Overview

Join professor David Gies on an exploration of Portugal and northern Spain on a spectacular itinerary that reveals the multitude of influences that have shaped the art, history, culture, and cuisine of this region. Our itinerary begins in Lisbon with its enviable coastal location, museums, and distinctive architecture including the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jerónimos Monastery, a masterpiece of Manueline architecture. From Lisbon, we’ll also explore Sintra, the summer retreat of Portuguese monarachs. Continue to Porto with its medieval cathedrals, Renaissance guildhalls, and Art Deco gardens. Located on a steep hillside overlooking the Douro River, Porto has been the capital of the wine trade since the eighteenth century. Enjoy a cruise on the Douro River and admire the orchards and vineyards that climb the hillsides. Learn about port wine during tastings at traditional country estates or quintas. Journey to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route with its beautiful cathedral and plazas. Our itinerary concludes in Bilbao, a port city in northern Spain surrounded by green mountains, it is the capital of the Basque Country, famous for the Frank Gehry-designed masterpiece Guggenheim Museum Bilbao with its distinctive curvy, gleaming titanium-clad façade. In the area, we visit San Sebastián taking in the fascinating Old Town and sampling culinary treats including a wide variety of local tapas, for which the region is known. Our day in La Rioja encounters an enchanting enclave of small fishing villages, lush green landscapes and rolling Pyrenees foothills where we will visit historic wineries including lunch at the restaurant of the famous Marqués de Riscal winery, also designed by Frank Gehry and a work of art on its own. At the conclusion of the tour, there is an optional extension to Barcelona.

Program Highlights

  • See Lisbon’s grand monuments reflecting its proud seafaring past.
  • Visit the gorgeous palaces and gardens of Sintra.
  • Explore the Basque Coast from colorful fishing villages to tawny beaches.
  • Relax on a boat trip on the Douro River with its surrounding terraced vineyeards.
  • Enjoy lunch at the famous Marqués de Riscal Winery’s Micheline star restaurant in La Rioja
  • Taste the world-renowned port of Porto and shop for pottery and embroidery
  • Be enticed by the beautiful crescent beach and sophistication of San Sebastián.
  • Appreciate Bilbao’s art and architecture and tour the famous Guggenheim Museum.

Faculty

David Gies, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish

Picture of David GiesDavid T. Gies is Commonwealth Professor of Spanish Emeritus at the University of Virginia and former Chair of his Department. He has published seventeen books, including The Cambridge Companion to Modern Spanish Culture (1999), Theatre and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Spain: Juan de Grimaldi as Impresario and Government Agent (Cambridge, 1988), The Theatre in Nineteenth-Century Spain (Cambridge, 1994), The Cambridge History of Spanish Literature (2004), The Cambridge History of Theatre in Spain (co-edited, 2012), Eros y amistad (2016), and The Eighteenth Centuries: Global Networks of Enlightenment (co-edited, 2017). Author of more than 115 scholarly and 140 book reviews, he edits DIECIOCHO, a journal dedicated to the study of the Spanish Enlightenment, now in its 42nd year. He has received the University of Virginia Outstanding Teaching Award, the Thomas Jefferson Award, and, in 2007, was named Encomienda de Número de la Orden de Isabel la Católica, a knighthood granted by His Majesty Juan Carlos, King of Spain. In July 2013, he was elected for a three-year term as President of the International Association of Hispanists, the world’s largest professional organization of Spanish scholars, and in September, 2015, he was elected Honorary President of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honorary Society. In 2016, he won the prestigious Anderson Imbert Prize from the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, and was named Corresponding Member of the Spanish Royal Academy in Madrid. In 2019 he joined the Board of the Dukes of Soria Foundation.

Itinerary

DAY 1 - Wednesday, September 30, 2020

DEPART the USA for Lisbon

Overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal. (Meals aloft)

DAY 2 - Thursday, October 1

ARRIVAL LISBON

Arrival in Lisbon, and transfer to our hotel. This afternoon we’ll enjoy a guided city tour of Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. Explore the Belém quarter to see the most beautiful and historical monuments from the 15th and 16th centuries. Stop at the Belém Tower—a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the point of departure of some of the Portuguese maritime explorations. See the nearby white, monolithic Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos ) a romanticized idealization of the Portuguese exploration. Then we’ll tour the Jerónimos Monastery– a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a masterpiece of the “Manueline” style. Along the river, we’ll arrive at Alfama, an old and traditional district for an opportunity to walk its narrow streets. Tonight, we’ll gather for a welcome dinner.

Hotel Lisbon Bessa Liberdade.  Dinner (D)

DAY 3 - Friday, October 2

SINTRA / CASCAIS

Today we’ll take a day trip to Sintra, a heaven of peace and greenery. For six centuries the town was the favorite summer residence of the kings of Portugal. There are three different areas that make up the town of Sintra: the old town (Villa Velha), grouped around the royal palace, the modern town (Estefânia), and the former village of Sâo Pedro. We’ll tour the National Palace which dates from the 14th century. The interior is interesting for its remarkable decoration of 16th and 17th-century ceramic tilework or azulejos. We’ll return via Cascais by the ocean and enjoy a lunch overlooking Guincho beach, the westernmost beach in Europe. On our arrival back in Lisbon, we’ll admire the city’s most important squares such as the monumental Trade Square (Praça do Comércio); the city’s center, Rossio Square and the symbolic Restauradores Square.

Hotel Lisbon Bessa Liberdade. Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

DAY 4 - Saturday, October 3

LISBON / NAZARÉ / COIMBRA / PORTO

This morning we’ll depart for Porto stopping in the fishing village of Nazaré blessed with a magnificent light, pleasing sun, fine white sand, and hospitable locals. The seven colorful skirts worn by Nazaré women have been worn since the days when they used to wait for their husbands to return from the day’s fishing trip. Today the town is defined more by the waves that attract surfers and beautiful underwater landscapes that attract divers. The lovely cove is protected by high cliffs, atop which the Sítio da Nazaré– reachable by lift – it offers a memorable view. At the Miradouro do Suberco (Suberco Belvedere), lose yourself in the spectacular view of the sea, the beach and the local houses. Next, we’ll stop in Coimbra to explore this historic university town, one of the oldest in Europe, and first capital of Portugal. Located on a hill by the shore of Mondego River, admire picturesque views of the medieval streets. We’ll continue to Porto where we will overnight.

Hotel Infante Sagres . (B, L, D)

DAY 5 - Sunday, October 4

PORTO

Enjoy a half day tour of Porto the second largest city in Portugal and the economic capital of the north. The historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Porto is a living amphitheater inviting us to discover the riverside area, old houses, palaces, churches that history has made eternal and Port wine, known worldwide. See the Saint Francis church and the Bolsa Palace. Visit one of the most famous wineries in Porto. The remainder of the afternoon is free.

Hotel Infante Sagres, (B, L)

DAY 6 - Monday, October 5

DOURO CRUISE

Enjoy a cruise along the Douro River that is full of unforgettable experiences of the Douro Valley region. We’ll pass through the heart of the Douro Valley, with slopes covered with vineyards. We’ll drive to Pinhao and take a rabelo for a one hour cruise on the Douro. After the cruise, we will have lunch.

Hotel Infante Sagres, (B, L)

DAY 7 - Tuesday, October 6

PORTO/ VIANA DO CASTELO/ CAMBADOS / SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

This morning we’ll transfer to Santiago de Compostela stopping in Viana do Castelo one of the most beautiful cities in the north of Portugal. This city was known for its involvement in the Portuguese discoveries and later on for cod fishing. We’ll cross the border over to Spain and then travel to Cambados which offers a unique wine experience of the full body and fruity Albariño wine – which captivates the palate of expert sommeliers. After lunch, we’ll continue our journey to Santiago de Compostela.

Hotel A Quinta Da Auga. (B, L, D)

DAY 8 - Wednesday, October 7

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

T

Today we’ll explore Santiago de Compostela the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia. The city was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO thanks to its monumental beauty, extraordinary conservation and fame as the final destination of a thousand-year-old pilgrim route. Since the 9th century, the pilgrim route, Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), has transformed this city into a meeting place of Western faith and thinking. The Renaissance and the majestic Baroque styles characterize the city’s architecture including granite monasteries, pilgrim hospitals, numerous churches, stately houses, and squares, where time almost stands still.

Hotel A Quinta Da Auga. (B, L)

DAY 9 - Thursday, October 8

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELLA / BILBAO

This morning fly to Bilbao. Since the early 14th century, Bilbao was a commercial hub that enjoyed significant importance thanks to its port and export of iron extracted from the Biscayan quarries. Today, Bilbao is a vigorous city that is experiencing an ongoing social, economic, and aesthetic revitalization process. Take a guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and a magnificent example of groundbreaking 20th-century architecture. The museum’s galleries are devoted to modern and contemporary art, including the monumental sculputure, “The Matter of Time.”

Gran Hotel Domine. (B, L)

DAY 10 - Friday, October 9

SAN SEBASTIÁN

What is not to love about this majestic city on the Cantabrian Sea? Located in the Basque country around the coast of the Bay of Vizcaya close to the French border, San Sebastián is one of the most renowned European towns known for its beautiful setting and food culture. This is an area of tiny coastline fishing villages off the beaten path with beautiful vistas, colorful ports, golden beaches, and green hills. Notable are the beaches of Ondarreta and Concha cradling San Sebastián with Santa Clara Island nestling the center of the bay. Explore the charming Old Town and the Parisian style Romantic Center filled with beautiful buildings from the 19th century. For lunch visit one of the foodie treasures of San Sebastian famous for its pintxos; culinary bites ranging from the original slice of bread piled with food, to tiny miniature haute cuisine creations. Going on your own “pintxos bar hopping” in San Sebastián’s Old Town is a great way to sample some of the most fantastic cuisines in the world and learn about local culture.

Gran Hotel Domine. (B)

DAY 11 - Saturday, October 10

LA RIOJA

Today we’ll travel for the day to La Rioja. This region borders the Basque Country (province of Álava) to the north, Navarre to the northeast, Aragón to the southeast (province of Zaragoza), and Castilla y León to the west and south (provinces of Burgos and Soria). The region is well known for its wines under the brand Origen Rioja. We’ll tour the Ysios winery in Laguardia (wine tasting), and Marques de Riscal winery (including lunch and wine tasting) at its famous restaurant, a work of art created by renowned architect Frank O.Gehry. Gaze out to the vineyard-covered hills surrounding this contemporary building and to the enchanting medieval village of Elciego. Gather for a farewell dinner.

Gran Hotel Domine. (B, L, D)

DAY 12 - Sunday, October 11

BILBAO AIRPORT/ USA

This morning transfer to Bilbao’s International Airport for flights back to the U.S. or continue on Barcelona Extension.
(B)

Barcelona Post-Trip Extension

Visit Barcelona, one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities of Spain known as the capital of Catalan Art Nouveau. Upon arrival take a panoramic walking tour. Barcelona is home to masterpieces by Catalonia’s most famous architect, Antonio Gaudí, one of the greatest innovators of his time whose distinct, whose whimsical style was greatly influenced by the free flow of nature. Take a panoramic view of the elegant Paseo de Gracia and vist Gaudí’s Casa Batló and La Pedrera. Then explore the Sagrada Familia, a spectacular basilica and the bizarre Park Guell, a UNESCO World Heritage site, both designed by Gaudí. Visit the city’s Gothic Quarter, walk a labyrinth of winding streets to arrive at peaceful plazas, excellent restaurants and amazing shopping in the boutiques on Calle Avinyo Calle Portal de l’Angel area. Explore the Central Market, also known as La Boqueria, one of the city’s many vital marketplaces for fish, meat and produce. Picasso also left his influence in this city. In addition, enjoy a free day in Barcelona to explore this colorful cosmopolitan city on your own

Accommodations

  • Hotel Lisbon Bessa Liberdade
  • Hotel Infante Sagres in Porto
  • Hotel A Quinta Da Auga in Santiago de Compostela
  • Gran Hotel Domine in Bilbao

Meals

Meals as specified in the itinerary. Please notify us if you have special dietary needs or requests and we will do our best to accommodate.

Program Fees

Main Trip
$6,845 per person, double occupancy, land only
A limited number of single accommodations are available for a supplemental fee of $1,490

Barcelona Post-Trip Extension
$1,890 per person, double occupancy, land only. (Airfare from Bilbao to Barcelona is not included). A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $460 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price Includes:

  • Enrichment lecturer
  • Internal airfare (Santiago de Compostela to Bilbao)
  • 4 and 5-star accommodations as indicated
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Bottled water
  • Transportation by private motor coach
  • Group airport transfers
  • Services of tour escort throughout the whole itinerary
  • Professional guides at all locations
  • Personal audio guides
  • Visits to museums and other monuments as described in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Guided field trips, excursions, and tours
  • Service charges and taxes
  • Wine with all dinners
  • Baggage handling
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers
  • Pre-trip notes including a Travel Guide
  • Customized luggage tags and name tags

Does not include:

International airfare; tip to tour director–at the passengers’ discretion (approx $10 to $12 per person/day), passport fees; individual/private transfers, room service, alcoholic beverages aside from welcome and farewell drinks and wine with included dinners; beverages not included as part of included meals, personal items such as laundry, fax or telephone calls, meals not indicated in itinerary, medical expenses, snacks, personal, trip cancellation, accident or baggage insurance, excess baggage charges or deviations from the scheduled tour are not included; airport taxes or security fees imposed after the initial pricing of this program are not included.

How to Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646. Or, e-mail cavaliertravels@virginia.edu with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $800 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. The final mailing will be done approximately 3 weeks prior to departure.

Deposits can be made via check or credit card.

Final payment must be paid by check.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

General Terms & Conditions

Cancellations and Refunds: Refunds, less a cancellation fee of $400 per person, are made if we are notified in writing on or before July 2, 2020. No refunds are made after that date. All cancellations must be made in writing. There are no refunds for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features.

Responsibilities: Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40), its owners and employees, act only as agents for the various independent suppliers and contractors providing transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services connected with this tour. Such travel and services are subject to the terms and conditions under which such accommodations, services, and transportation are offered or provided, and the University of Virginia and Royal Adventures and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability therefor. The University of Virginia and Royal Adventures assume no liability for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or other irregularity which may be caused by the defect of any aircraft or vehicle or the negligence or default of any company or person engaged in carrying out or performing any of the services involved. Additionally, responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, local laws, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws of the country in which they are provided. The University of Virginia and Royal Adventures reserve the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience or safety of the tour participants. They reserve the right to withdraw this tour without penalty. The right is also reserved to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour or to substitute another qualified leader or special guest. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. The price of the program is given in good faith based on current tariffs and rates and is subject to change. Any tariff, exchange rate, security surcharge or fuel increases will be passed on to participants. Neither the University of Virginia nor Royal Adventures accepts the liability for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable airline ticket. The air ticket when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the passenger and the airline concerned. As part of the consideration and right to participate in this tour, each participant will be asked to sign a liability release.

Trip Insurance: Your tour operator will include information on obtaining trip insurance in your confirmation letter. Please note that there is a time frame for securing trip insurance. The University of Virginia will cancel its endorsement of and faculty and staff participation in any program destination for which a Travel Warning is issued by the U.S. Department of State. Vendor Terms of Agreement will specify under what circumstances the vendor will cancel a program and/or under what circumstances participants might receive some reimbursement if they cancel their travel with the vendor themselves. The University of Virginia strongly recommends that all participants purchase trip cancellation insurance which includes protection in the face of political unrest, natural disasters, and personal emergencies and participants should discuss this insurance directly with the vendor or other travel services with whom they deal. You will find more useful travel information by going to the Travel Resources link on this website.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.