Portugal–Spain relations describes relations between the governments of the Portuguese Republic and the Kingdom of Spain.
Portugal and Spain had been rival sea powers as early as the 14th century. Portugal initially was in a position to explore the area facing the Atlantic and adjacent to the African coasts. In successfully doing so, it discovered that Africa has been the Arab world's major source of gold brought by camel caravans across the Sahara. This prompted Prince Henry to send expeditions farther south along the Africa coast.
12:30pm-2:30pm : Parc Guell
One of many notable city structures designed by famed architect Antoni Gaudí, Parc Guell is a garden complex built between 1900 and 1914. World Heritage–listed, this complex is noted for being one of the largest architectural structures in this part of Europe. Though it features some of the finest examples of Gaudí’s creativity, for many visitors the highlight is not the exquisite architecture, but the sweeping views. Just inside the main entrance is the interpretive visitor center, featuring an exhibit about Gaudí’s building methods, as well as displays on the history of the park. Wooded and laced with footpaths, the park attracts over 4 million visitors each year. The park can be reached
3:00pm-4:00pm : Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau
Discover early 20th-century modernist architecture at Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau. Operating as a fully functioning hospital until 2009, the building now houses a museum and cultural center and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk the grounds to admire the ornate facades and impressive detailing of the structure, or take a tour of the hospital interior for an in-depth look at the building’s former function. Head down Avenida de Gaudí after your visit for prime photo opportunities of both the hospital and the famous Sagrada Familia church.
4:30pm-6:00pm : Basilica of the Sagrada Familia
The undisputed symbol of the city, Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is a World Heritage Site that astonishes visitors with its sheer height and intricacy of design. This impressive church was designed by one of Spain’s renowned architects, Antoni Gaudí. Though Gaudí produced some of the country’s most inspiring buildings, this church is his most famous work. This masterpiece in the very heart of the city, featuring Gothic and Art Nouveau elements, is 95 m (312 ft) long and 60 m (197 ft) wide, with a seating capacity of 13,000. The central tower rises 170 m (558 ft) above the transept, with 17 other towers of 100 m (328 ft) or more. Visitors have access to the nave, crypt, museum, shop, and two towers. To avoid long lines, book tickets online.
10:00am-10:30am : Carrer de Montcada
Packed with an array of historical buildings dating back to the medieval era, Carrer de Montcada serves as one of the city's epicenters for commerce, architecture, and tourism. For centuries, this bustling street has hosted and displayed the wares of Barcelona's merchants, artists, and entrepreneurs, as evidenced by its courtyards, mansions, and windows. Wander down this busy lane, take in the grandeur of the stately buildings, and maybe pick up a handcrafted souvenir or work of local art. Stop in for a bite of famous Spanish tapas at one of the many cafes along the way to recharge after some intense shopping.
11:00am1:30pm : Playa de La Barceloneta
Spend time relaxing on the sandy expanse of Playa de La Barceloneta. This bustling beach is a favorite among tourists and locals alike, famed for its fiesta atmosphere. Build a sandcastle, dip your toes in the Mediterranean Sea, or sunbathe. If you’re feeling active, join in a game of beach volleyball or table tennis. Look for the modern art on display: the “Homenatge a la Barceloneta” monument and “Peix d’Or” sculptures. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, sample the catch of the day at one of many seafood restaurants located on the boardwalk.
2:00pm-4:00pm : El Barri Gòtic
Known for its winding streets and hidden squares steeped in history, El Barri Gòtic is ideal for an historic walk followed by a rest at one of the many trendy bars or cafes. A trip through this colorful neighborhood is a trip through time, as this old city center is still largely intact, retaining much of its labyrinthine medieval street plan, with a multitude of small streets opening into bustling squares. Most of the quarter is closed to regular traffic, though service vehicles and taxis are allowed to pass through. Many of the landmark buildings located here date from the Middle Ages, with several sites harking back to the Roman times. El Cali, the medieval Jewish quarter, is also located within this area.
4:30pm-6:00pm : Casa Batllo
Located in the bustling city center and considered one of architect Antoni Gaudí’s signature works, Casa Batllo can perhaps best be described as a combination of Modernist and Art Nouveau architecture. Gaudí’s design goal seems to have been to avoid straight lines—completely. Much of the facade is decorated with mosaics made of broken ceramic tiles, ranging in shades from golden orange to greenish blue. The roof is arched and often described as resembling the back of a dragon or dinosaur, so it’s not surprising that most locals call the building "House of Bones." Originally built for a middle-class urban family, this is one of two Gaudí houses available for touring. Skip the lines by booking your tickets online.
10:00am-12:30pm : Sailing Experience Barcelona
Experience ancient Mediterranean seafaring skills on an excursion with options that include food, wine, customized tours, and more at Sailing Experience Barcelona. This private boat company provides hands-on sailing experiences with a professional guide, or you can sit back and take in views of the shoreline during a three-hour tour. Learn about the city from an informed guide, choose your own music, and have a glass of wine. Boats require a minimum of five people aboard, plus the skipper, and note that no high heels are allowed.
1:00pm-2:30pm : Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
ucked into a corner of the Gothic Quarter, Plaça de Sant Felip Neri offers a more quiet, contemplative experience than a typical Spanish plaza. A bomb etched still-visible wounds into the church facade in January 1938, during the Spanish Civil War. The bomb claimed 42 lives, mostly children. Architect Adolf Florensa took charge of the reconstruction of the site. Some scenes of the Woody Allen film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” were shot here.
2:30pm-3:30pm : Barcelona Cathedral
Walk the 500-year-old halls of the impressive Barcelona Cathedral. Constructed in the 13th century, the Gothic cathedral features a main hall vaulted over five aisles, with dozens of high columns. Saunter the grand hall to admire the high ceilings and ornate altar decor, or wander out to the main cloister where 13 white geese are kept as part of the cathedral’s tradition. Try to spot the famous gargoyles that line the cathedral’s roof and main facade.
4:00pm-6:00pm : Casa Mila - La Pedrera
To see one of architect Antoni Gaudí’s most controversial designs, visit Casa Mila - La Pedrera, known for its undulating stone facade and the wrought-iron decorations on its balconies and windows. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1984, the building features some of the most innovative elements of its time, including underground parking. Perhaps the most remarkable element of the building is the roof, which features enormous chimneys designed to look like medieval knights. The architect’s elaborate plans for the roof included adding a huge statue of the Virgin, but when the businessman who commissioned the building said no, Gaudí resigned from the project. Today, the roof is frequently the site of music performances. Check online for an accurate schedule of special events and available tours.
10:00am-1:00pm : Royal Palace of Madrid
Explore at least a few of the 2,000 lavishly decorated rooms of the historic Royal Palace of Madrid, considered one of the finest buildings in the city. Take the grand stairway to discover the state rooms, noted for their detailed tapestries, frescoes, porcelain, carvings, china, and silverware. The courtyard connects to both the old pharmacy, which holds hundreds of bottles of centuries-old medicines, and the royal armory, a two-level exhibit of medieval weapons and armor. Although the enormous palace is the official residence of the King, the royal family doesn’t actually live here; the site is generally used for state ceremonies. Avoid visiting on Wednesdays, when entry is free and the lines are extremely long.
1:30pm-2:30pm : Gran Via
Experience the bustle of Gran Via, one of Madrid’s major shopping destinations. As you wander down the lively street, marvel at the grand architecture, including the striking early-20th-century Metropolis Building. Look for Gran Via’s several theaters, which have earned it the nickname of “Spanish Broadway.” Browse the upscale shops that line the street or stop for a bite to eat or coffee in one of its many vibrant cafes and restaurants.
3:00pm-6:00pm : Prado National Museum
Housing one of the largest collections of fine art in the world, Prado National Museum is perhaps best known for works by El Greco, Goya, and Velasquez. One of the most visited cultural sites in the world, the museum includes an impressive collection of over 7,000 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 5,000 prints, and 8,000 drawings. Though Goya is unquestionably the most extensively represented artist in this collection, other highlights include works by Titian, Rubens, Bosch, Caravaggio, Durer, and van Dyck. The main building was designed in 1785 and constructed during the reign of Carlos III, as part of a grand renewal plan meant to bestow upon the city a monumental urban space. Get the best out of your experience by booking a private tour with an expert art guide.
10:00am-12:30pm : Parque del Retiro
Take a few moments out of your tour of the city to rest at Parque del Retiro, noted for its marble monuments, elegant buildings, abundant greenery, and landscaped lawns. Laid out in the 17th century, the park was originally meant to be a secluded space for kings and queens. Opened to the public in 1868, this site is an ideal place for a leisurely stroll, relaxing picnic, or an entertaining boat ride around the artificial lake, the focal point of the park. Art exhibitions and live music performances are frequently held here on the weekends, drawing hundreds of curious visitors from around the country. If you prefer a bit of peace and quiet, you can always find a lush secret corner far away from the noisy crowds.
Faunia, a botanical garden and zoo covering 14 hectares (35 acres), actually feels smaller and more interactive than a typical zoo. You’ll find all types of animals here, but highlights include an black agouti, several varieties of penguins, and a bat enclosure. Zookeepers give informative talks about manatees, Komodo dragons, and wallabies. Check the official website to see if an event coincides with your visit. The majority of installations are covered, so it’s a comfortable stop on both sunny and rainy days.
4:00pm-5:30pm : Barrio de Salamanca
One of Madrid's most elite neighborhoods, Barrio de Salamanca also delivers some of the city's best high-end shopping. To see what the designer stores and boutiques have on offer, head to Ortega y Gassett street. As home to the city's wealthiest denizens for a few centuries now, the barrio also serves up plenty of eye-catching architecture. Keep an eye out for the Arab House, the Ventas Bullring, and various early 20th-century palace houses.
10:00am-12:30pm : Royal Alcázar of Seville
Experience living history on a guided tour of Royal Alcázar of Seville, the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. Built primarily during the 1300s, this World Heritage–listed site is one of the country’s finest examples of Moorish architecture, featuring a myriad of exquisitely decorated rooms, lavish gardens, paved courtyards, and sparkling ponds. Originally used as a fort, the site was reconstructed and vastly expanded numerous times over the centuries. The upper levels of the palace are still the official Seville residence of Spain’s royal family. When you visit, be sure to check out the room where Christopher Columbus’ journey to the Americas was planned. Advanced tickets are available online. Try to time your trip for one of many musical concerts regularly held in the gardens.
1:00pm-1:30pm : Plaza de España
Natives of Seville love to have their wedding photos taken at Plaza de España, while passing tourists enjoy taking a long breather at this historic square built for the 1929 Latin American Expo. Painstakingly restored to its original splendor after years of neglect, the plaza is one of the country’s finest examples of Renaissance Revival architecture. The square faces a large park, another city landmark built for the same international exposition. The entire area is surrounded by impressive buildings carefully designed to represent the city’s glorious past. Many of these structures blend elements of the region’s Moorish and Christian heritage, with the grandest mansions on the square now serving as museums and government offices.
2:00pm-2:30pm : Casa de Pilatos
Built primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, Casa de Pilatos showcases a fusion of Mudéjar and Gothic architectural styles. The permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli, this Andalusian palace’s many halls and rooms are elegant to the point of decadence. The entire tour is filled with breathtaking architecture, opulent furnishings, manicured gardens, and historic paintings. Don't miss the Francisco Goya collection in the room after the Tower. The staircase to the top floor leads to a room with a ceiling crafted in Mudéjar honeycomb. Visit the palace's website for discounts and to book a private tour.
3:00pm-6:00pm : Barrio Santa Cruz
<>pA picturesque quarter in the heart of the city, Barrio Santa Cruz is intersected by small, winding streets and dotted with museums, galleries, restaurants, and shops. It’s easy to get lost meandering through the narrow, labyrinthine alleys that once enclosed the old Jewish quarter. Getting lost, however, is part of the adventure in this jasmine-perfumed old part of the city. This neighborhood is the location of many of the region’s oldest religious structures, including the city’s world-famous Gothic cathedral, one of the biggest churches in the world. As you search for the way out, you just may stumble upon an ancient convent, medieval palace, bustling plaza, or even a modern hotel. Pick up a souvenir of your explorations from one of many street vendors in this historic district.
10:00am-11:30am : Belém Tower
A World Heritage Site, Belém Tower played an important role in Portuguese exploration during the Age of Discoveries. View the native beige-white limestone used in this Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style. King John II commissioned a defense system to be built at the end of the 15th century. The tower was not built until later, under King Manuel I, and was finally completed in 1519. Though the tower has seen many changes and additions to its original structure, it is still most famous for its beautiful 15th century architecture. As you explore, you'll discover the historical value of this site, which served as a defense at the mouth of the Tagus river and as a prison to many over several centuries.
12:00pm-12:30pm : Basilica da Estrela
Admire the fusion of Neoclassical and Baroque styles at Basilica da Estrela, one of the capital city's most recognizable churches and symbols. Finished in 1790 on the orders of Queen Maria, the church features an intricate facade with statues, carvings, and two tall bell towers. Explore the richly decorated interior, noting the different colors of marble used in the architecture. You'll find the tomb of Queen Maria laid out in the right-hand hallway. Be sure to continue past the tomb to get a glimpse of the extensive nativity scene, consisting of more than 500 individual terra cotta pieces. Make your way to the top of the basilica dome for a view over the capital.
1:00pm-3:30pm : Alfama
Wander through the oldest district in town, Alfama, known for its high concentration of Fado bars and restaurants. Set between Sao Jorge Castle and Tejo river, it's a good choice of walking areas for tourists. During Moorish rule, this was the entire city. The picturesque side streets and squares survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and today are beautiful tourist attractions. Stroll down Rua do Barao, stop into quaint shops, and listen to Fado--a musical style native to the region--at a local bar. As you explore, you'll notice historic sites and several churches along the way, until you reach the walls of the 12th century Lisbon Cathedral.
4:00pm-5:30pm : Castelo de S. Jorge
Castelo de S. Jorge, a second-century citadel, overlooks the historical center of the city. This castle dates back to medieval times, approximately 48 BCE, when the city was under Roman rule. Celtic people originally inhabited this hilltop location, but ownership of the area changed over the years from Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians to Romans and a few other key players. In the 10th century, Moorish people fortified the fortress with cerca Moura, or Moorish encirclement. Though the 1755 Lisbon earthquake destroyed much of the castle, the remaining ruins are still open to the public. Explore one of the city's most popular tourist sites by foot, take in views from its high vantage point, and discover the castle's archeological and historic relevance.