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 to arrive at Porto and the beautiful rural region of Minho.
Drive through the world famous Douro valley; across mountains to the megalithic sites in Evora and finally to the Algarve coast to take a boat trip out to the off lying islands and spend your last nights at the “end of the world” in a fortress at the most South-westerly point of Europe. 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 and parts of the tour can also be done using public transport with car hire just for a few days.
Day One - Arrive Lisbon and transfer to your hotel for 3 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 alfresco 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.
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 and explore Sintra and the Estoril coast
Take a day trip to the summer residence of the Portuguese Kings and Moorish sultans of Lisbon. Once popular with 18th Century British travelers; Byron wrote “to see the world and leave out Sintra is to go blind about”. One of the most romantic & mystical places in the world, the town loops around green wooded ravines, where fairy tale turreted palaces rise out of misty forests and the locals say that magical powers lurk in the hills and valleys.
After Sintra, head to the coast at Estoril – the Portuguese Riviera, a region infamous for 20th Century exiled Kings and World War II spies with grand casinos and world class restautrants and golf course – it is said that Ian Flemming was inspired to write James Bond after learning of the intrigue and events played out here.
Day Four - Transfer to Coimbra for 1 night passing through Obidos and Fatima
On the drive from Lisbon you will pass by Obidos; a truly perfect example of a medieval walled village given as a wedding gift to the Queens of Portugal; you can also visit Fatima - one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Catholic world, where the apparition of Our Lady appeared to three shepherd boys in 1917.
Coimbra was the setting of the forbidden love of King Dom Pedro I, the first King of Brazil, and Dona Ines a lady of his court. Once the capital of Portugal during the middle ages it was the Renaissance that transformed the city into a place of knowledge and the university library is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The city is a great place to just wonder through the medieval city walls and lose yourself in the alley ways and dead-ends lined with flower filled balconies and hidden courtyards that make up the upper historical centre of the city.
Traditional Fado Show
For this evening you will have seats booked at a traditional Coimbra Fado show where the voices are accompanied by the Portuguese Viola. This intimate venue showcases the cities best talent who explain the significance and meaning of each piece to help your understanding of the traditional music. After the show each guest is treated to a glass of port.
Day Five - Transfer to Porto for 2 nights
For your first evening in the city we suggest you get your visit to Porto off to a great start by taking a tram and crossing the bridge to the separate riverside town of Vila Nova de Gaia. It is here that since the 18th Century the Port wine had to be aged and stored before being exported around the world. You can still see the traditional boats that were used to carry the port down river from the estates. It is also from there that you get the classic view of Porto with the colourful houses clinging to the riverbank.
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 via Braga to Guimaraes for 1 night
Minho is the area above Porto and is considered by many to be the most beautiful region of Portugal with lush river valleys, forested hillsides and trailing vines. It is from this Northern region that the deliciously crisp Vinho Verde comes from.
Guimaraes was the first capital of Portugal founded in 1139 and the birthplace of the first King Alfonso Henriques. It has been declared a UNESCO heritage site for above all the stunning Ducal Palace 10th century castle, but the village if also beautiful to see with its honey coloured houses and pretty medieval streets and squares.
Day Eight - Transfer via the Douro Valley to Viseu for 1 night with a tour and tasting at a Port Estate
Today you will take one of the great car journeys of Europe following the Douro valley, as the road twists and turns majestically, hugging the terraced hillsides that cascade down to the wide flowing river below. This is where the grapes for the world famous Port are grown and you will have the opportunity to stop off at a vineyard along the way for a tour and tasteing.
From the river you will then take the high plateau and eventually arrive to the dignified city of Viseu, a hilltop city at the centre of the famous Dao wine producing region noted for its full bodied red wines since the 12th Century.
Day Nine - Transfer to Evora for 2 nights via Belmonte and Marvao
Today you turn south 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 scenery is stunning with enormous boulders and craggy mountain peaks but it is the fantastic array of castles and fortifications left over from the battle for independence from Spain that are the highlight of this region; particularly at Elvas; an episcopal city almost on the border with Spain. It is truly one of Portugal’s hidden gems and one of the most fortified towns in Euros. Layers of interconnecting walls and battlements that create a unique star shape when see from above.
Evora is an impressive city; widely considered the most interesting and enjoyable of Portugal! Shaped by its Roman and later Moorish past, it has the best preserved Roman temple in Portugal and a delightful historical centre full of cascading white washed houses and noble palaces. The town is bursting with convents, palaces, museums and churches – a UNESCO World Heritage site; it is the finest example of “The Golden Age” or Portugal.
Day Ten - Exploring the area round Evora
The area around Evora is as fascinating as the town itself dotted with castles, megalithic burial sites and stone circles and a car is the best way to see all these out of the way treasures. A circular drive take you from the specular Evoramonte Castle; on to the carpet selling town of Arraiolos and south to the megalithic archeological sites to see dolmens and stone circles enchanted by local legends. An inspiring day!
Day Eleven - Transfer to Estoi, Faro for 2 nights
Today you will touch the coast of the Algarve at Vila Real de Santo Antonio, right on the Spanish border; and actually one of the most architecturally interesting towns of the Algarve which was based on the Baixa quarter of Lisbon. As you continue east along the coast you will drive through the Natural Reserve of Ria Formosa with its stunning inland beaches, lagoons and hundreds of sand bank Islands until finally you reach Faro; the capital of the Algarve and a good base to explore the nearby coastal villages and take a boat trip to the surrounding islands “ilhas”.
A perfect time for a stroll back in time around the old part of the town, lined with cobbled streets, Moorish and 18th Century Portuguese architecture and experience the traditional Algarve cuisine at one of the many quaint local restaurants.
Your hotel is based just 14km from Faro, in the foothills of the Serra do Caldeirào; a laid back village wtih cobbled streets, in an 18th century palace of Rococo architecture.
Day Twelve - A day to explore and maybe take a boat trip around the Islands
This morning you can take a boat trip from Faro on a traditional Portuguese boat to explore the channels, lagoons and paradise like islands that make up the beautiful Algarve coastline. Your guide will explain about the unique habitat of the area, local wildlife and traditional economic activities such as clam farming.
In the afternoon you will be free to relax on the beach or maybe take the car to explore the mountains where you can discover the most genuine characteristics of the regions culture amidst the untouched tiny villages & rural farmhouses.
Day Thirteen - Transfer to Sagres for 2 nights
Today you head further west to the point which was once considered the end of the world and where the setting sun made the waters of the ocean boil each evening. Sagres is the south-westerly tip of Europe and it was at this wind-swept, rugged headland that Prince Henry the Navigator gathered all the great marines, cartographers, astronomers & ship builders together to build and navigate the ships that brought about the Age of Discovery.
The coastline is exposed and dramatic but the town of Sagres is sheltered and picturesque – locals grill small fish in the street outside their houses and bistro style restaurants line the squares where the townsmen play boules.
Day Fourteen - A day to explore the surrounding area
Take a day to explore the most south westerly point of Europe as you drive along one of the most under developed and untouched coastlines that remain. The whole area is a designated nature reserve with white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs and huge sand dunes.
Day Fifteen - Transfer back to Lisbon or Faro 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…
In Coimbra you will stay in a retreat of comfort and charm that was enjoyed by Kings and Emperors in past centuries.. .
In Porto your 4 star hotel, occupying a block of 16th, 17th and 18th century buildings, has been classified World Heritage by UNESCO…
Your hotel in Guimareas is a national award winning building for architecture, located within a converted 12th century monastery…
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…
Your hotel in Evora is a converted convent hidden within the UNESCO declared heritage of humanity city walls. Once home to the congregation of the Canons Regular...
Your hotel in Faro is an old 18th century luxury palace, located just outside Faro in the village of Estoi it once belonged to the Viscount of the town…...
from 1835.00 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.
I want you to know that we love Lemon Valley! Every boutique hotel was a delight; well centered, brightly colored and with courteous staff. The city guides were informative and caring, willing to help in any way requested. ALL arrangements for trains and hotels were 100% perfect. We have NEVER had such a wonderful tour.
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.
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