Pilgrimage to Spain & Portugal: Sacred Sites in Southern Europe
Experience Historical & Holy Sites, Walk Where Saints Walked

Saturday, May 23 – Saturday, Jun 13, 2020

Experience the deep vibrations of early monasteries, ancient convents, museums, opulent palaces and antique castles; places of spiritual, historical, and artful inspiration.

Avila Institute of Spain with Ananda Travels

Pricing for this 2020 pilgrimage will be listed soon. Contact us for more information.

 Spain:  Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Avila, Segovia, Alba de Tormes, Salamanca, Leon, Santiago de Compostela.

Portugal: Coimbra, Fatima, Sintra, and Lisbon.

There is the option to do the first two weeks: May 23-June 5. You would then depart Madrid on June 5th or 6th.

See our photo albumSpringtime in Spain and Portugal is especially lovely, with balmy days, cool nights, and scenic flower abounding countryside. This pilgrimage has a relaxed pace, with lots of easy walking, strolling old city streets, eating sumptuous food in superb restaurants, and absorbing the spiritual vibrations of many holy places. You’ll be well fed on all levels.

Spain Pilgrimage Video

Watch our video of this deeply inspiring pilgrimage to Spain

History, Culture, and Deep Spirituality – View the Old with New Eyes

Southern Europe, steeped in history and culture, has given birth to countless great saints. In diverse ways they lived and shared their inspirational and exalted lives with mankind. On this extraordinary trip you will experience the deep vibrations of early monasteries, ancient convents, museums, opulent palaces and antique castles; places of spiritual, historical and artful inspiration. Walk the streets of centuries-old cities where saints lived and walked.

anoramic view of the historic city of Avila Castilla

Most mornings will begin with an optional group meditation, depending on hotel facilities. Then, visiting holy places and hearing the illustrious history of saints' lives will help you deepen and tune into your own innate spirituality. We’ll explore these old sites with a new spiritual perspective, especially emphasizing eastern interpretations of western religion. A special highlight will be the once-a-year opening of the tomb of the great Saint Ferdinand III. Paramhansa Yogananda said that in a former life he was a Spanish king, famous for driving the Moors out of Spain. San Ferdinand III was that king. It’s very interesting how he began bringing unity into the Spanish culture and religion as far back as the 1200’s.

For more details and to reserve your space, please contact Krishnadas

Pilgrims outside the Prado Museum, MadridPilgrims-at-Prado-Museum-Madrid


For more information, please send us a Question or Comment:

Name:   Email:  


Receive monthly news and inspiration.

Facebook Like Follow pinterest email bookmark View more choices

Nayaswami Krishnadas

Nayaswami Krishnadas

Spiritual Travel Host, Meditation Teacher, Director of Guest Services, Ananda Minister and Counselor
What is a nayaswami?

An exceptionally knowledgeable and gifted meditation teacher, Nayaswami Krishnadas shares his passion for meditation with dynamic enthusiasm. Over the last three decades he has taught thousands of people, from all over the world, how to meditate.

See programs, articles, and full bio.

Nayaswami Mantradevi

Nayaswami Mantradevi

Ananda Minister and Counselor, Raja and Hatha Yoga Teacher, Spiritual Travel Host
What is a nayaswami?

Nayaswami Mantradevi teaches with insight, clarity and joy, gained from over 35 years of meditating and sharing yoga philosophy. Her concern for others is one of her key qualities, and she has the innate ability to communicate and apply spiritual principles to real life situations. Her classes are creative and experiential, with humor and discussions keeping them lively and interactive.

See programs, articles, and full bio.


Pricing for this 2020 pilgrimage will be listed soon. Contact us for more information.

If you prefer double occupancy but are not coming with a roommate, we will try to match you with someone who also needs a roommate.

Included in Tour Cost

  • 4-star hotel accommodations and two nights in a delightful convent-turned-hotel.
  • All breakfasts and either lunch or dinner, from dinner May 19 to breakfast June 9 in Spain and Portugal.
  • Transportation by private coach buses
  • English-speaking guides
  • Entrance fees for group cultural attractions

Not Included in Tour Cost

  • International airfare to and from Europe
  • Overweight baggage fees
  • Fees for passport
  • Personal hotel amenities and expenditures
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for guides and porters
  • 1 meal a day in Spain and Portugal (There will opportunities to buy snacks and/or eat in restaurants. For many people, two meals with snacks can be enough.)

To Register

Registration is not available yet.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our travelers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance a couple weeks ahead of the first day of the trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it. Here are a couple options:

Travel documents

You must hold a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months after the end of your stay. No visa is needed for travelers from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and most other countries in the Americas and Europe. If you are not from North America or Australia, you will need to find out whether you need a visa. More information on traveling to Spain.

Cancellation Policy

For cancellations received before March 15, 2020, your $1000 deposit will be refunded, less a $300 cancellation fee. If you cancel after March 15, 2020 any refunds will be subject to the terms and conditions of any travel/hotel fees, our tour company and other providers in Spain and Portugal, plus any other charges incurred on your behalf by Ananda Sangha.

Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Avila, Segovia, Alba de Tormes, Salamanca, Leon, Santiago de Compostela.

Portugal: Coimbra, Fatima, Sintra and leave from Lisbon.  

There is the option to do the first two weeks: May 23 - June 5. You would then depart from Madrid on June 6th.

 Most mornings will begin with an optional group meditation, depending on hotel facilities. Then, visiting holy places and hearing the illustrious history of saints' lives will help you deepen and tune into your own innate spirituality. We'll explore these old sites with a new spiritual perspective, especially emphasizing eastern interpretations of western religion. More meditation can often happen in the cathedrals and churches that we visit.


Almudena Cathedral looking over to Royal Palace Madrid-Spain

Arrive, Rest & Orient
With incredible cathedrals, churches, art galleries, restaurants, and shopping to offer, Madrid is truly a fascinating, world-class city. Arrive at the Hotel with time to check in and have dinner on your own. We will meet for our Orientation at 7:30pm.

Pilgrims at the Prado Museum, Madrid-Spain

 DAY 2 / 3: MADRID

Our Sightseeing starts with the beautiful Almudena Cathedral. A stroll through Sabatini Gardens, filled with Statues of kings and heroes throughout history, takes us to the nearby Royal Palace, the largest in Europe. You'll get to explore the world famous Del Prado Museum,and afterward, on the way to a delicious lunch, pass by the Biblioteca Nacional. The Convent of the Royal Barefoot Nuns demonstrates a combination of discipline and opulence, and the top of one of the highest buildings gives a 180 degree view of Madrid.



 DAY 4 / 5: TOLEDO

Toledo was founded as the Roman city Toletum, in 192 B.C. These ancient winding streets, delightfully confusing, are a joy to walk through. The Catedral Primada de Toledo is absolutely stunning, inside and out, beginning with its ornate white limestone façade. It houses a magnificent collection of works by artists including Goya, Raphael, and local hero El Greco. You can view the city from high up in the Church of San Ildefonso and relive history in the Alcazar Fortress. Shops, including the famous Jewish quarter, are a delight to browse in.




In the center of this long-standing city is The Great Mosque of Cordoba. It is magnificent and history filled, one of the oldest structures still standing from the time Muslims ruled. San Ferdinand III of Castile lived there after he conquered and took back the city from the Moors. He built, inside this huge mosque, a magnificent Cathedral, that both religions would share the same space together.


Seville Sorbisch Santa-Maria-de-la-Sede inner views


Ah, the beautiful Andalucian city of Seville. We'll tour the Cathedral of Seville, the largest Gothic cathedral, and third-largest church in the world. Paramhansa Yogananda said that in a former life he was a Spanish king, famous for driving the Moors out of Spain. San Ferdinand III was that king and his body lies here, incorrupt since 1252. We'll visit his tomb on the one day of the year they open it to the public, with a special ceremony. The Giralda Tower of the cathedral houses 24 bells and has a bird's eye view of the city.


Seville Alcazar exquisite interior

Another amazing site is the famous Alcazar (castle) of Seville, originally a Moorish fort, and the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. You'll also have time to wander the interesting streets of Seville, enjoy the fine restaurants, browse shops and see an excellent flamenco performance. The “Fiesta Flamenca” takes place in a unique theatre, with views of the central patio of a 16th century palatial home.

This is a travel day from Seville to Avila. We'll have lunch in the ancient Roman town of Merida, seeing some Roman ruins, and dining delectably at the aptly named restaurant, Shangri-la.




The birthplace of Saint Teresa of Avila. This awe-inspiring medieval city, constructed in 1090, is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Spain. We'll visit the Monastery of St. Joseph, the first convent she founded; the Monastery of the Incarnation where St. Teresa lived for most of 40 years; and the Convent of St. Teresa, built in the 17th-century, over the house where she was born. Enjoy the experience of simple but comfortable quarters in Casa Diocesana de Ejercicios, a convent turned into a retreat center.


Segovia Spain from air


This charming old town features St. John of the Cross, saint and close friend of St. Teresa of Avila. There, in La Fuencisia Church is his mausoleum, an inspiring place to meditate. A short walk away is La Vera Cruz Church, a very old, unusual church built by the Templars, that he attended and preached at. An optional walk to Old Town Segovia features beautiful views of the rolling countryside hills. In town we'll expore the Alcazar de Segovia (Segovia Castle), have a scrumptious lunch and drive to the very French Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, with 140 acres of extensive gardens and sculptural fountains. Very nice!


Avila Institute of Spain.jpg


El Escorial Avila Institute of Spain.jpg

One of the most fascinating places in Spain is The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. In this huge edifice you can explore the Architecture Museum; Painting Museum that exhibits a splendid collection of works from the Italian schools; Palace of Felipe II; Gallery of Battles; Palace of the Bourbons; Royal Pantheon, the burial mausoleum for the royal families: Courtyard of the Evangelists with 62 frescoes and paintings; and the extraordinary Regia Laurentina Library, one of the most important historic libraries in the world, with 45,000 printed works from the 15th and 16th centuries. Lunch will be in El Escorial and the rest of the day free to do more exploring in Avila.


Teresa died from illness, in 1582, on a journey from Burgos to the scenic country town of Alba de Tormes. Her incorrupt body is entombed in the Convent of the Annunciation. There is an extensive museum in front, with a window level to her tomb that sits high above the altar in the Church below. Another smaller museum has original manuscripts of her books and the room where she died. Very inspiring place.



Krishnadas meditating in Salamncar

Salamanca is a university town, energetic and youthful feeling. The University of Salamanca was founded by influence of King San Fernando III. Some options here are to explore the university; see a very old unusual planetarium; visit the Romanesque 12th century Cathedral of Salamanca; roam through the large Gothic style San Esteban Church, where St. Teresa lived and had visions of Christ; stroll the streets; hang out in the main Plaza, and eat lots of delicious food.


Leon Catedral


The roots of Leon go back as far as 29 BC. This ancient city is on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James), one of the most important Christian pilgrimage routes during the Middle Ages, and still actively walked today. We'll be hosted by Ananda Leon Yoga and Meditation Center.


The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the goal and traditional end of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. At noon the “Pilgrim's Mass” features the botafumiero, a huge incense burner swung through the transept high above the heads of the attendees. An impressive sight to see. The Plaza del Obradoiro, picturesque with its stunning architecture is the center of Old Town. The plaza is huge, has myriad things to offer, and is fun to sit in and view pilgrims finishing their Camino walk.



DAY 17 / 18: COIMBRA

Venerable Coimbra nestles on the banks of the River Mondego in dignified glory. Famed for its university - the oldest in the country - and a fantastic collection of handsome churches, serene monasteries, and lively cultural institutions. Coimbra is also a busy commercial hub with its many shops, boutiques, and appetizing choice of cafés and restaurants. Its historic heart lies high above the Mondego on Alcaçova hill, known to the Romans as Aeminium. Here, medieval convents, cathedrals, and some fine museums cluster around the old University.


DAY 19 / 20: FATIMA

Original statue of Our lady of Fatima

In 1917, in a small village, the Virgin Mary appeared thrice to three shepherd children. It is now a holy site, inspiring pilgrims from all over the world. Visitors gather in Cova de Iria, an enormous plaza where a little chapel was built on the spot the Virgin Mary appeared. On the far side of the plaza rises the great Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, built in neo-classical style, with a central tower 65 meters high. Large torch-light evening processions, often led by cardinals and bishops, are particularly impressive. This is a wonderful place to tune into Divine Mother's presence.

DAY 21 / 22: LISBON via SINTRA 

Sintra - Aerial-of-Sintra-by-the-sea-Portugal


We’ll visit Sintra on our way to Lisbon. Sintra is a picturesque Portuguese town, set amidst the pine-covered hills of the Serra de Sintra. Its hilly and slightly cooler climate enticed the nobility and elite of Portugal, who constructed exquisite palaces, extravagant residences and decorative gardens. The variety of fascinating historic buildings and beautiful scenery has established Sintra as the most popular day trip from Lisbon.


This is the end of our pilgrimage and we’ll be saying good-bye to each other, no doubt with lots of hugs and well wishes. These last three weeks have bonded us in Spirit, with many wonderful memories and new life-time friends, along with deep spiritual insights gained along the way. We’ll spend our last night in Lisbon. Buen viaje, dear friends, with love and joyful blessings!


“What a wonderful trip we had…and as you predicted, it keeps on giving. Both Anna and I are spellbound by Spain and its history and spiritual depth. Once again, many thanks to Krishna Das and Mantradevi on thebrilliant planning and organization.“
R.B. Fresno, CA

Lisbon farewell


Ananda is a worldwide movement to help you realize the joy of your own higher Self. It is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and was founded by his direct disciple Swami Kriyananda in 1968.
Learn More...

Joy is within you


14618 Tyler Foote Rd
Nevada City, California 95959
Toll free 800-346-5350
Outside US 530-478-7518

Contact Us

Donate to our non-profit


Receive uplifting emails with inspirational content and news about our retreat programs, travels, and trainings.

Sign up for free

The Expanding Lighr Retreat facebook YouTube
The Expanding Lighr Retreat facebook YouTube