Portugal: Suggested Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive at Porto International Airport and transfer to your hotel in Porto, where you can check-in, have lunch and have some time to unpack and relax. In the afternoon get acquainted with Portugal’s second largest city on a city tour of Porto. Visit the Cathedral, the Clérigos Tower and church and the Church of São Francisco, On the way back to your hotel, stop by an old port lodge at Vila Nova de Gaia, in the south bank of Douro River, for a visit and a tasting of the famous Port wines.
Day 2: Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing for a full-day tour of Minho Province. Drive along the coast towards Viana do Castelo, where you can have a tour of the area. See the Palacio dos Tavoras and the Monte Santa Luzia, the baroque church, and site of a popular pilgrimage each August. Continue to Braga, which some people still refer to as “the Portuguese Rome”. After lunch there, continue to Guimaraes, considered by many as the cradle of Portuguese civilization. Here you can visit the well-preserved city center, the 10th century castle and the Dukes of Braganca Palace.
Day 3: Following breakfast at your hotel in Porto, depart driving inland to one of the most beautiful areas of Portugal, the Douro River Valley - a World Heritage Site. From Porto, drive towards Penafiel and Amarante and then up the Marao Mountains towards Vila Real, for a panoramic tour of the city. After lunch, continue on to Mateus, with its celebrated palace and gardens. Visit the Mateus Manor House, a marvelous countryside noble house of the 17th century. Continue then to admire one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world driving through the Port Wine vineyards area on your way down the mountains bordering the Douro River to Sabrosa and Pinhao. Perhaps visit a port wine farm for wine tasting and dinner.
Day 4: Depart today after breakfast continuing to drive south to Lamego, a city of historical importance. Your next stop will be Viseu. A site not to be missed is the 13th century cathedral. Then visit the Grao Vasco Museum. Proceed south across the Dao wine producing area to the Bussaco Forest for a visit to the Bussaco National Park. Then continue to Curia, an important thermal spa area north of Coimbra. Here you can check into one of the hotels in the area.
Day 5: Today you have an early departure after breakfast at the hotel to Coimbra - one of Europe’s oldest university towns. Here you will discover the city on a sightseeing tour, featuring the city center, the Santa Cruz Convent and the university complex. Proceed next to Batalha to visit the Batalha Monastery. Your next stop will be the famous Marian Shrine of Fatima. Stop for lunch before proceeding to Tomar, a small town where once stood the headquarters of the Knights Templar. Drive along the Tagus River to Abrantes and Castelo de Vide for a panoramic visit of Castelo de Vide, a delightful town built in the shadow of an elongated medieval castle.
Day 6: Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing for Portalegre for a sightseeing tour of the city. Now cross the Alentejo Plains to the museum city of Evora, whose origins date back to the times of the Roman Empire. Check into your hotel and get ready for the afternoon city tour of Evora featuring the Romano Gothic Cathedral, the Roman Temple, the historic city center, St. Francis Church and its Bones Chapel.
Day 7: After breakfast at your hotel in Evora, depart driving through cork oak forests towards Setubal, Palmela and into Lisbon via the 25th of April Bridge. Check into your hotel in Lisbon. In the afternoon, leave for a city sightseeing tour featuring the Marquis de Pombal Square. Walk down the Alfama Quarter to wander the old Jewish Quarter of Lisbon, and continue along the river to the monumental Belem Quarter to visit the Royal Coaches Museum and the Hieronymus Monastery. Before returning to your hotel stop for a photo opportunity at the Belem Tower, built in the shape of a caravel, in the middle of the river, to serve as a fortress to defend its mouth and to honor the departure place of the Portuguese ships off on maritime discoveries.
Day 8: After breakfast at the hotel, depart from Lisbon driving west to the small town of Queluz for a visit to the beautiful 18th century Queluz Palace and Gardens. Continue on then to Sintra for a visit to this marvelous small town in the surroundings of Lisbon and to its National Palace. Then proceed to Colares and to Cape Roca, the most western point of the European Continent. Return to Lisbon via Estoril and the coastal road.
Day 9: Depart Lisbon and fly home.