PARADORES & POUSADAS: Historic Lodgings of Spain & Portugal

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.

Paradores & Pousades: Historic Lodgings of Spain & Portugal

Dates: May 19 – June 2, 2025

Deposit: $500

Land Only (transfers not included): $5,095

From San Francisco (air-inclusive)*: $6,374
($5,695 air & land inclusive plus $679 airline taxes and fees)

Single Supplement: $1,395

*Other cities listed on brochure, which can be downloaded on the overview tab of this trip approximately nine months before departure. Airline prices are subject to change, and airline upgrades will be additional to the costs listed above..

Please note, all prices are for a standard, double room unless listed otherwise.

Your Tour Price Includes:
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 13 nights’ accommodations: 5 nights in Deluxe hotels; 8 nights in First Class paradores and pousadas
  • 25 meals: 13 breakfasts, 3 lunch, 9 dinners
  • Regional wine with dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited 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

Book you trip today by filling out the form and emailing it to ietravel@ucsc.edu.

Travel Dates: May 19-June 2, 2025

Monday, May 19, 2025

This evening we depart the US for Lisbon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2025

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.

Accommodations: Corinthia Lisbon


Wednesday, May 21, 2025

This morning’s city tour includes the Jerónimos Monastery, a masterpiece of Manueline architecture and the place where, in 1497, Vasco da Gama and his crew spent their last night in prayer before leaving on their historic journey around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope; 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, perhaps with a visit to a local club offering Portugal’s haunting, traditional Fado music.

Accommodations: Corinthia Lisbon


Thursday, May 22, 2025

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 outside the fortified hilltop town of Monsaraz, we head to a local winery, where we learn about the wine making tradition in this region, enjoy stunning views of the vineyards, and of course, sample the delicious wine. Late this afternoon we arrive in Evora, capital of the Alen­tejo and site of our pousada. A restored 15th-century convent, Pousada dos Loios is considered one of the most beautiful lodgings in Portugal and the country’s finest pousada.

Accommodations: Pousada des Loios

(B, L, D)

Friday, May 23, 2025

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. The tour includes a Roman temple; the Cathedral of Evora, built in the late 12th century; Giraldo Square, one of Evora’s primary town centers; and the Church of St. Francis, home of the Chapel of Bones. This afternoon we are free to visit the tiny shops and cafés that line the streets of this “Golden Age” city, and bask in the splendid scenery that surrounds us. Dinner this evening is at our pousada.

Accommodations: Pousada des Loios

(B, D)

Saturday, May 24, 2025

Today we travel east through countryside peppered with the ruins of fortresses and castles to the Spanish border town of Mérida. Once the capital of ancient Lusitania (Latin for the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal), Mérida 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 built on the site of the medieval castle of Peter of Castile.

Accommodations: Parador de Carmona

(B, D)

Sunday, May 25, 2025

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 and where fragrant orange trees and flower-bedecked balconies delight the senses. It is also home of the re­nowned Catedral, the world’s largest Gothic building. After a tour that includes Alcázar, the palace noted for its signature mudejar (Moorish) architecture, and the Arab quarter, the afternoon is free to explore in­dependently. We return to Carmona late afternoon and dine at our parador this evening.

Accommodations: Parador de Carmona

(B, D)

Monday, May 26, 2025

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. Our walking tour takes in many of the highlights, including the atmospheric Old Quarter with its narrow, winding streets, whitewashed houses, and revered Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral. With more than 500 columns and graceful arches, the Mezquita incorporates Roman and Gothic elements into its architecture. 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.

Accommodations: Parador de Carmona

(B, D)

Tuesday, May 27, 2025

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.

Accommodations: Parador de Ronda,

(B, D)

Wednesday, May 28, 2025

This morning we take a walking tour of Ronda; highlights include the graceful cathedral of Santa Maria Mayor in the town’s Old Quarter, two 17th- and 18th-century bridges, and the Casa de Mondragon, which legend holds was once home to Moorish kings. We return to our parador, Ronda’s original town hall, for a special tapas lunch and then the rest of the day is free for independent exploration.

Accommodations: Parador de Ronda

(B, L)

Thursday, May 29, 2025

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 this afternoon we travel north to Úbeda and our next parador, where we dine tonight.

Accommodations: Parador de Úbeda

(B, D)

Friday, May 30, 2025

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, and the Sinagoga del Tránsito, erected in 1357 with imported cedars from Lebanon, just as Solomon requested when constructing the First Temple in Jerusalem. Our tour of Toledo concludes with a stop at Santo Tomé, home of El Greco’s most famous painting: The Burial of Count Orgaz. Then we continue on to Madrid, arriving late this afternoon. Dinner tonight is on our own, perhaps to dine late as the Madrileños do.

Accommodations: Wellington Hotel & Spa Madrid


Saturday, May 31, 2025

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. Among the attractions at the Royal Palace: the oddly decorated private apartments, two-ton crystal chandelier, 140-seat banquet hall, and grand throne room. 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.

Accommodations: Wellington Hotel & Spa Madrid

(B, L)

Sunday, June 1, 2025

Today is at leisure to enjoy the Spanish capital as we wish, perhaps to stroll along the city’s broad boulevards, see Picasso’s famed painting Guernica at the Reina Sofia Museum, poke around the weekly El Rastro Market, visit the renowned Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, or simply take in the vibe at a local café. Tonight we bid “adios” to Spain and our fellow travelers at a farewell dinner.

Accommodations: Wellington Hotel & Spa Madrid

(B, D)

Sunday, June 2, 2025

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


B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Corinthia Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal / Days 2-3 / Deluxe

The Corinthia Hotel Lisbon offers a sophisticated retreat in Portugal’s capital of Lisbon. The hotel houses a 33,000-square-foot spa space offering massage therapies, beauty treatments, indoor swimming pools, hot tubs, and a fully equipped fitness center. Other amenities include two restaurants and an indoor/outdoor lounge, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, solarium, and laundry and dry-cleaning services (for a fee). Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone. Please note that a bath cap is required for use of the swimming pool. Guests may bring their own, or the hotel will provide them at a cost of €5.00 per cap.

Pousada des Loios, Evora, Portugal / Days 4-5 / First Class

A former 15th-century convent converted into a hotel, this building features fine architectural details including decorative arches, a marble staircase, a cloistered garden, and frescoed walls and ceilings. Amenities include a restaurant, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry and dry-cleaning services (for a fee). Converted from monastic cells, the small but comfortable guest rooms have modern amenities including private bath with hair dryer, air conditioning, in-room safe, TV, and phone. Please note: the pousada has no elevators.

Parador de Carmona, Carmona, Spain / Days 6-8 / First Class

The Parador de Carmona occupies a 14th-century hilltop Moorish fortress. Its tiled courtyards, stone columns, archways, and exposed-brick interiors transport guests to the past, while its modern amenities offer the comfort and convenience of contemporary living. The parador features complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, an Andalusian courtyard with Moorish columns and a fountain, a stone-vaulted restaurant and bar, laundry service (for a fee), expansive outdoor swimming pool, and walking paths/gardens. Air-conditioned guest rooms include private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, minibar, TV, and phone.

Parador de Ronda, Ronda, Spain /Days 9-10 / First Class

The Parador de Ronda occupies a former 18th-century town hall and sits directly on the edge of the dramatic El Tajo Canyon. With gardens and footpaths offering stunning views over the canyon, Guadalevin River, and La Casa del Rey Moro, the parador features a restaurant, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry service (for a fee). Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, minibar, in-room safe, TV, and phone. Please note that guest rooms have either gorge or garden views.

Parador de Úbeda, Úbeda, Spain / Days 11 / First Class

Located in the main square of the World Heritage City of Úbeda, this parador occupies a former 16th-century Renaissance palace that has been converted to an intimate and lovely lodging. A beautiful inner courtyard highlights the parador’s public rooms; other amenities include a restaurant featuring Andalusian specialties, a bar, laundry service (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, minibar, TV, and phone. Please note: Our accommodations are located in the newer wing of the building.

Wellington Hotel & Spa Madrid, Madrid, Spain / Days 12-14 / Deluxe

This old-world style hotel is located in the Salamanca neighborhood, near several of Madrid’s most prestigious boutiques. The hotel features a swimming pool with terrace, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, laundry and dry-cleaning services (for a fee), wellness center with sauna and massage, hair salon, snack bar, and two restaurants, including a Michelin-rated Japanese restaurant and a grille room. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, minibar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.


Enjoy this bustling seaport, Spain’s cultural and commercial capital, with its medieval Gothic Quarter and popular Ramblas waterfront promenade.

4 days, 3 nights


Single Room Supplement:$395

Post-Tour Extension Price Includes
  • Air transportation Madrid/Barcelona, inclusive of airline taxes and fees
  • 3 nights’ accommodations at Hotel Avenida Palace (Superior First Class)
  • 3 meals: 3 breakfasts
  • Transfers to/from airport

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