DAY 1 LISBON
On arrival at Lisbon Airport your private chauffeur will be waiting for you and will transfer you in a luxury vehicle to your hotel. You will check into your genuine Art Deco 4* Boutique Hotel in the center of Lisbon which echoes the glamour of the 1940's. Classified as a historic building, this small and unique hotel is located on a quiet street right alongside the cosmopolitan Avenida da Liberdade. We are sure you will be tired after your journey, but a short siesta is the answer before you start to get acquainted with this fabulous city.
If San Francisco had a sister, it would be Lisbon. Both cities have twin bridges and famously foggy weather. Both are situated on the best natural harbors on the west coast of their respective continents. Both have trolleys rattling up and down their steep hills past characteristic buildings. And both have survived horrific earthquakes. In 1755, an estimated 9.0 earthquake leveled two-thirds of Lisbon. Within a month, a new city was designed, and downtown Lisbon was rebuilt on a progressive grid plan, with broad boulevards and square squares. Today, Lisbon is a charming mix of old and new. Bird-stained statues mark grand plazas, taxis screech around cobbled corners and the hip and trendy hang out in Art Nouveau cafes. Just like it did during the days of Magellan and Vasco da Gama, the city continues to welcome ships into its large port. Even today, Lisbon still feels like Europe's gateway to the world. We can recommend many restaurants in Lisbon for you to discover some local Portuguese cuisine this evening!
In a Nutshell: Private Chauffeured Transfer from Lisbon Airport to hotel, Overnight in a genuine Art Deco 4* Boutique Hotel in the center of Lisbon
DAY 2 LISBON
This morning, after breakfast, your experienced, Officially Licensed guide will be waiting at your hotel to take you on a Private Gourmet and Historical Tour of Lisbon. Your private visit will start with the Moorish St Georges Castle, renamed after conquering the Moors, where you will be able to take in the impressive views over the sea. Within the walls of the Castle you will stop at a friendly Cafe for your first Portuguese tasting of the day where you may like to try Ginginha, the famous Portuguese Cherry Liqueur, have a glass of the famous fortified wine Port or join Portugals strong cafe culture with an aromatic coffee.
Leading down from the castle to the river, you will then cross the Alfama, the salty sailors quarter. Its tangled street plan is one of the few parts of Lisbon to survive the big quake, making the Alfama a cobbled playground of Old World color. Urban-jungle roads are squeezed into a maze of confusing alleys, designed to frustrate invaders trying to get up to the castle. What was defensive then is atmospheric now. Gnarled houses snuggle together in their romantic shabbiness; the air drips with laundry and the smell of clams and raw fish.
Onward now to the Baixa and Chiado districts where there are many well-known cafes to enjoy another stop for a coffee and a typical Portuguese cake before heading to Rossio, passing by the famous Santa Justa elevator, where you will hear about the only tea produced in Europe, grown in the Atlantic Island of Sao Miguel, in the Azores. You will be visiting a specialized gourmet locale stocked with authentic local delights such as the typical Bacalhau (dried, salted cod), exclusive wines, traditional sweets, chorizo sausages and much more. A taste of the authentic dried salted cod is a must!
From here you will head to Praca do Comercio - Commerce Square - a vast waterfront place, where the royal palace stood until the 1755 Great Earthquake. Here you will sample authentic Portuguese Beer and taste the delicious cod cakes. Your tour of Lisbon would not be complete without including Vinho Verde do Minho (the famous green wine of Minho) and you will able to enjoy a glass accompanied with Azeitao cheese, spicy chorizo sausage and delicious bread.
Your private guide will provide you with many personalized suggestions for further sightseeing in Lisbon for the rest of your day but you will surely appreciate a relax at your Lisbon hotel first.
This evening you are set for a fabulous Fado experience, the national music of Portugal. You will dine at an authentic, elegant Portuguese Fado restaurant in the picturesque Bairro Alto. Founded in 1931 this institution in Lisbon has entertained prime ministers and presidents. The show is composed of Fado Sessions until 2am so you can stay as long as you wish, although most of our guests leave around 11pm.
In a Nutshell: Private Guided Gourmet and Historical Tour of Lisbon, Fado Evening, Overnight Lisbon
DAY 3 LISBON
Today, after breakfast, you are as free as you please. Your private guide yesterday will have provided you with many personalized suggestions for further sightseeing in Lisbon. Maybe ride on the famous trams which were originally called americanos, with the first operational route being inaugurated in 1873, or, visit the Santa Engracia church, which is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the church that took the longest time to construct: started in the 17th century, the last dome was completed in 1966.
Lisbon is also known as the town of seven hills which are comprised of, not surprisingly, the seven hills: Castelo, Graca, Monte, Penha de Franca, S.Pedro de Alcantara, Santa Catarina and Estrela. An uphill walk will be tiring but the views well worth it!
You may like to head to Belem, a picturesque district west of Lisbon. From the ancient harbors of Belem, ships set sail around the world, and many of the 14th century Voyages of Discovery departed from here. It is not surprising then that here in Belem you can visit various monuments dedicated to the discoveries such as the following.
Monument to the Discoveries, which was first erected, temporarily, in 1940, as part of the Portuguese World Exhibition. It was then reconstructed in 1960 to mark 500 years since the death of the Infante Dom Henrique (Henry the Navigator).
The Monasteiro dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery) is the most impressive symbol of the power and wealth of Portugal during the Age of Discovery. It is a World Heritage monument and resting place of Vasco da Gama
The Torre de Belem (Belem Tower) is a masterpiece of Manueline Architecture built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to the harbor. The Belem Tower was the starting point for many of the voyages of discovery and for the sailors it was the last sight of their homeland. This monument is an icon of Lisbon and a symbol of the Age of Discovery.
In a Nutshell: Free day in Lisbon, Overnight Lisbon
DAY 4 SINTRA
After a delicious breakfast this morning, you will be heading to Sintra, a gorgeous little mountain city, verdant and graceful with stunning palaces and gardens, including the one and only Palacio da Pena, the most extraordinary palace in Portugal. You will have tickets for the local train from Lisbon which takes around 40-45 minutes. On arrival at Sintra Train Station you will then be able to take a taxi for the short ride up to the Palace.
Palacio da Pena(Pena Palace), is the greatest expression of 19th-century romanticism in Portugal and was built in the 1840s for Queen Maria II by her husband and rivaling the castles of Ludwig of Bavaria. The palace was built in such a way as to be visible from any point in the park, which consists of a forest and luxuriant gardens with over five hundred different species of trees originating from the four corners of the earth.
You will have a private guided visit to the Palace and then free time to stroll in the gardens and the Pena Park. The palace was built in such a way as to be visible from any point in the park, which consists of a forest and luxuriant gardens with over five hundred different species of trees originating from the four corners of the earth. A truly delightful place to wander at your leisure!
You may like to take a taxi back down to Sintra town for lunch and then afterwards explore more of the windy, mountainous city streets, the breathtaking Moorish Castle, National Palace and the Monastery dos Capuchos, before taking your return train to Lisbon.
We will provide you with our delicious restaurant recommendations for you to discover some great local Portuguese cuisine.
In a Nutshell: Local Train Tickets for a day in Sintra, Guided tour of Palacio da Pena, Overnight in Lisbon
DAY 5 OBIDOS & PORTO
After a delicious breakfast this morning, a representative of our car rental company will be waiting at your hotel with your luxury vehicle (Mercedes E, Audi 4, or similar) equipped with automatic transmission and GPS.
You will then leave Lisbon behind as you head north to Porto. On the way we suggest making a short detour (about 5 minutes off the highway) to visit one of the hidden gems of the Portuguese countryside: the medieval town of Obidos.
This completely walled town presents itself with pride and white washed houses that the Moorish occupation left behind in a maze of narrow cobbled streets on the way up to the castle. Here you can enjoy a stroll while you explore the charming town before having a coffee break or, depending on the time, having lunch. In Obidos it will be hard to choose either to pop into the little ceramic shops along the way or enjoy the pleasures of the famous local Cherry Liquor known as Ginjinha. Take all the time you please to relish this lovely and relaxing place.
Onward now to Porto where you will check in to your elegant 5* wine hotel and spa, in Vila Nova de Gaia in the midst of the famous Port Wine Lodges.
Port houses have aged their wines in Vila Nova de Gaia for over three centuries and today over fifty wine companies are based in its narrow, twisting streets. Here, the ageing and blending of most of the worlds supply of Port wine takes place beneath a sea of red roofs emblazoned with some of the most famous names in wine-making.
What better place to be situated than in the heart of Port Wine History! Many of the oldest Port firms were founded by British merchant families and are owned by their successors to this day. Your hotel descends from a family who entered the Port trade in 1838, and was among the most distinguished and enterprising of the Port families. Their descendants maintain this tradition as owners of three of the most famous Port companies. Your luxury hotel is named in celebration of the family's historic link with the city, and it draws on its owners expertise in both fine wine production and luxury hotel management to become one of the worlds leading wine hotels.
Relax for the rest of the day and enjoy a dramatic and unobstructed view across the River Douro to the historic centre of Porto from your balcony. Take advantage of the hotels luxury spa facilities with its large indoor pool and hot tub or sit around the outdoor pool offering panoramic views of Porto.
You may like to have dinner at your hotel tonight, but if not, we have many suggestions for delicious restaurants for this evening.
In a Nutshell: Luxury Rental Car Delivery, Drive to Porto via Obidos, Overnight in an elegant 5* wine hotel and spa in Porto
DAY 6 PORTO
This morning after a leisurely breakfast and just a short walk from your hotel you are booked for a guided visit to a fantastic Port Wine Lodge which is one of the oldest of the founding Port houses and was established over three centuries ago in 1692. For many, it is the archetypal Port house and its wines the quintessential Ports. It is dedicated entirely to the production of Port wine and in particular to its finest styles. The history of the firm is in many ways the history of the Port trade itself. Since its foundation the company has remained independent. Now well into its fourth century, it has thrived and prospered, establishing itself as one of the world's most respected historic wine houses. This has been achieved through the perseverance, pioneering spirit and continuity of purpose of successive generations of family involvement. You will enjoy a private guided tour of the Wine Lodge concluded with a delightful tasting of some of their best ports.
Afterwards why not take a stroll over the Dom Luis Bridge, an unmistakable icon of the city, to the Cais da Ribeira area and have lunch on one of the many riverbank terraces overlooking the river, the Dom Luis Bridge and the wineries of Vila Nova de Gaia.
The rest of your day is free to discover more of Porto. The original home of Port wine, winding streets and an interesting old town that is a World Heritage Site - this is Porto. Henry the Navigator was born in Porto and the city had a minor role in "The Discoveries". Head into the old town and wander through the mazes and alleys of the city taking in the old, bohemian spirit of the city. Major cultural highlights include the Bolhao Market, the Clerigos Church, the 14th century Church Sao Francisco, well worth seeing for its Baroque decorations, as well as the Se Cathedral, a 12th century Baroque church with Gothic cloisters and ornately painted blue-and-white azulejos tiles and Sao Bento railway station.
Should you have an interest in books, Lello Bookstore in Porto is well worth a visit. It has an elaborately decorated interior of neo-gothic design and was recently rated as one of top 3 most beautiful book-stores in the world. Rumor has it that this bookstore provided the inspiration for the Harry Potter character! We will be delighted to arrange our excellent local officially licensed guide to take you for a private tour so that you do not miss the city's most emblematic monuments,
As always we have many suggestions for restaurants for this evening.
In a Nutshell: Port Wine Lodge Visit and Tastings, Overnight Porto
DAY 7 DOURO VALLEY
After breakfast this morning, you will then depart for Pinhao in the heart of the Douro Valley, considered one the most spectacular wine regions of the world with its characteristic terraced vineyards as the sloping hills meet the meandering river below.
You will check into your hotel, a charming 5* property dating back to the XVIII century when it was an old Port winery. With a privileged location in the heart of the Douro valley and overlooking the Douro River, this is a delightful hotel offering comfortable accommodation and excellent service.
This afternoon we have arranged for you to have a small group Rabelo boat cruise along the Douro River, a great opportunity for you to see the beauty of the area and the many wineries running down towards the river. The replica vintage Rabelo boats were traditionally used to carry the wine down the river from Douro to the lodges in Oporto and if you prefer to a romantic cruise just for you then we can OPTIONALLY arrange for you to have a privately skippered cruise instead.
On your return to the dock, you may like to take a stroll beside the river or visit the iconic train station, just behind your hotel. Pinhao station is considered one of the most symbolic locations on the Upper Douro wine circuit. The picture postcard train station has 25 blue glazed tile panels covering the main building, representing the local landscapes and habits, predominantly of wine making. For dinner, why not treat yourself to a luxury meal on the terrace of the incredible Rui Paula DOC restaurant, overlooking the grandeur of the vineyard covered mountains and the serenity of the Douro river and the riverside villages. Situated on one of the most beautiful scenic routes in the country, on the road between Regua and Pinhao, the restaurant occupies a building of contemporary lines with an elegant wooden deck terrace. We would be happy to make a reservation for you at Rui Paula, and regarding transportation if you didn't want to drive then your hotel could happily call you a taxi to go as would the restaurant for your return.
In a Nutshell: Drive to Douro Valley, Rabelo Boat Cruise, Overnight in a charming 5* riverside hotel in the Douro Valley
DAY 8 DOURO VALLEY
After a delicious breakfast at your hotel this morning, get ready to experience the love of the land as you drive out for a day into the valley. Many great photo opportunities and fine wines await you today!
This morning you will be making a wonderful visit to a very special and world famous winery. Sitting in a privileged location in the Douro Demarcated Region, this Quinta is famous for its sophisticated wines as well as for the dramatic views. This single vineyard property dates as far back as the early seventeenth century, long before the Douro became the worlds first demarcated wine region in 1756. Recently they have begun a new venture with Jean Michel Cazes from one of our favorite wineries of the Bordeaux region, Chateau Lynch Bages. At the winery you will have a full private visit of the vineyards (with mind blowing views of the River Douro) and cellars, followed by a tasting of their incredible wines and ports with an exceptional lunch, perfectly accompanied by their top wines from the aperitif through to dessert.
After lunch you will then head to another great Quinta in the fantastic Douro Valley where you will enjoy a private visit to another of our favourite wineries. This family run winery has a small production (for Douro standards), but offers great wines and even better views. A relatively young winery, with its first harvest taking place in 2007, the estate now occupies 30 hectares of land, 14 of which are vineyards. Both sophisticated techniques and traditional methods are used and despite the short number of years that the Quinta has been active; this young estate has now established itself as a quality winemaker! Red, White and Rose wines are produced with love and precision and some innovative and special edition products will delight your senses. After a complete private tour you will enjoy a tasting of their great wines.
Please note: If you would prefer to leave your rental car at the hotel and not self-drive today then we would be delighted to include transportation for you.
As ever, we have many suggestions for you to experience the best of Portuguese food and wine for dinner
In a Nutshell: Private guided visits to two prestigious wineries with tastings of their finest wines and lunch at one. Overnight Douro Valley
DAY 9 MARVAO
Your luxury tour continues, after breakfast, as you drive to the Alentejo wine region. However, on the way you will stop in Viseu, a fine city whose old centrer has changed little since medieval times. Enjoy walking through the beautiful streets and gazing up at the twin-towered cathedral. If you love art, do not miss the Grao Vasco Museum, one of the greatest Portuguese Renaissance Masters.
Continuing your journey, you will arrive in Guarda - situated on the slope of the Estrela Mountain range, Guarda is well known for its natural surroundings and ancient history and as the highest town in Portugal. Guarda is also an excellent place for you to break for some delicious country fare Portuguese food and wine.
Today's journey will now lead you to the pretty town of Castelo de Vide which is of Roman origin, and nearby are the ruins of the Roman settlement of Mirobriga. Many Roman artifacts have been found here, but it is the sizeable Jewish presence in the Middle Ages for which the town is now known. Just ten minutes away is your hotel for tonight, in the medieval hillside town of Marvao. You will be spending this evening in a typical Portuguese Pousada which offers views of the stunning mountain landscape surrounding this hilltop town. Take some time to settle in and then perhaps, after your long day, you will prefer to enjoy some fabulous food and wine in their restaurant.
In a Nutshell: Drive to Marvao via Viseu, Guarda and Castelo de Vide, Overnight in a charming Pousada in Marvao
DAY 10 EVORA
After a lie in and a relaxed and leisurely breakfast at your hotel this morning, you will be leaving for Evora, but on the way you will be stopping off, near Estremoz, to tour an extremely modern winery. The winery prides itself on its blend of the old and the new and here, in one of the most modern cellars in Alentejo, the old tradition of the stomping of the grapes is still practiced! You will enjoy a private tour and learn about the history behind the winery's name - Six Kings (a story about five kings and one queen) followed with a tasting of their best wines.
You will be staying at the winery to enjoy a delicious harvest lunch of Portuguese Cuisine, Lunch is a indeed a local harvest affair with Alentejo bread, olives, cheeses, typical Alentejo sausages, a typical main dish and fruit from their farm.
Depending on time, before or after the winery, you may like to have a relaxing walk in the beautiful quaint Estremoz, go to our favorite bar up a medieval jail tower at the picturesque pousada for great views.
Continuing your journey, if you are looking for more history and regional flavours, you may like to visit an iconic winery, on the outskirts of Estremoz. An estate with an 18th century palace-like house not only famed for its beauty but also for its history and quality of its wines. We will be delighted to include a tour of the premises and tasting of their wines if you wish.
Onward now to the the walled city of Evora where on the outskirts you will head to your hotel, an old convent that has been renovated and turned into a 5* luxury hotel. It was originally built and funded by one of the kings in Portugal as a place to come to escape Lisbon and have some quiet time. Nowadays, it is a superbly renovated hotel and spa with all the comforts you may desire. After check in we suggest a relaxing afternoon and evening - perhaps a visit to the spa and a wonderful massage. We recommend you have dinner at your hotel this evening.
In a Nuthell: Private guided wine tour and harvest lunch at a prestigious Portuguese winery in the Alentejo Wine Region, Overnight in a 5* luxury hotel in Evora
DAY 11 EVORA
Today, after a relaxing breakfast, you are to do as you please.
Why not head into Evora to discover its proud, rich and imposing past. The Romans were here, leaving their 1st century Temple behind, but so were the Moors who occupied the narrow streets with quaint small white washed houses.
Evora is laid out over a gently sloping hill rising out of the huge Alentejo plain. It guards its historic centre with a vast outer wall and represents a valuable cultural legacy that UNESCO has classified World Heritage.
Visit the enigmatic church of St. Francis and its unique (and shocking) Chapel of Bones. Then head through the narrow streets of the old town reaching the Giraldo square where the Inquisition once had its headquarters. Explore the millennium old Roman Temple and the 12th century cathedral and visit the century old university courtyard. In the 16th century Evora thrived with culture and tradition in its university as much as it still does today and you will soon understand why Evora was once the second most important city of Portugal. Stop for lunch to indulge in the best of the Alentejana food and wine with authentic dishes like duck rice, cod with shrimp and grilled pork. We will, of course, provide you with our delicious recommendations.
Located in a 16th century Jesuit refectory, just outside the city walls, there is a winery where wines are no longer produced, but that is referent for the area and definitely worth a pop in. It is well worth going to the shop here to taste/buy their range of wines, from modest to the regions most expensive wine, for example the legendary Pera-Manca, of which you are allowed to buy only one bottle.
You may like to have a private guide in Evora for an historic walking tour, so that you see and hear all the fascinating details, we could happily arrange it for you.
This afternoon why not relax around the outdoor pool at your hotel and enjoy a cocktail at the poolside bar or indulge in a relaxing spa treatment. Then later this afternoon your hotel provides a fascinating tour for guests to learn of the old convent building of the XV century, plus, later on, with their sommelier you can try the nectars from their collection of wines!
In a Nutshell: Free day in Evora, Overnight in Evora
DAY 12 LISBON
Today, after a relaxed breakfast, you will check out of your hotel and journey to Azeitao, south of Lisbon. This pretty little village nestles among olive and cork trees and is situated at the foot of the Serra da Arrabida. Dotted with country palaces, running fountains and narrow alleyways, it is famous for its wines, olives and creamy sheeps cheese, the latter prized as one of the best in the country.
Your day will commence with a tour of a famous wine estate, owned by a major art lover and one of the wealthiest men in Portugal. You will enjoy a private tour of the estate with its 16th century renaissance gardens and incredible vineyards. You will visit the largest collection of antique Portuguese tilework in their Azulejo room, the Japanese garden and finally, the wine cellars where you will finalize your private tour with a tasting of their best wines.
We suggest that you pause now for a delicious typical Portuguese lunch and an ideal opportunity to taste the local sweet specialty, Tortas de Azeitao.
This afternoon you will visit the Jose Maria da Fonseca Museum House and Cellars. JMF as they are commonly called in this area, have been making wines for nearly 200 years and are the oldest producer of wines, including the Setubal Muscatel, in Portugal. You will have a private guided tour of the Museum and the three old Cellars where wines are aged, followed by a tasting of their famous wines and Moscatel.
Return to Lisbon via the incredible Vasco de Gama Bridge - 17km (11 miles) long - making it the longest bridge in Europe when it opened in 1998 and still today one of the longest in the world. The views from this bridge are dramatic and memorable
On arrival in Lisbon you will return your rental car to the local office and check in once again at your genuine Art Deco Boutique Hotel. After such a busy day you will no doubt wish to relax and perhaps have a light dinner nearby to your hotel, for which we have many suggestions.
In a Nutshell: Drive to Lisbon via Azeitao, Private Visit to Two Prestigious Wineries, Overnight in 4* Boutique Hotel in Lisbon
DAY 13 LISBON
Today is your final full day in Portugal, on your Private Luxury Food, Wine and Culture Tour, and you are as free as a bird to do as little or as much as you please.
Some last minute shopping maybe, a casual lunch, a wander around the old town, the choices are yours.
Ensure you have a siesta this afternoon, because this evening we suggest you have a grand farewell dinner with wine at a top class Lisbon restaurant. We will be more than happy to make a reservation for you.
In a Nutshell: Free Day in Lisbon, Overnight in Lisbon
DAY 14 DEPARTURE
It is always sad to say goodbye, but this is the last day of your tour and after breakfast you will check out of your Lisbon hotel and have a chauffeured transfer to Lisbon airport for your onward journey home or to your next destination.
We do hope you will join us for this very exciting tour, which will surely be a truly memorable experience!
In a Nutshell: Private Chauffeured Transfer to Lisbon Airport
Your tour includes:
Accommodation for six (6) nights at a 4* Art Deco Boutique Hotel in the heart of Lisbon (superior room, double occupancy)
Accommodation for two (2) nights in an elegant 5* wine hotel and spa in Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto (executive room, double occupancy)
Accommodation for two (2) nights in a 5* riverside hotel in Pinhao, Douro Valley (river-view room, double occupancy)
Accommodation for one (1) night at a typical Portuguese Pousada Hotel in Marvao (superior room, double occupancy)
Accommodation for two (2) nights in a 5* restored convent hotel in Evora (deluxe room, double occupancy)
Thirteen (13) full breakfasts
Provision of a luxury rental car (Mercedes E, Audi A4 or similar) with automatic transmission and GPS for the days as stated in your itinerary
Chauffeured transfers in a luxury vehicle, as indicated in the itinerary
All the private and guided tours, food tastings, tapas hopping and wine samplings, as stated in your itinerary
Visits to all the Portuguese wineries and a Port Wine Lodge, with samplings of wine and port, as indicated
A winery lunch with local wine at a Douro Valley and an Aletenjo Winery
Online Personal Travel Webpage including daily itinerary, general local information, details of places of interest, suggestions for restaurant reservations, and your free time, etc.
Handy elegant Personal Travel Journal, which includes the extended information from your Personal Travel Website, that you can take with you as you go and keep as a souvenir to look back on
24/7 Back Office Assistance
Your tour does not include:
Meals and drinks not stated in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as telephone, minibar, etc.
Tips and gratuities at restaurants etc. at your discretion, NOT obligatory
Travel Insurance may be included in your quotation on request. We strongly recommend you to take out separate cancellation insurance.
Please note our tours are available for PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY and are not scheduled mixed group tours. Price is available upon request and varies depending on the number of guests and time of year. Feel free to contact us for your personal quote.
NB: This tour can be taken on a Self-drive or Chauffeur Driven Basis