Spain and Portugal have long encouraged exploration, whether it was ancient civilisations looking to widen their kingdom, Portuguese princes searching for new lands beyond the edge of the known world, or great writers such as Miguel de Cervantes taking you on great adventures across the land in search of glory. On our great adventure from the heart of Spain to Iberia’s southern coast, taking in some of the vivid landscapes of Don Quixote’s misadventures, you will not struggle to find glory in the great cities of Madrid, Granada, Seville and Faro, where you can see grand architecture, spectacular Gothic cathedrals, remnants of Roman wealth and, if you choose, the magnificent Alhambra Palace. On reaching Portugal, you have opportunities to relax in Vilamoura, the most prestigious Portuguese resort, or continue your adventure with excursions to one of the ‘7 Natural Wonders of Portugal’ and to the very edge of Europe, where Prince Henry the Navigator held his school of Navigation.
8 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
16 meals: 8 breakfasts (days 2-9) 8 dinners (1-8)
VOX portable audio headset system on excursions
Included excursions and visits: 4
City tour of Madrid with local guide
Visit the Windmills of Consuegra
City tour of Seville with local guide
Tour of Vilamoura Roman ruins and Faro with local guide
Plus all these benefits:
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service
Free connecting flights from regional airports
Check-in service by Titan staff
Services of an experienced Titan tour manager
Scheduled British Airways or Monarch Airlines direct flights
Best available coaches with experienced drivers
Hotel porterage (one bag per person)
Airport taxes, security charges and fuel surcharges
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow or Gatwick Airport and your direct, scheduled British Airways or Monarch Airlines flight to Madrid. On arrival we transfer to the ancient hilltop city of Toledo and the Hotel Alfonso VI (4T).
Day 2 Madrid
With home-grown talents such as Goya and Velázquez, the love of art is evident throughout Spain’s capital city, through its beautiful architecture and many galleries. Starting with a panoramic coach tour of Madrid, we then stop at the Palacio Real, the beautiful Royal Palace used for state occasions, to continue our guided explorations of the city’s historic centre on foot. Visit sights such as the Puerta del Sol, the ‘Gate of the Sun’ which contains the symbolic 20-tonne statue of a bear eating fruits from a tree, and the clock used to mark the New Year’s Eve tradition of the Eating of the 12 Grapes. Other places we may see today are the symmetrical Plaza Mayor, one of the world’s most spectacular post offices and the Gran Via, where Art Nouveau and Art Deco façades front the avenue’s many cinemas, theatres, night clubs and bars. We return to Toledo to spend the rest of the day at leisure. With our hotel ideally located opposite the Alcazar, the city’s foreboding fortress, it will be easy to fill your time.
Day 3 Toledo - Consuegra - Granada
We depart for Consuegra, the attractive town famed as the home of the windmills that Don Quixote fought in Cervantes’ novel ‘The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha’, mistaking the sails for the arms of giants. Twelve of the windmills still line the hilltop, over 400 years on. We continue to Granada and the Sercotel Gran Hotel Luna de Granada (4T). Enjoy time at leisure exploring the narrow streets and wide squares that link the city’s Moorish architectural heritage or take an optional excursion to the lavish Alhambra Palace. This ‘Red Castle’ is the only medieval Arab palace still in existence and it lives up to this claim spectacularly, truly earning it UNESCO World Heritage status with great majesty.
Day 4 Granada - Seville - Vilamoura
Our journey continues today to Seville, a wonderfully optimistic city said to have been founded 3,000 years ago by the Greek god Hercules. With Roman ruins, Moorish remnants and colonial grandeur it has influenced many, and become the city of much loved characters Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro. We take a panoramic coach tour of Seville before a short guided tour of the Old Quarter by foot, visiting the magnificent, UNESCO-listed cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world with a 42m-high nave and 80 side chapels. We then travel on to Portugal, where we stay in four nights in Vilamoura at the Hotel Vila Galé Ampalius (4T).
Day 5 Vilamoura - Faro
To start your exploration of Vilamoura, we have included a tour that takes in the modern, upmarket marina before delving into its past with a visit to the low lying Roman ruins of Cerro de Vila, where important mosaic floors and panels can be seen, dating from around 30 BC, as well as a public bath-house and salt pits used to preserve fish for the winter. We then take a drive to Faro, a city full of history, great shops, restaurants, theatres and galleries. We take a walk through the monumental Arco da Vila to the narrow, cobbled streets of Cidade Velha, the oldest part of the city. In the middle of Largo de Sé sits Faro Cathedral, which holds valuable 17th and 18th century art including the gold-leaf covered Chapel of Santo Lenho. With time to explore further at leisure, you have the opportunity to visit the morbidly fascinating Bone Chapel at the Carmo Church, built and decorated with the bones of 1,245 monks whose remains were displaced when the chapel was built. We return to the hotel to spend the remainder of the afternoon is free.
Day 6 Vilamoura
Spend a day at leisure in Vilamoura and experience the Algarve’s most prestigious resort, or take an optional excursion to Tavira and Ria Formosa. This full day excursion starts at Olhão, the large fishing port full of Moorish character, before heading to Tavira, which has more than 20 of the Algarve’s finest churches including the magnificent 16th century Igreja da Misericórdia. Then a ferry ride takes you to Tavira Island for a typical lunch before a boat cruise along the amazing islands of Ria Formosa; considered a natural wonder, this important bird reserve is also home of endangered chameleons and seahorses.
Day 7 Vilamoura
Enjoy a day of independent exploration or take an optional excursion to discover the influence of the sea on the Algarve. Lagos has a fascinating and chequered past. The first African slave auctions were held in this town and its shipyards built the caravels used for the historical voyages into the New World. The old town benefited greatly from these, with treasures and monuments such as the ornately-gilded Igreja de Santo António and the Statue of Prince Henry the Navigator. You will discover his story in Sagres, where he held his School of Navigation to prepare sailors for great adventures across the world. This excursion also takes you to the ‘End of the World’, the dramatic 200ft high cliffs at Cape St Vincent, on the very edge of Europe.
Day 8 Vilamoura
Today is at leisure to relax on the beach, play a few rounds on one of the many golf courses, find the ‘tourist train’ for a gentle journey around the resort or follow the 6km of Praia da Falésia’s golden sands on a stroll all the way to the small fishing village of Olhos d'Agua, named for the freshwater springs found among the rocks at the eastern end of the beach.
Day 9 Faro - London
We travel to Faro Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways or Monarch Airlines flight to London Heathrow or Gatwick Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.