Portugal and Northern Spain
Experience fortified cities and fishing villages, rugged Atlantic coastline and commanding Pyrenees peaks. Stay in intimate lodgings in historic paradores and pousadas. Visit Lisbon, Oporto, Santiago de Compostela, León and Bilbao. Spend two nights in the stunning Pyrenees region; tour fabled Pampalona; and enjoy a 3-night stay in world-class Barcelona.
We arrive in the Portuguese capital and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times vary, we have no group activities planned during the day. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner.
Corinthia Hotel Lisbon (D)
A morning tour introduces us to the city on the River Tagus; the afternoon is free for independent exploration.
Corinthia Hotel Lisbon (B)
Leaving Lisbon we head north, stopping in the small fortified town of Obidos and in the seaside village of Nazare. Midafternoon we reach our pousada in lovely Oporto, Portugal’s second largest city and a UNESCO site.
Pousada do Porto (B,D)
Highlights of our city tour include the historic city center, Baroque Clerigos Church, and the sophisticated Foz oceanfront district. We enjoy an hour-long cruise on the Douro River. Our tour ends with a visit to a port lodge for a tasting of the fortified wine exclusive to the region.
Pousada do Porto (B,D)
En route to Santiago, we stop in the old Galician town of Pontevedra. We continue on to Santiago, capital of Spain’s northwest Galicia region, arriving mid-afternoon at our parador, where we dine tonight.
Parador Santiago de Compostela (B,D)
Last stop on the celebrated pilgrimage route of the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) and presumed repository of the remains of St. James the Apostle, Santiago de Compostela also ranks among Spain’s most beautiful and visited cities. We discover this important cultural and educational capital on today’s tour, featuring the Cathedral housing the silver crypt believed to hold the remains of St. James. From here we enter Plaza de Obradoiro, the monumental square surrounded by Santiago’s most important buildings. This afternoon is free for independent exploration in this eminently walkable and lovely UNESCO World Heritage city with historic buildings lining its winding, narrow streets.
Parador Santiago de Compostela (B,D)
Leaving Santiago this morning, we travel east to vibrant León, another stop on the Way of St. James pilgrimage route and known for its religious festivals and Easter Week processions. Upon arrival, we encounter the city’s impressive historical and architectural heritage as we visit the 12th-century León Cathedral, one of Spain’s most beautiful with its sculpture-covered façade and impressive stained glass windows; and Casa Botines, a Modernist structure by architect Antoni Gaudí. We reach our hotel early this evening and dine there tonight.
Hotel Conde Luna (B,D)
Today we stop in the elegant port city and Cantabrian capital of Santander for a tour and lunch. Then we travel on to Bilbao, the industrial port city almost magically transformed by the construction of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997.
Melia Bilbao (B,L)
This morning’s tour begins in Bilbao’s medieval Old City, with a charming mix of narrow cobblestone streets and inviting squares. We see the Catedral de Santiago (c. 1379), once a stop on the pilgrimage route; monumental Plaza Nueva; and busy seaside La Ribera market. Then we take a guided tour of the Guggenheim and its contemporary art collection. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the jaw-dropping structure of limestone, titanium, and glass has drawn acclaim, attention, and visitors to this popular, revitalized city. Our last stop is Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum, with a rich collection of Spanish and Basque artworks.
Melia Bilbao (B,D)
A day-long excursion begins with a poignant stop: Gernika (Guernica), heart of the Basque region and the town razed by Nazi bombing in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War that was immortalized in the namesake painting by Picasso. Then we pass through a countryside historically home to the Basque people of Spain’s Atlantic Coast and western Pyrenees. At the seaside village of Bakio, we follow a coastal road of wild beauty to the islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, with its hermitage to St. John the Baptist. We stop in the key fishing town of Bermeo then continue on to the medieval fishing village of Mundaka, where we enjoy magnificent views of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve of streams and a salt marsh surrounded by sheer cliffs.
Melia Bilbao (B,L)
We travel today to the Pyrenees town of Bielsa, stopping en route in fabled Pamplona, known for its annual Running of the Bulls tradition.
Parador de Bielsa (B,D)
Fresh mountain air and stunning scenery are on tap as we visit the Chistau Valley, a broad and tranquil valley in the Spanish Pyrenees. We tour the valley’s wide-open vistas, stopping at several scenic lookouts for photo opportunities and visiting a mountain town where we enjoy lunch on our own.
Parador de Bielsa (B,D)
We travel today by coach to the world-class city of Barcelona, arriving mid-afternoon. After a brief orientation walking tour, we are free for dinner on our own in this most gastronomic of cities.
Hotel Avenida Palace (B)
This morning’s city tour features Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), a maze of medieval streets; and Las Ramblas, the tree-lined pedestrian mall that attracts locals and visitors alike, day and night. We pay homage to Barcelona’s native son, flamboyant artist Antoni Gaudí, visiting his fanciful Parc Guell and the landmark Sagrada Familia, his surreal – and unfinished – cathedral. Following a tapas lunch, the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration.
Hotel Avenida Palace (B,L)
Our Gaudí tour continues this morning at Casa Mila, whose curving stone face inspired the nickname “La Pedrera” (stone quarry). Now housing a cultural center, Casa Mila is a UNESCO site. This afternoon is at leisure; tonight we bid ¡adios! to Spain, and to our fellow travelers, at a farewell dinner.
Hotel Avenida Palace (B,D)
We transfer to the airport this morning for our connecting flights to the U.S. (B)
Cost and Details
San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, Seattle $6,474
Boston, New York $6,074
Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $579 which are subject to change until final payment is made.
Land Only: $5,395 (transfers not included)
Single Room Supplement: $1,495
Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
Premium Economy $1,595 per person
Business Class - $3,995 per person
Upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change. The prices above are in addition to the costs above.
Included in Tour Price
Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; 15 nights’ accommodations: 9 nights in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and First Class hotels; 6 nights in First Class paradores and pousadas; 28 meals: 15 breakfasts; 3 lunches; 10 dinners; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Educational lectures; Commonwealth Club representative at 20 guests; 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
Not Included in Tour Price
Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline(s) prior to departure
Barcelona On Your Own
Cost: $345 per person, based on double occupancy
Single room supplement: $225
Included in extension cost
2 nights’ accommodations at Hotel Avenida Palace (Superior First Class); 2 meals: 2 breakfasts; Transfer to airport
This is a moderately active tour and participants must be able to keep up with an active group of travelers. There is a considerable amount of walking on this trip. For the safety and enjoyment of each participant and the group, participants must be able to:
- Walk on average 2-3 miles at a steady pace during full days of sightseeing.
- Walk on cobblestone, gravel and uneven pavement.
- Stand for up to approximately 2 hours at a time each day.
- Walk up and down stairs without handrails, without the assistance of another person.
- Get on and off coaches without assistance.
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 worldwide 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 on the 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.
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40