Best of Portugal: Great Diversity of a small Country
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Best of Portugal: Great Diversity of a small Country

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.

From Lisboa to Porto

Rental car pick-up

Rental car pick-up

Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: CRC Car Rental Company
Vehicle: Renault Captur or similar (HDAR)
Loca­tion: Lisbon Airport (Shuttle Service)

From Lisboa to Porto

310 km | 3:30 h

Santarem

Traces of the Goths in the regis­tered historic old town
This town saw the arrival of Phoeni­cians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Moors and Arabs. All of these people groups left behind traces of their culture, but the regis­tered historic old town is predom­inantly Gothic. At its center stands the late Gothic church of Igreja da Graca, the final resting place of the man who discov­ered Brazil, Pedro Alvares Cabral. There is even a statue of him in front of the church. A partic­u­larly beau­tiful spot only a short walk away is the Portas do Sol, the former site of a Moorish fortress and today a small park with a pano­rama terrace.

Monastery of Santa Maria de Vitória

High­light of the Portuguese Gothic period
The Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Vitória near Batalha is a magnif­i­cent monastery dating from the tran­si­tion period from Gothic to Renais­sance. It was built in thanks for Portugal's victory over the kingdom of Castile; its construc­tion took 150 years. Today, the gem of Portuguese Gothic is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fátima

Millions of pilgrims with many hoping to be healed
This city was named after a Moorish princess and, after the alleged appear­ance of the Virgin Mary on May 13, 1917, it became one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Roman Catholic Church. Today, four million pilgrims visit the town each year, including many sick people hoping to be mirac­u­lously healed. Across from the old cathedral, the new church of Igreja da Santis­sima Trindade opened its doors for the first time in 2007. With its 9,000 seats, it is the fourth-largest Catholic church in the world and is currently the largest church to have been built in the 21st century. Between the two churches lies the largest church court­yard in the world.
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Porto

City of Port with a great history

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.

Accommodation: A villa in Porto

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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.

Portugal's North

Lonely country behind a green coast
North of Porto Portugal is sparsely popu­lated. The reason for this is the border between Spain and Portugal; for centuries no exchange was possible. Beyond the Rio Lima, the world had come to an end. Today, this region is partic­u­larly attrac­tive. North of Porto begins the Costa Verde, which looks green and fresh even in summer. Since the water is colder than in the south, there are not many tourists even in midsummer. In the hinter­land, the country rises quickly to the Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês on the border with Spain.

Taylor's

Sightseeing tour through a 400 year old port winery
Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman – Vinhos, S.A. (Taylor for short) is prob­ably the best-known producer and trader of port wines and is closely linked to the history of port wine. The company was founded in 1692 and is still family-owned today. The winery offers tours and tast­ings, also for private groups.

Capela do Senhor da Pedra

Romantic little church on the Atlantic Ocean
The small chapel stands on a rock directly on the beach near Porto. It was built in 1686, but the place was already used as a sanctuary in pre-Chris­tian times. One can wonderfully combine the visit of the romantic little church with a beach excur­sion. Those who want to leave the car can take the train to Miramar and take a nice walk from there.

Guided Tour

Porto a la Carte (3-4 hours, German)

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.

From Porto to Evora

410 km | 4:00 h

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.

Montemor-o-Novo

In the shadow of a Roman fortress
This city is located 30 kilome­ters from Evora and stands in the shadow of a castle that was orig­inally a Roman fortress. The archae­o­log­ical museum exhibits cave draw­ings that are over 12,000 years old and which were found in the nearby Gruta de Escoural. The cave itself, which lies twelve kilome­ters to the south­east, is open to the public from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
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Évora

Pearl of the Alentejo

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.

Accommodation: A farm near Evora

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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.

Cromeleque dos Almendres

6000-year-old standing stones
This stone circle was constructed by a megalithic culture during the tran­si­tion from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age and is esti­mated to be between 4,000 and 6,000 years old. Some of the stones have been adorned with eyes, circles, zigzags and repre­senta­tions of the sun and moon. There is also a single standing stone 2.5 kilome­ters from the stone circle that can be reached via the hiking trail at the parking lot. Unlike Stonehenge, visitors are free to walk around the Cromeleque dos Almendres and even touch the stones.

From Evora to Tavira

228 km | 3:30 h

Algarve

Picture-perfect coast with 3,000 hours of sunshine
Landscapes dotted with cork, fig and almond trees interspersed with blos­soming orange and peach orchards: Many cold-stricken central Euro­peans dream of the Algarve, which enjoys over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and boasts beaches that are among the finest in the world. Two mountain ranges cover the sparsely inhabited northern regions of Portugal's south­ernmost province. Between these mountains and the sea lie rolling hills of fertile land that produces up to four harvests a year. This area is hemmed in by a narrow coastal strip in the far south. While the mountai­nous West Algarve is incred­ibly scenic, most beaches and resorts are found in the east. The temper­a­ture rarely falls below 10° C in the winter, and the summer heat is tempered by a fresh breeze from the Atlantic Ocean.

Monsaraz

Sleepy hamlet with enchanting sunsets.
This Moorish forti­fied village lies in the sparsely-popu­lated border­lands and was recon­quered by the Portuguese king Alfonso III in the year 1167. Today, the village still has a complete town wall and numerous historic build­ings. A partic­u­larly beau­tiful time to visit this sleepy hamlet is in the evening, when the setting sun bathes the Alentejo region and the Rio Guadiana with its arti­fi­cial lake in an enchanting light.

Portel

Lovely view from the royal castle
This rural town lies at the base of a castle that was built in the 13th century by the Portuguese king Dinis after the Reconquista. The royal family of the Bragança then took control of the castle and the town. The top of the castle offers a lovely view of the surrounding country­side.

Pulo do Lobo

Waterfall in an incomparably beau­tiful landscape
In the incomparably beau­tiful landscape at the northern edge of the Parque Natural do Vale do Guadiana, the Guadiana River falls over a rocky slope. It is the greatest differ­ence in alti­tude that the 850 kilometre long river overcomes on its way from the inte­rior of Spain to the Atlantic Ocean. The waterfall is called Pulo do Lobo, which means “wolf's jump” because the cliffs are so close together on both sides that a wolf could jump over them. But you shouldn't try it your­self. Instead, a path leads along the bank above the falls. On the way back you can pass Anta das Pias, a prehistoric burial chamber, the age of which is esti­mated at about 6000 years. (Round trip: 3.5 kilome­ters, 2 hours, up and down: 120 meters)
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Tavira

Beautiful beaches without massive hotels

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.

Accommodation: A former monastery

3 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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.

Ilha de Tavira

Swimming in a lagoon
The lagoon islands known as the IIha de Tavira are located south of Tavira and can be reached via a ferry. The low dunes and the several kilome­ters of sandy beaches are ideal for a day in the water. There is also a pede­s­trian bridge to the island further to the west.  

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From Tavira

Rental car drop-off

From Tavira to Lisboa

299 km | 3:00 h

FIESA

Interna­tional sand sculp­ture festival
This interna­tional sand sculp­ture festival is the largest of its kind in the world. The exhibit covers an area of 15,000 square meters and has a different theme every year. Artists from a number of countries work for months to construct a city using 35,000 tons of sand. You can admire the sculp­tures during the day and then enjoy an evening program of live music, theater and dance. There is also an area where anyone can try their hand at making a sand sculp­ture.

Castro Verde

Histor­ical town surrounded by cork forests
This small town surrounded by cork forests is located in the sparsely popu­lated Baixo Altenjo region and not far from Ourique, where the deci­sive battle between the Moors and the army of King Alfonso is thought to have taken place. The Royal Basilica of Castro Verde was built as a monu­ment to this historic victory. Scenes from the battle can still be seen depicted on the painted tiles (Azulejos) lining the church's inte­rior.

Grândola

The secret starting signal for the Carna­tion Revo­lu­tion
This town near the scenic Serra de Grândola belongs to Alentejo, which was home to many farm workers during the 19th and 20th centuries. The region was known for its choral songs, which were often sung by the workers while in the fields. The singer Zeca Afonso composed his song “Grândola, Vila Morena” in this style and had it broad­cast during the night of April 25, 1974. This was the secret starting signal for the Carna­tion Revo­lu­tion, which made the city famous throughout the world. Franz Joseph Degenhard later trans­lated the text into German. When entering the town from the direc­tion of Lisbon, you can still see a monu­ment displaying the song's lyrics.

Rental car drop-off

Loca­tion: Lisbon Airport (Shuttle Service)

Lisbon

8 km | 20 minutes
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Lisboa

Portugal's cheerful capital

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.

Accommodation: A former castle kitchen in Lisbon

3 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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.

Alfama

A labyrinth of small streets in the old town
Alfama was once the center of Lisbon in Moorish times. The city center was later relocated further to the west in today's “Baixa.” While the wealthy moved to Belém and Cascais, fish­ermen and people from the lower classes stayed behind. In contrast to the downtown area of Lisbon, Alfama suffered little damage during the Great Lisbon Earth­quake in 1755. This allowed the neighbor­hood's orig­inal jumble of narrow alleyways to survive to this day. Towering above the quarter stands the Castelo de São Jorge, which served as the resi­dence of the Portuguese king until the 16th century. There are also a number of places in Alfama from which you can enjoy a scenic view of the Tejo.

Rossio

Vibrant square in downtown Lisbon
The Praça de Dom Pedro IV, as this square in downtown Lisbon is called, is a popular gathering place. This is partic­u­larly due to the two tram lines that meet here and the trains heading to Sintra. At the center of the square stands a 23-meter-high marble column and a bronze statue of King Pedro IV. He is depicted with four women at his feet repre­senting justice, wisdom, strength and temper­ance, which were virtues attributed to the king. The square is lined with lovely street cafés where you can sit and observe the vibrant city life.

Elevador de Santa Justa

Riding the elevator from one part of town to the other
This elevator joins two parts of Lisbon with each other: Baixa and Chiado, which is higher up. This dist­inc­tive steel struc­ture was built in 1902. It was orig­inally powered by a steam engine, but this was replaced with an electric motor in 1907. The impres­sive struc­ture is 45 meters high. Its two cabins are adorned with wood paneling and brass fixtures and have room for 24 people each. If you take the elevator one level higher than the upper exit, you will get to see two orig­inal elevator machines in action. The next level up opens to a café with a spectac­ular view over­looking Baixa, Chiado and Castelo de São Jorge.

Guided Tour

Lissabon a la Carte (3-4 hours, german)

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.

11 days
from € 1,419.00
per person based on two people sharing a double room
Services
  • Accommodation in a double room
  • Meals (as listed above)
  • Climate Compensation Contribution



You can start this tour on any date.
Best Travel Time: April–October

The prices can vary depending on the season.
Your Consultants
Jessica Parkin

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-23


Melissa Nußbaum

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-57


Leslie Jalowiecki

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-67

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