Tauck World Discovery: Paradors of Northern SpainDay 1 Barcelona, SpainArrive BarcelonaTour begins: 6:00 PM, Le Méridien Barcelona. A transfer is included from Barcelona Airport or the Barcelona Franca Train Station to Le Méridien Barcelona, ideally located on Las Ramblas. Join us for a private welcome reception and dinner tonight at the hotel as you get your first taste of life in Northern Spain.Meals: DDay 2 Barcelona, SpainGothic sights & whimsy in BarcelonaWalk along the tree-lined pedestrian promenade of Las Ramblas this morning with a local guide who leads you through the cobblestone lanes of its 14th-century Gothic quarter, Barri Gòtic, a medieval warren of Roman relics, hidden courtyards, shops and alfresco cafés, to the Plaça de la Cathedral. Set apart from other churches, Barcelona's Catedral was built between 1298 and 1460 although its richly decorated façade, guarded by gargoyles, was added in 1870. Go inside to see its medieval origins, from its exquisitely sculpted choir stalls and elegant pillars to the fine workmanship depicted on the pulpit and the alabaster sarcophagus of the crypt of Santa Eullia. Your city tour continues with a drive through hilltop Montjuic, rewarding with panoramic views, and a visit to Gaudi's unfinished cathedral, la Sagrada Família, artistically and architecturally unique, and awe-inspiring in every detail. Spend the rest of the day exploring Barcelona as you wish.Meals: BDay 3 La Seu d'Urgell, SpainCatalan CountrysideVenture into the mountains today, stopping at the saw-toothed mountain of Montserrat, just northwest of Barcelona, to visit the Benedictine monastery and see the shrine of la Moreneta, the Black Madonna. According to the legend, the statue was discovered in the year 880 by shepherds who saw a strange light in the sky and heard music coming from a cave in the mountain. Since then, it has become one of the most famous pilgrimage sights in Spain. Continue on to Cardona for a visit to the Romanesque Church of Saint Vicenç, consecrated in 1047. Enjoy lunch in the medieval dining room at 9th-century Parador de Cardona, holding court over the countryside from its hilltop perch. Drive through the snow-capped Catalonian Pyrenees to your hotel in La Seu d'Urgell for a memorable two-night stay. Dinner tonight is at the hotel, with wine included.Meals: B, L, DDay 4 La Seu d'Urgell, SpainPyrenees Pleasures, Your WayA morning walking tour of La Seu d'Urgell visits the 12th-century Romanesque Cathedral, renowned as the finest in the Pyrenees. You have a choice of afternoon activities, including a Catalan cooking demonstration, a 9-hole round of golf, a spa treatment, or a guided visit to the tiny principality of Andorra in the Pyrenees. Feast on a seven-course wine-tasting dinner in a medieval 9th-century castle tonight.Meals: B, L, DDay 5 San Sebastián, SpainBasque Beauties: Pamplona to San SebastiánErnest Hemingway immortalized Pamplona in "The Sun Also Rises"; walk the route followed during the "running of the bulls." Then it's on to San Sebastían in Basque Country where your first view of this popular oceanfront town is from the top of Mt. Igueldo. Settle in at your elegant Belle-Époque hotel for a two-night stay.Meals: B, DDay 6 San Sebastián, SpainA day in seaside San SebastiánA walking tour with a local guide reveals San Sebastián's Parte Vieja (Old Town); the remainder of the day and evening are yours to spend as you wish. Sample typical Basque food and enjoy the many waterfront activities including world-class surfing.Meals: BDay 7 Fuente Dé, SpainArt in Bilbao & An Overnight in OviedoVisit the Guggenheim Museum, a treasure trove of modern art, in nearby Bilbao, then continue to medieval Santillana del Mar in the Cantabria region of Spain for lunch. Wind your way through hills and valleys to Oviedo this afternoon for an overnight stay at a restored 18th-century hospice that was featured in the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Enjoy an artisan cheese tasting and wine pairing tonight.Meals: B, L, DDay 8 León, SpainA Pilgrimage, Centuries OldExplore Oviedo on a walking tour this morning, seeing a mix of historic and artistic monuments, including two acclaimed churches built in the Astorian pre-Romanesque architecture when the rest of Europe was in the Dark Ages. Stop for lunch in a picturesque fishing village on the coast en route to your historic parador in Santiago de Compostela. Considered to be one of the oldest hotels in the world, it has welcomed travelers since the 15th century. Dine tonight at your choice of restaurants in the parador.Meals: B, L, DDay 9 Santiago de Compostela, SpainSights of Santiago de CompostelaEmbark on a walking tour through the narrow streets of Santiago de Compostela that visits the heart of the city, the Romanesque Cathedral of St. James, dating back to the 11th century. Legend has it that a bright star led a shepherd boy to the forgotten tomb of the apostle St. James the Greater in the 9th century; today your local guide leads the way. The rest of the day is free to spend as you like, walking in the footsteps of pilgrims who have made their way here from around the world for centuries.Meals: B, LDay 10 Porto, PortugalPartake of Port in PortugalChange your clocks back one hour as we drive the coastal route from Spain to Porto, Portugal. An ancient port city nestled on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Douro River with a rich port-wine trading history, Portugal's "second city" today beats as its economic heart. Enjoy a private visit and tasting dinner at one of Porto's oldest port houses, learning about the history and processing of this prized fortified wine produced exclusively in Portugal's Douro Valley.Meals: B, L, DDay 11 Porto, PortugalPastimes in PortoExplore Porto on a walking tour, a panoramic drive along Avenida da Boavista and the coast where the river meets the sea and aboard a traditional rabelo boat on the Douro River. Look for Portugal's iconic blue tiles (azulejos ) on the façades of many churches, buildings and inside the Sao Bento train station, once a convent. Visit the Church of Sao Francisco, built in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, where the interior is literally gilded in gold, and enjoy time at leisure to stop in Livaria Lello, considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. On your cruise along the Douro River, your local guide will point out the sights you will see, including the six bridges that span the Douro, one of which was designed by Gustave Eiffel In 1877. The remainder of the day is yours to experience the delights of Porto as you like.Meals: B, LDay 12 Lisbon, PortugalCharms of CoimbraJourney to the riverfront city of Coimbra today, the medieval capital of Portugal for over one hundred years and home to the historic University of Coimbra. A walking tour of the hilltop University campus includes a guided visit to the Baroque King John University Chapel. Home to some 60,000 ancient volumes in the study of law, philosophy and theology, the interior is a picture book in itself with rosewood, ebony and jacaranda tables, elaborately frescoed ceilings and gilt chinoiserie bookshelves. A look inside the ornate Baroque St. Michael's Chapel, dating back to the 16th century and recently restored, reveals a brightly painted ceiling, stunning tilework on the floor, Manueline features and an 18th-century gilded organ with some 2,000 pipes which is still operational today. Stop in Pombal for lunch en route to Lisbon, where your evening is free.Meals: B, LDay 13 Lisbon, PortugalHighlights of LisbonStraddling seven hills, Portugal's charming capital city blends past with present with reminders of the "Great Period of Discoveries" and lively vignettes of daily life. Guided sightseeing today includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mosterio dos Jerónimos, commissioned by Manuel I to commemorate Vasco da Gama's discovery of a sea route to India in 1498; today it houses da Gama's remains in an ornately sculpted tomb inside the chapel and the Maritime Museum in its west wing. See the Tower of Belém, built on the bank of the Tagus River between 1514 and 1520, and the Discoveries Monument, honoring world explorers in stone, before spending an afternoon at leisure. Join us tonight for our farewell reception and dinner at your hotel.Meals: B, DDay 14 Lisbon, PortugalJourney homeTour Ends: Lisbon. Fly home anytime. A transfer from the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon to Lisbon's International Airport or Santa Apolonia Train Station is included. Allow a minimum of three hours for check-in.Meals: B
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