Highlights of Portugal
Bask in the wonders of Portugal! Feel the energy of the historic city of Lisbon with its imposing monuments, famous castle, and unwavering spirit. Enjoy cooking with a local that includes a visit to a bustling market. Journey to the mountain town of Sintra where hundreds of years of culture abound and taste local wines on visit to Quinta de Sant’Ana. Explore Roman ruins and cycle through picturesque vineyards. Visit the old, whitewashed houses and Gothic Cathedral set atop a mountain overlooking the rolling hills below and go in search of ancient rock art in the Côa Valley. Explore quaint towns brimming with history, stroll narrow streets with hidden palaces, churches and monasteries, and dine with a local family for the quintessential Portuguese experience.
Trip Type: Cultural
Day By Day
Day 1 – Arrive in Lisbon and Lisbon at Leisure
Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city. From imposing Sao Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Nearby, the National Azulejo Museum displays 5 centuries of decorative ceramic tiles. Just outside Lisbon is a string of Atlantic beaches, from Cascais to Estoril. Lisbon is probably best known for its colonialist history, ornate architecture and tradition of Fado music. But some of its best features are in the everyday – spectacular hilltop vistas in Alfama or at St. George's Castle, pleasant year-round weather and friendly locals.
Bring some comfortable footwear and a pocket map of the public transit system, or just hop on Tram 28 to see it all. Plan on spending a half-day to a full day exploring the waterfront neighborhood of Belem, or maybe plan a daytrip to the palace-heavy Sintra, located 20 miles northwest of Lisbon.Starting Accommodation:
Pousada de Lisboa
Day 2 – Morning Foodie Tour of Lisbon and Afternoon Tour of Lisbon
Let's go to the market! Your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on an experience to remember. Visit the market and chat with fishmongers and local purveyors as you feast your eyes on the fresh ingredients. Stroll along and learn more about the history of the area where the sea has provided food to this city of merchants for more than 130 years. Enjoy tastings during the walking tour, and cook with a local for your lunch.
Discover the capital of Portugal, colonized by many civilizations through the centuries, from the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians to the Romans, Moors, and finally the Portuguese after 1147. Perched on the main hill above the city is St. George Castle with its surrounding quarter and Alfama, Lisbon's oldest quarter. But there’s more to this city than its monuments. Explore the traditional and commercial areas of the city, with its 18th-century buildings, the old town (Baixa), and the Chiado. Lisbon is a city that awakens all the senses, and visitors can enjoy its mild climate, characteristic light, spirited people, and exquisite cuisine.Starting Accommodation:
Pousada de Lisboa Meals:
Day 3 – Sintra and Quinta de Sant'Ana Full Day Tour
Visit the World Heritage Site of Sintra where hundreds of years of history and culture await. Take a short walk in the old city center where you'll find yourself surrounded by old houses that have been converted into small, quaint handicraft stores and traditional pastry shops. Driving around this picturesque mountain region you will pass by amazing Royal Palaces, Chalets and Aristocratic residences featuring distinct architectural styles, colors, and shapes unique to Portugal.
Continue to Quinta de Sant’Ana nestled in rolling green hills between the breathtakingly beautiful Atlantic coastline and the vibrant cultural life of Lisbon. Dating back to the 17th-century, this beautiful estate has a colorful history and today hosts guests to discover the wine production practices and the vineyards themselves. Enjoy a wine tasting in the old wine cellar and appreciate all the tradition and time that has been put into the winemaking.Starting Accommodation:
Pousada de Lisboa Meals:
Day 4 – Lisbon to Torre De Palma via Evora and Alentejo
Depart Lisbon and head to the Alentejo region. The winding walled city of Evora, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is full of medieval enchantment. Wander the narrow streets of this historical center and discover its many monuments including the Cathedral, Saint Francis church, and the ancient University. Evora also boasts one of the most significant traces of the Roman occupation in Portuguese territory. Explore the Roman Temple from the 1st-century, believed to be dedicated to Emperor Augusto. It is known as Diana’s Temple which is the name associated with the goddess of the hunters.
Stop at Herdade de Coelheiros, a family estate that has been producing high-quality wines in Alentejo since 1991. Coelheiros embodies classic Alentejo, with a quaint landscape, diverse ecosystem, and traditional culture of the region. The estate, inserted in the region of Alentejo (DOC), stretches for miles with sprawling vineyards, a walnut orchard, and a vast area of cork forest where sheep and deer graze freely. The rich biodiversity includes an olive grove, a lake, and other animals such as deer, ducks, hares, and rabbits.
Enjoy a warm welcome followed by a guided visit and a tasting of some wonderful wines.Starting Accommodation:
Torre de Palma Wine Hotel Meals:
Day 5 – Visit to the Roman Ruins and Torre De Palma to Marialva via Marvao and Guarda
The Roman Ruins of Torre de Palma occupy a vast area and are made up of different nuclei, with specific functions and with different chronologies (from the 1st to the 13th century) and which, in most cases, overlap. Visitors can get to know the experience of a Roman agricultural unit, through the different spaces. Guided tours are available - all costs are to be paid direct.
Depart for the mountains and the pretty village of Marvao that amazes with its fabulous location. On top of high defensive rocks, this small village has always been a tactical point for locals to protect themselves from invasions and to defend their heritage and way of life. The almost forgotten walls, located more than 3,000 feet high, still embrace the old, whitewashed houses overlooking the rolling hills of the Alentejo. This is the heart of genuine, authentic Portugal where a wander through the winding streets is a must.
Continue to Guarda, famed for being the highest city in the country (3,465 feet high). Located on the slope of the Estrela Mountain range, it is also well known for its natural surroundings and ancient history. Stop for a coffee under the 16th-century arcades of the main square next to the Cathedral before exploring the narrow streets of the historic center. The Gothic Cathedral and a well-preserved Jewry (whose members carved religious symbols onto the stonework of their houses) are an impressive sight.Starting Accommodation:
Casas do Côro Meals:
Day 6 – Coa Valley and Almeida
Discover an artistic oasis between the northeast mountains of Portugal. Bathed in the waters of the Coa river, the Coa Valley blossoms in white petals during springtime, thanks to its vast fields of almond trees. This delicate scenery contrasts with the numerous schist rocks, where the famous rock art of the Coa Valley has been eternalized for ages.
Explore the beauty of the area in a 4X4 vehicle accompanied by a Coa Park Foundation specialist to a visit to the Canada do Inferno or Ribeira de Piscos engravings. Get to know the detail, and technical aspects of this art and its discovery.
Visit the remote Quinta da Ervamoira near Foz Coa for and enjoy lunch and wine tastings, then head to the small village of Almeida located in the central region of Portugal. This quiet town is full of history and is known for its fortress, which with its twelve-pointed star shape, is one of the most spectacular European examples of the 17th-century defensive systems. Inside the walls, explore the buildings of the former Artillery Barracks, Vorius, Court, and the Misericordia Church and Hospital.Starting Accommodation:
Casas do Côro Meals:
Day 7 – Marialve to Douro Valley via Lamego
Travel to the Douro Valley. En route be wined and dined at a local vineyard located right on the bank of the Douro River and explore the town of Lamego.
Lamego is a hidden gem with its most distinctive attraction being the sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies with its famous stairway. The construction of the church and stairway dates back to the 18th-century and is still considered one of the best-known pilgrimage sites of the north.
Walking down towards the town center, you will find the beautiful promenade Four Seasons statues as well as the Cathedral and impressive facade. A visit to the Town Museum is highly recommended. Situated on the former Bishop's Palace, dating back from the 16th-century, it contains the best collection of Belgium rugs in the country as well as the famous paintings from Grao Vasco, one of the best painters of the time of the Discoveries.Starting Accommodation:
Six Senses Douro Valley Meals:
Day 8 – Douro Valley to Porto via Amarente and Guimaraes
The River Tamega runs through the town of Amarante and crossing the waterway is a picturesque archway, the Sao Goncalo Bridge. It is reputed to have helped local heroes to defend the town from a Napoleonic attack in the early 19th century. Today, cafes and restaurants make the most of their riverside real estate. Buried in the chapel of the church and monastery now bearing his name, Sao Goncalo is a well-known local saint that is still strongly venerated. Born here in the 12th century, his ability to heal the sick earned him his special status.
Another famous personality of Amarante was the artist Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, who lived at the turn of the 20th-century and produced some internationally acclaimed cubist-style paintings. Cross the bucolic Tamega River and head towards the S. Goncalo Monastery. Head to Guimarses, the 'cradle' of the Portuguese nation and the first important city in the kingdom, with references that illustrate more than 800 years of history. It was here that the first King of Portugal was born, Dom Afonso Henriques, who, fighting against his own mother, started the nation.
Enjoy fantastic views of the ancient castle on top of the highest hill. Its historic center (Praca da Oliveira) was classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. The city has painstakingly preserved and restored its iron and granite balconies and porches, stately homes, arches connecting narrow streets, time-smoothed floor slabs, towers, and cloisters.
In Guimaraes take a cooking class in the XIV century Manor House Casa de Juste. Surrounded by lush gardens the granite house is one of the most well-preserved examples of the traditional lifestyle of Portugal’s northern region. Step back in time and spend a magical day around flavors and scents in the family’s old kitchen, learning about authentic Portuguese recipes.Starting Accommodation:
The Yeatman Meals:
Day 9 – Porto Guided Walking Tour and Porto at Leisure, Followed by Dinner with a Local in Porto
Enjoy a half day guided walking tour of some of the most authentic places in Porto while sampling local food and drink specialties. Visit Livraria Lello, considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Continue to the traditional shop 'A Vida Portuguesa' and shop local toys, soaps, and other decorative items. Stroll the Avenida dos Aliados, stopping at Padaria Ribeiro, a bakery whose history goes back to 1878. Try the best veal pies in the city!
From savory to sweet, sample some chocolate at the traditional chocolatier Arcadia (Rua do Almada) which has been owned by the same family since 1933. For a cup of coffee, the Cafe Majestic, will be the perfect stop. This is the most famous cafe in Porto and is located in the traditional shopping street of Santa Catarina which boasts Belle Epoque architecture and was once the main gathering place for painters and writers at the beginning of the 20th-century.
The town that gave the country (and port wine) it's very name, Porto is the second largest Portuguese city after Lisbon. Porto – so called for its historical and present day significance as a shipping port – has a lot to boast about. Think Romanesque and Gothic architecture, a multitude of places to try the region's delicious seafood, an array of nightlife options – and that's just to start.
The old town centered at Ribeira was built on hills overlooking the Douro River and the narrow cobbled streets wind past merchants’ houses and cafes. Sao Francisco Church is known for its lavish baroque interior with ornate gilded carvings. The palatial 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa, formerly a stock market, was built to impress potential European investors.
Your driver will be waiting for you at the hotel for a private transfer to the dinner venue. Tonight's hosts are people who have regular jobs and live their everyday life like any other Portuguese, however they love hosting and cooking and have opened their doors to welcome you like old friends. Discuss diverse subjects over a delicious meal.
For the return to your hotel, your host will be more than glad to call you a taxi (not included).Starting Accommodation:
The Yeatman Meals:
Day 10 – Depart Porto
Ahead of your flight, you will be transferred by private vehicle from your Porto accommodation to Porto Airport for check in. Meals:
Package Level: Deluxe
|Pricing for this package is on request. Please call a Swain Destinations Specialist to customize this journey.|
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