A journey that takes you from the top of the Pyrenees, through the Moorish legends of Spain, and onto the Portuguese coastline.
Carcassonne - With its zigzagging battlements, 52 watch towers and spiky turrets, this medieval citadel is picture perfect.
Lourdes - Situated in the Pyrenean foothills, Lourdes is an important Catholic pilgrimage site and a town of rich cultural and natural heritage.
Gavarnie Waterfalls & the Pyrenees - Stare in awe at the beauty of the tallest waterfall in France in the majestic Cirque de Gavarnie.
La Rioja – The famously delicious wines here perfectly compliment the views of the Cantabrian Mountains.
Córdoba - This ancient Andalucían city will take your breath away with the marvels of La Mezquita and the Palace of the Christian Kings.
Granada with Alhambra and Sierra Nevada Mountains - Get mesmerised by the lavish palace built by the Moors and explore the rugged mountains of the Sierra Nevada National Park.
Pueblos Blancos - Fall in love with beautiful white villages built on hill tops overlooking Spain’s wild landscapes.
Seville - Get dazzled by the history, spectacular architecture and magic of Flamenco in the city influenced by a number of civilisations.
From the glamour of the French Riviera to the Arabesque mystique of Spain’s southern palaces, this trip takes you through the legends of South West Europe.
You learn about miraculous waters at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, discover the 3,000-year-old wine-making traditions of La Rioja, and admire the ornate Moorish architecture of the Alhambra.
Take our trip from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean over the Pyrenean peaks and explore France, Spain, and Portugal.
You say ‘au revoir’ to glamorous Nice and head west towards Aix-en-Provence.This classy city is full of lively streets, elegant fountains and leafy squares. You can explore the winding streets and visit local cafés; or trace the life of Paul Cézanne, from the house he was born to the painter’s atelier and final resting place.
Next on the agenda is the archaeological site and museum of Ambrussum. This is where the Gallo-Romans existed 2,000 years ago. It’s located on one of the most ancient Roman routes and gives you an insight into the history of this region.
Continue south and leave the Romans behind as you delve into the heart of the Regional Natural Park of Narbonne. This peaceful area is a haven for Fontfroide Abbey which held considerable power during the Middle Ages. Enjoy the tranquillity of this place and breathe in the fresh air before you travel to the walled city of Carcassonne, your base for the night.
Wake up, enjoy your breakfast, and start exploring this fascinating medieval city. Carcassonne has more stone towers, spiky turrets, and zigzag battlements than you can shake a sword at. So, it will come as no surprise it boasts a UNESCO title.
All this sightseeing must have worked up your appetite, so we travel to the fortified medieval town of Mirepoix for lunch. Here, you can enjoy the local specialities in the main square surrounded by timber-framed houses before we head deeper into the Midi-Pyrénées.
Next, instead of travelling up the mountains, you descend to the fascinating underground world of The Mas d’Azil Cave. The immensity of the grotto (the only one in Europe you can drive through) and the rich discoveries will leave you speechless.
In the early evening, you arrive in Lourdes, a small Pyrenean town, a spiritual centre, and your home for two nights.
Today, it’s up to you how you spend your time.
You can stay in the Lourdes and discover the sites at your own pace. There’s the soaring sanctuary of Notre Dame de Lourdes, a nearby castle, and a funicular ride to the top of Pic du Jer for a great view of the Pyrenees.
Alternatively, you can spend half a day in Lourdes and half a day on tour exploring the village of Gavarnie deep in the Pyrenees. It’s a perfect opportunity to wander around this little commune and try some local specialities.
And if you feel the wilderness calls you, you can spend the whole day with us in the great outdoors. Why not go on a hike to Cirque de Gavarnie? The effort is worth it, this majestic amphitheatre-like valley with tumbling waterfalls will reward you with one of the Pyrenees’ most stunning vistas.
Whichever option you choose, you spend the evening enjoying the atmosphere of Lourdes.
It’s time to travel through the impressive Pyrenean mountain passes into Spain. You start your journey through this massive national park and descend into Jaca.
This Spanish town is nicknamed ‘Pearl of the Pyrenees’ and has a captivating history. It was founded by the Romans, conquered by the Moors, and taken over again by the Christians. Ponder over the bravery of the locals as you explore the city and savour your lunch.
Hopefully, you’ve got your swimwear with you, because you head to Yesa Reservoir, where you may find thermal pools for bathing. And if the water level is low, you can even have a free spa treatment when you plaster yourself with skin-softening mud.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to get out your swimming costume, you can spend your afternoon visiting the peaceful Leyre Monastery built on a mountain range overlooking the greenish and bluish shades of the reservoir.
Refreshed by the afternoon’s adventures you head to La Rioja region, the wine connoisseur’s heaven, to spend two nights in Haro.
You wake up in a hilltop town surrounded by the vineyards of La Rioja. This is a fantastic base for exploring this rich region where wine has been cultivated since Roman times.
In the morning, you venture off the beaten track to Tobera in Montes Obarenes Nature Park. You travel through mountains and forests and arrive in the picturesque hamlet with Romanesque hermitages. Here, you go for a relaxing walk to Tobera waterfall and have a comfort break in the nearby Frías. This tiny medieval city is as old as it is beautiful and is adorned with a ruined castle that will make you stare in wonder.
Next, you jump over to the Basque Country. Here you take in views of Sobrón Gorge and River Ebro, which nurtures the precious vineyards of La Rioja.
After this scenic morning, you’ve got an opportunity to uncover the culture and history of the wine of this fertile land. You’ve got a chance to call on a local bodega where you can savour the aromas and flavours of this beverage. You may also try a superb food and wine pairing to complete your experience.
If you think it’s time for your siesta, you can stay in Haro and relax for the rest of the day. But if you still want to carry on indulging in the regional delights, you can enjoy more excellent wine in another winery.
Whatever you do, spend your evening discovering gastronomic gems of Haro.
Say farewell to La Rioja and the vineyards because it’s time to travel to Burgos. This proud city, situated on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route, is famous for its Gothic cathedral looming over the skyline. Marvel at this jewel of Spanish architecture and visit the tomb of Burgos’ favourite and most roguish son, El Cid.
You then travel through the vast plains of Castile and León and arrive in Segovia. This city still has the spirit of an old Spanish city and is steeped in history.
Start uncovering the city’s rich heritage by gazing in awe at the perfectly engineered Roman aqueduct now standing in the vibrant centre. Then wander the cobbled streets and get dazzled by Alcázar de Segovia. With soaring towers and turrets topped with slate witches' hats, this castle looks like straight out of a fairy tale. So much so it supposedly inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
Drink in the last panoramas of this magnificent city and travel south where the grand metropolis of Madrid awaits you in the evening.
You will say goodbye to this group here and will join a new group on the morning of day eight.
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.
You leave the heart of Spain and head south to the former capital of the country, Toledo.
Sitting atop a hill and overlooking Río Tajo, this city used to be known as the ‘city of three cultures’. To get the real feel of the place, wander through the cobbled streets and try to spot the Muslim mosques, Jewish synagogues and Gothic cathedrals. Make sure to sample the local specialities while you admire this amazing architectural ensemble.
You catch a glimpse of the iconic windmills as you travel through Castilla-La Mancha, the setting for the adventures of the literary hero Don Quixote. Next, you stop on the way through the Despeñaperros Natural Park, a river gorge that forms a dramatic gateway to Andalucía.
Córdoba, your home for the night, welcomes you with its bustling squares and delightful architecture.
In the morning, you have free time to explore the city.
Once the heart of the western Islamic empire, Córdoba feels exotic and sophisticated.
Here, you have time to admire the countless rows of decorated arches in the serene interior of La Mezquita, the most spectacular mosque constructed by the Moors in Spain. Or wander through the lush gardens of Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos, the ‘Castle of the Christian Kings’. Whatever you choose, soak up the unique atmosphere of this city shaped by various cultures.
Next, you travel through the rolling hills blanketed with the silvery-grey-green leaves of olive trees. It’s a sign you’ve entered the oil-producing province of Jaén. You have a chance to visit an ecological olive oil plantation to find out more about the secrets of the trade and enjoy some lunch.
You continue south and stop at Fortaleza de la Mota, a ruined hilltop fortress before you arrive in Granada early evening, where you stay for two nights.
You wake up in the city adorned with the most sensual palace of Europe, Alhambra.
The day is yours, so you can decide how you want to spend your time in this dazzling location.
In the morning, you may contrast the bustling city with the peaceful mountain scenery of the dramatic and rugged Sierra Nevada National Park. This is a half day option through the landscape of sheer-sided gorges and torrential rivers. To learn more about this land, you visit a botanical garden where you can discover plants that are native to the region. You’ll be back in Granada by lunchtime to try some local delicacies which are a mixture of Arabic influences and native traditions. And the rest of the day is yours to enjoy.
Alternatively, you can spend the whole day discovering the fusion of the Arabic and Christian heritage of Granada. From the Great Bazaar to the Granada Cathedral, this city will carry you away with its energy.
And then there’s the pearl of Moorish architecture, Alhambra, with its arabesques, stylish arches, graceful columns, and exotic gardens. When you look at it, you feel like you’ve been transported to the world from the tales of 1,001 Nights. Originally a fortress and then a palace, this UNESCO heritage site will seize your imagination and haunt you with its beauty.
You spend tonight in Granada. Use this time to discover tapas restaurants and more of the culinary delights.
Today is all about exploring the other faces of Andalucía; the beautiful wilderness and iconic pueblos blancos.
Your adventure takes you west through Malaga’s ‘Lake District’. It’s home to three stunning turquoise lakes, pine forests, and the spectacular El Chorro gorge. Simply looking at the sheer walls and rough rocks of the chasm can give you goose bumps. Here, you have time to enjoy a walk and take in views of the lake and the spectacular canyon.
The landscape of Andalucía wouldn’t be complete without the picturesque white towns known as pueblos blancos. And the most spectacular of them is Ronda, your next highlight and an ideal place for lunch. Precariously clinging to a steep cliff of the El Tajo gorge, this commune will capture your imagination with its literary connections and history full of outlaws.
Then, you leave the rural part of the region and travel past Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. It’s your last chance to spot other pueblos blancos glittering in the distance before you arrive in Seville in the early evening.
Seville signifies the essence of Spain. This city will seduce you with its rich Moorish heritage, the orange trees, tapas and passionate flamenco.
Today it’s up to you to decide how to spend the day. Start the morning with a typical Spanish breakfast and then get your teeth into Seville.
You’re really spoilt for choice here. Lose yourself in one of the 80 chapels in the enormous Seville Cathedral or take in views of the city from La Giralda, the bell-tower which used to be a minaret.
Then, delve into the exotic gardens of the palace of Real Alcázar and marvel at its dream patios, opulent domes and intricate carvings.
Finish your afternoon with a stroll through the shaded arches of the grand Plaza de España and get ready to discover the night pulse of Seville. Warning: with the hypnotic Flamenco performances, delicious tapas and buzzing bars, this city can keep you entertained till the small hours.
Say farewell to Seville and enjoy the last glimpses of the Andalusian countryside as you travel west towards Costa de la Luz. It translates into ‘the coast of light’, this refers to the bright sunlight and golden sandy beaches.
Hopefully, you’ve got your swimwear because you head to a little town called Isla Cristina where you’ll have time to enjoy a beach. Alternatively, you can stroll through the area’s sand dunes and pine woods or have a bite in a local fish eatery and tapas bar.
Next, you cross the Portuguese border and stop at Tavira in the Algarve. Set on the River Gilão, this town exhumes an irresistible charm and makes you want to discover its hidden corners. Wander through the cobblestone streets, cross an old Roman bridge and try Portuguese cuisine for the first time.
Take in the last views of the Algarve and journey north where the laid-back and charming Lisbon awaits you in the evening.
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You stay one night in Carcassonne, two nights in Lourdes, two nights in Haro, two nights in Madrid, one night in Córdoba, two nights in Granada, and two nights in Seville.
To get more information about your accommodation, please contact our friendly team 3 weeks prior to departure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.
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.
Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer
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