Iberian Elegance 2015

Inclusions

    An expert Swissserene Tour Director - at the pinnacles of their careers, will smooth your way throughout your
    journey. They are your ‘travelling concierges', expert guides, consummate organisers and friends in a
    foreign land.

    Swissserene motor coach - Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with
    extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.

    Personal radio headsets - gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights without
    missing any of your local expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.

    Baggage handling everywhere - with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
    Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for
    foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
    Complimentary WiFi - the majority of Insight hotels have free WiFi access in lobby or bedroom areas. You
    will also find that WiFi is generally available on most touring coaches.
    Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each
    representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
    Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Day 1

Welcome to Barcelona!
Airport transfers depart from Barcelona Airport for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:00. Later, join your Tour Director for a
Welcome Reception and the chance to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.(Welcome Reception and Dinner)

Day 2

Barcelona, Catalonia’s Creative Capital
Meet a local expert who takes you on an historical journey through time, from Barcelona's Roman origins to the Middle Ages
and the cutting edge of visual art today. Start in the Gothic Quarter's medieval maze of streets and squares behind the old
cathedral. Then drive down the gracious Passeig de Gracia, past the wrought-iron street lamps and flamboyant buildings of
the Catalan Art Nouveau. Visit Gaudi's jaw-dropping Sagrada Familia, where mosaic spires pierce the sky like a giant jewelled
crown. Inside, a stone tree canopy holds up the roof while sunlight pours through stained glass on to sea-creature caverns. This
afternoon, come face to face with the genius of one of the twentieth century's most significant artists at the Picasso Museum.
From the thousands of pieces on show, your expert art historian imparts a deeper understanding of Picasso's formative years
and his relationship with Barcelona. Tonight, drive down to the Port Olímpic, for a delicious dinner in one of the waterfront
restaurants. A night drive through the city rounds off the evening, taking in some of the illuminated buildings, monuments and
twinkling views from the lofty heights of Montjuic.(Buffet Breakfast / Highlight Dinner)

Day 3

Drive along the Orange Blossom Coast to Valencia
Follow the sunny Costa Dorada to Peñíscola. Explore the lanes and white-walled cottages clustered around the sea-lapped
castle, used in the film El Cid. Continue through the famous orange groves to Valencia, where you see the ultra modern Centre
of Arts and Sciences. Circumnavigate the old town, past the City Gates of Serranos and Quart to reach your hotel. Maybe take
a stroll to the castellated Lonja (Silk Exchange) or the cathedral with its octagonal bell tower. Valencia is home to one of the
world's greatest dishes. Nowhere, but nowhere, will you eat better paella! Tonight, learn the authentic recipe in a fun cookery
demonstration and savour the flavours of this classic dish for dinner!(Buffet Breakfast / Highlight Dinner)

Day 4

Follow the Sierra Nevada to Granada and the Alhambra Palace
Heading along the Costa Blanca, Benidorm suddenly rises like Manhattan on the Mediterranean. Continue past the castle
at Lorca and troglodyte dwellings hollowed out of the soft rock at Purullena. Drive along the Sierra Nevada, with magnificent
mountain views and over the Mora Pass to reach glorious Granada. Overlooking the town is one of the most remarkable
fortresses ever built, the Alhambra. Explore this exquisite palace; a fantasy of stone cut lace, arabesque gardens and fountains,
built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century. Walk on to the exotic water-gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer
residence. Relax here in the sunshine and enjoy the fine views over the town and its three verdant hills.(Buffet Breakfast /
Dinner)

Day 5

Move on to Cordoba and Seville
Journey through folds of the silent sierras, past sun-kissed cereal crops, olive groves and vines, ingredients for the ancient
essentials of bread, oil and wine. You soon reach Cordoba, which knew its Golden Age under the Moors - the magnificent
8th century mosque (the Mezquita) with its 850 columns bears witness to their artistic genius. A local expert takes you inside
the mosque, which has been used as a Christian cathedral since the 13th century. There is also time to stroll in the tangled
streets of the Jewish Quarter and cross the Roman Bridge before continuing along the valley of the Guadalquivir River to the
stunning Andalusian capital of Seville.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 6

Seville, the City of Carmen
A traditional refrain runs: 'He who has not seen Seville, has not seen splendour', and that is still true today! Bathed in morning
sunshine, admire the majestic curve of the Plaza de España in Maria Louisa Park, decorated with colourful azulejos. Then
a local expert walks you through the narrow lanes and flower decked squares of the old Santa Cruz quarter. Later visit the
fabulous Alcazar Palace - a Moorish fantasy in stone, set in richly scented gardens. In front of you stands the massive cathedral
and slender Giralda Tower - once inside, visit the main chapel and tomb of Columbus. Then bask in the romantic aura of the
city with a pleasant horse and carriage ride through the atmospheric streets. As the sun's golden rays start to fade, enjoy an
intimate evening of fiery dance, food and music. Over a dinner bursting with regional flavours, a virtuoso guitarist and dancer
present the passion of Flamenco - one of the world's most dynamic forms of expression.(Buffet Breakfast / Highlight Dinner)

Day 7

Onwards to Glorious Lisbon
Head for the green slopes of the Sierra de Aracena this morning, where black Iberian pigs snuffle for acorns through peaceful
glades of oak. These noble ‘Pata negra' pigs provide the prized cuts of pork for the famous Jamón Iberico, and the most
sought-after hams hail from the village of Jabugo. Unravel the complexities of the time-honoured curing processes and savour
the depth of flavour as you sample wafer thin slices of this ruby-red wonder. Continue across the Portuguese border and
through the infinite horizons of the Alentejo Plateau. Once over the amazing Tagus Bridge, arrive in Lisbon, historic capital
of Portugal.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 8

Lisbon & the Age of the Discoveries
Guided sightseeing takes you along the avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco,
finest square in the city. You also visit the Belem Quarter from where sailing ships set forth to discover unknown lands. See the
modern Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belem Tower. Visit an old patisserie that has managed to hold on to
the secret recipe of Portugal's finest pastry for over 100 years and enjoy a demonstration and tasting of the famous ‘pasteis de
belem'. Later, travel out to the glamorous resort of Cascais and scenic hilltop Sintra – veritable jewels in the crown of Portugal.
After visiting the Royal Palace, return to Lisbon via the wealthy playground of Estoril with its famous Casino. Tonight, your
Freestyle evening gives you the freedom to dine as you wish - the cobbled streets, bars and restaurants of the Bairro Alto come
alive on Saturday nights or head for seafood restaurants down by the river. It's up to you.(Buffet Breakfast / Freestyle Dinner)

Day 9

Head to Holy Fatima and Golden Salamanca
Drive into the green hills north of Lisbon to visit Fatima, the most celebrated place of pilgrimage in Portugal. Visit the basilica
commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917. Then cross the border back into Spain and
continue to Salamanca, famous for its golden stone buildings. See the handsome arcades of the Plaza Mayor and Puente
Romano bridge across the River Tormes - 15 of its 26 arches still date from the time of the ancient Romans! Tonight, experience
the city like a local during your superb Dine-Around evening - small group dining, with mouth-watering menus at a selection
of handpicked restaurants.(Buffet Breakfast / Dine Around)

Day 10

Continue on past Avila to Toledo and Madrid
Journey across rock strewn hills, past St. Teresa's Avila, to Toledo. This was Spain's capital during the golden era, where
Arab, Jewish and Christian cultures flourished side-by-side in the Middle Ages. Visit a local Damascene workshop where
expert craftsmen inlay steel with gold, silver and copper thread, an ancient art perfected by the Moors and brought to Spain
centuries ago. Within the city walls, a local expert leads you through the narrow cobbled streets to visit the Gothic cathedral,
as impressive as it is old, housing works by the artist El Greco. Then visit the parish church of El Greco himself, Santa Tomé,
home to his most famous painting, ‘The Burial of the Count of Orgaz'. Now on to Madrid.(Buffet Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 11

Madrid of the Bourbons
Drive along the elegant, tree-lined avenues to the grandiose Cibeles Fountain. Turn down the Gran Via to see the monument
to Cervantes in the Plaza de España. Visit to the Royal Palace for a rare and enlightening look into the history and lifestyle
of the Spanish monarchy 'past and present'. Join a local historian to explore the extensive collection of armoury, porcelain,
tapestries, gilt mirrors, works of art and period furniture. Highlights include the gold and scarlet Throne Room and sumptuous
State Apartments. Continue through the Puerto del Sol to the magnificent Prado museum, housing masterpieces by El Greco,
Velasquez, Goya and many others. Walk with an art expert through the halls and galleries for an in-depth look at the world's
finest collection of Spanish painting. Make the most of your final night in the capital with a generous celebration finalé dinner
with regional wine, beer and soft drinks included.(Buffet Breakfast / Celebration Dinner)

Day 12

Depart Madrid
After breakfast, transfers arrive at Madrid Airport at 07:00, 09:00 & 11:00.(Buffet Breakfast)

Day 12

Depart Madrid
After breakfast, transfers arrive at Madrid Airport at 07:00, 09:00 & 11:00.(Buffet Breakfast)