Holiday in the amazing kingdom of Spain and Portugal
“Join a journey of exploration through the amazing kingdom of Spain and Portugal. And discover just like the Spanish conquerors and Portuguese sailors did. This premium escorted holiday is filled to the brim with signature experiences. For instance a demonstration and tasting at the famous ‘pasteis de belem’ in Lisbon. Or a visit to one of the world’s holiest sites, the Chapel of Apparitions in Fatima.” ~ Insight Vacations
Spain is one of the most diverse and visually stunning nations of Europe. The misty evergreen hills of Asturias and Galicia could hardly be more different to the sun-baked plains of Castile. The vibrant, cosmopolitan cities contrast with sleepy villages, lost in time. In fact, spend a little time here and you’ll discover that Spain is more an blend of fiercely independent regions, each with their own culture, gastronomy, folklore and language. As the people from Bilbao or Barcelona will attest; they are Basque and Catalonian respectively, not Spanish.
Spain’s Costa Brava is one of the most dramatic coastlines in the Mediterranean, over 200 kilometres of rugged cliffs, secluded coves and hidden villages. The lively port city of Barcelona bursts with cutting edge creativity from its impressive old town to the daring architecture from the Modernist period (1890-1920). Further south witness magnificent Moorish architecture which reached its zenith with Granada’s Alhambra Palace. Seville, the breathtakingly romantic regional capital of Andalucia, is an enchanting city filled with chic, whitewashed houses and scenic landscapes painted with orange trees.
Memories of Spain’s days of Empire live on at El Escorial, the Palacio Real and Toledo’s glorious Cathedral. Head north for undiscovered Spain – you’ll find lush green landscapes, beautiful beaches, charming towns, castles and Romanesque churches. Flamenco is a tradition that gets close to the heart of Spain, with its throbbing guitars, stamping heels and proud passionate gestures. Try a dance class, or watch experienced dancers
The small kingdom of Portugal sits on the edge of the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal blossomed in the 16th Century to become one of the world’s great seafaring nations. During the great Age of Discovery, Portugal was at the vanguard of world exploration, which brought vast wealth and riches. This is evidenced in the Manueline architecture – the palaces, monasteries and churches that were filled with gold from the new world. Nowadays, modern explorers will find colourful fishing villages and small, fortified towns, glorious sun-kissed beaches, sacred sites, heavily cultivated hills, neat terraced vineyards and vast flat plains.
Lisbon is strewn over seven hills and packed with historical attractions, Art Nouveau architecture, leafy parks and squares. Take in magnificent views from the castle of Sao Jorge before exploring the stairways and narrow streets of the old Alfama quarter. Like Portuguese royalty of yore, escape the summer heat for the lovely gardens and villas of hilltop Sintra, or visit the glamorous resort of Cascais. Outside of the capital, Fatima is renowned as a place of pilgrimage, where a vision of Mary is reputed to have taken place before three local children.
Wine enthusiasts should make their way to Oporto, home of the sweet Port wine, but don’t miss the magnificent bridges, baroque Church of St. Francis and grand Stock Exchange. It’s so easy to get joyfully lost in the narrow medieval streets of some of Portugal’s most charming cities. Walk within the walls of Obidos, a 13th-century village, traditionally gifted to new Portuguese queens on their wedding day, or explore well-preserved Evora – an architectural jewel box dating back to Roman times.
Spain and Portugal holiday info:
Your Insight Vacation includes superb accommodation in Spain and Portugal’s centrally located hotels with breakfast daily, four dinners, business class legroom on the Insight Vacations coach, airport transfers, complimentary Wi-Fi and wonderful Signature Experiences.
For more information on this amazing Spain and Portugal kingdom journey or to book contact your ASATA travel agent or Insight Vacation on +27 11 280 8400, www.insightvacations.com and follow them on Twitter #insightmoments
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