A holiday to Portugal's undiscovered treasures
Discover a Portugal far removed from the Algarve's manicured golf courses and holiday resorts. Stay in a choice of excellent hotels in and close to the Costa Verde fishing town of Povoa de Varzim, and explore this little-known but lovely region on three fascinating included guided excursions: one to Oporto, one along the Costa Verde and one into the Minho region just north of Povoa. Hugely popular with our customers, this Portugal holiday will reveal a land of rugged coastlines and mountains, sweeping vineyards, hilltop villages, historic cities and gentle people keen to share their beautiful homeland with you.
A few miles north of Oporto, on Portugal's Costa Verde, Povoa de Varzim is a traditional fishing town perhaps best known for its historic Casino da Povoa and golf course, but its real treasures are its beautiful sandy beaches and clean sea air. Discover a town boasting a pleasant selection of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants - many selling freshly caught seafood.
Your Base: Costa Verde Hotels in Povoa de Varzim
Hidden Portugal Tour Itinerary
Arrive in Oporto, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to your hotel.
Day One: Fly to Portugal
Our first included excursion is a full-day visit to Oporto, the ancient, time-weathered city that clings to the hillsides above the beautiful River Douro. During the day, you will also visit one of the city's famous port wine lodges, and have the chance to take in the views of the river and its surroundings on an optional boat trip.
Day Two: Included Oporto tour
Relax in your hotel in Povoa de Varzim, today, or join our optional excursion and travel along the Douro River Valley, through the romantic Amarante and scenic Mesao Frio, to the port of Regua, the home of Port wine. You'll visit a working quinta (a Portuguese term that means 'farm' but is often used to describe a traditional vineyard), where you'll have the opportunity to stroll around the estate and learn about the history of port production.
Day Three: Optional Douro River Valley excursion
North of Oporto, Portugal's Costa Verde is a protected region of outstanding natural beauty. Today's tour of the area will begin with more time to explore Povoa de Varzim, before we continue to neighbouring Vila do Conde. Explore Vila's colourful market, and then round off your Costa Verde trip with a visit to Esposende, famous for its wide beaches and the 17th-century Fort of Sao Joao Baptista.
Day Four: Included Costa Verde tour
Relax and enjoy the surroundings of your hotel, or join today's full-day optional tour to Barcelos and Braga. Barcelos is the home of Europe's largest open-air market, an astonishing hive of activity that offers a huge range of local goods.
Day Five: Optional Barcelos and Braga excursion
From there we continue to Braga, the former catholic capital of Portugal. Explore the verdant acres of Bom Jesus park and the Escadaria (Baroque staircases) which climbs through it, past chapels, fountains and statues, to the hill-top church. Admire the magnificent Se Cathedral, and the bustling Praca del Republica, where the cafes are famous for their coffee and their atmosphere.
Today's optional excursion will cross into Spain and bring to life ancient Santiago de Compostela, one of Spain's most beautiful cities. Famous as the end of the 1000-year-old Camino pilgrimage trail, the city's heart is the (marvellously preserved) Romanesque cathedral - possibly one of the world's earliest tourist destinations - to which medieval pilgrims once flocked in their thousands.
Day Six: Optional Santiago de Compostela excursion
Your final included tour will reveal the Minho region. Your first stop will be colourful, elegant Viana do Castelo, a coastal resort set on the northern bank of the Rio Lima. See its Renaissance houses and palaces, fine beaches, beautifully preserved old town and Basilica de Santa Lucia before continuing to the historic market town of Ponte de Lima, famous for its 18th-century fountain and Roman bridge.
Day Seven: Included tour of the Minho region
Transfer back to the airport and check in for your flight home at the end of a wonderfully different holiday to Portugal.
Day Eight: Fly home to the UK
The market in Vila do Conde will only be open for tours that depart the UK on a Thursday. The market in Barcelos will only be open for tours that depart the UK on a Sunday.
Market opening times
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 30 minutes.
Hotel transfer times
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
Combining hotel transfers
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.