A journey to discover the many splendours of Portugal’s north, rich in history, cultural & religious treasures and unique traditions. During this 6-day escorted tour you'll visit walled vibrant cities, walled medieval town & majestic castles and journey through lovely Douro Valley with its ancient vineyards!
Saturday - Departing Lisbon we travel through a landscape rich in windmills and fruit trees to arrive at the town of Óbidos, surrounded by imposing medieval walls and where we can admire the harmony of the architecture, the diversity of the handicrafts and taste the famous "ginginha" (bitter cherry liqueur). We continue to Alcobaça, home to the first & largest Gothic church in Portugal and resting place of D.Pedro and Inês de Castro, protagonists of a 14th century “Romeo & Juliet” style love story. Our next stop will be in Nazaré, a typical fishing village and seaside resort full of traditions & legends, before continuing to Batalha where we will visit the Monastery of Santa Maria de Victoria, a masterpiece of the Gothic architecture in Portugal & where we can find the tomb of Henry the Navigator, the promoter of the maritime discoveries. Finally, we arrive in Fátima, the famous Marian Shrine & pilgrimage site where our Lady is said to have appeared to three young shepherds in one of the biggest mysteries of the Catholic Church. Possibility to assist the Candle procession. Tonight's hotel will be in Fatima.
Sunday - Following breakfast at the hotel, departure towards Coimbra, home to one of Europe’s oldest Universities and known as the “Student Capital” of Portugal. Visit the University with its magnificent baroque library & unique atmosphere characterized by ancient traditions & customs such as the black cape of the students and the melancholic Fado music. Next, we stop by Santa Clara Church with the tomb of Queen St. Isabel, the protagonist of the “miracle of the roses” and in the centre of town, you can admire the exclusive ceramics of Coimbra. In the afternoon our journey continues to Aveiro, a city of canals known as the “Portuguese Venice”, where you shall have time to see the graceful boats “moliceiros” and taste the local sweets “ovos moles”. Drive to Porto where we arrive in time to check-in at our hotel. (B)
Monday - Breakfast at your hotel. Porto is Portugal's 2nd largest city and UNESCO World Heritage site, a living amphitheatre inviting us to make a morning visit to discover the riverside area, old houses, palaces & churches that history has made eternal and Port wine, renown worldwide. We then continue to the Minho area, the northwest region of Portugal that offers natural green scenery and the sparkling “green wine”. Our first stop of the day is Guimarães, the cradle of the nation & birthplace of the first king of Portugal, where a walk through the historic centre plunges one back into medieval times. Visit the Sacred Hill, crowned by the Castle, as well the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança dating back to the 15th century. Next, we Drive to Braga, known as the "Portuguese Rome" for its concentration of religious architecture including the oldest Cathedral of the country, and the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary with its famous baroque stairway & gardens. Return to our hotel for another night in Porto. (B)
Tuesday - Breakfast at the hotel before setting off across the border into Spain for a visit to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and the centre of pilgrimage at the end of Santiago Way. In 1985, UNESCO declared Santiago de Compostela World Cultural Heritage and you have the entire day to freely discover this fascinating city. Wander its historical streets and learn about its most extraordinary monuments and perhaps sample some of the traditional local dishes. Return to Porto & our hotel. (B)
Wednesday - Today, after breakfast we depart to Amarante, a pretty town proud of its patron saint, São Gonçalo, known for the promotion of love & marriage and whose tomb can be seen in the monastery facing the river houses. In the towns' bustling market is worth a visit where you can find fruit, vegetables, chickens, fabrics and an immense variety of other popular items. Afterwards, we drive to Vila Real to visit the beautiful Gardens of Palacio Mateus. The facade of this historic manor is still depicted on the bottles of the well-known Portuguese Rose wine. Then we journey into Port wine region, travelling through the vineyards and the breathtaking landscapes of the Douro Valley. We stop in the charming town of Lamego, overlooked by one of Portugal's most important shrines, Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, with its magnificent baroque style staircase. You may want to try some of the local delicacies such as the local ham or the famous “Bola de Lamego” (a loaf baked in the oven with smoked ham). Continue to the mountainous hinterland to Viseu, the centre of the Dão Vineyards and a city connected with Portugal´s oldest hero & Lusitanian chief, Viriato. Built in the shadow of the Cathedral, the ancient town of Viseu is made up of narrow streets and doorways with coats of arms carved in granite. Proceed to Urgeiriça area where we will check-into our hotel for the night. (B)
Thursday - Breakfast at hotel. Today's journey begins with a drive through the heart of Portugal till Bussaco, well know for the luxuriant forest of rare trees & plants of exotic beauty and the romantic Palace of Bussaco, originally built as a royal hunting lodge and today a luxurious hotel. We continue to Tomar. The development of the city is closely linked to the Order of the Templars which received these lands in 1159 as a reward for their assistance to Dom Afonso Henriques, the First King of Portugal, in the Christian reconquest of the territory. It was Dom Gualdim Pais, the first Grand Master of the Order in Portugal, who founded the castle and the remarkable Convent of Christ inside, the centrepiece of the city. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it was enlarged and remodelled over the centuries retaining the influences of various architectural styles. After this final visit, we proceed to Lisbon where our journey ends. Or ask us about extending your Portugal discovery with a stay in Lisbon. (B)
SATURDAY - January 11, February 15, March 14, April 04 & 18, May 02 & 16, June 06 & 20, July 04 & 18, August 01 & 15, September 05 & 19, October 03 & 17, 2020
Departures are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 passengers.