13 days/12 nights
Average number of participants on tour is 14 (max. 19)
Tour Overview: Portugal in 13 days south to north.
Our tour begins in the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal famous for its beautiful beaches. Tavira is an ancient Moorish town turned resort offering a relaxed away-from-the-crowds experience. On our way north we’ll spend a morning exploring beautiful hilltop Mértola overlooking the Guadiana River with extensive remains of centuries of Moorish rule. Our next lodging destination is Évora, the capital of the region of Alentejo, former Roman city and home to Portuguese kings, with whitewashed houses decorated with Azulejos tilework. In Azeitão a wonderful Renaissance chateau, art collection and gardens combined with wine tasting awaits us. Lisbon is one of our rare destinations deserving a four night stay, in the old Moorish district of Alfama. Our explorations inside the city will include an extensive walking tour and the fabulous Jerónimos Monastery in Belem; outside we will travel to peculiar Sintra and the very pleasing town of Cascais. Heading north once again we’ll stop for a taste of Ginja – a cherry liquore served in an edible chocolate cup – in picturesque Óbidos. The largest waves in the world crash down on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal, up to 35 meters tall – we’ll have an opportunity to watch surfers attempt to catch them off the dramatic coastline of Nazaré. The medieval capital of Portugal is Coimbra, best known for its university and the fabulous Joanina Library. Deservedly voted one the world’s best tourist destinations, Porto has a lot to offer – great food, a lively riverside scene, 300 year old Port caverns and wonderful architecture. The Douro River Valley displays some of the most lush scenery anywhere – we’ll travel winding roads through vineyard covered hills, visit one of the oldest wineries in the region, take a private boat cruise upstream to Pinhão and lunch on a balcony overlooking the river. Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal and a UNESCO site, is rich in cultural and architectural heritage. The best thing about Portugal are the Portuguese people – warm, welcoming and easy to befriend.
From the 1400s to the 1800s Portugal was a maritime powerhouse, a pioneer in navigation and cartography, home to daring seafarers and traders who established colonies in South America, Africa, India and as far away as Macau in the South China Sea. Today Portugal is a small democratic country of 10 million inhabitants while Portuguese is the official language of 8 additional countries and spoken by over 300 million people.
The region of Algarve comprises the wonderful, sunny southern coastline where some of Europe’s best beaches lie, stretching from the eastern Spanish border to the western Atlantic coastline. Tavira is the Algarve’s most beautiful town with cobblestone streets, traditional architecture and fine dining. Our historic center lodging for the first two nights on tour is the Pestana Tavira, a former 16th century convent.
Arrival to Faro airport where you will be transferred to the hotel. Late afternoon orientation walk followed by aperitifs and welcome dinner.
Tavira dates back to Phoenician times and was later dominated by Romans and Moors before being reconquered by Christians in 1242. During the Age of Discoveries Tavira was an important port – supplying wine, salt and dried fish to the expeditions.
The Gilão River flows through Tavira on its way to the Atlantic. The two sides of town are connected by the pedestrian “Roman Bridge” which is thought to be more likely a 17th century reconstruction of a previous Moorish bridge. Our guided morning tour begins here and will take us up to the remains of the former Moorish castle and includes a visit to the Igreja da Misericórdia to see the wonderful Azulejos tiles.
The Ilha (island) da Tavira has one of the Algarve’s longest and most beautiful beaches. It is reached by a 20 minute ferry ride from the center of town and passes through the mudflats and lagoons of the Ria Formosa Nature Park. The Atlantic waters are a bit cold for swimming but the golden sand beaches allow for enjoyable walking.
Evening free in Tavira
Our morning visit is to charming Mértola, perched on a hillside above the Guadiana River. As the northernmost trading port on the river, Mértola has a long history of visitors and conquerors featuring Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians. The sites we will visit regard the last two of these and include the mosque-turned church and museum, a typical Moorish home and the medieval archaeological site. Included lunch on a terrace overlooking the river valley.
Transfer to Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Portugal’s best preserved medieval towns. Our lodging for the next two nights is the 15th century boutique M’AR De AR Aqueduto hotel.
Late afternoon and evening on your own to get charmed in the maze of cobblestone streets, visit the public gardens or just take in the view from the Giraldo Square.
Évora has a long and rich history and within its walls hosts a fascinating display of monuments. It was a regional capital of Celtic tribes as far back as 3,000 B.C. and under Roman domination from the 2nd century B.C to the 5th century A.D. – remains from this period are parts of the thermal baths, city walls and the 1st century A.D Roman Temple, originally dedicated to Augustus. The city was ruled by Moors for 450 years whose architectural influence is still noted today. Under the rule of the Portuguese kings beginning in 1166 Évora became one of Portugal’s most important medieval cities. This morning our local guide will walk us through the centuries, taking in the imposing Romanesque/Gothic Cathedral and the eerie Chapel of Bones.
Half of the cork harvested in the world comes from Portugal. The cork from cork oak trees is harvested just once every nine years and is used in myriad products such as insulation, tiles, shoes and handbags as well as wine bottle corks. The process of harvesting and processing of cork is very interesting as we will discover in a late afternoon factory visit.
Included dinner in a local restaurant that serves only what arrives from the farm and sea that very day.
Morning visit to a splendid Portuguese Renaissance palace and gardens once owned by Portuguese kings, followed by a tasting of three wines from their Azeitão estate.
Setúbal is an industrial city with a colorful fishing port and a pretty, pedestrianized historic center where we’ll stop for lunch.
Mid-afternoon departure for the fabulous city of Lisbon! Our lodging for four nights is the Eurostars Museum hotel, located in the famous Alfama district. The Alfama is the oldest and most characteristic part of Lisbon, squeezed between the Tagus River and the hilltop São Jorge Castle. After check-in at the hotel your tour manager will guide you through the winding lanes and picturesque small squares that rise up to the castle.
The Tagus River, the longest of the Iberian Peninsula, originates in Spain, flows through northern Portugal, opening to become an estuary at Lisbon before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. Its wide, slow moving waters, well protected from the ocean allowed the city to become a prosperous trading center through the rise and fall of many civilizations – the Roman Olisipo, the Visigoth Ulixbona and to the Moors, who ruled until 1147, it was al-Us̲h̲būna. Beginning in the 15th century Portuguese navigators and traders traveled the globe, established colonies, brought back luxury goods and Lisbon became one of the richest, most vibrant cultural centers on the planet.
In 1755 Lisbon was devasted by an earthquake estimated to be of 8.5–9.0 magnitude, followed by a twelve meter high tsunami and a raging fire that lasted five days. An estimated 30,000 people lost their lives and most of the city, excluding the Alfama, was in ruins. But, within one year, the city was cleared of rubble and new broad avenues, large squares and seismically protected buildings were under construction.
This morning we will further explore Lisbon with a guided tour of the Chiado and Baixa areas of the city.
Afternoon on your own. Included dinner in the Alfama.
The Belém district is located 6 kilometers west of the Lisbon center and is home to many of the city’s most important monuments. Situated on the banks of the Tagus, the early 16th century Belém Tower was built as part of the city’s defense network and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Monument to the Discoveries was constructed in 1960 to honor the Portuguese Age of Discoveries. It is decorated with 33 of the most important figures of that period including Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan.
The Jerónimos Monastery and Cloister is an enormous, fabulous complex in Manueline design – a lavish and thematically complex architectural style named after King Manuel I. Construction began in 1501 and was completed a century later. The monastery is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After some free time for lunch along the riverside we’ll take in the National Coach Museum, a wonderful collection of 16th to 19th century coaches. Beautifully maintained and restored – most were royal carriages – they show the evolution of private transport from horse drawn up the earliest motor cars. Included in the museum is an exhibition of the Royal Family’s Departure for Brazil in 1807.
Late afternoon and evening free in Lisbon
Sintra is an attractive but busy mountainous tourist village set amidst forests and ferns, most famous for the nearby crazy, colorful and crowded Pena Palace. We will arrive early, before the cruise ship buses, for a guided visit to the worthwhile Sintra National Palace, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to Portuguese kings. The palace was built atop a former Moorish castle in various architectural styles of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Cascais is one of the loveliest seaside towns anywhere, with small beaches, a pedestrianized Old Town, excellent restaurants, grand mansions, villas and gardens. Lunch and early afternoon on your own.
Late afternoon and evening free in Lisbon
Today we drive north from Lisbon to Coimbra with 2 very interesting stops along the way.
Óbidos is a charming, fortified medieval hill town with a well-preserved castle. The main gate is beautifully decorated with glazed blue and white Azulejo tiles. Do try the local specialty – Ginja de Óbidos – a delicious cherry liquor served in edible chocolate cups.
The upper part of Nazaré has spectacular views from its headland 318 meters down to its lovely long, sandy beach. Some of the world’s biggest waves break here.
Coimbra was originally a Roman town. It was conquered by the Moors in 713 and, after the Reconquest, was the first capital of Portugal in the 12th and 13th centuries. The University was founded in 1290, making it one of the oldest in Europe.
Our lodging is the 18th century Quinta das Lágrimas, located just across the river from town. Late afternoon we will have a guided visit of the University’s Royal Palace, the Chapel of St. Michael, the Baroque Library and the College of Jesus, which includes the Physics Laboratory (18th and 19th centuries) and the Natural History Collection (18th century).
Included dinner in Coimbra
Late morning departure to Aveiro, a pleasing coastal town crossed with canals and moliceiros, gondola-style boats. You’ll have free time here to take a ride and to enjoy lunch at an outdoor cafe in one of the town squares.
Arrival to Porto where our lodging for the last three nights on tour is the Eurostars Porto Douro, located on the banks of the river.
The Ribeira district of Porto, the oldest part of the city, stretches west alongside the river from our hotel and is filled with small restaurants and bars, street musicians and strollers. From there the city slopes up the hillside where you’ll find narrow cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and vintage shops and cafes.
Mid afternoon guided walking tour of the city that includes two UNESCO sites – the 15th century Gothic church Igreja de São Francisco, the 19th century Palacio de Bolsa – and the beautiful interior of the São Bento train station.
Evening on your own to enjoy the riverside scene of cafes and restaurants.
The Douro River originates in northern Spain, some 900 kilometers from where it spills into the Atlantic Ocean. It forms a long stretch of the Portugal/Spain border, then passes through vineyards and agricultural areas down to the cities of Porto and, just across the bridge, Vila Nova de Gaia.
Early morning departure from our hotel for one of the most scenic rides in all of Europe. After a coffee stop in picturesque Amarante we’ll arrive to the Alto Duoro River Valley, the world’s oldest designated wine region. Most famous for the production of fortified Porto wines, vintners these days also produce excellent reds and whites.
Visit to the one of the oldest wineries in the region with a tour through their wine museum, a walk through their cantina for an explanation of how fortified wines are made, followed by a wine and cheese pairing overlooking an amazing land and riverscape. Just below the winery we’ll board a private boat for the 45-minute cruise on the Douro to the village of Pinhão. Included lunch at a lovely restaurant situated on the river.
Evening on your own in Porto
The first king of Portugal was born in Guimarães. The carefully preserved town and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is closely associated with Portuguese national identity and language. Our guided visit will include the 15th century Palace of the Dukes of Braganza.
Afternoon free back in Porto to visit one of the Caves, the historic Port wine cellars of the Vila Nova de Gaia – easily reached on a short walk via the Dom Luis I Bridge, one of six fabulous bridges that cross the Douro. The underground cellars, some of which are 300 years old, reflect the trade history between England and Porto and the early English dominance of Port wine production.
Evening farewell dinner in the Ribeira.
Morning transfers to Porto Airport
|May 5 - 17||5 spaces left|
|October 1 - 13||no single spaces available Available|
Principal towns & villages
|5-8||Setúbal, Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais|
|9-12||Óbidos, Nazaré, Coimbra, Aveiro, Porto, Pinhão, Guimarães|
- Transfers from Faro Airport
- 12 nights’ five-star (4) and four-star (1) hotel accommodation
- Tourist accommodation tax
- All breakfasts, 5 dinners and 2 lunches. Beverages included.
- All ground transportation Days 2-12
- All activities and admissions listed in Highlights
- Full time professional tour manager
- Day 13 morning transfers to Porto airport at scheduled times
- City walking tours with local guides in: Tavira, Faro, Évora, Elvas, Lisbon, Óbidos, Aveiro and Porto
- Évora Museum
- Visit to the Cromlech Almendres
- Cork factory visit
- Visit to a wine estate in Azeitão
- All entrance fees on Lisbon walking tour
- Monastery and Cloister at Belem
- National Coach Museum at Belem
- National Palace at Sintra
- Winery visit & tasting Douro valley
- Rabelo boat trip to Pinhão
- All entrance fees on Porto walking tour
- Palacio da Bolsa at Porto
Tour begins: Tavira
Transfers from Faro Airport are included
Tour ends: Porto
Morning transfers to Porto airport are included
How to get there: Purchase multi-city tickets into Faro Algarve Airport (FAO) and out from Porto Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport (OPO).
If you would like flight research assistance please contact our Charleston, SC office.
Suggestions: May 5-17 Portugal and May 17-28 Galicia and the Basque Country fit back to back.
Transfers from Porto to Santiago de Compostela on May 17 are included.
September 19 – October 1 Andalucia and October 1-13 Portugal fit back to back.
Transfers from Seville to Tavira on October 1 are included.
Day 3 — Mértola, Portugal
Day 5 — Setúbal, Portugal
Day 7 — Belém, Lisbon, Portugal
Day 8 — Cascais, Portugal
Day 9 — Coimbra, Portugal
Day 10 — Aveiro, Portugal
Day 11 — Amarante, Portugal
Day 11 — Pinhão, Portugal
Day 12 — Guimarães, Portugal
Be prepared to up to 4 hours a day on your feet. In Lisbon and Porto there are inclines and steps.
Age is not important as long as you are reasonably fit and a good walker. If you have mobility issues this is not the right tour for you. Please call us if you have questions.
1. PRICES, DEPOSITS, PAYMENTS, REFUNDS
- Prices shown are per person, double occupancy, in euro.
- The deposit is 400 euro per person.
- Balance payments are due 70 days prior to tour start.
- Deposits and balance payments are accepted by Visa and Master Card or by bank wire. After your deposit has been accredited we will send you an invoice with the due date and amount for the balance of payment. Should you fail to make final payment by the date specified on your invoice, we reserve the right to cancel your booking without refund.
- Cancellations and refunds: in the unlikely event that we would cancel your tour, you would be entitled to a 100% refund within 2 weeks after the tour’s cancellation.
If you cancel your tour reservation:
- are 50% refundable up until 180 days prior to tour start date.
- are 100 % non-refundable less than 180 days prior to tour start date.
- are 98% refundable 70 days or more prior to tour start date.
- are 48% refundable 70 to 31 days prior to tour start date.
- 30 days or less prior to tour start date: no refund.
Physician documented emergency medical reasons or police documented cases of accident, flood, fire or crime are required for refunds.
We do not provide refunds for: non-medical personal problems; air carrier delays or cancellations; inability to obtain passports; business problems or emergencies.
2. TRAVEL PROTECTION
We strongly recommend you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your trip investment!
http://travelexinsurance.com/ provides Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and much more. It is not possible for Amber Road Tours, Inc. to provide protection coverage of any sort and you agree to buy insurance or travel at your own risk.
Transfers from Faro Algarve Airport to Tavira hotel.
All ground transportation Days 2-12.
Morning transfers on Day 13 to Porto airport at scheduled times.
12 nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast.
5 dinners and 1 lunch including beverages (wine or beer or soft drinks and water).
Admissions to all sites visited as a group, as listed in bold on the tour itinerary.
4. NOT INCLUDED
Air transportation, all meals not listed above, room service, mini-bar, phone calls, etc.
If you are visiting Portugal only for the 13 days of our tour you will want to purchase a multi-city flight into Faro and out from Porto. Transfers will be scheduled after we receive the arrival times of all the tour participants. Your tour manager will be expecting you at the hotel in Tavira.
Morning transfers to San Sebastian and Bilbao airports at scheduled times.
You are allowed one suitcase and one airline regulation size carry-on bag. If you exceed this limit there may not be space in the coach to transport your excess luggage and it will be at your own expense to have it transported throughout the tour. We suggest that you bring a daypack for carrying water, guide books, jacket, rain gear, etc.
8. WALKING ON TOUR
There is a lot of walking on this tour and you will be on your feet several hours each day. This tour is not suited for anyone who has problems with knees, back, heart, obesity or those who cannot manage steps and moderate inclines. Age is not important as long as you are reasonably fit and a good walker. If you have mobility issues this is not the right tour for you. Please call us if you have questions.
Day 1 by sedan or maxi van taxi
Days 2 – 12 by air conditioned coach
Day 13 by sedan or maxi van taxi
Are located in quiet locations within historic districts. European hotel rooms are generally smaller than those in the U.S., and have one queen/king bed or two twin beds, with private bath.
11. SINGLE TRAVELERS
We have space available for three singles on each of our tours. They are provided with single-use double rooms. The additional single supplement cost for Portugal is 1150 euro. Please contact us for availability prior to booking.
Package tour prices, as listed on our web site, are guaranteed. We do not sell optional excursions or take you on shopping expeditions. Your additional expenses will be for non-included meals, moderate tipping where appropriate, and personal sightseeing or shopping
13. EASY TRAVELERS
For the enjoyment of all our guests on tour we ask those who choose to travel with Amber Road Tours to be congenial, lighthearted and to take small issues in stride. Should you have any issues please address them to your tour manager – he or she is your Amber Road Tours’ representative during your time on tour. Once your tour is finished you will be emailed a link to our website where you can leave comments about your experiences and suggestions about how we can improve our services.
14. NO SMOKING / NO CELL PHONES
We have a no smoking policy on all tour buses, at group meals and at all sites visited. The same policy applies to the use of cellular phones.
15. LIMIT OF LIABILITY
No responsibility is accepted for any loss, expense, accident, injury, or damage to any person or property due to the actions or omissions of any person, or any cause, including but not limited to acts of God, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, defects in machinery, breakdown of equipment, weather, quarantine, negligence, loss of baggage, or other causes beyond our control, such losses being the responsibility of the guest.
16. MEMBERSHIP ON TOUR
Amber Road Tours reserves the right to accept, reject, or not retain any person as a tour participant whose condition or general deportment impedes the operation of the tour or, in the opinion of the tour manager, affects the rights and enjoyment of other guests. A guest not retained on tour shall have no cause for complaint or refund, and shall bear any and all extra expenses that ensue.