Fly to Lisbon and drive to the Pousada hotel in Palmela.
By ferry to the site of Tróia, the largest fishsauce production centre known from the Roman world. There are some 52 factories here, having around 3000 tanks in which the layers of salt and fish rotted to produce the ubiquitous sauces of the ancient world. The major prehistoric site of Os Almendres is the largest group of megaliths in Portugal. Visit Anta Grande do Zambujeiro, the largest prehistoric burial chamber in the Iberian peninsula. Continue to Évora.
Two major Roman Villas - Pisões and São Cucufate. The latter has several building phases from the 1st to the 4th centuries AD - the latest of these is, understandably, the most visible, and built on a palatial scale. Afternoon spent exploring Évora, a former Roman municipium, Ebora Liberalitas Iulia, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It still has Roman remains, notably the Temple of Diana, but in the late medieval period it was a favourite haunt of Portuguese monarchs and was richly endowed.
Drive to the border town of Badajoz, a town with a Moorish past, famously besieged by the British in 1812 during the Peninsular War. Visit the Alcazaba Museum, with its major collection of warrior stelae, and then continue to Mérida, Emerita Augusta, named after the veterans who were settled here by Augustus. We visit the huge arches of the aqueduct known as Los Milagros, standing over 100 feet high, which brought water from the dam (seen on Day 6) to the city.
All day exploring Roman Mérida, a simple Spanish provincial town still dominated by the remains of its glorious past. It was important throughout the Roman period and beyond. The Roman remains are outstanding, including the bridge over the River Guadiana, a large amphitheatre, a splendid theatre, a fine circus and the ‘Temple of Diana’. There is also a fine museum.
The Roman dam of La Proserpina, which stored water for Roman Mérida to be transported by aqueduct. The Proserpina Dam is one of the best-preserved of Roman date in the world. The old town of Cáceres is a perfectly preserved example of a Medieval town. On to Alcántara, home of one of Spain’s crusading orders, with its remarkable Roman bridge.
Visit the castle and Roman theatre at Medellín, the birthplace of Hernan Cortes. Return to Mérida for further exploration: Visigothic basilica of Sta Eulalia, who was martyred here in AD 304, and was buried beneath the Medieval parish church. Nearby is the well-preserved Roman circus.
Drive to Lisbon via the fortress town of Elvas; fly home.
- Flights - Scheduled flights London to Lisbon
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Guide Lecturer - Dr Andrew Fear. Not to be confused with "guest lecturers"! The guide lecturer will be with you from breakfast to supper, and probably even a drink in the bar afterwards. There is the occasional site where they may not be allowed to guide because of local regulations but otherwise the guides are just that. They will have been chosen because of specialist knowledge and their ability to communicate and interest you. After 29 years of making tours worldwide, we are highly appreciative of the attributes of a good guide, and intensely critical of people who do not possess them.
- Tour Manager - Johanna Flippent (Sep 13). We never know how best to call the very special people whom we choose to accompany you on your tour. They are usually employed in this capacity only by us, and have been trained to do things in the Andante way - unobtrusive, friendly and quietly efficient
- Meals - All meals included (dinners with wine & water) except lunch Day 5
- Entries & tips: entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
1 night in a 4* Pousada hotel in a converted convent attached to a 17th century castle, on the hillside at Palmela;
2 nights in a 4* hotel within the walls of the historic centre of Évora with a pleasant garden and swimming pool;
4 nights in a Parador, another former convent, in central Mérida
|Sun 8th - Sun 15th Sep 2013 with Dr Andrew Fear
||Singles: Last one
|Mon 7th - Mon 14th Apr 2014 with Dr Andrew Fear