Welcome to Portugal! This south-western European country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and offers a stunning coastline, unique cities, a wealth of history, and incredible architecture. We begin our small group tour in Porto, a fascinating city that lies along the banks of the Douro River.
We arrive and check in to our hotel this afternoon before joining our fellow travelers and small group tour leader for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Our half day guided city tour of Porto begins after breakfast this morning. We visit the Stock Exchange Palace and admire the beautiful neoclassical style building from both inside and out before continuing to one of Porto’s most incredible Gothic monuments, the Church of St Francis. We take to the Douro River to continue our tour on the water as we cruise along the river and pass under each of Porto’s 6 bridges, learning about their distinct architecture and the part they have played in the fascinating history of the city. Our tour ends back on land with a port tasting at a local cellar door.
We enjoy the remainder of our afternoon and evening at leisure to get acquainted with the city further on our own.
After breakfast this morning we travel to the nearby town of Penafiel and enjoy a visit to Quinta da Avaleda, a local family winery. Founded in 1870, the winery has been owned and operated by the same family for 5 generations and produces a variety of wines. We explore the stunning property, its vineyards and immaculately manicured gardens during a guided tour before we sip the wines during a tasting.
We continue to Vila Real where we stop and take a look at the incredible Casa de Mateus, a palace constructed in the 18th century. We enjoy some free time in Vila Real before continuing to Peso da Regua. Here, we embark on a leisurely cruise on the Douro River, taking in the scenic riverbank of the region’s largest riverside town. Next, it’s on to Lamego where we visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies. Set atop a hill, we have a 686 step climb up the baroque staircase to reach the impressive structure, built between the 18th and 20th centuries.
We return to Porto this afternoon to enjoy our evening at leisure.
Braga, one of Portugal’s eldest cities, is our destination today. Home to some of the country’s oldest architecture and rich in history, the ancient city and its lively atmosphere is fascinating to explore. We begin our travels to Braga after breakfast this morning. Our first stop is in the charming city of Amarante where we visit St Goncalo’s Monastery.
We continue to the town of Margaride where we visit a factory that produces the classic Portuguese dessert, pao-de-lo (sponge cake). Our guided tour of the factory gives us an insight into the process of baking the delicious dessert which we get to taste and enjoy along with other tasty treats made in the factory.
Next, we travel to Guimaraes where we enjoy free time for lunch before a guided walking tour of the city and its highlights, including a visit to the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. We arrive in Braga in the afternoon and get acquainted with its ancient history during a guided walking tour. Our day ends with a climb up 566 steps, or a funicular ride, to the historic pilgrimage site of Bom Jesus do Monte (Good Jesus of the Mount). Here we step inside the church discovering its intricate details before taking in the sweeping views over Braga from the hilltop terrace. Our last stop for the day is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro, a religious complex located just outside of Braga and built over several decades. We return to Braga for an evening at leisure.
Descending a steep hill to meet the River Mondego is the charming city of Coimbra. Best known for its University, one of the oldest in Europe, the lively city is rich in history and oozes charm.
After breakfast we begin our journey to Coimbra, stopping at the town of Ovar on our way. Here, we enjoy a guided tour of the city before taking part in a tile hand-painting workshop. We are guided through the process of painting tiles as we take to the paintbrush and create our own vibrant masterpieces.
We continue to the town of Valega where we visit the Valega Church and see its incredible painted tiles before stopping in Aveiro. Referred to as the Portuguese Venice, the city is set on the shores of the Ria de Aveiro and is known for its charming canals that meander throughout the city. We enjoy a guided walking tour of the city before taking to the canals for a relaxing cruise. Our journey continues as we make a stop to the brightly colored beach houses of Costa Nova before visiting the Bussasco Forest. Ancient buildings and ruins are hidden amongst the forest’s lush greenery and viewpoints offer stunning vistas over the forest’s natural landscape.
We arrive in Coimbra and enjoy dinner tonight at a local restaurant.
[Breakfast and Dinner]
Step back in time this morning as we travel to the Shale Villages. Equally charming as they are compelling, the villages are made up of houses and buildings constructed from shale. We spend our morning discovering these small villages, visiting local shops and connecting with the local people before enjoying a traditional lunch.
We return to Coimbra in the afternoon and explore the city during a guided sightseeing tour. We stop in at the city’s University grounds and library before admiring the intricate architecture of the city’s cathedral. Our evening is our own to explore Coimbra further.
[Breakfast and Lunch]
Vibrant and bustling Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, is a cultural delight with its history and modern progressiveness combining seamlessly to create this iconic city. From its incredible architecture to its picturesque cobblestone streets, its friendly people and so much more, the city is a must-see destination.
We begin our day after breakfast when we depart Coimbra and make our way to Lisbon. En-route, we stop in at Batalha to visit the town’s Monastery of Santa Maria Di Vitoria before stopping at the town of Alcobaca to visit the town’s church. It’s then on to the small fishing village of Nazare where we have a tour of the town before enjoying some free time to try some of the local catches for lunch. In the afternoon we continue to the town of Obidos, where we taste the local cherry liquor, Ginginha before our final stop in Mafra. Here, we take a look at the fascinating miniature village handmade by artist Jose Franco before enjoying a local treat of traditional bread with chorizo.
We arrive in Lisbon and check in to our hotel before enjoying an evening at leisure to explore the city further on our own.
After breakfast this morning we make our way to Sintra, a town just outside of Lisbon and home to the incredible National Palace of Sintra. We explore the Palace, which has remained relatively untouched since the mid-16th century, before making our way to Cabo da Roca for sweeping views out across the Atlantic Ocean.
On our way back to Lisbon we stop in at the towns of Cascais and Estoril before enjoying the remainder of our afternoon and evening at our own leisure in Lisbon.
We enjoy a guided tour of Lisbon after breakfast this morning. We visit the green gardens of Eduardo VII Park, the Monument to the Discoveries that stands tall on the banks of the River Tagus, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Jeronimos Monastery and more. We stop for a coffee break at Antigua Confiteria De Belem where we treat our taste buds to the famous, and delicious, Lisbon custard tart. Our tour ends in Lisbon’s Rossio Square, a meeting place for the people of the city since the Middle Ages. Here we enjoy our afternoon at leisure.
This evening we join our fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant where we reminisce on our favorite memories and experiences of Portugal together.
[Breakfast and Dinner]
Our tour concludes after breakfast this morning. We bid farewell to our new friends and to the treasures of Portugal.
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