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Palacio de Mateus Photo by Gabriella Ranelli

Portugal is an beautiful country,  still mainly untouched by foreigners. There is plenty to discover, from the majesty of Lisbon - once a great gateway to all of Europe, to the fantastic Berardo Collection near Sintra, to the beautiful countryside dotted with small villages and cork groves. Join us for a route through thriving wine regions, medieval towns, Roman ruins, and the charming villages along the Duoro river. WIth its beautiful scenery, exquisite traditional cuisine, and unpretentious character, Portugal is a can't-miss place to visit. 

Day by day

Day 1 
On a guided tour of the city, explore Portugal’s Bairro Alto Neighborhood and the monumental 18th-century Praça do Comércio square. You can also take a ride aboard the colorful Trafaria Praia. Covered in traditional blue and white tiles, the Trafaria Praia sparkles with twinkling installations evoking the sea.
Lunch at Mercado da Ribeira, where top Lisbon chefs, favorite restaurants, upscale food shops and multiple bars ply their goods. Visit Cais do Sodré district and enjoy a classic evening cocktail in this hip area.

Day 2
Visit Sintra, the gorgeous resort town of Cascais, dating back to the 12th century, the nearby Ellipse Foundation, Estoril—where spies hung out during WWII—and Setubal to the south, whose architecture underscores the country’s link to Brazil. Heat east to Evora, an inland city with a remarkably well-preserved old center, remains of a significant Roman temple, and a pousada in what was a convent next to the temple.

Day 3
Today you’ll visit three of the thirty heritage sites by jeep with a local expert on the zoomorphic engravings in this remarkable open air Paleolithic Museum.

Day 4
Douro Valley After breakfast depart for the Douro Valley, famous for its fortified port wines and spectacular scenery. Light lunch en route. Afternoon sightseeing including the historic Mateus Estate, short riverside walk, and wine tasting before dinner in the village.

Day 5
Stay on the quay with views to the port wine lodges. Visit one of the historic lodges before a light dinner in the old heart of Porto—Porto makes the money Lisbon spends.

Day 6
Before departing for Sintra we’ll join our local guide to see a few of the city’s most famous buildings—the Stock Exchange, Sao Bento Railway Station, Sao Francisco Church and the Flower Market to name a few. The drive to Sintra is about 3.5 hours, with a stop en route at Obidos, a jewel of a village and today an arts center.

Day 7 
Sintra, a UNESCO Heritage town is filled with gardens, palaces, amazing vistas and wonderful walks/hikes. Begin the day by hiking to the top of Pena Park, site of the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace. The Moorish Castle is a reminder that this stretch of the Iberian Peninsula was once ruled from the Damascus Caliphate. Pena Palace is an extraordinary mix of Romanesque/Baroque and mid-19th c whimsy. After visiting the palace, drive to the nearby Atlantic Beach of Praia das Macas for a special seafood lunch. 

Day 8  
After breakfast you’ll all take the train into the center of Lisbon and explore the city from the ancient Alfama quarter to Saint Jorge's Castle to the grand Praça do Comércio and on to the Tagus River at Belem with its iconic Jeronimos Monastery and the Cultural Center of 
Belem/CCB. 

Day 9
Lisbon’s arts Cultural Center/Art Center’s interior and the Museum of Modern Art in Chiado. Other museum options include the great Gulbenkian Collection and the Tile/Azulejo Museum. Lunch with our local guide at one of her favorite restaurants. Dinner near Sintra. 

Day 10
Cascais for a bike ride along the sea for some 15km. Returning to Cascais, visit the Paula Rego Museum; Portugal’s greatest living painter. 
Cascais is a pretty fishing town turned resort with good shopping and people watching. The promenade along the seafront is ideal for a light lunch. Return to Sintra after lunch for a free afternoon and evening. 

Day 11
After breakfast depart for Evora in the Alentejo Region of Portugal. The white town with Roman foundations rises from the plain which is planted in olive and cork oak trees. A walking tour of Evora reveals a Roman temple, beautiful blue tiled churches, many Renaissance buildings, and shops selling local products including copper pots, earthenware ceramics, cork wares and Alentejo wines. Continuing eastwards and back into Spain you’ll pass Roman bridges, fields scattered with wildflowers, vineyards, wheat fields and marble quarries.

 

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