Day 1Arrive in Lisbon, Portugal
Welcome to Portugal! Check into your hotel, and tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Henry the Navigator made Lisbon the 15th-century “Mistress of the Seas.” On your guided sightseeing tour you’ll see the enormous monument to him, as well as the fortified 16th-century Belém Tower, the Moorish citadel, impressive Black Horse Square, and visit the Cathedral La Sé and Jerónimos Monastery, which dates back to the mid-1400s. Later, head north for a stop in Alcobaça to visit the 12th-century Church of Santa Maria Monastery, built for 999 Cistercian monks and one of the most important medieval monasteries in Portugal. In the late-afternoon, arrive in Fátima, site of one of the world’s most famous Catholic shrines. This evening, why not join the rosary and candlelight procession at the Our Lady of Fátima Basilica? (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning, after Mass at the Sanctuary, time to visit the Our Lady of Fátima Shrine with the tombs of the visionaries, and the Chapel of the Apparitions, made famous by the Virgin Mary’s apparition to three shepherd children—Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia—on May 13, 1917. This afternoon, time to explore on your own, or join a guided optional excursion. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 4Fátima–Braga–Santiago De Compostela, Spain
Journey north this morning and stop in Braga, one of the oldest Christian cities in the world and nicknamed the “Portuguese Rome.” Visit the Bom Jesus do Monte (Good Jesus of the Mount) sanctuary and see the unique zigzag stairway that is dedicated to the five senses—sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste—and the three theological virtues—faith, hope, and charity. Later, cross into Spain and head for Santiago de Compostela. Visit St. James' Cathedral and attend the rosary and Mass. Santiago de Compostela has been known throughout history for the key 9th-century pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James, to its cathedral, which houses the Apostle James’ remains beneath the high altar. (Breakfast)
Day 5Santiago De Compostela–Burgos
Today, travel to Burgos, the historic capital of Old Castile. Your visit, upon arrival, takes you to the magnificent cathedral, a masterpiece of gothic architecture and the burial place of Spanish national hero El Cid. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 6Burgos–San Ignacio De Loyola–Lourdes, France
Travel through the Basque region toward Lourdes. En route, attend Mass at the 17th-century Sanctuary of Loyola, built in honor of San Ignacio de Loyola, founder of the Jesuit religious order. See its spectacular dome and main altarpiece, built in marble and jasper. Cross the border into France, and overnight in Lourdes, home to another of the world’s most famous places of pilgrimage. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Today’s guided walking tour includes the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858, Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, Bernadette’s birthplace, and her family home. The afternoon is at leisure to further explore this little market town that became a pilgrimage place of world renown during the 19th century. Attend Mass. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 8Lourdes–Carcassonne–Barcelona, Spain
Leave France this morning and head for the French-Spanish border. En route, visit fortified Carcassonne, founded by the Visigoths in the 5th century and the most medieval-looking city in France. See the ramparts, castle walls, and drawbridges that are still well preserved from the Middle Ages. Overnight in Catalonia’s lively and beautiful capital, Barcelona. (Breakfast)
Guided sightseeing includes a drive around Montjuïc to see the Olympic Stadium and a great panoramic view of the port and city. Continue to the city center to Plaza Catalunya and Paseo de Gracia to admire the fascinating eccentricity of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces in Houses Battló and Mila and the Sagrada Familia (entrance fees not included). Join the optional excursion to Montserrat, situated 4,055 feet above sea level in a mountain range composed of strikingly pink conglomerate, a form of sedimentary rock, and site of the Benedictine abbey that hosts the Virgin of Montserrat Sanctuary, patron saint of Catalonia. (Breakfast)
Enjoy vistas of the Spanish countryside as you drive to Saragossa, situated on the banks of the River Ebro. Stop for a visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar. Later, continue to Madrid, the capital of Spain. (Breakfast)
Situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spanish rightly say that Madrid is the nearest thing to Heaven. Guided sightseeing today includes a full panoramic drive by way of the Avenida Mayor, Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun), Parliament Square, and a picture stop outside the Royal Palace. Afternoon at leisure. Maybe join the optional excursion to Avila to visit St. Theresa's Convent. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
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