Grand Tour of Portugal

Tour Highlights

Once a powerful seafaring kingdom that dominated the merchant routes to Africa, South America and the Orient, Portugal today is a relaxed country bountiful in natural beauty, historic monuments andfascinating culture.
Add to this the nation’s love of gastronomy and wine, and the legendary Portuguese hospitality, and you will see why it is the ideal holiday destination. 

Tour Highlights:

  • The lively historic capital city of Lisbon.
  • The Algarve - Portugal’s finest beaches and coastline, including the capital city of Faro.
  • Moorish fishing village of Olhão and the lively market.
  • The historic seaside port of Lagos.
  • The golden-stoned university town of Evora, with its Roman temple, Moorish alleys and medieval walls.
  • Alentejo’s expansive rural landscape and wine region. 
  • The  picturesque “white” hilltop town of Monsaraz.
  • Guimaraes  - said to be where "Portugal was born" with a beautiful historic centre, castle and palace.
  • Serra de Strella Mountains  - Portugal’s highest range, dotted with remote villages.   
  • Romantic Oporto - Portugal’s 2nd largest city.
  • The stunning Douro River Valley with steeply terraced vineyards for producing Portugal’s famous Port wine.
  • Aveiro - the “Portugese Venice” with its charming canals and colourful boats.
  • Coimbra - one of Portugal’s oldest cities.
  • Sintra  - a picturesque hilltop retreat surrounded by opulent palaces and country estates.

***Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Lisbon.
We arrive in Lisbon and before transferring to our hotel we will have a short orientation tour of this lively capital city. The afternoon is free until this evening’s Welcome Dinner.
We begin with a visit of the National Palace of Queluz - a wonderful example of Rococo architecture surrounded by beautiful gardens. We continue to Sintra for some leisure time to discover the village before continuing with a scenic drive along Cabo da Roca, passing popular Guincho Beach and Boca do Inferno (“Hell’s Mouth”) - a chasm in the seaside cliffs near the fishing port of Cascais.
We depart for the walled city of Obidos with its whitewashed houses and flower displays. After a walking tour there we continue to Coimbra - Portugal’s medieval capital and site of the country’s finest university for the past 500 years. We will see the old town, the main cathedral, the famous arch of Almedina and Santa Clara-A-Nova Monastery with its spectacular view over the city. We overnight in Coimbra.
We travel to Sangalhos to visit the Underground Museum where wine and brandy age together with a unique art collection. We will enjoy a special lunch at the museum before we proceed to Aveiro - known as the “Portuguese Venice” due to its colourful gondola-shaped boats, natural lagoons, elegant 19th Century architecture and traditional cobblestone passageways. We will see the old fish market and enjoy a scenic cruise during which we will taste the heavenly “Ovos Moles” - the local sweet delicacy. We then continue to the Oporto region for a 3-night stay.
Oporto is the country’s second-largest city, dramatically situated at the mouth of the Rio Douro, rich in medieval relics, soaring bell towers, extravagant baroque churches and stately beaux-arts buildings all piled on top of one another. Our city tour will include São Francisco Church, the Stock Exchange Palace and a stroll through the historic Ribeira quarter - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We finish with a lovely cruise along the river to enjoy the city from a different vantage point.
Today we visit Guimarães to discover the old town and view the impressive castle. We continue to the Aveleda vineyards in Penafiel for an introduction to the famous regional “Vinho Verde” (green wine), to see the production process and of course enjoy a taste.
A scenic day as we travel through the beautiful Douro Valley where Portugal’s famous port wine is produced. We’ll see quiet towns and villages, vineyards and clifftop castles, and learn about port wine production as we visit a regional farm. We will also visit the magnificent gardens at the Palacio de Mateus - depicted on the label of the famous Mateus wine bottles. Then we continue to the historic town of Viseu set high on a mountain plateau, for our overnight.
As we cross the Tagus River valley we enjoy spectacular views of the Serra da Estrela Mountains, and stop at the Castelo de Vide to wander the narrow alleys and the town’s Jewish quarter. We then continue to Evora in the heart of the Alentejo region for a 2-night stay.
Evora is one of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns. Our walking tour will show us the 14th century walls, winding lanes, charming squares, the elaborate Cathedral, Roman temple and the Ossuary Chapel. After a wine tasting at a traditional wine cellar we continue to the fairy-tale walled village of Monsaraz which has preserved its distinctive centuries-old characteristics. After a walk back in time through the narrow streets we return to Evora.
We depart for Beja in the Alentejo region for some time to discover the town before continuing to Ponta da Piedade, known for its rugged sandstone cliffs and rock pinnacles. We will also visit the resort town of Lagos before we proceed to the resort town of Albufeira for a 2-night stay.
Today we visit the typical Moorish fishing village of Olhão where we will see the lively fruit and vegetable market, then on to Faro - Algarve’s capital, where we will visit the old walled town and the Cathedral.
We first stop at the important fisherman’s port of Setubal, before proceeding through the picturesque Arrabida Mountains to Lisbon, for a 2-night stay.
Our tour of Lisbon will show us the historic district of Alfama, the Belem district with its magnificent monuments, Jeronimos Monastery, the Monument of the Discoveries and the Belem Tower. After a visit of the Monastery we will enjoy a tasting of the famous Belém custard tart. This evening is our Farewell Dinner.
We fly home, direct to Toronto.

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