Description of Private Escorted Tours - Hidden Charms of Portugal ULIB18
- Dining in Marvao overlooking the Alentejo plains into Spain
- Exploring the Medieval Castle in the walled town of Portalegre
- Visiting the charming 13th Century town of Marvao
- Exploring Monsanto, considered the most typical village of Portugal
Day 1 Depart USA
This evening we board our overnight flight to Lisbon to begin our exploration of northern Portugal.
Day 2 Exploring 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 Santarem, Castelo De Vide and Marvao
After breakfast our driver is ready to take us east into the Alentejo region where our first stop will be Santarem which was named Praesidium Julium by Julius Caesar when he used it as his headquarters for his legions. There are some interesting Roman remains to be seen as well as some interesting buildings from the 12th Century. We then proceed to the town of Castelo de Vide, an attractive spa town with a lot of unique architecture. We will walk around the Judiaria Quarter with its steep, very narrow cobbled streets. This area was a haven for Jews escaping persecution by the Catholic Church in nearby Spain during the Inquisition. We have some lunch before heading to the walled town of Portalegre nestling in the shadow of its medieval castle ruins. The town was the centre for tapestry production and silk weaving and the wealth that created allowed the building of some magnificent merchant houses and mansions done in the Baroque style. We then arrive in Marvao a beautiful 13th Century walled town that has remained virtually unchanged. The steep and narrow cobbled streets wind up the hill to the 13th Century picture book castle situated over 3,000 feet above sea level. Our hotel is located in two medieval buildings tucked away in one of the many cobbled lanes of the hotel.
Day 4 Village life in the Beiras region
Today we will visit some unique and interesting villages from different periods of Portuguese history. Our first stop will be in Idanha-a-Velha which is built on the ruins of the old Roman town of Egitania. We then take a tour through Monsanto, reputed to be the most typical village of Portugal. From there we go to Penamacor, Sortelha and Aldeia de Joao Pires with a break for lunch in between. Our final destination is the town of Belmonte located on the slopes of the Serra da Esperanca and birthplace of Pedro Alvares Cabral the discoverer of Brazil. Time to relax before dinner at our hotel, converted from an old convent.
Day 5 Villages and Castles
Continuing our discovery of the hidden gems of Portugal we start with a visit to Castelo do Mendo, we tour the castle at Almeida before traveling through Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo and Pinhel. We stop for a picnic lunch in an appropriate spot and finish our tour in Marialva, with its old Roman ruins and the Castle at Trancoso before returning to our hotel.
Day 6 A visit to Conimbriga and Coimbra
After breakfast we head for Linhares da Beira and Piodao two beautiful and characteristic villages we then continue on to Conimbriga one of the best preserved Roman sites in Europe. Founded in 200 BC, the settlement consists of two main houses with magnificent mosaic floors together with several bathhouses and working fountains. There are also remains of an aqueduct and forum. After a tour, we head into the university town of Coimbra. The university was founded in the 13th Century and was, up until the early 20th Century the only University of Portugal. We will have lunch in town and then commence a tour of the university which is situated on the top of a hill. We will visit the baroque library with its rare books and the frescoes on the walls and the ceilings. We will also visit the 17th Century Convento de Santa Clara-a-Nova and the silver tomb of the patron saint of Coimbra, Queen Isabel.
Day 7 Sintra, Cascais and the music of Portugal
Today our driver is waiting to return us to Lisbon via Sintra and the coastal towns of Cascais and Estoril. Our first stop will be the town of 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. We then head for Cascais, originally a fishing village but now a sophisticated resort but still retaining its charm. We will have lunch here and take some time to enjoy its quant streets and water views. 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 go to a restaurant for our farewell dinner. In addition to a fine meal we have the chance to hear Fado the soulful songs of Portugal.
Day 8 Return to US
After breakfast our driver will be waiting to take us to the airport for our return flight to the US.
Additional Pricing Information
- 1st Class rail travel as indicated on the itinerary
- Superior Rooms at the properties indicated in the accommodations area (We reserve the right to substitute a property of equal quality in advance of departure should the designated hotel be unavailable)
- Private Transfers to and from the airport or rail station at destination
- All meals as indicated on the itinerary by B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
- Private guides for city explorations and private driver/guide while traveling.
- Entrance fees to all museums, attractions and other venues as indicated on the daily itinerary
- Baggage handling at all hotels
- All applicable taxes and service fees
Services Not Included
- International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
- Beverages with included meals (unless otherwise indicated on itinerary page)
- Any meals not indicated on the Itinerary page
- Items of a personal nature e.g. minibar, film, postcards etc.
- Gratuities to Guides and Driver/Guides (we provide suggested guidelines for your selected destination in your pre-departure material)
- Any passport or visa fees or government departure taxes (It is the traveler’s responsibility to secure the latest information regarding passports and visa requirements)
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