Discovering Portuguese Culture and History
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A slow, enjoyable ramble through the beautiful country of Portugal, with a mixture of cultural and historical sites and activities, along with the tasty wines of the region and phenomenal scenery. Two weeks will give you the perfect vacation! A professional tour leader/driver takes care of your every need and creates memorable moments every day.
ADDITION RATE INFORMATION
Rate based on double occupancy. Single supplement of $1475.00 CAD applies for single rooms. Let us pair you with a same sex room mate to avoid the supplement fees!
Day 1: Arrive Into LisbonLisbon, Portugal
This is your international flight day. You may need to depart your home city on Saturday, please ask us for suggested flights. Your flight arrival time will determine any activities today. Your tour leader will be waiting at the airport to pick you up and transfer you to the hotel. You may have some free time this afternoon to explore on your own as the rest of the group arrives. As your tour leader for some suggestions. Tonight, the group will meet for a Welcome Dinner at a pre-arranged time.
Day 2: Eating And Enjoying LisbonLisbon, Portugal
Today you can sleep in a little and enjoy breakfast in the hotel before we head off with a local guide and transport to explore the city as the Portuguese see it. This tour is designed to take us on a journey in and around the city, learning the historical background of Lisbon and Portugal while at the same time falling in love with it, and trying some of the best foods in the city!
While it may be fun to be in the city center for a while, it’s much more fun to be able to get out of the over-crowded areas and dive in in the real Lisbon. Travelling in this amazing city is much more than taking a picture from the 28 trams; if you don't cross the 25th April Bridge and say hi to Jesus it's like you've never been here. In this tour you have an in-depth view of this growing capital while seeing the best views around and exploring the most exciting areas. We stop for some tasting of some true Portuguese food along the way!
Our city tour takes approximately 5 hours and we can return to the hotel for a rest, or have some free time before we once again meet as a group at 6:30 pm to have a unique dinner experience. There's nothing we hate more than an empty stomach. And if we really want to experience Lisbon we have to eat! Dinner tonight is at one of the best, most authentic Portuguese restaurant in Lisbon!
We start in Camões Square, where we will meet our local “food” guide and from where we will stroll past the crowds and sit down to feast on Portuguese culinary delights and, of course, lots of good Portuguese wine. Try a bit of everything and you'll see why dinner in Lisbon can be such a special occasion. Between bites our guide will explain to us the significance of Lisbon's food culture and what life is like in the city. After dinner we enjoy a short but intense ride through the streets of Lisbon to give you an opportunity to see the city under its glowing yellow lights as we move venues to get to where we can have a special dessert, the famous Pastel de Belém. We stop to drink a cup of port wine (or two) and some chatter before we end the evening, and we head bad to the hotel, like freshly minted and well-fed Lisbon locals.
Day 3: Discovering SintraSintra, Lisbon, Portugal
This morning we can enjoy breakfast in the hotel before we head off at 8:30 am for our day trip to Sintra. Sintra is a picturesque Portuguese town that is set amidst the pine-covered hills of the Serra de Sintra. This hilly and slightly cooler climate enticed the nobility and elite of Portugal, who constructed exquisite palaces, extravagant mansions and decorative gardens. The variety of fascinating historic buildings and beautiful scenery has established Sintra as a fantastic tourist destination. Today though, we are going to experience some of the less visited sites in the area.
We definitely start with a wander through the historic centre of Sintra, which is a charming example of a Portuguese town; there are cobbled streets and traditional painted buildings filled with family-run cafes and unique shops. Highlights of Sintra include the flamboyant town hall, the busy tourist shopping streets of Rua das Padarias and the pretty church of Igreja de Santa Maria. We will have some time to enjoy the town, and have an early lunch before we head off to three sites higher in the hills.
The Castelo dos Mouros was constructed by the North African Moors who ruled over the region between the 8th to 11th century. The castle had a dual purpose, primarily as a stronghold to guard the fertile lands of Sintra, and secondary as a fortified lookout, with views over the ocean and to the north (where the early Christian Portugal was establishing itself). The castle had little strategic importance after the Christian crusaders drove the Moors out of Portugal, and the castle was left to collapse, being severely damaged by fire and earthquake. It was only restored with the construction of the Pena Palace (19h century), as a decorative feature for the grounds of the palace. This restoration followed the ideals of the Romanticism style of architecture, with the castle intertwined with the ancient forests, and hidden paths leading to wonderful vantage points. These wonderful views from the battlements are the main draw, while the whole castle has a much calmer ambience than the other popular sights of Sintra.
The Quinta da Regaleira is a decorative 20th century residence. The grand house has an ornate gothic façade, but the real attraction is to the rear with the enchanting gardens. Inside, the building spreads over 5 floors, but it’s very sparse in actual original details. The true wonder of the Quinta da Regaleira are the grounds, which cover 4 hectares and were inspired by the owner’s mystic ideologies. There are references to the Knights Templar, the Masons and dark alchemy, all hidden within the grounds. The well is the strangest feature, and symbolizes the initiation ceremony for the Knights Templar. In the well there is a concealed passage that after descending 27 meters connects to a series of tunnels that run the length of the gardens.
The Convento dos Capuchos is an austere Franciscan monastery that is set amidst the dense forests and giant granite boulders of the Serra da Sintra National Park. The monastery was constructed to have minimal impact of natural surroundings and this simplistic design was far removed from the opulence and grandeur of Sintra. Capuchos provided the monks who resided there a quiet and reflective atmosphere and this peaceful ambience awaits those who make the effort to travel to this isolated location. Capuchos is far from the common tourist routes but those who know Sintra regard it as one of the best historical monuments of the region. The remote location of the religious complex allowed the residents complete segregation from the outside world, while providing them the most meagre comforts. The 8 small monk quarters resemble cells rather than places of meditation or reflection, with stone beds and little protection from the cold winters. The collection of small chapels, retreats, quarters and kitchens are all connected by narrow cave like passages while the landscape of giant boulders and dense forest all adds to the somber atmosphere. The unique monastery of Convento dos Capuchos is set at odds to the wild extravagance exhibited elsewhere in the region.
At the end of the day we head back to the hotel and a restful evening. You have free time to enjoy the city and dinner on your own, or join your tour leader for another wonderful culinary experience.
Day 4: Lisbon To Peniche, Berlenga Islands, To ObidosObidos, Portugal
After enjoying breakfast in the hotel this morning, we will be heading off in our own transport, with your tour leader as driver, as we depart the city and head up the northern coast to further explore this beautiful country. Our destination this morning is the port town of Peniche, approximately an hour and a half away from Lisbon. Our ultimate destination today is the Berlenga Grande Island. We arrive into the fishing village where we will meet our local guide and our boat will be waiting for us. Once aboard, we cruise to Berlenga Grande and admire the rocky arcs and bends of this petite yet striking island. As we lounge on the sunny deck, we listen to commentary about the hidden caves and other factoids about the Berlenga Archipelago. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, our guide is happy to accommodate your interests. We arrive at Berlenga Grande after a 40-minute cruise and stop for some food and drinks at a beachside joint.
Next, we lap up more island views and coastal charm as we motor to the St John the Baptist Fort (Forte de São João Baptista). A true spectacle of the Berlenga Grande Island, we visit this 17th-century fortification and learn how it was erected using the bones of the island’s old monastery. Listen as our guide tells tales of pirates and invaders sieging the fort and vanquishing the monks out. Then, observe seabirds in the Berlengas Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural das Berlengas) and appreciate the thousands that use this tiny island as a nesting ground. Hop off the boat and explore the pristine walkways enjoying the reserve’s UNESCO Biosphere Heritage–listed scenery. Watch the skies as our guide helps us discover guillemots and other bird types. We head back to the island port for lunch and some free time. The local fare at the only seafood restaurant is something to be enjoyed. Next, if you like, get some snorkel gear from our guide (provided) and swim through the calm waters capturing scenic sea life. Afterward, you can hop into a kayak to journey through the island’s caves or, if you are more inclined to let someone else paddle, see the cave and life below on a sleek glass-bottom boat.
Our magical day ends with the boat ride back to the dock, where we will get back into our vehicle to have a short half-hour drive to the city of Obidos where we will be spending the night. Obidos is considered one of the most charming and picturesque towns of central Portugal, with traditional painted houses and narrow cobbled streets. Obidos has an extensive history as it’s a medieval village established in 208 BC, with an imposing castle and wonderfully preserved town walls. Enjoy dinner in the hotel or explore the town.
Day 5: Obidos Town And SitesObidos, Portugal
Today we are going to fully enjoy this charming little town. There’s quite a bit of walking today, but we will have plenty of stops and breaks along the way, and take our time to enjoy the area. Today is all about soaking up the history and culture of the area. We start our tour at the town entrance, where the first sight is the Porto da Vlia, which was the main town gate of Obidos. The two gates are relatively small and are staggered to prevent a cavalry charge. In the centre courtyard of the Porta de villa are beautiful blue and white tiles which depart the passion of Christ. Once through the doors we will stop at a little bar to try the traditional drink of Obidos, Ginja de Obidos, a sweet cherry liquor. One novelty of the drink is that it can be served in small chocolate cups, which can be eaten after!
Now fortified, we take the steps which climb up to the town walls where we will enjoy great views over Obidos. Portugal does lack some of the health and safety features of other counties – there are no hand rails and there are multiple trip hazards on the climb to the top of the city gate, so we will take our time and be careful. It is well worth the effort though!
When we tire of the scenery, we head carefully back down to wander down Rua Direita, which is lined with interesting tourists focused shops, that sell a range of varied gifts and items. We will stop to see the Praca Santa Maria and the Santa Maria church. This church is historically important as in 1411 king Afonso married his wife Isobel -they were just 10 and 8 when they married!
Further along the Rua Direita is the Obidos Castle, which has been converted into an exclusive hotel so we can’t visit it the inside. This is our last destination today. The original castle was constructed in the 12th century and to the rear of the castle is the Old Arms Square which leads out on the Cynegetic Park. From here there are wonderful views over the countryside that surrounds the town.
We wander our way back down to the hotel for a rest before dinner. The town quiets in the evening as many tourists leave, so, if you like, join your tour leader for dinner at one of the local restaurants.
Day 6: Obidos To Aviero, And Everywhere In Between!Aviero, Portugal
Today we set off on a driving adventure as we make our way from Obidos up to Aviero, where we will be spending the night. There is a lot to see in between these two towns, and we will leisurely enjoy the day and explore the places along the way. There are so many interesting things to see, it is impossible to include them all, but we have tried to include a variety for you to enjoy today.
Our first destination is only 40 minutes’ drive away – the small town of Leiria. This is a university town down the slope from its medieval castle. Kings John I and Denis I lived here and turned it from a tough fortress into a luxurious palace. We drive through the city to our first destination, just 5 minutes outside of the city. Our destination is Marrazes, which has a museum shedding light on Portuguese school life in the 19th and 20th centuries. It started out as a project at the local school, led by teachers to show students what school was like in days gone by. But there was soon enough valuable material to open a museum in a separate building. There’s furniture, antique toys, books and everyday items (slates, blackboards, erasers, clocks, crosses) from the classroom. The museum is broken up into eight different rooms according to subjects like carpentry and geology, or time periods like the end of the monarchy, First Republic and the Dictatorship.
Our second stop this morning is the actual castle. Few medieval castles have been adapted into palaces as well as the majestic Leiria Castle, and it’s among the most distinguished in the country. There were three building phases, each giving the castle a different look and role. One of many delightful elements here is the loggia, completed in the early 15th century by King John. Within the castle walls is a museum of the moving image, founded in 1996 in the former stables and well worth a visit. The museum was set up to preserve and display recording, editing and presentation equipment from all periods: Movie buffs will be keen on the vintage cameras, lights and projectors, as well as more primitive gear like the zoetropes. There are also pianos from silent movie theatres, antique cinema ticket machines, and vintage reel canisters.
After our visit we can wander around the old center of Leiria and find a place for lunch. For savory food there’s the typical morcela de arroz, a type of black pudding made with pig’s blood, rice, pork meat and various herbs and spices or we can try a traditional local meal - bacalhau com migas (cod baked with breadcrumbs), or deep-fried whitebait, suckling pig or chanfana, a goat or lamb stew. Leiria is also in the Encostas de Aire wine DOC famed for its light reds and fruity whites. A look in the windows of bakeries will give us views of bright orange sweets in little paper cake cases that we definitely have to try for desert. They are a local specialty and known as Brisas do Lis, made from egg yolk, sugar and almonds and originally made by nuns at the defunct Santana Convent.
A filling lunch will send us on our way to the west, where on the way to the coast is the town of Marinha Grande, which is ensconced in a fragrant pine forest and used its abundance of sand to make glass. The town is still Portugal’s largest glass manufacturer, and time-honored methods have been taken over by modern molding facilities. We have to stop to visit the interesting glass museum located here. The museum is installed in the 18th-century palace belonging to William Stephens, an English immigrant who was in charge of the Royal Glassworks in Marinha Grande in the 1770s. In showcases you can marvel at artistic glazing, antique glasses and vases going back to the 18th century, and items produced in Portugal’s other glassmaking centers from the 1600s onwards.
Our last stop here is the impressive Batalha Monastery. A UNESCO Site and one of Portugal’s national treasures, it was more than a century in the making, with work beginning in 1386 as a memorial to the Portuguese victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Aljubarrota the year before. This lends it an intoxicating mixture of High Gothic and early-16th-century Manueline architecture. There’s a dizzying amount to see, from the unusually tall nave to the Royal Cloister and the ornate Unfinished Chapels linked by a marvelous portal. The tombs of John I and wife Philippa of Lancaster are here, as well as those of their sons: one of whom was the explorer Henry the Navigator.
Our day is not over yet, as we drive another hour up to the city of Aveiro. On the shore of a lagoon, Aveiro is a maritime city with water in its soul. The cityscape is crisscrossed by canals that you can navigate on painted gondola-style boats known as moliceiros. And on the quaysides in the older part of the city are charming Art Nouveau houses in pastel shades. We will have tomorrow to enjoy the city and the surrounding area. Tonight, we can relax and enjoy dinner.
Day 7: Aviero Sites And Area, Then On To PortoPorto, Portugal
We have the day to enjoy the city and the area and we can indulge in a great breakfast before we start off for the day. We have a mixture of walking and driving today, and since we will be travelling on to the city of Porto later in the day, we pack up our vehicle before we set off on our explorations.
Today we will visit a slice of the city’s early-20th-century history at the old train station terminal. The old building stands in sharp relief to the sleek new terminal and was completed in 1916. The special thing about it is the tiling; these blue azulejos were made at the Fábrica da Fonte Nova and depict traditional scenes from around Aveiro and the region. There are moliceiros, salt farms, men and women in regional dress and images of Aveiro’s canals. It’s now a sort of time capsule for the city, created more than a century ago and a fantastic photo opportunity.
We explore the area of the famous canals, fed by Aveiro’s lagoon, which are what give Aveiro its character and definitely deserve an hour of our time. We may take a stroll through historic quarters, or along the quays in the Rossio area, where there’s some wonderful Art Nouveau architecture. We can also visit the Jardim do Rossio, which is a canal-front park with lawns and palm trees, and a very pretty spot to sit for a while. The pastel-colored houses in the area are the icing on the cake.
We will definitely enjoy a 45-minute tour of the city by water, on the colorfully painted boats known as moliceiros. These are a constant in Aveiro, and were originally made to harvest seaweed in the lagoon. The paintings on the bow and stern depict traditional scenes around Aveiro, and on the journey we’ll get a good summary of the city along its canals and by the salt farms that border the lagoon.
Now that we have spent the morning wandering and enjoying, after lunch we will head to the Museu Histórico da Vista Alegre. The Vista Alegre porcelain factory has been crafting fine ceramics for more than 200 years. It’s a gigantic complex that includes the factory, a 17th-century palace, a chapel and an entire residential quarter built for workers with its own theatre. The museum is in former factory buildings and has just been given a makeover. We’ll be given an overview of the Vista Alegre company, as well as the history of porcelain and the role it has played in Portuguese society. There are more than 30,000 pieces on display, and you can see the old kilns and modern facilities that still employ 700 people. It takes a strong will to make it past the gift shop without buying something!
After this visit we are going to depart the city for a visit to the small fishing and beach town of Costa Nova. This town is mostly famous for its colourful striped houses, squashed onto a tiny strip of land between the beach and the lagoon. We can have a walk here and take some fabulous photos, and enjoy a snack before continuing on to our final destination of the day. A short one-hour drive takes us up to the city of Porto, where we will be spending the next couple of nights. Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal known for its stately bridges and port wine production. In the medieval Ribeira (riverside) district, narrow cobbled streets wind past merchants’ houses and cafes.
Day 8: Douro Valley Wine Tasting, Portuguese Lunch And River CruiseDouro Valley, Portugal
Our days in the area are going to be guided by local guides so we can enjoy the full experience of the city and the area. We cannot visit Porto and not have a day in the wine region of Douro, to not just experience the wines of the region, but also the culinary delights and some off the beaten track activities.
Today we depart at about 830 am to depart 1.5-hour scenic drive inland. We’ll stop briefly in Peso da Régua, the capital of the Douro Valley — a UNESCO-listed region known for its production of port wine. Then we continue on to Pinhão and admire the scenery with free time to explore the lovely village independently. We can perhaps stroll to the Pinhão train station to view its blue-and-white tile murals depicting the scenic countryside and swathes of vineyards that make up the Douro landscape. Our tour includes a Douro River cruise, so we hop aboard a rabelo boat — a traditional cargo boat native to this region — for a leisurely 1-hour ride. We’ll meander up the Tua river tributary and pass by Quinta da Romaneira before returning back to Pinhão. After a traditional lunch of typical Douro cuisine accompanied by wine at a renowned villa, our guide takes our group to two family-run estates where we’ll discover local winemaking and enjoy a tasting session of award-winning ports and wines. Stop by the shop to make any purchases before departing the Douro Valley for the relaxing return drive to Porto, where we arrive back at about 6:30 pm.
Tonight, you can relax in the hotel, or join your tour leader to explore the city and have dinner.
Day 9: Guimaraes And BragaBraga, Portugal
Today we uncover the charm of Portugal’s two oldest cities on a full-day tour of Guimarães and Braga. Our local guide will give us the complete history of the area. We’ll visit the medieval village of Guimarães, the birthplace of the nation and a UNESCO World Heritage site. There, we visit the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança and the Guimarães Castle and have time to wander the ancient streets and city squares. Afterwards, the historical Santa Maria Road will lead us to the charming square in the heart of the old town, Largo da Oliveira. After a relaxing lunch break, we head to Braga, the oldest Portuguese city and religious capital of Portugal. For centuries the city has been an archiepiscopal seat and pilgrimage site. We will go to the Sé, the 11th century cathedral, following by a visit to Bom Jesus Sanctuary, located in one of the city hills.
We return to Porto later in the day and can once again enjoy the city by night.
Day 10: Porto To Sortelha Then On To MonsantoMonsanto, Portugal
Early this morning we say goodbye to Porto and head back south to the beautiful village of Sortelha. This is a “drive” day, but we will be stopping along the way to enjoy some sites. We set off for a two-hour drive to the village of Guarda, which is built around a medieval castle. This is a perfect place for a wander through the ancient streets, around Guarda’s old town we’ll pass under stone passageways or even discover the urban limits are still marked by the medieval walls. These were erected in the reign of Sancho I at the turn of the 13th century and were bolstered by subsequent monarchs over the next 200 years. Guarda’s central square is right in front of the cathedral and is a lovely, mostly carless space contained by historic houses painted white or with bare granite. We will also take some time to visit the local museum. Housed in the episcopal seminary, Guarda’s museum takes you on a chronological trip through the history of the region. It was founded in 1940 and has more than 4,800 artefacts in its archive. We’ll browse archaeology from before the Romans arrived, sculpture and sacred painting from religious institutions, antique guns and Portuguese painting from the 1800s. There are also displays for the folk traditions around Guarda, with archive photographs, ceramics and traditional games. The seminary deserves a mention as it’s a fine Mannerist building from 1601 with a noble porch decorated with columns, arches and gargoyles.
We are going to hop back in our vehicle for a short 45-minute drive to our next destination, Sortelha. This is one of the oldest, most beautiful towns in Portugal. A visit to its streets and alleys, enclosed in a defensive ring and watched over by a lofty 13th century castle takes us back to past centuries. We are going to spend the afternoon wandering the town, having lunch and learning about the history. At the end of our explorations, we will jump back in our vehicle for an hour’s drive down to the amazing village of Monsanto, where we will spend the night. Monsanto is a beautiful village built in the Portuguese countryside. Featuring narrow streets carved from rock and granite houses squeezed between giant boulders, it looks like a real-life Bedrock. At the top of the 400 feet high hill stands a very old square-built castle. The castle played an important role in Medieval times when the Templars Grand Master built a castle which withstood several battles including the Napoleonic invasions. In 1938, Monsanto was bestowed the most “Portuguese town in Portugal.”
Day 11: Monsanto To Castelo Branco To EvoraEvora, Portugal
This morning we are going to get up early to eat a good breakfast before we set off on foot to discover this amazing town. We will walk the short circular route up to the castle and down past Penedos Juntos before coming back to the village. Even this short section of the walk is fascinating and takes us through wildly beautiful countryside with stunning views across to Spain. However, we may need to do a little bit of clambering up the hillside so make sure you’re wearing suitable shoes. For those who don’t wish to walk up, you can spend some time shopping or exploring the town streets. We enter the castle through the Sentry House and spent a while wandering along the walls and peering through arched doorways and carved arrow holes. We finish our explorations and head back down to the town to head down the road to our next destination.
After a 1 hour drive we arrive to Castelo Branco, where we will take a lunch break and some time to stretch our legs. Castelo Branco is known for its high-quality olive oil and honey, and both are very giftable things to take home. Traditional meals in this rural part of Portugal are simple, meaty and filling, drawing on local agricultural rather than long-distance trade. If you want to go for something authentic, there’s empadas de Castelo Branco, a pie with a pork and onion filling, soup made with local cheese, roast lamb, roast partridge, goat stuffed with bacon and herbs and roasted, or fried liver in an onion, tomato and paprika sauce. And just some of the many sweets and dessert made in Castelo Branco are rice pudding, flavored with cinnamon, tigelada, which is similar to crème brûlée and cookies made with honey and almond (broas de mel).
We can stretch our legs in the garden of Castelo Branco’s episcopal palace, which is the city’s unmissable sight. This was plotted in the 18th century by the bishop at the time, João de Mendonça. Tucked into this network of boxwood hedges are fountains and statues representing apostles and lions, while the walls sport figurative tile panels. Guarding the balustrade are statues of the kings to rule in Portugal during this period.
The rest of our afternoon you can enjoy the views as we head on a long 2.5-hour drive down to Evora. Evora is a delightful Portuguese town that was originally founded by the Romans, later fortified by the Moors and flourished during the 15th century. This extensive history has provided Evora with a variety of interesting tourist attractions and historical monuments. We will be spending the night here. Enjoy the pool or spa services, or enjoy a glass of wine and relax. Ask your tour leader where she is planning on going for dinner!
Day 12: Evora To LagosLagos, Portugal
This morning we are going to focus on three of the sites in and around the city before we once again travel south. We can enjoy the lovely small streets and the main square with its exquisite examples of 16th century Gothic architecture, with the simplistic Igreja de Santo Antao standing at one end of the square.
No visit to Evora is complete without going to the unique “Chapel of Bones”. The Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) is a fascinating chapel with a very macabre atmosphere. Ranking as one of Evora’s most visited sites, this eerie tourist attraction is not for the faint hearted. This small, unassuming chapel is actually home to the final resting place of hundreds of bodies; all exhumed from the city’s graveyards in the 16th Century.
The Roman Temple of Evora: Evora was an important Roman trading town, so it is fitting that the city's finest monument is a beautiful preserved Roman temple. The Diana Temple is regarded as the best preserved Roman structure on the Iberian Peninsula, but it has had an eventful history since Roman occupation.
Just half an hour outside of the town is another unique site: the Megaliths of Cromlech Almendres. The standing stones of Cromlech Almendres were constructed between 5,000-2,000bc. The complex is believed to be part of an important religious site and is regarded as the finest example of prehistoric monuments in South Western Europe. The stones were not simply placed in a formal arrangement: many of the stones are decorated with patterns and engravings which all add to the mystery of the site.
From here we will be travelling south for about two and a half hours to reach the very last stop on our circular itinerary, the city of Lagos. We will stop along the way for lunch and, of course, for breaks and pictures!
Lagos is a fantastic city that boasts, stunning beaches, and a charming historic centre. We will be spending the next couple of days and nights here, so plenty of time to relax!
Day 13: Time In LagosLagos, Portugal
his morning you can sleep in and enjoy the hotel, pool, and breakfast before we depart at 10 am. We will meet our boat and crew at the marina, then set sail at 10.30am for our open-sea adventure. Traveling aboard a modern and spacious catamaran with an experienced team, this 4-hour journey will take us from Lagos to Cabanas Velhas/Burgau and back. Along the way, we cruise past the golden beaches, cliffs and caves of Ponta da Piedade and spot the iconic black rock of Praia da Luz. We enjoy a delicious lunch onboard, anchored in a secluded bay near the fishing village of Burgau. While we are there, we can savor a refreshing cocktail, or dive in to swim, snorkel, kayak, or paddle board. On the way back, relax on deck and keep a look out for dolphins. Our tour ends back at the marina around 2.30pm.
You have the rest of the day free to enjoy the area. Unlike many other resort towns, Lagos is an important city that is steeped in history, and the variety of historical monuments and buildings reflect this varied past. Fascinating buildings include the beautiful Santo Antonio church, the Mercado dos Escravos (Europe’s first slave market) and the charming 17th century Bandeira Fort. Half a day can be easily spent exploring the historic center with its narrow, cobbled streets, traditional houses and pretty harbor front.
Day 14: Return To LisbonLisbon, Portugal
Again we have a nice sleep in and even some free time in the city (if the group wants) before we head back north on our final leg back to Lisbon. Our drive today will take about three hours, but certainly we will make time to stop, take pictures, have lunch and enjoy the area.
We arrive back to Lisbon and our hotel, and have the rest of the evening free.
Day 15: Free DayLisbon, Portugal
You have the whole day to enjoy the city. If you prefer not to be on your own, ask your tour leader what she has planned! Otherwise, please don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions on things to do. Tonight we all get together one last time for our goodbye dinner.
Day 16: Time To Say GoodbyeLisbon, Portugal
Today we say our farewells to this amazing country and our fellow travelers as we head out to our home countries. You may have some free time today dependent on your flight time, and your tour leader will accompany you to the airport to say goodbye.
Small group tour, maximum 6 travellers.
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