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. Our group will head directly to Lx Factory, an ancient weaving and textile company. After years of being hidden from the public eye, this little section of the city has now been unveiled and returned to the community in the form of Lx Factory. This dynamic, creative hub is fueled by companies and industry professionals, but it has also been brought to life by an array of different events in fields such as fashion, advertising, communication, multimedia, art, architecture and music, among others, which have encouraged countless visitors to rediscover this part of Alcântara. Free time for lunch on your own. Transfer to the hotel, Pousada de Lisboa, a 5-star “Small Luxury Hotel Of The World”. Located at the very center of Lisbon, it offers elegant accommodations, an à la carte restaurant serving authentic Portuguese cuisine, and rooms that feature a classical style, and views of the Terreiro de Paço Square and Áurea Street. Free time to relax in the afternoon.
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.
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.
Day 4: Lisbon – Sintra – Cabo de Roca- Cascais – Estoril – Lisbon
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure towards Sintra, where we will visit the National Palace of Sintra. The thousand-year-old history of the Palace of the Town of Sintra began during the Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. Already mentioned in texts from the 11th century, the original Moorish Palace became the property of the Portuguese Crown after the conquest of the city of Lisbon by Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, in 1147. It was first subjected to alteration work in 1281, in the reign of King Dinis, and new extensions were later added to the building over time, in the reigns of the kings Dinis, João I and Manuel I, although it has largely maintained its present-day outline since the mid-16th century. The vertical arrangement of its spaces, adapting to the nature of the terrain; the intimate organization of the interior courtyards, outdoor spaces in which one can hear the sound of running water; the windows with their surmounted arches; and the walls covered in glazed tiles with rich geometrical patterns, are all features that underline the Moorish links of the craftsmen who built and embellished the Palace. Visit to 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” (in Os Lusíadas , Canto VIII). A stone pattern with a tombstone marks this geographic particularity to all who visit this place. We then go to the cosmopolitan Cascais – reputed for its splendid white beach, countless shops and charming shopping streets. And we 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.
Day 5: Lisbon – Óbidos – Aveiro – Porto
Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Meet with guide and depart to 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.
We then continue 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. Your lunch will be in Restaurant Salpoente, where reinvents traditional Portuguese cuisine – that is exemplary and of superior quality, prepared with the utmost quality and for all tastes and trends, with a common star: salted cod. We will board a Moliceiro and go along the canals, which are like water roads traversing the city. During the private 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 the hotel.
Day 6: Porto
Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Meet with local guide and depart for a panoramic tour of Porto ́s historical city center. Previously designated as Portus Cale, from which the name Portugal was derived, founded in 1123, 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.
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 truly experience the soul of Porto. The 6 bridges cruise is a 50 minute journey passing under six architecturally magnificent bridges, some reach astounding heights. Seeing the city from the perspective of the river will provide you with 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 cellars, where we’ll taste their best styles of Port. We will visit the Ramos Pintos Winery, then have time to change for the evening, where we will dine at Vinum Restaurant and Wine Bar.
Day 7: Porto – Batalha – Fátima – Nazaré – 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.
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.
Our next stop is the now-famous coastal town, where just one wave propelled this picturesque site to fame. In fact, not an ordinary wave – a giant wave emerging from the beach Praia do Norte, surfed by Hawaiian surf legend Garrett McNamara in 2011. This breath-taking 30-meter- high wave would change forever the fate of a colorful little town known as Nazaré. Or as surfers like to call it: Naza! We visit this charming village and have a wonderful lunch in one of the local restaurants.
Arrival to Évora and check in at the hotel. (B)
Day 8: Évora – Monsaraz – Portimäo
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.
Arrival Portimão and check in at the hotel.
Day 9: Portimão
Breakfast at the hotel. Free day in Algarve to enjoy the town and beaches. (B)
Day 10: Portimão – Beach of Benagil – Portimão
Breakfast at the hotel. Sail from Marina de Portimão and enjoy the natural beauty of the Algarve coast. This tour starts from Marina de Portimão and it sails to Marinha Beach, visiting about 20 caves along the coast, including the famous Grotto of Benagil, one of the ten natural wonders of the world. The trip lasts approximately two hours, enjoying the beaches and paradisiacal caves. It includes snorkeling and a toast on board with champagne or soda. Free afternoon.
Day 11: Portimão – Lisbon
Breakfast at the hotel. The history of Portimão is deeply intertwined with the natural resources of the Mediterranean and with the strong relationship between river and sea. From antiquity, Portuguese have been making their living from the waters, and more recently, in the twentieth century, have developed an important fishing and canning industry that occupies the banks of the river Arade. We visit the Museum of Portimão, situated in the old facilities of a fish cannery. Finally, we will visit a traditional canning factory, where you will see the entire fish-processing technique, from the reception of the fish, to the treatment, processing, confection and packaging. In the end, we will have the opportunity to sample some of the factory’s product.
In the afternoon we transfer to Lisbon.
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.
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)