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- A guided tour of important places
- All meals included
- Professionally guided tour
- Unlimited bottled water
- International Air, unless expressly paid for
- Personal expenses
- Services not specifically stated in the itinerary
- Tips to guide and driver
- Visa arrangements
Ghosts of the Past
Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians all left their mark on the Iberian nation. Here, you can gaze upon 20,000-year-old stone carvings in the Vila Nova de Foz Côa, watch the sunset over mysterious megaliths outside Évora or lose yourself in the elaborate corridors of Unesco World Heritage Sites in Tomar, Belém, Alcobaça or Batalha. You can pack an itinerary visiting palaces set above mist-covered woodlands, craggy clifftop castles and stunningly preserved medieval town centres.
The Portuguese Table
Freshly baked bread, olives, cheese, red wine or crisp vinho verde (young wine), chargrilled fish, cataplana (seafood stew), smoked meats – the Portuguese have perfected the art of cooking simple, delicious meals. Sitting down to table means experiencing the richness of Portugal’s bountiful coastline and fertile countryside. Of course, you don’t have to sit; you can take your piping-hot pastel de nata (custard tart) standing up at an 1837 patisserie in Belém, or wander through scenic vineyards sipping the velvety ports of the Douro Valley. You can shop the produce-filled markets, or book a table in one of the country’s top dining rooms.
Outside the cities, Portugal’s beauty unfolds in all its startling variety. You can go hiking amid the granite peaks of Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês or take in the pristine scenery and historic villages of the little-explored Beiras. Over 800km of coast offers more places to soak up the splendour. Gaze out over dramatic end-of-the-world cliffs, surf stellar breaks off dune-covered beaches or laze peacefully on sandy islands fronting calm blue seas. You’ll find dolphin watching in the lush Sado Estuary, boating and kayaking along the meandering Rio Guadiana, and memorable walks and bike rides all across the country.
Rhythms of Portugal
Festivals pack Portugal’s calendar. Drink, dance and feast your way through all-night revelries like Lisbon’s Festa de Santo António or Porto’s Festa de São João. There are kick-up-your-heels country fairs in the hinterlands, and rock- and world-music fests all along the coast. Any time of year is right to hear the mournful music of fado in the Alfama, join the dance party in Bairro Alto or hit the bars in Porto, Coimbra and Lagos.
- Day 1-4
- Day 5-9
- Day 10-14
More about Portugal
More about this tour
In the southwest corner of Europe lies Portugal, one fifth of the Iberian Peninsula it shares with Spain. Portugal has its own language, the 6th most spoken in the world (think Brazil-Portugal’s former colony), its own culture and cuisine. Portugal’s shape is rectangular, the longest north-south distance is 349 miles/561 km and widest east-west distance is 135 miles/218 km. It’s roughly the size of the U.S. state of Indiana. the country’s modest dimensions make it easy to visit when time is short. Portugal is divided into regions, each offers unique features , history, scenery and cuisine. The regions are from south to north: Algarve, Alentejo, Lisbon and Lisbon Coast, Estremadura and Ribatejo, the Beiras, Douro and Tras-os-Montes and the Minho.
Portugal’s climate is mainly Mediterranean. The southern regions are dry and sunny with warm/hot summers and mild/rainy winters. Traveling north, the weather pattern becomes cooler and wetter, especially in winter. Snow is possible in the mountains of the northeast. Overall, Portugal enjoys an enviable climate which explains why it’s so popular with northern Europeans looking for relief from their too often less comfortable weather.
The Azores Island have a moderate Marine climate with year round mild temperatures and rain. Madeira and it’s neighbor island, Porto Santo, are subtropical with normally dry weather year round.
With a coastline of 586 miles/943 kms, it’s not surprising that seafood is front and center of Portuguese cuisine. It’s said that there is a cod dish, dried and fresh, for each day of the year. Regional specialties abound. In the Algarve, Cataplana , a fish and shellfish dish named for the cookware used, is a treat. Caldeirada, a fish stew with potatoes, is also popular. An unusual combination hailing from the Alentejo is a combination of pork and clams. Lisbon offers a range of cosmopolitan restaurants but you may wish to try Frango Piri-Piri (chicken with chili) and be sure to indulge in a local pastry, Pasteis de Nata, delicious custard-cream tarts. In the north, Feijoada, a stew of beans and cured meats is popular as well as Rojoes, a spiced pork stew in wine and garlic. We suggest dining in local restaurants to experience true Portuguese cuisine. Portions are generally huge but many restaurants offer half portions.
The Azores islands have a more simplistic cuisine but it’s also based on the sea. A local favorite from the island of Sao Miguel is Cozido nas Caldeiras, a stew made from sausages, meats and vegetables cooked in containers lowered about 1 meter into the steaming ground around Furnas lake, a volcanic crater. There it cooks gently for about 7 hours.