David Gies, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish

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$4,595 per person, double occupancy, land only

$5,195 per person, double occupancy, air inclusive from New York

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Awaken your senses on an excursion to Portugal and Spain in the Spring of 2013, during which we will absorb the region’s many splendors and stay in some of the Iberian peninsula’s most storied and distinguished lodgings. From Portugal’s lovely capital, Lisbon, to the urbanity and sophistication of Madrid, our special two-week sojourn offers captivating sights, great food and memorable experiences. Visit Queluz National Palace; travel through the picturesque region of Alentejo with its olive groves, vineyards, and wheat fields; sleep in a 15th-century convent; tour Merida’s ancient ruins, the World Heritage site of Cordoba, Seville’s marvelous Moorish architecture, and Toledo, the capital of medieval Spain. In Madrid we’ll visit the majestic Palacio Royal, Plaza Mayor, and the world-famous Prado. A post-trip option to stay on your own in Barcelona is offered.

Program Highlights

  • This trip is limited to 24 people.
  • Explore Lisbon, touring the Jeronimos Monastery, Belem Tower and the National Palace of Queluz.
  • Visit Seville’s cathedral, the world’s largest Gothic building, and explore Madrid’s world-famous Prado.
  • Discover the Andalusia region’s many treasures: the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cordoba; Seville, known for its marvelous Moorish architecture; and Granada’s Alhambra and Generalife Gardens.
  • Conclude this amazing journey in Toledo, Spain’s medieval capital, and Madrid, its present-day capital.


David Gies, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish

David GiesDavid T. Gies is Commonwealth Professor of Spanish and former Chairman of the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at the University of Virginia. An expert on the literature of Enlightenment and Romantic Spain, and contemporary Spanish film, Gies has published 12 books and critical editions of Spanish literature. He has authored more than 80 articles and 100 book reviews, and has lectured at universities in the US, Canada, England, Italy, Germany, France, Argentina and Spain. He edits Dieciocho, a journal dedicated to the study of the Spanish Enlightenment, and has been awas lectured at universities in the US, Canada, England, Italy, Germany, France, Argentina and Spain. He edits Dieciocho, a journal dedicated to the study of the Spanish Enlightenment, and has been awarded numerous grants from agencies such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society and the Spanish Ministry of Culture. In 1992 he won the University of Virginia Outstanding Teaching Award. In 1999-2000 he served as Chair of the Faculty Senate, and in October 2000 he was awarded the highest recognition presented to a member of the University of Virginia community, the Thomas Jefferson Award. David also served as the Academic Dean of Semester at Sea.


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Depart the U.S. for Lisbon

This evening you’ll depart for Europe, with a connecting flight to Lisbon.

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You arrive in Lisbon today and transfer directly to your hotel to rest and relax, or perhaps to begin exploring the city on your own. Tonight meet your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and fellow travelers for a short briefing on the journey ahead and dinner together at your hotel.
Hotel Tivoli Lisboa

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This morning’s city tour includes a visit to the majestic Mosterio des Jeronimos, a monastery built to house some of Portugal’s treasures from the discoveries of Vasco de Gama and other explorers. And we see the nearby Tower of Belem, a symbol of Lisbon and the most photographed monument in Portugal. We also stop by the inspiring Monument to the Discoveries, commemorating Portugal’s seafaring and literary heritage. Then we head outside the city to tour the lovely National Palace at Queluz, the former summer home constructed between 1658 and 1758 that ultimately became the residence of Portuguese royalty. Dinner tonight is on your own; later you might wish to venture out to a local club to hear Portugal’s traditional, haunting Fado music.
Hotel Tivoli Lisboa

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We leave Lisbon this morning for Portugal’s Alentejo, a region of olive groves, vineyards, and wheat fields alive with colorful flowers. We stop for lunch along the way at a local restaurant in Monsaraz, a fortified hilltop town with just 150 residents. Continuing on our journey, we reach Evora late this afternoon. Here we stay at the lovely Pousada dos Loios, a restored convent considered the finest pousada in Portugal (despite its small guest rooms), where we dine together tonight.
Pousada dos Loios

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This morning’s walking tour introduces us to enchanting Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the architectural gems of Portugal. The tour includes a Roman ruin; the Cathedral of Evora, built in the late 12th century; Giraldo Square, one of Evora’s primary town centers; and the Church of St. Francis, home of the Chapel of Bones. An ancient walled town, Evora evokes living memories of both the Roman and Moorish periods of Portuguese history, with many streets so narrow they must be navigated on foot. This afternoon you’re free to visit the tiny shops and cafés that line the streets of Evora, and bask in the splendid scenery that surrounds you. Dinner this evening is at our pousada.
Pousada dos Loios

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We have a full day of travel ahead as we leave Evora for Spain. Along the way, we stop in the ancient city of Merida, once the capital of Lusitania (Latin for the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal), and a town that contains more Roman ruins than any other in Spain. You’ll have time here to explore the ruins of the old Roman Theater, soak in the atmosphere, and enjoy lunch on your own before we continue on to Carmona and our parador, a former 14th-century Arab fortress. We dine there together this evening.
Parador de Carmona

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Today we travel to Seville, perhaps the greatest city of the Spanish south and “home” of Carmen, Don Juan, and Figaro. One of the earliest Moorish conquests in 712, Seville has a number of excellent examples of Moorish art and architecture. Our morning tour here passes by the 16th-century Cathedral, the 3rd largest Gothic church in the world; and visits the Alcazar, the palace noted for its signature mudejar (Moorish) architecture. Then we enjoy free time on our own for lunch and independent exploration before we head back to Carmona and our parador late this afternoon. Dinner tonight is at the parador.
Parador de Carmona

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Today’s excursion is to Cordoba, capital of both Roman and Moorish Spain, and home to some of the country’s most important monuments. Our walking tour here takes in many of the highlights, including the atmospheric Old Quarter with its narrow winding streets, whitewashed houses, and revered Mezquita mosque. With more than 500 columns and graceful arches, the Mezquita incorporates Byzantine, Oriental, Hispano-Romanic, and Visigothic elements into its architecture. A center of culture and learning in the Middle Ages, Cordoba later became known as a city of both ancient and modern traditions. Following our tour we have free time for lunch and to explore on our own. We return to our paradore late this afternoon and dine there tonight.
Parador de Carmona

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We travel south today to the charming, unspoiled town of Ronda, located in a dramatic natural setting. Ronda is built atop the isolated perimeter of a high sierra at the edge of a dramatic gorge, with tall white-washed houses forming a majestic skyline. But perhaps the most wonderful sight of all is the view from our parador, Ronda’s restored medieval city hall, at the edge of El Tajo Gorge, more than 500 feet deep and 300 feet wide. This afternoon is at leisure to rest and relax or explore as you wish; tonight we enjoy dinner together at our parador.
Parador de Ronda

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This morning we set out to explore on a walking tour of Ronda, taking in the graceful cathedral of Santa Maria Mayor in the town’s Old Quarter; two 17th-century bridges; and the Casa de Mondragon, once home to Moorish kings. This afternoon is at leisure to relax and enjoy this delightful town on your own. Dinner tonight is at our parador.
Parador de Ronda

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Leaving Ronda this morning, we travel to Granada to experience perhaps the most extraordinary and best-preserved Moorish monument in existence: the Alhambra, the grand palace-fortress of Spain’s last Moorish rulers. In addition to its exquisite architecture, the Alhambra enjoys a unique setting high on a hill with magnificent vistas at every turn. Upon arrival in Granada there’s time for lunch on your own before we begin our tour of the Alhambra. We arrive early this evening at our parador in Ubeda and dine there tonight.

Please note: In addition to your one piece of checked luggage, you also will need to bring along a smaller, soft-sided carry-on or duffel bag for your overnight stay at Parador de Úbeda. This bag should be small and flexible enough so that you can pack it inside your checked luggage.
Parador de Úbeda

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We leave Úbeda this morning for Toledo, capital of medieval Spain. Home of the renowned artist El Greco (“The Greek”) who immortalized the city in many of his medieval paintings, Toledo has changed little in looks since the Middle Ages. Declared a Spanish National Landmark, the city is filled with testaments to its Roman and Moorish heritage, and boasts some of the greatest architecture in Spain. After lunch on your own here, we visit Toledo’s most impressive monument: the Gothic Cathedral, which was constructed over a period of more than 250 years, from 1226 to 1493. We also call on the Sinagoga del Tránsito which was erected in 1357 with imported cedars from Lebanon, just as Solomon requested when constructing the First Temple in Jerusalem. Our tour of Toledo concludes with a stop at Santo Tomé, home of El Greco’s most famous painting “The Burial of Count Orgaz.” Leaving Toledo, we continue on to Madrid, arriving late afternoon. After checking in at our hotel, you’re free for dinner on your own. And remember, Spaniards dine quite late, especially in Madrid.
Wellington Hotel

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Both historic and cosmopolitan, Madrid boasts an eclectic architecture to match. This morning’s panoramic city tour includes Plaza Mayor, the grand square in the heart of the city; and majestic Palacio Real (Royal Palace), a 2,800-room rococo residence that was home to the Bourbon kings from Charles III in 1759 to Alfonso XIII, whose abdication in 1931 preceded the rise of Francisco Franco. Today the palace is used only for state occasions. Among the attractions here: the oddly decorated private apartments, two-ton crystal chandelier, 140-seat banquet hall, and grand throne room. Our tour concludes at the Prado, one of the world’s greatest museums of fine art, where you’re free to explore on your own. Besides housing the most important collection of Spanish masters anywhere, the Prado also boasts a superb collection of works by Italian and Flemish masters. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure.
Wellington Hotel

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Today is free to enjoy Madrid as you wish. Stroll along the city’s broad boulevards; see Picasso’s famed painting “Guernica” at the Reina Sofia Museum; poke around the weekly El Rastro Market; visit the renowned Thyssen-Borneisza museum; or enjoy traditional Spanish tapas (appetizers) at a local restaurant. Tonight we gather for a festive farewell dinner.
Wellington Hotel

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Madrid/Return to U.S.

This morning, you’ll depart Madrid for your connecting flight to the United States.


This trip involves considerable walking on uneven or cobblestone streets. In addition, several hotels do not have elevators. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest.

We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. But sometimes unexpected obstacles, or opportunities, may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written. We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change. We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your departure


Though We will also examine the culture, art and architecture of the regions, in many ways this trip is about the historic lodgings in which we will stay.

Hotel Tivoli Lisboa:
Well located in the heart of Lisbon on the city’s main avenue, Hotel Tivoli Lisboa blends traditional Portuguese hospitality with contemporary amenities.  The hotel features two restaurants and a bar, including a rooftop grill; Internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; outdoor swimming pool; and fitness room.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Pousada dos Loios:
A former 15th-century convent lovingly converted into a hotel, this building features fine architectural details including decorative arches, a marble staircase, a cloistered garden, and frescoed walls and ceilings.  The Pousada dos Loios does feature a restaurant and laundry service.  Small but comfortable guest rooms have been converted from a monastic cell, but you won’t need to sacrifice your comfort to enjoy it, because your room is fully equipped with modern amenities, including air conditioning and private bath with hair dryer, Internet access, safe, TV, and phone.  The pousada has no elevators.

Parador de Carmona:
Converted from a 14th-century Moorish castle and overlooking the scenic plains of Carmona, this hotel features Internet access, an Andalusian Courtyard with Moorish columns and a fountain, a stone vaulted restaurant, laundry service, swimming pool, and garden.  Your room is equipped with a private bath with hair dryer, air conditioning, safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Parador de Ronda:
Originally a medieval town hall, this parador boasts a stunning location on a cliff overlooking a dramatic gorge.  It features a restaurant, Internet access, laundry service, and gardens with footpaths and sweeping vistas of the gorge and surrounding mountains.  Your room is equipped with air conditioning, private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Parador de Úbeda:
Located in the main square in historic Úbeda, this parador is a former 16th-century Renaissance palace that has been converted to an intimate and lovely lodging.  A beautiful inner courtyard highlights the parador’s public rooms; other amenities include a restaurant featuring Andalusian specialties, a bar, laundry service, and Internet access.  High-ceilinged guestrooms have air conditioning, private bath with hair dryer, safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Wellington Hotel:
This old-world style hotel is located in Salamanca neighborhood, near several of Madrid’s most prestigious boutiques.  The hotel features a swimming pool with terrace; Internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; wellness center with sauna and massage; hair salon; snack bar; and two restaurants, including a Michelín-rated Japanese restaurant and a grille room.  Fully air-conditioned guest rooms feature private bath with hair dryer, safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.


24 meals: 13 breakfasts, one lunch, 10 dinners

Program Fees

$4,595 per person, double occupancy, land only.

$5,195 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from New York.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1,295 per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes:

  • Exclusive departure for the University of Virginia
  • Small group size limited to 24 guests
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities if choosing the air inclusive program
  • 13 nights’ accommodations in listed properties
  • 24 meals: 13 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 10 dinners
  • Regional wine with dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described in day-by-day itinerary, including all entrance fees
  • Services of a dedicated Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout the trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides (if applicable), dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Does not include:

  • Airline taxes and departure fees (currently $662)
  • Gratuities for the Tour Director (left to individual discretion)
  • Anything not specifically listed as included

General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (February 21, 2013) before departure.

Not Included in Tour Price: Airfare if purchasing a Land Only package; costs of passports and visas; airport, port, and departure taxes, which will be listed as separate items on your invoice and are subject to change; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; excess baggage fees; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and shipboard personnel, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuity for your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director: $10-$15 per day per traveler); 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 prior to departure.

Cancellation and Refunds: 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 within 94 and 30 days prior to departure to either their departure city and/or the optional post-tour extension, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure.

Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, 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.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase 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 University of Virginia 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. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.

Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches and boats on your own. If you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs, you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. 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 University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.