What to Expect
This is a unique opportunity to discover the most emblematic places in Portugal’s history, culture and heritage. Explore the north: green, mountainous and famed for religious festivities, pilgrimages and small Romanic churches. The center is multifaceted: on one side, a mountainous region which hides small villages and large forests, and on the other the Atlantic coast with its fishing towns and big cosmopolitan cities. Crossing the river Tejo and traveling towards the South, you will arrive at Alentejo, Portugal’s largest plain, covered in cork trees and olive trees, with small towns and villages scattered here and there, and with time running at a slower place.
On day one, you will depart Lisbon for Óbidos, a medieval town surrounded by fortified walls, which hide quaint houses with flowers hanging from their façades, and narrow streets. Don’t miss the famous cherry liqueur served in chocolate cups. In Alcobaça you will find an important Cistercian monastery and the tombs of Pedro and Inês, whose love story is the greatest in Portuguese history. Lunch in Nazaré, a typical fishing town, where fishing traditions play an important role, and you can still find women wearing the traditional ‘seven skirts’ with pride. Next, a stop at the Batalha Monastery, a work of art from the Portuguese Gothic period and a World Heritage Site, followed by a visit to Fátima, one of the largest Marian shrines in the world and the destination of many pilgrims following the 1917 apparitions.
Day two starts with a city tour in Coimbra, Portugal’s first capital, known as the 'city of students'. Visit the University of Coimbra, the oldest in Portugal, with its magnificent baroque library, and St Michael’s chapel. A walking tour through the old town, passing the old Roman cathedral and the Church of the Holy Cross follows, before a typical lunch. You will then depart to Porto, with a stopover in Aveiro, a charming town known for its canals, its typical flat-bottomed boats and famous pastries.
On day three, explore Porto, with its seven bridges and important sites such as the Clérigos tower, the cathedral and the church of St. Francis. Across the Douro river in Gaia, visit one of the famous Port wine cellars and enjoy a tasting. Lunch in the old quarter of Ribeira. The following day you will head to Braga, an ancient Roman settlement of high religious importance, evident in its cathedral, churches and the sanctuaries of Bom Jesus and Sameiro. After lunch, head to Guimarães, where the first king of Portugal was born. You will visit the Duke’s palace and stroll through its medieval historical centre, a World Heritage site. Continue to Amarante, on the banks of the Tâmega river, and see the Church of St. Goncalo. Finally, arrive at Douro to visit a wine estate and taste local wines.
Day five begins with a visit to Lamego, with its famous sanctuary and Roman cathedral. Journey through the interior of the country, with stopovers in Viseu and Guarda, the highest city in Portugal, to visit its cathedral and old Jewish quarters. Flanking the mountainous region of Serra da Estrela, enter the upper Alentejo, where you can see the border towns of Castelo de Vide, a former Jewish hideaway, and Marvão, a fortified town located at the top of a magnificent cliff.
Next, for day six your tour continues southwards to Estremoz, land of marble and wine, visiting St. Isabel’s Pousada. You will have an opportunity to discover local handcrafts. Head through the rolling plains of Alentejo to Vila Viçosa, with its 15th-century ducal palace. On the way to Évora, stop at Monsaraz, a medieval fortified village on a hilltop that offers amazing views over the plains. Finally, visit a winery for wine and olive oil tasting.
On the final day, you begin with a tour in Évora, a city surrounded by fortified walls and another World Heritage Site. Witness archaeological evidence from the megalithic period up to the Roman occupation, as well as visit the famous ‘Chapel of Bones’, with over 5,000 bones covering its walls. There is also a Roman temple and famous Jesuit university. After a traditional lunch at a local restaurant, return to Lisbon through the region of Palmela.