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Paradores & Pousadas

Trip Highlights

You’re invited on a distinctive small group journey through the Iberian Peninsula to the intimate lodgings of Spain’s paradores and Portugal’s pousadas: medieval monasteries, historic fortresses, and stately palaces, each reflecting the spirit of its region. We feel the spell of Iberia’s rich Roman and Moorish past — and the pull of its vibrant contemporary life.

Exclusive departure: This departure is considered exclusive. The participants are U-M travelers, consisting of alumni, family, and friends.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Depart U.S

Depart U.S. for 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 Jeronimos Monastery, a masterpiece of Manueline architecture; iconic Belem 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 Alen tejo 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 site thanks to the many relics of its Roman and Moorish heritage. We sample Alentejo wines at a local winery then 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. We return to our parador, Ronda’s original town hall, for a special tapas lunch then the rest of the day is free for independent exploration. B,L

Day 11 – Ronda/Granada/Ubeda

Continuing our Lisbon’s Monument to the Discoveries journey, we travel today to Granada, the former stronghold of Moorish Spain set in the foothills of the snow-capped 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 Ubeda and our next parador, where we dine tonight. B,D

Day 12 – Ubeda/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. Then we sample some of Madrid’s specialties over a lunch of tapas. Our tour ends at the Prado, one of the world’s greatest museums, displaying treasures by Spanish masters Goya, El Greco, and Velazquez. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration in this most cosmopolitan city. Well known for its “foodie” culture, Madrid offers a bounty of restaurants for dinner on our own tonight. B,L

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

 

Show Full Itinerary

Your Journey

Paradores And Pousadas Map

By participating in an Alumni Association of the University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

(15 days)
Starting price: $5,074
Air inclusive from Detroit; Singles $6,369
Deposit per person: $500
Europe
Odysseys Unlimited
Type: Land & Cruise, Exclusive U-M Departure

You must be an Alumni Association member to travel with us. Questions? Call Michigan Alumni Travel at 855.764.0064.

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