13 DAYS PORTUGAL SMALL GROUP TOUR: “PORTUGAL,DOURO VALLEY & THE ALGARVE”

Portugal is one of the oldest countries in Europe,having kept the same borders for more than 800 years. Its history is mirrored in the countless prehistoric,Roman,Celtic and Middle Age remains. Portugal is also one of the countries with the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites as well as being one of the rare countries which receive more visitors  Experience the Portuguese lifestyle with a small group of 14/16 travelers only! This unique tour takes you to discover the unspoilt beauty of a magical land, with its stunning diversity of enchanting landscapes, long white beaches and pretty coves and fascinating history of proud independence from, and distrust neighboring Spain.

Travel to Portugal with its idyllic climate, dramatic vistas, rolling hills and mountains, lively markets, hearty cuisine, glorious art and architecture, that embodies all things Portuguese. From the warm hospitality of its people to the pleasures of the Alentejo wine route and Lisbon’s sights, tastes and sounds.Portugal is a country of rugged landscapes, sophisticated cities, rural backwaters and sharply contrasting traditions.

A land of surprises and we are excited to discover it together!

Location

DAY 1: WELCOME TO PORTUGAL & PORTO

Welcome to Portugal! Arrive at Porto International Airport and travel to the city center for a two nights stay at the 5 stars “PORTOBAY FLORES” or similar, a charming boutique hotel which enjoys an excellent location close to the city’s architecturally treasures. At 6.00 pm meet your tour director for a welcome get-together followed by a welcome dinner at a local restaurant offering typical regional cuisine and wine.Overnight in PORTO

DAY 2: COLORFUL PORTO

This morning’s walking tour of UNESCO PORTO, Portugal’s second largest city, named for port wine introduces us to the riverfront Ribeira district, including the lavish rooms of its Stock Exchange Palace, the exquisitely gilded Church of São Francisco, and the Mural Artwork inside São Bento train station.Throughout three generations, many masters and craftsmen worked towards the building of this 19th century architectural jewel in neoclassical style.We complete the morning visit with a Portuguese Tapas lunch. Then you’ll have time to wander on your own through Porto’s lively city center or seek out some sipping at an old port-wine lodge.Overnight stay in PORTO

DAY 3: UNIVERSITY TOWN OF COIMBRA & FADO SHOW

We travel to the lovely historic Roman town of COIMBRA, one of the oldest university cities in the world, where we take a walking tour of the 13th century university- a UNESCO site. The University campus is an architectural delight.We’ll discover the University library, which houses over 35,000 books, many dating back a century or more. This epic library is reminiscent of a scene right out of a Harry Potter movie.Return to Porto on time for your afternoon free.Tonight, join us for a performance of FADO, a melancholic music which is unique to Portugal, expression of longing and sorrow.It is sung by women as men and is always accompanied by a Portuguese guitar and an acoustic Spanish guitar.Dinner tonight is on our own in Porto.Overnight stay in PORTO

DAY 4: PICTURESQUE AMARANTE,UNESCO GUIMARÃES & MATEUS PALACE

Today’s visit takes you to discover the beauty of AMARANTE, a town that proudly displays its 17th-century mansions, with colourful balconies of painted wood brightly decorating the narrow streets, restaurants with terraces overlooking the river or the beautiful bridge of São Gonçalo, which leads to the great monastery of the 16th century that bears the name of the same saint.Continue to the fascinating Celtic site of GUIMARAES, the first capital of Portugal and birthplace of the nation’s first king. It is one of the country’s most historic cities and its World Heritage medieval streets make it one of the most attractive places to visit in Portugal.After lunch on your own,visit the splendid early 18th century manor house MATEUS PALACE, surrounded by gardens,tree covered walks and allegorical statues.Spend the next two nights in the DOURO VALLEY, land of Port wine staying at the 5 stars “VINTAGE HOUSE HOTEL” or similar, with breakfast included located in the center of Pinhao.Dinner is on your own this evening.Overnight stay in PINHAO

DAY 5: EPICUREAN EXPERIENCE: MONUMENTAL LAMEGO, RABELO CRUISE & PORTUGUESE QUINTA

We travel through the unspoiled and enchanting Porto wine region which covers approximately 250,000 hectares, of which 40,000 are vines.The first stop on today’s discoveries is the charming village of LAMEGO for a small walking tour followed by typical RABELO boat river cruise discovering Douro’s lush vineyards of enchanting natural beauty.Marvel with the beautiful terraced slopes of the Douro valley, heavily planted with vines, offering stunning views over one of the world’s most impressive man-made, rural landscapes.Drive to a Portuguese QUINTA for an included lunch accompanied by a wine tasting.Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to get acquainted with the village of Pinhao.Overnight in PINHAO

DAY 6: BACKROAD PORTUGAL: JEWISH BELMONTE & MAGICAL LISBON

Early morning departure to unknown BELMONTE, considered the spiritual centre of Crypto-Jewry, a place where an entire community of Conversos kept large parts of their faith intact and after 500 years, returned to it en mass. Here we will have a walking tour to discover this charming little hill town with time to visit the Jewish Museum and the Medieval Castle. After a lunch in a Portuguese POUSADA near Belmonte,continue to LISBON staying at the 5 stars “CORPO SANTO LISBON HOTEL“or similar, a charming boutique hotel which enjoys an excellent location close to the city’s architecturally treasures.Overnight in LISBON

DAY 7: LISBON’S HIGHLIGHTS

Portugal’s capital offers an irresistible combination of ancient and modern sights. We’ll begin our day touring through Lisbon over 20 centuries of history, starting from BELEM district,with its grandiose monuments and churches that mirrored the spirit of the time.Two of the finest examples of exuberant and exotic Manueline style of architecture are the XVI century JERONIMOS MONASTERY and the TORRE DE BELEM.One of the greatest navigators, Vasco de Gama is buried in the monastery’s church.Standing prominently on the Belem waterfront is the huge MONUMENT TO THE DISCOVERIES, built to mark the 500th anniversary of the death  of Henry the Navigator.After an included riverside lunch,we’ll visit the labyrinthine ALFAMA, one of the oldest and most atmospheric quarters in Lisbon.You’ll find yourself wandering through colorful XVIII century squares downtown and getting lost in the medieval maze of the Alfama district overlooked by an ancient castle.Here we’ll visit the TILE MUSEUM where you’ll be introduced to five centuries of decorative ceramic tiles AZULEJOS.Return to the hotel on time for your free evening. Overnight in LISBON

DAY 8: BIBLICAL OBIDOS, UNESCO SINTRA & CASCAIS

In the morning head to the picturesque Medieval walled town of OBIDOS, with its gorgeous historic center of a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and flower bedecked, whitewashed houses livened up with dashes of vivid yellow and blue paint.Continue to the quaint and aristocratic UNESCO town of SINTRA, for a visit to one of Europe’s most emblematic palaces, the 19th century PENA PALACE, which includes a drawbridge, a conglomeration of turrets, ramparts, domes and a gargoyle above a Neo-Manueline arch, all washed in an array of pastel shades.The extravagant interior is decorated in late Victorian and Edwardian furnishings, rich ornaments, paintings and priceless porcelain preserved just as the royal family left them.End the day with a taste of the Portuguese riviera where as far as the late 19th century wealthy Lisboetas have built holiday villas as the seaside town of CASCAIS.The remainder of the day is on your own.Overnight stay in LISBON.Dinner is included this evening in a local tavern.Overnight stay in LISBON

DAY 9: MEDIEVAL ESTREMOZ, FAMILY QUINTA & CORK EXPERIENCE

Today’s visit takes you to travel into the countryside of the unspoilt wine-growing region of the ALENTEJO, through sparsely inhabited plains and gently rolling terrain, which is dotted with vineyards, cork trees, olive groves and several prehistoric monuments.We’ll be visiting first the charming little market town of ESTREMOZ, in the heart of the Alentejo wine district where a family-owned QUINTA will welcome us for an elegant home-hosted lunch. Following this, we’ll visit a well known local factory where we learn about the CORK production in Portugal.Drive to EVORA one of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns for your next two nights at the 5 stars “CONVENTO DE ESPINHEIRO” or similar.Dinner is on your own this evening.Overnight stay in EVORA

DAY 10: UNESCO MUSEUM CITY OF EVORA & OLIVE OIL FARM

Today we discover the whitewashed UNESCO 2000 year old city of EVORA, an enchanting place to delve into the past.The town rose to prominence under the Romans and flourished throughout the Middle Ages as a center of learning and the arts.The elegant town is considered a museum city, shaped as it is by more than 20 centuries of history. It was once the residence of Portuguese kings in the 15th century, the beginning of the town’s golden age.Begin your exploration of the town at the ROMAN TEMPLE,before heading to the 12th century CATHEDRAL. Later,walk in the cobbled alleys to the bustling Praca do Giraldo with whitewashed houses adorned with wrought-iron balconies, where to view the ruins of the TEMPLE OF DIANA and the intriguing CHAPEL OF BONES. After lunch on your own, visit a family OLIVE OIL FARM for an olive oil experience.Rest of the day is at lesiure in beautiful Evora.Dinner is included this evening in a local restaurant.Overnight stay in EVORA

DAY 11: MAGICAL ALGARVE: MEDIEVAL SILVES, PICTURESQUE LAGOS & ROMANTIC TAVIRA

Enclosed by ranges of hills to the north, the Algarve has a climate, culture and scenery very different from the rest of Portugal.Moving on from Évora today you’ll make your way south to the coastal Algarve region, stopping along to the medieval town of SILVES, where you will visit its magnificent castle.Continue to the captivating fishing town of LAGOS, where you will be exploring the medieval, picturesque old town and enjoying sandy beaches, time to swim and a nice seaside lunch.Drive along the coast to the pretty town of TAVIRA where you spend the last two nights of your Portugal adventure at the central “POUSADA CONVENTO TAVIRA” or similar.Overnight in TAVIRA

DAY 12: HIGHLIGHTS OF TAVIRA

This morning’s walking tour of the pretty town of TAVIRA introduces us to the charms of this architectural gem,full of historic churches and fine mansions with filigree balconies, lies along both sides of the Gilao river, linked by a bridge of Roman origin.Enjoy the rest of the day in beautiful Tavira.Wander through its elegant gardens, local cafes and shops. In the evening celebrate your Portuguese adventure with an “Adeus dinner” sharing travel memories and toasting new friends.

DAY 13: ADEUS BEAUTIFUL PORTUGAL

Morning transfers to Faro airport or train station.