Arrival - Porto
Arrive in Porto and be welcomed by your driver at the airport. Enjoy a private transfer to your hotel in the city center and check in. Have some time to relax and during the afternoon you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the famous Port Wine Cellars where you will have a tour and enjoy a wine tasting at Taylor while appreciating the sunset over Porto.
Taylor's is now over 300 years old. It remains a family firm, completely independent, owned still by relations of the original partners. On the Atlantic coast at Porto are the ancient lodges where Taylor's priceless ports slowly reach their glorious maturity.
High up in the Douro Valley is Taylor Quinta de Vargellas, one of the world's truly great vineyards, comparable in quality to Chateau Latour. Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman has won prestigious awards for their declared vintages. Recently the Taylor 1992 was awarded a perfect 100 points from Robert Parker. The 1994 vintage also received 100 points and the Top Wine of the World award from the Wine Spectator. Overnight in Porto.
Porto - Guimarães - Douro (B)
Have breakfast at the hotel and your guide will meet you to explore Porto. Tour starts with Porto’s unique historic center recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. With a narrow, labyrinth of pathways and traditional houses made of granite, the Ribeira Old Quarters’ boasts an astonishing number of monuments and curiosities.
In this unique historic center you visit the city’s most prominent Gothic monument. Also known as the ‘Gold Church’ for its wealth of gilt woodcarvings, Igreja de S. Francisco was originally an austere Gothic temple built in the 14th century with three naves a tripartite apse with polygonal chapels. While roaming around the historical center streets there will also be time for a stop at LivrariaLello, one of Porto's biggest attractions, this Bookshop opened its doors in 1906, apart from the interesting facade it is the inside that really is astonishing and makes us want to stay there just to admire it!
Time for lunch (not included) and then you will continue to Guimarães, where Portugal started to emerge, back in the 10th century. The Historical Quarter is where we will spend more time, which comprises a succession of squares of great formal value. This unique site was classified by UNESCO in 2001 and apart from that is also where local residents gather and spend time so you will have the chance to mingle. We will also visit the 10th century castle and the Dukes of Bragança Palace, at a time the King's residence up in the north, now the official Presidential home in the north.
Continue towards the Douro and dinner and overnight on the Douro River.
Douro River (B)
Your day will begin with a visit of Lamego City. This ancient city, hidden in the mountains, represents two periods of time. Moors and Christians fought ferocious battles over it. However, in 1057, Fernando Magno, great grandfather to the first king of Portugal, definitively took it for Christianity. This era survives in the tall castle tower, where on foggy days the soul of a Moorish princess is said to return to weep.
After this visit, you will be guided to DOC Restaurant, where you will have lunch. Situated on the river bank, just touching the water, it is the project of renowned Portuguese chef Rui Paula and you try some of our traditional dishes with a special twist.
After lunch, departure in direction to Pinhão where you will visit the villa and Quinta do Seixo.
Dinner will be at the hotel. Quinta do Seixo is located in the Upper-Corgo, in the heart of the Douro Demarcated Region. Following the Douro River from Régua to Pinhão, one can easily discover this ancient property and modern winery perfectly integrated into the landscape. With a total area of 99 hectares, 65 of which planted with the traditional grape varieties of the Douro, Quinta do Seixo is one of the biggest estates of Sogrape in this region, producing both Porto and Douro Doc Wines.
Overnight on the Douro River.
Douro - Coimbra - Batalha - Óbidos (B)
Have breakfast and depart towards Coimbra, with its own very special mystique, the result of a past full of important events and of the memories of the many thousands of Portuguese who, dispersed around the country or abroad, remember the carefree, easygoing, hopeful years spenthere in their youth as students at the University. Your time here will be passed walking through the University grounds and entering the famous Library.
The Joanine Library (Biblioteca Joanina) begun in 1717 at the instigation of King João V, its unique style make it Portugal’s most famous library. On the upper floor, the library has three rooms linked by arches of polychrome wood, structurally identical to the main doorway. In typical Baroque style, the rooms are full of tromp-l’oeildecorative features. The 250,000 books date from the 12th to the 19th centuries, and deal mainly with civil and canon law, theology and philosophy.
There will be time for lunch in the center (not included) and the afternoon will be taken to visit Batalha. We will go directly to Batalha and start by visiting the battlefield and then seeing the movie, to understand how the Battle of Aljubarrota (between Portugal and Spain) happened and the importance of the victory, and the continue to the Monastery (built in honor of the Virgin Mary as a “thank you” for help on the victory).
We will then take you to your hotel. Overnight in Óbidos.
Óbidos - Almeirim - Évora (B)
Depart to Casal Branco, the beautiful estate of winemakers and horse breeders. You will have the chance to see and learn about the Lusitano Horse and then visit the winery finishing with a wine tasting and lunch.
Near the Tagus River, Casal Branco Estate has been in the same family for over 200 years. It has been creating Lusitano horses since the 19th century and producing top quality wines for more than one hundred years. Family, tradition and a big passion for what they do keeps it going and justifies there cognition that is continuously receiving.
After lunch, we will continue our drive to Évora. You will have some time in the afternoon to relax or walk around the city by yourselves.
Overnight in Évora.
Évora - S. Pedro Do Corval - Monsaraz - Évora (B)
Today, we will be traveling to São Pedro do Corval and Monsaraz. São Pedro do Corval is a small typical Portuguese village widely renowned for its pottery which is of great quality and variety.
You will have the chance to walk the streets, watch the artisans working and of course take some with if you want to.
Lunch will be on your own either there already in Monsaraz, our next stop and the perfect place from where to appreciate the scenic views of south of Portugal. This small village is one of the oldest in Portugal, perched on top of a hill, surrounded by walls used for protection from the Moors and then from the Spanish, you can still breath tradition all over.
Later on we will return to Évora for overnight.
Évora - Arraiolos - Lisbon (B)
Being the most important city in the south of the country, Évora has a lot to offer (it is a UNESCO Heritage site also) and it can all be done walking through its narrow streets, mingling with the locals and watching how day to day is lived here.
We will start with the remains of the Diana Temple, built during the Roman period in honour to Emperor Augustus. From there you will continue to visit the important Cathedral in late romantic/early Gothic style. The most impressive attraction of the city however is the Bones Chapel – a small chapel inside S. Francisco Church where all the walls and ceiling are covered with skulls and bones, you have to visit it to understand it!
Lunch will be in Évora (not included) and on the way to Lisbon we will make a stop at the small village of Arraiolos. This is the place where the Arraiolos rugs come from, made by hand withwool, very colourful, usually symmetric and representing flowers and animals. You can still see women on this beautiful art and it it is a sunny day most likely they will be outside their houses working and chatting with neighbours.
Continue the ride and overnight in Lisbon.
This morning, meet your guide for a full day tour of the city, including old town, Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery.
You will start the tour by going to the top of Marques Pombal to learn about Lisbon from that point. Travel by car from there, down Avenida Liberdade, and drop off in Rossio. Begin walking tour with explanations of the history and how things were in the past, continuing through the Baixa and walking to the Sé. After that, we will take the 28 Cable Car to Graça and the miradouro where the car will meet us and drive to Jeronimos and Belem Tower.
Tonight, you will enjoy a Fado music Show (our traditional music) including dinner.
Overnight in Lisbon.
Lisbon - Sintra - Cascais - Lisbon (B)
Today, we will visit Sintra, which Lord Byron called “glorious Eden” and Cascais, once a fishing village, then the place where Kings and Princes from all Europe came for exile early on the 20th century, today a charming village and one of the best places to live in Portugal.
Pena National Palace in Sintra was built by a German architect Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Schwege in a mixture of architectural styles. Richly decorated walls are all over the interior, covered either with tiles or painted walls. The palace remained one of the main royal family residencies for decades. In 1889 it was purchased by the Portuguese State, and after the Republican Revolution of 1910, the palace was classified as a national monument and transformed into a museum. The rooms were left exactly as they were when the last royal closed the front door.
In Cascais, the idea really is to walk around the marina, the center of the village, try the great ice cream “Santini” (probably best in the World) and enjoy the sun.
By the way, James Bond “On her Majesty's secret service” was shot here in Estoril, The Casino, The Palace Hotel and the road where you will go through were some of the relevant scenarios. Return to Lisbon will be on the route by the sea, you will enjoy the views of some nice beaches, the sea, a few small palace-like houses and of the Monument to the Discoveries when reaching the city.
Overnight in Lisbon.
Lisbon - Algarve (B)
The morning will be free for you to walk around the city, do some shopping or visit a Museum for example. There are quite a few options and on the previous day our guide will happily assist you choosing the ideal way to cease the day according to you taste. Early in the afternoon we will drive down to the Algarve, the most southern place in the country and the ideal one for a few relaxing days at the beach.
Overnight in the Algarve.
Algarve is where Portuguese go to the beach, but it is also so much more than that! In Portugal people go to the beach mainly in July and August, but because it has a great temperature year round it is a good place to go from early April to October.
But there are many other options if you want to do something else, some of the alternatives include SPA, Golf, Water sports and Racing Cars.
Overnight in the Algarve.
The day is free for you to go to the beach or do some of our suggestions. New ones for today would be Bird watching, Fishing and Sailing for example.
Overnight in the Algarve.
Algarve - Departure (B)
Everything that is good must come to an end and today we will transfer you to the airport at the designated hour for your departure flight. Goodbye, have a safe return home! Fly Kerikeri to your next destination.