OLLI Past Travel Programs

Spain and Portugal: A Cultural and Historical Immersion

Dates: September 22-October 2, 2018
Number of Participants: 20 minimum
***Registration is now closed***
Travel arrangements through Milne Educational Tours

Trip Itinerary (PDF)
 
**Itinerary subject to change.

Picturesque Spain
Photo Credit: Milne Travel

Follow a gastronomic trail of tapas, innovative art, architectural wonders and centuries-old culture on this incredible tour through Spain and Portugal. Visit cosmopolitan metropolises, sleepy seaside villages, quaint towns set amid rolling green hills and atmospheric medieval citadels along the way. Admire the masterpieces of Picasso, Dali and Gaudi, experience the passion of flamenco, taste some of the best port in the world and be graced by the style and sophistication of Madrilenos and Lisboetas. This history- and culture-packed adventure flaunts the very best of Spain and Portugal.

The tour commences in Madrid, the Spanish capital since 1562 located in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula. It is a lively, cosmopolitan city, the seat of government, an important business center and the residence of the Spanish monarchy.

Explore its wide boulevards and expansive, manicured parks renowned for its rich repositories of European art, including the Prado Museum with works by Goya, Velázquez, Picasso and other Spanish masters.

Learn how to make paella, the iconic Spanish rice dish that includes different combinations of vegetables and meats, characteristically seasoned with saffron.

Fountains in Spain
Photo Credit: Milne Travel

We travel to the southern Spanish Province of Andalusia with our first stop in Cordoba, lying on a sweep of the Rio Guadalquivir. Enjoy walking through the winding whitewashed Juderia (Jewish quarter), and jasmine filled patios. This was an important Roman city and a major Islamic center in the Middle Ages. It’s best known for La Mezquita mosque, one of the world’s greatest works of Islamic architecture dating back to the 10th century, with a prayer hall that rests on 856 columns, exquisite Byzantine mosaics of gold, and an orange grove in the courtyard.

The journey continues to Granada, the land of a thousand castles. Explore this city which lies in the foothills of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains. There we will find one of the greatest relics of the Islamic occupation of Spain, the Alhambra. This sprawling hilltop fortress complex encompasses royal palaces, serene patios, and reflecting pools from the Nasrid dynasty, as well as the fountains and orchards of the Generalife gardens.

Next we arrive in Seville, the essence of all things Andalucian, a city of exuberant street life and spontaneity, of orange trees and Moorish architecture. Major landmarks include the ornate Alcázar castle complex, built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty, and the Gothic Cathedral, the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb and a minaret turned bell tower, the Giralda. Experience a fiery flamenco performance.

On departing Seville we make a short stop in Jerez to visit a leading Sherry producer for a tour of the winery and a tasting. Continue to the luminous shores of the Algarve – Portugal’s southernmost, south facing province before heading north through the fertile lands of the Alentejo region stopping off in the beautifully preserved medieval town of Evora, a World Heritage site and old Roman settlement.

The tour concludes in Lisbon – Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city. The Lonely Planet describes Lisbon: “Seven cinematic hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo cradle Lisbon’s postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins and white-domed cathedrals – a captivating recipe crafted over centuries.” From imposing São Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. A tour of the city will also include the Belem Tower, the Monument to the Discoveries and Jeronimos Monastery, with its elaborate carvings and sculptures designed to showcase the glorious wealth that the age of exploration brought to the Portuguese empire.

Don’t miss this opportunity to travel with your OLLI friends! Register today! For detailed information about this educational travel program…

Price of Trip: $3750, per person, double occupancy – based on 20 min participants. $785 single supplement.

Note: If you are a single person who would like to request a roommate to avoid the single supplement, please choose that option on the registration form. We will do our best to fulfill this request but cannot guarantee it.

Price Includes

  • 9 nights hotel accommodation 3 / 4 star hotels.
  • Buffet breakfasts daily (9) at hotel, 4 lunches, 6 dinners (including 1 glass wine/beer with dinners)
  • Coach transportation(with A/C & WC) including road tolls and parking fees as per itinerary
  • Entrances to Prado Museum, Meqzuita Cordoba, Alcazar Cordoba, Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, Seville Cathedral & Giralda, Alcazar Seville, Jeronimos Monastery & Belem Tower Lisbon
  • Lecture by local University Professor
  • Cookery demonstration (Madrid)
  • Vineyard visit and wine tasting (Valdepeñas)
  • Sherry Bodega and tasting (Jerez)
  • Companhia das Lezirias state run farm (Alentejo)
  • Guided tours of Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Lisbon
  • 1 Flamenco Show (Seville)
  • English speaking guide to accompany group throughout (in country)
  • Porterage of 1 piece of luggage per person
  • Gratuities for drivers and guides
  • Taxes, service charges for all included services
  • 2 Bottles of water per person per day on coach
  • Whisper headsets for the entire tour duration

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare (arranged through Milne Educational Tours)
  • Travel insurance (required and will need to be purchased through Milne Travel)
  • Personal Expenses e.g. telephone calls, bar bills/room service, laundry etc.
  • Customary gratuities for hotel staff

Historic Buildings in Spain
Photo Credit: Milne Travel

Requirements

Please read the following requirements to ensure this trip is a good match for you. Program Directors reserve the right to modify participation or send travelers home if their limitations impact the group’s experience.

A reasonable degree of physical fitness and stamina is required and travelers should be able to meet the following criteria:

  • Ability to walk on uneven walking surfaces, unpaved paths, steep hills, stairs, uneven pavement and cobblestones, with distances ranging from three blocks up to four miles unassisted at a time at a 2 mph pace or opt out of the activities that involve a lot of walking.
  • Participate in 3-4 hours of physical activities daily
  • Ability to climb several flights of stairs (many do not have railings)
  • Ability to handle own luggage
  • Ability to handle the stress that can come with international travel
  • Enjoyment of group travel, group decision-making processes, and flexibility with schedules
  • Trip insurance is required and will need to be purchased through Milne Travel

Climate

At this time of year, temperatures in the region ranges from 65° to 85° F. We will send a packing list of essentials once the trip is a go.

All OLLI Travel participants must be OLLI members.

*Round-trip group air travel out of Burlington will be arranged through Milne Educational Tours after group minimum is met. Group travel insurance (required and quoted by age) will be provided along with the group air reservation. Current group air rates starting from $1,000 per person. The lowest group air rates available for your itinerary will be provided. NOTE: Depending on cost/availability, round-trip group air travel may be out of Boston with ground transportation to/from Boston airport arranged through Milne Educational Tours.