Portugal, Galicia & the Heart of Spain
13 day tour

  • Pinhão
  • Porto
  • Muxia
  • Cuenca
  • Valencia
  • Lisbon

A soul-stirring journey through ancient pilgrimage sights, grand mountain ranges, and delectable wine regions.

Highlights

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

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

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

Cuenca – Marvel at the hanging houses of this medieval city stacked on a promontory between two gorges

Valencia - The birthplace of Paella and one of Spain's most liveable coastal cities

Requena - Wine has been produced here since 7th century BC. Sample the produce and savour the history

Madrid - Experience the tapas bars, world-renowned art and amazing architecture in the city that really knows how to live

 

Your journey

 

The riches of Portugal and Spain had no bounds: Gold-encrusted chapels sitting on street corners, a palace packed with 4,000 rooms, and cathedrals that almost touch the sky.

On this tour, you get a chance to witness the treasures and venture through the heart of these legendary countries. You taste the sweet liqueurs of the Douro Valley, ramble alongside the magical landscapes that inspired the trials of Don Quixote, and savour authentic paella in its birthplace, Valencia.

Take this trip to experience the essence of Portugal and Spain.

 

Tour Details

Starts
Check-in closes at 08:15 (tour departs at 08:30) - Lisbon Pick Up Point, Hotel Zenit, Lisbon,
Finishes (approx.)
18:00 - Barcelona Drop Off, Hotel Evenia Rocafort, Barcelona,
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
  • This journey combines two of our tours and a free day in Madrid. This means you may swap your bus and guide during the journey
  • Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views
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
  • 12 nights in 3-4 star hotels with continental breakfast
  • Entrance to Coimbra University Library
  • Entrance to El Escorial
  • Entrance to Cuenca Cathedral
  • Entrance to Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted City)
  • Entrance to the Roman settlement at Segóbriga
  • Entrance to Castillo de Belmonte
  • Requena wine tasting
  • Entrance to Monastery of Santa Maria in El Puig
  • Entrance to Xàtiva Castle
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.

Next you drive to Peso de Regua for an optional wine tasting at a local winery. Alternatively, spend a little time exploring the town. 

Before returning to Porto mid-afternoon, you'll stop off at Mesão Frio viewpoint for stunning views of the river Douro and its banks.

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
  • Wine tasting at winery in Peso de Regua

Accommodation

Grande Hotel do Porto or similar, Porto

Day 3

  • Cross the border into Northern Spain

You leave Porto behind and venture north to Braga where you'll visit the famous Bom Jesus Sanctuary. This place of religious, cultural and architectural heritage was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.

At the foot of Mount Espinho, you'll admire the Baroque staircase as it zig-zags upwards with ornate granite fountains and statues on display. Perched at the top is a neoclassical church with stunning views over the city. To get to the top you can purchase a ticket for the special elevator. Or, if you're feeling fit, you can tackle the almost-600 steps by foot.

Your next stop is Guimarães, known as the 'birthplace of Portugal'. The historic centre is of the city is part of UNESCO World Heritage. As well as learning more about the city, you'll have some free time here to enjoy lunch. For a must-see glimpse into the 15-16th century life of the Braganza Dukes, you can opt to visit the Palace of Braganza.

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. 

 

Optional Activities

  • Ticket for Bom Jesus do Monte Funicular (elevator)
  • Entrance to Palace of Braganza

 

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 an adventure with us.

If you join our trip, the day will start with a drive along 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. You'll arrive first at the town of Noia, then continue on to Muros for a coffee stop. Next up is a photo stop of Galicia's largest beach - Playa de Carnota.

You'll then visit the 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.

When you arrive back in Santiago de Compostela, 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.

Cast a last glance at the stunning architecture of the city before we head off, and you continue the journey through the vast plains of Castile and León.

You'll have a lunch stop and some free time in the city of Ávila before visiting 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

Hotel Porcel Ganivet or similar, Madrid

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.

To get around town, you can use Madrid’s fantastic public transport or jump on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Begin your exploration with the oldest part of Madrid, home to the lavish Royal Palace. It boasts a staggering 3,418 rooms decorated with paintings by world-renowned artists. Then, stroll around the city’s grand plazas; the portico-lined square of Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol.

Next, fuel your batteries in one of many restaurants before an exciting afternoon. For art lovers; there’s Prado Museum lined with Spanish, Italian and Flemish masterpieces. For 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 too much by the city’s energy, because tomorrow you join the next leg of your tour.

 

Optional Activities

  • Ticket for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus

 

Accommodation

Hotel Porcel Ganivet or similar, Madrid

Day 8

  • Arrive in a town that’s carved into the cliffs, Cuenca

You say adiós to Madrid and start your journey through Castilla-La Mancha, the heart of Old Spain. This stunning region boasts gentle landscapes, lush nature, and unrivalled Manchego cheese. It’s also where Cervantes set the fictional journeys of Don Quijote in his novel that laid the foundation for modern European literature.

Your first stop is Villarejo de Salvanés. This small town boasts an unusual castle and archaeological sites that pre-date the Romans.

You'll make your way to Cuenca, where you'll get the chance to learn more about this medieval town on a walking tour. Explore the cobbled streets and marvel inside the 12th-century-built Gothic cathedral (ticket included).

From Cuenca, you'll explore one of Castilla-La Mancha’s finest nature reserves - Parque Natural de la Serranía de Cuenca, a 73,000-hectare wildlife paradise.

Your first stop in the natural park is in the ‘Enchanted City’. This location boasts some of the strangest rock formations you’ll ever see. Wander around this magical landscape and spot mushroom-shaped stones and faces glaring at you from limestone.

You continue your journey through this landscape and stop at the stunning Mirador de Uña viewpoint.

You return to Cuenca where you'll stay for two nights so you can discover its gravity-defying hanging houses and delicious cuisine.

 

Included Activities

  • Walking tour of Cuenca
  • Entrance to Cuenca Cathedral
  • Entrance to Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted City)

 

Accommodation 

Hotel Exe Cuenca or similar, Cuenca

Day 9

  • Revel in the ruins of a Roman settlement at Segóbriga

Today starts with a visit to the former Roman city of Segóbriga. Travel back in time as you explore one of the most important archaeological sites of the Spanish Meseta.

After you've wondered at the well-preserved ruins of the amphitheatre, public baths and temples, you'll travel south to Belmonte.

Here you'll have free time here to try out some local Spanish delicacies for lunch before a visit to Castillo de Belmonte. This magnificent 15th-century castle is known for its unusual design, with a triangular courtyard and a six-pointed star shape.

Back in Cuenca, you can admire natural wonders and see dinosaurs at the Paleontological Museum if it’s open. Or, you can scroll through your images from the day over tapas and red wine before enjoying a well-earned rest.

 

Included Activities

  • Entrance to the Roman settlement at Segóbriga
  • Entrance to Castillo de Belmonte

 

Optional Activities

  • Entrance to Castilla-La Mancha Paleontological Museum

 

Accommodation

Hotel Exe Cuenca or similar, Cuenca

Day 10

  • Savour the flavours of the wines and cuisines of the region
  • Relish paella at its birthplace in Valencia

You leave Cuenca and travel to the fascinating town of Alcala del Júcar. Built deep into natural caves, it's located on a rocky slope between the castle and Júcar river. Here you'll have time for lunch.

Later on, you head to a winery in Requena for an included wine tasting which will invigorate your taste buds. The delicious beverage has been produced in this area since at least the 7th century BC, so you know it’s going to be delicious.

You then travel to Valencia; the home of paella, laid-back nightlife, awesome architecture, and your accommodation for the next three nights.

 

Included Activities

  • Requena wine tasting

 

Accommodation

Hotel Eurostars Rey Don Jaime or similar, Valencia

Day 11

  • Learn about Monastic life at the Monastery of Santa Maria
  • Roam through the unique wetlands of Albufera Natural Park

Today, your journey takes you on a half day trip that combines monastic knowledge with fantastic nature spots.

In the morning, you'll visit the Monastery of Santa Maria in El Puig (ticket included). This large building combines cloisters with defensive structures and has been used as a temple, a school, and even a prison.

It’s now time to explore the rice paddies that gave birth to the paella in the Albufera Natural Park. You have the chance to take an optional boat ride or spend your time spotting the unique flora and fauna around the large freshwater lagoon. You'll also have time here for lunch.

You arrive back in Valencia in the afternoon and discover more about the city on an orientation tour.

Use the evening to either enjoy the city’s famous nightlife or prepare for the next day of your adventure.

 

Included Activities

  • Entrance to Monastery of Santa Maria in El Puig
  • Orientation tour of Valencia

 

Optional Activities

  • Boat ride in Albufera Natural Park

 

Accommodation

Hotel Eurostars Rey Don Jaime or similar, Valencia

Day 12

  • Lose yourself in the history and narrow streets of Xàtiva
  • Enjoy panaormic views of Cullera coastline

Xàtiva, the town of ‘a thousand fountains’ lies upon the slopes of Monte Vernissa. A castle crowns the hills, and the location is famous for ancient paper production, educational institutions, and the notorious House of Borgia. This morning, you travel here and start off with visiting the castle, orientation tour and free time to delve deep into all this history. The ticket to the fortress is included in your tour.

You'll then embark on a journey to the lovely town of Cullera. You'll have free time here to soak up the sun on one of the long sandy beaches or take in the panoramic views from the castle vantage point. The emblematic medieval structure dates back to the 13th century.

Your return to Valencia in the afternoon and can join an optional guided tour of the city combined with a tasty tapas experience.

 

Included Activities

  • Entrance to Xàtiva Castle

 

Optional Activities

  • Guided city walk and tapas experience in Valencia

 

Accommodation

Hotel Eurostars Rey Don Jaime or similar, Valencia

Day 13

  • Admire a fusion of artistic and architectural styles in Sitges

You depart Valencia in the morning and make your way to the seaside town of Peñiscola. This place is known as the ‘City in the Sea’ and boasts a castle built by the Knights Templar. Choose to visit the fortress, which stands on the highest point of the peninsula, and admire the panoramic coastline. Or take a dip in the tranquil seas to cool off. You'll also have time here for lunch.

A little further along the Mediterranean coast, your journey takes you to Sitges. A happening cultural hotspot, a menagerie of modernist architecture, and a few fascinating museums make this a great preparation for the big city.

You arrive in Barcelona in the evening.

 

Optional Activities

  • Entrance to the Papa Lunas Castle in Peñiscola

Accommodation

 

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay two nights in Porto, two nights in Santiago de Compostela, one night in Salamanca, two nights in Madrid, two nights in Cuenca and three nights in Valencia.

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 a double room, a twin room, or a single rooms.

 

Are there any extra accommodation costs?

The price you see is for all your tour 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?

We're unable to permit children under 15 years old on our Europe tours due to the nature of the activities that are included.

 

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: We’ll never cancel your tour because of minimum numbers

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities


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Green Tourism Award Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars
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