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Portugal

Portugal

Tour Dates:
April 18 - 29, 2019

5,775 (per person)


Future Dates:

Spectacular Portugal shines with splendid beaches, castles, cathedrals, diverse landscapes, vineyards and a unique cultural heritage. Our 12 day custom tour includes Lisbon, Óbidos, Aveiro, Porto, the Duoro Valley, Guimarães, Batalha, Alcobaça, Évora, the Algarve, Sintra and Cascais. We stay in unique properties and seek out memorable dining experiences. Sip wine while overlooking a vineyard. Enjoy sunshine and authentic Portuguese cuisine on a balcony with ocean views. Join us and you will see the very best that this stunning destination has to offer.

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Biotrek’s 12 day custom small group tour features the very best of Portugal.  We start in colorful Lisbon, then travel north through medieval Óbidos and Aveiro to Porto.  We take a boat ride on the beautiful Duoro River, and visit the towns of Guimarães and Lamego.  Our journey continues via Batalha, Alcobaça and Fátima to Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   We spend two days in the beautiful Algarve region with its splendid beaches including Faro, Silves and Tavira, before returning to Lisbon via nearby Sintra, with its famous Pena Palace, and the seaside resort town of Cascais.

Day 1: Depart US

Fly to Lisbon, Portugal. Most flights depart in the evening and arrive the next day.

Day 2: Lisbon

Welcome to Portugal!  Reception at the airport by an official guide. Transfer to the hotel and check in. Free time to relax or explore the city, depending on flights. Pousada de Lisboa is a 5 star “Small Luxury Hotel of the World”.  Located at the very center of Lisbon, it offers elegant accommodation with free WiFi and an à la carte restaurant serving authentic Portuguese cuisine.  Rooms feature a classical style, with an elegant private bathroom and views of the Terreiro de Paço Square and Áurea Street.

  • Overnight at Pousada de Lisboa
Day 3: Lisbon

After breakfast at the Pousada we will enjoy a tour of the historic city. Lisbon is illuminated. The almost constant presence of sunshine and the River Tagus transforms the Portuguese capital into a mirror of a thousand colors, which highlight the city’s unique architecture and beauty. We will experience many facets of this welcoming city.  Firstly, we get to know the neighborhood of Belém with its iconic monuments: Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery and Monument of Discovery.  Stop to try the famous egg custard pastry at Pasteis de Belém.  This historic bakery has been making the original pasteis for more than 100 years.  The line moves quickly, and the pasteis and other tarts are worth the wait.

With many buildings dating from the 1700’s, Chiado is a prime shopping area, and a meeting point for young people, artists and intellectuals.  Café A Brasileira might be one of the most famous cafes in Lisbon.  Opened in 1905 to sell Brazilian coffee, the café has retained its original interior and exterior.  Try the “Bica”, a very strong espresso.  Continue along Rua Garrett to Baixa, stopping at the Elevador de Santa Justa.  Transfer to the Alfama neighborhood. (B)

Tip: In the elegant Chiado district, at 11 Rua Anchieta, you’ll find one of Lisbon’s most charming gift shops, “A Vida Portuguesa”, which sells an array of authentic Portuguese products including tableware, soaps, jewelry, toys and food.

  • Overnight at Pousada de Lisboa
Day 4: Lisbon – Óbidos – Aveiro – Porto

Breakfast at the hotel and check out.  Meet with guide and depart towards Óbidos, a beautiful medieval walled town, with whitewashed houses and a 12th century castle.  This town of kings and queens was a preferred location for rest or refuge from the disagreements of the Court.  Our guided tour highlights the Roman castle, the village gate, dating from the 17th century, and the 14th century Straight Street, which connects the village gate to the Palace.  Local treats to try include ginja, a sweet cherry liquor, and warm pão com chouriço, Portuguese bread stuffed with sausage.

Visit and lunch at Quinto do Encontro. Located in the Bairrada region, this innovative winery is architecturally striking. The shapes and lines of the building were designed to resemble a barrel. Both the award-winning wines and the food are exquisite. Enjoy panoramic views of the vineyard from the balcony, while sipping a glass of white, red or sparkling rosé wine.

Departure to Aveiro, known as the “Portuguese Venice”, the city is quietly dominated by the Ria de Aveiro, described by Saramago as “a living body that connects the land to the sea like a huge heart.”  On our walking tour we will see the Art Nouveau houses, which decorate the riverbanks.  We will board a Moliceiro and go along the canals, which are like water roads traversing the city.  During the tour you will also try the wonderful sweet of Aveiro called “Ovos Moles”, which is made by the local nuns using egg yolks and sugar.  Continue to Porto and check in at the hotel. (B, L)

  • Overnight at Hotel Infante Sagres
Day 5: Porto

Buffet breakfast at the hotel.  Meet with local guide and depart for a panoramic tour of Porto’s historical city center.  Founded in the year 417, and classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Porto, capital of the North, has many ancient streets and medieval alleys.  We will walk past some of the most important monuments, such as the Clérigos Tower – with expansive views over the city, Santa Catarina Street – the most famous shopping area of the city, Aliados’ Avenue – a grand promenade, and the Lello Bookstore – a magnificent Art Deco building, which was the inspiration for the Hogwarts library in the Harry Potter books and movies.

The fortress-like Romanesque Cathedral, was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and rebuilt during the Baroque period. Formerly the seat of the Stock Exchange Market in Porto, Palácio da Bolsa is a 19th-century masterpiece and a perfect example of Neo-classical architecture. Its history is linked with the adjoining building, the 14th century Church of São Francisco, notable for its altar, which is completely lined with gold.  São Bento Station has a palatial interior featuring blue and white painted ceramic tile panels, depicting important moments in Portuguese history.  Other sights include Café Majestic, Bolhão Market, the House of Music, and Serralves Foundation & Gardens.

A relaxing boat ride on the Douro River is one of the best ways to experience the soul of Porto. The 6 bridges cruise is a 50 minute journey passing under six architecturally magnificent bridges, some reaching astounding heights. Seeing the city from the perspective of the river provides amazing views and a greater understanding of Porto’s history as a major trading port and shipbuilding center.

A visit to Porto would not be complete without tasting it’s namesake product. In the traditional neighborhood of Ribeira we will visit one of the most renowned Port wine lodges. We’ll taste their best styles of Port, and dine in their exquisite restaurant which overlooks the Duoro River. (B, D)

  • Overnight at Hotel Infante Sagres
Day 6: Guimarães – Douro Valley – Porto

After breakfast depart towards Guimarães, the birth city of Portugal. Here history, religion and legends are mixed with breathtaking panoramas, delicious gastronomy, and magnificent monuments. We will stroll through the medieval streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site. The lush green landscape inspired the region’s Vinho Verde wine, a blend of indigenous white grapes. In addition to the unique wines, the area produces colorful shawls, delicate linens and crafts depicting the symbolic rooster.

Continue to Pinhão and lunch at Quinta do Panascal.  This is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal and local wine, while overlooking vineyards and the Távora river.

Descend through the Pinhão Valley to the CP train station where we will take the historic train to the Tua River, and then return to Pinhão in an ecological tourist boat. Imagine the brave sailors, who risked their lives on this tributary of the Duoro, transporting barrels of port from vineyards to the coast in wooden Rabelo boats.

Our journey continues to the city of Lamego. One of the oldest dioceses in the country, Lamego is known for its religious architecture.  Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral was built in the Gothic style with additions from the 16th and 18th century.  The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies is a hilltop chapel with beautiful views of the city. (B, L)

  • Overnight at Hotel Infante Sagres
Day 7: Batalha – Alcobaça – Fátima – Évora

After breakfast we check out of our hotel and travel to Batalha. Our city tour takes us to the beautiful Gothic Church of the Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We continue to Alcobaça to see its spectacular monastery, the Royal Abbey of Santa Maria. Founded by the order of Cistercians in 1153, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On our walking tour we stop to try the “Pão de ló”, a sponge cake produced by the nuns of the Monastery of Cos.

The Sanctuary of Fátima is an important group of Catholic chapels, monuments and shrines. It is a place of pilgrimage for the devout. The Marion Apparitions occurred near the great oak tree. The Chapel of the Apparitions is the location where three children were first visited by the Virgin Mary. Arrival to Évora and check in at the hotel. (B)

  • Overnight at Hotel Convento do Espinheiro
Day 8: Évora – Monsaraz

Departure for a walking tour of Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Alentejo region. Évora justly occupies an important place in any cultural tourism itinerary. Its architectural and artistic heritage is so impressive that anyone can enjoy simply strolling around with no fixed direction. Epochs of history from the Roman to the Neoclassical, by way of the Gothic, Manueline, Renaissance and the Baroque are encapsulated in this charming city.

Enjoy lunch at Herdade do Esporão, an Estate in the heart of the Alentejo along the Wine Route and DOC Reguengos de Monsaraz. It has 691,9 hectars of vineyards, olive groves and the other organically grown crops. Over 40 grape varieties and 4 types of olives are grown.

After lunch, we continue to Monsaraz, which is dramatically situated on the top of a hill overlooking the Alentejo plain. It was conquered by Geraldo Sempavor (Gerald the Fearless) a Christian knight in 1167, overthrowing the Moors. Monsaraz was an important strategic fortress, and the site of many battles between the Christians and the Moors. The castle was for centuries considered the “Watchman of the Guadiana”, because from the top one could observe the border with Castile. The medieval village of Monsaraz is protected by walls. Its narrow shale streets are full of nooks and corners, and it has breathtaking views over the Alqueva reservoir and Alentejo hills. Return to Évora. (B, L)

  • Overnight at Hotel Convento do Espinheiro
Day 9: Faro Old Town – Castelo de Silves – Tavira

After breakfast check out and depart for the Algarve region. We will get to know the historical city of Faro on a walking tour of its well preserved old town.  We’ll stop for lunch at a cozy restaurant located in a beautiful corner, overlooking the castle walls.

Afterwards we will visit the castle at Silves, one of the most remarkable works of military architecture left behind by the Arabs. Continue to Tavira with a free afternoon to explore.  In addition to its charming ancient Moorish town center, Tavira also has an 11th century castle that once guarded the fishing village from North African raiders and pirates.   The castle is located at the highest point in the region, and offers lovely views over the town and surrounding national park. (B)

  • Overnight at Tavira House
Day 10: Tavira

Breakfast at the hotel. Free day in the Algarve to enjoy the town and beaches. (B)

  • Overnight at Tavira House
Day 11: Sintra – Cabo da Roca – Cascais – Lisbon

After breakfast check out and depart towards Sintra.  Visit the imposing and romantic Pena Palace, located at one of the highest peaks of the Serra de Sintra Natural Park.  The palace has a mix of styles that give it a striking appearance.

Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of the European continent or, as Luis Vaz de Camões wrote, the place “where the Earth ends and the sea begins.”  A stone pattern with a tombstone marks the spot.  We then go to cosmopolitan Cascais – reputed for its splendid white beaches, charming shopping streets, and lively marinas. Return to Lisbon along the Estoril Coast, where we will have the opportunity to enjoy a panoramic view of the Estoril Casino and its gardens.

On this our last night in Portugal, we will enjoy a farewell dinner at a Fado Restaurant.  The Fado de Lisboa, may have evolved from Arab songs that were sung by the population of Mouraria after the Christian re-conquest.  In the streets of Lisbon it became well known after 1840.  A visit to Portugal is not complete without the sound of its music, its soul. (B, D)

  • Overnight at Pousada de Lisboa
Day 12: Depart to US

Breakfast at the hotel and check out. At scheduled time, transfer from the hotel to the airport for flights to the US. (B)

Pousada de Lisboa 5*****, Lisbon
Located at the very center of Lisbon, this is a 5 star "Small Luxury Hotel Of The World" offering elegant accommodation, free WiFi and an à la carte restaurant serving authentic Portuguese cuisine.  Rooms feature a classical style, with an elegant private bathroom and views of the Terreiro de Paço Square and Áurea Street. Each room comes fully equipped with a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, telephone, safety deposit box, soundproofing, wardrobe and minibar.

Other facilities available on site include an indoor swimming pool with private sunbathing deck, a fitness center, and a spa where you can enjoy the sauna, Turkish bath, and signature massages and treatments.  Car and bicycle rental are also available.

Infante Sagres - Luxury Historic Hotel 5*****, Porto This historic 5 star hotel, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is located in central Porto, a 4 minute walk from Aliados Metro Station. Renovated in early 2018, the hotel features a fine dining restaurant and the newly-opened Vogue Café.  The soundproofed rooms and suites of the Hotel Infante De Sagres combine neo-baroque and custom made furnishings.  Antique chandeliers come together with satellite flat-screen TVs and air conditioning.

A wide range of popular restaurants and shops are within a short walk from the property.  Infante De Sagres is a 10 minute walk from the Cathedral.  At a 14 minute walk is the top of the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, which provides scenic views over the Douro River and the city.

Convento do Espinheiro 5*****, Evora
Surrounded by beautiful gardens and housed in a renovated 15th-century convent, this 5 star historic hotel and spa is 4 km from Évora city centre.  It offers a piano bar and free parking.  Guest rooms at Convento do Espinheiro are luxuriously furnished and have an LCD TV with satellite channels.  Each en suite bathroom offers a bathrobe, slippers and free bathroom amenities.  Some rooms have a private terrace.
Massage treatments are available at Convento do Espinheiro’s spa.  Leisure facilities include a tennis court, indoor and outdoor pools and a well-equipped fitness centre.
Guests can enjoy cocktails at the poolside bar.  Restaurant Divinus serves a mix of Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisine.  A complimentary wine tasting is available everyday at 6 p.m.

Tavira House, 4****, Algarve
Located inside the walls of Tavira, this stylish boutique accommodation is set in a 160-year old building.  Tavira House offers a ballroom lounge and rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city.  Each individually-designed room blends modern décor with traditional Moorish touches.  All offer air conditioning and a flat-screen TV.  Some come with a separate seating area and balcony.  A fresh buffet breakfast, made from local and seasonal produce, is served in the dining room or on the outside terraces.  Room service is also available and refreshments can be served throughout the day.  Staff can organize activities including horse-riding, golf and  water sports.  Free Wi-fi is available.  The Castle of Tavira is 100 m away and the train station is 5 minutes’ walk.  Tavira Island Beach can be reached by water taxi, 5 minutes’ walk away.

Portugal has a mix of beautiful Roman, Moorish and Baroque architecture, lovely small towns, lush green valleys with vineyards, and stunning beaches. Biotrek's 12 day tour is designed to showcase both the famous sights as well as the best places that are off the beaten path. Dine on delicious Portuguese cuisine including the freshest fish. Watch sunsets over the sea while sipping an award winning wine or a superb cup of coffee. The possibilities are endless, and you can do it all while also enjoying the fantastic climate. Portugal offers the most hours of sunshine in all of Europe!

Lisbon

The sunniest European capital, Lisbon enjoys an average of 2799 hours of sunshine per year. Each of Lisbon's colorful districts have there own flair. We visit Alfama, Baixa, Belém and Chiado. Highlights include:

  • Belém Tower - Fortified tower that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Monastery of Jerónimos - A masterpiece of Manueline and Gothic architecture built in 1502
  • Monument of Discovery - A dramatic work of stone art commemorating Portugal's many famous explorers
  • Pasteis de Belém - Famous egg custard tart that is dusted with cinnamon
  • Fado Music - Soulful and nostalgic ballads of love that are uniquely Portuguese

Óbidos

A beautiful medieval walled town, with whitewashed houses, well-preserved cobblestone streets and a 12th century castle. Try ginja, a sweet cherry liquor, and warm pão com chouriço, a Portuguese bread stuffed with sausage.

Aveiro

Known as the “Portuguese Venice”, the city is quietly dominated by the Ria de Aveiro. Board a Moliceiro to explore the canals, which are like roads of water. Try the wonderful sweet of Aveiro called Ovos Moles, which is made by the local nuns using egg yolks and sugar.

Porto

Previously designated as Portus Cale, from which the name Portugal was derived, founded in 1123, and classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Porto has many ancient streets and medieval alleys.

  • Porto Cathedral is built of granite and located on a hilltop in a lively square. It has delightful arches, splendid azulejos (ceramic tiles), and wonderful views over the city.
  • Palácio da Bolsa is a 19th-century neo-classical building that once housed the stock exchange. Its Pátio das Nações (Hall of Nations) has a glass dome, and its golden Salão Árabe (Arabian Hall) mimics the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.
  • Clérigos Tower was built in 1763. At 249 feet it is the highest bell tower in Portugal. Its 49 bells form a large carillon. By climbing the 200 steps to the top you will be rewarded with stellar views of the city, its river and bridges.
  • Santa Catarina Street – the most famous shopping area of the city
  • Take a sunset cruise on the Duoro river passing under dramatic iron bridges. The Maria Pia Bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1877. The Dom Luis I Bridge is a double-deck metal arch bridge that was the longest of its kind when it was built in 1886.

Guimarães

This medieval city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Castle of Guimarães is the birthplace of Portugal's first king, Afonso Henrique I (The Conqueror) born in 1111.

Duoro River Valley

Portugal's most famous wine making region has steep, twisting valleys with grapevines climbing up the hillsides. A ride on the river in a traditional boat is a must. The region is known for its many Quintas, which are family-owned vineyards.

Lamego

  • Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral – Built in Gothic style, it has its original bell tower and later additions, including a Renaissance cloister with well proportioned arches.

Batalha

  • The Gothic Santa Maria da Vitória Monastery was built to commemorate the Aljubarrota battle victory over the Castilians in 1385. The monastery's notable features include its gargoyles, pinnacles, and peaceful Manueline cloister and courtyard.

Alcobaça

  • The splendid Gothic Monastery of Alcobaça is considered to be one of the "Seven Wonders of Portugal". It is the final resting place for King Pedro I and his mistress Inês de Castro, who was murdered by Pedro's father, Alfonso IV. The tombs are noteworthy as illustrations for the tale of forbidden love, but also for the workmanship of their masonry.

Fátima

  • Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima - This church has attracted many religious pilgrims, including Pope John Paul II. It was here in 1917 that three children shared a vision of the Virgin Mary. Pope Francis came to celebrate the centennial of the miracles in 2017.

Évora

Located in the Alentejo region, which is known for its vineyards and olive groves, Évora is a university town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its walled old town. It has a Roman temple with Corinthian columns, and Roman baths beneath the city's town hall. Other sights include the Cathedral, Giraldo Square and the St. Antão church, Loios church and convent, St. Francisco church with its bones chapel and the Graça church.

Monsaraz

One of the oldest villages in Portugal, it won the category of “Monument Villages" in the 2017 "Seven Wonders of Portugal" competition. Monsaraz Castle, built in the 14th century, is the perfect perch from which to gaze down upon the walled old town and surrounding countryside.

Faro

Located in the scenic Algarve region, Faro has a historic walled center with gates, a castle, and pleasant shopping streets. Its cathedral, Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, has an interior laden with Brazilian gold. Behind it is the creepy yet fascinating Capela dos Ossos, a chapel built from the bones and skulls of more than 1200 monks.

Silves

  • Silves Castle - Located on a hilltop, the first fortifications here were likely built by the Romans or the Visigoths. The fortress was expanded by the Moors between the 8th and 13th centuries.

Tavira

This ancient town in the Algarve region was built along the banks of the Gilão River. It has many churches and historic buildings with both Portuguese and Moorish influences, including n 11th century castle. Tavira's city walls, traditionally painted houses, scenic plazas and cobblestone streets are delightful. A short water taxi ride will take you to the stunning beaches of the Ilha de Tavira.

Sintra

Sintra is a charming town with a Moorish castle and a fantasy palace on opposing hilltops.

  • Castelo dos Mouros – 10th century Moorish castle with panoramic views.
  • Pena Palace – Built for King Ferdinand II, construction of this romantic palace began in 1836. It has a mixture of architectural styles including Romanesque Revival and Neo-Manueline. Its colorful facades and natural setting in a vast forest make this one of the most beloved castles in Europe.

Cascais

This seaside resort town has sandy beaches and a busy marina.


Tour Includes:
  • Ground transportation in Private tourism bus
  • English speaking guide during the whole tour
  • 10 People Maximum
Accommodation:
  • 03 nights stay in Hotel Pousada de Lisboa 5***** Lisbon
  • 03 nights stay in Hotel Infante Sagres 5***** Porto
  • 02 nights stay in Hotel Convento do Espinheiro 5***** Évora
  • 02 nights stay in Hotel Tavira House 4**** Tavira
Meals:
  • Breakfast daily
  • 01 lunch at Quinto do Encontro on 21/04
  • 01 dinner at Vinum on 22/04
  • 01 lunch in Quinta do Panascal on 23/04
  • 01 lunch in Herdade do Esporão on 25/04
  • 01 dinner and Fado Show on 28/04
Activities:
  • Moliceiro Boat tour in Aveiro
  • 6 bridges Cruise in Douro
  • Train ride until Pinhão, Ecological boat tour
  • Batalha Monastery
  • Alcobaça Monastery
  • Sanctuary of Fátima
  • Silves’ Castle
  • Pena Palace
  • City Tax
  • VAT
Tour Price Excludes
  • International Air Travel Booked Separately; Call for Quote
  • Travel Insurance
  • Drinks and Gratuities
  • Personal extras and everything that is not mentioned as included

Travel

Travel with tour guide Sunny Reynolds, who has been showing the world to travelers since 1992. While this is not exclusively a photo tour, Sunny Reynolds as a professional photographer is happy to help all levels of photographers take better photos of their adventures.

  • Rates Based on Double Occupancy
  • Single Supplement Applies
  • Subject to Availability
  • All Prices subject to change