Highlights of Portugal

Resort: Highlights of Portugal
Operator: Exodus
Destination: Europe
Price From: £1699.00

Overview


Journey from Porto to Lisbon via the UNESCO Douro Valley and Portugal’s
bestcultural highlights

 

Once a powerful kingdom that dominated the world sea routes, Portugal today
is one of the friendliest and most peaceful countries in Europe, though the
legacy of its former wealth can still be found in its historic cities.
Starting from the colourful Porto, the country’s second city and a UNESCO
site, our journey follows the verdant valleys and rolling hills of the Douro
wine region, before heading to the lesser known interior, where we visit
Coimbra, the UNESCO Batalha monastery, mediaeval Obidos and magnificent
Sintra before reaching Lisbon, one of the world’s most enchanting capital
cities.

Highlights

* Visit Porto and the UNESCO Douro wine region
* Explore magnificent heritage in Lisbon and Sintra
* Mediaeval Obidos, elegant Coimbra and Nazare beach

Itinerary

Day 1
Fly to Porto.

Fly to Porto; those arriving on the group flight will be collected by the
leader on arrival and transferred to our hotel by private minibus. The start
hotel is located in the exclusive residential district of Foz do Douro,
approx. 5 km from Porto’s historic centre, and renowned for its superb views
of the Douro River meeting the ocean. Time permitting, we will have a short
orientation tour around the hotel before dinner.

Day 2
Morning guided sightseeing in the UNESCO historic centre; Port wine tasting;
free time for optional activities and transfer to Douro Valley.

Today starts with a guided tour through the historic centre of Porto, a
UNESCO World Heritage site. As we amble leisurely along the ancient streets
and mediaeval lanes we will visit some of the most important monuments such
as the St. Bento Station, a neoclassic jewel. In the bustling and colourful
squares and the traditional, highly unique cafes, we will discover the
authentic heart of Porto. We conclude our guided visit by Ribeirinha, the
picturesque riverside area, where we enjoy a tour of the historic Port wine
cellars and wine tasting. The afternoon is free for further individual
sightseeing of other iconic monuments and sites such as theCathedral, Saint
Francis Church, Lellos bookshop and library and Clrigos Church and tower.
Later, we will transfer by private bus to Mesao Frio in the Douro Valley
(approx. 1.5 hrs journey), and spend the night in a beautiful hoteloffering
stunning views of the world-famous UNESCO vineyards.

Day 3
Panoramic train ride in the Douro Valley; enjoy lunch at a winery with views
over the river and its vineyards; optional river cruise.

Today we explore the heart of the famous Douro Valley, the worlds first
officially designated wine region renowned not only for the excellent Port
wine but also for the postcard-pretty landscapes made of steep terraced
vineyards carved into mountains along the river. We start with a short
transfer from our hotel to Peso da Regua (20 mins), followed by a short but
very scenic train tide to Pinhao. Later, we enjoy a delicious lunch with
local wine in an eighteenth-century estate surrounded by terraced vineyards
that climb high above the dramatic confluence of the Douro and Tedo rivers.
In the afternoon, we have a couple of hours free to enjoy some of the best
views of the Douro Valley – you can opt to relax or take a guided tour of the
wine estate or enjoy a leisurely boat cruise along the Douro River. We
conclude the day with a transfer by private bus into the central region of
Portugal (approx. 2hrs drive) to Coimbra.

Day 4
Visit Coimbra and its UNESCO University; transfer to Batalha.

Widely known as ‘the city of students’, Coimbras history is closely linked
to its university, which was founded in 1290 and is the second oldest in
Europe. The city of Coimbra is divided into two distinct areas, the baixa
(downtown) by the river, where most of the citys commercial activity is
concentrated, and the ‘alta’ (upper town), where the citys oldest and most
important buildings S Velha (Old Cathedral), S Nova (New Cathedral) and
the UNESCO University of Coimbra are found. We visit the most important areas
and sites this morning during a guided tour. There will be some free time in
the afternoon for further independent sightseeing before we transfer (approx.
1hr) to thepeaceful little town of Batalha, which was oncethe setting for
Portugals most important battle, the Batalha de Aljubarrota (1385). This
battle secured Portuguese independence from Castile, and to honour it, King
Joo I constructed the Mosteiro da Batalha, the finest monastery in
Portugal.

Day 5
Visit UNESCO Batalha monastery and famous Nazare’ beach; transfer to Obidos.

This morning we visit the mighty Monastery of Batalha, a masterpiece of
Portuguese Gothic that combines various influences from its lengthy period of
construction, which lasted several reigns. We will have the opportunity to
visit the outstanding interior including the Founders Chapel with its fine
stained-glass windows, the cloisters, the Unfinished Chapels with their
Manueline and Flemish Gothic features and the Chapter House. Our next stop is
the charming seaside town of Nazare’, where waves arefamed for being among
the largest in the world. There will be time for a stroll, lunch and some
free time tosoak upthe lovelyatmosphere of this charmingcoastal
village. Next we move on to Obidos, our base for the next teo nights.
Thispicturesque small fortified village resembles a suggestive medieval
film set. It has been carefully preserved by its inhabitants who have been
taking careful pride in maintaining the architectural image of the village
characterised by narrow winding streets and white-washed houses, a delight to
stroll amongst after day-trippers have left. Overnight in Obidos.

Day 6
Day trip to Sintra; free time to visit the historic town or the magnificent
Pena Palace.

Today we take a day trip to the elegant hilltop town of Sintra, once the old
residence of kings, nobles, poets, painters and artists. Sintra’s beautiful
surroundings of forested hills are the perfect frame to the town’s collection
of elegant palaces, castles and museums. Our tour leader will provide a short
orientation tour of the historic centre on arrival but the remainder of the
day is free to visit the site and palaces that most suit your interests. You
may opt to visit to the iconic National Pena Palace, the most complete and
notable example of Portuguese architecture in the Romantic period. The palace
lies in a picturesque setting, perched on one of the rocky peaks of the Serra
de Sintra, and blends in a surprisingly fortunate manner with its natural
background of greenery and crags, testifying to the aesthetic potentialities
of the project. There will be also time to explore other splendid buildings
such as the Sintra Palace or theMoorish Castle. Finally, enjoy a stroll and
some shopping opportunities in the picturesque historic centre, before
travelling back to Obidos later this afternoon.

Day 7
Guided sightseeing in Lisbon.

This morning we transfer to Lisbon (approx. 1hr journey), Europe’s
second-oldest capital after Athens, and once home to the world’s greatest
explorers like Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator. Lisbon
today is one of the most sought-after destinations offering everything you
would expect from a trendy capital: delicious food, ancient monuments, quirky
cafs, charming neighbourhoods, and a stunning riverside view over the Tejo
river. Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills, so wear comfortable shoes
and be prepared for a few steep climbs and steps during todays walking
tour. We start by visiting the famous neighbourhood of Belem, with its UNESCO
Monastery of Jeronimos and the iconicbakery serving the original Pateis de
Belem (custard tarts). Next, we transfer to the elegant area ofGraa, and
descend on foot through Alfama, one of Lisbons oldest neighbourhoods
boasting a maze of colourful alleyways, old buildings and breath-taking
viewpoints. We conclude our busy guided tour in the heart of the city,
Rossio. The remainder of the afternoon is free for relaxation or further
independent sightseeing. With so much to see and do in Lisbon, we recommend
adding some extra days at the end of the tour in order to truly appreciate
the many attractions this city offers.

**

Day 8
The trip ends in the morning. Those travelling on the group flight will be
transferred to the airport for their inbound flight to London.

The trip ends in the morning. Those travelling on the group flight will be
transferred to the airport for their inbound flight to London.

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