Paradores & Pousadas: Historic Lodgings of Spain & Portugal

Travel with the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) on a special journey to Portugal and Spain from April 25 - May 9, 2019.

oportoTravel with the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) from April April 25 - May 9, on a special 15-day small group journey to discover the best of the Iberian Peninsula in both Portugal and Spain. Enjoy captivating sights, excellent cuisine, and memorable experiences. Highlights of the tour include: Lisbon sightseeing, Roman ruins at Merida, several UNESCO World Heritage sites, Seville, and Granada’s Alhambra and Generalife Gardens. Conclude your trip with a three-night stay in sophisticated Madrid.

Stays in distinguished historic lodgings across Portugal and Spain. This well balanced trip includes both guided touring and ample free time. Shared with a cosponsoring association, space on this program is limited to just 24 travelers in total and will fill quickly. Please contact us today to reserve your place on this unique and exciting journey!

Dates & Prices

Dates: April 25 - May 9, 2019

Rates: land only from $4,195* per person based upon double occupancy         

           air-inclusive from $4,978* per person based upon double occupancy ($4,295 air & land inclusive plus $683 airline taxes and fees from Boston and New York). Airline Taxes and departure fees  are subject to change until final payment is made.

*Rates will vary depending upon your departure city. Please see the program brochure for full details. Rates are per person based upon double occupancy.

Single space is extremely limited. If available, there is a single supplement of $1,195 per person. Please contact us to check single availability prior to sending your reservation, or to inquire about possible roommate options.

Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
Business Class – $3,595 per person; Premium Economy – $995 per person (upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change). Upgrade prices are in addition to the base economy air-inclusive rates from your chosen US departure airport.


Day 1: Depart U.S. for Lisbon, Portugal

Depart the US on overnight flights to Lisbon, Portugal

Day 2: Arrive Lisbon

We arrive in the Portuguese capital and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times vary, we have no group activities planned during the day. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner. (D)

Day 3: Lisbon/Queluz

This morning’s city tour includes the Jerónimos Monastery, a masterpiece of Manueline architecture; iconic Belém Tower; and the Monument to the Discoveries commemorating Portugal’s storied explorers. Then we visit the National Palace of Queluz, the former residence of Portuguese royalty now used for state occasions. After returning to Lisbon, the remainder of the day is at leisure to explore as we wish. (B)

Day 4: Lisbon/Evora

Leaving Lisbon this morning, we travel through the rolling hills of the agricultural Alentejo district, with its bountiful fields of wheat, fra­grant vineyards, and stands of olive and cork trees. After stopping for lunch in the fortified hilltop town of Monsaraz (pop. 150), late afternoon we arrive in Evora, capital of the Alen­tejo and site of our pousada, considered Portugal’s finest. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Evora

Our morning walking tour of Evora introduces us to the many charms of this architectural gem – a university town, prosperous regional capital, and UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to the many relics of its Roman and Moorish heritage. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy this “Golden Age” city as we wish. (B,D)

Day 6: Evora/Merida, Spain/Carmona

Today we travel east through countryside peppered with the ruins of fortresses and castles to the Spanish border town of Merida. Once the capital of ancient Lusitania (Latin for the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal), Merida boasts outstanding Roman ruins. There’s time to ­explore and eat lunch on our own before we continue on to Carmona and our parador, a restored 14th-century Arab fortress. (B,D)

Day 7: Carmona/Seville

This morning we visit splendid Seville, Moorish capital of Spain’s Andalusia region and city of beauty and romance. This is the place that inspired Carmen and Don Giovanni; where fragrant orange trees and flower-bedecked balconies delight the senses; and home of the re­nowned Catédral, the world’s largest Gothic building. After a tour that includes the Alcazar palace and the Arab quarter, the afternoon is free to explore in­dependently. We return to Carmona late afternoon and dine at our parador this evening. (B,D)

Day 8: Carmona/Cordoba

Today’s visit to this cultural gem promises to be special indeed. First the capital of Roman Spain, then of Moorish Spain, Cordoba features some of the country’s most impor­tant monuments, including the Old Quarter built around the magnificent Mezquita mosque. It was here that the Moors ruled from the 8th to the 11th centuries and fostered a culture of learning and relig­ious harmony known the world over. Cordoba also is home to Andalusia’s only synagogue to survive the expulsion of Spain’s Jews in the 15th century. After touring these and other highlights we have free time to explore on our own. Late this afternoon we return to our parador, where we dine tonight. (B,D)

Day 9: Carmona/Ronda

Leaving Carmona this morning we travel south to tiny Ronda, one of Spain’s oldest and most aristocratic towns. It’s set high in the mountains with whitewashed houses clinging improb­ably to the edge of El Tajo Gorge – 500 feet deep and 300 feet wide. (B,D)

Day 10: Ronda

This morning we take a walking tour of Ronda. Then the rest of the day is free for independent exploration. Tonight we dine on regional specialties at our parador, Ronda’s original town hall. (B,D)

Day 11: Ronda/Granada/Úbeda

Continuing our journey, we travel today to Granada, the former stronghold of Moorish Spain set in the foothills of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada. The city’s undisputed highlight is the Alhambra, the extraordinary palace of Spain’s last Moorish rulers. Sprawled across a hilltop above the Darro River, the Alhambra commands breathtaking views of the city below, as we see on our afternoon tour of this splendid citadel. We also visit the Granadian-style Generalife, the palace’s acclaimed gardens. Late afternoon we travel north to Úbeda and our next parador, where we dine tonight. (B,D)

Day 12: Úbeda/Toledo/Madrid

A highlight is in store today as we visit Toledo, capital of medieval Spain. Declared a Spanish National Landmark, the city is little changed visually from its 16th-century days as a subject for the artist El Greco. Toledo boasts an incomparable hilltop setting overlooking the Castillian plains and surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River. After lunch on our own we see Toledo’s most important sights on our guided tour, including the massive Gothic Cathedral begun in 1226 and not finished until 1493. Then we continue on to Madrid, arriving late afternoon. Dinner tonight is on our own; perhaps to dine late as the Madrileños do. (B)

Day 13: Madrid

Our morning tour of this monu­mental and dignified capital city includes vast Plaza Mayor, in the heart of Old Madrid; the Moorish medieval district; and opulent 18th-century Palacio Real (Royal Palace), with its 2,800 rooms. Our tour ends at the Prado, one of the world’s greatest museums, where we’re free to explore on our own. Displaying treasures by Spanish masters Goya, El Greco, and Velazquez, the Prado also houses an impor­tant collection of Flemish and Italian master­pieces. The remainder of the day is free for independ­ent exploration in this cosmopolitan city. (B)

Day 14: Madrid

Today is at leisure to enjoy the Spanish capital as we wish. Tonight we bid “Adios” to Spain and our fellow travelers at a farewell dinner. (B,D)

Day 15: Depart for U.S.

We transfer to the airport this morning for our connecting flights to the U.S. (B)

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking up hills or stairs, and on uneven or cobblestone streets. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy this trip to the fullest.

B = Breakfast included    L = Lunch included    D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes:

  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities for air-inclusive particpants
  • 13 nights’ accommodations: 5 nights in Deluxe and Superior First Class hotels; 8 nights in First Class paradores and pousadas
  • 24 meals: 13 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 10 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of aprofessional tour director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

What’s not included:
Taxes; passport, visas and associated fees; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; excess baggage charges on aircraft; transfers and baggage handling to/from hotel on day of arrival and/or departure if you have booked as a "land only" participant or if you are arriving earlier or later than and/or departing earlier or later than the scheduled group transfer(s); any overnight on land due to flight schedule(s); meals, alcoholic or other beverages and all other services not specifically mentioned in the “Included Features” section of the program brochure.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at for more details.