22 days
Duration
British Isles, Europe
Destination
Level 2 - Moderate
Activity

Habsburg Spain & Tudor England.

Odyssey Traveller offers this small group tour exploring the life and times of two royal families Habsburg of Spain and Tudor's of England. Get to know the fascinating personalities who emerged in each nation as well as the legacy they left behind.

This tour examines the enmity of the period, the achievements of each dynasty achieved and their connections. Our escorted small group tour is designed for travellers interested in exploring the history of Spain and England during the 16th century. Odyssey Traveller Australia's Habsburg v Tudor tour exploring the history of 16th century England and Spain departs twice yearly.

Habsburg Spain v Tudor England

Two countries dominated Europe during the 16th century — Spain and its emerging rival, England. The ruling dynasties of both had their roots in the 15th century. In England, Henry VII defeated the last monarch of the House of York in 1485, ushering in the Tudor dynasty. Across the seas, Ferdinand and Isabella combined their kingdoms of Castile and Aragon to create a united Spain. They drove out the Moors, forcibly converted the Jews, and financed the expeditions of Christopher Columbus. Ferdinand's death led to the ascension of the young Charles I to the throne, effectively founding the monarchy of Spain.

 

The Habsburgs of Spain and the Tudors of England both had their share of larger than life characters, many of whom we will come to know on this tour. At the beginning of the 16th century, both families, strong defenders of the Catholic faith, were soon to be connected by marriage. Yet by the time the last Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I, died in 1603, the families and their respective nations had long engaged in a bitter struggle. Divided by religion, divorce, clashing personalities and economic rivalry, their enmity culminated in the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the naval forces of Elizabeth I under her commanders Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake in 1588.

Our itinerary explores the 16th century History of England and Spain. 

Our 21 day tour exploring this fascinating period in European history begins in England. We concentrate on the lives and buildings associated with Henry VIII and his long reigning daughter, Elizabeth I. Henry first married Catherine of Aragon, Isabella and Ferdinand's daughter and the widow of his brother, Arthur. Elizabeth refused the hand of Philip of Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand's great-grandson, and previously the husband of Elizabeth’s sister Mary. It’s a complex family tree! By this time, the fiercely Catholic Spaniards, led by Philip, were keen to re-convert Protestant England. However, Elizabeth was equally determined to retain both her religion and her independence.

 

From England, we travel on to Spain for the second half of our tour, spending time in Cadiz, Granada, Cordoba, Toledo and Madrid. We delve into the lives of Ferdinand and Isabella's descendants who had the greatest impact on Spain. We look particularly at Isabella and Ferdinand, Joanna the (possibly) Mad, and her husband Philip the Handsome. Their son, Charles V, was the Holy Roman Emperor and his son, Philip II, was the great-nephew of Catherine of Aragon. This gave him another reason to despise Elizabeth I, daughter of the up-start Anne Boleyn … very complicated! We also trace, through their portraits in the Prado Museum, the decline of the Hapsburg line, largely through inbreeding.

 

For more details about this small group tour from Odyssey Traveller New Zealand, focusing on Hapsburg Spain and Tudor England, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

 


PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
Spend a day at Hampton Court Palace, seized by Henry VIII
2
Visit Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn
3
Explore the famous Alhambra palace and fortress complex in Granada
4
Be amazed by the mosque converted into a cathedral in Cordoba
5
Spend a morning in the fabulous El Escorial, historical home of the King of Spain

Overview: Arrive in London and meet at our hotel in the afternoon

Enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Accommodation at London Lodge Hotel or similar.

Overview: This morning your program leader will take you to visit to the National Portrait Gallery to acquaint you with the Tudor monarchs through their portraits.

In the afternoon a visit to Westminster Abbey, burial site of both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I will be included.

The rest of the day will be free to explore London at your leisure.

Accommodation: Accommodation at London Lodge Hotel or similar.

Overview: This morning a local coach and guide will take us on a half day tour which will include a visit to The Tower of London where Anne Boleyn lost her head.

In the afternoon, a visit to the Museum of London will help us to understand more about life in Tudor England.

Accommodation: Accommodation at London Lodge Hotel or similar.

Overview: This morning travel by coach out of London to visit Hatfield House, where Henry VIII’s children were brought up, and where you can see a fascination collection of portraits of Elizabeth I.

On your return to London you will have the afternoon at leisure before a visit to the Globe Theatre for a performance of a play by William Shakespeare or one of his Tudor contemporaries.

Accommodation: Accommodation at London Lodge Hotel or similar.

Overview: This morning a local coach will take you on a tour of Tudor London. This morning’s excursion will include a guided walking tour covering key points of interest. After the walking tour, we will travel out to Hampton Court Palace, scene of so much Tudor intrigue.

Accommodation: Accommodation at London Lodge Hotel or similar.

Overview: Today’s full day tour will include entrance to Sutton House and to the famous Golden Hind II.

An afternoon cruise on the Themes, as far as Greenwich, past numerous Tudor landmarks, will also be included.

Accommodation: Accommodation at London Lodge Hotel or similar.

Overview: Today we leave London and travel south into Kent for a two-night stop at Sevenoaks.

On the way to Sevenoaks we will stop to visit Eltham Palace, childhood home of Henry VIII. Little of the original palace remains but the magnificent medieval hall is still on display as is the extraordinary art-deco addition added in the 20th century.

In the afternoon, we will visit Knole House, taken over and lived in by Henry VIII, now owned by the National Trust.

Accommodation: Accommodation Best Western Donnington Manor House Hotel or similar.

Overview: Today we visit two wonderful castles with Tudor connections.

Morning visit to Hever Castle… childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

In the afternoon visit Leeds Castle, restored in the 20th century but looking, from the outside, much as it would have done in Tudor times.

Accommodation: Accommodation Best Western Donnington Manor House Hotel or similar.

Overview: This morning we transfer to Portsmouth.

In Portsmouth visit the Royal Naval Dockyards Museum to see Henry’s battle ship the Mary Rose sunk in 1545 and recovered in 1982.

Accommodation: Accommodation Holiday Inn Portsmouth or similar.

Overview: This morning we will transfer by coach to Heathrow for our flight to Spain.

The (included) flight will take us to Gibraltar where we will be met by a local coach for our transfer to Cadiz.

Dinner in our hotel tonight

Accommodation: Accommodation Hotel Monte Puertatierra or similar.

Overview: Cadiz was the premier naval port for 16th century Spain and was the scene of the famous “singing of the Spanish Beard” by Francis Drake.

This morning we have a tour of the city with a local guide, including a visit to the port and to the St. Francisco Church.

The rest of the day will be free to explore Cadiz.

Accommodation: Accommodation Hotel Monte Puertatierra or similar.

Overview: This morning we leave Cadiz and transfer to Granada, by coach, for a two-night stay.

Granada was one of the last cities to fall to the Catholic forces of Isabella and Ferdinand and it is where they chose to be buried. Today we will have a guided tour of the city including entrance to the Cathedral where the royal pair were buried.

Dinner in hotel.

Accommodation: Accommodation at Palacio De Santa Ines or similar.

Overview: This morning we will continue our exploration of Granada with a visit to the fabulous Alhambra, once a Moorish palace and later home to Catholic monarchs. We will also have entrance to the Generalife gardens.

Accommodation: Accommodation at Palacio De Santa Ines or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we will transfer by coach to Cordoba where a local guide will take us on a tour of the city. Our tour will include entrance to the splendid Moorish Mosque, later converted to a Baroque cathedral while still maintaining many of its Moorish features.

Dinner will be in our hotel.

Accommodation: Accommodation at Las Casa De Juderia De Cordoba or similar.

Overview: Today will be a day at leisure. You will have the chance to explore the city, walk right around the walls, do some shopping or just relax.

You might like to find an authentic restaurant and linger over a long Spanish meal.

Accommodation: Accommodation at Las Casa De Juderia De Cordoba or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we will transfer by coach to Toledo, capital of the newly united Spain until 1563.

Here we will be met by a local guide for a tour of the main city sights.

Dinner tonight will be in our hotel.

Accommodation: Accommodation at Alfonso IV Hotel, or similar.

Overview: Today we have another guided tour which will include visits to the Alcazar, Cathedral and Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes (built by Ferdinand and Isabella to be royal tombs before they changed their minds and chose Granada instead).

The rest of the day will be free to explore Toledo, perhaps you’d like to take in some El Greco!

Accommodation: Accommodation at Alfonso IV Hotel, or similar.

Overview: This morning we transfer to Madrid after breakfast.

In the afternoon, we visit the Prado Museum to meet the Spanish royal family through their portraits. The Prado has an amazing collection of Spanish paintings and after meeting the royals you’ll be free to explore the rest of the museum if you feel like it.

Accommodation: Accommodation at Quatro Puerta Del Sol or similar.

Overview: This morning a local coach will take us to visit El Escorial…16th century royal palace and monastery.

The afternoon will be free to explore Madrid.

Dinner is not included tonight so you have the chance to check out the local restaurants.

Accommodation: Accommodation at Quatro Puerta Del Sol or similar.

Overview: This morning, after breakfast, a coach will take us to Segovia before returning to Madrid. Our local guide will take us on a tour of the city which will include entrance to the Alcazar and La Granja De San Ildefonso.

At the end of our time in Segovia we will be transferred to our Madrid hotel for our farewell dinner in a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Accommodation at Quatro Puerta Del Sol or similar.

Overview: Tour concludes after breakfast.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 20 nights hotel accommodation including breakfast.
  • Meals as indicated.
  • Transport in comfortable and modern coaches.
  • All excursions, entrance fees, and local guides.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Services of tour leader for the duration of tour.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • International airfares and departure taxes.
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
Habsburg Spain Tudor England
Mosque of Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain
Palacio Real de Madrid, Spain
Courtyard of Alhambra Palace in Granada Spain
Hever Castle, in Penshurst, England
Hatfield House in the 19th Century
Toledo, Spain
Cadiz Spain
Cadiz Province, Spain, Andalusia
Queen Isabella of Spain
Ferdinand II, Spain
Queen Elizabeth I
King Henry VIII
Shakespeare

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