DAY 1 LISBON Upon arrival into Lisbon’s Airport, pick up the car At Europcar Lisbon Airport. We suggest you see Jerónimos Monastery, the city’s most prominent monument; Torre de Belém, ex-libris of Lisbon and jewel of Manueline art; Padrão dos Descobrimentos or Monument to the Discoveries, built in honor of Henry the Navigator, who was instrumental in the success of the Portuguese explorations during the 15th century, a period now known as the Age of Discoveries. Admire Black Horse Square, Rossio and Avenida da Liberdade before returning to your hotel for overnight.
Accommodation: Lisbon – As Janelas Verdes Hotel or similar for 1 night
DAY 2 ÉVORA (approx. 134km) After breakfast, drive south in direction of Alentejo. It is here that Portugal’s climate finally escapes the Atlantic influence and the scenery changes to large, gently undulating plains. Aside from the many tourist attractions in the region, it is wine that is currently putting the Alentejo region on the map, and more specifically, its red wines. There are two distinct styles of Alentejo red. First, there is what can loosely be termed the traditional style. These often combine earthy, herby, undergrowth-like savory flavors and aromas with the fruit. Traditional Alentejo wines are often complex and reasonably age worthy. Then there is the modern style, perhaps best demonstrated by the wines of Esporão, João Portugal Ramos or Sogrape’s new Alentejo Reserva. These wines show lots of intense fruit, with a richness that is quite ‘new world’ in character. Continue to Evora, the capital of Alentejo Province. This museum-city, whose roots go back to Roman times, reached its golden age in the 15th century, when it became the residence of the Portuguese Kings. Its unique quality stands in the whitewashed houses decorated with azulejos and wrought-iron balconies dating from the 16th to the 18th century. Overnight in Evora.
Accommodation: Évora – Pousada Convento de Évora for 1 night
DAY 3 ÓBIDOS - BATALHA - COIMBRA (approx. 338km) After breakfast, head north to Coimbra. On the way, stop in the charming village of Óbidos and in Batalha for a visit of its imposing 14th century Monastery. Coimbra, known as Portugal’s most romantic city, was the inspiration for the song “April in Portugal”. On the weather-washed right bank of the muddy Mondego, this city of medieval churches is also the educational center of the country and is at its best when the university is in session and the city radiates youthful energy. Overnight in Coimbra.
Accommodation: Coimbra – Conimbriga Hotel do Paço for 1 night
Day 4 BAIRRADA & DAO - PORTO (approx. 239km) After breakfast at the hotel, drive to the fertile winegrowing areas of Dão and Bairrada. In the western part of the Beiras, between the mountainous Dão region and the surf-washed Atlantic beaches, Bairrada has a mild, maritime climate with abundant rainfall. Although much of the Bairrada region is hilly, the majority of the vineyards are on flatter land. Here, two main types of soil (clay-limestone and sandy), each influencing style of wine, and vineyards are often divided into a multitude of small plots. Continue to the Dão region. This area is a fine example of the changes that are driving the rapid improvement in Portuguese wines. Once home to mostly large cooperative wineries that churned out wine en masse, it’s now blossoming into a premier wine region with several small, quality minded producers. Overnight in Porto.
Accommodation: Porto – Pousada Palácio do Freixo for 4 nights
DAY 5 PORTO Start your day with an orientation tour of Porto, Portugal’s second largest city. Sitting pretty among the hilly landscape at the mouth of the Douro River, Porto welcomes visitors looking for history, culture, and a good glass of port wine. Porto’s historic center is the Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See its narrow, cobbled streets, pause for a cup of coffee and “Pastel de Nata” at one of many inviting cafes. Walk across the 19th century Ponte de Dom Luis Bridge to visit Porto’s other half – the port-soaked Vila Nova de Gaia. Here you can tour one of the many ancient port wine cellars, learn about the beverage’s history and sample some of the rich red liquid for yourself. Traditionally served as a dessert wine, port wine has emerged as the sipping alternative to wine and cocktails at luncheons, after work outings and at-home get togethers. The alcohol in port wine is produced under very specific conditions that result from natural and human factors. While aging in wood, port wine’s fruity aroma develops through oxidation to create a bouquet that is reminiscent of dried fruit, toasting, wood, and spices. Overnight in Porto.
DAY 6 DOURO VALLEY - PORTO Today drive to the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The valley is spectacularly beautiful with the hills falling steeply down to the water´s edge, becoming more and more sparsely populated and wild the further inland one travels, with more of the land being given over to terraces of vines and, to a lesser extent, olive groves. This is port country and was, in fact, the world’s first demarcated wine region being established in 1756. Overnight in Porto.
DAY 7 MINHO PROVINCE - PORTO (approx. 115km) Today drive to the province of Minho. A rolling province of lush river valleys, forested hillsides, trailing vines and long, sandy beaches, it is certainly pleasing to the eye, especially in the mountainous east, where you can still see wooden wheeled ox-carts creak down cobbled lanes. Our first stop is in Guimarães. First capital of Portugal, this lovely city has preserved a medieval atmosphere in its core. Continue to Ponte de Lima, which is exactly what one hopes a Portuguese village will be like. Spread lazily along the tree-lined banks of the Lima River, it’s named for the Roman Bridge with 27 arches spanning the water. This is also the area where the famous Vinho Verde (green wine) is produced. Overnight in Porto.
DAY 8 DEPARTURE FROM PORTO After breakfast, drive to Porto airport to meet your return flight or extend your holidays.
**The visits mentioned in this itinerary are only suggestions. Clients are free to explore according to their own interests.
International flights, touristic tax in Lisbon and Porto of 2 euros / person / day paid locally at the hotel, gratuities to hotel staff, meals unless otherwise specified, drinks unless otherwise specified, optional excursions and entrances to monuments, GPS and pay toll roads, anything that is not mentioned under “Inclusions”.