Spain & Portugal | Roman Lusitania
Mérida, the capital of Roman Lusitania was founded in 25BC by the victorious army of Emperor Augustus. During its imperial glory days, a large number of grand Roman monuments were erected; many, including the Forum, triumphal arch and amphitheatre, dominate the town to this day.
The superb evidence of the impact of Rome here is the main focus of our programme, but it is enhanced by some spectacular prehistoric and Medieval sites along the way. Our journey takes us from the coast at Lisbon through beautiful countryside; we see prehistoric tombs, Roman towns, and the sites of the 19th century Peninsular War.
- Discover glorious Roman monuments and amazing feats of engineering in Spain and Portugal
- Enjoy a unique programme, taking in prehistoric and medieval sites from the coast at Lisbon into Spanish Extremadura
- Historic Churches
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We fly to Lisbon and drive to our hotel.
Our day begins at the Cripta Arqueologica do Castelo de Alcacer do Sal and after a visit here, we drive on to Troia. The site here was formerly the largest fish-salting production centre in the Roman World, boasting some 52 factories. Afterwards, we take a ferry to Setubal and after lunch, we head to Evora. En route, we'll make a stop at the Stone Age Escoural Cave site, which is rich in prehistoric paintings. Later, we will be treated to an early evening tour of Evora.
The first visit today will be to the atmospheric Chapel of Bones in Evora. This macabre monument is a sight to behold and is a sobering reminder of the transience of human life. Next, we visit the largest prehistoric burial chamber in the Iberian peninsula, Anta Grande do Zambujeiro. A late-morning visit to the megalithic complex of Os Almendres will follow and this enigmatic site, which dates from 5000 to 4000 BC, consists of 96 standing stoness. After a well-deserved break for lunch, we move on and visit the museum at Vila de Frades. Before we head back to our hotel for the night, we take a tour of the Sao Cucufate Roman Villa remains.
Travelling via Alandroal and Juromenha, we arrive in the town of Badajoz, situated near to the Portuguese border, and visit the Provincial Archaeological Museum here. In the afternoon, we drive to Merida, where we marvel at the ruins of the Aqueduct de Los Milagros. There will be an optional walk to the Roman bridge before returning to our hotel.
We start our day on foot by walking to the 9th century Muslim forification, the Alcazaba. Next, we drive to Casa del Mitreo to view its intricate mosaics and well-preserved frescoes, and then it's on to visit the Roman amphitheatre, Roman theatre and houses. There will be a break for lunch where we will enjoy a meal at a local restaurant, before we make our way to the National Museum of Roman Art, which is home to sculptures, artefacts and mosaics that were excavated from the nearby theatre and amphitheatre.
This morning we start at the Cornalvo Dam, where we explore its Roman foundations, dating to the 1st or 2nd century AD. Afterwards, we drive to Medellin and explore both the church and Roman theatre, before visiting Medellin Castle. From here, we discover Prosperina Dam and head to the Roman Circus back in Merida. After a visit here, we spend time at the Basilica of St. Eulalia.
Our tour takes us to Ceceres Museum to pore over its artefacts and then we'll enjoy a guided walk around the town. Shortly after lunch, we have secured a very special private tour of the Basilica of Santa Lucia del Trampal.
Before departing from this marvellous tour, we will visit the Temple de Diana and the Amoreira Aqueduct in Elvas.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
1 night in a polished, modern hotel based in a converted castle in Palmela
2 nights in an upscale hotel, surrounded by gardens, in Évora’s historic centre
4 nights in a former 18th century convent in lively Merida
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