In this sumptuous 16-day itinerary of Piel de Toro (the nickname of the Iberian Peninsula), you will get the experience the allure of Southern Europe’s gems: Spain and Portugal. This programme and its variations will introduce you to the highlights of Spain and Portugal through their varied landscapes, histories and civilisations. Enjoy the dizzying beauty of Spain’s best cities and take the time to delve into its inhabitants’ stories, lives and aspirations.
This journey outline is by no means fixed. As the traveller takes centre stage in our planning – from the type of lodging to daily activities – your journey will be crafted to suit you.
Start in Barcelona, Catalonia’s shining light, where the sun meets the sea and art and the city are one. Discover the vibrant streets, parks, monuments and quarters of this super cool metropolis that is Spain’s most visited and celebrated city. Experience hidden foodie secrets in the big city, sample some of the best Catalan cuisine there is (no, we aren’t talking paellas and tapas) and even learn how to make decadent Catalan desserts in historic establishments. Get acquainted to Antoni Gaudi, Salvador Dali and other Spanish greats in art and architecture. In the midst of the all the buzz, make time to relax on some of Europe’s trendiest strips of sand.
Stay in swish hotels such as Hotel Artes Barcelona, W Barcelona, Mandarin Oriental or similar.
A couple of hours from Barcelona and you’re inland in Spain’s capital, Madrid. Enjoy this sophisticated but often under-appreciated capital, where history and modernity blend seamlessly together. Start your day with churros con chocolate (Chocolate for breakfast is a truly Spanish indulgence), and take your pick of adventures: culture and cobblestone, nature and rejuvenation, shopping and lifestyle, or if art floats your boat: Madrid’s world famous Golden Trianle of Art: the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza. Meet spirited locals that will show you their side of the city no regular tour guide can. If you so desire to have a city break, Madrid is surrounded by idyllic countryside and medieval towns that will take your breath away.
Stay in palacial hotels such as Palacio de los Duques (Grand Melia), Relais & Chateaux Hotel Orfila or similar.
With the big cities out of your way, delve into the heart of Spain in sizzly Andalucia, where flamenco is still on the street and the landmarks look more exotic. You’re in cowboy country in Andalucia: the landscape and marauding history have bred some of Europe’s most skilled horses and horsemen, and pockets live on in this magical land. Make your way from splendid Sevilla, with the third largest cathedral in the world, Spain’s largest and most important bullring and a Christian king’s palace built by Muslim craftsmen, through the countryside full of charming villages, ranches, plantations, to grand Granada, crowned by La Alhambra, the emblem of the city’s Moorish past. Experience rural Spain through its olive groves and vineyards, through monasteries and mountains and get a glimpse of the Sierra Nevada, the wild card of Southern Spain. When the sun goes down and the siestas are over, Andalucia wakes up: soulful flamenco comes alive on the streets and even incaves, while you dine over delectable tapas as the night draws on.
Stay in historic or modern luxury hotels, Paradors or exclusive fincas in the countryside: tell us what you fancy!
Polish off Piel de Toro wih a short visit to Portugal. Spend your last two days in cosmopolitan Lisbon and enjoy the Atlantic breeze and a more laid-back pace. Discover Lisbon’s compact historical and cultural gems in Alfama and Belem, and some other secret local experiences and gastronomic gems entirely off the beaten track. On your last day, journey to Sintra to explore its impressive and quirky castles. Sintra is not just about castles, as the countryside holds its real charm: join us for an exclusive experience in a classic car or van through timeless villages, countryside vistas and marvel at your last sunset in Iberia on the Atlantic coast.
Stay in the singularly Stylish Valverde Hotel.
Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Granada, Andalucian Countryside, Lisbon and Sintra
All year round except July and August
From EUR 8000/pax (based on 2 pax travelling)
This journey outline is by no means conclusive. It is just a guideline and can be tailored according to your comfort level, interests and preferences for every detail from accommodation to activities.