Day 1: Lisbon/Óbidos/Alcobaça/Nazaré/Batalha/Fátima
This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel in Lisbon and join a group to discover the best of Portugal.
Through a landscape rich in windmills and fruit trees, we arrive in Óbidos, surrounded by medieval walls where we can admire the harmony of the architecture, the diversity of the handicrafts and taste the famous ginginha (bitter cherry liqueur).
Visit Alcobaça with the first and largest gothic church in Portugal with the tombs of the doomed lovers Pedro and Inês de Castro. Stopping in Nazaré, a typical fishing village and seaside resort immersed in tradition and legend.
We continue to Batalha – visit the Monastery of Santa Maria de Victoria, a masterpiece of gothic architecture in Portugal where we also encounter the tomb of Henry the Navigator, the mastermind behind Portugal’s era of maritime discoveries.
After we arrive in Fátima, the famous Marian Shrine, there is the opportunity to attend the candle-lit procession.
Fátima – Hotel Santa Maria
Day 2: Fátima/Coimbra/Aveiro/Porto (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for Coimbra – visit to the University, one of the oldest in the world, with its magnificent baroque library and its unique atmosphere characterised by ancient traditions and customs such as the black student capes and the melancholic fado music.
Stop at St Clara Church, where lies the tomb of Queen St. Isabel, the protagonist of the “miracle of the roses”. In the city centre, there is a chance to admire Coimbra’s exclusive ceramics.
In the afternoon, we continue to Aveiro, a city of canals and known as the “Venice of Portugal”, where you shall have time to see the graceful “moliceiro” vessels and taste the local sweet delicacy “ovos moles” before drive to Porto.
Porto – Hotel Ipanema Porto
Day 3: Porto/Guimarães/Braga/Porto (B)
Porto, the 2nd city of Portugal and UNESCO classified world heritage site – a living amphitheatre inviting us to make a morning visit to discover the riverside area, old houses, palaces and churches that history has made eternal and served up with a glass of the world famous port wine.
We continue to Minho, the northwest region of Portugal that offers natural green sceneries and sparkling “green wine”. Starting in Guimarães – the cradle of the nation and birthplace of the first king of Portugal where, walking through the historic centre, one is plunged for moments back into medieval times. Visit the Sacred Hill, crowned by the Castle, as well as the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança with its original buildings dating back to the 15th century.
Drive to Braga known as the “Portuguese Rome” for its concentration of religious architecture, including the oldest cathedral in the country and the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, with its famous baroque stairway and gardens.
Day 4: Porto/Santiago de Compostela/Porto (B)
Breakfast at the hotel before setting off for Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and the centre of pilgrimage at the end of the Santiago Way.
In 1985, UNESCO declared Santiago de Compostela a World Cultural Heritage Site and you have the entire day to freely discover this fascinating city. Wander its historical streets and learn about its most extraordinary monuments before sampling some of the traditional local dishes.
Day 5: Porto/Amarante/Vila Real/Vale do Douro/Lamego/Urgeiriça (B)
Departure for Amarante, a pretty town proud of its Saint Gonçalo, renowned for promoting love and marriage and where the river facing monastery houses his tomb and with a lively, bustling market where you can find fruit, vegetables, chickens, fabrics and an immense variety of other popular items.
Afterwards, we drive onto Vila Real – visiting the gardens of the Mateus estate, whose façade is still depicted on the well- known Portuguese rosé wine bottles.
Then, we enter the demarcated port region, travelling through the vineyards and the breathtaking landscapes of the Douro Valley. Stop in Lamego, overlooked by one of Portugal’s most important shrines N. S. Remédios with its magnificent baroque style staircase. Here, you can sample some of the local delicacies, including the local ham and the famous “Bola de Lamego” (a loaf baked in the oven with smoked ham).
Continue on through the mountainous hinterland to Viseu, centre of the Dão Vineyards and a city connected to Portugal’s oldest hero, Viriato, a Lusitanian chief. In the shadow of the cathedral, narrow streets and doorways with coats of arms carved in granite make up the ancient town of Viseu. We tour the centre and its busy commercial zone. Arrival in Urgeiriça.
Urgeiriça — Hotel da Urgeiriça
Day 6: Urgeiriça/Bussaco/Tomar/Lisbon (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive through the heart of Portugal to Bussaco well known for its luxuriant forest, made up of a selection of rare trees and plants of exotic beauty, and hosting a charming and romantic hotel, formerly a royal hunting lodge.
We continue to Tomar, a city whose development is closely interlinked with the Order of the Templars, which received these lands in 1159 as a reward for the assistance given to Dom Afonso Henriques (the first King of Portugal) in the Christian reconquest of the country. It was Dom Gualdim Pais, the first Grand Master of the Order in Portugal who founded the castle and the remarkable Convent of Christ within. Enlarged and altered over the centuries, the complex displays the influences of various architectural styles; it is the centrepiece of the city and classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
We continue our journey back to Lisbon.
Lisbon — Hotel Lutecia
Day 7: Lisbon/Sintra/Cabo da Roca/Cascais/Estoril/Lisbon (B)
Departure to Sintra for a day of luxury. Visiting the Palace of Sintra, we walk through this charming town before enjoying the amazing views from the westernmost point of mainland Europe (Cabo da Roca).
Along the coast, we pass one of the most famous surfing beaches, the incredible Hell’s Mouth, cosmopolitan Cascais and the gardens of Estoril Casino. Return to Lisbon.
Day 8: Lisbon/Évora (B)
One day spent discovering the town of Évora, a mosaic of culture, history and traditions. Leaving Lisbon, we cross the bridge over the river Tagus and head through a beautiful and bucolic landscape of olive trees, cork oak trees and vineyards before arriving at Évora – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the narrow streets of this whitewashed town we walk back through time visiting some of Évora’s most important monuments: The Roman Temple, the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral, Saint Francis Church with its “Chapel of Bones” and the University. At the market, we see and feel the richness of the products applied in preparing one of the most elaborate and best appreciated gastronomies of Portugal.
Throughout the visit, we also get to admire the diversity and authenticity of local handicrafts with cork, ceramic and copper objects. Time for lunch.
In the afternoon, there is free time to better discover this city. Our suggestion: gourmet standard wine, cheese and olive oil.
Évora — Hotel Muralhas Mar d’Ar
Day 9: Évora/Beja/Silves/Lagos (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Part of the morning provides further leisure time in Évora before then driving southward passing Beja where the highest tower in any Portuguese medieval castle dominates the town and the region.
Crossing the low mountain range, we enter the Algarve. Alongside fields of orange trees, we arrive in Silves, the renowned town dominated by its red sandstone castle dating back mainly to Moorish times and by the memories of its former cork industry. We continue onto the golden sands of the Algarve passing Praia da Rocha en route to Lagos.
Lagos — Hotel Vila Gale Lagos
Day 10: Lagos/Ponta da Piedade/Sagres/Cabo de São Vicente (B)
The Algarve has the call of the sea that led to the discovery of the New World. We halt in Ponta da Piedade to admire the magnificent views over the Atlantic Ocean, and cliffs whose shapes have been sculpted by the erosive action of both the sea and time.
Continuing onto Sagres, a fishing port, for a visit to the fortress that was the mythical “navigation school” forever linked to the presence of Prince Henry the Navigator during 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 mainland Europe. The city of Lagos, a cosmopolitan town with a marina and fishing port and home to some of the most delicious Algarve dishes, such as the fish and shellfish cooked in a cataplana copper pan, – and not forgetting the fine sweets such as the famous marzipan, almond and fig cakes.
Return to the hotel, where an afternoon at leisure invites you to take a dip in the warm sea.
Day 11: Lagos/Setúbal/Serra da Arrábida/Lisbon (B)
A last look at the water while travelling along the coast before bidding farewell to the Algarve.
The return trip to Lisbon takes you through the city of Setúbal, a major port and industrial centre on the north bank of the Sado estuary. Then comes a scenic route over the Arrábida Mountain Range, an area preserved as a Natural Park, with amazing scenery and unique vegetation at the gates of Lisbon and incorporating sweeping views of the Troia Peninsula.
Crossing the Tagus River bridge, we arrive in Lisbon and group will be disbanded upon arrival.
- Single Supplement: $520
- Single Supplement: $650
DEPARTURE DATES 2019 – 2020
GROUP DEPARTURE CALENDAR 2019 – 2020