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)
‘Los Milagros’ - ‘miraculous’ aqueduct at Mérida
‘Los Milagros’ - ‘miraculous’ aqueduct at Mérida
The Acueducto de los Milagros
The Acueducto de los Milagros
Badajoz
Badajoz
Remains of Sao Cucufate Roman Villa
Remains of Sao Cucufate Roman Villa
Remains of Sao Cucufate Roman Villa
Remains of Sao Cucufate Roman Villa
Anta Grande do Zambujeiro
Anta Grande do Zambujeiro
Os Almendres
Os Almendres
Os Almendres
Os Almendres
Castle of Medellín
Castle of Medellín
Temple of Diana
Temple of Diana
View over the countryside from Medellín
View over the countryside from Medellín
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.

  • 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

Themes

  • Romans
  • Prehistory
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

Arrive in Lisbon and transfer to the hotel. Take the time to unwind before having dinner this evening as a group.
Hotel: Pousada do Alcácer
Meals: Dinner included

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 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.
Hotel: Pousada Convento de Arraiolos
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

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.
Hotel: Pousada Convento de Arraiolos
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

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.
Hotel: Parador de Mérida, Mérida
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

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.
Hotel: Parador de Mérida, Mérida
Meals: All meals included

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. This afternoon we explore the Roman Circus back in Mérida and the Basilica de Santa Eulalia.
Hotel: Parador de Mérida, Mérida
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

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.
Hotel: Parador de Mérida, Mérida
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

On our final morning, we visit the Amoreira Aqueduct in Elvas. After lunch, we transfer to the airport for our individual flights home or onward travel.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch included

What's Included

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

Travel Information

Joining the Tour

For full information about how to join the tour, please click here.

Passport & Visa Information

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

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Book now

To book your tour without flights from the US, please call our team on 888 331 3476

2019 Tour Details

Sun 14th April - Sun 21st April

Available

Guaranteed Departure

$3,305

without flights

sgl supp: $595

SPA19A

Led By: Dr Andrew Souter

Sun 1st September - Sun 8th September

Available

$3,295

without flights

sgl supp: $595

SPA19B

Led By: Dr Andrew Souter

Guide Lecturer

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