Spain & Portugal Christmas

Spain & Portugal Christmas

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9 Days From

$1382

Spain & Portugal Christmas

9 Days Starting and ending in Madrid

Visiting: Spain, Madrid, Granada, Toledo, Seville, Ronda, Alhambra, Portugal, Lisbon, Algarve, Porto, Salamanca, Avila

Tour operator:

Expat Explore Travel

Tour code:

ESPXMAS

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

10 - 51

Physical rating:

Low

Age range:

10-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Activities:

Sightseeing

From:
$1382

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NB: Prices correct on 27-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Experience Portugal and Spain in a unique light as you travel over Christmas! Celebrate a Spanish Christmas in Seville, one of Spain’s most charming towns. Explore the colourful towns of Toledo, Granada, Salamanca, Avila and Ronda. Walk the streets of the capitals, Madrid and Lisbon. Taste delicious tapas in Spain, fresh pastéis de nata in Lisbon and real Port in Porto. Spending the festive season on the Iberian route feels surreal as you celebrate with blue skies and warm winter sun. This is a truly eclectic and electric travel experience!

Highlights

  • Visit the medieval town of Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • Explore Ronda, famous for its ‘Puente Nuevo’ (New Bridge)

  • Free days in Seville and Lisbon

  • Taste the fortified wine Port in Porto

  • Experience the Old Town of Salamanca

  • Celebrate Christmas Day in Seville!

Itinerary

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Day 1: Start Of Tour In Madrid

Location: Spain, Madrid

Meals Included: Dinner


Welcome to Madrid and the start of your Spain and Portugal Christmas tour! Arrive this morning and meet up with your tour leader and fellow travellers at the hotel. Once the group is gathered, it’s time to explore Madrid in all its festive glory with a local guide! This afternoon, choose to sample local flavours on the Madrid Tapas Food Tour. This evening, sit down for an included welcome dinner. Enjoy your first taste of Spain and get to know your fellow explorers! Today marks the official start of Christmas celebrations in Spain. Today is the day that the Spanish Christmas Lottery, ‘El Gordo’ or the ‘Fat One’, takes place. It’s the biggest lottery draw in the world!


Orientation tour of Madrid: Explore Spain’s vibrant capital city with your tour leader. Wander the streets of Madrid and see top sights such as Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace, Mercado de San Miguel and more!


Traditional dinner in Madrid: Get a taste of Spanish cuisine and get to know your fellow travellers and tour leader over dinner at a local Madrid restaurant.

Day 2: Toledo - Granada

Location: Spain, Granada, Toledo

Meals Included: Breakfast


Travel south to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Toledo. Known to be Spain's spiritual capital, the Gothic architecture and beautiful cathedral will leave you speechless! Next, drive on to the Moorish city of Granada. Here, enjoy an orientation tour of the city with your tour leader. See the most famous sites and learn more about its Moorish influences, including a view across the valley of the iconic Alhambra citadel. The historic palace and fortress is magnificent to behold and the site dates back to the 8th century! Enjoy free time this evening.


Visit Toledo: Experience the Gothic architecture found throughout this UNESCO World Heritage Site city. The history of this region goes all the way back to the Bronze Age!


Orientation tour of Granada: Learn more about the Moorish influence in southern Spain. Granada is often called the "Damascus of the West." First an Iberian settlement, it came under the influence of the Moors in the 8th century. The neighbourhood of Albaicin offers original narrow winding streets and many fine examples of Moorish and Morisco architecture. Granada is also home to the famous Alhambra.

Day 3: Granada - Ronda - Seville

Location: Spain, Seville, Ronda, Alhambra

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning offers the incredible opportunity to visit the majestic Alhambra Palace & Gardens. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Granada’s top attractions. Later, travel through Andalusia which is famous for Flamenco, matadors and bullfighting - quintessential Spanish experiences! First, stop in Ronda, one of the oldest cities in Spain! Take in views of the famous ‘Puente Nuevo’ bridge and the stunning scenery of the surrounding countryside. Then, head to Seville - the city of siestas, tapas and some of Europe's most amazing fiestas. End the day by exploring the old town accompanied by an expert local guide. This evening, look forward to an included dinner at a local restaurant.

Visit Ronda: Stop over in Ronda and see the towering ‘Puente Nuevo’ (New Bridge). Found on top of the El Tajo gorge, Ronda is a unique little town. Here, catch a glimpse of some truly breathtaking views!


Driving tour of Seville: Learn more about Seville’s history, culture and architecture on a driving tour. Seville is where some famous scenes for TV series and films were shot. These include Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia.


Dinner in Seville: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Seville.

Day 4: Seville (Christmas Day): Free Day

Location: Spain, Seville

Meals Included: Breakfast


Merry Christmas or “Feliz Navidad” as the locals say! You have a free day to explore Seville in all its festive glory. Wander the streets and the Plaza de Esppaña and admire the stunning historical architecture throughout the city! As it’s Christmas Day, look out for Spanish Christmas bread, Roscón de Reyes. It's topped with crushed almonds and candied fruit! You’re also bound to also see Tió de Nadal, a jolly Christmas log decorated with a smiley face and stick legs. Get your fill of festive Spanish cuisine and enjoy the cheerful Christmas atmosphere!


Day 5: Algarve - Lisbon

Location: Portugal, Lisbon, Algarve

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner


It’s Boxing Day! Cross the border into Portugal and head for Lisbon, the vibrant capital city! En route, admire the incredible landscapes of southern Portugal. Enjoy a stop along the Algarve, Portugal’s picturesque southern coastal region, with some free time to grab lunch, explore the local town or relax on the beach. On arrival in Lisbon, join your tour leader on a driving tour of the city. See the Tagus River and some of the most famous attractions in the city, such as the Belém Tower and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument! Take note of spots to revisit or explore further tomorrow on your free day.


Visit the Algarve: Enjoy a scenic drive through the Algarve. This is definitely one of Portugal's most spectacular regions - complete with rugged cliffs, golden beaches and crashing waves! Spend some time on one of the stunning Algarve beaches, enjoy lunch here or explore the local town.


Lisbon driving tour: Drive alongside the Tagus River and along some of Lisbon's most famous streets and learn about the history, culture and Portuguese lifestyle. Sights like the Sao Jorge Castle and the colours of the Old Town are not to be missed. There are seven miradouros (viewpoints) dotted around the city - all offering glorious views of the city and its surrounds!

Day 6: Lisbon: Free Day

Location: Portugal, Lisbon

Meals Included: Breakfast


Discover Lisbon at your leisure today! Highlights include the Monument to the Discoveries, Belém Tower and the hilltop district of Bairro Alto. The streets are colourful and lined with dozens of restaurants and bars! Listen out for Fado music streaming from open windows - the region’s most beloved music is known for its lyrics of longing. And, if you want to do some Christmas souvenir shopping for your friends and family back home, head to A Vida Portuguesa. Definitely try some Pasteis de nata, delicious Portuguese egg tarts, as you go. Alternatively, consider the optional day trip to Sintra, the town of mountains, palaces, parks and medieval residences, or a visit to the Fatima Sanctuary and Coin Caves.


Day 7: Obidos - Porto

Location: Portugal, Porto

Meals Included: Breakfast


On the way to Porto this morning, stop off in Obidos, a classic fortified town with narrow cobbled streets, picturesque houses and an imposing hilltop castle. Then, continue onwards to Portugal's second-biggest city, Porto. Arrive and embark on a driving and walking tour with an expert local guide to see top sights including the Cathedral, Sao Bento train station, Clerigos Tower, the Luis I bridge and much more. Later this afternoon, sit down for a quintessential Portuguese experience!  Enjoy a tasting of authentic Port wine and sample one of the country's most famous exports. Felicidades!


Visit Obidos: Enjoy some free time to explore the picturesque medieval streets of this charming town. The main gate into Obidos, Porta de Vila, contains a beautiful tiled chapel depicting the passion of Christ, and the walls of the town can be walked in around one hour.


Porto driving and walking tour: See picturesque Porto from the coach and on foot. Learn about the history of the architecture, sights and the culture of this city and its UNESCO World Heritage Site historical centre.


Port tasting: Try Portugal's most famous drink - Port! It's a sweet, fortified red wine, often served as a dessert wine in dry, semi-dry and white varieties.

Day 8: Guarda - Salamanca

Location: Spain, Salamanca

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner


This morning, make one more stop in Portugal before travelling back to Spain. Guarda was founded in the 12th century by King Sancho I, and much of the fortified towers and defensive walls he built survive to this day. This afternoon, arrive in Salamanca. After some time to freshen up at the hotel, join your tour leader on an orientation tour of Spain’s Golden City. Enjoy some free time to explore the historic city centre before meeting up again later for a farewell dinner on the last night of the tour. Look forward to three courses of delicious food from around the province of Salamanca!


Visit Guarda: Enjoy free time to explore the highest city in Portugal. At its heart is a Cathedral built in a mix of Gothic and Manueline styles. Other highlights include the Guarda Museum, Jewish Quarters and the Corgas da Matança Dolmen, a portal tomb that provides a window into the lives of the people who lived across the Iberian Peninsula during the Neolithic Period.


Dinner in Salamanca: Celebrate a fantastic Christmas tour with your fellow travellers! Have free time to explore Salamanca before we end the day with traditional food from the province of Salamanca at the included dinner this evening.

Day 9: Avila - Madrid

Location: Avila, Madrid

Meals Included: Breakfast


It’s the last day of this unforgettable Spain & Portugal Christmas holiday! The final stretch of the tour travels from Salamanca to Avila and then to Madrid. The ancient town of Avila is well-known for its century-old city walls which have been remarkably well-preserved. It's also home to some spectacular Romanesque churches, monasteries and palaces. After admiring this medieval city’s architecture, continue to Madrid where the tour concludes this afternoon. Arrive in Madrid and say farewell to the group as the tour officially comes to an end. Be sure to swap contact details and memories with your newly-made travel friends before saying goodbye!



Visit Avila: Visit this beautiful medieval city en route to Madrid. This walled city and its Cathedral are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy some free time to explore the main sights in the historic centre, such as San Vicente de Ávila, a church that is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in the whole of Spain.


What's Included

  • Accommodation

    8 nights in 2, 3 & 4* hotel accommodation in twin rooms with private bathrooms
    Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room (subject to availability)

  • Transport

    Modern air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and toilet onboard 
    Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)

  • Meals

    8 Breakfasts, 4 Dinners *Vegetarian options available for all meals on request

  • Experiences

    Explore Madrid with a local guide
    Welcome dinner in Madrid
    Visit the ancient city of Toledo
    Discover the delights of Granada
    Visit Ronda; home to the famous Puente Nuevo
    See Seville on a driving tour
    Enjoy a local dinner in Seville
    Visit the Algarve; Portugal's stunning southern coast
    Enjoy a driving tour of Lisbon
    Visit Obidos; a medieval fortified town
    Enjoy a driving and walking tour of Porto
    Taste Portugal’s most famous drink - Port!
    Visit Avila; home to incredible Romanesque architecture
    Spend free time in Guarda
    Explore Salamanca at your leisure
    Traditional dinner in Salamanca

What's Not Included

International flights
Travel to the start point and from the endpoint is not included. We recommend using Skyscanner to find the best deals on international flights.


Travel insurance
For a relatively small price, travel insurance provides you with the peace of mind so that you can enjoy your tour without any worries. 


All passengers travelling on an Expat Explore tour are required to have valid travel insurance cover and you are responsible for arranging your own insurance. Click here for more information.

Mode of Transport


  • Modern air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and toilet onboard 

  • Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)

Accommodation


  • 8 nights in 2, 3 & 4* hotel accommodation in twin rooms with private bathrooms

  • Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room (subject to availability)

Traveller Comfort - *COACH* tours

We welcome all travellers on our tours but we would like to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. In light of this, please ensure that you are happy with the below information and level of fitness required.


Expat Explore tries to be as accommodating as possible, however, our tours are unfortunately not designed for people travelling with wheelchairs or severe mobility issues.


Our tours are fast paced because they are designed for you to see the most a destination has to offer. We also want to ensure that you explore as much as possible, which may require long periods without stops on the coach as we drive to a new destination.


We offer walking tours in most cities (up to 3 hours), and a wheelchair is not always a practical option as there are often cobbled streets and stairs on these tours.


For travellers in wheelchairs, you will only be able to store your wheelchair under the coach with the other luggage. Thus, on the long drives between cities you will not necessarily have access to your wheelchair if we make a quick bathroom stop along the way. Please note that travelling with a wheelchair could prove difficult as our coaches don't have wheelchair lifts, as such you will need to be able to board and alight the coach on your own.


With regards to our accommodation, not all hotels have lifts and this means potentially having to carry bags up and down stairs.


For more information regarding traveller fitness please see our Terms and Conditions.

Check out our Q&As

  • What is the tipping policy?

    Whilst we fully understand that some nationalities are not accustomed to tipping, this is a normal part of the culture in many of the countries we visit. Tipping has become an increasingly accepted practice in all areas of the service industry, but particularly in restaurants, bars and taxis worldwide. Expat Explore crew members

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    No, you will need to make your own arrangements to get to the meeting point for the first day of your tour. Please see the meeting point information for details on how to reach the meeting point.

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

    A full list of confirmed accommodation names and addresses for your particular departure will be emailed to you around 1 week before the tour starts.

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

    No, visas are each traveler’s personal responsibility, and we recommend that plenty of time is allowed for visas to be applied for. When applying for your visa, please ensure that the proper research is carried out before you apply, and that you deal directly with the embassies or certified agents with regard to acquiring correct and timely information. We cannot take responsibility for customers

  • Is free Wi-Fi available in the accommodation used?

    All of the hotels on this tour offer Wi-Fi, which is available free of charge as part of your Expat Explore tour.

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Our tour leaders come from all walks of life, with different backgrounds and interests. They are all confident and well-travelled with an in-depth knowledge of the destinations they are working in, and a passion for helping you make the most out of your Expat Explore tour.

  • Is the tour coach air conditioned?

    Yes, Full air-conditioning

  • Will passengers from another country be participating in the tour?

    Our travelers come from all walks of life, with different backgrounds and interests.

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Our tours are not suitable for young children, so we set a minimum age limit of 10 years old.

  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    We have searched and invested in excellent accommodation options, either located in cities or well placed with public transport connections. Clean linen, towels is always included. Toiletries (shampoo, shower gel etc) and hair dryers are not always included, so you may wish to bring these with you. Accommodation is provided in twin share en-suite rooms. We use a mix of mostly 2, 3 & 4-star hotels.

  • Are vaccinations required for this tour?

    We are committed to curating excellent travel experiences and to do so we need all of our travelers to feel safe.

    In order to ensure the peace of mind and safety of our travelers and staff on board the coach, we are still requesting that all travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, produce a negative Covid test. This test can be a PCR test

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    There is an optional single supplement/private room upgrade available for single travellers who wish to have a private room. This can be added at the time of booking or by contacting our customer services team. Please note that the room provided may be a single room with a single bed.

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    No, entrance fees are not included.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    No, you will need to make your own arrangements to get to the meeting destination for the first day of your tour. Make sure you keep departure times and possible delays in mind when booking flights.

  • Is there a limit to luggage that can be brought on the tour?

    Due to weight and space limitations, you are allowed to bring one main piece of luggage weighing no more than 20kg, and one small soft bag for hand luggage weighing a maximum of 7kg. On all tours, you will have to carry your own luggage (e.g. into hotels and up to your room if hotels don’t have elevators). Please bear this in mind when you are deciding what to pack

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    Yes, As detailed in the itinerary

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    All travellers are required to carry their own bags, get on and off the coach, and use public transport. Our city walking tours can last up to 3 hours and certain places involve walking up and down lots of steps. We want you to enjoy your tour, so read through the itinerary thoroughly and make your own conclusions as to whether you feel that you are fit and healthy enough.

  • What is the maximum group size?

    It depends on how many other people book! There could be up to 51 other passengers, so you will have the opportunity to make lots of friends!

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    All our tours are conducted in English.

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    Certain nationalities may require a visa(s) for this tour.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    If you are travelling alone there is no compulsory charge - you will share a twin room with another passenger of the same gender. There is an optional single supplement/private room upgrade available for single travellers who wish to have a private room. This can be added at the time of booking or by contacting our team.

  • Children on tour?

    Our tours are not suitable for young children which is why we have a minimum age limit of 10 years old. However, at the discretion of Expat Explore we may consider younger children on certain tours if they meet certain criteria and a request is received in writing via email. Minors (between 10 and 18 years of age) must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who accepts full responsibility for them. Unaccompanied minors will not be accepted on tour. Expat Explore reserves the right to decline any booking at our discretion. Any minor (between 10 and 18 years of age) is priced the same as an adult.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    The health and safety of our travellers and employees are our top priority. Which means, when you travel with us, our enhanced hygiene protocols will ensure you do so in a safe and responsible way - ask for details of current policies.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2005

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    At Expat Explore we value responsible travel and are committed to exploring the world consciously and kindly. We are proud to make responsible travel possible with a number of our sustainable travel practices!

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Relate is a South African based not-for-profit organisation that Expat Explore supports. The group aims to help those less fortunate create better lives for themselves through a variety of fundraising initiatives. On our South Africa tours, each passenger will receive an Expat Explore branded Relate bracelet. We donate the cost of these bracelets to our chosen Relate charity: the Nelson Mandela Sc

Reviews of this operator

Roger  

Wonderful new addition

19-Oct-2022

Great new country and addition by Expat. One of the most interesting and beautiful countries I've ever been. Great food, scenery and lovely people.

Jamie the Kingslayer  

Everything I had expected and more

01-Oct-2022

It was my first time traveling to Europe so I was nervous about everything including finding my way around, speaking the languages, and finding lodging. It turned out to be an incredible experience, I couldn't ask for a better your guide. Luke truly is the best in the business and we were so lucky o have him on the last tour of the season. I am definitely going to recommend Expat to my family and friends when they want to travel to Europe. I am going to go as far as finding out when Luke will be the guide and have family/friends specifically book the tour with him.

Randy  

Outstanding!

25-Sep-2022

From orientation to farewell dinner Martina was always there to ensure that everyone was happy and enjoying the tour! It was fast paced, especially with the added excursions, but the tour covered the best of Italy and Martina was absolutely the best. She was entertaining and informative. Look forward to another tour with her!!

Emma  

Perfect combination of sites, history, culture and food

19-Oct-2022

The highlights of Japan tour with Expat Explore was the ideal way to see the country. It had the perfect mix of big cities, small quaint villages, historical sites and food! The tour was well organised and a good pace to enjoy the various places and activities. We had the opportunity to be immersed in local culture and try the cuisine in a range of dining experiences. The hotels were clean and roomy to rest for days filled with adventures. Japan with Expat should be on your wish list!

CCY  

Good experience

07-Oct-2022

Enjoyed the views of different places and learnt about the history of different places in UK/Ireland.

Kendra Olson   United States

Classic Europe - 14 Days

03-Apr-2024

Such a great trip and saw so many places, if we did this trip on our own I think we would only get half of what we did done in this time period. It definitely was busy with not much down time but we didn’t pay to go be bored. Beautiful and memorable trip!

Travelling Solo  

12 Day Italian Delights

18-Oct-2022

A great tour made even better by our tour leader Marty. She was so knowledgeable and helpful. Made us laugh, showed us amazing sites and always had great recommendations.

Tash  

Really nice experience

26-Oct-2022

Loved the small country towns. Very beautiful MARTY AND ALEX THE DRIVER , made the tour experience perfect for me. She is a brilliant guide.

Disappointed  

Totally exhausted

05-Oct-2022

I need a holiday to recover from this full-on, insufficient down time, tour. Late hotel arrivals, late city tours, late dinners and excessive walking due to public transport use and then early morning starts. And to top it off, no seat rotation (tour leader advised on day 2 for covid reasons) which made sense on day 2 but not by day 3 or 4 when we had been grouped together at meals, on walking tours, and sharing rooms with people we had just met...merrily spreading our germs between our group anyway! This seating rule however was waived for a special few...those who insisted that they get travel sickness (and must sit in the front seat) and..those who think the rule is not for them and aren't challenged by the tour leader anyway. No seat rotation also meant not getting the opportunity to get to know everyone on the tour on an equal basis.

1 Dates & Availability

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Sunday - Monday

Dec 22, 2024 - Dec 30, 2024
$1382

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Expat Explore Travel allows you to make 5 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 76 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Expat Explore Travel requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 45 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of expat explore travel charges.

    Up to 45 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 44 days before tour starts: Forfeit 40% of booking price.

    At 29 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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