by the captain’s commentary, you observe interesting wildlife and lush vegetation. Keep your camera ready because you’ll meet a herdsman and his bulls and horses.

Alternatively, you can spend some time in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a little town almost completely surrounded by water with numerous beaches and dunes. Here, you can explore its charming centre, discover its legendary origins, or bask in the sunshine on the beach.

Then, you leave the magical park and head to Arles. This city has it all; fascinating history, Roman treasures, shady squares and rich art heritage. You’ll have time to discover some of the Roman remains or follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh. And remember, lunch in one of the picturesque cafes is a must while exploring this place.

Next, you head to Pont du Gard to admire a masterpiece of Roman engineering, a three-tiered aqueduct built almost two thousand years ago. Ponder over the engineers’ precision and walk across the tiers of this UNESCO site before you head back to Nîmes in the early evening.

Day 13

  • Take a walk through the rugged landscapes of Calanques National Park
  • Succumb to the charms of the picturesque village of Cassis

Say au revoir to Nîmes and its history and head to the stunning Calanques National Park on the Mediterranean coast. This gorgeous stretch of land is dotted with fjord-like inlets carved into the white limestone, which will make you feel miles away from civilisation. Get your sturdy boots on and have a ramble through the pine-clad gullies, breathe in the sea breeze, and marvel at the azure waters of the coves.

Feeling rejuvenated by the visit to this coastal heaven, you head to Cassis, a fishing village on the French Riviera. Hidden away from the glamour of the rich and famous, Cassis is as charming as it is authentic. Enjoy your lunch here and try some local lavender ice cream.

With all this newly discovered joie de vivre, you continue your leisurely ramble along the coast towards the glamorous French Riviera. Feast your eyes on the stunning vistas at your photo stops and enjoy Mediterranean vibe before you arrive in Nice la Belle in the evening.

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Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay two nights in Porto, two nights in Santiago de Compostela, and one night in Salamanca, two nights in Madrid, one night in Peñíscola, two nights in Girona, and two nights in Nîmes.


To get more information about your accommodation, please contact our friendly team 3 weeks prior to departure.


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 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.

In Paris, Nice, Madrid, Lisbon, and Rome, you stay at a hotel by the airport. These have excellent transport connections all across the city and let us avoid contributing to central traffic congestion.



Are there any extra accommodation costs?

The price you see is for all your tour's accommodation and for the tour itself. 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.


A few European destinations charge tourist taxes. These funds help them keep the locations clean, safe, and beautiful. You usually pay these at the accommodation suppliers, and cost between 1€ and 5€ per night.

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.


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 only start our trips from the airport hotel specified in your departure information.

Our friendly team will send you more information about your departure location closer to your departure date.


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 timeframe, 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 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 have huge windows, So you always get 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.


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 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.


Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.


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 are travelling with more than 20kg of luggage, we are very happy to help you. Options include storing your excess luggage or a courier service to ship it to a destination of your choice.


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 choose to let us book your accommodation on a multi-day tour. 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

BTA_2017.png Green Tourism Award Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 TC_2018_WHITE_LL_R-112x105.png queens-award.png Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars

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