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The Holiday Wonders Group is one of Australia’s best travel agency groups, with a range of holidays to suit every traveller. Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Holiday Wonders has been part of the Australian travel scene since 1975. Our original Holidaymakers touring division were the instigators of the V/Line Holidays team who introduced low-cost rail coach holidays throughout Australia for solo travellers.
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24 days | Departs 4 Oct 2019 –
Join us on a spectacular holiday featuring the very best of Spain & Portugal and an amazing Azamara cruise around the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Rome!
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We depart Australia this evening on our flight to Madrid.
We are met at Lisbon Airport by our Travel Director and are transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Join your Travel Director at 6pm for a Welcome Dinner in a local restaurant and get to know your fellow travellers over a beautiful evening of delicious food and wine.
❱ Hotel stay: Barcelo Torre de Madrid (2 nights)
Enjoy sightseeing with your Local Expert as they take you along the elegant Paseo de la Castellana, passing Madrid’s most famous fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles. Your drive continues to the Royal Palace and the monument to Cervantes in the Plaza de España before crossing the Puerta del Sol. A highlight of your trip is a visit to the magnificent Prado Museum with an art historian to admire the paintings of Velázquez, Goya and many others.
Travel to the fortified city of Segovia where you will walk through the medieval streets from the ancient aqueduct to see the magnificent Alcazar fortress. Journey west, passing the ancient walls of Ávila, en route to Salamanca. During your orientation see some of the golden stone buildings the city is famous for, including the handsome arcaded Plaza Mayor, the honey-coloured cathedral and the 16th century university buildings.
❱ Hotel stay: Hotel Alameda Palace, Salamanca (1 night)
Cross the Portuguese border to reach Porto, situated on the River Douro and celebrated internationally as the capital of Port wine. Visit the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores that house the famous wines and walk along corridors of casks. Get to know your tawnys and vintages during a tasting. Continue your exploration of the city, admire the multi-coloured houses and churches covered in glazed tiles, as well as the iconic bridges (or ‘Eiffel Towers on end’ according to one Frenchman).
❱ Hotel stay: NH Collection Porto Batalha (1 night)
Head south for a visit to miraculous Fátima. See the basilica or visit the chapel of the apparitions, which commemorates the appearance of the virgin Mary to three young shepherds in 1917. Journey to the fortified town of Obidos and walk inside its walls, exploring the narrow, medieval streets with houses covered with flowers. Your travels continue to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
❱ Hotel stay: Dom Pedro Lisboa or Altis Grand Hotel (2 nights)
Sightseeing with a Local Expert takes you along the spacious avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco, the finest square in the city. Visit the Belém Quarter from where sailing ships once set forth to discover unknown lands. Enjoy a taste of the famous Pastéis de Belém from a traditional patisserie that has managed to hold on to the secret recipe of Portugal’s finest pastry for almost 200 years. View the modern Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belém Tower. This fortress was originally set in the middle of the river but is now left high and dry on the riverbank. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Jerónimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture. With the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps join an Optional Experience to the Portuguese Riviera? It is often visited by surfers, occasionally royalty, and even James Bond.
Leave Lisbon via the modern Tagus Bridge and cross the border to reach Seville. With your Local Expert, visit the immense cathedral to see the Tomb of Christopher Columbus and the slender Giralda Tower, the former minaret of the Great Mosque. Explore the labyrinthine Santa Cruz Quarter and see the Alcazar.
❱ Hotel stay: Ayre Hotel Sevilla – Superior Room (2 nights)
Enjoy a relaxed start and a day to relax, shop or continue exploring this fascinating city at your own pace. Our suggestion is to join an Optional Experience to the ancient city of Córdoba, where you will visit the magnificent Mezquita, see the old Jewish Quarter, and enjoy some free time to shop or explore as you wish. In the evening you are treated to dinner, wine and entertainment featuring a fiery flamenco show.
Head south to Gibraltar, part of mainland Spain yet an overseas territory under British control since 1704. With your Local Expert, visit the Rock of Gibraltar and St. Michael’s Cave to see the Barbary Apes, legendary guardians of the colony. Relax as you travel the scenic route along the Costa del Sol through exclusive resorts where the rich and famous holiday. Your journey continues through the green hills to the white-washed village of Mijas. Stroll through the old streets and gardens and take in the views of the coast.
❱ Hotel stay: Melia Costa del Sol, Torremolinos (2 nights)
Enjoy the following day at leisure on the sun-drenched Costa del Sol. Relax by the blue Mediterranean waters, stroll along the promenade, savour the specialities in the local restaurants or consider exploring Malaga, the birth city of Picasso.
Travel to the oldest olive grove in the region and stop at the rural mill-factory of almazara to taste a selection of different oils with locally made farmer bread. Continue to alfarnatejo, a quiet town with a population of just 500 people and surrounded by stunning mountainous landscape. Walk the town centre to see the 18th century iglesia del santo cristo de cabrilla. In small groups, you are invited to into the home of a local family to join them for a delicious highlight lunch made of fresh, local produce with flavours typical of the region. Continue to granada to visit the magnificent alhambra palace with your local expert. Built as a citadel by the moors in the 13th century, it is a wonder of beautiful gardens, fountains and stone cut like lace.
❱ Hotel stay: Vincci Albayzin, Granada (1 night)
Journey to Valencia, the City of Arts and Sciences. Pass through the Old City and see its ancient gates. In your free time perhaps take a stroll to the Cathedral and El Miguelete Or sit back to with a drink and watch the Valencian’s go about their day. Valencia is home to one of the world’s greatest dishes, paella. Meet the chef of a local family-run restaurant in the heart of the old town and learn the traditional recipe during a Cooking Demonstration, before savouring the delicious flavours of this classic dish, washed down with a glass of sangria, during your Highlight Dinner.
❱ Hotel stay: Barcelo Valencia (1 night)
Follow the coast to Peñíscola to view the sea-lapped castle used in the film ‘el cid’. Continue along the costa dorada to the cava bodegas at sant sadurni d’anoia. During a delicious freshly prepared highlight lunch, enjoy a tasting as you learn the sparkling secrets of Spanish bubbly. Continue along the coast to reach Barcelona.
❱ Hotel stay: Melia Barcelona Sarria (2 nights)
A Local Expert joins you for a drive along the Passeig de Gràcia adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and some of the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district to visit inside Gaudi’s extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Família. See the central nave with its giant, tree-like pillars, spectacular vaulting and the beautiful rainbows flooding in through the intricate stained-glass windows. At a local restaurant, join your fellow travellers to toast newfound friends and a wonderful journey as you enjoy a Celebration Dinner with wine.
Your Mediterranean journey continues today as you board the luxurious Azamara Pursuit. Soak up the sun and immerse yourself in the spirit of the Mediterranean during this week-long exploration of some of the world’s most incredible art, architecture, food, and history.
Like her two sister ships, the sturdy Azamara Pursuit is a mid-sized beauty with a deck plan well-suited to the needs of modern voyagers. You’ll never feel crowded in the comfortable social spaces of our bars, restaurants, lounges, and Cabaret. Nor will you feel like a sardine jammed in around the pool, where our attentive staff is always ready to offer a complimentary bottled water, soft drink or fresh towel. Staterooms feature modern amenities, furnishings, and European linens.
❱ Ocean cruise: Azamara Pursuit (7 nights)
When you travel to Port-Vendres, be prepared for your imagination to kick into over-drive. You could head to Cadaqués, a charming town that was once home to the artist Salvador Dali. Be sure to vist his world-famous museum while you’re there. Or, simply hang out in Port-Vendres and enjoy the local sights and a meal of fresh seafood paired with the region’s renowned Collioure wines.
Toulon is a picturesque city with a medieval core, an abundance of fountains, and a colorful daily market with a true Provençal character, meaning prime ingredients of garlic, olive oil and herbes de Provence.
You don’t need luck on your side to have an unforgettable time in Monte Carlo! Home to the legendary Grand Casino and the Monaco Grand Prix—one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events—Monte Carlo lives up to its reputation in every way. Drive the Monaco Grand Prix route in a performance vehicle, visit the Grand Casino, or roll the dice and explore the breathtaking beauty of the city. Enjoy more time to explore Monaco – your ship won’t depart until 10pm.
The port city of Livorno has many charms of its own: the canals of La Venezia Nuova (New Venice), which date back to the Medici era, the Mercato Centrale, and the chessboard-style Terrazza Mascagni promenade, to name a few. But Livorno is also the gateway to the magnificent art and architecture, palaces, churches and museums of Florence, as well as Pisa’s famous leaning tower. Decisions, decisions!
Tonight, venture into the heart of Livorno for an operatic evening of pure Tuscan splendor. Following dinner aboard the ship, a quick drive leads to Cavour Square in Livorno, where you’ll set off on a short 5-minute walk to the Goldoni Theatre. Open in 1847, this grand showplace is most certainly one of the most stunning in Italy. You’ll be greeted and shown to your reserved seat for the evening’s hallmark – an operatic performance by sensational sopranos. Accompanied by a masterful pianist, you will be dazzled with the works of Italian favorites, as well as a few renditions of more contemporary songs. These classically trained vocalists have the remarkable ability to move across various styles and epochs with melodious ease. After the show, a short 5-minute walk leads to the motor coaches that will take you back to the ship, where the evening’s celebration is sure to continue.
Enjoy a second day in Livorno today, with options to join a day tour to Pisa, Florence or Tuscany.
Did you know Napoleon was once exiled to the island of Elba for ten long years? You can learn all about it at the Archaeological Civic Museum. History not your thing? Why not climb to the top of Medici Fortress, take an open cable car to the peak of Mount Capanne, or enjoy performances in Vigilanti Theatre. No matter your choice, you’re sure to wonder why Napoleon ever wanted to leave.
Sadly, today marks the end of your Europe holiday. You will be transferred to the Airport to catch your flight home.
Arrive into your home port this evening.
Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
04 Oct 2019
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