Festive celebrations in unspoilt Portugal
Spend Christmas on Portugal's unspoiled Costa Verde, where life is lived at a slower pace than in the resorts of the southern Algarve, and where the excesses of tourism haven't overcome the beauty of the region and its friendly, welcoming inhabitants. Enjoy ultra-modern four-star hotel comforts and some wonderful included and optional excursions, including historic Porto and the laid-back towns and villages of the verdant coast.
Fly to Oporto, meet your Tour Manager and make the short transfer north along the coast to Viana do Castelo, set at the mouth of the River Lima, and your stylish hotel base for your festive stay. Spend the evening resting and relaxing, and enjoy a first dinner at the hotel.
An included excursion today introduces vibrant Oporto, Portugal's historic second city, dressed in its festive finery. Ancient, time-weathered, and clinging haphazardly to the hillsides above beautiful River Douro, 'Porto' - in the native tongue - is a delight. Here you'll find a wonderful pre-Christmas atmosphere to savour, and no doubt a tasting of the region's celebrated port wine to enjoy.
Today, choose to wander into Viana and take in the spectacular view from the Santa Lucia basilica, or join an optional excursion across the Spanish border to ancient Santiago de Compostela, fabled end of the ancient Camino, and one of Spain's most beautiful cities. Marvellously preserved, the Romanesque cathedral lies at the city's heart, perhaps the first-ever tourist destination for the thousands of pilgrims who, in medieval times, followed the route to Santiago.
Day Three (Christmas Eve)
Begin your celebrations this evening with a special Christmas Eve dinner, and perhaps join the congregation for Midnight Mass at Viana's Cathedral of St Mary the Great, a 20-minute stroll from the hotel.
A wonderful day includes a morning's scenic drive along the Green Coast, taking in Esposende, with its glorious sweeping beach, historic fishing town Povoa de Varzim and the former salt exporting town of Vila do Conde. Return to the hotel to enjoy a Christmas lunch with trimmings and a relaxed evening with new-found friends.
Day Four (Christmas Day)
A last full day brings the opportunity to join an optional excursion, journeying into the beautiful Douro Valley, through the romantic Amarante area and the wonderfully scenic Mesao Frio to the small port of Regua, the home of port wine. There will be an opportunity to enjoy a tasting, before you return to the hotel for a final evening in stylish surroundings.
Day Five (Boxing Day)
Bid 'adeus' to Viana and the hotel, and transfer back to the airport for your return flight.
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 45 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
Shops in Europe will generally be closed from early afternoon on Christmas Eve until 27th December.
European Christmas Closing Times
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.