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.
- Enjoy a private tour of the Archaeological Crypt in Alcácer do Sal
- Enter the atmospheric Chapel of Bones in Évora
- Wander the city of Mérida and see the Roman aqueduct, Los Milagros
- View intricate mosaics and well-preserved frescoes
- Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cáceres
- 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 have secured a very special private tour of 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 Proserpina 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 Carceres museum to pore over its artefacts and then we'll enjoy a guided walk around the town. Shortly after lunch, we will visit the Basilica of Santa Lucia del Trampal, an extraordinary survival of Hispano-Visigothic architecture dating to the 7th century AD. The chancel and transept are from that early era with later additions.
Before departing from this marvellous tour, we will visit the Temple de Diana and the Amoreira Aqueduct in Elvas.
We fly from London to Lisbon and transfer to our hotel.
Our day begins at the Cripta Arqueologica do Castelo de Alcácer do Sal and after this visit, we drive on to Troía. The site here was formerly the largest garum production centre in the Roman World, boasting some 52 factories. After lunch, we visit the largest prehistoric burial chamber in the Iberian peninsula, Anta Grande do Zambujeiro. The last stop of the day will be at the megalithic complex of Os Almendres. Dating from 5000 to 4000 BC, it is the largest collection of menhirs in the Iberian peninsula. We end the day in Arraiolos.
The first visit today will be to the Chapel of Bones in Évora, a macabre 16th century chapel decorated with skulls and bones, exhumed from local cemeteries. We continue on to the Escoural Cave to view its Paleolithic art. After lunch, we visit the museum at Villa de Frades. Before we head back to our hotel, we explore the Roman Villa at São Cucufate.
We travel to the town of Badajoz, situated near the Portuguese border to visit the Provincial Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon, we drive to Mérida and admire the ruins of the Aqueduct de Los Milagros, constructed in the 1st century AD to supply the Roman colony of Emerita Augusta with water. The small section which survives consists of 38 vaults standing 25m high and it is truly spectacular. 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 11th century Muslim fortification, the Alcazaba, the best preserved citadel of its kind. Next, we drive to Casa del Mitreo to view its mosaics and well-preserved frescoes. After lunch we make our way to the National Museum of Roman Art, home to artefacts 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. This afternoon we explore the Roman Circus back in Mérida and the Basilica de Santa Eulalia.
After breakfast, we have a tour of the to Cáceres Museum to pore over its artefacts before having a special tour of the town. After lunch we visit the Basilica of Santa Lucia del Trampal, the only extant visigothic church in the Iberian peninsula. This afternoon, we have a guided tour of the town with our expert guide before returning to our hotel for a farewell dinner.
On our final morning, we visit the Amoreira Aqueduct in Elvas before transferring to the airport for our return flight to London.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - Most meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
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