Small Group Tour of Portugal

Itinerary

Day 1 - Lisbon

Arrival transfer by private car from Lisbon airport to the Hotel Pestana Palace. Balance of the day at leisure.

Hotel description: A 5 star luxury hotel and a member of "The Leading Hotels of the World", it incorporates a XIX century palace classified as a National Monument and is considered one of the best hotels in Lisbon. The Pestana Palace is set in a private garden and affords wonderful panoramic view of the Tejo River.

Day 2 - Lisbon - Estoril - Cascais - Cabo da Roca - Sintra - Lisbon

Depart this morning for the coastal cities of Estoril and Cascais, once the summer residences of aristocrats and now attracting an international clientele to its elegant hotels, casino and shops. Then on to Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca), the westernmost point of continental Europe. Lovely, wooded Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is your next destination and location for a gourmet lunch with wine (included) at a local restaurant. Perched high above Sintra is the Pena Palace, a 19th century eclectic mixture of architectural styles. Entrance is included. The view from the terraces encompasses the Atlantic to the Tejo river. On another peak are the ruins of an 8th century Moorish castle. Return to Lisbon to see this European capital from its fishing village beginnings to its modern cosmopolitan present. Visit the Jeronimos Monastery, Tower of Belem and the Monument to the Discoveries.
Breakfast and lunch are included today
Accommodation in Lisbon at Pestana Palace.

Day 3 - Lisbon - Evora - Marvao - Castelo de Vide - Belmonte

Depart Lisbon this morning, heading east to the Alentejo region, characterized by sweeping plains, cork trees, wheat fields, vineyards and almond orchards. Look for the many walled cities and castles perched on the isolated hills. The most famous is Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you will have time to walk the narrow medieval streets and have lunch in one of its many restaurants (lunch not included). Continue to Marvao, a walled city set atop a 3,000 foot peak near the Portuguese-Spanish border. From the ramparts you can see the military value of this outstanding site during the long border disputes between these two countries. Your final destination today is Belmonte, a hilltop city near the Serra da Estrela (Star Mountains) where you will enjoy dinner at Pousada do Convento in Belmonte.
Breakfast and dinner are included today.
Accommodation at the Pousada do Convento de Belmonte.

Hotel description: The Belmonte Pousada results from the reconstruction of the ruined Convent of Nossa Senhora da Esperanca, and features a small 13th Century chapel. The Pousada preserves all the historical architecture of the convent, including an amphitheatre in the woodlands.

Day 4 - Belmonte - Viseu - Lamego - Wine Estate - Solar de Mateus - Amarante

Start the day visiting Belmonte, a beautiful small village where one of the oldest Jewish communities in Portugal. Visit the town's castle and walk the narrow streets. Then journey into the Douro River region, famous for its vineyards. Continue to Lamego for a visit to Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Sanctuary. Enter the Douro Wine district where you will visit a wine producer at their "Quinta" (estate) for a private tour of the production methods followed by a wine tasting and lunch (included). The tour continues towards Vila Real to Solar de Mateus, a beautiful Portuguese Baroque Manor House and famous as the label on Mateus wine. Your final stop today is in Amarante, one of Portugal's prettiest towns. Your hotel for tonight is the charming Casa da Calcada, located in the heart of Amarante's historical center, an ideal location for an evening stroll. Dine this evening in the hotel's gourmet restaurant (included).
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are inlcuded today.
Accommodation in Amarante at Casa da Calcada

Hotel description: Located near the old bridge (13th C) over the River Tamega in the historic heart of the small town of Amarante, Casa da Cal├žada is an impressive, refined hotel set in a XVI century Palace and is the former residence of the Counts of Redondo. Magnificent gardens, gold colored walls and elegant lounges welcome guests as they arrive at this beautiful manor house.

Day 5 - Amarante - Braga - Ponte de Lima - Guimaraes

After a visit to the historical center of Amarante, continue towards Braga, an important religious capital. Visit the sanctuary of Bom Jesus of Braga with its magnificent baroque staircase, cascading down a mountain. On to the lovely town of Ponte de Lima, home of Portugal's Vinho Verde (green wine) for a stroll through the town center which reveals its wealthy past. Free time for lunch in the town center. The city is known for its beautiful local embroidery. The day ends in Guimaraes, one of the most historic cities of Portugal. Enjoy dinner this evening (included) of Northern Portugal cuisine in a local restaurant.
Breakfast and dinner are included today
Accommodation at the Pousada de Santa Marinha.

Hotel description: One of the most spectacluar Pousadas in Portugal. A former 12th C Augustine convent, situated on a wooded hillside overlooking Guimaraes. Its gardens, fountains, cloisters balconies and azulejos (glazed tiles) are delightful

Day 6 - Guimaraes - Porto

A tour this morning of the medieval center of Guimaraes includes the castle (depicted on the Portuguese coat of arms) and the palace of the dukes of Braganza, the illegitimate branch of the royal family who ascended the throne. Then on to Porto, Portugal's "second city". Your tour of Porto will include the UNESCO World Heritage historical center of the city including the Church of Sao Francisco with its intricately carved interior covered in gold and the Arabian Hall in the Stock Exchange. Free time for lunch before an afternoon private tour and tasting at a Port Wine Lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from Porto. Vila Nova de Gaia is home to the Port Wine Cellars where the grapes grown up river are bottled, cellared and aged. At the day's conclusion, enjoy an included cruise on the Douro River before dinner at a selected restaurant (included).
Breakfast and dinner are included today.
Accomdation at Intercontinental Porto-Palacio das Cardosas (5*)

Hotel description: Built into an 19th century palace, this 5* hotel is within convenient walking distance to many of Porto's most interesting sights..

Day 7 - Porto - Coimbra

Free time this morning in Porto. Depart for Coimbra in the early afternoon. Coimbra is home to one of Europe's oldest universites, founded in 1290. A visit to the extraordinary 18th C university library is included in your walking tour of the university and medieval heart of the city. Visit the church of Santa Cruz, where the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, is buried in an elaborate tomb.
Enjoy dinner this evening at your hotel's restaurant.
Breakfast and dinner are included today.
Accommodation at Quinda das Lagrimas in Coimbra

Hotel description: A former 18th C palace surounded by magnificent gardens. Beautifully decorated in the traditional Portuguese colors. Legends says that this is the place where Portugal's Prince Pedro lost his lover, Ines, to his father's assasins. Her tears (lagrimas) gave the name to the estate (Quinta).

Day 8 - Coimbra - Fatima - Batalha -Alcobaca - Obidos - Lisbon

Continue south today to visit Fatima, one of the most revered shrines and pilgrimage destinations in the religious world. Then to Batalha for a visit to the 14th century Santa Maria da Vitoria Monastery, one of Portugal's architectural masterpieces, built to celebrate an important victory over Spain in a nearby plateau. Continue to Alcobaca, Portugal's largest chuch and home to the tombs of King Dom Pedro I and Ines de Castro, ill starred lovers of the 14th C (see Day 7 and description of Quinta das Lagrimas). Your last stop before reaching Lisbon is charming, walled Obidos, a medieval village clinging to a hillside. Entering the old city gates is stepping back in time. Stroll through its narrow streets among whitewashed, flower bedecked houses. Return to Lisbon in the afternoon and to the Hotel Pestana Palace for your final night.
Breakfast is included today.

Optional "Fado" dinner and show this evening.

Day 9 - Lisbon

Your tour concludes with check out this morning. Private car transfer to the airport is included. If you wish, you can extend your stay.
Breakfast is included today.

Extend your visit to Portugal with extra time in Lisbon and/or the Algarve, Portugal's sunny resort coast. Please contact us for details.

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