Spain and Portugal
Experience distinctive lodgings during this two week Iberian sojourn. Explore Lisbon and the National Palace of Queluz. Traverse the Alentejo region of olive groves and vineyards. Discover Evora, a treasure-trove of Portuguese history and architecture, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Visit Seville, Andalucia’s capital, and Ronda, one of Spain’s oldest and most charming towns. Experience Granada’s famous Alhambra; medieval Toledo; and Madrid’s Prado Museum.
Extension to Barcelona available.
We arrive in the Portuguese capital early this afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure before dinner at our hotel. (D)
This morning’s city tour includes the Jeronimos Monastery, a masterpiece of Manueline architecture; Belem Tower; and the Monument to the Discoveries commemorating Portugal’s storied explorers. Then we visit the National Palace of Queluz, the former residence of Portuguese royalty now used for state occasions. After returning to Lisbon, we enjoy a briefing by foreign service staff at the U.S. Embassy (schedule permitting). The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore as we wish. (B)
Leaving Lisbon this morning, we travel through the rolling hills of the agricultural Alentejo district, with its bountiful fields of wheat, fragrant vineyards, and stands of olive and cork trees. After stopping for lunch in the fortified hilltop town of Monsaraz (pop. 150), late afternoon we arrive in Evora, capital of the Alentejo and site of our pousada, considered Portugal’s finest. (B,L,D)
Our morning walking tour of Evora introduces us to the many charms of this architectural gem – a university town, prosperous regional capital, and UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to the many relics of its Roman and Moorish heritage. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy this “Golden Age” city as we wish. (B,D)
Today we travel east through countryside peppered with the ruins of fortresses and castles to the Spanish border town of Merida. Once the capital of ancient Lusitania (Latin for the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal), Merida boasts outstanding Roman ruins. There’s time to explore and eat lunch on our own before we continue on to Carmona and our parador, a restored 14th-century Arab fortress. (B,D)
This morning we visit splendid Seville, Moorish capital of Spain’s Andalusia region and city of beauty and romance. This is the place that inspired Carmen and Don Giovanni; where fragrant orange trees and flower-bedecked balconies delight the senses; and home of the renowned Catédral, the world’s largest Gothic building. After a tour that includes the palace and the Arab quarter, the afternoon is free to explore independently. We return to Carmona late afternoon and dine at our parador this evening. (B,D)
Today’s visit to this cultural gem promises to be special indeed. First the capital of Roman Spain, then of Moorish Spain, Cordoba features some of the country’s most important monuments, including the Old Quarter built around the magnificent Mezquita mosque. It was here that the Moors ruled from the 8th to the 11th centuries and fostered a culture of learning and religious harmony known the world over. Cordoba also is home to Andalusia’s only synagogue to survive the expulsion of Spain’s Jews in the 15th century. After touring these and other highlights we have free time to explore on our own. Late this afternoon we return to our parador, where we dine tonight. (B,D)
Leaving Carmona this morning we travel south to tiny Ronda, one of Spain’s oldest and most aristocratic towns. It’s set high in the mountains with whitewashed houses clinging improbably to the edge of El Tajo Gorge – 500 feet deep and 300 feet wide. (B,D)
This morning we take a walking tour of Ronda, taking in the graceful cathedral of Santa Maria Mayor in the town’s Old Quarter; two 17th-century bridges; and the Casa de Mondragon, once home to Moorish kings. Then the rest of the day is free for independent exploration. Tonight we dine on regional specialties at our parador, Ronda’s original town hall. (B,D)
Continung our journey, we travel today to Granada, the former stronghold of Moorish Spain set in the foothills of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada. The city’s undisputed highlight is the Alhambra,the extraordinary palace of Spain’s last Moorish rulers. Sprawled across a hilltop above the Darro River, the Alhambra commands breathtaking views of the city below, as we see on our afternoon tour of this splendid citadel. We also visit the Granadian-style Generalife, the palace’s acclaimed gardens. Late afternoon we travel north to Ubeda and our next parador, a former palace dating to the 16th century. (B,D)
A highlight is in store today as we visit Toledo, capital of medieval Spain. Declared a Spanish National Landmark, the city is little changed visually from its 16th-century days as a subject for the artist El Greco. Toledo boasts an incomparable hilltop setting overlooking the Castillian plains and surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River. After lunch on our own we see Toledo’s most important sights on our guided tour, including the massive Gothic Cathedral begun in 1226 and not finished until 1493. Then we continue on to Madrid, arriving late afternoon. (B)
Our morning tour of this monumental and dignified capital city includes vast Plaza Mayor, in the heart of Old Madrid; the Moorish medieval district; and opulent 18th-century Palacio Real (Royal Palace), with its 2,800 rooms. Our tour ends at the Prado, one of the world’s greatest museums, where we’re free to explore on our own. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. (B)
A free day to enjoy the Spanish capital as we wish. Tonight we celebrate our journey with fellow travelers at a farewell dinner. (B,D)
We transfer to the airport this morning for our connecting flights to the U.S.(B)
Cost and Details
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle: $5,378
Boston, New York: $4,978
Please call if your city is not listed. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $683, which are subject to change until final payment is made. All tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.
Land Only: $3,995 (transfers not included)
Single Room Supplement: $995
Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
Business Class – $3,595 per person; Premium Economy – $895 per person (upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change). Upgrade prices are in addition to the costs above.
- Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; 13 nights’ accommodations: 5 nights in Deluxe hotels; 8 nights in First Class paradores and pousadas: 24 meals: 13 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 10 dinners, and bottled water; Regional wine with dinners; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Commonwealth Club Study Leader with a minimum of 12 guests; Additional Commonwealth Club representative at 20 guests; Lectures by your study leader and briefing at the U.S. Embassy (schedule permitting); Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; Luggage handling for one bag per person; Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers.
Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package; Costs of passports and visas; Personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, communication charges, and meals not specified; Airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; Gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day); Optional sightseeing; Travel protection insurance; Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline prior to departure.
Barcelona - On Your Own
Cost: $745, per person, based on double occupancy
Single room supplement: $295
Air transportation Madrid/Barcelona inclusive of airline taxes and fees; 3 nights’ accommodations at Hotel Avenida Palace (Superior First Class); 3 breakfasts; Transfers to/from airport
This trip involves considerable walking up hills or stairs, and on uneven or cobblestone streets.
In addition, several small hotels do not have elevators.
You should be in good physical condition to enjoy this tour to the fullest.
- Spanish tour director and guide accompanying you from beginning to end of journey.
- Additional local guides in Lisbon, Evora, Seville, Cordoba, Ronda, Toledo and Madrid.
- Lectures by our study leader and historian.
- U.S. Embassy Briefing in Lisbon.
Terms and Conditions
Cancellations, Refunds and Changes
If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges:
Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge
Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price
Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price
Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price
Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund.
If a guest makes any changes to their reservation within 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a national membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415)597-6720.
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website.
The liability of the Commonwealth Club, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The Commonwealth Club and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.
Health and Medical Issues
We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a reasonable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. Please note that our itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the Commonwealth Club assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.
Air Transportation – Important Information
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities as shown and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own flight arrangements for an alumni tour and not use those provided by the tour company, we recommend that you do not do so until making your final payment to the tour company confirming details of your trip’s scheduled departure. However, if you choose to make your own flight arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes to tour dates.