Duration: 12 Days
COUNTRIES VISITED: Portugal & Spain
PLACES VISITED: Lisbon, Santarem, Fatima, Braga, Santiago de Compostela, Burgos, Loyola, Lourdes, Carcassonne, Montserrat, Manresa & Barcelona.
Welcome to Portugal! Arrive at hotel. Check In. Overnight at hotel
On your guided sightseeing tour of the capital of Portugal, see the enormous monument dedicated to Henry the Navigator, as well as the 16th-century Belem Tower, the Moorish citadel, and impressive Black Horse Square. Visit the Cathedral La Sé, where St. Anthony was baptized, and St. Anthony’s Church, where it is said he was born. Admire the beauty of St. Mary of Belem Church, part of the Jeronimo’s Monastery complex. This building dates back to the mid-1400s, and was built as thanks to the Virgin Mary for Vasco de Gama’s successful voyage to India. Leaving Lisbon, head north and stop in Santarem to visit the Church of the Eucharistic Holy Miracle to then arrive in Fatima, home to one of the most famous Catholic shrines. Enjoy an orientation walk, and visit the Tomb of the Visionaries and the Chapel of the Apparitions, where the Virgin Mary repeatedly appeared to three shepherd children in 1917, culminating in her revelation of the Three Secrets of Fatima. This evening, join pilgrims from around the world for the Rosary and candlelight procession at the Our Lady of Fatima Basilica.
Today, spend the day at the Sanctuary at leisure, or join an optional excursion to Tomar with a visit to the Monastery-Fortress of the Knights Templar. Upon return to Fatima, attend [M] Mass at the Sanctuary of Our Lady with time to wander on your own. This evening, perhaps, join the Rosary once more.
Journey north and stop in Braga, one of the oldest Christian cities in the world, and visit the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, UNESCO World Heritage site and pilgrimage destination, where devout followers have walked the “Stations of the Cross” for contemplation and penance since 1811. See the unique zigzag stairway dedicated to the five senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste—and the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. Continue into Spain and head for Santiago de Compostela, one of the most significant pilgrimage destinations since the middle Ages. On arrival, an orientation walk introduces you to the old city centre. This year, you will have the exceptional opportunity to celebrate the Holy Jacobean Year by walking through the Door of Glory. The faithful believe their sins will be forgiven after praying in the Cathedral and attending Mass, in addition to having received the Sacrament of Confession within 15 days of their visit.
This morning, spend some time on your own or join an optional excursion to Cabo Finisterre, where pilgrims have traditionally completed their walk and burned their robes. Later, return to Santiago de Compostela, known throughout history for the key 9th-century pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago (or Way of St. James).
Today, travel to Burgos, historic capital of Old Castile. Your visit takes you to the magnificent Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and burial place of Spain’s national hero, El Cid.
Travel through the Basque region toward Lourdes. En route, pause to reflect at the 17th-century Sanctuary of Loyola, built in honour of St. Ignacio of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit religious order. Cross into France and stay overnight in Lourdes, another world-famous place of pilgrimage. Join the nightly Rosary and candlelight procession for a memorable spiritual experience.
Today, a local spiritual expert will introduce you to this important Marian Shrine. You will see all the main sites and hear the story of how the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernardette in 1858. The afternoon is at leisure to further explore this little market town. According to the schedule, attend [M] Mass at the Sanctuary either early in the morning or in the evening.
Head for the France/Spain border. Stop to visit the fortified citadel of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the ramparts, castle walls, and drawbridges that are still well preserved from the middle Ages. Stay overnight at the Catalan impressive location of the Marian shrine of Montserrat.
Visit the Sanctuary of Montserrat this morning, and attend [M] Mass. Continue to the town of Manresa, known for its Basilica of Saint Mary of Seo, but more importantly for Pont Vell, a bridge associated with the worship of St. Ignacio of Loyola. See the architectural compound of Santa Cova, the sanctuary home of St. Ignacio of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, when he stayed in the city. Later, reach Barcelona, the lively capital of Catalonia.
Get to know the city on a guided sightseeing tour including a drive around Montjuic to see the Olympic Stadium for a great panoramic view of the port and city. Continue to the city centre’s Plaza Catalunya and Paseo de Gracia to admire Gaudi’s eccentric Houses Batlló and Mila, as well as his Sagrada Familia, an unfinished architectural masterpiece that is still a consecrated expression of the Catholic faith. Celebrate Mass (M), then, this evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate faith, life, and friendship.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.