Heart of Italy & Cinque Terre
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Essential Provence Wine Tour
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See Portugal’s beautiful towns; travel to the edge of ancient Europe; and explore Salamanca, Galicia, El Escorial and the treasures of Spain. Other stops on this 6-day small-group tour will be the historic, cultured city of Coimbra, the historic town of Porto and the opportunity to admire the steeply terraced vineyards by the Dour River
You say ‘bom dia’ to your guide and fellow travellers, leave the coastal capital city of Lisbon and travel the short distance to Óbidos. This quaint walled town has a wealth of wonders for you to discover. Here you can study the sturdy walls of their Moorish Castle; amble through the little cobbled shopping lanes, or combine two of your favourite guilty pleasures in a drink of Ginjinha d’Óbidos, a sweet liqueur served in a chocolate cup. Back on the road, you'll venture further north to Coimbra. This former Portuguese capital is famous for being home to one of the oldest universities in the world. You can explore this magnificent institution, whose roots go back to the 13th century, before finding some local food for lunch on your own. After you’ve soaked up the history, it’s time to head to Aveiro where you'll feel like you’ve been teleported into little Venice in this town that’s lined with canals and art-nouveau architecture. Your final stop of the day is in Porto, your home for the next two nights. It’s been a busy day, but hopefully, you’re not too tired to walk to a sunset spot in this many-tiered town.
Included Activities Entrance to Coimbra University Library
Today, you have an important decision to make. Do you lounge around and take in the cathedrals, cellars, and cuisine of beautiful Porto? Or do you hop on the mini-coach with us and venture through the Douro Valley? Lucky for you, there’s no wrong option.
When you join our optional half-day excursion, you travel to Pinhão by coach to enjoy a river cruise on a traditional Rabelo boat. Once you’ve arrived at this small port-producing town, it’s time to savour its delicious tipple and admire the stunning vistas before returning to Porto mid-afternoon. The remainder of the day is yours to discover more of the city and indulge in its wines and flavours in your own style. And if you’re a fan of live music, don’t miss out on a performance of Fado, Portugal’s emotionally stirring traditional music.
Optional Activities River Douro boat cruise and wine tasting
Your last few days have been packed with bustling towns and boozy flavours. So now it’s time to refresh your senses with a taste of the great outdoors. Head to the Peneda-Gerês National Park, the only national park in Portugal where you can spend the morning enjoying views of lakes, mountains, and waterfalls before travelling to the tiny town of Soajo. This town not only boasts beautiful views, but it’s also one of the most rustic villages you’ll have ever laid your eyes upon. You'll have time here to take a look at their famous 17th-century granite granaries and grab lunch on your own. And now, it’s over the border and into Spain to arrive in Santiago de Compostela, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in the world, where you stay for two nights.
Today, you can relax and enjoy the sights of Santiago de Compostela at your own pace or come on a half-day adventure with us to the Costa da Morte, ‘the Coast of Death’. And no, this isn’t a shoreline infested with pirates and cannibals, it’s a place that was once notorious for shipwrecks. If you join our trip to the coastline, you start the day by going to Ézaro waterfall. Here, you go for a small walk to take in the views of a rare wonder - the Ézaro River tumbling straight into the sea. After you’ve enjoyed the waterfall, we travel to the ‘End of the World’ at Cape Finisterre. Ancient civilisations believed this was the end of the earth. You have time here to admire the lighthouse and look out over the wild Atlantic Ocean. Your next stop is in Muxía. This lovely, historic harbour town is the perfect spot to sample the fresh seafood that this region is famous for and watch the ships set off to sea. You arrive back in Santiago de Compostela in the afternoon. The evening is yours to try Galician specialities or admire the famous cathedral built over the remains of St James, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
Optional Activities Excursion to the Coast of Death
Your first stop of the day is in Lugo, a town that has a lot to be proud of. Apart from a stunning cathedral and oodles of charm, it also boasts the only fully intact Roman city walls in the world. So feel like a Roman Legionnaire and take a stroll along with the defences.
Then we'll continue to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans and travel to Las Médulas. Strange red pinnacles and holes in the mountains make this landscape look and feel otherworldly. The Romans created what you see before you by boring into the earth in their quest for gold. You can explore this area and enjoy lunch on your own before continuing the journey to Salamanca for your overnight stay. This mesmerising city is adorned with the riches of the Spanish Golden Age and boasts a great culinary scene.
You will have time in the morning to marvel at the golden-hued landmarks of Salamanca’s Old Town and university. Or you can have a lie-in if you enjoyed the famous nightlife a little too much the night before. Grab early lunch on your own and cast a last glance at the stunning architecture of the city before we head off. You'll continue the journey through the vast plains of Castile and León to visit El Escorial, the remarkable residence of the Spanish Royals and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After having been immersed in the riches of Spain, we take you to Madrid in the evening where your tour ends.
Included Activities Entrance to El Escorial
Guaranteed departures: May 16 & 30; June 13 & 27; July 11 & 25; August 8 & 22; September 5 & 19 & October 3 & 17, 2022.