From Moorish fortresses to opulent basilicas, Paleolithic rock engravings to Modernist landmarks—the Iberian Peninsula preserves thousands of years of art and enlightenment. Join private guides on a journey through Portugal to the Spanish metropolises of Madrid and Barcelona. Follow in the footsteps of early explorers in Lisbon, wander the galleries of the world-famous Prado, and sample the region’s culinary splendors while sipping on port in Porto and tasting tapas in Spanish markets.
Set out on private tours of four UNESCO World Heritage sites, from enchanting Sintra to Gaudí's whimsical architectural works scattered throughout the streets of Barcelona.
Gain exclusive access to the artisan workshops at Lisbon’s Museum of Portuguese Decorative Arts.
Examine the fascinating Paleolithic rock art of Foz Côa during a private tour with a local archaeologist.
Sip on wood-age and vintage ports during a private tasting at one of Porto’s premier wine cellars.
Itinerary - 11 Days
Day 1 — Arrive Lisbon, Portugal
Arrive in Lisbon and transfer to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city at your own pace.
H10 Duque de Loulé
Day 2 — Lisbon
Learn about the golden age of Portuguese exploration on a walking tour of the historic Belém Quarter and the ornate Monastery of Jerónimos. In the Alfama Quarter, glimpse the 17th-century splendor of the Azurara Palace, and get exclusive access to the onsite artisan workshops at the Museum of Portuguese Decorative Arts. Walk among the hilltop ramparts of St. George’s Castle, a Moorish fortress that dates to the sixth century; from here take in sweeping views of Lisbon and the Tagus River.
H10 Duque de Loulé (B)
Day 3 — Sintra
Venture northwest to the cosmopolitan Estoril coast, and stroll through the old town of Sintra, a World Heritage site that feels straight out of a fairytale. Unlock the mysteries of the enchanting Quinta da Regaleira, an estate riddled with freemason symbols and mythological motifs throughout its chapel, gardens, and underground tunnels. Before returning to Lisbon, drive along the sheer seaside cliffs of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park to Cabo da Roca.
H10 Duque de Loulé (B)
Days 4 & 5 — Porto
Take a scenic train ride to the wine capital of Porto and set out on a private walking tour of the World Heritage–designated historic center—a network of cobblestone streets, historic storefronts, and plazas built upon ancient Roman ruins. Visit the Church of Igreja de São Francisco, a Gothic landmark harboring one of Europe’s most lavishly gilded interiors, and the Palácio da Bolsa, notable for its granite work and opulent Arabian Hall. Continue the Porto experience at Taylor’s Wine Cellars, and sip wood-aged and vintage ports at one of the Douro Valley’s founding wine houses. Spend the following day exploring Porto at leisure.
Pestana Vintage Porto (B; B)
Day 6 — Marialva
Enjoy the passing scenery of the Douro Valley on a private transfer to Marialva. Learn about the prehistoric rock art of Foz Côa, a World Heritage site, at the Côa Museum. This evening, join a local archaeologist at Penascosa to examine ancient schist rocks. Enjoy a private tour of the area’s greatest concentration of Paleolithic engravings, and discover how layers of art appear in the shifting shadows.
Casas do Coro (B, D)
Days 7 & 8 — Madrid, Spain
Transfer to Porto and catch an international flight to Madrid, Spain. Join a guided walking tour of the city’s neighborhoods. The following day, visit the opulent Royal Palace with a private guide. Discover rooms adorned with paintings by Velázquez and Caravaggio, and stroll amid the manicured labyrinths and grand fountains of the palace gardens. Your tour culminates in the halls of the Prado, one of the world's premier art museums.
Hotel Totem (B; B)
Days 9 & 10 — Barcelona
Hop a train to Barcelona and transfer to your hotel upon arrival. Take a private tour of Antoni Gaudí’s intricate, as-yet-unfinished basilica, La Sagrada Familia. Continue your exploration of Catalan Modernism along the Passeig de Gracia thoroughfare, and marvel at the fantastical Casa Batllo, known locally as the House of Bones for its skeletal facade. The next day, join a private guide at the hilltop Parque Guell, a wonderland of mosaic tiles that offers panoramic views over the city. Taste tapas at La Boqueria food market, and learn about Barcelona’s thousand-year history on a guided tour of the Gothic Quarter, home to the magnificent Cathedral of Barcelona.
Hotel The Mirror (B; B)
Day 11 — Barcelona/Depart
Transfer to the airport for your international flight home.
About Private Expeditions
National Geographic Private Expeditions are specially crafted itineraries designed for independent travelers that combine guided excursions, fascinating insights into culture and wildlife, and top accommodations. Simply select a trip and decide whom you'd like to travel with and when you want to travel. We'll take care of the rest.
Prices are per person, double occupancy and are subject to availability. Single traveler prices are available upon request.
Flight between Porto and Madrid is additional $200 per person (subject to change). International airfare to Lisbon, Portugal and from Barcelona, Spain are not included in the expedition cost.
A holiday surcharge may apply to certain travel dates based upon international or local holidays, as well as local events and festivals.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.