South of Lisbon is the well-known Algarve and the lesser known but breathtakingly beautiful Alentejo region. Our program takes you to the less known area of the Algarve and opens up an opportunity to explore the coastal area on Portugal’s southeast coast.
Day 1 Depart USA
This evening we board our overnight flight to Lisbon to begin our exploration of northernPortugal.
Day 2 Arrival in Lisbon
We arrive in Lisbon and, after completing customs, we are met by our driver who will take us on an orientation tour of the city, including the monumental quarter of Belem and the Jeronimos Monastery, the Belem tower and the monument of the Discoveries. We drive along the river Tagus towards the center of town and we are dropped off near the Alfama, the most ancient quarter of Lisbon where we have lunch. After lunch, our host takes us on a walking tour of the Alfama before driving us to our hotel which was a Palace built in 1904 for the Marquis de Valle. We have left this evening open to give you the choice of retiring early or, if you have gotten you second wind, not far away is the fashionable area known as “Docas” which has many fine restaurants with open air dining on the banks of the River Tagus.
Day 3 Castles, Casinos and Cascais
After breakfast, our driver will be waiting to take us on a discovery of Lisbon’s surrounding areas. We start with a visit to Sintra where high atop a hill stands the fairytale National Palace with its huge painted rooms, each individually named and a huge pair of conical chimneys. We will take time to explore the interior of the palace including the Swans’ Room, the Room of the Sirens and the Magpie Room.After leaving the castle we take some time to walk the quaint streets of Sintra with there antique and handicraft shops before stopping for lunch. After lunch we may want to pick up a delicious tart called “queijadas” to tide us over in the afternoon. We then head to the Colares wine region noted for its “sand wines” because of the sandy soil. Due todevelopment much of the land has been converted to other uses so this wine is becoming rare and expensive. We drive to Cabo da Roca to stand at the westernmost point in Continental Europe before heading to the charming fishing village turned resort of Cascais. We take time to walk the streets down to the harbor before heading back to Lisbon and passing through the resort town of Estoril famous for its casino. This evening we enjoy dinner and Fado, the music of Portugal.
Day 4 Portalegre, Evora and the Alentejo
In the morning we will head south to Evora, the capital of the Alentejo region. We will stop for a leisurely lunch in the town of Portalegre arriving in Evora in the late afternoon. With its Roman, Moorish and Portuguese influences, Evora well deserves its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It stands out quite distinctly on the vast horizon of the Alentejo plain, on top of a gentle hill, dominated by its imposing cathedral. We spend some time walking the city before enjoying dinner at our hotel.
Day 5 Through the Alentejo to the Algarve
The Alentejo region of Portugal stretches from the Tagus River in Lisbon to the coast of the Algarve. Since most tourists tend to go directly to the Algarve or from Lisbon by plane to the Algarve it is relatively undiscovered by visitors particularly those from North America. It is a beautiful land, however with its terracotta earth covered in wheat fields and bordered by rows of olive trees marching up and down the hills like RomanCenturions. Here and there, white washed villages and towns appear crowned by castles. The Romans left their aqueducts, the Portuguese a wealth of architecture from Gothic to the Baroque. This is the land in which we travel today stopping for a chance for some lunch before arriving at our resort located in the foothills of the Algarve.
Day 6 A day in the Algarve
We have a chance to relax at this intimate resort with its own botanical garden. The owner is an Englishman who has worked at Claridge’s and the Savoy so we can be sure that the cuisine will match the scenery. This will be a relaxing day and a perfect representation of life in the Algarve.
Day 7 Alcacer and the Trioa Peninsula
As our exploration begins to wind down we head back north to the town of Alcacer do Sal which is located on the estuary of the River Sado where the marshes have been converted into paddy fields growing rice. The Portuguese are the largest consumers of rice, per capita, in Europe; they also the biggest producers. In this area there are many traces of previous civilizations ranging from Phoenician villages to Roman Ruins. To the west lies the Trioa Peninsula with beautiful long sandy beaches practically untouched. We will spend some time exploring the area before checking into out hotel which started out as a castle many centuries ago.
Day 8 Return to USA
After breakfast our driver will be waiting to take us to the airport for our return flight to the US.
Available year round
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Lisbon, Evora, Faro, Portugal, Alcacer
8 Days : $6,218 per person, inclusive of superior rooms in superior hotels, most meals, personally guided sightseeing and private car and driver while touring.Business Class airfare at special rates is available and highly recommended