Portugal is famous for its wines, which are among the best in the world. Get ready to enjoy a glass or two of Portuguese wine on this tour. During this week you will explore the main vineyards of Portugal, be accompanied by a professional guide and stay at the most charming small hotels in the country, selected by us especially for this tour. Visit a Wine Estate, meet wine producers and learn all about the best wines of the regions of Estremadura, Alentejo, Minho, Douro and Oporto. Participate in harvesting and treading grapes in a winepress!It is said that Portuguese wine has soul. Fact is, it is divided into several different types and groups – Vinho Verde (White and Red young wine), Fortified, aged Wines (Port Wine and Madeira Wine), Moscatel (Muscat) and Rosé wine. Portugal is represented by various types of soil - granite and slate in the North to sand and clay in the South. The diversity and conditions of its soil, associated with nature, results in a variety of flavours in the Portuguese wines. In 1756, a Portuguese minister by the name of Marquês de Pombal established and demarcated the Douro region as the first wine production area of the world. All wines produced in this area are subject to a special control and need to pass a certification confirming the authenticity of its origin, known as DOC. On this tour we will pass through this region at the same time the whole country is in harvest.
Day 3 - Breakfast at the hotel. On this day there is plenty of leisure time. We will drive along the coast passing by the favoured aristocratic resorts of the past in the country – Estoril and Cascais – to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe, where “the land ends and the sea begins”. The scenic road through the National Park will take you to the magical town of Sintra, a medieval royal palace that became a favourite resort or the aristocracy of the XVIII century. Here you will learn about the mysterious and esoteric world of the palace and park of the Quinta da Regaleira (early XX century) whose secrets and symbolism is still a mystery to be unravelled till this day. During this tour you will get the chance to visit a real life “Snow White Palace” – The Palacio da Pena that resembles a fairy-tale castle sprouting from a hilltop of huge granite boulders combining virtually every architectural style. Leisure time will be given for lunch and atour (independent) of the National Palace of Sintra. Along the way we will stop for lunch accompanied by wine in a typical restaurant. Wine degustation of in the region of Collares (grapes are produced in sandy soils and have a unique flavour). A visit is scheduled at one of the oldest wineries of the world.
Day 4 - Breakfast at the Hotel. Our first scheduled stop is in Azeitão, a region of the municipality of Setubal and home to one of the world´s finest wines, the Muscat (Moscatel de Setubal DOC). Wine degustation at the Quinta José Maria de Fonseca. The next stop is Évora, a charming town that is protected by UNESCO, is the capital of the Alentejo province and home to the some of the best wines in Portugal. Évora Tourism – Évora is a city-museum declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. An old urban and surprisingly harmonious town surrounded by medieval walls. It is difficult to pin-point something of great importance because everything is important, from its maze of winding arab streets, the power and majesty of the romantic cathedral, the dark atmosphere of the chapel lined walls of human bones and skulls of the Igreja de São Francisco to the delicate geometry of its roman temple (temple of Diana). Accommodation in Évora at the historic UNESCO protected M´Ar de Ar Muralhas Hotel. Dinner and local wine chart (Alentejo province)
Day 5 - Breakfast at the Hotel. Departure on route to the city of Estremoz. A Wine tasting scheduled at the famous Quinta do Carmo, a wine estate in Estremoz. Wine production in this property is one of the most modern in the country. The company known as Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal produces high quality wines here such as the famous Quinta do Carmo White Wine and Quinta do Carmo Reserve among other world-wide famous Portuguese wines. Wine degustation of at least three wines of the province of Alentejo at the Quinta do Carmo. Following Estremoz, is a wine degustation at a winery in the city of Portalegre which won a silver medal in the World Wine Masters Challenge 2011 competition – Quinta da Cabaça DOC 2007 and Portalegre DOC 2005. The following stop is the olden university city of Coimbra (a former Royal Palace), where a famous baroque library is located. Coimbra´s narrow streets will take you to an old Cathedral and through the city´s arc of Almedina you will reach the city´s downtown core where the commercial areas are and the great Church of Santa Cruz (where the tomb of the first Portuguese King, Dom Afonso Henriques is kept). Accommodation at the thermal spa resort in Curia, Palacio da Curia Hotel (Curia Palace Hotel) – considered one of the first spas in Portugal (opened in the early XX century). Dinner accompanied by Bairrada Wine at the hotel.Day 6 – Mesão Frio – Régua – Quinta da Pacheco - Breakfast at the hotel. This day will be spent at the Douro Valley, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Half of the grapes grown here are used in the production of Port Wine. The famous Port wine is sometimes referred to as the ambassador of Portuguese wines, produced from grapes grown along the slopes of the Douro Valley in the vicinity of Mesão Frio. The history of Port Wine begins in the second half of the XVII century, when the whole world has a rapid trade development and expansion. In 1703 Portugal and England signed a contract in which Portuguese wine is given preferential treatment when importing into Misty Albion. This gives rise to vintage wine exports to the foreign market and contributes to rapid international recognition. Port Wine – A fortified, aged wine, whose production is strictly limited by the boundaries of the special wines of the Douro region. Its method of preparation has a number of features relating mainly to a short period of fermentation and maceration. Before exportation, Port wine is aged for a certain period of time in a barrel or bottled and stored in the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia. Our next stop is Régua (in the Douro Valley). Accommodation and lunch at the Quinta de Pacheco – sardines, corn bread and Quinta da Pacheco white wine. Here at the Quinta de Pacheco will be the culmination of our tour. From 14h30 to 16h30 you may participate in the harvesting and treading of grapes in a winepress together with members of the local vineyards and of the estate. Accommodation and dinner (Grilled meat and house wine) at the Quinta de Pacheco. Quinta do Pacheco was reserved solely for our group. In the morning we will head north.Day 7 – Minho (Braga- Guimarães) and Oporto - Breakfast at the hotel. A Full day excursion is scheduled to the northern picturesque region of Portugal, the “Verde Minho” which means Green Minho. First stop is in Guimarães, the European Capital of Culture 2012, the first capital of the Portuguese Kingdom, the city where Portugal was born and whose historical city centre is considered a monument of UNESCO´s World Heritage Sites. Stroll through the medieval streets of granite pavement of the old town, observe the picturesque traditional houses, the castle and the Santigago Square with the Nossa Senhora da Oliveira Church. Following Guimarães is Braga, a city that competed in importance against the Spanish city of Santiago da Compostela. Many nations have passed through Braga and left traces such as the Celts, Romans, Suevi and Visigoths…In Braga you can find a variety of architectural styles, particularly the Portuguese baroque style. One of the most prominent buildings of this style is the complex of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus with its majestic granite staircase that leads us to the temple lined with fountains and sculptures with themes of the Gospel. This staircase is considered one of the 10 most beautiful staircases in the world. The next stop is at a local winery where we will taste the famous “green wine” produced only in this region. Lunch is scheduled at a typical restaurant where dishes are traditionally prepared in a wood burning stove. The Granjo 2007 dessert wine will be served during desert (an alternative to the French Sauternes dessert wine). Departure on route to Oporto. Accommodation at the B&B Porto Hotel located in the heart of the city´s historical centre in the Batalha Square. The hotel opened in 2001 as a result of the reconstruction of the ancient “Águia D´Ouro” Theatre.
Day 8 –Breakfast at the Hotel – 09h00 Half-Day Tour in Oporto then a 13h00 transfer to Lisbon Airport. Half-Day tour of the city of Oporto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Visit to one of the most famous wine cellars where you will have a wine tasting of Grahms Port – Port, White Port, Red (Tawny), Gold (Ruby), LBV (Late Bottled Wine), etc… Next a boat ride along the Douro River is scheduled aboard a boat that used to transport Port wine back and forth to Vila Nova de Gaia, passing under fantastic bridges designed by outstanding architects such as Eiffel and Cardoso.
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