Spain-Portugal In 9D8N: Your Muslim-Friendly Itinerary To Relive Europe’s Islamic History


Amira Rahmat •  Jun 10, 2019

Ahh… Magnificent palaces, delicious Muslim-friendly food, amazing culture and Islamic history, jaw-dropping massive architecture and breathtaking cities. Spain and Portugal are countries of incredible cultural splendour that promise travellers the best of old and new! What’s there not to love about the two countries? ?


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Continue reading and try not to fight the temptation to make Spain and Portugal your next epic travel destination of 2019!

When To Go

Winter (November – February): This period is usually the low season and temperatures are cold. The opening hours of attractions are shorter so do check first before visiting the landmarks.

Spring and Fall (March – April and October – November): The best time to visit Spain and Portugal, plus it's the perfect weather as it's neither too hot or too cold!

Summer (June – August): Summertime is considered the busy period and also when temperatures soar. The accommodation prices will also rise and the weather is hot.

[P.S. Want to go on an immersive tour to Andalusia? Check out the amazing tours on the HHWT Marketplace!]

Day 1: Cordoba

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (2-3h)

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  • The first stop has got to be the Great Mosque of Cordoba! Head to the iconic Islamic landmark, one of the largest mosques after the Holy Mosque of Mecca, and Sultanahmet Mosque of Istanbul.

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  • Patio de los Naranjos, a beautiful courtyard garden also forms part of the majestic mosque, hence take your time to marvel at its beauty and learn about the Islamic history of the place ☺️
  • #HHWT Tip: Try to arrange your visit either in the morning or the evening, as the peak hours are from 11am to 3pm.

Chill out at a tea house (1h)

  • After an enriching tour around Cordoba Mosque, take your pick of halal restaurants (Lebanese, Indian, Pakistani, Moroccan etc) around the 8th-century mosque!

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  • An exquisite tea house called Teteria Petra is recommended with a lot of good reviews. They have various treats like falafel, chicken skewers, cakes and tea.

Explore the Jewish Quarter (2-3h)

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  • After filling your tummy with a delicious meal, proceed to the Jewish quarter.
  • One of the must-see attractions is the Alley of Flowers (Calleja de las Flores) which can be found in the heart of the Jewish quarter.

Day 2: Cordoba

Madinat Al-Zahra (2-3h)

  • The excavated ruins of this medieval palace-city is your first stop for the day!
  • To get here from Cordoba, you have to take a bus to travel out of the city.We recommend booking tickets online! Make sure to include return bus tickets to the city inclusive of the bus ride to and from the archaeological site.
  • Entry Fee: Bus tickets – Adult €9, Children (up to 12 years) €5. Entry is €1.50.

  • Known as the shining city, Madinat Al-Zahra was once the administrative capital of Andalusia.

  • It was built by the Umayyad Caliph of Cordoba, Abd-ar-Rahman III al-Nasir. Mentioned in numerous history books, this city is actually huge and built on acres and acres of land. Spend half of your eventful day here ?

Refuel with authentic Spanish cuisine (1h)

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  • After an insightful tour around Madinat Al-Zahra, it’s time for some yummy Andalusian cuisine!
  • A top halal restaurant in Cordoba that you should try is Los Almendros Restaurant, a top recommendation for halal Andalusian cuisine.

Roman Bridge and Calahorra Tower (2-3h)

  • Head to the old Roman Bridge and visit an interactive museum called the Calahorra Tower.
  • Be amazed as you walk on the footsteps of history and delve into the story of Christians, Muslims and Jews living in harmony during the reign.

Go souvenir hunting (1-2h)

  • With that, head back to the Jewish Quarters for some souvenir hunting, wander along the medieval streets and enjoy a visit to the local souk there at night.

[P.S. Love Islamic history? Check out these other places in Europe which are rich in Islamic history!]

Day 3: Granada

  • Time to move to the next city! Travel to Granada by train (2.5 hours), bus (3 hours) or even rent a car to do a road trip! You can book your train tickets here and buses here. Check in to the hotel to freshen up.

Explore the Alhambra (4h)

Credit: James McNellis on Facebook 

  • Tour the crown jewel of Granada – the Alhambra. Regarded as one of the most renowned accomplishments of Islamic architecture and art, this is usually the highlight of the trip for many!

  • There are simply so many fantastic things to see here! Built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century, it can take up to 4 hours just to explore this Arabian palace – from the Alcazaba to the Patio of the Lions, the Justice Gate, the building of the Baths and the Generalife Gardens which is one of the oldest Moorish Gardens.

Go on a walking tour of Alcaiceria (2h)

  • Then make your way to Alcaicería, home of the Great Bazaar of Granada!
  • Go on a walking tour at a leisurely pace and visit the quaint little shops in Granada. Don’t miss your chance for some bargain hunting and tea shopping.

Grab a quick bite in the bazaar (1h)

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  • As an inexpensive place for food, you will be spoilt for choice! Finding a halal eatery here will not be difficult. Head to Palacio Andaluz Teteria Almona for great tagine, or Puerta De Syria for delicious Middle Eastern food.

Catch a flamenco show (2h)

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  • After your meal, go on and catch a performance of the Flamenco dance! Get your tickets here to watch the Tablao Flamenco Albayzin.
  • Seeing a flamenco show in Spain is an absolute must! Experience the emotions, the culture and stories as told through dance and song.

Day 4: Granada

Go on a tour of Albayzin (2-3h)

  • Start your day with a sightseeing tour of Albayzin, a named world heritage site and old Moorish quarter.
  • If you want to learn more about the history of Albayzin, catch a free walking tour organised by Walk In Granada!
  • #HHWT Tip: Don’t forget to wear sturdy shoes when going on walking tours!

Science Park Museum (2h)

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  • Once you’re done exploring Albayzin, spend some time at Science Park Museum (Parque de las Ciencias). Worth every Euro and it is also great for kids!
  • The displays here are really interactive and informative. Check out the Journey Into The Human Body and the planetarium where you can see 7,000 stars from 110 projectors.

Try halal tapas (1h)

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  • A trip to Spain is not complete without some halal tapas! For great tapas, good service and amazing atmosphere, have lunch at Cafeteria La Riffena – a travellers' favourite.

La Madraza (1-2h)

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  • After sampling some great tapas, go to La Madraza, a school which was established by the Nasrid Sultan Yusuf I in the 14th century.
  • It is indeed a gem of Islamic art that is often overlooked!

Do your prayers at Granada Mosque (1h)

  • Complete your day with a stop at Mezquita Mayor de Granada, a small but modern mosque.
  • After performing your prayers here, enjoy the serenity of the garden surrounding the mosque, and the stunning views of Alhambra from the mosque – for those who wish to see the historic castle like never before!

[P.S. Want to go on an immersive tour to Andalusia? Check out the amazing tours on the HHWT Marketplace!]

Day 5: Seville

  • Continue your epic journey and embark on a scenic bus or train ride to Seville, the fourth largest city in Spain!
  • Bask in the city’s romantic aura as you get ready to visit some of the incredible sights that Seville has to offer.

Visit the Royal Palace of Alcazar (2-3h)

Credit: Archigeek on Flickr

  • This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a gorgeous palace for a Christian king, which displays Islamic architecture that resembles a bit like Alhambra.
  • One of the oldest European Royal Palaces that is still in use, it was initially a fort in 913. After Muslims took over Spain, it was turned into a castle.

Admire a gothic cathedral (2h)

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  • Another UNESCO World Heritage Site you should tick off your list!
  • Santa Maria de la Sede Cathedral was and still is considered one of the largest gothic cathedrals in history. From the 8th to the 13th century, it was actually the capital city of the Umayyad Caliphate.

Go Lebanese for your meal (1h)

  • From the cathedral, it’s a short 5 minutes' walk to your next meal at Restaurante el Rincon de Beirut, the top Lebanese eatery in Seville!
  • We recommend the Shish Taouk, Hamburguesa Crispy de Pollo (crispy chicken burger) and Moussaka Limasol. The portions are quite big and you can share them if you're in a group of friends.

Be awed by collections of the Roman Empire (1-2h)

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  • Afterwards, head over to Museo Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija, a specialty museum that contains one of the most complete and amazing collections of Roman mosaic in the region.
  • This little gem is housed in one of the very few old mansions in Seville which you can visit. The main courtyard and several patios are a gorgeous sight!

Day 6: Seville

Visit the Giralda Tower and Cathedral of Seville (2h)

  • Begin your day with a visit to the Giralda Tower! Once upon a time, it was one of the tallest religious monument on earth during the reign of the Almohad dynasty.
  • It is now a bell tower for the Cathedral of Seville.

Credit:Sevilla Congress & Convention on Flickr

  • The cathedral was previously the Aljama Mosque in the late 12th-century. With Moorish elements still present, this is another fine example of the cultural blend that defines Spain.
  • The tower has a breathtaking panoramic view of Seville. Instead of stairs, the tower has 35 inclining ramps which are about 17 storeys high!

Plaza de Espana (1h)

  • Another landmark to visit next is the magnificent Plaza de Espana.

  • By far Seville’s pride and glory, this immense structure measures close to 50,000 square metres. Can you imagine the size of that!
  • This beautiful work of architecture has a Renaissance and neo-Moorish style and you can even rent small boats to row in the canal, giving it the name ‘the Venice of Seville’.

Take a stroll at Parque de Maria Luisa (1h)

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  • From Plaza de Espana, you can also drop by Parque de Maria Luisa. At this park, you can even hire four wheel bikes to go around!
  • #HHWT Tip: The best time to visit here is spring and autumn when the flowers are in full bloom.

Savour a halal meal at BBQ House (1h)

  • There are a couple of Halal dining options in the city of Seville such as Al-Medina, As-Sawirah, Fez Restaurante, Casa de Abdul, Don Raimuno, Al Diuan, Aladin, Andalucia Kebab and more, so you will definitely not be hungry!
  • BBQ House is a highly recommended halal Spanish restaurant serving barbecue dishes and tapas (appetizers). If you think that sounds good, it tastes even better.

  • We tried the calamares fritos con ali oli (deep fried squid with ali oli sauce), gazpacho (cold tomato soup), croquetas de pollo (chicken croquette), tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette with potatoes) and grilled mixed meat skewers and lamb chops platter.
  • The meat was tender and juicy, and the lamb chop was only seasoned with salt and pepper. Paired with their flavourful BBQ or chilli salsa sauce – it tasted heavenly!

Day 7: Lisbon-Sintra, Portugal

  • After exploring the best of Seville, it’s time to continue your adventure to Portugal! There are no trains, but you can take a quick 5-hour bus ride or fly. Book your bus tickets here.

  • Ah, we love Lisbon! As one of Western Europe’s most affordable capital cities, Lisbon combines the best elements of traditional heritage, modernism and a multicultural population. Your epic Spain and Portugal adventure ends in this charming city, as you'll depart home from here.

Visit the Palacio de Pena (3-4h)

  • First things first, make your way to Sintra, a town with historic buildings and attractions. Getting to Sintra from Lisbon is easy - take the Linha de Sintra line from Rossio station in downtown Lisbon. The journey takes about 45 minutes.

  • Palacio de Pena (Pena Palace) should be the top of your list when you're here! The 8th century Castle of the Moors offers amazing cliff-top palaces with views of the Serra de Sintra mountain range – it will definitely leave you breathless!

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  • The palace itself displays an eclectic mixture of Muslim and oriental architecture. Wander through the courtyards that remind you of Islamic architecture. Be sure to take lots of Instagram-worthy photos here!

Wander around Sintra old town (1-2h) 

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  • After visiting the majestic Pena Palace, it's time to explore the charming sights of Sintra's old town.
  • It feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city as there are quaint alleys with gift shops and eateries.

Explore Belem district (3-4h)

  • If you'd like, you can also choose to skip Sintra old town and head straight to Belem, west of Lisbon.
  • With its historic monuments, museums, beautiful parks as well as the popular Tejo estuary, it should be on the list of any Lisbon itinerary!

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  • Head over to the Torre de Belem - a 16th-century tower which played a crucial part in the Portuguese kingdom's expansion.
  • The lines to get up the tower can be really long and if you are strapped for time, don't worry! The tower makes for a picture-perfect shot, and even more so if you visit during sunset.

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  • The Jeronimos Monastery is also an important landmark of Portuguese history in Belem. The intricate architecture here is so breathtakingly beautiful ?
  • This highly visited site was built to commemorate explorer Vasco de Gama's return from India to Portugal in the 16th century and you can find his tomb here too.

Dinner at Restaurante Marrakesh (1h)

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  • After the whole day being out and about, head over to Restaurante Marrakesh for a fantastic Moroccan and Indian meal.
  • Get your fill of tagines, fluffy naan breads and butter chicken here - guaranteed to leave you satisfied ?

Stroll down Avenida da Liberdade (1h)

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  • End of your day by walking down the glitzy Avenida da Liberdade dotted with designer shops and trendy cafes!
  • Even if you don't do any shopping, it's nice to be soaking in the atmosphere and do some window-shopping ?

Day 8: Lisbon

Admire the view at Sao Jorge Castle (2h)

  • Spend the morning at Citadel of Sao Jorge Castle! Dating back all the way to the Moorish times, this Citadel is situated at the highest point of the Old Town.

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  • Admire the angular white houses and red terracotta rooftops of the buildings from a bird’s eye view. Make sure your camera/handphone is fully charged before heading here!
  • You can also visit the Castle of Saint George for an experience to know about the city’s rich historical past.

Visit the local Muslim community (1-2h)

  • While you are here in Lisbon, go to the Central Mosque of Lisbon.

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  • Intricately designed with a dome and minaret, this main mosque serves the Portuguese Islamic community.
  • Take the chance to offer your prayers here! Only inaugurated in 1985, the mosque is close by to the Metro station and El Corte Ingles shopping district.

Shop at El Corte Ingles (1-2h)

  • Do some last-minute shopping at El Corte Ingles, a giant department store with an impressive 9 floors of fashion, design and food!
  • From fashion to cosmetics, decoration and sportswear, you can definitely find something you need here.

Fill your tummy at Middle Eastern or Indian eateries (1h)

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  • In the capital of Portugal, there are many Arab or Turkish eateries for you to choose from. Grab lunch at Restaurant Marrakesh, or at Zaafran, and Maya Restaurante Indiano and Portuguese if you feel like having delicious Indian food!
  • Zaafran serves good quality Indian food and its Chicken Tikka Briyani is a must-try ?

Visit Lisbon's famous arc (1h)

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  • Spend your last evening in Lisbon by heading to its famous arc located in the downtown area called the Arco Triunfal da Rua Augusta.
  • Climb up the arch to enjoy fantastic views of the city!

Day 9: Going home

  • It's your last day in Lisbon :( Time to pack your luggage and check out from your hotel!
  • To head to the airport, you can choose to take the Metro red line from any station along the line or take the Aerobus services to the airport. Check out the different ways of transportation here.

So there you have it! This itinerary will definitely be an enlightening experience that you will not forget. Go on and start planning for that epic adventure to Spain and Portugal and experience the grandeur of Europe!

[P.S. Want to go on an immersive tour to Andalusia? Check out the amazing tours on the HHWT Marketplace!]