8 Day Portugal Tour

Land of Discovery
TOURCODE: PS1

Duration:
8 Days

Activity Level:
2

When To Go:
Apr, Sep

Countries Visited:
1

Arrive In / Depart From:
Lisbon / Porto

Max Group Size:
18

Tour Style:
Cultural

Price From:

Discover the country's true culture with the help of experienced local guides.

  • Small group sizes to help escape the beaten path.
  • Authentic local experiences with lots of inclusions.
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Tour Overview
Tour Overview
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Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

The country of Portugal seems vast in so many respects; such is evident in the copious amounts of ancient structures that are located along the capital city, Lisbon - and each has played an important part during its 20 centuries of history.

On our Portugal tour, stare up at the Belem Tower that has been standing at the mouth of the Tagus River for 400 years.

See how the famous fishing town of Nazare is a land of plenty as we watch the many brightly coloured fishing boats litter the sparkling shores of the Atlantic or spot some of the local women still wearing their traditional seven-skirted costumes.

Taste the numerous choices of delicious wines while on cellar tours in the Port Wine Region, which was established in 1756 in the beautiful Douro Valley.

This country does not fall short in offering us varying experiences that will serves as long-lasting memories.

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table. For general information on flights to/from the tour, click here.

 

Select a date below to reserve your spot:

 

Optional Single Supplement: $410 USD (number of singles limited).

 


 

Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrival in Lisbon
Today we arrive in Lisbon.

The capital of Portugal since its conquest from the Moors in 1147, Lisbon is a legendary city with over 20 centuries of history. This was the centre of Europe's first and largest overseas empire and, as a result, the city still has a feeling of colonial elegance.

Overnight in Lisbon.

Included Meal(s): Dinner



Day 2 Lisbon: City Tour
Today we explore Lisbon, Portugal’s hilly capital. Lisbon is Europe's second-oldest capital (after Athens), once home to the world's greatest explorers like Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator, becoming the first true world city, the capital of an empire spreading over all continents, from South America to Asia.

This city is truly an enticing tangle of past and present, funky and old-fashioned, restored and revitalized. For many this is one of Europe's most enjoyable cities. We will explore many of Lisbon's most colourful neighbourhoods on foot. Bairro Alto and Chiado are picturesque working class quarters dating from the 16th century that have traditionally been the city's bohemian haunt of artists and writers. A stroll through the Moorish Alfama district takes us through a tangle of medieval streets topped by São Jorge Castle. Baixa is Lisbon’s historic downtown (lower town), gridded with streets and dotted with major squares.

You will have some free time this afternoon for independent exploration. If you'd like to explore Belem and Jeronimos Monastery, please consult with your Tour Leader on to best accomplish this optional activity, noting that we do not include it with our formal group program due to long waits and crowding. Should authorities introduce changes to reduce congestion, this site may be reintroduced on a TBA basis.

Overnight in Lisbon.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

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Day 3 Lisbon - Obidos - Nazare - Fatima - Leiria
Today we travel by road northward to Obidos, a medieval symbol of narrow streets surrounded by walls. Obidos is known for its typical white houses with blue trim, flowered windows, narrow streets and steps paved with beautiful stone. On arrival in Obidos we embark on a walking tour, passing through the 18th century entry arch covered in glazed tiles (azulejos). Small bright white houses lining narrow cobblestone streets, flower pots on window-sills, Gothic and Renaissance churches -- especially the beautiful Church of Santa Maria -- reminds of the importance of Obidos's past.

We continue to Nazare, the most famous fishing town in Portugal. En route we can detour to Batalha for a photo stop at its famous monastery before enjoying the brightly coloured rowing-boats moored on the beach bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. A superb view is enjoyed from the "Sitio" for where you may observe women still wearing the traditional seven-skirted costumes near the Nossa Virgem de Nazare Basilica, an important pilgrimage centre.

Our final stop is nearby Fatima, the well-known Roman Catholic Marian shrine. We visit the Basilica and the Chapel of Apparitions that marks the spot where the three shepherd children had visions in 1917. We continue to Leiria, a charming town with small homes over archways and behind graceful arcades.

Overnight in Leiria.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 4 Leiria - Coimbra - Bussaco - Viseu
This morning we travel to the university town of Coimbra, home to a long, rich history, culture and centuries-old architecture. And, of course, a world-renowned university, the oldest in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe. This was Portugal’s medieval capital for more than a century; its steeply-stacked historic centre dates to Moorish times and is wonderfully atmospheric, with its dark cobbled lanes and monumental cathedral.

We visit the 12th century Se Velho Cathedral and 13th-century university with its magnificent library, Manueline doors and chapel. We also visit the Alameda Gate, the Cathedral, Santa Cruz Church, and the Machado de Castro Museum, mostly to see the Roman Tunnels on which the museum is built.

After a break for lunch and some free time, we continue to the nearby small town of Bussaco, known for its collection of national and imported trees -- over 400 native species of plants and 300 varieties brought home by Portuguese explorers from such far flung places as Mexico, Japan and Africa. The Portuguese royal family liked Bussaco forest so much they had a summer palace and hunting lodge built in the centre of the woods, now a posh hotel (which may or may not be open to non-residents). This was also the site of the 1810 Battle of Buçaco, where Napoleon's troops were defeated, marking the turning point in his attempted invasion of Portugal; the Duke of Wellington slept in the convent during the conflict.

After about an hour to stroll and perhaps enjoy a coffee or an ice cream, we'll depart Bussaco for Viseu.

Overnight in Viseu.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 5 Viseu - the Douro Valley - Porto
This morning we'll walk through Viseu's historical zone. The city's name goes back to the end of the Roman Empire and the early Middle Ages, and is derived from the Roman term "viso," meaning "good view." Indeed, original settlement was located at its highest point. Of the various monuments we encounter on our stroll, the three highlights are are the Cathedral, the Misericordia Church, and the Synagogue.

We then continue on a picturesque drive through a landscape speckled with granite houses with wooden or wrought-iron balconies, before entering the Port Wine region, the Douro Valley, a UNESCO protected site. This was, in fact, the world's first demarcated wine region, established in 1756. Evidence of the port industry can be seen along the valley with all the famous company names -- Cockburns, Taylors, Sandeman and others -- appearing on large placards on the hillsides.

En route we will stop for a cellar tour, tasting, and lunch (included today).

We will also stop in Amarante to visit the local market before continuing to Porto (dinner on your own this evening).

Overnight in Porto.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch



Day 6 Porto: City Tour
Today will be spent exploring Porto (Oporto), the ‘2nd city’ of Portugal.

Located along the Douro river estuary in northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centers, and the atmospheric ancient port is steeped in history and tradition. With 2,000 years of history, the settlement of the city dates back to when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. During the Roman era the city gained prominence as a commercial port, primarily for trade between Lisbon and Braga. Today the western part of the city limits extend right to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean.

The city was built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro River, and has an outstanding urban landscape. The continuous growth of the city has always been linked to the sea (the Romans gave it the name Portus, or port), and can be seen in the many and varied monuments. Porto is rich with well-preserved treasures, including monuments in the Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Neo-classical style. The historical center of Porto preserves a strong identity forged over many centuries, and in 1996 UNESCO included it on its World Heritage list. Strategically close to the Atlantic coast, at a natural intersection of the routes travelled by people from both north and south, the city has always played an important role in international trade.

We will wander through Porto's lively city center, and see the Old Quarter, the modern districts, and the low section that fronts the River Douro. Our walking tour of Porto's riverfront Ribeira district will include the lavish rooms of its neoclassical Stock Exchange Palace, the exquisitely gilded Church of Santa Clara (closed for renovation - outside only), the Cathedral and the São Bento Train Station. The alluring district of Ribeira is a crumbling but fascinating place made up of medieval streets and alleyways, including the riverfront square ("Praça da Ribeira"). During our time here we will see the Church of Sao Francisco which dates to the 13th century. Along with being the second-largest Portuguese city after Lisbon, Porto is also one of the most prominent urban areas in Southern Europe.

This afternoon we will leisurely cruise along the Douro River.

Overnight in Porto.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 7 Porto: Braga & Guimaraes
Today we visit Braga, a city famous for its churches, last count surpassing 300! As the religious centre of Portugal, Braga boasts the highest number of churches per capita in Christendom. The strategic location has always made it ripe for occupation and development. The Goidelic Celts, also known as the Bracari, are believed to have founded the city and given it a name several thousand years ago. The Romans occupied it in 250 BC and made it the hub of five major roads, all leading to Rome. The Suevians overran the city in AD 409 but were replaced in 485 by Visigoth invaders, who, in turn, were vanquished in 711 by a Moorish army. For more than three centuries, the Christians and the Moors jousted over Braga, until the Muslims were finally expelled at the end of the 11th century.

Our time in Braga includes the area's star attarction, the Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte (a World Heritage Site), a spectacularly-situated church built in 1784 by Carlos Amarante, who gave it an Italian-inspired neo-classical design that integrates harmoniously the landscape of northern Portugal. The stairway leading to the top contains 17 landings adorned with symbolic fountains, allegoric statues and other Baroque style decoration. Looking upwards, there are the ornate granite fountains on the various landings and the white, chalice-shaped outline on which the church itself "sits". Our trip to the top is interesting unto itself, as the funicular we ride was the first to be built on the Iberian Peninsula. Indeed, it is the oldest funicular in the world powered by water counterbalancing.

In the old quarter of Braga, you'll have a chance to admire the ornate Renaissance and Manueline palaces, baroque churches, and narrow medieval streets.

After a break for lunch we proceed to Guimaraes, birthplace of Portugal's first king and for 2012, European Capital of Culture. In this charming town (a UNESCO site) we offer a walking tour of the old mediaeval quarter. We begin in the Largo da Oliveira, with its varying styles of architecture. As we walk through the Old Quarter, notice the window boxes with fresh, colourful spring flowers. On our walk you will see workshops, bakeries, stores, and the like operating like time has never passed.

Overnight in Porto.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 8 Departure
Departure from Porto.

BOA VIAGEM!!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Trip Info
Trip Info

Inclusions
Breakfast and dinner (hotels & local restaurants) daily. All accommodation, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.

Exclusions
International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international air taxes (if applicable), excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.

Seasonality and Weather
The best time to visit Portugal is in spring (March-May), when the country is in bloom and waking after the winter. Fall (between September and October) is also ideal, when the sun is still shining, the weather is warm, and summer crowds have dispersed.

Transport and Travel Conditions
Land transport throughout by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Though we will have some full bus days there are plenty of stops of interest. Roads are in good condition though winding on some stretches.

This trip is typical of most of our European tours, which are ambitious and involve full days of travel and sightseeing. While we don't have any actual strenuous activity (ie hiking) built into the program, you will do a lot of walking on this trip. These walks will mostly be in the form of walking tours of towns and cities and short walks to dinner. Being Europe, and a hilly/mountainous area, cobbles, uneven surfaces, and slopes/stairs are common. If you are accustomed to typical "bus tours," which rely heavily on vehicular transport for all sightseeing activities, you should be aware that this tour is considerably more active.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

Accommodation
Well-located, air- conditioned, mid-range hotels (3 star) throughout. All hotels have en suite bath, though some may have shower only. Porter service is not likely-you should be independent with your luggage. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.

Staff and Support
Tour Leader throughout, driver, local step-on guides in various locales.

Group Size
Maximum 18 (plus Tour Leader)

Tour Extensions
This tour is part of a series that can be upgraded to make for a longer trip. For more options, please refer to tour code/s:

16 Day Portugal And Spain Tour
APR SEP
TOUR CODE: PS2
Tour Overview
25 Day Portugal And Spain Tour
APR SEP
TOUR CODE: PS3
Tour Overview
33 Day Portugal Tour, Spain & Morocco
APR SEP
TOUR CODE: PS4
Tour Overview
39 Day Portugal Tour, Spain & Morocco
APR SEP
TOUR CODE: PS5
Tour Overview

 


 

Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

Regions visited: Western Europe
Countries visited: Portugal


*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


EPIC SANA Marquês
5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation
Location: Lisbon
Country: Portugal
Located in the heart of one of the most rewarded and vibrant european capital, at the crossroads of the renowned square “Praça Do Marquês De Pombal” and the most glamour avenue of ... “Avenida Da Liberdade”, one of the most elegant shopping landmarks in the city, close to cultural and historical centers and beautiful tropical city parks and gardens, you will find the imposing EPIC SANA Marquês.
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Hotel Grao Vasco
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Viseu
Country: Portugal
This relaxed hotel surrounded by greenery is a 3-minute walk from Parque Aquilino Ribeiro, a 6-minute walk from Viseu Cathedral and a 7-minute walk from the Sé de Viseu funicular railway.
Warmly
... rooms offer free Wi-Fi and satellite TV.
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Hotel Eurostars das Artes
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Porto
Country: Portugal
For people who love art. For people with a feeling for the Douro. For people who appreciate a good port wine and know how to enjoy it with the necessary calm. For ... people we have opened the doors of the Eurostars Das Artes, the essence of which is to be found in the art exuded by the grand capital of the Douro.

The Eurostars Das Artes Hotel, set in the very centre of Oporto, comprises two buildings, one historical and the other modern, with a sky-blue tiled façade welcoming its guests. Location: Porto

Rating: 4-star

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Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
01. What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?
Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 90-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.
02. Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?
Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.
03. How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is via our website; during office hours, you are also more than welcome to contact us by telephone. A non-refundable deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 90 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
04. What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Please review our cancellation policy page for details.
05. I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
06. Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

 

What People are Saying
Averie C.
Marysville, PA - US
This small group opened my eyes to a different way to travel that I will likely repeat in the future. I enjoyed meeting and getting to know people from other places while we experienced our journey together. Although, in general, I liked the cities of Coimbra and O Porto better than Lison, I enjoyed touring the Alfama district.
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Countries Visited: 1

Portugal.
Activity Level: 2

These are particularly busy tours that feature a lot of moving around, sometimes by train and short journeys on local transport. Walking tours of towns and cities are leisurely but you should be prepared to be on your feet for several hours. Some of our cultural trips that occur at high altitude and/or require greater independence with baggage handling (at hotels, airports, train stations) also fall into this category.
Tour Style: Cultural

These three- and four-star hotel-based, "soft adventure" trips concentrate on the culture, history, and natural attributes of our destination. Though there are no strenuous activities built into these tours, you need to be prepared for some full days with some early starts, plenty of walking on uneven surfaces through villages, cities and archaeological sites, and not a lot of "down time." Independence, reasonable fitness, and an ability to be steady on one's feet are critical in order for you to get the most out of these programs.
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