New Year in Spain & the Three Kings Festival
10 Days departing Barcelona
- Join in the festivities of the Three Kings Festival
- Stay in authentic, character style hotels
- Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
- Guaranteed 'My Time'
- Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
- Personal group sizes up to 40
Experience a once in a lifetime New Year enjoyed in vibrant Barcelona followed by a Spanish Christmas ‘Fiesta of the Three Kings’ in romantic Seville. Take in the massive floats, music and street dancing of the Three Kings parade, enjoy the passion of the flamenco, the click of heels and clack of castanets… such emotion! What destinations! Wander through the Granada’s exquisite Alhambra Palace complex, and explore Cordoba’s extraordinary Mosque–Cathedral and whitewashed ‘Moorish’ alleys. Now add an Andalusian ‘Christmas lunch’ in Ronda, lunch in the snow-covered Sierra Nevada and a farewell dinner in Madrid - in ‘the world’s oldest restaurant’. What fun!
- Stay 2 nights over New Year in central Barcelona
- Take in all the major sights on a panoramic city tour & visit Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia
- Stay 3 nights in Granada in the amazing Alhambra Palace Hotel
- Explore the Alhambra Palace and the Gardens of the Generalife
- Relax with free time in Granada’s old town and Moorish Quarter
- Stay 3 nights in the heart of vibrant Seville
- Experience the magic of the Three Kings Fiesta and colourful parade
- Enjoy a Spanish ‘Christmas lunch’ on Three Kings Day in Ronda
- Experience a Spanish Flamenco dinner show
Day 1: Madrid
Your tour commences this evening in Spain’s cosmopolitan capital city, Madrid. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner in your hotel. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers.
Day 2: El Valle de los Caidos and El Escorial
We spend the morning in El Valle de los Caidos (The Valley of the Fallen). Set in the woodlands of the Sierra de Guadarrama hills, the enormous Basilica de la Santa Cruz is remarkable as it is actually underground – hewn out of a granite ridge which is topped by the tallest memorial cross in the world. We spend lunchtime amongst the leafy squares of El Escorial before visiting the massive palace monastery complex of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Later we continue to a hidden gem of a city – Segovia. This evening we have included dinner in a local restaurant to enjoy local Castilian specialties such as suckling pig.
Day 3: Segovia and New Year’s Eve
This morning we have included a guided walking tour to discover this amazing city. Dating back to Celtic times, the beautifully preserved hill top town revolves around the huge main square which is flanked by the massive cathedral, heritage buildings, picturesque restaurants and al fresco cafés. In one direction a winding street will lead you to the impressive Alcázar – the fortified stone palace that juts out on a rocky crag, surrounded by sheer cliffs. Down another street you will find the astonishing Roman Aqueduct that cuts high across the base of town. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore this splendid town. Tonight, welcome in the New Year with dinner and celebrations in your hotel.
Day 4: New Year’s Day and Toledo
A very leisurely start! Arriving in Toledo you will enjoy lunchtime at leisure before a local guide joins us for a city walking tour. Toledo has a wealth of monuments. Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together here for centuries hence it is sometimes called the “city of the three cultures”. Here you will find a city crammed with churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues. The highlight of your day will be a visit to Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo, which many consider to be Spain’s finest cathedral. This evening dinner is in your historic hotel.
Day 5: Granada and the Alhambra Palace hotel
Entering Andalusia, we drive to the famous old city of Granada where we stay two nights. This afternoon a local guide will join us for a walking tour of the picturesque old town, including the narrow white washed alleys in the fascinating old Moorish Quarter. Dinner tonight is in your wonderful hotel.
Day 6: Alhambra Palace, Generalife Gardens and ‘My Time’
This morning we are joined by a local guide who will take us through the incredible Alhambra and Generalife Gardens. With origins dating back to the 9th century and named for its reddish walls, this fortress complex looms high over the city. In the 13th and 14th century the Moorish Emirates built the famous Nasrid Palaces surrounded by lavish gardens and courtyards. Moorish poets once described the Alhambra as “a pearl set in emeralds”. This is one of the great sights of the world. Your afternoon and evening will be at leisure to explore Granada’s old town which boasts a mixture of original Arab and Christian architecture, and the Cathedral and Royal Chapel. ‘My Time’ to work up an appetite for tapas and a glass of local wine?
Day 7: Cordoba and the great Mosque
Reaching Córdoba mid-morning, we are joined by a local guide who will show us the major sights in the old city, and take us through the famous 8th century, UNESCO World Heritage Listed Mesquita – the Cathedral and former Great Mosque of Córdoba. Then you will enjoy ‘My Time’ exploring the old quarter and finding a characterful taberna to enjoy a leisurely lunch. Later we continue to Seville where we stay the next three nights. This evening we have included a special evening out to enjoy dinner and a traditional Flamenco show.
Day 8: Seville sightseeing, ‘My Time’ and the ‘Three Kings’ Parade
Welcome to the home of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro. This morning we are joined by a local guide who will take us through the enormous cathedral and bring to life this wonderful capital of Andalusia. To complete our visit we have included entrance to the Alcázar Royal Palace. Your afternoon is at leisure. The Santa Cruz quarter is famous for its narrow streets, flowered balconies and hidden patios. Here you will find the best tapas bars and cafés. Nearby is the famous Giralda Tower. As dusk approaches the streets begin to fill with the happy crowds awaiting the best Spanish Parade of the year – the Parade of the Three Kings. You will be delighted as a huge and colourful procession of massive floats and exotic figurines wind leisurely through the streets, along with costumed characters, dancers and musicians. Celebrating the arrival of the Three Kings (the 3 Wise Men) this is the traditional Spanish Christmas celebration, and a time of giving gifts, so don’t be surprised to see 90 tons of sweets and candies being thrown into the excited crowds.
Day 9: Festival of the Three Kings and a Flamenco class
Enjoy a traditional ‘Three Kings Day’ breakfast at your hotel including ‘Roscón de Reyes’ - a circular cake filled with delicious cream and decorated with brightly coloured candied fruit. Your morning is at leisure before we enjoy a special ‘Three Kings Day’ lunch in a local Andalusian restaurant. Later, how would you like to learn how to dance the real Flamenco? For those of you who are interested, we have included a special treat - we visit a genuine Flamenco Dancing School to try our hand at this flamboyant folk dance. Don’t wish to dance? Then come along and just sit and enjoy the spectacle, as watching the antics is even more fun! The remainder of the evening is free and the old town near the flamenco school is bursting with tapas bars, lively cafés and restaurants, perfect for ‘tapas hopping’.
Day 10: Évora and Lisbon
Driving into Portugal we stop at the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Évora where a local guide joins us for a walking tour to discover the town’s rich history which spans 2000 years. The compact centre of town is easily explored on foot and boasts a Roman temple, Moorish buildings, Christian monasteries and convents. Later we continue to the capital city of Lisbon where we stay the next three nights.
Day 11: Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery
We meet our local guide for a tour to see the major sights of this wonderful, historical city – from the Belem Tower, to the fairytale palaces and the Discoveries Monument, built on the north bank of the Tagus River. The highlight will be a guided tour through the Jeronimos Monastery. Later we will stop to enjoy coffee and Portuguese Pastel de Nata (small, soft custard pies – served hot). Your afternoon is at leisure amongst Lisbon’s grand sights, paved avenues, shops, cafés and colourful trams.
Day 12: Pena Palace, Sintra and Fado show
Today we visit the nearby Palace de Pena and explore the old town of Sintra. Dating back 500 years the Palace de Pena was originally a peaceful monastery until destroyed by an earthquake. Due to its fantastic hill top location Ferdinand II rebuilt it to be the luxurious summer palace of the royal family. With stupendous views – on a clear day you can easily see Lisbon – the palace is one of the greatest expressions of 19th century architectural romanticism in the world. We have included a guided visit through this UNESCO World Heritage site which is also classified as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Portugal’. Later, we will enjoy lunchtime in the delightful town of Sintra. Its noble villas and palaces prompted Lord Byron to say the town was “perhaps in every respect the most delightful in Europe”. The remainder of your afternoon is free back in Lisbon. Later this evening we have included a special treat! We visit the Alcantara quarter to enjoy dinner and a traditional Portuguese Fado show.
Day 13: Romantic Obidos, Nazaré and Sitio
Travelling north we enjoy a morning stop in medieval Obidos. Known as one of Europe’s most romantic medieval villages, you will find picturesque cobblestoned streets lined with colourful houses adorned with geraniums and bougainvillea and whitewashed churches – all of which is encircled by the walls of a 12th century castle. Lunchtime will be spent in the traditional fishing village of Nazaré. Here we have also included a funicular ride up to the overhanging village of Sitio, to take in the breathtaking views of the coastline. We continue to Porto where we stay three nights.
Day 14: Porto sightseeing, Port tasting, Tapas lunch & ‘My Time’
After a city tour with a local guide, we cross the River Douro to Cais de Gaia. The city’s stunning skyline is enhanced by the picturesque boats and the soaring Dom Luis Bridge. Here we visit one of the port wine warehouses to sample this famous brew and enjoy a tapas lunch. The rest of the day is completely free. Visit the Avenida dos Aliados – a sloping boulevard lined with grand buildings, and the medieval streets and dark alleyways of the Ribeira which meander down to the riverfront square (‘Praça da Ribeira’), the most picturesque spot in the city. Here you will find traditional boats moored by the quayside, overlooked by colourful trader’s houses.
Day 15: Braga, Bom Jesus and Guimarães
First stop on our full day excursion is in Braga where we take a funicular train up to the famous Bom Jesus Sanctuary. Built in 1784, this twin towered neoclassical church sits on top of a hill, above an enormous baroque staircase lined with chapels. Lunchtime will be spent amongst the medieval streets and historic monuments in the birthplace of Portugal – Guimarães. Later in the afternoon we sample Vinho Verde at the Aveleda Wine Estate.
Day 16: River Douro and Palace of Mateus
Heading east we will enjoy a morning stop to visit the baroque Palace of Mateus near Vila Real. You may feel like you have seen this Palace before and you might have! It features on the labels of the Mateus Rose bottle! Later we cross the picturesque River Douro at Régua. This section of the Douro is World Heritage listed, and here the hillsides are littered with Quinta – Wine Estates – sitting above vineyards that sweep down to the river. After a photo stop we will visit a local Quinta to enjoy a wine tasting and lunch. Later we continue into Spain and arrive in Salamanca where we stay two nights.
Day 17: Salamanca sightseeing and ‘My Time’
Salamanca has a largely pedestrian centre and the city brims with striking monuments and buildings such as the ancient university and cathedral, many of which are constructed out of golden stone. After a fascinating walking tour with a local guide, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Make sure you relax in a café on Plaza Mayor, one of the finest squares in Spain. This evening we have included a farewell meal.
Day 18: To Madrid
After breakfast we will transfer you to Madrid where your tour ends late morning. Drop off points will be the city centre followed by the airport. We recommend you book flights or trains that depart Madrid after 2pm.
Incredible Value Inclusions
- All excursions, tastings, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
- Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
- Travel in a first class air conditioned touring coach
- 17 nights authentic, specially selected hotel accommodation
- Hotel porterage (1 suitcase pp)
- 31 Meals – Buffet breakfast daily (B), 3 lunches (L) and 11 evening dinners (D)
- Tea, coffee, and a complimentary wine, beer or soft drink with all included dinners
- Special highlights - Flamenco dance class Seville, ‘Three Kings’ Parade
- Local guides as described
- Free WiFi on most coaches and at hotels
- End of tour tips to Tour Manager and Driver, tips for local guides
- Albatross Tours travel App
Parador de Segovia - 2 nights
Set on a hill overlooking Segovia, this first class Parador boasts amazing, sweeping views.
Parador Toledo - 1 night
Located on a hilltop position on Cerro del Emperador (the Emperor’s Hill), there are stunning 180° views from the hotel’s dining room, terraces and pool, across the old Arab fortress and the whole cathedral city of Toledo.
Alhambra Palace Hotel, Granada - 2 nights
Inspired by the beauty of Alhambra, the Alhambra Palace Hotel offers spectacular views across Granada and features Moorish inspired décor. Located just outside Alhambra Palace’s ancient walls, it is just a short walk to many attractions including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Albayzin.
Hotel Bécquer, Seville - 3 nights
Located in the centre of Seville, this excellent first class hotel is just five minutes’ walk from the historic centre and gothic Seville Cathedral.
Pousada de Lisboa Praça do Comercio, Lisbon - 3 nights
This beautifully restored first class hotel, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, boasts a prime location in the historic area of Terreiro do Paço – Praça do Comércio.
Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel, Porto - 3 nights
Located in the heart of Porto, the first class Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel has been World Heritage listed by UNESCO. The hotel’s amazing location allows easy access to all the major sights.
Hospes Palacio de San Esteban, Salamanca - 2 nights
This stylish hotel is set in a renovated convent and superbly located in the heart of Salamanca, five minutes’ walk from the Plaza Mayor, one of Spain’s most beautiful squares.
Dates and Prices
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