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Exploring Portugal - 7 days Roundtrip Tour > Porto

Oporto - A city with a strong character, not only for its people but also for everything that wraps it. Here you can enjoy the old and the modern with a glass of one of the most respected wines in the World. Here the antagonism is particularly funny. It is a city more and more turned to the future, where easily we will find the ambiguous among design shops and fashion places and ancient figures walking by the riverside. Contradictory? Yes. However, a great family. Commercial trades were the origin of its heritage, its bourgeois bustle that awards feeling in everything. Also classified as World Heritage, the city in love embraces Douro river ...


DAY 01 – PORTO HIGHLIGHTS - route: Porto > Guimarães [75kms]

Arrival at Porto Airport and departure for a panoramic tour of the city of Porto. This is the second most important city in Portugal and has always played a very important role in the country development. A granite city in a sloppy hill from Cathedral to the Ribeira with an Atlantic climate describes this romantic city, with its narrow streets in the center and wide avenues to the sea. Sightseeing of the city, starting by a visit to the cathedral built on the 12yh century in Romanic style and enlarged in the gothic style afterwards. Continue passing by the downtown, the Porto city hall, the commercial streets and the River side, so called Ribeira, classified of World Heritage by Unesco. Time for a visit to the famous Port wine cellars, just across the river in Gaia, where one can see the production, storage and taste the Port wine in its varieties. Continue to Guimarães known as the birthplace of Portugal, situated in the Minho region, north of Porto. Dinner and overnight in Guimarães.

DAY 02 – INLAND PORTUGAL - route: Guimarães > Régua > Viseu > Guarda > Covilhã > Castelo Branco [290kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and sightseeying of the capital of the Condado Portucalense, the city from where from Portugal started with our king Afonso Henriques. Visit the beautiful and historical downtown, filled with palaces and medieval streets, also classified as World Heritage by Unesco. Time to walk in the city centre, passing by the Srª da Oliveira church, the old quarters, the castle and the Ducal palace, famous by its French architecture with its numerous chimneys. Stop for a visit of this enchanting palace, also official house of the President of the Republic on its visits to the North of the Country. Departure to the Douro valley untill the city of Peso da Régua, the main harbour in the valley for the typical rabelo boats, while taking the wine barrels to Oporto. Continue to Lamego where one can find the several monuments especially the N. Srª Remédios sanctuary, a pilgrimage site dedicated to the Virgin, with an 18th-century church rising at the top of an imposing double stairway formed by 686 stone steps and nine terraces decorated with different Baroque sculptures. The city is full of churches and small chapels and the importance of the local religious architecture is particularly visible at Lamego's Gothic Cathedral (founded in 1129, still preserving the original square tower and including three naves painted by Nasoni and a beautiful Renaissance cloister), the Romanesque church of Almacave (where Afonso Henriques was declared Portugal's first king by the nobles in the first Cortes 1143. Continue to Viseu, the city of Viriathus, a man who led the Lusitanos against the Romans centurions during part of the 2nd C. B.C. Arrival in Viseu and time for lunch in a local restaurant with its flavours from the Beiras region. Sightseeing of Viseu, starting by “Rossio”, the main square with its gardens and tiles and up the hill to the historical centre and the medieval city walls, reaching the cathedral (origins from the 13th century). In this square one can find also the Grão Vasco museum with its unique Portuguese painting collection and the Misericórdia church, an elegant church with a white Rocaille façade (18th century). Continue further inland until the city of Guarda, the highest town in Portugal as it is located at 1056 meters above the sea level in the Estrela Mountain. The name of this city comes from the Visigoth village named Ward. It was founded as a city by charter of King Sancho I in 1199, in order to serve as administrative center of trade and also as defence to the border from the surrounding kingdoms. The diocese of Guarda is also one of the most important catholic marks in the inland. Departure to Covilhã, famous by its discoverers as from here several important figures helped in the discoveries period in the 15th/16th C. and also by the wooden textiles factories, being just located at 20kms from the top of the estrela mountain. In 1186 King Sancho I gave charter to Covilhã becoming more important in the region. Pêro da Covilhã was the first Portuguese to reach Mozambique giving information to king John II facts as to reach Africa east coast by the sea. Continue to Castelo Branco, located in the region of the northen Alentejo. This region was donated to the Templars receiving its charter in 1213 charter and also the name Castel-Branco. Pope Innocent III confirmed this in 1215 giving it the name of Castelobranco. It was around this time that the Templar’s built the walls and the castle. City is also important due to its embroidered linen quilts with natural silk, with oriental inspiration, known from the 16th C., representing love, home, tree of life, flowers, couples, friendship, etc. Dinner and overnight in Castelo Branco.

DAY 03 – ALENTEJO SIGHTS - route: Castelo Branco > Portalegre > Évora > Lisboa [335kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and departure to Portalegre. From the 12th C. there are passages who mention this region as a passage area (porto) which was very green and pleasant (alegre). This is how we get the name Portalegre. The first charter was given in 1259 by the King Afonso III and from then on it become very important to defend the border against any invasion. Time for a sightseeing of the center of the town and the castle walls and the keep tower are from the medieval times, form the 13th C. Continue to Évora, the enchanting city in the Alentejo region, classified as World Heritage by Unesco. Time for lunch at a typical restaurant in the city center of Évora, a regional place in Giralda square. This square has a Renaissance fountain and St Anton's church, both from the 16th century. Walking visit of the center of Évora, starting by the cathedral built between 1280 and 1340. Inside one can find several styles from the Manueline, the outstanding main chapel in baroque and the pipe organ and choir stalls from the renaissance (around 1566). Visit the St. Francis church, built between the end of the 15th and the early 16th centuries in mixed Gothic-Manueline styles. The wide nave is a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture and contains many chapels decorated in Baroque style, including the Chapel of the Bones, totally covered with human bones. At the end of the afternoon, exit to Lisbon. Arrival in the capital of Portugal, the seven hills and enchanting city of Lisbon, passing by the 25 April Bridge overlooking the river Tagus and the downtown. Dinner and overnight in Lisboa.

DAY 04 – EXPLORING SINTRA AND LISBOA - route: Lisboa > Sintra > Lisboa [70kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and departure to the romantic village of Sintra, world heritage and visit to the Town Palace 14th- started to be built by King Dinis I, being the King John I in 1415 that sponsored the major part of the building. With King Manuel I the palace suffered new additions with Gothic-Renaissance style in Mudéjar and tiles influence – the Manueline style. The Sintra Mountain Range, one of the largest forests in the Lisbon area is also a major tourist attraction. After a visit to the enchanting Sintra, return to Lisbon, the enchanting and friendly city of the seven hills. Time for lunch in restaurant in downtown, surrounded by history and culture, as several writers, painters, politicians, and poets like Fernando Pessoa, used to be frequent costumers of this area. Sightseeing tour of Lisbon, starting by the downtown Rossio, with its wide Pombaline streets, from Augusta Street to Terreiro do Paço Square by the Tagus River, and go up the Alfama hill, the birthplace of the Fado song, time to visit Lisbon’s fortified Cathedral (12th century) and St. George’s Castle with a breathtaking view over Lisbon and the river Tagus. Continue to Belém quarters, where the famous World Heritage monuments related with the Portuguese discoveries from the 15th and 16th centuries are situated. Visit the Jerónimos Monastery, the jewel of the Manueline style, which was started on the orders of Manuel I to commemorate Vasco da Gama's successful return from India. The monastery construction began in 1502 and took 50 years to complete. In Jerónimos magnificent cloister many important events took place as the joining of Portugal and Spain in the EU, in 1985, as well as the Lisbon Treaty, signed in 2007. Continue for sights at the Belém Tower and Monument to the Discoveries. The Belém Tower from 16th century was built both as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon and as part of a defence system of the entrance of the Tagus River and the Jerónimos Monastery, which was necessary to protect Lisbon, with influence of the Moorish decorative in Manueline style. The monument to the discoveries built in 1940 in a shape of a prow of a ship which bears the figures of the most important people of the discoveries era. Dinner and overnight in Lisboa.

DAY 05 – MONUMENTAL WEST COAST - route: Lisboa > Óbidos > Nazaré > Batalha > Tomar > Coimbra [295kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and exit to the medieval town of Óbidos, with its narrow white streets surrounded by the castle walls. Time for a visit of the village centre and the castle, as well as a visit to the small local typical stores. Continue to Nazaré a nice fishing village, always with fresh fish and seafood. On top of the hill, Our Lady of Nazaré church where the image of a black virgin in wood can be found, dated from the 12th century. Also the legend of Sir Fuas Roupinho which was saved by the virgin while chasing a deer in the fog and keeping him for not falling in the abyss. Visit the Our lady of Nazaré belvedere and church, and enjoy the breathtaking view of the village and the Atlantic ocean. Time for lunch at local restaurant, typical for the nice fresh fish, right in front of the yellow sandy beach of Nazaré. Arrival to Batalha. This town was founded by King D. João I of Portugal, as well as with the Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória na Batalha, to pay homage to the Portuguese victory at the Battle of Aljubarrota (August 14, 1385) that put an end to the 1383-1385 crisis between Portugal and the Castellan army. Time to visit this beautiful monument, in particular the unfinished chapels which are the must see of the visit. Departure to Tomar city, passing by Fatima, the Marian center and Ourém, with its 12th C. medieval castle. Tomar was founded as headquarters of the Knights Templar in Portugal in the 12th century and contains some of the most significant Templar monuments in Europe. It was especially important in the 15th century when it was a centre of Portuguese overseas expansion under Henry the Navigator, the Grand Master of the Order of Christ, successor organization to the Templar’s in Portugal. Time for a visit to breathtaking Convent of Christ, world heritage by Unesco, built in the 12th C., in which the castle and Convent of Christ have many examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance architectural styles. After a visit to Tomar and its enchanting convent and town, continue to the students’ city, Coimbra. This was the former capital of the country during the first dynasty period (14th century) and still the home to the University of Coimbra, the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world and one of the oldest in Europe (from the year 1290), is famous by its old traditions. Dinner and overnight in Coimbra.

DAY 06 – NORTHEN COAST - route: Coimbra > Aveiro > Porto [160kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and Visit Coimbra, starting by the must see of the city – the university, famous by the students and the male singing fado. Visit the Joanine library and the Doctorate room where thousands of students received their degree, in particular many important Portuguese politicians, presidents and writers. Walk down, passing by the old fortified Cathedral from the 12th century and the “quebra-costas” street with a very high inclination. Visit also the Sta Cruz church (12th century), located in the city centre and important by its Manueline main portico. Exit to visit Aveiro with its river channels and boats in the center which connects to the sea. It is known as the city of the river channels and the sweet eggs pastry, as well as its salt mines. Time for lunch at local restaurant, in the heart of Aveiro, the city of the river channels. Visit Aveiro cathedral (15thc.) and the Convento de Jesus (now known as the City Museum "Santa Joana"), built in the 15th century, which contains the tomb of the daughter of Afonso V, St. Joana, who died in 1490 and was beatified in 1673. Departure to the “capital of the North”, also called “Invicta” due to its inviolability and faithfulness to the kingdom. This area used to be called “Portus Calle” meaning safe harbor or safe passage, giving the city of Porto which also gave name to Portugal Arrival in Porto and time for a 50 minutes cruise in a replica of in the river Douro, overlooking the old downtown of Porto, from the cathedral to the “ribeira” area and also the Port wine cellars just across the river bank, in the city of Gaia. Dinner and overnight in Porto.

DAY 07 – PORTO DOWNTOWN & SEA - route: Porto > Airport [25kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and departure for a walk in downtown Porto, passing by the Santa Catarina commercial street and the “bolhão” market, existing since 1839 and famous by the products it sells: meat, fish, fruits, flowers, etc, and still widely used by the locals. Continue to the Atlantic Ocean front, passing by the scenic road along the river Douro, admiring the manor houses from “foz”, the river mouth area, and the Atlantic sidewalk used for jogging, roller-skating, biking, etc. According to flight schedule, transfer to Porto Airport.

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