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Highlights of Portugal

from $1,705.00

Journey from Porto to Lisbon via the UNESCO Douro Valley and heritage sites

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely
    1/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 18
All about the Highlights of Portugal.

Once a powerful kingdom that dominated the world sea routes, Portugal today is one of the friendliest and most peaceful countries in Europe, though the legacy of its former wealth can still be found in its historic cities. Starting from the colourful Porto, the country’s second city and a UNESCO site, our journey follows the verdant valleys and rolling hills of the Douro wine region, before heading to the lesser known interior. Here we spend two nights in an authentic rural village for a full immersion in the local traditions and way of living. We continue with a visit to other must-see places including Coimbra, the UNESCO Batalha and Alcobaça monasteries, mediaeval Obidos and magnificent Sintra before reaching Lisbon, one of the world’s most enchanting capital cities.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner and 2 wine tastings included
* All accommodations
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
*  Tour leader throughout. Group normally 6 to 18, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs.

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • City taxes (approx 10 Euro)

Highlights

  • Visit Porto and the UNESCO Douro wine region
  • Explore magnificent heritage in Lisbon and Sintra
  • Stay in remote rural village hosted by friendly locals
  • 7 nights in 3 and 4-star hotels and guesthouses
  • Sightseeing on foot
  • Group normally 6 to 18, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private air-conditioned minibus, train and boat
  1. Day 1 Start Porto.

    Start in Porto, the second largest city of Portugal and one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful towns. Time permitting, the tour leader will arrange a short orientation tour after the group’s arrival to familiarise with the city and take in the vibrant atmosphere of the ancient Ribeira district.**

  2. Day 2 Morning guided sightseeing in the UNESCO historic centre; Port wine tasting; free time for optional activities.

    Today starts with a guided tour through the historic centre of Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As we amble leisurely along the ancient streets and mediaeval lanes we will visit some of the most important monuments such as the St. Bento Station, a neoclassic jewel, and the cathedral. In the bustling and colourful squares and the traditional, highly unique cafes, we will discover the authentic heart of Porto. We conclude our guided visit by Ribeirinha, the picturesque riverside area, where we enjoy a tour of the historic Port wine cellars and wine tasting; the afternoon is free for further individual sightseeing. Overnight in Porto.

  3. Day 3 Scenic train ride to the Douro Valley; visit Douro museum; enjoy wine tasting and river cruise; transfer to rural village of Penela.

    Today we explore the heart of the famous Douro Valley, the world’s first officially designated wine region renowned not only for the excellent Port wine but also for the postcard-pretty landscapes made of steep terraced vineyards carved into mountains along the river. We start with a train tide to Peso da Régua (approx. 2hrs) where we visit the interesting Douro Museum, an ideal place to learn about the history, culture and identity of the UNESCO World Heritage Douro wine region. We enjoy a delicious lunch and wine tasting in an eighteenth-century estate surrounded by terraced vineyards that climb high above the dramatic confluence of the Douro and Tedo rivers. In the afternoon we take in some of the best views of the Douro Valley during a leisurely boat cruise. We conclude the busy day with a transfer by private bus into the central region of Portugal (approx. 2,30 hrs drive) to the rural village of Penela, our base for the next two nights.

  4. Day 4 Visit Coimbra and its UNESCO University; afternoon hands-on cookery experience in rural community.

    During our stay in the remote rural village of Penela we have the special opportunity to spend some time with a group of friendly locals whose goal is to revive this small communitarian village in the so-called Schist Mountains. This morning we get the first opportunity to learn of their traditions as we enjoy a fun cheese-making demonstration. Afterwards, we transfer to Coimbra (approx. 30 mins) where we spend the day sightseeing. Widely known as ’the city of students’, Coimbra’s history is closely linked to its university, which was founded in 1290 and is the second oldest in Europe. The city of Coimbra is divided into two distinct areas, the baixa (downtown) by the river, where most of the city’s commercial activity is concentrated, and the ’alta’ (upper town), where the city’s oldest and most important buildings Sé Velha (Old Cathedral), Sé Nova (New Cathedral) and the UNESCO University of Coimbra are found. We return to Penela for the night and enjoy a convivial dinner based on the typical dishes and produce of this mountainous region of Portugal.

  5. Day 5 Visit UNESCO Batalha and Alcobaça monasteries; overnight in mediaeval Obidos.

    Today we transfer (approx. 1hr) to the Monastery of Batalha, a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic that combines various influences from its lengthy period of construction, which lasted several reigns. We will have the opportunity to visit the outstanding interior including the Founders’ Chapel with its fine stained-glass windows, the cloisters, the Unfinished Chapels with their Manueline and Flemish Gothic features and the Chapter House. Our next stop is the charming little town of Alcobaça, boasting another magnificent UNESCO site namely the 12th-century Monastery of Santa Maria de Alcobaça, founded by the Order of Cistercians in 1153. Our last destination and base for the night is Óbidos, a charming small fortified village which resembles a suggestive medieval film set. It has been carefully preserved by its inhabitants who have been taking careful pride in maintaining the architectural image of the village characterised by narrow winding streets and white-washed houses, a delight to stroll amongst after day-trippers have left.

  6. Day 6 Drive to Sintra; visit the majestic Pena Palace and picturesque old town; afternoon transfer to Lisbon.

    Today we finally travel to the final point in the itinerary, Lisbon which was recently awarded Europe’s Leading City Destination for 2018. Before reaching the city, we stop in the hilltop town of Sintra, once the old residence of kings, nobles, poets, painters and artists. Sintra’s beautiful surroundings of forested hills are the perfect frame to the town’s collection of elegant palaces, castles and museums. Our guided tour will include a visit to the iconic National Pena Palace, the most complete and notable example of Portuguese architecture in the Romantic period. The palace lies in a picturesque setting, perched on one of the rocky peaks of the Serra de Sintra, and blends in a surprisingly fortunate manner with its natural background of greenery and crags, testifying to the aesthetic potentialities of the project. Fanciful to an extreme, the architectural fabric of Pena finds much of its inspiration in the Moorish, Gothic and Manueline motifs of Portuguese art. There will be also time to enjoy a stroll and some shopping opportunities in the picturesque historic centre, before travelling to Lisbon. This evening we will enjoy a short orientation tour as a first introduction to this enchanting capital-city.

  7. Day 7 Guided sightseeing in Lisbon.

    Europe’s second-oldest capital (after Athens), and once home to the world’s greatest explorers like Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator, Lisbon today is one of the most sought-after destinations offering everything you would expect from a trendy capital: delicious food, ancient monuments, quirky cafés, charming neighbourhoods, and a stunning riverside view over the Tejo river. Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills, so wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a few steep climbs and steps during today’s walking tour.  In the morning we will cover the area of Belém, ,Graça and Praça do Comércio whilst late afternoon we will take a tour of the famous district of Alfama, one of Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhoods boasting a maze of colourful alleyways, old buildings and breath-taking viewpoints. This evening we have the option to join the tour leader for a memorable farewell dinner in one of the traditional Fado restaurants. Fado is a melancholic musical style of storytelling that was born in Lisbon’s streets, particularly those of Alfama and it is at the heart and soul of Portuguese culture.* *

  8. Day 8 The trip ends in the morning

    The trip ends in the morning

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Where you stay

3 and 4-star hotels and rural guesthouse

All hotels on this trip have been specially selected for their location, character and comfort. We stay mostly in modern buildings located within or in proximity of the historic centres we visit. For two nights we stay in a charming rural guesthouse located in the village of Penela, which maintains its original rustic style but was renovated to suit modern comforts. Here the group may be split between two different buildings of similar standards.

List of hotels normally used:

Moov Hotel Porto Centro or similar, Porto
Casa do Zé Sapateiro, Penela
Hotel Literary Man, Obidos
Marquês de Pombal Hotel or similar, Lisbon

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner and 2 wine tastings included

Portugal is known for its excellent wines and the delicious regional cuisine which makes use of a lot of natural resources and produce. All meals have strong links with the land and sea, often prepared following old traditional recipes. We will have the opportunity to try a variety of traditional specialities during the trip and the local leader will always be to hand to recommend some good local restaurants. Portugal also prides itself in having some of the best fish in the world. Salt cod is a staple in Portugal, eaten in all kinds of ways, from baked with cream and potatoes, to grilled with salad. The Douro and Alentejo regions are also well-known for an endless number of meat dishes, which include the famous roasted goat with rice and potatoes, porco preto (black pork cooked confit-style), posta mirandes (veal steak) and cozido à portuguesa (boiled meat, sausages and cabbages). Finally, we can’t leave Portugal without trying the world-famous Pastel de nata, the quintessential Portuguese custard tart originating from Lisbon. Please note that vegetarian meals are available on request although options may be very limited.

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely) This is a comprehensive and fast-paced itinerary which aims to showcase the highlights as well as the lesser visited sights of Portugal in eight days. All the transfers will be by private air conditioned vehicle or train (only on one small section along the Douro River) and none of the distances are particularly long. The itinerary is quite busy although some free time is built in the itinerary to allow some rest or sightseeing at leisure. Please note that Portugal can be very hot, reaching high 30’s in the summer. Although this itinerary is mostly based on sightseeing, please be prepared for a reasonable amount of walking between sites. The trip is suitable for all people who are in good health and fitness.

Overall Rating
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