Northern Spain and Portugal have distinctive cultures and preserve the keystones of Europe’s history. This 19-day tour explores these regions in depth, from the Romanesque chapels, cathedrals and cloisters in Castilla, León and Asturias that bear witness to the Christian reconquest of the Iberian peninsula, to the devotion of pilgrims on the Camino, the Age of Exploration in Lisbon – once the centre of the world’s first global trading empire – and the modern revival epitomised by Bilbao’s stunning contemporary architecture. The tour is complemented by visits to premier wine regions and dining in some of Spain’s finest restaurants.
The history of Christian reconquest and pilgrimage along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela
Medieval architecture – shaped by pilgrims from France
Modern art and contemporary architecture in stunning locations
Inspiring landscapes: coastlines, lush river valleys and rugged mountains
The Age of Exploration and its legacy in Lisbon’s many layers of history and art
Celebrated regional cuisine: tapas, seafood and the fine wines of the Rioja and Rías Baixas regions
Frank Gehry’s extraordinary design at the Guggenheim in Bilbao
Wine-tasting at the avant-garde Bodega Ysios winery in the Rioja
The exquisite Romanesque and Gothic churches and cathedrals along the Camino
A mountain walk and lunch in the clear air of the majestic Picos de Europa in Asturias
Fine tapas in San Sebastián, and Spain’s most renowned seafood restaurant in Galicia
An exceptional range of museums and galleries in Lisbon
A visit to Sintra exploring exquisite palaces decorated with tiles
Days 1–3: In Bilbao, visit Gehry’s Guggenheim, the Museum of Fine Arts and San Sebastián.
Days 4–7: Explore the Rioja wine region, plus Burgos and León on the Camino trail: their Gothic cathedrals and Romanesque churches.
Days 8–10: Discover elegant Oviedo, walk its well preserved old town and sample the local cider.
Days 11–13: Arrive in spectacular Santiago de Compostela and enjoy seafood and wine in Rías Baixas.
Days 14–19: Travel to Portugal, with two nights in Porto and ample time in vibrant Lisbon, surveying leading art galleries and the Age of Exploration.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
We recommend flights with Emirates to Barcelona and from Lisbon, with connections to Bilbao. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
A detailed itinerary for this tour will be available in the coming months. Bookings are open for this tour, however if you would like to receive the detailed itinerary booklet once available, please register your interest below and we will send you a copy.
Dr Jeni Ryde
Has a wide-ranging knowledge of Italian history and cultural traditions. Jeni has a PhD focusing on Tourism, Heritage and Renaissance Studies.
Dr Jeni Ryde is a linguist and art history specialist with over fifteen years experience leading tours to Italy, Spain and Portugal. She is passionate about art, design and architecture both ancient and modern and particularly enjoys how both complement each other. Her special interests are the simplicity of the Romanesque and the breadth and depth of the Renaissance. When she is not traveling with Academy Travel she is able to indulge her interests in drawing, music and teaching the less fortunate.
Jeni holds two undergraduate degrees with majors in Anthropology and French and Interpreting and Translation with NAATI qualifications, two Masters degrees in Italian Linguistics and TESOL and a cross disciplinary PhD in Renaissance Art History, Tourism and Museum Management.
After an early career as an assistant director in film and television both for the ABC and BBC, she worked as an interpreter and translator and then as a senior lecturer at Western Sydney University with a focus on Italian language, history and culture. She was also head of the postgraduate programs in Languages and Interpreting and Translation. Teaching in Adult Education has included several courses in Renaissance Art History, the Italian language and Italian Cinema for U3A and other community organizations. Jeni speaks fluent Italian and Spanish and has an understanding of French and Portuguese.
Jeni first began designing and leading tours to Italy with her own company in 2002 in response to requests from travelers searching for small group tours with specific themes. She joined Academy Travel in 2009 and has since led many tours to various regions of Italy as well as Spain and Portugal.
We asked Jeni, what motivates you as a tour leader?
“I delight in being the catalyst for showing our travelers beautiful places and works of art and especially seeing their reactions – a tear in the eye before a moving painting, a sigh of wonder on entering a beautiful building, a gasp at the beauty of an exquisite landscape. This for me is the great privilege and reward of being an Academy Tour Leader.”
“Many travelers comment on my boundless energy and curiosity for paths less travelled. I like to think that people who travel with me are swept along by my waves of enthusiasm and are inspired to go beyond the obvious to explore and learn with me. I’m known for introducing many little surprises along the way! An added bonus for me is the shared experience of like-minded people enjoying each other’s company while traveling together.”
Hotels will be selected principally for their central location, often within walking distance to the museums, galleries and performance venues visited on tour. We generally use a range of 4-star hotels, suitable to group stays, throughout all our tours.
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.