A Spanish Fiesta: The Three Kings Festival

How does an amazing 18 day tour encompassing all that is best about southern Spain and Portugal sound to you? And what about the fun you would have if your holiday was timed to incorporate Spain’s largest fiesta of the year? And what if it all happens at a brilliant time of year to visit – when the weather is superb but there are no masses of tourists. Is this starting to paint a picture? Well the good news is that Albatross Tours’ Spain, Portugal & the Three Kings tour does all that, and more!

We kick off this unique tour just before New Year in the gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Segovia before crossing into Andalucía to the city of ‘Carmen’, Seville. Here you will take part in the Spanish Christmas celebrations, which happen each year in early January. Confusing having a Christmas celebration just after New Year, I know. But let me explain…

 

Spanish and Hispanic children are very lucky

Three Kings Parade, Spain

Why? Because they get to celebrate Christmas twice each year! Santa comes bearing gifts in late December, and then 12 days later in the ‘Feast of the Epiphany’ they receive more! Called the ‘Día de los Reyes Magos’ (Three Kings Day) this festival celebrates the arrival of the ‘Tres Reyes Mago’ (3 Wise Men) into Bethlehem, bearing gifts. The Spanish love a good fiesta! They thrive on the celebration, the colours, the noise and conviviality. In fact the ‘3 Kings’ is their biggest annual festival.

Each year, on the evening of January the 5th, cities and towns all across the country hold massive parades and celebrations.  The Three Kings, often sitting on camels, lead a procession of giant colourful floats, singers, dancers, costumed characters and musicians. In Seville alone, 90 tonnes of sweets and candies are thrown out into the jubilant crowds. It is the time of gifts after all, and this really is a big event. The next day is the ‘Festival Christmas Day’ - time to relax, eat, drink and play. And with Albatross you do all four!

 

What a great time of year to visit

Lisbon, Portugal

Believe me, during the summer months the temperatures can really soar, tourist numbers certainly swell to bulging point and therefore fulfilling touring through famous sites can be, shall we say, ‘challenging’. So it is good to know it is in those cooler winter months around Christmas and New Year that the weather in southern Spain becomes perfect. Brilliant blue skies, pleasant days and cooler evenings, along with the absence of throngs of the tourist masses makes sightseeing and exploration at this time of year just right. Queues disappear; restaurants can take more care and the hospitality is more personable.

Let’s face it the sights are outstanding at any time of the year and here, the weather in January is perfect.  As is the food… mmmm Paella and Tapas washed down with red wine from the Rioja! It is certainly a great time to visit.

 

What incredible sights - at an uncrowded time

Alhambra Palace, Granada

Spain and Portugal – home and heart to two empires that stretched across the globe spanning centuries of conquistadores, galleons, castles and monasteries, port and sherry, Fado and Flamenco, the strum of the Spanish guitar, the click of heels and the clack of castanets. With so many world class sights the experiences become deep and memorable. Wander through the seductive gardens of Granada’s Alhambra Palace, stay in a listed heritage hotel beside the River Douro in Porto, sleep in an amazing Parador in Lisbon and explore Cordoba’s extraordinary Mosque–Cathedral. Now add ancient Toledo, timepiece Évora, Salamanca, Obidos and the summer palace at Sintra. And there is so much more!

 

Embark on a Spanish & Portuguese adventure

Pestana Porto Hotel Room

The selected hotels add depth and flavour to your holiday experience.  The two and three-night stays in a selection of distinctly Spanish and Portuguese ‘timepiece’ hotels, Pousadas and Paradors set the scene for the unique activities and inclusions you will experience.

With Albatross you will enjoy Portuguese pastries and coffee in Lisbon’s Belem district, catching the funicular from Nazaré to cliff top Sitio and lunch with a wine tasting by the River Douro in a ‘Quinta’ Wine Estate.

Commencing in Madrid on 29 Dec, this 18 day – the Spain, Portugal & the Three Kings tour is the complete touring experience through two extraordinary countries, with a vibrant street festival to be enjoyed at a perfect time of year.

euan's picture
Euan Landsborough

Euan Landsborough is the Managing Director and Tour Designer at Albatross Tours