This charming 7 night self-drive tour is a great introduction to Portugal. Immerse yourself in a land of treasures as you travel from the fashionable streets of Lisbon with its yellow trams and pretty cobbled squares; across the sunburnt planes of Alentejo dotted with medieval castles and monasteries; to the lush valley of the River Douro with it’s great port estates and terraced vineyards.
Your hotels will reflect each place that you stay from a converted palace to a fortified castle and time with local guides will help to bring this mystical land of explorers and legend to life.
This holiday can start on any date you request with arrival to Lisbon or Porto.
Day One - Arrive Lisbon and transfer to your hotel for 2 nights
Lisbon is one of the least visited of the ancient European capitals. A fascinating city which lays itself out like a map, tracing the indelible marks left by its colourful and diverse history and cultural influences. Much remains of this Golden Age with castles, monasteries, towers and palaces defining the skyline but the real joy of Lisbon is in soaking up its laid back feel, loosing yourself in the cobbled village-like streets, taking a ride on yellow trams and dining in a pretty shaded square.
Day Two - Morning walking tour of the Alfama quarter
This morning you will meet with a guide for a fascinating tour around the medieval Alfama quarter. Hear the tales and legends of the Visigoths, Romans, Moors, crusaders and Kings as you wander past whitewashed houses and Fado taverns in the narrow streets, stairways and viewpoints. The tour will finish with Pasteis de Belem (custard tart) in a traditional café.
In the afternoon you will be free to explore deeper into the barrios or visit some of Lisbon’s new “niche museums” particularly the awe-inspiring collection at the Museu Gulbenkian.
Day Three - Collect your hire car in the morning and transfer to Marvao for 1 night
Today you will leave behind the cosmopolitan city and head east into the sun-baked, agricultural landscape of the Alentejo region. Birds of Prey and Black Storks soar on the thermals above remote fortified villages, and monasteries and castles dot the landscape of vast olive and cork plantations. It is a land where time has stood still with many of the estates having been handed down since Roman times. The medieval town of Marvao is set on a rocky outcrop that was once part of the chain of fortresses along the Spanish border.
Day Four - Transfer to Viseu for 1 night
Today head north and pass in to the historic mountain provinces of Beira Alta and Beira Baixa. Quintessentially Portuguese, many age old traditions live on in these regions and rural life is as beautifully preserved as the mighty castles and walled towns.
The city of Viseu, a hilltop city at the centre of the famous Dao wine producing region has been noted for its full bodied red wines since the 12th Century. Viseu was also the birthplace of Grao Vasco; Portugal’s most famous artist and the museum dedicated to him is housed in a former bishop’s palace.
Day Five - Transfer to Porto for 2 nights through the valley of the Douro river
Today you turn West towards Porto following the valley of the Rio Douro. This is one of the great car journeys of Europe as the road twists and turns majestically, hugging the terraced hillsides that cascade down to the wide flowing river below. Just over the river is the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, where since the 18th century Port wine has been aged and stored before being exported around the world, it offers the stunning view back to Porto captured in many postcards.
Day Six - A day in Porto with a private guided tour of the city and bodega visit
A colourful and rambling dramatically situated city, Porto is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance with art galleries, fine restaurants and the refurbishment of much of the cities priceless architecture all breathing new life in to the “invincible city” of the north. The perfect place to wander and lose yourself in the labyrinth of cobbled streets, lined with brightly coloured, patchwork houses clinging to the riverbank.
For today you will have a private tour of Porto including the cathedral, typical Bolhao market and the Clerigos Tower. You will be able to see typical life in Porto at the Liberty Square, Lello Bookshop and the UNESCO classified neighborhoods.
Your tour will end in Ribeira the typical barrio for Port Wine Cellars with a tour and tasting.
Day Seven - Transfer south along the Atlantic coast to Obidos for 1 night
As you depart Porto, your journey south will first take you past miles and miles of white sand Atlantic beaches with smaller roads that you can take to get closer to the lagoons, bird-life and the sea. Finally reaching Oibidos; a small medieval town where your base for the night will be within the walls of a towered castle. Entering the town through the ancient southern gate the picturesque medieval labyrinth of cobbled streets flanked with white houses adorned with bougainvillea lead up to Moorish castle. Obidos is home to the traditional sour cherry liqueur served in edible chocolate cups.
Day Eight - Transfer to Lisbon to deposit your hire car and say farewell to Portugal!
Your first hotel in Portugal is a small boutique converted 18th century palace located in the historic centre next to the National Ancient Art Museum…
Your hotel in Marvao is a traditional Portuguese pousada, made up of a number of converted village houses the hotel has been converted in to a warm…
Your hotel in Viseu is a converted hospital building, one of the oldest hospitals in the city having opened in 1842. The hotel has maintained some of its most majestic features…
In Porto your 4 star hotel, occupying a block of 16th, 17th and 18th century buildings, has been classified World Heritage by UNESCO…
from 1195.00 Euros per person *
* Price per person, based on two people sharing a standard double or twin room:
Please note these prices do not take in to consideration local and national holidays which may increase hotel rates for certain dates throughout the year.
Please enquire for an exact quote for your required dates and particular room requirements.
Nicola, Thank you again for organising an excellent holiday. The travel notes, maps and information on the towns was very useful and entertaining. The provision of a GPS with each of the hotels logged as a favourite was useful. The guided tours were first class - excellent English and both guides had an deep knowledge of their city and its history/people.
So sorry I have not written sooner. My son and I continued traveling for another week after returning to the US and just now really had a chance to sit down to write you an email. Thank you sooooo much for what you did for us. We had an absolutely wonderful time. Everything went smoothly. All we had to do was show up. I could not have asked for more. We both love loved the hotels. So quaint and friendly. I just can't say enough good about the whole experience. It was ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!!!!!!! Again thank you so much.
The customized trip to Lisbon, Porto, Seville, & Granada that you planned for us was outstanding!
We loved all of the boutique hotels and our modern apartment in Porto. The breakfasts were all so good (maybe too good) & the locations we’re perfect. Very easy access to sights and restaurants.
We enjoyed all of the private and small group tours you booked. All of the guides did a great job and had such good personalities. Our lunch on the Douro Valley wine tour was one of the best meals we had.
Wouldn’t change a thing.
Thank you so much for planning such a memorable trip.
Just to say our trip to Portugal went well with no hiccups. We particularly enjoyed our day in the Douro Valley and thoroughly recommend ‘Cooltours’ as we had a fun day out with our young guide. The same in Lisbon! We had a lovely day with our guide there and again the tour company was one to keep on your books. Hotels were good too, though perhaps the Lisbon one was a tiny bit out of town but was very comfortable. Weather wasn’t the best but at least it wasn’t too hot!
Thanks again for organising.
This charming 9 night self-drive tour of Portugal is a great way to combine the historical treasures of Lisbon & rural Southern Portugal with the idyllic coast line of the Algarve and Atlantic beaches…
This complete tour encompasses all that is fascinating and beautiful about Portugal; after spending time at the capital city of Lisbon you head north stopping at medieval villages and religious shrines…
This journey around Moorish Andalucía, visits the great cities of Granada, Seville and Cordoba plus a few relaxing days to immerse yourself in rural Spain staying in a stunning hilltop White village…