Explore sunny Portugal, with its miles of dramatic shoreline and legacy of global discovery. Along the way, discover the charms of Lisbon with your choice of included sightseeing. Enjoy a three-night stay in a beautiful resort town on the Portuguese Riviera. Meander its narrow cobblestone streets, oceanfront promenade and quaint bay area. In Evora, step inside a medieval walled city with Roman ruins. Travel to Portugal's scenic “Silver Coast,” dotted with charming villages and castles. Revel in country life with an overnight stay in the heart of Alentejo’s farms and vineyards. Unearth a wealth of Portuguese hand-made crafts like the famed azulejo hand painted tiles and unique items made of cork. Indulge in Portugal’s regional wines during two winery tours. Be swept away by melancholy Fado tunes. Explore the Algarve’s soft sandy beaches and classic fishing villages.
- Itinerary Type : Standard
- Activity Level : 2
- Number of Days:10
- Number of Meals:14
- Hotels:Hotel Vila Gale (Cascais), Hotel Vila Gale Lagos (Algarve), Vila Gale Clube de Campo (Alentejo), Turim Marques Hotel (Lisbon)
- Experiences:Spend the night in the heart of the Alentejo region among vineyards and farmland.
Stop in historic Evora, known as the "Museum City of Portugal."
Venture to Lagos, where Prince Henry the Navigator began his explorations.
- Must Sees:Spend three nights on the sunny coast of the Algarve.
Stay three nights at a coastal resort on the Portuguese Riviera.
Tour Lisbon, Portugal's capital that overlooks the Tagus River.
- Culinaries:Experience local cuisine and wine and immerse yourself in the moving sounds of Fado.
Indulge in a tasting of the Alentejo region's wines during a winery tour.
Itinerary (9 days)
Cascais, Portugal - Tour Begins
Your tour opens in a scenic coastal resort on the “Portuguese Riviera,” your home for three nights. The mansions scattered about Cascais and Monte Estoril hint at its history as a haven for exiled European royals and nobility. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner.
Choice of Lisbon Panoramic City Tour or Alfama District Walking Tour
This morning it’s your choice! Join a panoramic Lisbon city tour by coach and uncover sights that include Jeronimo’s Monastery (a UNESCO World Heritage site), Belem Tower (UNESCO), and the Monument to the Discoveries, with the tour capping off with a visit to the National Museum of Coaches -OR- embark on a walking tour* of the historic Alfama District, Lisbon's most symbolic quarter. Step back in time on an exploration of this residential neighborhood, which is considered a village within a city. Stroll the neighborhood’s medieval alleys, narrow streets and small squares, and pass by beautiful churches, whitewashed houses decorated with tile panels and wrought-iron balconies adorned with pots of flowers. Next, climb the hill to explore the castle, which boasts the most breathtaking panorama of the city. Later, enjoy leisure time in the Portuguese Riviera. Stroll the narrow cobblestone streets, sit in a seaside café, walk wide oceanside promenades, or shop for ceramics, lace, filigree, hand woven works and tapestries. This evening, savor excellent Portuguese cuisine and wine while local artists perform the traditional Fado (UNESCO).
Cascais - Sintra - Obidos - Fatima - Cascais
Begin your day exploring the picturesque town of Sintra (UNESCO), the favorite summer residence of Portuguese kings for six centuries. Journey to Portugal’s beautiful “Silver Coast,” a spectacular region filled with sleepy villages, rich vineyards and age-old castles. Travel on to picture-perfect Obidos, where white washed houses are held snug by medieval city walls. Later, visit Fatima, the world-famous Marian pilgrimage site.
Cascais - Evora - Alentejo
Travel the beautiful Portuguese countryside and stop in historic Evora (UNESCO), known as the “Museum City of Portugal.” Inside this medieval-walled city stands a 2nd-century Roman temple to Diana and the 16th century Chapel of Bones. Indulge in the full-bodied character of the region’s wines during a winery tour and tasting. Tonight, enjoy your stay in the heart of Alentejo’s countryside at a country resort set among 3,000 acres of farm land, vineyards, and cork trees.
Alentejo - Sagres - Lagos - Algarve
Journey to the famous Algarve and discover the secrets of the 16th-century fortress at Sagres, home of Prince Henry’s School of Navigation and the “compass rose.” Garner magnificent views of beautiful Cape of St. Vincente, where 200 foot cliffs plunge into the Atlantic at the most southwesterly point of Europe. Next, explore the historic resort town of Lagos, where Moorish and Renaissance influences abound. Here, the famous voyager, Prince Henry the Navigator, began his explorations and from the harbor where Vasco da Gama sailed in 1499 on his epic voyage of discovery. Stroll through the fortress and historic buildings while taking in the surrounding ocean views during some leisure time.
The entire day is yours to experience the beautiful Algarve on your own. Geraniums, camellias and oleanders grow alongside fig, orange and almond trees, while brightly colored fishing boats bob on the seas. Protected by hills to the north and warmed by the sea, the Algarve’s mild climate and beautiful beaches attract vacationers from all over the world.
Algarve - Faro - São Brás de Alportel - Algarve
Journey to Faro, gateway to the Ria Formosa protected lagoon landscape. Explore the city’s historic center with 9th-century Roman walls, dramatic golden coastline, and its archaeological and architectural gems. In historic São Brás de Alportel, a presentation by a local liqueur maker is followed by a tasting of some of the many varieties produced in the region. Portugal is the world’s number one producer of cork. Visit a local cork factory to learn about its importance to the local economy and its many uses. Complete your day with dinner featuring local delicacies and wine.
Algarve - Azeitao - Lisbon
En route to Lisbon, make a stop in Azeitao, a charming agricultural village known for red wine, olive trees and beautiful country estates. Spend time at the centuries-old Jose Maria da Fonseca Winery. Embark on a tour followed by a tasting of local wines, including moscatel. Next, meet local artisans at a family-run shop that demonstrates how azulejos, the famous hand-painted Portuguese tiles, are made. Later, bid Portugal goodbye during a dinner to celebrate the end of a wonderful tour.
Lisbon - Tour Ends
Your tour ends today.
The Riviera stretches from Lisbon and Cascais. The coastline has become a place where the elite vacation between September and October, and a popular tourist destination for its chic look. Removed from the city, the Lisbon coastline is easy access to all the culture that Lisbon offers. It has become a major hotspot for major international celebrities from the world of fashion, sport, and entertainment. The Riviera is also known for is world class conditions for surfing.
Choice on Tour
Join a panoramic Lisbon city coach tour featuring the UNESCO sites Jeronimo’s Monastery and Belem Tower both UNESCO sites. You will also see the Monument to the Discoveries. This grand sculpture celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Cap your day off with a visit to the National Museum of Coaches, home to the world’s finest collection of historical coaches. Or, take a walking tour of the historic Alfama District, Lisbon's most symbolic quarter. Resting on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tejo river, this residential neighborhood is considered a village all its own. During the era of Moorish domination, Alfama encompassed the entire city. You can still feel that influence as you stroll through its medieval alleys, narrow streets and small squares. This is great choice for photographers or those who love a good stroll.
Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon offers all the delights you’d expect of Portugal’s star attraction, yet with half the fuss of other European capitals. Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums are all part of the colorful cityscape, but the real delights of discovery lie in wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets. The Lisbon experience encompasses so many things, from enjoying a fresh pastry and bica (espresso) on a petite leafy plaza to window-shopping in elegant Chiado. It’s mingling with Lisboêtas at a neighborhood festival or watching the sunset from the old Moorish castle.
Fado Dinner Show
Fado is a popular style of music in Lisbon, Portugal. In Lisbon, fado is always sung by a solo performer, while in other regions of Portugal it is typically performed in a group. Fado can be traced back to the 1820s, but it is said to have much earlier origins.
With its rippling mountains, dewy forests thick with ferns and lichen, exotic gardens and glittering palaces, Sintra is like a page torn from a fairy tale. Its Unesco World Heritage–listed centre, Sintra-Vila, is dotted with pastel-hued manors folded into luxuriant hills that roll down to the blue Atlantic. The jewel on the crown lording ominously over the picturesque town center is the National Palace, once the summer retreat of the Portuguese monarchy.
Obidos is a small town located on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal. The town’s origins can be traced back to an early Roman settlement. The area of the town is located on a hilltop, surrounded by a fortified wall. From its streets, squares, fortified wall and castle, the town remains as a well preserved example of medieval architecture. It is because of this that the town is a popular tourist destination.
Whatever your beliefs, you can’t help but be impressed by the vast reserves of faith that every year lead as many as 6 million people to the glade where, on May 13, 1917, the Virgin Mary is said to have first appeared to three awestruck peasant children. Where sheep once grazed there are now two huge churches on opposite ends of a vast 1km-long esplanade. For Catholic pilgrims, Fátima has a magnetic appeal like few places on earth, and a trip here will provide any visitor with new insights into Portugal’s religious facet.
One of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns, Évora is an enchanting place to delve into the past. Inside the 14th-century walls, Évora’s narrow, winding lanes lead to striking architectural works: an elaborate medieval cathedral and cloisters; the cinematic columns of the Templo Romano (near the intriguing Roman baths); and a picturesque town square, once the site of some rather gruesome episodes courtesy of the Inquisition. Aside from its historic and aesthetic virtues, Évora is also a lively university town, and its many attractive restaurants serve up hearty Alentejan cuisine.
Alentejo Countryside Stay
The Hotel Vila Galé Clube de Campo located in the Alentejo, is a unique concept of wine tourism and rural tourism, with a wide range of activities related to nature tourism. The Rural Hotel Vila Galé Clube de Campo, renovated in 2014, has a décor and architecture inspired by the Alentejo landscape and tradition.
Overlooking some of the Algarve’s most dramatic scenery, the small, elongated village of Sagres has an end-of-the-world feel with its sea-carved cliffs and empty, wind-whipped fortress high above the ocean. Its appeal lies mainly in its sense of isolation (refreshing after the hectic Algarve), plus access to fine beaches. It has a laid-back vibe, and simple, cheery cafes and bars. Sagres has milder temperatures than other parts of the Algarve, with Atlantic winds keeping the summers cool. A highlight is a visit to the Fortress and its interesting compass rose.
The town lies along the bank of the Rio Bensafrim, with 16th-century walls enclosing the old town’s pretty, cobbled streets and picturesque plazas and churches. Beyond these lies a modern, but not overly unattractive, modern sprawl. The town’s good restaurants and range of fabulous beaches nearby add to the allure. With every activity under the sun (literally) on offer, plus a pumping nightlife, it’s not surprising that people of all ages are drawn here. Aside from its hedonistic appeal, Lagos has historical clout, having launched many naval excursions during Portugal’s extraordinary Age of Discoveries.
The Algarve is alluring. Coastal Algarve receives much exposure for its breathtaking cliffs, golden beaches, scalloped bays and sandy islands. But the letter 'S' (for sun, surf and sand) is only one letter in the Algarvian alphabet: activities, beach bars (and discos), castles (both sandy and real), diving, entertainment, fun. Coastal Algarve is not all there is to the region. The enchanting inner Algarve boasts pretty castle towns and historic villages, cork tree– and flower-covered hillsides, and birdlife.
Algarve’s capital has a more distinctly Portuguese feel than most resort towns. It has an attractive marina, well maintained parks and plazas, and a historic old town full of pedestrian lanes and outdoor cafes. Its student population of 8,000 ensures a happening nightlife, and its theatre scene is strong. Marvellously preserved medieval quarters harbour curious museums, churches and a bone chapel. The lagoons of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa and nearby beaches, including the islands of Ilha de Faro to the southwest and Ilha da Barreta (aka Ilha Deserta) to the south, add to Faro’s allure.
Once a boom-town, São Brás de Alportel reached its height during the Golden Age of Cork in the mid-1800s. Today, this pretty town remains a center of an industry that is the lifeblood of this rural region. Follow the remarkable journey of cork from bark to bottle.
Nestling among olive and cork trees, Azeitao is a pretty and prosperous little village in the region of Setubal at the foot of the Arrabida Hill. Known for its red wine, olives and creamy sheep cheese, the latter prized as one of the best in the country, Azeitao also features some of the finest quintas (villas or country estates) in the region.
2 Winery Tours
During the Alentejo countryside overnight stay, a visit to the Santa Vitória Winery and Wine Cellar with wine tasting allows one to see the production processes of high quality wines and olive oils from the Alentejo rtegion. In the picturesque town of Azeitao, a guided tour of the Jorge de Fonseca Winery and its Cellars, one of the oldest and most prize-winning in the country, is on the itinerary.
5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Heritage is the legacy of the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. A World Heritage Site is a place of special cultural or physical significance and is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). To be nominated a site must meet at least one of the 10 cultural and natural criteria. UNESCO World Heritage sites included on your tour are Jeronimo’s Monastery, Tower of Belém, Evora, Sintra and Fado music.