Portugal, Spain & France Tour
Arrival in Lisbon. Meet and greet with an English speaking guide at the airport.
The tour starts with a visit to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (the place where the tombs of discoverer Vasco da Gama and the famous poet Luis de Camões are placed), the Belém neighbourhood, the mouth of the Tagus river and its XVI century monuments , and the Belém Tower. This city was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a big part of Portuguese identity and culture.
Lisbon´s central avenue, the “Avenida da Liberdade”, the Rossio Square, the heart of the city known as the “Baixa” (XVII century) and the medieval neighbourhood of Alfama with its many typical narrow roads, stairs and viewpoints offer incredible views of the city. Lunch by the Tagus River where the famous Bacalhau is highly recommended!
Be enchanted by the melancholic melody of one of the most emblematic traditions of Portugal, FADO, during a typical dinner at a fado restaurant. We highly recommend the typical kid (baby goat) as a menu choice.
09h00 – Full Day Tour of Sintra / Cabo da Roca
The morning starts off with a visit to the Pena Palace, hidden in a mysterious forest and boasting from granite boulders like as if straight out of a fairy-tale. Built in the XIX Century, this mystical and enigmatic place is referenced by the Romans. The deep-rooted city of SINTRA, a “Glorious Eden” as sung by Byron (a famous poet), is unique and preserves its antique appearance thus immersing us in past and is known for its unique ensembles of palaces and parks. You will feel the mysticism of this place when you get acquainted with the Quinta da Regaleira that until this day holds a secret engraved in stone. Millionaire Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro commissioned this unique project of house and landscape from the Italian set-designer and architect Luigi Manini (1848-1936) who’s genius, along with the mastery of sculptors, stonemasons, craftsmen who had formerly Palace Hotel do Buçaco, created this magical place. Like gradually returning to the past we will travel along an old road surrounded by ancient properties and picturesque villages until we reach Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe, where “The Land ends and the sea begins”. The tour continues passing through the famous Guincho Beach, one of the most sought after by lovers of surf.Lunch by the Ocean at one of the luxurious seafood restaurants in Guincho! Cascais first emerged as a fishing Village, but today is filled with pátios, restaurants and local shops that bring life to its bay and historical centre. Estoril, once a famous vacation resort area for European Royal families, maintains to this day the blissful, laid-back and cosmopolitan atmosphere that it is popular for. Its beauty and spirit were also factors in becoming a refuge during the Second World War for those who searched for a more reserved place with a good chance to escape from a turbulent Europe. Inside the more vintage hotels, it is still possible to hear stories from that time.
Full Day Tour of Alcobaça/Batalha/Nazaré/Obidos
Visit to the monasteries of Alcobaça – A Cistercian Abbey, the oldest in the area,where the tombs of the most famous lovers of Portugal are located – Dom Pedro I and Inês de Castro, a masterpiece of gravestone monuments. Batalha – Monastery, built in honor of the victory in the war against Castela, in the XIV century, struck by its grandeur from the outside and ease of stone lace from the inside.
Next stop is Nazaré – once a small fishing village and now – a city famous for not only fishing, but also for the wonderful beaches, wonderful food and unique local folk costumes.Lunch is to be served at a typical fish restaurant on the Nazaré beach. Try the famous Octopus. Next stop; visit the medieval town of Óbidos.
Óbidos is one of the “fabulous” cities of Portugal. Inside the city wall from the main gate to the castle, are a few shopping streets with traditional low-rise houses, twined with roses and wisteria. Outside the gates of the castle the towns’ people organize jousting tournaments, a chocolate festival, and before Christmas a real Santa Claus town is built.
Departure from Lisbon / Fátima / Tomar / Mealhada / Porto – Overnight in Porto (Cerca de 380 km)
Fátima is a city in central Portugal that is home to the Shrine of Fatima, known as “the Altar of Peace”, and is visited annually by hundreds of thousands of catholic pilgrims from different countries around the world. The Chapel of Apparitions is located here and is a place of worship of all believers since 1917, where Mary, Mother of God appeared to the three shepherds. The Former headquarters of the Order of the Templars, Tomar is a city of great charm as well for its artistic and cultural wealth. The main attraction in Tomar is in the Convento de Cristo, where you will find the town´s ex-libris, an amazingly beautiful window on the hall of the Chapter of the Monastery.
Mealhada, a required stop for lunch to eat the famous suckling pig accompanied by Bairrada wine!
Porto, a World Heritage city, and a great gateway as the starting point for a journey through the region’s natural and cultural diversity. Accommodation in Porto.
Half Day Tour of Porto (Lunch suggestion: at one of the famous seafood restaurants in Matosinhos!)
Porto, a coastal city in north-eastern Portugal, known for its majestic bridges and production of Port wine. In the medieval district of Ribeira, at the margins of the river, narrow cobblestone roads guide you to local houses, shops and restaurants. The Church of São Francisco is known for its exuberant baroque interior with decorated golden statues. O sumptuous Palácio da Bolsa, from the XIX century, was a stock market and was built to impress potential European investors. The São Bento Station is one to the biggest treasures of Porto. It´s hall is decorated with more than 20.000 exhibiting the history of Portugal and will surely leave you quite impressed. Next, the Clérigos tower and if you are feeling courageous, climb up the 225 steps all the way to the top. Should you choose to climb these step, you will be marvelled by the magnificent view.
A visit to the Port Wine cellars, get acquainted to its history from the many phases of production, storage and of course, a tasting of this worldwide famous beverage. Overnight in Porto.
Departure from Porto / Santiago Compostela, overnight in Viana do Castelo (Approx. 250km)
(Dinner Suggestion at the Pousada de Viana with an unforgettable view)
Departure from Porto, crossing the border with Spain through a bridge over the Minho River in direction to Vigo, the largest fishing port of Spain.
On route to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Galiza region, in north-eastern Spain. The city is known as an culminating point in the pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago routes, and the supposed burial place of the biblical apostle São Tiago. His mortal remains are, supposedly, inside the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, consecrated in 1211, with its elaborately detailed stone façade that opens to the grand squares in the interior of its medieval walls of its old city. Return to Portugal and overnight in Viana do Castelo.
Departure from Viana do Castelo / Braga / Guimaraes / overnight in Leon (z 400km)
Viana do Castelo is one of the prettiest cities in northern Portugal. Its main role in the era of Portuguese Discoveries and in Cod fishing show its traditional link to the ocean. Viana do Castel enriched itself with emblazoned Palaces, churches, convents and fountains that entail a national heritage worth visiting.
Braga , a city in the extreme north of Portugal, just northeast of Porto. It is recognized for its heritage and religious events. To its east is the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte and its neoclassic church up top of a Baroque stairway that climbs 116 meters. In the centre of the city, the medieval style Cathedral (Sé de Braga, houses a museum of sacred art and a gothic style chapel, the Capela dos Reis. In the vicinity, the imposing Archiepiscopal Palace of Braga contemplates the Garden of Santa Barbara.
Guimarães is considered the cradle of Portugal as it was here that Afonso Henriques was born and who would later become the first King of Portugal. The historic centre of Guimarães, within the fortress Wall area, has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site with basis on the authenticity and originality in its recovery. Till this day, the city still posseses a series of preserved and harmonious heritage shown through its gracious iron balconies, terraces and granite porches, stately houses, arches that connect narrow roads, floor slabs smoothed by time, towers and cloisters. For a brief moment you can imagine yourself in a medieval scenario, where nobles were building their estates, such as the Mota Prego House, the Vila Flor Palace , Toural and many others that give Guimarães a unique atmostphere. Overnight in Leon.
Departure from Léon, La Rioja, San Sebastian (About 500 km)
Leon, a city with many churches and cathedrals recognized for their architecture and art. Among them is the Cathedral of Leon, from the 13th century, in a Gothic style with towers and flying buttresses. The Basilica of Santo Isidoro, from the 10th century, has a Romanesque style and is known for its frescoes and royal tombs. It is also a lively meeting place for pilgrims, as it is one of the last cities in the autonomous community of Castilla y León where the main route of the Camino de Santiago passes before reaching Galicia. Its roots are in the 1st century BC, when a Roman legion settled between the Bersnega and Thorio rivers. It quickly became a strong military pole that would become the city of León and would gain strategic importance throughout the Iberian Peninsula over the following years. In the 10th century, it became the capital of the then kingdom that started to bear its name.
La Rioja is a province and autonomous community in northern Spain with a renowned local wine industry. Below the Cantabrian Mountains, the vineyards occupy the Ebro valley and surround the ancient city of Haro. In the summer they have the Batalla de Vino (wine battle) festival, which leaves the participants messy but with a feeling of an incredible experience and memory that will last forever. Also, they have the Museo Del Vino that shows the history of wine. Local wineries range from small traditional wineries to large commercial producers. Overnight in San Sebastian.
Visit to San Sebastian and Bilbao (About 100km)
San Sebastián is a touristic town in the Bay of Biscay, in the mountainous Spanish Basque Country. It is known for its beaches; Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta, surrounded by a picturesque promenade in front of the bay, and by world-renowned restaurants by innovative chefs. In the cobbled historic centre (Parte Vieja), luxury shops make half-walls with vibrant snack bars that combine local wines with miniatures of regional specialties.
Bilbao, an industrial port city in northern Spain, is surrounded by green mountains. It is the true capital of the Basque Country, with its centre full of skyscrapers. It is famous for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, which sparked a revitalization when it opened its doors in 1997. The museum houses prominent modern and contemporary works, but the centre of attention is the curved and titanium-coated building. Overnight in San Sebastian.
Departure from San Sebastian / Biarritz (about 50km)
Biarritz, an elegant seaside town on the Basque coast of southwest France, has been a popular tourist destination since it began to receive European royalty in the 19th century. The city is also an important surf destination, with long sandy beaches and surf schools. Symbol of Biarritz, the Rocher de la Vierge is a rocky outcrop with a statue of the Virgin Mary on top. Biarritz offers stunning views of the Bay of Biscay. Overnight in Biarritz.
Departure from Biarritz towards Lourdes (About 160km), Overnight in Lourdes
Lourdes is a city in southwest France, at the base of the Pyrenees. It is known worldwide for the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, an important Catholic pilgrimage site. Every year, millions of people visit the Massabielle Cave, where, in 1858, it is said that the Virgin Mary appeared to a local woman. Pilgrims can drink or bathe in the water that flows from a fountain within the cave.
Departure from Lourdes, Overnight in Toulouse (About 180 km)
Toulouse, the capital of the Occitanie region in southern France, is divided by the Garonne River and is located near the Spanish border. The city is known as La Ville Rose (“The Pink City”), because of the terracotta bricks used in many buildings. The 17th century Canal do Midi connects the Garonne River to the Mediterranean Sea and can be travelled by boat, bicycle or on foot. We recommend trying the Regional dish of this city, “Cassoulet”!