Ancient castles, Roman ruins, fairytale palaces and picture-perfect whitewashed villages provide wonderful scenery at every bend in the road on this tour of Portugal. Beginning in beautiful Estoril, known as the Portuguese Riviera with its sophisticated fun, you'll explore the surrounding area including picturesque Cascais with its many specialty shops. In the historic town of Sintra, the favorite summer residence of the kings of Portugal for six centuries, an entertaining evening of fine Portuguese cuisine and fabulous Fado music awaits. In Azeitao, you'll learn how the Portuguese make their famous "azulejos" (hand painted tiles) with a visit to a family-run shop. Next, explore the beautiful "Silver Coast," a spectacular region of sleepy villages, rich vineyards, and age-old castles. A stop in Fatima, the world-famous pilgrimage center, will be made before continuing to the beautiful coastal fishing village of Nazare and the enchanting medieval walled town of Obidos. From here it's on to Algarve for a 3-night stay in a breathtaking region with some of the world's most beautiful beaches and year-round sunshine. In historic Lagos, you will find the former palace of Prince Henry the Navigator. Your tour concludes in Portugal's capital city, Lisbon, where a city tour highlights the Moorish Alfama Quarter, a neighborhood of narrow alleyways and steep streets; the 16th century Jeronimo's Monastery; and impressive Belem Tower.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Portugal - a historic land of great explorers - is waiting for your own exploration. Discover ancient castles, Roman ruins, groves of lemon and almond trees, quiet whitewashed villages, and kind, gentle people.
Day #2 Estoril, Portugal - Your tour begins today in Estoril, a beautiful resort town on the “Portuguese Riviera.” The mansions scattered about Monte Estoril hint at its history as a haven for exiled European royals and nobility. Tonight, join your fellow passengers for a welcome dinner.
Day #3 Estoril - Sintra - Cascais - Estoril - Begin your day exploring the picturesque towns surrounding Estoril. First, visit the magnificent Baroque Palacio de Mafra, a palace, basilica and monastery. It was from here that the last king of Portugal escaped in 1910. Next, visit the town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the favorite summer residence of Portuguese kings for six centuries. Hugging the beautiful shoreline, continue on to Cascais. While in Cascais - a scenic resort with coastal villas on a sheltered bay - enjoy a stroll amongst the many specialty shops filled with Portuguese handmade crafts. An entertaining evening awaits you beginning with dinner at Adega Machado’s where you’ll savor excellent Portuguese cuisine and delicious local wine. Popular local artists will perform Fado, plaintive songs of longing accompanied by the viola, a Portuguese string instrument shaped like a mandolin, and by the guitarra, an acoustic guitar.
Day #4 Estoril - Obidos - Nazare - Fatima - Estoril - Travel to Portugal’s beautiful “Silver Coast,” a spectacular region filled with sleepy villages, rich vineyards and age-old castles. LANGUAGE DISCOVERY: Today, your Tour Manager will help you discover the origin and history of Portuguese and teach you some key words and phrases that will help you communicate with the locals. Stop in picture-perfect Obidos, where white washed houses are held snug by medieval city walls. Continue to Nazare, a beautiful coastal fishing village, where local fishermen may be seen mending their fishing nets. Later, visit Fatima, the world-famous Marian pilgrimage site.
Day #5 Estoril - Lisbon - Estoril - This morning, enjoy a city tour of Lisbon highlighting the Moorish Alfama Quarter. See Jeronimo’s Monastery, built in the 16th century with wealth from Portugal’s global trade, and the Monument to the Discoveries, which honors intrepid Portuguese explorers and their patrons. The impressive Belem Tower with its carved rope and balconies stands watch where great navigators once set forth. Later today, enjoy leisure time in Estoril. Stroll its narrow cobblestone streets, walk the wide beach promenade or shop for ceramics, lace, filigree, hand woven works and tapestries.
Day #6 Estoril - Evora - Algarve - Travel through beautiful Portuguese countryside and stop in historic Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage site, known as the “Museum City of Portugal.” Inside this medieval walled city lies a 2nd century Roman temple to Diana. Then, journey south to the famous Algarve on the pristine Atlantic coast.
Day #7 Algarve - The entire day is yours to experience the beautiful Algarve. Geraniums, camellias and oleanders grow alongside cotton, rice and sugar cane. This is a paradise where fig, orange and almond trees abound and brightly colored fishing boats bob on the seas. Protected by hills to the north and warmed by the sea, the Algarve enjoys a pleasant climate and its beautiful beaches attract vacationers from all over Europe. You may choose to take an optional tour along the coast of the Algarve aboard a refurbished caravel and return later to dine ashore.
Day #8 Algarve - Cape of St. Vincente - Lagos - Silves - In beautiful Cape of St. Vincente, 200 foot cliffs plunge into the Atlantic at the most southwesterly point of Europe. View its quaint landscape as you travel to the historic resort town of Lagos. The light and maneuverable Portuguese caravels once bravely filled their sails and began early voyages of exploration from Lagos. Here, you can find the palace of the famous voyager, Prince Henry the Navigator. Explore this historic town on your own during free time here. Later, visit Silves, a hilltop town surrounded by lemon and orange orchards. Known until the 19th century as the “Kingdom of the Algarve,” Silves boasts an interesting Moorish and Roman history. Visit the cork museum where you will learn about this local craft and its many uses. Relax over dinner in the renovated cork storage house.
Day #9 Algarve - Azeitao - Lisbon - Return to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital set on seven hills overlooking the Tagus River. Stop en route to visit Azeitao, a charming agricultural village known for red wine, olive trees and beautiful country estates. Visit a charming family-run shop that will show you how the Portuguese make their famous hand-painted tiles known as “azulejos.” Then, enjoy a tour and tasting of local wines when you visit a centuries-old wine maker.
Day #10 Lisbon - Enjoy a day at leisure in Lisbon. Perhaps you will explore the picturesque quarters of the city. The city is filled with shops, museums, and scenic views. Later, join your fellow travelers for a dinner celebrating the end of a wonderful tour.
Day #11 Lisbon - Tour Ends -