Trail of Columbus
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Lisbon, Portugal
History. Culture. Food. And some seriously booty-burning hills. Dump your stuff at the hostel, say olá to your Trip Leader and strap in for a combo walking-driving tour around this electric city. Head to Belém and tick off the likes of Jerónimos Monastery, Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument and the World Heritage-listed Belém Tower. Then: it’s past the Monumento aos Restauradores, through Praça Dom Pedro IV and across Praça do Comércio to tonight’s included dinner with the gang. We may be a mixed bunch, but we’re all in it together – the way it should be.
Day 2 - Lisbon
Today is your day, your way. Spend your free time ticking off those bucket list items AND exploring the backstreets. Beat the crowds and get up early to ride Lisbon’s famous yellow 28 tram. Check out the winding medieval maze that is Alfama (Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood). Venture up to São Jorge Castle for epic views and a history lesson on Moorish culture. Check out the colourful street art in Mouraria. Then grab yourself some pastéis de nata (binge-worthy custard tarts) and relax in the Botanical Gardens. Fact: this place was built by a Portugese king who wanted one of every type of plant in the world (meaning: boho vibes galore). Tonight, dinner is on you but head to the Time Out Market and you’re guaranteed to find something totally drool-worthy. Then: wind things up at a cosy rooftop wine bar in Bairro Alto or scouting out some traditional fado music. This is what you came for.
Day 3 - Lisbon to Porto via Sintra
No guesses on what Porto is famous for. But before your inner wine connoisseur gets too excited – we’ll make a stop in the fairytale town of Sintra. You’ll have plenty of free time to check out this UNESCO World Heritage-listed town in all its glory – ticking off the likes of the Castle of the Moors and the technicolour Pena Palace (pssst book your tix in advance). Make some time to stop off at Fábrica das Verdadeiras Queijadas da Sapa – they’ve been serving queijadas (small pastries filled with goodness) since 1756. Then: we’ll roll onto Porto. Dinner tonight is on us, so tuck in and fuel up – you'll need your energy for tomorrow.
Day 4 - Porto
Time to delve a bit deeper – lace up those Nikes, we’re gonna take a look around Porto’s medieval streets, quirky alleyways and picture-perfect port. Pass by Port Cathedral. Gape at Palácio da Bolsa. Count your blessings at San Francisco Church. And check out the hand-painted azulejos (colourful tiles) in San Bento Station. Then: the rest is up to you – but we reckon an optional cruise down the mighty Douro River is the best way to spend the afternoon. Or you can head to Matosinhos Beach to work on those European tan lines. Later, tickle your taste buds with an optional port wine tasting experience before hitting one of the local rooftop bars for allll the views.
Day 5 - Porto to Madrid, Spain
Today it’s up and onwards to the old haunts of Picasso, Dalí, Miró and a whole bunch of other enviably creative artists – Madrid, we’re coming for you. Our in-the-know Trip Leader will help us get better acquainted with the Spanish capital on a driving tour – ticking off the likes of the Royal Palace, Temple of Debod, Plaza Mayor and Mercado de San Miguel. Then? Tuck into an included dinner with the gang before hitting the d-floor in trendy Chueca.
Day 6 - Madrid
You wanted more time to explore – so here’s a free day we prepared earlier. Go get it. Check out the Royal Palace: the home of one of Europe's oldest monarchies. Stroll through the expansive Plaza Mayor. Get your tapas fix along Calle de Cave Baja. Make eyes at the masterpieces in Museo del Prado (aka Madrid’s Louvre). Take in all the views from Palacio de Cibeles. Grab yourself some churros and take a stroll around El Retiro Park. There’s even an optional food tour on offer, if that’s your thing. Then: seek out a buzzing bistro for dinner in the Malasaña district – an über trendy neighbourhood with a unique character and a provocative past. Ready for round two of chocolate-covered churros? No judgement here.
Day 7 - Madrid to San Sebastián via Segovia
Next up: San Sebastián. On the way, we’ll swing by the Valley of the Fallen – a memorial to those killed during the Spanish Civil War. Then: roll into World Heritage-listed Segovia to check out the Aqueduct, Cathedral and Disney-like Alcázar de Segovia castle. Grab lunch, down your coffee and jump back on the coach – the beachside buzz of San Seb is calling. Getting hangry? Head to Bar Borda Berri and order the slow roasted beef – it's melt-in-your-mouth good. And for the best vibes after dark, make a bee-line for Plaza de la Constitució. What. A. Day.
Day 8 - San Sebastián
Forget hitting snooze, this Basque hotspot is begging to be explored. Get your bearings on an orientation tour around town. DW our in-the-know Trip Leader will point out the best pintxos places along the way. Then the rest is up to you. Join the crowd of beachgoers at La Concha. Hit the surf with the locals. Jump on a ride at one the oldest theme parks in the world. Or take a cold beer up Urgull Hill for incredible views over the bay. Later, choose your pants wisely – if you’re embarking on a pintxos-bar-crawl through Old Town tonight, you’re gonna’ need a LOT of room.
Day 9 - San Sebastián to Barcelona via Zaragoza
Quick maths: this is our last full day. So, make every second count. We’ll make a pit stop in one of the most underrated cities in Spain: Zaragoza. Check out the impressive Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, stroll past the ancient Roman walls and grab a bite to eat at the historic Central Market. After, we’ll get the run around Barça on a driving tour before heading to dinner with the gang. Grab your glass of sangria and get cheers-ing. This has been one incredible adventure.
Day 10 - Barcelona
Should you stay or should you go? Your call, but we're outta here after breakfast. Swap those socials and get planning that reunion trip – who’s up for round two next year?
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