Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Portuguese Vacation Tour

8 days / 7 nights, 4 * hotels - Costa Azul (2 nights) + Oporto (2 nights)+ Lisbon (2 nights)
 
This tour program is optimized and includes relaxing on the beach, an extensive historical program and spare time in Lisbon
   

Day 1 - Arrival and accommodation at the Vila Galé Estoril 4 * (w/swimming pool) in Lisbon´s Costa Azul (Blue Coast), near the beach, in one of the oldest resorts cities in the world - Estoril. (Located nearby is a ground station - half an hour to Lisbon / 2 euros). On the day of arrival dinner is not included in the program!
 
BelemDay 2 – Lisbon – Half-Day Tour: Meet the town of Alfama, a medieval neighbourhood with a stunning XII century Cathedral (birthplace of one of the most popular Portuguese saints - Santo Antonio); get acquainted with downtown Alfama, a bustling shopping district, built according to a geometric plan, after the 1755 earthquake. Continue along the main avenue - Avenida da Liberdade. Next stop, Belém, located at the banks of the Tagus River. It was here that the Portuguese caravels, during the era of geographic discoveries, departed from in search of the “New World”. Belém is also known for its monuments of the Portuguese golden period: the magnificent Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos), where the remains of Vasco da Gama and King Manuel I are kept, the Belem Tower built primarily to protect against pirate attacks and also the Monument of the Discoveries, a memorial to the pioneering Portuguese navigators. Dinner at the hotel.
 
PenaDay 3 – Sintra – Full-Day Tour: You'll have plenty of leisure time to enjoy on this day! Drive along the coast, past the oldest aristocratic resorts in the country, Cascais and Estoril, to Cape Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe where "the land ends and the sea begins." Through scenic drive through the National Park, you will reach the magical city of Sintra, with a stunning medieval royal palace, which became a favorite of the aristocracy in the XVIII century (Palácio da Pena). Here you'll discover the "esoteric" world of Quinta da Regaleira, an estate from the early XX century classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the "Cultural Landscape of Sintra” known for its palace and park. The secret symbols found on property will intrigue you throughout the day. An opportunity will arise to visit "Snow White´s Palace" – The Palace of Pena (Palácio da Pena), reminiscent of a fairytale castle, growing on top of a hill with huge granite boulders and with a combination of nearly all architectural styles. Free time will be given to an independent lunch and walks in the Sintra National Palace.
Dinner accompanied by Fado (a Portuguese music genre inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists).

obidosDay 4 - Departure from Lisbon to Oporto - Along the way, visit to the monastery of Alcobaça (Mosteiro da Alcobaça), one of the oldest Cistercian abbeys in Portugal, where the tombs of the protagonists of the most famous love story of Portugal, King Pedro I and his mistress Inês de Castro are located. Next stop is at the Batalha Monastery (Mosteiro da Batalha) which was built in honor of the Portuguese victory against the Castilians in the fourteenth century and is an example of Gothic style grandeur of Portugal, with its stunning tracery. Continuing, we reach Nazaré, once a small fishing village and now a city famous not only for being a good fishing point, but also for its beautiful beaches, and unique local folk costumes. Lunch at a seafood restaurant with green wine, by the beach of Nazaré. Óbidos is the next place to visit, one of the most fabulous cities in Portugal. Óbidos is surrounded by castle walls, which embraces many traditional shopping streets with picturesque houses, adorned with roses and wisteria. Inside the castle gates, the locals organize tournaments of knights, a Chocolate Festival, and before Christmas a Santa Claus town is recreated. Accommodation in Oporto at the Fenix Porto 4* in central Oporto. Dinner at the hotel.
 
Day 5 – Central Oporto walking tour – Oporto, the "Northern Capital" of the country.
First we will go on a picturesque walk in the city center of Oporto, the "northern capital" of the country. You will be amazed with its heritage - a “train palace "known as the São Bento train station (Estação de São Bento) decorated with stunning tile panels, the highest Baroque tower of the city, the Catedral dos Clérigos ( designed by Nazoni) and its small medieval streets, adorned with stone houses. At the end of the tour we arrive at the Ribeira area , a scenic drive along the Douro River, where we will encounter two well-known bridges (specifically the Maria Pia Bridge, built by Eiffel). Walk into the Igreja de São Francisco (St. Francis Church) and admire its gilt carvings, as there is nothing equal to it in all of Europe. A visit is scheduled at the wine cellars (where Port is stored and aged) which include a taste of this famous Portuguese wine. Dinner at the hotel.
 
BragaDay 6 – The “Green Minho” Full-Day Tour – A full day tour in the picturesque Portuguese province of the "Green Minho ", the northern part of the country. First stop is in Guimarães, the first capital of the Portuguese kingdom, the city where" Portugal was born” recognized by UNESCO as a medieval World Heritage Site. Walk past beautiful traditional houses and on the granite pavement of the old town, past the castle to the Santiago Square (Praça de Santiago) which brings us to the church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, where you will feel the true spirit of the Middle Ages. Continue on to Braga. This city was designed by the many nations that have passed by in Iberia: Celts, Romans, Suevi, Visigoths, and more, and from all of them, you can find traces. You will find virtually all architectural styles, but in particular Portuguese Baroque. One of the most striking buildings of this style is the Bom Jesus complex (Merciful Jesus). A temple with a majestic granite staircase that leads to the hill flanked by fountains and sculptures with Gospel theme stories. These stairs are considered one of the 10 most beautiful staircases in the world. Dinner at the hotel
 
TomarDay 7 - Departure from Oporto to Lisbon via Coimbra and Tomar - Coimbra is a very charming city, with its unique atmosphere of student living. Above the city stands the oldest university in the country (the former Royal Palace), where a famous Baroque library is located. Narrow streets will take you to the Old Cathedral and through the arch the Arab city of Almedina you will find yourself downtown, where part of the city's commerce is located as well as the Church of Santa Cruz, where the remains of the first Portuguese King, D. Afonso Henriques, remain. Tomar, the city of Knights, we arrive at the Convent of the Order of Christ (Convento de Cristo), built and rebuilt over several centuries. Here you can enjoy the elegance of the "Manueline" style with its striking ex-libris, its famous chapterhouse window. The Convent of the Order of Christ in Tomar is one of Portugal's most important historical and artistic monuments and has been in the World Heritage list of UNESCO since 1983. Arrival in Lisbon - accommodation at the 4 * Hotel Mercure Lisboa (w/ pool).
Dinner at the hotel.
 
Day 8 -  Free time for shopping, extra tours, transfer to airport for flight home or continue to your vacation in the Algarve or in Madeira Island.
Live tracking and statistics