Biotrek’s 12 day custom small group tour features the very best of Portugal. We start in colorful Lisbon, and visit nearby Sintra, with its famous Pena Palace, and the seaside resort town of Cascais. We then travel north through medieval Óbidos and Aveiro to Porto. We take a boat ride on the beautiful Duoro River, and visit the Gothic monastery in Batalha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We continue to Fátima, then on to the coastal town of Nazaré — known for its enormous waves and world-record surfing. From the historical Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we travel on to spend three blissful days in the beautiful Algarve region with its splendid beaches and coastal caves, including the famous Grotto of Benagil, one of the ten natural wonders of the world. We bid farewell to Portugal following a grand finale evening of traditional fado music, food, and dancing.
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.
- 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 – 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.
- Overnight at Pousada de Lisboa
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. (B,L)
- Overnight at M Maison particulière
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. (B,D)
Overnight at M Maison Particulère
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)
- Overnight at Hotel Convento de Vila Vicosa
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. (B, L)
- Overnight at Bela Vista Hotel and Spa
Day 9: Portimão
Breakfast at the hotel. Free day in Algarve to enjoy the town and beaches. (B)
- Overnight at Bela Vista Hotel and Spa
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.
- Overnight at Bela Vista Hotel and Spa
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. (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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
This seaside resort town has sandy beaches and a busy marina.
- Ground transportation in Private tourism bus
- English speaking guide during the whole tour
- 10 People Maximum
- 04 nights stay in Hotel Pousada de Lisboa 5***** Lisbon
- 02 nights stay in M Maison Particulère 4**** Porto
- 01 nights stay in Hotel Convento de Vila Viçosa 4**** Évora
- 03 nights stay in Hotel Bela Vista 5***** Portimão
- 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
- 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
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 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