Portugal is a diverse country full of contrasts. From cosmopolitan metropolis to medieval villages in pristine landscapes. Looking for culture, gastronomy or impressive world heritage? In Portugal, you will find it in abundance.
You will start your experience trip in Lisbon, undoubtedly one of Europe's most beautiful cities. You will be immersed in a unique atmosphere and discover the incredible versatility of this city, built on no less than seven hills. Through fairytale palaces, immense monasteries and picturesque villages, you will arrive in Porto, a port city with a glorious past and spectacular architecture. You will continue towards the impressive landscape of the Douro Valley, the oldest wine region in the world and birthplace of the world-famous port.
Finally, you will also get a taste of an invaluable collection of prehistoric finds and rock paintings, and Portugal's largest protected natural area.
DAY 1 : DEPARTURE TO LISBON
After you arrive at Lisbon airport, you will take a taxi or public transport to your hotel. You will stay two nights at one of our hotels in Lisbon. Get to know this beautiful city, perhaps one of the most beautiful in Europe!
DAY 2 : LISBON, THE CAPITAL ON THE TAGUS RIVER
Explore further the different aspects of this extraordinary city: the Praça do Comércio, the districts of Alfama, Chiado, Graça, etc., the famous monuments in Belém - the Torre de Belém, the monument of the seafarers and the Mosteiro dos Jéronimos - all witnesses of Portugal's world power, when Portuguese caravels sailed across the oceans on their way to India. Not only its location on the Tagus River determines Lisbon's very special atmosphere, but also the fact that this city is built on several hills: beautiful panoramas and surprising views of the Tagus can be seen from everywhere. Through ascending and descending streets, through countless staircases and with the fun little trams and lifts, you stroll from one district to another. Lisbon may not have the biggest museums like Paris and London, but it has art and other collections you won't find anywhere else: the Fado Museum, the Berardo Museum, the Museo Calouste Gulbenkian and the Museo Nacional de Azulejo.
DAY 3 : SINTRA, ROYAL SPLENDOUR AND FAIRYTALE CASTLES
Pick up your rental car and head for Sintra, set in a wooded area and ideal for cooling off during the summer, just as kings and wealthy citizens used to do. The old quintas, palaces - sometimes eccentric - and lush gardens are silent witnesses to this. Continue towards Obidos, a picturesque village protected by a 12th-century castle, which was later transformed into a hotel.
DAY 4 : ALCOBAÇA, BATALHA AND TOMAR: CENTRES OF RELIGION AND CULTURE
Alcobaça, known for its unique monastery church including the beautiful tombs of King Pedro I and Ines de Castro. Batalha, with its immense Dominican monastery, is a masterpiece of Portuguese late Gothic and Manueline decorative art. A visit to these monumental monasteries is a must and they are rightly listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tomar is famous not only for its Convento de Cristo, but also for its "Festas das Tabuleiros", founded by the Knights Templar, in which girls carry towering heavy baskets on their heads.
DAY 5 + 6 : BUCAÇO AND PORTO, NOSTALGIA ON THE DOURO RIVER
Head for Porto, stopping en route in Bucaço, one of Portugal's largest forests with the impressive Hotel-Palacio Bucaço, a former hunting pavilion in pure Manueline style. You will stay two nights in Porto in a hotel of your choice. Porto was already an important port and trading city in the 14th century. Numerous historical monuments - mainly churches and monasteries - bear witness to its glorious past: the Dom Luis I bridge, the Torre dos Clérigos, the São Bento train station,... Ribeira is the beating heart of the historic centre with sloping streets and the bank on the Douro where there are not only numerous restaurants and cafés, but also the famous wine cellars in the Vila Nova de Gaia district. Contemporary art and architecture were also featured here: the spectacular Casa da Música by Rem Koolhaas, for example.
DAY 7 : BOM JESUS, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STAIRCASE AND GUIMARÃES, THE FIRST CAPITAL OF PORTUGAL
A stone's throw from Braga, the "capital of Baroque", you can visit the pilgrimage church Bom Jesus do Monte with its gigantic Baroque staircase. Onwards to Guimarães, one of the most attractive towns in northern Portugal. Thanks to its great architectural homogeneity, it was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Afterwards, you will head towards the Douro region, the oldest wine region in the world, where you will stay two nights in a Caractère hotel of your choice.
DAY 8 : THE IMPRESSIVE DOURO VALLEY
The Douro, Portuguese for 'Golden River', is among the largest river basins in the Iberian Peninsula. On its winding path, the river winds its way through mountains and deep valleys to the Atlantic coast. Human hands helped build this impressive landscape, turning the Douro banks into fertile terraces, full of vineyards producing the famous port, as well as other fine wines. The top attraction is the Palácio de Mateus, located about 3 km from the centre of Vila Real and one of the jewels of Portuguese Baroque. It is described as 'the most fabulous country house in Portugal' and featured on the label of the famous bottles of Mateus rosé wine. In the Douro Valley, make sure to visit one of the beautiful wine estates, followed by a wine-tasting.
DAY 9 : VALE DO CÔA AND THE SERRA DA ESTRELA
You will leave the Douro Valley via the Parque Arqueológico do Vale do Côa, an immense open-air gallery with prehistoric rock drawings. A must-see is the modern Museo do Côa, designed by architects Camilo Rebelo and Tiago Pimentel. Not only will you discover an invaluable collection of prehistoric finds and wall drawings here, but you will also be able to delve into the life and art of our prehistoric ancestors. Continue towards Manteigas, located in the Serra da Estrela, where you will spend two nights at hotel Casas da Lapa.
DAY 10 : THE HEART OF THE SERRA DA ESTRELA
Explore the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, Portugal's largest protected natural area. It is a mountain range with vast plateaus, jagged rock formations and deep ravines: the ideal place for a beautiful hike. Make sure to visit the Burel Factory in Manteigas, a 19th-century wool factory with a beautiful home and clothing collection in wool and felt.
DAY 11 : COIMBRA AND THE BEAUTIFUL WEST COAST
Your first stop will be Coimbra, home to Europe's second-oldest university, with prestige far beyond Portugal's borders. Afterwards, it is time to relax on the west coast. You'll stay one night at a hotel of your choice near the coast.
DAY 12 : GOING HOME
Your trip is over. You fly back home today. However would you like to stay a little longer or maybe a little shorter? No problem, let us know and we'll customise your trip in this beautiful part of southern Europe!
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