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Spain, Portugal & MoroccoCountry Roads
Duration: 10 days Visiting: Portugal
Welcome to Lisbon.
On arrival at Lisbon International Airport, there are complimentary transfers to your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Settle in and relax before joining your Travel Director at 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. Enjoy the the opportunity to mingle with your fellow travellers during a pleasant evening of good food and wine.
Lisbon and the Age of the Great Discoveries.
Your guided sightseeing with a Local Expert takes you along the spacious avenues of the Lower Town and across the tree-shaded squares. Pass beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paço, the finest square in the city, named after the palace that was destroyed in the terrible earthquake of 1755, along with much of the rest of the city. Visit the Belém Quarter from where sailing ships once set forth to discover unknown lands. Enjoy a taste of Pastéis de Belém from the patisserie that has been using the same, secret recipe for almost 200 years. See the modern Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belém Tower, erected to protect Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which you visit. With free time in the afternoon, perhaps take the funicular railway up into the steep alleyways of the old town or explore the terraces of the Alfama district?
Cross the River Tagus and head for the sun-drenched southern coast to reach Lagos, a fishing port nestled on the bay of Meia Praia. After free time to explore, continue to your resort hotel set within a magnificent 360-acre estate. Simplicity is in the soul of Algarve cuisine, along with seafood so fresh it still tastes of the sea. The nearby coast houses a rich variety of restaurants and your Travel Director knows the best!
Journey to the medieval walled city of Évora where cathedrals, churches, aqueducts and ancient castle walls all serve to create the feeling that this beautiful city is a living, breathing museum to Portugal's rich past. Join your Local Expert to explore the highlights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the Roman Temple and visit the Capela dos Ossos, an extraordinary 17th century chapel comprising the skulls and bones of 5,000 bodies. Visit the cathedral with its attractive mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. With the afternoon at leisure, you may wish to continue to stroll through Évora’s unique historical centre, or the serene city park, following the aqueduct inside the city walls?
Monsaraz and Évora.
Travel to the striking white village of Monsaraz, situated on an imposing hilltop, surrounded by cork oaks and vineyards. From the castle ruins, admire the spectacular views across to the dry Spanish plains, contrasting with the blue of one of Europe's largest artificial lakes. Meet a local boat captain and hear tales of life upon the water during your leisurely cruise. Sit down to a delicious Highlight Lunch in a local restaurant that was formerly an olive oil mill. Savour the local cuisine as your menu is typical of the local Alentejo region and accompanied with wine. Return to Évora where the evening is at your leisure to explore this beautifully preserved regional capital.
Scenic drive to Óbidos, Fátima and Tomar.
Pass cork oak forests and expansive rice fields as you journey to the fortified town of Óbidos. Walk inside its walls to explore the craft shops, art galleries and flower-laden houses that line the narrow, medieval streets. Continue to Fátima, Portugal’s most renowned place of pilgrimage. See the basilica or perhaps visit the Chapel of the Apparitions, which commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three young shepherds in 1917. Proceed to Tomar and visit one of Portugal’s historical jewels, the Templar Castle and Convent of Christ, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With your Local Expert, explore the octagonal Templars' Rotunda in the cloister and glimpse the day-to-day life of a warrior monk in the domestic areas. Outside on the battlements, the Manueline Window is a national masterpiece. You also visit the Synagogue of Tomar, one of the best preserved medieval synagogues in Portugal, housing a small Jewish museum.
Coimbra, the Douro and Pinhão.
In Coimbra, your Local Expert will show you the highlights of the Old Town, including a visit to the impressive baroque university library. Journey through the rolling vine-laden hills and along the left bank of the Douro to arrive at Quinta de Marrocos, the home of the Sequeira family for the past 4 generations. Learn about the family’s passion for wine-making as you join them for a wonderful Farm-to-Table Dinner, freshly prepared from locally sourced ingredients and of course accompanied by wine from the estate.
Guimarães and Porto.
Journey to Guimarães, known as the Cradle of Portugal. From the ruined castle there are wonderful views and down in the historic heart lies a web of washing-hung alleyways, cobbled streets and cosy squares with tiny bars and cafes. Continue towards the bright lights of Porto, situated on the Douro and celebrated as the Port wine capital of the world. These famous Port wines are housed in the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores. Walk along corridors of casks and get to know your tawnys and vintages during a tasting. In the evening you are at leisure to enjoy your boutique, five-star hotel, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, in the heart of Porto’s historic district. The decor is a mix of classic and contemporary and each room is individually decorated with original artwork.
Porto, Grande Dame on the Douro.
With a full day free to enjoy at your own pace, why not take a stroll to admire the multi-coloured houses, churches covered in beautiful glazed tiles and the iconic bridges? For a different perspective and excellent views of the city, perhaps embark on a relaxing Douro cruise? In the evening, bid adeus to your Travel Director and fellow travellers with a mouth-watering Celebration Dinner with wine, at an authentic Porto restaurant.
After breakfast your transfer will arrive at Porto airport at 09:30 or 12:00.
Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
Known as ''the soul of the Portuguese identity'', Fado is the emotive national song. Take in an unmissable performance of this UNESCO-recognised art in one of the country's famed fado houses. To complete the experience, savour a typical Portuguese dinner with wine included.
Adult Price: EUR 66.00
Across the mighty Tagus River await Lisbon's famous seafood restaurants and wonderful views of the city. Board your ferry to cross the wide blue waters for a delightful evening of Portuguese seafood and fish specialities. After dinner, encounter more sweeping views over the Portuguese capital, as you return to your hotel via the impressive suspension bridge.
Adult Price: EUR 53.00
Like the Kings of Portugal before you, travel to the glamorous resort of Cascais, a veritable jewel in the crown of Portugal. Via the wealthy playground of Estoril, with its famous Casino, we'll continue with our Local Expert to the Portuguese Riviera and through the forest of Sintra to visit one of the Royal summer palaces before heading back to Lisbon.
Adult Price: EUR 46.00
As we drive through the arid Alentejo region, notice the red bark of the cork trees. This precious, naturally occurring and regenerative resource sits all around us. As a guest of the Caeiro family, we'll learn how they've worked with cork for generations to produce much more than the humble – yet vital – wine bottle stopper. Cork, as you will discover, is a versatile natural material, the attractiveness of which has been recently recognised by fashionistas the world over.
Adult Price: EUR 18.00
Aboard a traditional Rabelo boat, marvel at the sites along Porto's Douro River and its delta. As the setting sun highlights Porto's historic skyline, enjoy a range of Portuguese specialities with wine from the comfort of your riverside restaurant.
Adult Price: EUR 59.00
Spend your morning with a local guide travelling through the lush green Minho, Portugal's most northerly province, stopping at its capital, Braga. See Europe's largest and most magnificent sculpted Baroque staircase ascending the forested hillside to the 'Bom Jesus' sanctuary. We arrive using a 19th-Century water-powered funicular. Finally, a walk through Braga's historic centre brings to life this ancient and innovative city.
Adult Price: EUR 36.00
LISBON (Traditional) - PORTUGAL
This recently-renovated hotel occupies an enviable position in Lisbon.
Almancil, Algarve (Traditional) - Portugal
This hotel is enshrined in luxury and is located in the exclusive Vale de Lobo valley, surrounded by stunning scenery.
M’Ar de Ar Aqueduto, Évora.
Tomar (Traditional) - PORTUGAL
Hotel dos Templários enjoys a privileged location in the middle of the city of Tomar, close to the historical centre surrounded by majestic gardens and the Nabão River.
PINHAO (Traditional) - PORTUGAL
The Vintage House Hotel enjoys an idyllic and tranquil riverside location at Pinhão in the authentic heart of the Douro Valley.
Porto (Heritage) - PORTUGAL
After recent renovations, the Infante Sagres remains a prestigious hotel, having first opened its doors in 1951, within the centre of Porto. General areas showcase a sense of opulence, while rooms have a homely, yet elegant feel that will ensure your two night stay is most comfortable.