Anyone who mentions Portugal inevitably thinks of richly painted tiles, the famous 'azulejos'. All over the country, entire facades of houses and churches are decorated with these. Are you ready to discover Portugal through white-and-blue glasses?
One of the must-sees in Porto, the starting point of your experience trip, is undoubtedly São Bento station, with its impressive scenes on its white-and-blue tiles. From here, you will head towards Ílhavo, to visit the world-famous Vista Alegre porcelain factory.
The Porcelain Route takes you further to colourful towns, beautiful palaces and monasteries, and lovely beaches where you can relax after all that colourful indulgence.
Day 1 : Departure to Porto
With plenty of eagerness, you kick off your Caractère trip. You pick up your rental car and spend two nights in impressive Porto in a hotel of your choice.
Day 2 : Porto
In Porto, you will find traces of post-15th-century prosperity everywhere. Visit the Dom Luís I bridge, the cathedral and the Torre dos Clérigos. Apart from interesting contemporary architecture, like Rem Koolhaas's Casa da Música, you can also enjoy beautiful wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia and picturesque streets like Rua das Flores with its many stalls. Most amazing is Porto's São Bento station, where impressive scenes can be seen on the white-and-blue tiling.
Day 3 : Ovar - Valega - Ílhavo
You will pass through Ovar, where public buildings are also tiled with 'azulejos', to Válega, known for its beautiful colourful church. Then you will head to Ílhavo, where you will stay two nights at the Vista Alegre Hotel. Here you will get to know the town, where the Vista Alegre porcelain factory is a showpiece. The high-quality porcelain artifacts made here since 1824 are known worldwide and can still be admired at the factory.
Day 4 : Aveiro
Discover the cosy university town of Aveiro, also known as the 'Venice of Portugal'. The numerous canals winding between houses and streets and the beautiful Art-nouveau houses give this coastal town a unique character. Don't forget to pass by the train station, which is decorated with beautiful white-and-blue azulejos.
Day 5 : Luso - Coïmbra - Leiria - Alcobaça
From Luso, with its impressive Bussaco Palace, head to Coïmbra with its famous cathedral and old university. You will then travel to Alcobaça via Leiria.
Day 6 : Alcobaça - Caldas da Rainha
Visit the historic monastery of Alcobaça, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then return via Caldas da Rainha. Stroll along the beautifully tiled facades of several public buildings and admire the life-size porcelain sculptures, such as the popular fountain with the frog.
Day 7 : Nazaré - Óbidos - Peniche
Enjoy a day at the seaside, where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery and beaches. Peniche is known for its numerous seafood restaurants. Continue your journey towards Óbidos, a town with whitewashed and flower-decorated houses. One of the old city walls is beautifully decorated with typical azulejos. Also make a detour to the traditional fishing town of Nazaré.
Day 8 : Going home
It's already time to go home. You'll hand in your rental car at Lisbon airport and fly back home with lots of great memories of Portuguese culture. Would you like to stay a few extra days? We will arrange an extension of your holiday.
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