Spain & Portugal | Roman Lusitania

The Roman theatre at Mérida, originally constructed in the 1st century BC, with many subsequent additions and renovations throughout antiquity (©Tomás Fano)
The Roman theatre at Mérida, originally constructed in the 1st century BC, with many subsequent additions and renovations throughout antiquity (©Tomás Fano)
Castle of Medellín
Castle of Medellín
View over the countryside from Medellín
View over the countryside from Medellín
The Acueducto de los Milagros
The Acueducto de los Milagros
‘Los Milagros’ - ‘miraculous’ aqueduct at Mérida
‘Los Milagros’ - ‘miraculous’ aqueduct at Mérida
Victorious charioteer depicted in a mosaic from Mérida
Victorious charioteer depicted in a mosaic from Mérida
Gory boar hunt depicted in a mosaic in the Villa de las Tiendes, Merida
Gory boar hunt depicted in a mosaic in the Villa de las Tiendes, Merida

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 feats of ancient Roman engineering
  • Enter the atmospheric Chapel of Bones in Évora
  • Private tour of the Basilica of Santa Lucia del Trampal
  • View intricate mosaics and well-preserved frescoes
  • Indulge in the delicious flavours of these regions

Themes

  • Romans
  • Prehistory
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We fly to Lisbon and drive to our hotel.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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. 

Day 4

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. 

Day 5

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. 

Day 6

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

Day 7

Our tour takes us to Caceres 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

Day 8

Before departing from this marvellous tour, we will visit the Temple de Diana and the Amoreira Aqueduct in Elvas. 

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We fly from London to Lisbon and transfer to our hotel.

Day 2

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 fish-salting 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. This enigmatic site, which dates from 5000 to 4000 BC, consists of 96 standing stones. We will end the day in Évora.

Day 3

The first visit today will be to the atmospheric Chapel of Bones in Évora. This macabre monument is a sight to behold and is a sobering reminder of the transience of human life. Afterwards, we’ll make a stop at the Stone Age Escoural Cave site, which is rich in prehistoric paintings, and is an example of Neolithic Portuguese archaeology. After a well-deserved break for lunch, we move on and visit the museum at Villa de Frades. Before we head back to Évora, we take a tour of the São Cucufate Roman Villa remains. Before dinner, we will be treated to an early evening tour of Évora.

Day 4

We travel to the town of Badajoz, situated near to the Portuguese border, and visit the Provincial Archaeological Museum here. In the afternoon, we drive to Mérida and marvel at the ruins of the Aqueduct de Los Milagros. It is considered to have been constructed during the 1st century AD and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There will be an optional walk to the Roman bridge before returning to our hotel.

Day 5

We start our day on foot by walking to the 9th century Muslim fortification, the Alcazaba. Next, we drive to Casa del Mitreo to view its intricate mosaics and well-preserved frescoes. 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.

Day 6

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 Medellín and explore Medellín Castle. From here, we discover Proserpina Dam and head to the Roman Circus back in Mérida.

Day 7

Our tour takes us to Cáceres 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.

Day 8

This morning we visit the Amoreira Aqueduct in Elvas. After, we transfer to the airport for our return flight to London. 

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

Enquire now

Have a question or just want to find out more?

Book now

2018 Tour Details

Sun 7th October - Sun 14th October

Available

£2,395

inc.

sgl supp: £395

SPA18C

Led By: Dr Andrew Souter

2019 Tour Details

Sun 14th April - Sun 21st April

Available

£2,195

inc.

sgl supp: £395

SPA19A

Led By: Dr Andrew Souter

Sun 1st September - Sun 8th September

Available

£2,195

inc.

sgl supp: £395

SPA19B

Led By: Dr Andrew Souter

Guide Lecturer

Share tour with friends