Highlights of Portugal

Travel Partner: Tailored Spain

Duration | 8 Days

Destination | Portugal

Starting Price | ?6,168 ($7, 730 USD)

Overview

This itinerary is perfect for first time visitors to Portugal. Get a taste of the highlights and see the best. Discover the country’s treasures from Lisbon all the way to Porto. A luxury tailor made journey with expert local guides leading the way.


Day 1 – Lisbon

Overnight – Bairro Alto Hotel (Suite)

Upon arrival at Lisbon airport, meet your driver in the Arrivals Hall for your private Mercedes Sedan transfer to Bairro Alto Hotel. Your home for the next three nights. Bairro Alto Hotel Lisbon, is a 5-star boutique hotel in central Lisbon, located in the heart of historic downtown, between two of the most emblematic city districts, the bohemian Bairro Alto and the chic, cultural and trendy Chiado. A luxury boutique hotel, both cosmopolitan and trendy with a harmonious blend of old and new, that offers an excellent service in an atmosphere of warmth and relaxation. A unique and special place in the city of Lisbon, within walking distance to major shops, theaters, museums, restaurants and bars.

This evening enjoy the Petiscos Dinner Walking Tour. The petisco or petiscos is a gastronomical habit, rooted in the entire Iberian Peninsula. Better known as tapas, these special little snacks accompany drinks or make a tasty meal. Let us have the honor of showing you some of the best and historic restaurants in our capital. Between restaurants you will pass through some of the traditional and emblematic sites of the city with all the historical notes and anecdotes that make up the fabric of this great city. We will do everything to make sure it will be an evening worth remembering.


Day 2 – Lisbon

Overnight – Bairro Alto Hotel (Suite)

Enjoy a panoramic view of the city and learn about its history as well as its urban and architectural evolution. Today you will feel like a true Lisbon inhabitant. We’ll take you through the heart of the city, walking in districts such as the lively Bairro Alto, the fancy Chiado, the picturesque oldest district of Alfama and the lively Baixa. As Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills, your private driver will transport you across the vast city.

Following lunch on your own, we’ll head to the Belém district, where the Portuguese navigators set sail in search of the “New World”. Here we’ll visit Saint Jerome’s Monastery and the Tower of Belém, both classified by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Also visit the Monument to the Discoveries, celebrating the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th century. If modern art is of interest, visit the newest district, the Nations Park, or simply spend time exploring the historic neighborhoods. Return to Bairro Alto Hotel for an afternoon at leisure.


Day 3 – Lisbon

Overnight – Bairro Alto Hotel (Suite)

Today you will visit the historic cities of Sintra, Estoril and Cascais. Begin your day in Sintra, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for the great beauty of its nature and architecture. This city is dotted with fairy tale palaces and veiled with lush vegetation. Visit the romantic Pena Palace on top of the mountain, and the isolated Convento dos Capuchas where Fransican monks lived in the 16th century.

Cascais and Estoril, located on the Atlantic coast, abound with charm and aristocratic traditions. White sandy beaches and magnificent fortresses from the 17th century are major draws to the area. Situated close to the sea, and traditionally a fishing village, Cascais enjoyed an important period of development in the 14th century, when it was a major stopping point for boats on their way to Lisbon, turning it into a very busy port at that time.

However, in the second half of the 19th century, when sea bathing became a popular activity, Cascais was given the impetus that transformed it into a very fashionable summer resort. The great driving force behind this transformation was the King of Portugal, Dom Luís I, who, in 1870, converted the Fortaleza da Cidadela into the summer residence of the Portuguese monarchy. The king’s example was immediately copied by the nobility, who built palaces and extremely beautiful villas in the town, where they spent the hottest season of the year, completely transforming the appearance of the former fishing village. Particularly recommended is a stroll through its streets, where you will find shops of the highest quality, or perhaps you might prefer to enjoy a few moments’ rest at one of the many outdoor cafés and restaurants scattered about the town. For lunch, enjoy the local cuisine, especially the fresh fish and shellfish dishes which can be enjoyed in the region’s many restaurants. Following lunch, return to your hotel where you have the afternoon to relax.


Day 4 – Douro Valley

Overnight – Hotel Six Senses Douro Valley (Quinta Suite)

This morning meet your private driver/guide at the entrance of the hotel to start on your journey to the Douro Region. On your way, enjoy a visit to Coimbra and Aveiro. Built on the grounds of a former palace, the university is famed for its baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina, and its 18th-century bell tower. In the city’s old town lies the 12th-century Romanesque cathedral Sé Velha.

Continue on to Aveiro. The capital of the Ria, Aveiro is intersected by canals, genuine streets of water, where you will see brightly colored boats known as barcos moliceiros. Originally founded in the time of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Aveiro is now one of the most interesting cities on the Portuguese coast.

Due to the large numbers of web-footed birds that once inhabited this lagoon area, the city’s first name was Aviarium. The Ria is linked to Aveiro via three canals: the Canal das Pirâmides (marked at its entrance by two stone pyramids), which extends into the Canal Central, the Canal de São Roque, which marks the limits of the city to the north-west and separates it from the salt-pans; and the Canal dos Santos Mártires (or the Canal do Paraíso) which leads to the south-west.

Using the Canal Central as the city’s main axis, we suggest two tours of Aveiro:


Enjoy some time at leisure for lunch. Your day will end with check-in at Hotel Six Senses Douro Valley and time to enjoy the property. Six Senses Douro Valley presents a superbly renovated 19th-century manor house set high on a hill overlooking the vine covered rolling hills of the Douro Valley and the river below. Enfolded by a philosophy of creating experiences while concerning about the environment in which it is inserted, Six Senses Douro Valley combines elegance with the reality and history of the region, boasting a décor based on natural materials such as wood and stone.

At the Wine Library, guests will find more than 750 references of vintages from the region. The hotel’s Vale Abraão restaurant combines three ambiences, including an open kitchen, a wood burning stove and a fine dining, offering gourmet and international cuisine. Wellness and Yoga programs, along with a 10-treatment room spa which offers a variety of therapies, some of which are grape and wine based. Guests can also relax in the heated indoor pool, aromatic saunas, arctic showers and soft water beds, or retire to the library and peruse a book whist enjoying a fine wine or a cocktail. A gym with professional guidance is also at guests’ disposal.


Day 5 – Douro Valley

Overnight – Hotel Six Senses Douro Valley (Quinta Suite)

Following breakfast, you will begin your full day Douro Valley excursion with a private guide and driver. The Palácio de Mateus (Mateus Palace) is well known thanks to the bottles of Mateus Rosé wine (on the labels of which the Palace is drawn). The Palace is a Baroque 18th century building, regarded as one of the most lavish manor houses in Europe, attributed to the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni.

Built in the first half of the 18th century and betraying the finishing touches of Nicolau Nasoni, this palace set in beautiful gardens on a vast farm is considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque civil architecture in Portugal. The palace is owned by the Mateus Foundation, which has sponsored a great number of cultural activities, particularly in the areas of music, literature, and sculpture.

After the Palace, transfer to Quinta do Crasto. Enjoy a visit to the winery along with some wine tasting. Perched like an eyrie on a promontory above the Rio Douro and a spectacular ripple of terraced vineyards, Quinta do Crasto quite literally takes your breath away. The winery is beautifully set amid the lyrical landscapes of the Alto Douro, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

They produce some of the country’s best wines - reds that are complex, spicy and smooth, with wild berry aromas, and whites that are fresh, with a mineral nose and tang of citrus and apples. Designed by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto Moura, the plunge pool here appears to nosedive directly into the valley below. After lunch, enjoy a 45-minute ride on a small private rebelo boat along the river. Transfer back to your hotel for a free evening to enjoy the property.


Day 6 – Porto

Overnight – Hotel InterContinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas

This morning meet your private driver/guide at the entrance of the hotel to begin the 1 ½ hour drive to Porto. Porto, the Capital and gateway to the north of Portugal, is both the city that provided a nation with a name and a fortified wine known world-wide: port. With its splendid geographical location on the mouth of the river Douro and an architectural heritage of exceptional quality, the historic centre of Porto was declared UNESCO World Heritage in 1996.

Porto’s hard-working inhabitants are noted for their commercial enterprise, always standing firm against outside impositions and foreign invaders, which explains why Porto has become known as the “unvanquished” city. In addition to its history, any visitor to Porto will be quickly impressed by the forceful character both of the city and its inhabitants. If you want to get to know the city better, we recommend a gentle stroll through its streets, taking time to admire the typical granite houses and monuments, enjoying a tram ride along the banks of the river, or even going for a boat ride under the city´s six bridges, from where you can enjoy an entirely different view of the city. These itineraries seek to demonstrate the impressive contrasts this city has to offer.

The “Baixa (Downtown)” of Porto, with all the rhythms of city life, its movement and intense retailing. There is a very peculiar expression which bestows a Nordic, mercantile tone onto a city that is both spiritually and intensely baroque. In sharp contrast, in the Serralves Park, there is the sheer modernity of the building housing the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the romantic, soothing surroundings of the surrounding leafy park. Check-in to the InterContinental Porto – Palacio das Cardonsas before an afternoon of touring.

During this half-day private tour, you will be able to experience all the charm and history of Porto. Your tour will begin with a panoramic tour of the trendiest and most cultured area of the city Boavista and Foz. Some of the best museums the city has to offer are located (like Serralves) here, along with upper class residences.

Once you reach the historical city centre, considered World Heritage by UNESCO, you will have more than enough time to explore the Church of São Francisco. This old simple gothic Franciscan church is now known as “the cave of gold” in an astonishing exhibit of wealth and power. Right next door you’ll find the Stock Exchange Palace with incredible granite work and magnificent neo-Arab influences. On your way up to the Cathedral you’ll still have time to admire the interesting glazed tiles of the São Bento Railway station.

After a visit to the Cathedral (12th century) you will be able to admire the river Douro and all of the port wine lodges that brought fame and fortune to the city. A tour in Porto would never be complete without a visit to these wine cellars. After crossing the Dom Luís I Bridge you will start to smell the aroma of the slowly aging port wine. The massive vats improve the quality of a wine that can last for more than 100 years. During a guided visit of the wine cellars you will learn about its production, storage methods and all the secrets that make this nectar one of the most appreciated in the world. You will enjoy a wine tasting at one Porto winery (Sanderman, Barros or other nice winery depending on the day). Upon conclusion, transfer back to your hotel where you may relax for the remainder of the day.


Day 7 – Douro Valley

Overnight – Hotel InterContinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas

Depart by private transfer to Guimaraes, known as the “Cradle of Portugal” and in 2012 - the ‘European Capital of Culture’. Here, you will visit the Palace of the Dukes and see Renaissance pieces and Baroque furniture, porcelain, Flemish tapestries and Persian rugs. Nearby, witness the 10th century Guimaraes Castle.

Continue to the charming town of Amarante and indulge in a Michelin Star Lunch prepared by Chef André Silva at Casa da Calcada, Relais & Chateaux, a 16th century palace of the Count de Redondo. After lunch visit the 16th century Monastery of São Goncalo, as well as the lovely Roman Bridge.

Your next stop will be to a world renowned ‘vinho verde’ vineyard and wine estate to learn more about this special grape and the production of the wine, finishing with a tasting of the sparkly nectar paired with some local cheese! There will be some free time to enjoy the beautiful gardens and specialties of the estate. Your private transfer will take you back to hotel where you may spend the remainder of your day at leisure.


Day 8 – Porto

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before checking out. Your private Mercedes Sedan transfer will return you to the Porto airport for your departure home.


Prices are per person, based on two people sharing. Room categories, dates of travel and changes to services will affect the price. Dollar conversions shown (if applicable) will fluctuate throughout the year. Contact the Andrew Harper Travel Office to customize this itinerary to fit your needs.

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