Itinerary Portugal and Spain in Fourteen Days from Lisbon is the perfect itinerary for anyone who wants a carefree itinerary visiting some of the most important cities of the Iberian Peninsula, with beginning and end in Lisbon, Portugal.
Did you know that “siesta” is a Spanish custom with a break after lunch to rest it is clear that in the larger cities like Madrid or Barcelona feels much less siesta than the small villages where everything closes for two hours after lunch. In Portugal there is no such custom, however in the interior center and south like in the Evora district due to the high temperatures in the summer with temperatures higher then 50 degrees celsius, in a very dry climate, people also rest in the middle of the afternoon, since it is impossible to work under these conditions.
Bullfighting has been a part of Spanish and Portuguese culture for centuries, although it has caused much controversy within each country. In both countries the Bullfights are more traditional on the south where the bullfighters are treated like real celebrities. The big difference between the bullfights in the two countries, will be that in Portugal bullfighting is on horseback and is prohibited by law the animal being killed in the arena.
Day dedicated entirely to visit Lisbon, almost devastated by the earthquake of 1755, the largest ever recorded in Europe, so it was necessary to design a new city with the first anti-seismic constructions, drawn with a set of straight and perpendicular streets organized around an axis the central part of Rua Augusta. In these streets were given the names of the various crafts of the time and artisans of that time among them; cobblers, corraliros, of gold.
“Baixa de Lisboa” is also known for the monumentality of its buildings, which represent a new social order that values the merchant and financial class. To test the resilience of these buildings to a new earthquake used troops marching inside buildings.
Time to explore Belem and its monumental works such; the Tower of Belem, the Discoveries Monument, the Monastery of the Jeronimos that besides its beauty, provided the monks the way to make this wonder pastry called “Pastel de Belem”, impossible to miss it.
At the end of the day we will visit the “new” Lisbon nowadays called the “Park of Nations”, with its Oceanarium, the lovelly train station designed by the Spanish Callatrava, the extensive bridge Vasco da Gama and its modern buildings.
Sintra the Aristocracy paradise, we will discover the charm of the narrow alleys and the typical and regional products stores, letting yourself be taken to the Piriquita pastry where the famous sweets ” Queijadas de Sintra and “Travesseiros de Sintra” are waiting for you.
The choice of what palace ( or palaces ) to visit its just yours, the guide will suggest that it is best for you to visit between; “Quinta da Regaleira”a palace from the XIX. although it seems to be older, with a decoration that impresses, rich in Masonic symbolism, Moorish Castle a testimony of the Islamic presence in the region, built between the 8th and 9th centuries and enlarged after the Reconquest or why not the Palaçio da Pena, a a fantastical and revivalist reconstruction, to the taste of nineteenth-century romanticism, which was owed to the passion and imagination of the artist D. Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, consort of D. Maria II.
The geological formation of ”Cabo da Roca”is also known among the sites as “The Snout of the Rock”, others prefer to call it a poetic way “Promontory of the Moon,”, the beauty of this place is imaginable. With thousands of visitors every year, Roca Cape was mentioned by the Portuguese poet Camoes in “Os Lusíadas”, In his words this was the place “where the Earth ends and the sea begins”, part of the Natural Park of Sintra-Cascais and from there it is possible to put on the shoes and follow the ecological rails of the Serra de Sintra.
Time to explore Cascais this ancient fisherman´s village turned into a beautiful and cosmopolitan beach resort, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, next to it there´s Estoril, famous for its casino ( largest gambling room in Europe ) and by the fact of the Yan Fleming wrote the first 007 nobel Casino Royale during the 2nd world war from here will get back to Lisbon along road “Marginal” enjoying breathtaking ocean scenery along the coast.
Day to leave Lisbon towards the Algarve, on the way we will visit Evora World Heritage site by the Unesco, visiting the city highlights, such as the “Temple of Diana” built in the Roman´s period, the Evora Cathedral, where we can see the magnificent aqueduct of “Agua da Prata”, outside the city walls and extend from the outskirts of the city, some of its arches are still visible in the center, built in the 16th century to ensure the water transportation.
The Arabs remains like the narrow streets and alleys in the 11th and 12th centuries, Evora was the residence of some Portuguese kings, a point of convergence of renowned artists, supported by the patronage and dynasty reigning in Portugal.
The period of the discoveries was of glory to Evora creating particularly favorable conditions in the construction of numerous aristocratic mansions of the city as the Jesuit university.
However, the ex-libris will be the Church of San Francisco, especially the Bones Chapel, clothed with skulls and bones of 500 monks, attracting thousands every year and proclaiming “We bones, here we are, for yours we will wait” at the entrance of the it.
Since this is a region renowned for its cuisine and its wines, we will know a little more about this noble product, with a possible visit and tasting in one of there local wineries, after our visit we will continue to the Algarve where we will suggest the overnight in Albufeira.
On this day we will visit some of the most important cities in the Algarve, such as Tavira where we will find the City Hall and the Islamic Museological Nucleus with a diverse archaeological collection from the Islamic period.
The Misericórdia Church, built between 1541 and 1551, is considered the most remarkable Renaissance expression of the Algarve and then Faro probably the city in the Algarve with more heritage, a city to discover it within its walls, with history as divergent wealth to the poverty of looting to authentic destruction especially during the great earthquake of 1755.
Lagos a city of “poor” memory since we will visit the historical slave market, and probably have lunch there since its famous for its excellent gastronomy, where fish is the most appreciated meal, if the weather permits its visit to the “Ponta da Piedade” caves a lovely ride a small boat.
Finishing our day with the visit to Sagres Fortress, also known as the Promotorium Sacrum, built by order of Prince Henry the Navigator, where inside we will see; cannons, a sixteenth-century tower and also the Church of Our Lady of Grace, one of the former monument ex-libris is the rose of the winds, a sundial that some consider to be of the time of the infant and the nautical school that he founded in Sagres, considered the first in the world.
On this day we will leave the Algarve and enjoy ourselves to the sound of flamenco in Andalusia, a region with extreme Arab influence, however before we will visit Vilamoura the country’s largest luxury complex with: Marina, five golf courses, nightclubs, tennis and diving club and many star-studded hotels.
The Vilamoura marina receives annually private yachts from whole World, nevertheless the first one in 1974, was the Giralda sailboat of His Royal Highness, the Count of Barcelona, from here never again stopped, having become an important center of tourism and lodging private residential luxury .
During the Roman period, the village of Castro Marim, one of the oldest in the Algarve, was appreciated for its strategic position, with its good access to the sea and the land, conquered to the Moors in 1242. During the struggles of the reconquest lost a large population, the city almost disappear, nevertheless the monarchs granted him forums, privileges, concessions and donations, initiated by D. Afonso III, in 1277, and extended, in 1282, by D. Dinis, his son.
Day to explore Seville a very warm city where the temperature can reach same amazing 50 degrees celsius but with a buzzing life.
Our day begins with a visit to the Cathedral located at Plaza de Los Reyes, built by the Moors in the 12th century, at the time a mosque having demolished and rebuilt after the Christian Reconquest considered the biggest Gothic Cathedral in the world and the second largest Catholic Church in Spain.
The Giralda Tower a curious monument of the 12th century, with more than 100 meters in height, being the highest building of the city which allows a fabulous city view.
Very close by theres the Alcazar Royal Palace, the oldest royal palace still operating in Europe, headquarters of members of the Spanish Royal Family or celebrities who visit the city, having declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987.
Next we will relax in the Plaza of Spain, considered the most beautiful of Seville where it had been filmed “Star Wars”, in the episode “War of the Clones,” and “Lawrence of Arabia” as headquarters of the British Army in Cairo. For those who like bolder architecture, the Metropol Parasol, a wooden building that looks like a giant mushroom designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann.
We suggest ending the day with a flamenco show.
From Seville we go to Cordova, with a visit to the Cathedral of Cordoba another of the many influences of Arab culture in Spain, the Roman bridge protected by Saint Raphael the Patron Saint of the City, an authentic devotion to this saint in such a way that almost 20% of the population has the name of the saint, we will still visit the Alcazar monument than it crossed all the different civilizations in the region.
In the year 1241, Baena was delivered to Fernando III and was repopulated with Castilian-Leonese and Jews, the most picturesque quarter also of Arab origin, is the Almedina here is the ruins of the castle and one of the symbols of the city, the copy of the Leon Iberian, and El Crismón de Baena, a cross visigoda of great proportions.
Arrive in Granada.
One of the many pearls that Andalusia has to offer, Granada being Alhambra the high point, a magical monument that looks like a fairy tale, built by the caliphs in the 13th and 14th centuries, a fort that in the next centuries was transformed into a palace (Nasrid palace) and in the following century taken by the Spaniards, transforming the mosque into a Catholic Church, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
However Grenada has a lot of interests; the neighborhood of Albaicín, and the famous Arab market of Alcaiceria a trip to another world. Literally, being transported to narrow alleys littered with artefacts from North Africa, an imaginary portal to the Arab world.
However, the Renaissance period that came after the Christian Reconquest turned the city into a prosperous and modern city with a lively cultural and night life.
Toledo a city that retains the vestiges of different civilizations such the Romans, the Visigoths and especially the Moors although extremely small has always been one of the most important and influential cities of the Iberian Peninsula.
So many for the Muslims as for the Catholics who settled here from the 12th century, transforming the city into the great political and religious center.
In the sixteenth century everything changed when King Philip II decided to transfer the capital to Madrid, causing the decline of Toledo.
The visit to the Cathedral is a must, as well as the Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blaca, we believe that you need to restore energy so theres nothing better than a Massapan this typical sweet of Toledo in a half moon format made from almonds, for sale throughout the all city, however we suggest in Confeitaria Santo Tomé, which is in Plaza Zocodover.
At the end of the visit we will continue to Madrid.
Madrid is one of the great European cities in such a way that we know that one day it may be enough (we can easily add one more day to the script), so that we choose some of the most important places to visit.
In the Puerta del Sol with the statue of the bear, a meeting point of half Madrid with sure the most photographed of the whole city and then Plaza Cibeles where everything happens, going up the Paseo de Recoletos to the oldest mall in Madrid surrounded by garden palaces since the nineteenth century.
If you are passionate about art and museums, the visit to the Prado Museum is a must, ticket purchases must be made online beforehand. All this and more, in a tailor made to you in Madrid.
Avila one of the most beautiful walled cities in the world ( Unesco World Heritage Site), the city was founded by St. Teresa of Avila who founded the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, before entering the city we will climb to the viewpoint of the 4 postes the best way to understand the city, even before entering.
With 9 doors and 87 towers, the Walls of Avila are the few of the world that are complete, circulating entirely the city with a history closely linked to the wall, also from the physical point of view the wall is a testimony of the times, the city.
Salamanca is a young and old city, young for the many students who attend there university, a center of higher education for hundreds of years and old by the inheritance of its history, with palaces of the XV and XVI centuries, university buildings and churches made of Villamayor stone, a light beige-colored sandstone that looks golden when the sun is low.
This gave Salamanca the nickname of “La Dorada”, places not to be missed on our visit to Salamanca; The house of the Conchas, the library of the city, a wonderful Gothic palace, which encapsulates the Plateresque Spanish style, its two Cathedrals (Old and New), palace of Salina and of course its historical center, having the Plaza Mayor a prominent place , with a baroque design and its 88 arches, belonging to an arcade that runs all around the perimeter of the square, broken only by the entrances, on top of each pillar there is a medallion that portrays a famous figure of the prestigious history of Salamanca.
We return to Portugal through Aveiro known as Portuguese Venice, where we will suggest you a boat ride on a “Moliceiro”to get to know and understand the 3 kilometers of canals that made the support of the city itself, be it moliça (a seaweed used in agriculture and for pharmaceutical purposes), as well as Salt.
A strange curiosity will be to know the market of Aveiro a construction in wrought iron and glass very to the type of Gustavo Eiffel and to the innumerable buildings Art New all cataloged what they reveal the importance and even the wealth of this city.
In Costa Nova we will visit original haystacks constructed with local materials, rising on stakes set in the dry sand with the exterior plank arranged horizontally and painted bright red, saluting the sea with color and energy, helping fishermen to find their haystacks on very foggy days.
The interior space was ample, without any division, fulfilling its function of being nothing more than a warehouse. Over the years, some fishermen began to transform the haystacks by adapting them to accommodation spaces that began to accommodate families during the summer season.
We will start our day in Oporto at the Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies), the city´s focal point, where everything happens,from manifestations to celebrations on this thoroughfare, there is the imposing Oporto Municipal Council building, not far we have the Lello Bookstore perfect for literature and architecture lovers especially “Harry Potter” fans.
Its staircase is a major attraction, the cause… JK Rowling who, despite never having spoken openly about the period she was in Portugal, was married to a Portuguese and lived in Porto at the time she started writing “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. ”
Another attraction will be Sao Bento’s train station, where 20 thousand tiles from Portuguese artist Jorge Colaco will take you a virtual trip through Portugal in the North in general, with a special emphasis on the different civilizations that have passed here and the different occupations, at the Oporto Cathedral, a church with a Roman-Gothic structure that was began to be built in the 12th century, however with several renovations in the XVII and XVIII centuries, inside it stands the medieval rosacea of the 12th century, and from outside the highlight goes to the lateral galilee, work of Nicolau Nasoni in 1736, decorated with tiles.
The Church of San Francisco built in the 12th century. initially of Romanesque architecture was transformed into Gothic style and later Baroque, three naves covered with gilded carvings, in which it is thought that were used more than 300 kilos of gold dust, another one of the curiosities of the Church the Tree of Jessé, a sculpture of polychrome wood considered one of the best in the world of its kind.
Time to visit Gaia where Port wine is being aged in hundreds of different cellars, visit one of those cellars, enjoy its atmosphere and taste this unique wine it is obligatory to know whole process, from the harvest to the final product.
Departure from Oporto towards Coimbra, starting our visit by Joanine Library at the Coimbra University, an imaginable treasure with the opulence of early 17th century architecture and arts, definitely one of the most spectacular and original European libraries in Baroque style. Here we will understand the true importance of knowledge with thousands of works which lay upon a lavish space full of beauty and exoticism, where the richness of the painted ceilings is in harmony with the balustrades and shelves made of golden leaves and wood from the tropics.
Then we will visit the Coimbra historical center that extends itself over almost the entire city, Coimbra has an urban center in its central area that has buildings dating back to the twelfth century, being one of its main riches, Baixa de Coimbra, from afar times, a space for trade and activities artisans In it is still, today, traditional stores and other more recent businesses, besides history and patrimony.
Then we will stop in Fatima, place where on May 13, 1917, three children,witness the apparition of Lady Mary, there we will find three places of interest, where you can attend a mass; the Chapel of the Apparitions, the first Chapel to be built immediately following the apparitions in the center of the Sanctuary, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary built in 1928 in Neo Baroque style, it houses today the tombs of the children and Sister´s Lucia who passed away in 2005, then the Basilica of Santissima Trindade, built in 2007, a modern and quite imposing church.