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A journey to discover the many splendours of Portugal’s north & south, both rich in history, cultural & religious treasures and unique traditions. During this escorted coach tour, you'll visit walled vibrant cities, walled medieval towns & majestic castles and journey through lovely Douro Valley with its ancient vineyards before heading south to enjoy the charms of Portugal's sunny Algarve region! This 13-day tour will leave you with memories for years to come!
Friday - On arrival at Lisbon Airport, a private car will be waiting and transfer you to your centrally located hotel. Once you have checked in the remainder of the day is at your leisure to relax or explore Lisbon on your own.
Saturday - This morning meet your guide and travel companions for your journey to the North of Portugal. Departing Lisbon through a landscape rich in windmills and fruit trees, we arrive at the town of Óbidos, surrounded by imposing medieval walls and where we can admire the harmony of the architecture, the diversity of the handicrafts and taste the famous "ginginha" (bitter cherry liqueur). We continue to Alcobaça, home to the first & largest Gothic church in Portugal and the resting place of D.Pedro and Inês de Castro, protagonists of a 14th century “Romeo & Juliet” style love story. Our next stop will be in Nazaré, a typical fishing village and seaside resort full of traditions & legends, before continuing to Batalha where we will visit the Monastery of Santa Maria de Victoria, a masterpiece of the Gothic architecture in Portugal & where we can find the tomb of Henry the Navigator, the promoter of the maritime discoveries. Finally, we arrive in Fátima, the famous Marian Shrine & pilgrimage site where our Lady is said to have appeared to three young shepherds in one of the biggest mysteries of the Catholic Church. Possibility to assist the Candle procession. Tonight's hotel will be in Fatima. (B)
Sunday - Following breakfast at the hotel, departure towards Coimbra, home to one of Europe’s oldest Universities and known as the “Student Capital” of Portugal. Visit the University with its magnificent baroque library & unique atmosphere characterized by ancient traditions & customs such as the black cape of the students and the melancholic Fado music. Next, we stop by Santa Clara Church with the tomb of Queen St. Isabel, the protagonist of the “miracle of the roses” and in the centre of town, you can admire the exclusive ceramics of Coimbra. In the afternoon our journey continues to Aveiro, a city of canals known as the “Portuguese Venice”, where you shall have time to see the graceful boats “moliceiros” and taste the local sweets “ovos moles”. Drive to Porto where we arrive in time to check-in at our hotel. (B)
Monday - Breakfast at your hotel. Porto is Portugal's 2nd largest city and UNESCO World Heritage site, a living amphitheatre inviting us to make a morning visit to discover the riverside area, old houses, palaces & churches that history has made eternal and Port wine, renown worldwide. We then continue to the Minho area, the northwest region of Portugal that offers natural green scenery and the sparkling “green wine”. Our first stop of the day is Guimarães, the cradle of the nation & birthplace of the first king of Portugal, where a walk through the historic centre plunges one back into medieval times. Visit the Sacred Hill, crowned by the Castle, as well the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança dating back to the 15th centuries. Next, we Drive to Braga, known as the "Portuguese Rome" for its concentration of religious architecture including the oldest Cathedral of the country, and the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary with its famous baroque stairway & gardens. Return to your hotel in Porto. (B)
Tuesday - Today is free to explore Porto on your own, a city famed for its riverside hills, medieval alleys, historic monuments and churches, and an enchanting atmosphere. Take a leisurely stroll along Avenue dos Aliados boulevard surrounded by impressive Neoclassical buildings and through the steep and narrow alleys of Porto's enchanting historic town. Visit the Estaçao de Sao Bento train station to admire the magnificent tiled murals and the splendid Igreja do Carmo church. Or walk across the iconic 19th-century Dom Luis I bridge to visit some of the famous Port wine cellars in Villa Nova Gaia. (B)
Wednesday - Today, after breakfast we depart to Amarante, a pretty town proud of its patron saint, São Gonçalo, known for the promotion of love & marriage and whose tomb can be seen in the monastery facing the river houses. In the towns' bustling market is worth a visit where you can find fruit, vegetables, chickens, fabrics and an immense variety of other popular items. Afterwards, we drive to Vila Real to visit the beautiful Gardens of Palacio Mateus. The facade of this historic manor is still depicted on the bottles of the well-known Portuguese Rose wine. Then we journey into Port wine region, travelling through the vineyards and the breathtaking landscapes of the Douro Valley. We stop in the charming town of Lamego, overlooked by one of Portugal's most important shrines, Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, with its magnificent baroque style staircase. You may want to try some of the local delicacies such as the local ham or the famous “Bola de Lamego” (a loaf baked in the oven with smoked ham). Continue to the mountainous hinterland to Viseu, the centre of the Dão Vineyards and a city connected with Portugal´s oldest hero & Lusitanian chief, Viriato. Built in the shadow of the Cathedral, the ancient town of Viseu is made up of narrow streets and doorways with coats of arms carved in granite. Proceed to Urgeiriça area where we will check-into our hotel for the night. (B)
Thursday - Breakfast at hotel. Today's journey begins with a drive today through the heart of Portugal till Bussaco, well known for the luxuriant forest of rare trees & plants of exotic beauty, and the romantic Palace of Bussaco, originally built as a royal hunting lodge and today a luxurious hotel. We continue to Tomar. The development of the city is closely linked to the Order of the Templars which received these lands in 1159 as a reward for their assistance to Dom Afonso Henriques, the First King of Portugal, in the Christian reconquest of the territory. It was Dom Gualdim Pais, the first Grand Master of the Order in Portugal, who founded the castle and the remarkable Convent of Christ inside, the centrepiece of the city. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it was enlarged and remodelled over the centuries retaining the influences of various architectural styles. After this visit, we proceed to Lisbon and check in to your hotel. (B)
Friday - After breakfast at your hotel, you'll depart towards Sintra where you will visit the palace of Sintra and walk through this charming village. We then proceed to Cabo da Roca to appreciate the magnificent views over the Atlantic from Europe's Westernmost point. Continuing along the coast, we will pass by one of the most famous surfing beaches, the incredible Boca do Inferno, the cosmopolitan Cascais, and the Gardens of Estoril Casino before returning to your hotel in Lisbon. (B)
Saturday - Departing from Lisbon we cross the bridge over the Tejo River and journey through a lovely rural landscape dotted with olive trees, cork oak trees & vineyards to arrive in Évora. Spend the day discovering the whitewashed town of Évora, a mosaic of culture, history & traditions and one of Portugal's UNESCO World heritage sites. Step back in time as we walk along the narrow streets, visiting some of the most important monuments: the Roman Temple, the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral, Saint Francis Church whit the “Bones Chapel“ and the University. At the market, we see and feel the richness of products used to prepare one of the most elaborated and appreciated cuisines of Portugal. Throughout the visit, we also admire the diversity of authenticity of local handicrafts made with cork, ceramic & copper objects. The rest of the day is free to enjoy lunch and continue exploring the city on your own. We also suggest you do a wine, cheese & gourmet olive oil tasting. Tonight's hotel is in Évora. (B)
Sunday - Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and part of the morning at leisure. We then depart Évora and drive southward to Beja, where the highest tower of any Portuguese Medieval castle dominates the town and the region. There will be a short stop for visiting before continuing our journey. Crossing small mountains we enter the Algarve region and drive past fields of orange trees to arrive in Silves, renowned for its red sandstone castle dating back to Moorish times and the legacy of its former cork industry. We then continue to the golden sands of the Algarve, passing by Praia da Rocha to arrive in Lagos for overnight. (B)
Monday - Breakfast at hotel. The Algarve has the call of the sea that led to the discovery of the New World and today we spend the morning exploring this fascinating region. Our first stop is Ponta da Piedade to admire the magnificent view over the Atlantic Ocean and cliffs whose shapes have been sculpted by the erosive action of both the sea & time. Continue to the fishing village of Sagres for a visit to the fortress, the mythical “navigation school” forever linked to Prince Henry the Navigator from the first days of Atlantic navigation and the discovery of the African coast. Proceeding along the cliffs to Cabo São Vincente, the most southwestern point in Europe, we reach the city of Lagos. Lagos is a cosmopolitan town with a marina and a fishing port where you can taste delicious Algarvean cuisine, such as the typical fish & shellfish dish cooked in a copper pan called "cataplana". You should also not miss sampling the fine local sweets, including the famous marzipan, almond and fig cakes. Return to the hotel where the afternoon at leisure invites you to take a dip in the warm sea. Return to your hotel in Lagos. (B)
Tuesday - Breakfast at hotel and check out. Enjoy a last look at the blue sea while travelling along the coast, say farewell to the Algarve as we begin our journey back to Lisbon. The return trip will take you to the city of Setubal, a major port and industrial centre on the north bank of the Sado estuary. Stop and free time to visit Setubal. We then take the scenic route over the Arrábida Mountain Range, an area preserved as a Natural Park boasting amazing scenery and unique vegetation at the gates of Lisbon, and savour the sweeping views of the Tróia Peninsula. Finally, crossing the bridge over the Tejo River, we arrive back in Lisbon. (B)
Wednesday - This morning after breakfast, a private car will transfer you back to Lisbon airport to begin your journey back home. (B)
Friday - September 01 & 15, October 06 & 20, November 10, December 08, 2023 plus January 12, February 09, March 15 2024.
Departures are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 passengers.