PORTUGAL in DEpth
From 13 to 27 June, 2023
Portugal: your next travel destination? The country’s history and culture, gastronomy and wines, are among the main attractions, not to mention the beaches, the diverse landscapes and, above all, the Portuguese people, who are seen as affable, open and sincere…
Lisbon and Porto are two very attractive cities, both are bathed by a river that gives them a characteristic and different environment. They are hospitable places with their historic neighborhoods and streets with tiled façades, to get to know by day or enjoy on a night out, along with examples of modern architecture and urban art, and they also have a really diverse and creative cultural agenda.
The presence of the Atlantic Ocean and the climate, with very sunny summers and mild winters make Portugal a holiday destination renowned for sun and sea and walks on the beach throughout the year. In fact, the Portuguese coast is almost a single beach extending more than 530 miles and offering a diversity of stunning landscapes.
The UNESCO classifications in Portugal portray the history and culture of the country, its people and the peoples that have inhabited the land since time immemorial. Monasteries and convents of historic and artistic importance, outstanding monuments, historic centres, cultural landscapes, which offer some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Portugal, were considered by UNESCO as being a part of World Heritage. A visit to these Portuguese contributions to world history are a must and a good excuse to get to know the country from north to south.
Portuguese gastronomy is greatly appreciated and usually leaves good memories. The country’s location and the proximity of the Atlantic explain the prominence which is given to fish and seafood. These taste even better when enjoyed on the seafront in the pleasant Portuguese sun, with the addition of a huge variety of top quality table wines. Port wine has been a great ambassador of Portugal for centuries, and nowadays it is accompanied by other genuinely Portuguese products, like the pastel de nata [custard tart] and conventual confectionery.
Choose a Portuguese wine to accompany you in the discovery of the country. Surprise yourself with Portuguese wines, relaxing at the end of the day, after a walk in nature, after enjoying a piece of art or architecture or during a good show.
One of the things that tourists notice most when they visit Portugal, is the hospitality and friendliness of the Portuguese, who are always ready to help if they are stopped on the street and asked for information. Perhaps it is the sun which gives us a good disposition, to welcome anyone, wherever they’re from…
(Visit Portugal – “Portugal: your next travel destination”)
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1. Land Itinerary:
Lisbon – Sintra – Cascais – Estoril – (Lisbon) – Óbidos – Nazaré – Aveiro – Porto – Amarante – Penafiel – Douro Valley – (Porto) – Vila Nova De Gaia – Coimbra – Évora – Vilamoura (Algarve) – Tavira – Cacela Velha – Olhão – Sagres – Lagos – (Vilamoura) – Lisbon
* Day 01 (Wed 14 Jun): LISBON (Arrival) [-/-/D]
Arrival at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado International Airport. Transfer by private coach to your hotel for check-in. Lunch on your own. Remainder of the day at leisure. Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Lisbon [PORTOBAY LIBERDADE]
* Day 02 (Thu 15 Jun): LISBON [B/-/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Your whole day will be dedicated to explore Lisbon, capital city of Portugal and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in the Iberian Peninsula, after Spain’s Madrid and Barcelona. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and the second-oldest European capital city, after Athens (Greece), predating other modern European capitals by centuries (Julius Caesar made it a Roman city called Felicitas Julia, then after the fall of the Roman Empire it was ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, later captured by the Moors in the 8th century, and became the political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal after Afonso Henriques re-conquered the city in 1147). Discover the lively Alfama district, birthplace of the traditional Fado music, with its delightful twisting streets that wind up to the imposing Castelo de S. Jorge built on one of the Lisbon’s highest hills. Wonderful sights will delight you at every turn in this culturally rich and charming part of the city, which through its architecture reminds visitors of its Visigothic roots, Arabic influence and fishing port heritage. Afterwards visit the Bélem district that lies along the banks of the Tagus river estuary from where 16th-century Portuguese explorers discovered the sea routes to East Africa, South America and India. Photo stop at the Belém Tower, a 16th-century fortification served as embarkation and disembarkation point for Portuguese explorers, and at the Monument of the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos), a monument located along the Tagus estuary where ships departed to explore and trade with India and the Orient, celebrating the Portuguese Age of Discovery (15th and 16th centuries). Visit the Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos), a former monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome and necropolis of the 16th-century Aviz dynasty, the most prominent example of the late Portuguese Gothic-Manueline style of architecture classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site; Visit the Monastery’s vast square cloister where you will be immediately impressed by the perfect proportions and the decorative exuberance of the stonework; Visit the Church of Santa Maria where you can contemplate the Neo-manueline tomb of navigator Vasco da Gama (1460-1524). Lunch on your own. Transfer back to your hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure for shopping and further exploration of Lisbon city center with your Tour Leader, starting from the chic Avenida da Liberdade (where your hotel is located) and its lively Baixa neighborhood. Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Lisbon.
* Day 03 (Fri 16 Jun): LISBON – SINTRA – CASCAIS – ESTORIL – LISBON [B/L/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer by coach out of the capital city for an incredible day trip to a trio of picturesque locales; The area surrounding Lisbon offers an incredible diversity of architecture and scenery, from fairy-tale palaces to romantic towns and breathtaking viewpoints; Today's guided excursion is an ideal way to experience some of these attractions. Your first stop will be Sintra, a town in the Greater Lisbon region located on the Portuguese Riviera that looks like both a fantasy kingdom and an enchanted forest (described as a “glorious Eden” by the 18th-century British poet Lord Byron); Visit the Pena Palace, a Romanticist castle built on the top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains above the town, that constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th-century Romanticism in Europe. Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit Cabo da Roca (with its 18th-century Lighthouse), a cape that forms the westernmost point of not only the Sintra Mountain Range and mainland Portugal but also the whole continental Europe; Enjoy the gorgeous views across the Atlantic Ocean as waves crash onto its shore. En route back to Lisbon, make a break to visit Cascais, another Portuguese Riviera town, with its fishing harbor and its marina. Make one more pause to visit Estoril, another seaside resort town, known for its casino (the largest in Europe) and its beautiful gardens. Tonight you will learn the real meaning of the Portuguese word “saudade” while enjoying a special dinner to the lyrical sound of Fado Music (“A shawl, a guitar, a voice and a lot of feeling”, this simple image can describe Fado, a recognised symbol of Portugal, a music of the world that is Portuguese).
Overnight in Lisbon.
* Day 04 (Sat 17 Jun): LISBON – ÓBIDOS – NAZARÉ – AVEIRO - PORTO [B/-/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Check out and begin your journey by coach towards Óbidos, one of Portugal’s best-preserved medieval walled towns, with its whitewashed houses livened up with dashes of vivid yellow and blue paints (the small town has an equally colorful and fascinating history: it rose to prominence when in the late 13th century King Dinis of Portugal offered the town as a wedding gift to his wife, Queen Isabel of Aragon); Make a stop to admire the beautiful Azulejos tile work secluded in the lower town gate’s portico (Porta da Vila); Visit the grounds of the town’s medieval Castle (Castelo de Óbidos); Visit Igreja de Santa Maria, Óbidos' 16th-century main church, and contemplate its masterpieces of Renaissance tile work, painting and sculpture. Continue to Nazaré, another traditional fishing town, nowadays a busy and picturesque summer resort; Walk along Nazaré’s beautiful beach, then visit Sítio, an old village sitting on top of a cliff (accessible by coach or funicular) that is without doubt the best viewpoint in the area. Lunch on your own. After lunch, continue to Aveiro, 2nd most populous city in the Centro Region of Portugal (after Coimbra). Built on a vast lagoon where the freshwater of the River Vouga joins with the ocean, Aveiro is intersected by canals, along which can be seen gliding the brightly coloured boats known as “barcos moliceiros”; Make a stop at the city’s Train Station to admire the magnificent panels of Azulejos that decorate both its exterior and interior; You are then invited to take part in a small workshop of “Ovos Moles” (which translates to soft eggs, a local pastry belonging to a wide group of Portuguese desserts that were originally prepared by Catholic friars or nuns), tasting included. Finally, enjoy a trip on the Ria de Aveiro in the traditional, colourful moliceiros (boats originally used to harvest seaweed). Transfer by coach to Porto and to your hotel for check-in. Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Porto [HOTEL CARRÍS PORTO RIBEIRA]
* Day 05 (Sun 18 Jun): PORTO [B/L/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Your whole day will be dedicated to the visit of Porto, the 2nd largest city and the unofficial northern capital of Portugal, starting with a panoramic tour of the city and its downtown/historic center. Visit the neoclassical Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa), built in the second half of the 19th century and classified as a National Monument since 1982; Admire the lavish Neo-Moorish style of its Arab salon. Visit the Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto), the city’s oldest and most important religious building, with its notable fortress-like exterior; Enjoy the stunning beauty of its altar area which is predominantly Baroque in style. Make a stop in front of the Chapel of Souls (Capela das Almas) to admire its entire exterior covered with 16,000 pieces of blue-and-white Portuguese tile. Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, transfer by coach to Vila Nova de Gaia, a city located south of Porto on the other side of the Douro River. Visit a cellar where the famous Port wine is stored and aged, and enjoy a wine tasting. Transfer back by coach to Porto. Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Porto.
* Day 06 (Mon 19 Jun): PORTO – AMARANTE– PENAFIEL - PORTO [B/-/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer by coach to the northern medieval town of Amarante; This is a pretty yet modest town set immaculately along the banks of the Tâmega, the longest tributary of the river Douro, whose journey begins in Galicia and which flows through the heart of the city, giving added colour to the picturesque houses standing on its banks. Visit São Gonçalo Church with its honey-gold granite façade, its lovely interior of painted columns and its dramatic high altar under which exists a little golden chapel where Saint Gonçalo himself lies buried. Visit one of the best wineries in Amarante and enjoy the opportunity to taste the Vinho Verde (despite being called Vinho Verde, quite literally green wine, the verde part refers not to the colour of the wine, but to its age, or according to some people the region it’s from). Transfer back to Porto. Lunch on your own. Remainder of the day at leisure for shopping and further exploration of Porto city center with your Tour Leader, starting from the liveliest and most popular Ribeira neighborhood (where your hotel is located). Explore the main pedestrian shopping street Rua de Santa Catarina where you can find Porto’s exquisite Art Nouveau in many shops, bookstores and cafés. Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Porto.
* Day 07 (Tue 20 Jun): PORTO - DOURO VALLEY - PORTO [B/L/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer by coach to the mountainous northern region of the country and the enchanted Douro Valley for an incredible day trip to a cultural landscape of vineyards where Douro wines are grown and produced at traditional wine cellars. We will follow a route between the viewpoints that offer the best vistas, breathtaking landscapes over the river, vineyards, towns and villages. Visit Peso da Régua, a small quaint town at the heart of the Douro Valley, capital of the Douro region. Visit one of the best local wineries followed by a wine tasting. Lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we will enjoy a beautiful Douro river cruise on a traditional "Rabelo" boat through the famous Pinhão Wine Region (from Pinhão to Romaneira and back). Transfer back by coach to Porto. Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Porto.
* Day 08 (Wed 21 Jun): PORTO – VILA NOVA DE GAIA – COIMBRA – ÉVORA [B/L/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Check out and begin your journey traveling south from Porto, going through 17km (10.5mi) of Vila Nova de Gaia seaside, along which you can enjoy the view of beautiful beaches. Make a stop at Miramar Beach to visit a small church that is half surrounded by the ocean, the Chapel of the Lord of Stone (Capela Do Senhor Da Pedra); This charming chapel, with a strong history and full of legends, was built in the late 17th century on a giant boulder to reclaim the site for Christianity. Continue today’s great journey towards Coimbra, the medieval capital of Portugal, the 4th-largest urban area in Portugal (after Lisbon, Porto, and Braga), and home of the country's greatest university: the University of Coimbra; This city wears its weighty importance in Portuguese history with dignity and pride, witnessed by its multicolored collage of buildings that span nearly a millennium. A panoramic tour of the city will give you the opportunity to observe how Coimbra's historic core cascades down a hillside, creating a lovely setting along the east bank of the Rio Mondego. Visit the world-famous University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in Europe (founded in 1290); After the meeting at the Iron Gate (Porta Férrea) where you will be given a brief introduction to the history of Coimbra, you will then visit the University spaces: Royal Chapel of Saint Michael, Joanina Library, Private Exam Room, and Botanic Garden (where you can travel around the world through botanic). Lunch at a local restaurant. Continue by coach to Évora and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Évora [M´AR DE AR MURALHAS HOTEL]
* Day 09 (Thu 22 Jun): ÉVORA – VILAMOURA/QUARTEIRA [B/L/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Check out and begin a walking tour of the well-preserved old town centre of Évora, a medium-sized city that holds two millennia of history, with its narrow streets of Moorish origin contrasting with medieval and Renaissance squares where the light floods in. Visit the Roman Temple built in the 1st century and dedicated to the cult of the Roman Emperor Augustus (reign 27BC-14AD), with elegant Corinthian columns. Admire the gorgeous Romanesque-Gothic exterior of the Cathedral of Évora (Sé de Évora). Visit the Church of St Francis (Igreja de São Francisco), a late-Gothic church with some Moorish and Manueline influences, best known for its lugubrious Chapel of the Bones (Capela dos Ossos) built by the Franciscan monks and entirely covered with human skulls and bones. Visit Évora Municipal Market, see and feel the richness of local products used to prepare one of the most elaborated and appreciated gastronomies of Portugal; Also admire the diversity of local handicrafts (cork, ceramic and copper objects). Lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, transfer by coach to the Algarve region and to your hotel in Vilamoura for check-in. Remainder of the day at leisure (before dinner). Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Vilamoura [VILA GALÉ AMPALIUS]
* Day 10 (Fri 23 Jun): VILAMOURA – TAVIRA – VILAMOURA [B/-/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer by coach to Tavira, located east of the Algarve region and on the south coast of Portugal, which is one of the most picturesque towns in the Algarve and it’s worth taking your time to get to know it. Your city tour will start at the Republic Square (Praça da República), where you can taste the local confectionery in cafés and terraces, or watch the shows and summer festivals that take place here. Visit the Ribeira Market (Mercado da Ribeira), another wide space that accommodate small shops, cafés and restaurants. Cross the Bridge (Ponte), Tavira’s oldest one of Roman origin, from where you can appreciate the features of the city’s traditional architecture with hipped roofs and latticework doors. Visit the Church of Mercy (Igreja da Misericórdia), the most valuable of Tavira´s many churches due to the Renaissance features on both the entranceway and the interior, which is indeed unique to the Algarve; Admire the renaissance columns and the stupendous Baroque altarpieces in the main and co-lateral chapels, exquisite examples of 18th-century gold leafed carving. Lunch on your own. After lunch transfer back to Vilamoura. Remainder of the day enjoy your leisure time in Vilamoura downtown or on Vilamoura Beach (Praia de Vilamoura) which presents an incredible blue water and golden sands. Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Vilamoura.
* Day 11 (Sat 24 Jun): VILAMOURA – CACELA VELHA – OLHÃO – VILAMOURA [B/-/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you will have a delightful trip to a fishing village with hidden charms and a fishing town that recently became popular tourist destinations of the Algarve during the warmer months: Cacela Velha and Olhão. Transfer by coach to Cacela Velha, a tiny village located on a hill at the eastern end of the Ria Formosa lagoon, well known for several reasons: the incredible views it offers, its expansive sandy beach, and its idyllic village protected by a small walled fortress. Walk around the village to explore all of its charming features: charming layout of small streets, rows of houses in typical Algarvian style with mixture of Arab and medieval influences, intricately designed chimneys with their own folklore…; Visit the small Mother Church (Igreja Matriz), the only church in the village that was rebuilt following the great 1755 earthquake, with beautiful Renaissance features; Make a stop in front of the Fortress of Cacela Velha, built in 1770 to replace a Moorish fortress that was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755. Transfer by coach to Olhão, a traditional fishing town and port in eastern Algarve, well known for its unique urban panorama formed by hundreds of typical Algarvian roof terraces ("açoteias"). Take an unhurried walking tour in the town center, enjoying its park and street art (ceramic tiled benches, large murals); Visit the Municipal Market (Mercado Municipal), a large twin red brick buildings located on Olhão’s waterfront, the eastern one used as fish market and the western one as fruit and vegetable market; Today, since it’s Saturday morning, you will experience a much larger farmers market, with local farmers and producers selling their products directly on the streets around the Market buildings. Visit the Church of Our Lady of Rosary (Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Rosário), built in the early 18th century from the donations of local fishermen and their guild; Admire its roof decoration and its Baroque altarpiece; Also visit the Chapel of Our Lord Of The Tormented (Nosso Senhor dos Aflitos) on the rear of the main church, a place where the fishermen’s wives would pray on stormy days for the safety of their husbands out at sea. Lunch on your own. After lunch transfer back to Vilamoura. Remainder of the day enjoy your leisure time in Vilamoura downtown or on Vilamoura Beach. Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Vilamoura.
* Day 12 (Sun 25 Jun): VILAMOURA – SAGRES – [BENAGIL CAVE] – LAGOS – VILAMOURA [B/L/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Today will be another exciting journey for you to further explore the Algarve. Transfer by coach to the town/port of Sagres: founded in the 15th century, swept by the wind and falling steeply into the sea in the extreme southwest of continental Europe, this Finistère (“end of the earth”) is a place immersed in history and emotion since it is historically connected to the early Portuguese Age of Discovery. A small walk around this small town will be followed by the visit of the Fortress of Sagres (Fortaleza de Sagres), a striking 15th-century fort with its perfectly preserved walls that can be seen rising on the cliffs from multiple directions in the town. Visit the Cape St Vincent (Cabo de São Vicente) located 7 km (4.3mi) from the western edge of Sagres and its Lighthouse, one of the most powerful lighthouses in Europe; This is the traditional land's end of Europe, an essential landfall for sailors returning from Africa and the Americas. Lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch transfer by coach to Benagil Beach (Praia de Benagil) where you will proceed with the visit of the Benagil Cave, a spot of stunning natural beauty (listed as one of the top romantic spots in the Algarve), by small private boats; Be amazed by the Cave’s gigantic dome, largely impressive in size and beauty, and very high above your head. Transfer by coach to Lagos, once capital of the Algarve (1576-1756), a fishing town and port that has retained charm, character and deep connection to the sea. A walking tour around the town should allow you to explore the City walls, the medieval Governors’ Castle (Castelo dos Governadores), the impressive statue of the Portuguese explorer Infante Dom Henrique (also known as Prince Henry the Navigator), the former Slave Market which was the first market of its kind in Europe, and the modern Marina where yachts from all over the world are moored. Transfer by coach back to Vilamoura where you will have dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Vilamoura.
* Day 13 (Mon 26 Jun): VILAMOURA – LISBON [B/-/D]
Breakfast at your hotel. Check out and transfer by coach back to Lisbon. En route make photo stops at some of the most beautiful Algarvian beaches. Transfer to your hotel for check-in upon arrival in Lisbon. Lunch on your own. Remainder of the day at leisure for shopping.
Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight in Lisbon [PORTOBAY LIBERDADE]
* Day 14 (Tue 27 Jun): LISBON (Departure) [B/-/-]
Breakfast at your hotel, then check-out. Transfer by coach to Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado International Airport for your flights back to the US.
3. Land Tour Package Cost:
(International airlines tickets will be booked and paid separately; Voyages Saigon are holding Lufthansa group reservations & group airfares with limited spaces and limited booking time; Please contact us ASAP for more details)
Single supplement: $1,100
(Voyages Saigon, Inc.’s Terms & Conditions)
* Upscale 4-star hotels (double occupancy)
* 13 breakfasts, 13 dinners and 6 lunches (with wine and coffee/tea)
* All transportations by private motor coach, including airport/hotel tranfers
* All city taxes
* All guided sightseeing tours, excursions and visits (entrance fees & transportations included) as per tour itinerary and program
* Medical Insurance
** Travel insurance, such as trip cancellation and interruption, lost baggage, health insurance for medical emergencies is strongly recommended in order to protect your travel plans. Please ask Voyages Saigon, Inc. for additional information.