DAY 1: DEPART USA
We depart USA en route to Madrid with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.
DAY 2: MADRID
We arrive this morning in Madrid and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative, who will accompany us throughout the tour. Our guide will take us on an orientation tour of the city while our rooms are being prepared at the hotel. Our panoramic tour will introduce us to the major sites in Madrid. (D)
DAY 3: MADRID: PRADO & BUEN RETIRO PARK
Today our city sightseeing tour will take us to the Prado Museum, Buen Retiro Park, and the Royal Palace. This afternoon we will travel outside the city to visit El Escorial (its full name is Real Monasterio de El Escorial). King Philip II built it in thanksgiving for his victory over the French at San-Quentin in 1557 in Flanders. The ‘Monastery’ is full of major works of art by El Creco, Velazquez, and the like. We continue our visit to the nearby Valley of the Fallen, a striking memorial to those who died in the Spanish Civil War. A basilica is built into the mountainside here, housing tombs of soldiers from both sides of the conflict. After our visit, we return to our hotel in Madrid. (B, D)
DAY 4: MADRID: TOLEDO EXCURSION
This morning we embark to the city of Toledo, a magical walled town about an hour or so from Madrid. Here we visit the stunning cathedral and the house of the famous painter, El Greco. We also take in the Monastery of St. John of the Kings. The outside walls of this edifice are adorned with chains once worn by Christian slaves of the Moors. After some time for shopping, we return to Madrid for the balance of the afternoon to rest before our dinner this evening. (B, D)
DAY 5: MADRID: AVILA & SEGOVIA EXCURSION
Today we make a full day’s excursion to Segovia and Avila. Segovia is a charmer, and most visitors remember it for the Roman aqueduct, which bisects the town. After a visit to the dramatic cathedral here, we make our way across the river to visit the sepulchre of St. John of the Cross, one of the Doctors of the Church. Then we are off to the walled town of Avila, made famous by St. Teresa, another Doctor of the Church. In Avila, we visit the Monastery of the Incarnation where St. Teresa spent many years of her life, then to the Monastery of St. Joseph, her first foundation. After our visit, we return to Madrid for dinner and the evening. (B, D)
DAY 6: MADRID / CACERES
Today we leave Madrid for Guadalupe, traveling through some breathtakingly beautiful mountain scenery. We arrive at the Monastery of Guadalupe, housing some of Spain’s finest artistic treasures. Pilgrims have flocked here since the 14th century, when a shepherd uncovered a miraculous statue of the Virgin, said to have been carved by St. Luke. It was in the name of the Virgin of Guadalupe that the conquistadors set off to explore the New World. After our visit to Guadalupe, we make our way west to the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Mountain. From here we gain a view over the town our Caceres, our destination for the evening. A walk through the Old City here takes you back to the 15th and 16th centuries. (B, D)
DAY 7: CACERES / FATIMA
Our motorcoach will take us across western Spain and crossing the border, we make our way by mid-afternoon to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. We take some time to orient ourselves before settling down for the evening. (B,D).
DAY 8: FATIMA: VISIT OF SHRINE
Today we visit the Tombs of the visionaries Francisco, Jacinto, and Lucia; the Aljustrel where the children lived; and the Valinhos, where Our Lady appeared after the children’s return from prison. We have the option of praying the Stations of the Cross, plus we have time for our own devotions. Tonight we enjoy a festive welcome dinner at Ourem Castle, with the show of the ancient kings and queens. (B, D)
DAY 9: FATIMA: EXCURSIONTO COIMBRA & NAZARE
This morning we begin with Mass at the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. Then, we board our motorcoach and make our way to the University town of Coimbra, where we visit the Cathedral and University Library. After a visit to Coimbra, we proceed to Nazare to visit the Chapel of Our Lady of Nazare, located on a cliff overlooking the ocean. After some time for browsing the local markets of this fishing village, we continue to Alcobaha, site of a striking 12th century monastery. We return in the late afternoon to Fatima. (B, D)
DAY 10: FATIMA / LISBON
We depart Fatima for Lisbon, where we begin with a visit to ‘Santo Antonio Da Se’, marking the site where in 1195 St. Anthony of Padua , the patron saint of Portugal, was born. We continue to the Cathedral, housing the Saint’s baptismal font. Here we celebrate Mass. Our tour continues to view the Belem Tower and the gothic monastery of St. Jeronimo. The afternoon is ours for browsing in the enchanting old section of the city. Tonight we gather for a farewell dinner. (B, D)
DAY 11: RETURN USA
We transfer to the Lisbon airport for our return flight to the United States. (B)
NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.