This trip provides an overview of the whole country which was named after your first stop: Porto. On your way south, you pass Evora, the pearl of the Alentejo and a World Heritage Site. Your southernmost destination is the Algarve, one of Europe's most beautiful coastlines. If you fancy a daytrip to southern Spain, the romantic city of Seville is only a couple of hours away. The journey ends in Lisbon, Portugals capital and biggest city.
This trip will be customized according to your wishes.
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: CRC Car Rental Company
Vehicle: Renault Captur or similar (HDAR)
Location: Lisbon Airport (Shuttle Service)
The Hellenistic settlement with the Greek-Latin name Porto Calle (beautiful harbour) gave its name not only to today's city but to the whole country.
Many of the city's residents continue to view their home town as the true capital, which shares a friendly rivalry with Lisbon.The historical centre of the town bears witness to its importance over the centuries: the houses are crowded together: behind, next to and above each other they are arranged on terraces, which make up the special charm of the town. The city also gave its name to one of its key exports: the world-famous port wine that is cultivated in the surrounding area. The Portuguese answer to the Spanish sherry is best sampled in the southern city (Vila Nova de Gaia), where many wineries and wine shops are located.
The magnificent residence was built at Porto's highest point at the beginning of the 20th century in the neo-Gothic castle style. From its tower, which from afar reminds of Notre-Dame in Paris, one can enjoy great views across the old town. The listed property stands in a quiet and shady garden of palmtrees, where groups of seats invite to relax. The rooms are designed in two different styles – some classically elegant, others modern; most have their own balcony and view of the garden. In the morning Breakfast with traditional Portuguese dishes is served in the impressive dining room or on the terrace above the garden.
The surreal interior seems to have emerged from another, far-away period: it doesn't take an art historian to admire the works of art made of glazed tiles and stucco, the golden mirrors and cherubs, the Tiffany lamps and antique furniture. The fact that the bathrooms with their old-fashioned tiles have not been fully modernized only contributes to the charm of the rooms.
During the private tour through Porto, you will spend three hours with your English-speaking guide, while you will determine the pace and course of the tour yourself.
There are several main destinations to choose from, some of which can also be combined: the Torre dos Clérigos (bell tower and landmark of the city), the famous pedestrian zone Rua Santa Catarina, the old town with the cathedral, the viewpoint Serra do Pilar, the medieval quarter Ribeira, the railway station Porto São Bento or the Ponte Dom Luís I, which connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia. The icing on the cake is of course a glass of port wine.
The route leads to the south along the Atlantic coast. Half way, the old university town Coimbra is nestled in the rolling hills on the banks of the Rio Mondego.
A stroll through the vibrant historical centre is well worth it. If you are interested in archaeology, the excavations of a Roman town near Conimbriga can be visited. Further on you will pass the outskirts of Lisbon then head on to the east.
What makes the “Pearl of the Alentejo” a top destination is the fact that all historical phases of the venerable city remain visible.
The castle and the monumental temple dedicted to Diana stem from the Roman era, when Evora was already one of the leading trade centres in Iberia. Many of the streets in the old town date back to the Moorish period from 715-1165. The fortress-like cathedral, an excellent example of early Gothic architecture, reflects the victory of the Catholic Reconquista, while the Praca do Giraldo was the site of numerous executions during the Inquisition. The globe on the 16th century fountain at Largo das Portas reveals the fascinating new insights of the Renaissance. The Almendres Cromiech, a megalithic stone circle approx. 4,000 to 6,000 years old, stands in a woods about 8 km west of town.
During the liberation of Evora in 1165, the folk hero Geraldo the Fearless is said to have hidden his famous sword on the grounds of this estate.
Nearly 900 years later, history is still tangible at the country B&B situated on one of the most beautiful of the numerous farms that dot the fertile plains around Evora. The well-kept grounds include, among other things, a swimming pool. Each of the 5 bedrooms was decorated with loving care. Evora is just a 5-minute drive away.
This ancient city is located in the eastern Algarve, just a few kilometres from the Spanish border. However, it is not facing the sea, but the Rio Gilão, which forms a lagoon here before it flows into the Atlantic.
Despite their long history, in which Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Moors followed each other, there are hardly any buildings older than 250 years. The devastating earthquake of Lisbon in 1755 had also hit Tavira hard. Today, the cityscape is as uniform as it is picturesque. The beautiful sandy beaches in front of the city are still relatively unpopulated, which is probably due to the fact that until today there are hardly any bigger hotels in the area.
In Portugal, “pousada” is the term for historic buildings that have been converted into hotels. They are usually more stylish than the more functionally-designed tourist hotels.
The Pousada of Tavira is located on a hill overlooking the town at the site of a former 16th century monastery for Augustinian hermits. After the earthquake of 1755, a baroque building was constructed in its place that now houses 36 rooms for hotel guests. A swimming pool with sun deck is located at the site of the former monastery garden and is still surrounded by the same centuries-old walls. The restaurant offers regional dishes influenced by the area's nearness to the ocean.
Location: Lisbon Airport (Shuttle Service)
The city at the mouth of the Tejo was already a Phoenician port when the Romans conquered it. After the turmoil of mass migration and more than one hundred years of Visigoth rule, “Lischbuna” experienced a cultural heyday among the Moors and became the Portuguese royal residence under King Alfonso in 1260.
With the great discoveries of the 15th century, Lisbon became one of the richest cities in Europe. The heyday of the city was abruptly ended by a terrible earthquake in 1755, which killed over 90,000 people. Although it was generously rebuilt, Portugal's capital never regained its former importance and did not become a modern metropolis until the late 20th century.
The cityscape is characterised by great differences in altitude with magnificent vantage points, often with terraces. Oldest district is the picturesque Alfama east of the cathedral with narrow stairways, hidden backyards and idyllic squares.
The Solar do Castelo stands where 800 years ago the kitchens of the Alcáçova Castle were located. After the earthquake of 1755, the building, which lies within the castle walls, was rebuilt and finally converted into a unique boutique hotel in 2001.
The two-story complex with a mansard roof surrounds a cosy courtyard and is enclosed by a garden. Medieval and modern elements stand in an exciting harmony.
During the private tour through the old town of Lisbon, you determine the pace and course yourself. The start is always in the Baixa Pombalina, the part of the city that was rebuilt after the great earthquake of 1755. Then we go to the oldest part of town, the Alfama, which was the only one that survived the earthquake. On a hill, we reach a “Miradouro”, as one calls the viewing points above the old town and the river.
Afterwards there are two possibilities, which can be discussed with the guide:
1. The visit of the Mouraria, the former Moorish quarter.
2. A trip to Belém: Take the tram (approx. EUR 5 – 7 per person) to the district where the great expeditions of the 15th and 16th centuries began. You will visit the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (closed on Mondays), a masterpiece of the Manueline style, a Portuguese variant of the late Gothic.
The tour ends at the Torre de Belém or the Monument to the Navigators.