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A Pilgrimage to Spain and Portugal
Granada … Cordoba … Seville … Lisbon … Fatima … Santiago de Compostela and more!
Day One - Depart: Today we begin our journey to Europe. Meals and beverages will be served during the overnight flight.
Day Two - Santiago de Compostela: Upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela, we will be met by our tour manager and coach driver. During the drive to our hotel, our tour manager will give us details of today’s schedule. Dinner is included at our hotel this evening. Welcome to Spain!
Day Three - Santiago de Compostela: Like the ancient pilgrims, today we will dedicate the morning to walking the narrow streets of the city towards the cathedral. Once there, and after admiring the beauty of the sculptures and architecture, we will embrace the apostle Saint James (Santiago) and visit the crypt to pay tribute at his Tomb. This afternoon will be at leisure to visit the city, its museums and churches and mingle with fellow pilgrims who, following a tradition dating back a thousand years, have made their way to pay homage to Saint James. Overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Day Four - Santiago de Compostela / Porto / Fatima: This morning we will cross into Portugal and visit its second largest city of Porto, nestled on the Douro estuary and famous for its fortified wine. Its strategic location made it important through the ages and its rich medieval history is still reflected in the cobbled streets along the riverside and the remains of the old city walls. Following our tour of the old town and free time for lunch, we continue to Fatima for dinner and overnight.
Day Five - Fatima / Lisbon: Today we will explore Fatima. It is here where the Blessed Mother appeared in 1917 to three shepherd children. We will see their houses in the village of Aljustrel, the parochial church of Fatima where they were baptized, the Basilica, and of course the chapel erected on the site of the Virgin Mary’s appearances. We will gather for Mass in one of the chapels, after which we will have free time for individual exploration. Late this afternoon we will travel to Lisbon, our home for the next two nights. Dinner and overnight in Lisbon.
Day Six - Lisbon: After breakfast we will begin our exploration of Portugal’s capital city with a panoramic sightseeing tour. Highlights of our Lisbon tour will include the Belem Tower and the Monastery of Hieronymites, final resting place of Vasco de Gama. The afternoon and evening are free for further sightseeing.
Day Seven - Lisbon / Evora / Sevilla: This morning we depart Lisbon and drive through the Alentejo region, whose landscape is dominated by undulating wheatfields and the cork oak trees. We will visit Evora, whose history of Celtic, Roman, Moorish and Christian occupation has left a legacy of monumental treasures which allow it to be inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage Sites. Following our guided tour and free time for lunch, we will continue to the Spanish border and arrive in Seville for dinner and overnight.
Day Eight - Seville: In the 16th Century Seville was one of the most important and prosperous cities in the known world, due to its monopoly on trade with the Americas and even today the historic center bears witness to this golden age. Highlights of our morning walking tour of Seville will include the sumptuous Royal Palace (Alcazar), which is one of the oldest in Europe, and the Seville Cathedral, with the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The afternoon and evening are free to enjoy the unique atmosphere of this beautiful city as we walk the streets of Don Juan, Carmen and the great artist Velazquez.
Day Nine - Seville / Cordoba / Granada: This morning’s journey brings us first to Cordoba, once one of the greatest cities in the world. It was here that caliphs from Damascus founded the capital of Islamic Spain after the Muslim invasion of the Iberian peninsula in the 8th Century. This brought together the most important philosophers, astronomers, poets, musicians and scientists to live and work in the city. The most iconic landmark from this era is the Great Mosque, begun in the 8th Century, continually added to until the 11th Century and now the Cathedral of Cordoba. We will visit this and the Old Quarter during our walking tour. After free time for lunch, we will continue to Granada for dinner and overnight.
Day Ten - Granada: Our sightseeing today begins with a visit to the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, which is one of the most impressive and best preserved monuments of the Arabic world. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this romantic palace is a walk through history in its own right - from the 9th Century citadel to the 14th Century Muslim palaces and the 16th Century residence of Charles V. Other highlights of Granada include the Cathedral and Royal Chapel with the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Monarchs who sponsored the expeditions of Columbus. The remainder of the afternoon and evening are free to continue sightseeing and enjoy some of the local restaurants.
Day Eleven - Granada (Frigiliana, Nerja and Costa del Sol Excursion): Today’s excursion exchanges the mountains for the sea, as we drive to the Mediterranean coast. We will visit the the unique natural phenomenon of the Caves at Nerja, regarded as the highlight of any visit to the region. Created by underwater rivers eroding the limestone rock, each of the caves is more spectacular than the one before, an exotic jungle of stalactites and stalagmites. There will be time to enjoy the picturesque town of Nerja, with its stunning views from the Balcony of Europe, before our afternoon visit to Frigiliana. Considered to be Spain’s most beautiful ‘pueblo blanco,’ Frigiliana is famous for its whitewashed houses, narrow alleyways, arts and crafts and Moorish architecture. Late this afternoon we will return to Granada for our farewell dinner and final overnight.
Day Twelve – Granada / This morning we transfer to Malaga Aiport to begin our journey home. Welcome Home!