Exclusively for Women-Barcelona and Lisbon

Travel Idea:

Exclusively for Women-Barcelona and Lisbon

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Destination for this trip:

Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Newark International Airport (EWR), New Jersey

Length of trip:

7 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 1825 to $ 2699

Best travel dates to go:

May 23, 2009 to May 30, 2009;


Detailed Description of this trip:

We have paired two of the best destinations in Europe. Rich cultures, historic neighborhoods, fabulous art and architecture, and superb cuisine. Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city and an important Mediterranean port. This coastal capital of Catalonia is at the forefront of European modern design. Lisbon is known as the “white city,” thanks to its unique sunlight. The city has a beauty that extends far beyond its famed monuments that can only be experienced by walking the city streets and embracing it with all the senses. And what better time to visit the Iberian Peninsula than in late May . . . the weather is ideal!



Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - Newark International

    Travel on overnight flights with dinner served on board the plane.
    Saturday, May 23: Depart the U.S.
    Commercial Flight

    Travel on overnight flights with dinner served onboard the plane.

  • Day 2 - Barcelona

    Day 2 – Sunday, May 24
    Hotel

    Arrive Barcelona, where you will be met at the airport by our local Women’s Travel Club hostess who will escort you to your transportation. During the ride to the hotel, she will present a “Welcome to Barcelona” briefing to acclimate you to this vastly interesting region. Our hotel is the ideally situated ****Gallery Hotel. This boutique property is situated in a prime location between Paseo de Gracia and Rambla Cataluna, in the center of Barcelona, with easy access to the most significant sites for touring and shopping. All 115 guest rooms are decorated in a contemporary style with an elegantly finished marble bathroom. Each room has air conditioning, two telephones, high-speed Internet connection, in-room safe, satellite TV, radio, and a mini bar. Hotel facilities include smoking and non-smoking rooms, 24-hour room service, a business center, and complimentary use of the hotel’s sauna, fitness center and solarium.

    As hotel guest rooms are generally not ready for check-in until mid-day, we plan to drop the luggage at the front desk for storage. Then join your hostess for a brief walking tour to see the sights around the hotel. She will point out a number of the many wonderful restaurants that are within an easy walk and can give you suggestions for your free time as well as further details on all group events during your stay in Spain.

    As it will be lunch time, we suggest that the group stop at a local café where everyone can buy lunch and continue to get to know each other. Once you have checked into your room, you are free to relax for the rest of the afternoon. This evening, we suggest that everyone meet up for dinner in one of the nearby restaurants that your guide suggested.this vastly interesting region. Our hotel is the ideally situated ****Gallery Hotel. This boutique property is situated in a prime location between Paseo de Gracia and Rambla Cataluna, in the center of Barcelona, with easy access to the most significant sites for touring and shopping. All 115 guest rooms are decorated in a contemporary style with an elegantly finished marble bathroom. Each room has air conditioning, two telephones, high-speed Internet connection, in-room safe, satellite TV, radio, and a mini bar. Hotel facilities include smoking and non-smoking rooms, 24-hour room service, a business center, and complimentary use of the hotel’s sauna, fitness center and solarium.

    As hotel guest rooms are generally not ready for check-in until mid-day, we plan to drop the luggage at the front desk for storage. Then join your hostess for a brief walking tour to see the sights around the hotel. She will point out a number of the many wonderful restaurants that are within an easy walk and can give you suggestions for your free time as well as further details on all group events during your stay in Spain.

    As it will be lunch time, we suggest that the group stop at a local café where everyone can buy lunch and continue to get to know each other. Once you have checked into your room, you are free to relax for the rest of the afternoon. This evening, we suggest that everyone meet up for dinner in one of the nearby restaurants that your guide suggested.

  • Day 3 - Barcelona

    Monday, May 25:
    Group Tour

    This morning we depart on a half-day walking tour of the city, which we highly recommended so that you can stroll, mingle with locals and learn about the ways of life and the history that have shaped this city so profoundly. Beginning in the Old City, we will see the origins of Barcelona in the renowned Gothic Quarter and discover more about the city’s history and legends, how people used to live and work, what they used to believe in and their daily lives. For centuries Catholic and Jewish cultures have co-existed peacefully in Barcelona and throughout Spain. The most interesting area for discovering this dual cultural heritage in Barcelona lies between the streets Arc de Sant Ramon, Call, Bisbe and San Sever. We will visit the Cathedral, the King’s Square (Plaza del Rey), the Plaza San Jaume, the Jewish Quarter, and the most famous street in Barcelona, Las Ramblas. Often the first landmark that most visitors identify with the city, Las Ramblas is the central most boulevard which cuts through the heart of the city center. This wide street connects the Place de Catalunya, a busy square, to the Monument a Colom, a tall column erected in honor of Christopher Columbus. You will enjoy a stroll through this vibrant and lively promenade that is often crowded with tourists and locals alike. The middle part of Las Ramblas is pedestrianized and bordered by trees. Kiosks, flower stalls, animal stalls and street artists are in abundance here.

    The afternoon is at leisure for lunch and sightseeing on your own.

    For dinner tonight, a special experience where you will taste the best of traditional Spanish cuisine while overlooking the beautiful harbor of Barcelona. Beginning with a welcome glass of Cava (sparkling wine), your dinner includes a selection of Tapas, then a delicious Seafood Paella, followed by dessert and including wine, water and coffee. If the weather is nice, we’ll sit on the terrace.

  • Day 4 - Barcelona

    Tuesday, May 26: Barcelona
    Museums

    After breakfast, we depart for a half-day tour that highlights the modernist art and architecture of Spain’s two most famous sons, Antonio Gaudi and Pablo Picasso. Barcelona is considered to be the best open-air Museum of Modernist art and architecture in Europe. First, a chance to explore the unusual architecture of Gaudi which blends neo-Gothic, Moorish and Art Nouveau styles. This tour includes a viewing of some of the most famous streets in the “Ensanche” and the most interesting artistic monuments of the city. You will see such celebrated buildings as Casa Ametller, Casa Batllò, Casa Mila, Lleó Morera and a visit to the not-to-be-missed Güell Park, also by Gaudi, the most famous Park in Barcelona. Declared an artistic monument by UNESCO, it is an enchanted park full of surprises and imagination.

    The Sagrada Família Temple is Gaudí’s most emblematic work, the greatest exponent of his genius, and a symbol of Barcelona all over the world. Gaudí took over the work in 1883, with a desire to make it a cathedral for the twentieth century, using complex symbolism and providing a visual explanation of the mysteries of faith. Since the architect’s death in 1926, building work has progressed somewhat erratically and not without a certain amount of controversy.

    Next is a visit to the Picasso Museum, housed in three medieval palaces. The Museum has the most complete collection of works known to date from the artist's youth and formative years. The first stage in his personal development - the Blue Period (1901-1904) - is well represented, and from the Rose Period we find his splendid portrait of Senyora Canals. Other highlights are the series of works he did in Barcelona in 1917 and his studies of Velazquez´s Las Meninas, dating from 1957. The museum also has an outstanding collection of prints by the artist spanning the period 1904 to 1972.

    Your afternoon is at leisure for lunch and continued enjoyment of the city on your own. You might enjoy seeing the impressive Barcelona Opera House. And definitely, don’t miss a trip to the Boqueria market if you are craving an authentic tortilla. This large and colorful market is dazzling to the eye, and the brilliance of the colors from the fruits and vegetable stalls are amazing.

    Tonight you are free to join club friends for dinner in another one of the fabulous restaurants near the hotel.

  • Day 5 - Lisbon

    Wednesday, May 27
    Hotel

    After breakfast, we head to the airport for our mid-day flight. Next stop, the sparkling Portuguese capital of Lisbon. This legendary port city is a fascinating place to visit; a place where the weather and the people are welcoming and friendly. Portugal’s first city is built on the terraced sides of low, steep hills overlooking the harbor with wide tree-lined avenues, large public gardens and handsome squares. Once finished with airport formalities, you will be met by our local hostess and transferred to our deluxe hotel, the ****Mundial. Located in the heart of Lisbon, not far from the Praca do Rossio and convenient to shopping and nightlife, this recently renovated hotel features 373 guest rooms and a vast public terrace with panoramic views of the surroundings. Each room has air conditioning, telephones, in-room safe, satellite TV, radio, hair dryer, bathrobes and a mini bar. Hotel facilities include smoking and non-smoking rooms and 24-hour room service.

    Just as in Barcelona, your local hostess will offer an orientation walk to show you the immediate surroundings. If you are interested in dining at a very special restaurant on one of your two free nights, we suggest you make reservations on arrival day. Your hostess can assist in making the call. The Restaurant Casa do Alentejo offers traditional Portuguese cuisine from the region of Alentejo, and features both meat and seafood specialities. Housed in a 17th century Moorish palace, the restaurant is worth a visit if only to admire the extravagant décor and courtyard.

    Spend the remainder of today at leisure and later, join club members for our group dinner in the hotel’s renowned rooftop restaurant. Located on the top floor with stunning views of the city, Varanda de Lisboa serves Portuguese and international cuisine in a gracious setting ccompanied by live piano music. (B, D)

  • Day 6 - Lisbon

    Thursday, May 28: Lisbon

    This morning’s tour takes you on a city tour of Lisbon, settled first by the Phoenicians some 3000 years ago and now capital of Portugal since the XII century. One of the world’s most beautiful cities, Lisbon is built on seven rambling hills on the north bank of the Tagus River estuary. It has amazing architecture, exciting vistas, world-class museums, wonderful restaurants and a lively multicultural ambience.

    We will drive through the most impressive historical parts of Lisbon: Edward 7th Park, Liberty Avenue, Rossio, Blackhorse Square - an immense square that brings downtown to the Tagus River, and follow to the most historical quarter of Lisbon - The Discoveries Quarter of Belem, from which the Portuguese Caravels sailed off to the epic maritime discoveries.

    Once at Belem, you will visit two of Lisbon's jewels and symbols, the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belem, whose origins date back to the 16th century. Both are designated World Heritage sites, and represent the most luxurious and prestigious times of the Portuguese Monarchy. Before leaving this area we encourage a stop at the "Pasteis de Belém" pastry shop where you can purchase a delicious and traditional Pastel de Nata, served warm with sugar and cinnamon on top.

    Next, we proceed to downtown, passing the Black Horse Square and then, up hill, pass the Cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, and up to St. George´s Castle that provides some of the best panoramic views over the city.

    Spend the rest of the afternoon touring on your own. The evening is at leisure for dinner. Your hostess will have many suggestions for wonderful restaurants in this culinary capital. (B)

  • Day 7 - Lisbon

    Friday, May 29

    Today’s half-day tour takes you to Sintra and Cabo da Roca. A charming village classified as a World Heritage site, Sintra was the delirium of many writers and poets in the 18th Century and also the summer residence of the Portuguese Royal Family. A visit to the Royal Palace, with its fabulous kitchen and chimneys, and the finest collection of “Mugdejar” tiles in Portugal. Take some time to walk around the narrow streets of Sintra, full of small shops selling Portuguese tiles and ceramics, the walk itself is like walking back in time. This trip also includes the visit to the most western tip of Europe, Roca Cape which the poet Camões defined as "where the land ends and the sea begins." Driving back along the coastal area, you will have the chance to admire the beautiful sights of Estoril and Cascais.

    Back in Lisbon for the afternoon, you are free to enjoy some last minute shopping and sightseeing. You might like to include a visit to Baixa, the shopping district, or explore the labyrinths of the medieval Graca and Alfama districts. The famous Calouste Gulbenkian Museum houses over 6,000 pieces including Egyptian, Greco-Roman and Islamic art. One of the most visited attractions in Lisbon is the National Coach Museum, housed in a former 18th-century riding academy connected to the Belém Royal Palace. The coaches stand in a former horse ring and most date from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Or stroll through the gilded royal galleys at the Naval Museum, examine the arts and crafts of Belem’s Folk Art Museum or visit Lisbon’s Aquarium.

    Dinner is at leisure for dining with club friends, perhaps at one of Lisbon’s spectacular seafood restaurants.

  • Day 8 - Newark International

    Saturday, May 30

    Following breakfast, there will be a group transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

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