Discover the thriving capital of Lisbon, the medieval charms of Coimbra and the hidden back streets of Porto during explorations with your knowledgeable local leader.. Visit fabulous local wineries during a tasting tour in the picturesque Douro Valley, stopping off for a lunch made with regional delights.. Get an insight into Fado: an atmospheric amalgamation of music and poetry, and a very popular art form in Portugal.. Soak up the glamour and the sun while winding along the stunning Bay of Cascais on a full-day exploration of Lisbon’s surrounds.
From grand cities to medieval villages and dazzling coastlines, witness the iconic imagery that defines this western European haven. Discover the birthplace of port and the treasures of the Douro Valley, take a step back in time at the ancient university of Coimbra, learn the secrets of Porto’s backstreets and get to the heart of glorious Lisbon. Travel with a local leader and uncover the authentic side of Portugal; a land of rich history, vibrant regional cultures, stunning landscapes and refined cuisine.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included: 2
Welcome to Portugal! Your trip starts today with your arrival in Lisbon, Portugal’s joyful capital city. You will be picked up from the airport and taken to your centrally located hotel. In the evening, meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions for a 6pm welcome meeting, where you will be given a briefing of what lies ahead on the tour. If you arrive with time to spare, perhaps head to one of many outdoor cafes to soak up the city’s energy. After your meeting, join your leader and small group for a welcome dinner at one of Lisbon’s magnificent restaurants. Going out to eat is one of Portugal’s great pleasures, and this evening your leader will introduce you to traditional Portuguese recipes and a local culinary scene that’s exploding with regional flavour.
Lisbon is one of Europe’s great cities. Much of Lisbon’s character lies in its beautiful renovated buildings, grand boulevards and impressive castles and churches. Visit one of the most symbolic buildings in the city, Lisbon Cathedral. Hear how the cathedral was built on the site of an old mosque in 1150 by Lisbon’s first bishop, Gilbert of Hastings. Next your leader will take you to the fantastic medieval citadel of Sao Jorge Castle and share stories of its history. Although much of the original castle has been destroyed, some sections of walls and 18 different towers remain today. Look down on a city swarming with endless angular white houses and buildings with distinct red terracotta rooftops. The afternoon is free to make further discoveries of Lisbon – perhaps roam through the delightful narrow streets of distinct local neighbourhoods, visit Belem Tower, or the spectacular Monastery of the Jeronimos.
Cascais / Cabo da Roca / Sintra / Coimbra
Head outside of the city for a full-day excursion from Lisbon. First to Sintra, a bewitching place set amidst lush vegetation and rugged, mystical hills. Your leader will explain how the cooler climate made Sintra a summer retreat for royalty, and why it has drawn and inspired many poets, writers and travellers for centuries, including Lord Byron. Spend some time exploring Sintra’s colourful Pena Palace and gardens. Continue to Cabo da Roca, a cape which forms the westernmost extent of mainland Portugal and continental Europe. Then on to the cosmopolitan town of Cascais. Once a quiet fishing village, later Cascais became a residence of the Portuguese royal court in the 19th century and is now a glamorous holiday destination. Take some time to explore the fabulous little restaurants and try some local delicacies. After a day of exploring, make the journey to Coimbra with a late arrival.
Sitting dignified on the banks of the River Mondego, Coimbra was once the medieval capital of the county, and its royal heritage can be felt in its ancient streets and buildings. Get to know the city as your leader guides you through the lanes and squares of the Old Quarter. The real star of the show is Coimbra’s prestigious university – one of the oldest in the world. This evening, immerse yourself in Portugal’s cultural heritage by heading to an included traditional Fado music show. Portugal’s version of the blues is hauntingly beautiful and hearing it performed live is an experience to remember. Your leader can recommend some superb spots to eat after the show.
Travel this morning from Coimbra to the Douro Valley. Famous not only for its sublime scenery, the Douro Valley is known for producing some of the world’s most wonderful wine. Today you will have the chance to find out why as you head out for a tasting tour at one of the region’s best wineries. You can’t spell Portugal without Port, and to taste this iconic fortified wine is to taste thousands of years of Portuguese history. Learn the story of its origins and the history of wine production in the area while discovering which locally produced vino is your tipple of choice. Sit down to an included lunch of rustic regional specialities prepared with fresh local ingredients (and paired with more wine, of course!). Enjoy a gentle boat ride on the Douro River with the option to visit another winery if you feel so inclined. Stop by the lovely little riverside village of Pinhao then continue on to your feature stay accommodation, tucked away between the rolling hills and terraced vineyards of the spectacular Douro Valley.
Make your way to Porto, a romantic city on the banks of the Douro River. On arrival, join your leader for an orientation walk of the city’s collection of twisting alleys, crisscrossing staircases and baroque churches. Pass majestic bridges, explore the riverside district’s cobbled streets, merchants’ houses and cafes. In the evening, head to the nearby city of Vila Nova de Gaia to end the day with some sunset drinks.
Matosinhos / Porto
Take the local train to the seaside city of Matosinhos where you’ll have some time to relax on the beach, dine at the fresh seafood restaurants or stroll along the promenade. Return to Porto and enjoy a free afternoon. Perhaps head to one of the city’s riverfront cafes for a coffee and pastry overlooking the colourful rows of old houses, or take a walk around the World Heritage listed Ribeira district. Regroup in the evening for a final dinner at one of Porto’s excellent local restaurants.
There are no activities planned for today, and as such, you are free to leave at any time. If you wish to spend some more time exploring Porto, we will be happy to arrange additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).