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Historical Portugal - 7 days Tour - Lisboa > Porto

Lisbon Region - The climate and the natural environment have always been exceptionally favourable making this region one of the most valued by tourists. During many years this region has been an exile for kings, aristocrats, actors and intellectuals: the Estoril majestic coast, the luxuriant Serra da Arrábida (Arrabida mountain range), unique for its natural beauty providing different outdoor activities, passing through the enigmatic town of Sintra, a romantic destiny, par excellence, and immortalized as the "glorious Eden" by the writer Lord Byron. The green sceneries, the mountains that contrast with the Ocean, the castle, the palaces, the houses and the local gastronomy, make this region one of the most pleasant destinies in Portugal.

 

DAY 01 – IMPRESSIVE LISBOA - route: Lisboa [30kms]

Arrival at Lisbon airport. Visit the enchanting and friendly city of the seven hills, Lisbon. Sightseeing tour, passing by the main interesting points of the city, from Edward VII Park and Marquis de Pombal square, following to the downtown Rossio, with its wide Pombaline streets, from Augusta Street to Terreiro do Paço Square by the Tagus River. Going up the Alfama hill, the birthplace of the Fado song, with 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, as well as the Lisbon Treaty.
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 defense 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 02 – QUELUZ & SINTRA PALACES - route: Lisboa > Queluz > Sintra > Cascais > Lisboa [105kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and departure for a visit to Queluz Royal Palace and the beautiful and charming Sintra village, in its enchanting and exotic green mountain. Arrival in Queluz Palace a Portuguese 18th century palace, one of the last great Rococo buildings to be designed in Europe. The palace was designed to be a summer retreat for Dom Pedro of Braganza, later to become husband and then king consort to his own niece, Queen Maria I. It served as a discreet place of incarceration for Queen Maria as her descent into madness continued in the years following Dom Pedro's death in 1786. Following the destruction by fire of the Ajuda Palace in 1794, Queluz Palace became the official residence of the Portuguese prince regent, John VI and his family, and remained so until the Royal Family fled to Brazil in 1807 following the French invasion of Portugal.
Continue 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. Time for lunch at a typical restaurant, close to Sintra village. After lunch continue driving inside the mist and dense green Sintra Mountain and visit Pena Palace. Pena Palace was built by King Consort Ferdinand II, who decided to acquire the old monastery ruins, all of the surrounding lands, the nearby Castle of the Moors and a few other estates in the area. King Ferdinand then set out to transform the remains of the monastery into a palace that would serve as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family. This palace was built in Romantic style by a German architect similar to the castles along the Rhine River. The construction completed was 1847.
Continue in Sintra Mountain in direction of Roca cape, which forms the westernmost point of both mainland Europe and mainland Portugal. From the Roca cape continue down the mountain till Cascais, passing by Guincho beach, with its sandy and strong windy beach, a must for windsurfers and surfers visiting from all over the world.
Continue to Lisbon on the oceanic road, passing by Estoril with its imposing casino.
Estoril during the first half of the 20th century had an important touristic development in which the casino was built and the infrastructure for luxury vacations was created.
Due to Portugal's neutrality in World War II and the town's elegance and royal past, Estoril and Cascais became home to many of the exiled royal families of Europe, including those of Spain, Italy and Bulgaria. Nowadays, Lisbon Coast resort is a famous vacation spot for both the Portuguese and foreigners, especially the “jet-set”, who seek to enjoy its beaches, golf, cultural events, fashion events, motor racing and also gambling.
Dinner and overnight in Lisboa.

DAY 03 – ALENTEJO REGION - route: Lisboa > Setúbal > Évora [155kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and exit to Évora, passing by the 25 April Bridge overlooking the river Tagus and the downtown Lisbon.
Arrival to the city of Setúbal, famous as a fishing village and a resort destination as it lies close to the Arrabida Mountain and Troia resort, having the river Sado at its feet.  The main historical monument of the city of Setúbal is the Monastery of Jesus, with a 15th-16th century church that represents one of the first buildings in the Portuguese late Gothic style known as Manueline and then continue to the São Julião Church, also with Manueline portals, located in the city center. Continue to Évora, the enchanting city in the Alentejo region classified as World Heritage by Unesco.
Time for lunch at local and regional restaurant in Giralda square, right in the center of Évora. This square has a Renaissance fountain and St Anton's church, both from the 16th century.
After lunch, 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 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.
Continue visiting the city center with its white streets, typical housing colour in Alentejo.
Dinner and overnight in Évora.

DAY 04 – WESTERN SITES - route: Évora > Óbidos > Nazaré > Batalha > Coimbra [365kms]

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 a typical restaurant, in a town known for its nice fresh fish, right in front of the yellow sandy beach of Nazaré.
Continue to Alcobaça and visit the Santa Maria de Alcobaça Monastery, also known as the Royal Abbey. It was the first building in Portugal in gothic style started by the Cister monks in 1178, and classified as World Heritage by Unesco, where one can find the medieval cloister and royal tombs, especially the tomb of King Peter I and Dª Inês famous by their unauthorized and secret love in the 14th century.
After Alcobaça visit, continue 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. Exit in direction of the ancient university students’ city of Coimbra. Dinner and overnight in Coimbra.

DAY 05 – BEIRAS CITIES - route: Coimbra > Viseu > Aveiro > Braga [190kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and exit for a visit Coimbra, the former capital of the country during the first dynasty period (14th century) and 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). Start by the must see of the city – the university.
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.
Off to Viseu, starting by “Rossio”, the main square with its gardens and tiles. Continue up the hill to the historical centre and the medieval city walls, reaching the cathedral square. 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). Time to visit the Cathedral (origins from the 13th century) and its cloister.
Time for lunch at local restaurant, in the center of Viseu city, tasting the flavours of the Dão region, in the inland Portugal.
Departure to the city of Braga, passing by the city of Aveiro, the city of the river channels and the sweet eggs pastry, as well as its salt mines.
Dinner and overnight in Braga.

DAY 06 – NORTHEN BEAUTIES - route: Braga > Guimarães > Porto [95kms]

Breakfast at the hotel and visit Braga, the Episcopal city, with its archdiocese dated from the 3rd century, where one can find several churches, but especially the cathedral, one of the most important in the Northern/Galician zone as the archbishop bares the title of the “Primaz das Espanhas”, the head of the church.
Time to visit the cathedral and its surroundings as well as the downtown Braga with its modern pedestrian area within the monumental churches and houses. Time for a visit to Bom Jesus Sanctuary, a must for pilgrimage, with a breathtaking view of Braga and the staircase with Christ passion, side-by-side with the centenary water elevator which still runs on water.
Continue to Guimarães, known as the birthplace of Portugal as it was the capital of the Condado Portucalense, the city from where from Portugal started with our king Afonso Henriques. Lunch, visit the beautiful and historical city of Guimarães, filled with palaces and medieval streets, also classified as World Heritage by Unesco. Walk in the city centre, passing by the Srª da Oliveira church, the old quarters, the castle and the Ducal palace. Time for lunch in the city of Guimarães, famous also for its good food in the North of Portugal. After lunch, visit of the enchanting Ducal Palace, also official house of the President of the Republic on its visits to the North of the Country, famous for its French architecture with its numerous chimneys.
Departure to the “capital of the north”, Porto, the second most important city in Portugal and has always played a very important role in the country development. Arrival and sightseeing of Porto passing by the downtown, the Porto city hall, Clérigos Tower and the River side, so called Ribeira, classified of World Heritage by Unesco.
Dinner and overnight in Porto.

DAY 07 – ANCESTER PORTO - route: Porto > Airport [30kms]

Breakfast at the hotel continue to downtown Porto. This is Granite City in a sloppy hill from the Ribeira till the cathedral with an Atlantic climate describes this romantic city, with its narrow streets in the center and wide avenues to the sea. Time for a 50 minutes cruise in the River Douro, overlooking the historical center of Porto and the Port wine cellars in Gaia, just across the river.  Stop at 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.
According to flight schedule, transfer to Porto Airport.

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