Day One: Fly to Lisbon
Fly to Lisbon, meet your tour manager and transfer the short distance to the sumptuous Pousada de Queluz. Dependent upon your time of arrival, settle into your surroundings and perhaps wander through the beautiful palace gardens, before dinner is served in the Pousada’s Old Kitchen dining room.
Day Two: Included tour of Lisbon
Join your tour manager for a guided introduction to the historic Portuguese capital. Stand on the banks of the River Tagus and imagine the great explorers setting off for the New World, wander through the ornate Belem quarter, or explore the Baixa’s wide, tree-lined avenues fringed with cafes and restaurants. Check out the street-sellers and artists of bustling Rossio Square and stroll the narrow streets of the Alfama district. In the afternoon, perhaps enjoy a ride on a historic yellow tram. Later, stay in the city or return to the hotel to dine.
Day Three: Included tour of Cascais, Estoril and Sintra
Today’s included tour is equally memorable, as you explore the elegant Atlantic resorts of Cascais and Estoril, and journey to UNESCO-listed Sintra. Estoril’s elegant seafront, lined with bistros and old-fashioned cafes, – has long been a favoured watering hole, while Cascais, on its sweeping bay, is no less alluring. The jewel in the crown is Sintra, a former royal retreat, with its two remarkable Palacios, set in a National Park full of exotic, tropical trees and plants. After a marvellous day, which will also include a visit to windswept Cabo da Roca, at Europe’s westernmost point, you’ll return to the Pousada for dinner.
Day Four: Travel to Viseu
Travel north, calling at walled hill-top Obidos, with its cobbled lanes, walls and ancient aqueduct, and former capital and university seat Coimbra, the ‘Oxford of Portugal’, with its stunning Romanesque cathedral. By late afternoon, arrive in your second luxurious Pousada, at Viseu, set on a high plateau in heart of the beautiful Beira Alta region. Make yourself at home, perhaps enjoying a sauna or swim, or joining friends in the bar before dinner. Why not accompany your meal with a locally produced Dao wine, and wander the historic streets of the beautiful town before retiring for the night?
Day Five: Included tasting at a local quinta
Today is spent enjoying the hotel and its surroundings and making a short trip through the scenic hills to enjoy a tasting at a local quinta – Dao reds are famed for their Burgundy-like qualities and the whites are fast gaining a fine reputation. You’ll also enjoy a visit to an artisanal bakery and a local cheese-maker. The evening is free for you to explore Viseu and to enjoy dinner at your leisure in the city.
Day Six: Included tour of Porto
Journey west down the beautiful Vouga Valley to colourful Aveiro, known as the ‘Venice of Portugal’, with its canals, lagoons and gondola-like fishing boats. Perhaps try a delicious Ovos Moles de Aveiro cake with a morning coffee, before heading north to Portugal’s glorious second city Oporto, above the ‘golden’ River Douro. Enjoy an introductory tour of the city that gave its name to the country. Porto clings to the hillside above the river and is connected to neighbouring port wine centre Vila Nova de Gaia by several vertigo-inducing bridges. Highlights include the ancient cathedral and the UNESCO-listed Ribeira district, a beguiling maze of cobbled passageways lined with restaurants, bars and shops. On the quayside, flat-bottomed barcos rabelos, used to carry the port barrels on the river, add to the charm. After a marvellous few hours, re-board the coach to head to the final, truly luxurious and unique Pousada, housed in an ancient monastery in the beautiful northern Minho region. Settle into the sublime surroundings and opt for a drink in the bar, then maybe wander to the local restaurant, Cruzeiro, located a short walk away.
Day Seven: Included tour of Regua and Guimaraes
After breakfast, re-board the coach to enjoy a last memorable day’s scenic touring, heading first to Regua, the bustling Douro town that is the gateway to the wine-producing area. Take in the meandering river, and perhaps enjoy a tasting at a working quinta, before heading north once more to enthralling, UNESCO-listed Guimaraes. The city, generally regarded as the birthplace of Portugal, with its ancient Norman castle, exquisite cobbled squares and cafe-lined plazas, is a perfect place to enjoy lunch in some splendid surroundings, before you return to spend a last evening and to enjoy a farewell dinner at the Mosteiro de Amares.
Day Eight: Fly back to the UK
Bid “adeus” to your hosts and transfer to Porto Airport for the return flight to the UK, at the end of a truly marvellous holiday.