Tour description

Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Experience true Portugal on this independent self- drive wine & culture tour of Portugal. See the best of Portugal’s fascinating cities such as Lisbon, Sintra and Porto; while also tasting Portuguese wines from the Douro Valley & Alentejo wine regions in situ. Create your own customized tour of Portugal with our selection of hand-picked winery tours, boutique hotels and scenic routes. Our 25 years of experience and 24/7 assistance means that your self-drive vacation in Portugal can be an easy and pleasant trip: less to plan and more to enjoy! You will discover authentic Portugal and the diversity of her regions with our guided private tours, visits to prestigious wineries and opportunities to taste the variety of wonderful Portuguese food and wine on offer! See Portugal as you have always wanted on this dream self-drive Portuguese vacation!


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Your Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal begins today when our chauffeur will be waiting with a luxury vehicle, to transfer you to your hotel. Your 4* boutique hotel is a genuine Art Deco building in the heart of Lisbon which echoes the glamour of the 1940s. Classified as a historic building, this small and unique hotel is located on a quiet street alongside the cosmopolitan Avenida da Liberdade. You will most likely be tired after your journey hence a short siesta is suggested 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 bright yellow trams from the 1930´s rattling up and down steep hills past characteristic buildings. And both have survived horrific earthquakes. In 1755, an estimated 9.0 earthquake levelled 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 and still feels like Europe’s gateway to the world. In your Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal Travel Journal you find an array of recommended restaurants. Start your tour of Portugal with a taste of some local Portuguese cuisine this evening

Tour in a nutshell: Private chauffeured transfer from Lisbon airport. Overnight in an Art Deco 4* hotel in the heart of Lisbon.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Your Officially Licensed Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal 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 George’s Castle, from where you will be able to take in the impressive views over the sea. Leading down from the castle to the river, you will traverse the Alfama, the old 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 a coffee stop and a typical Portuguese cake. You will be visiting a specialized gourmet delicatessen stocked with authentic local delights such as the typical Bacalhau (dried, salted cod), exclusive wines, traditional sweets, chorizo sausages and much more. Your Lisbon tour guide will provide you with many personalized suggestions 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 plaintive national music of Portugal. You will dine at an authentic, elegant Portuguese Fado restaurant in the picturesque Bairro Alto. Founded in 193, 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.

Tour in a nutshell: Private guided gourmet and historic tour of Lisbon. Gourmet delicatessen lunch with wine. Fado evening. Overnight Lisbon.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Today your Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal leaves you free to discover Lisbon on your own. Lisbon is also known as the town of seven hills which are composed of: Castelo, Graca, Monte, Penha de Franca, S.Pedro de Alcantara, Santa Catarina and Estrela. An uphill walk will be tiring but the views over the beautiful bay well worth it! Alternatively, maybe take a ride on one of the famous trams which were originally called Americanos, none of which are more iconic than Tram #28. Starting below the palm-spotted hills of Graça, the journey weaves around the hair-pin alleys of Escolas Gerais, before pulling up to a halt beneath the gorgeous domes of the Estrela Basilica. This neoclassical monument is one of Lisbon’s most eye-catching landmarks and the serene pink and black marble interior contains an elaborate Empire-style tomb of Queen Maria I, who vowed to build it when she gave birth to an heir. It has a huge rococo dome and a façade with twin bell towers decorated with an array of statues of saints and allegorical figures. For fantastic city views, head up to the dome. Across from Estrela Basilica is the beautiful park of Jardim da Estrela, one of the loveliest in the city and a favorite with families. There are exotic plants and trees, a small duck-dotted lake, and an attractive wrought-iron gazebo that serves as an old-fashioned bandstand. The pond-side café is a good place for a well-earned coffee break to rest your feet and watch the people passing by.

Otherwise you may like to head to Belem, a picturesque harbor district west of Lisbon from where ships set sail around the world, and from where many of the 14th century ‘Voyages of Discovery’ departed. Your Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal Travel Journal contains a wealth of information about how to spend your day.

Tour in a nutshell: Free day in Lisbon. Overnight Lisbon.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Sintra is today’s destination, 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, is the greatest expression of 19th-century romanticism in Portugal and was built for Queen Maria II by her husband; paying homage to the castles 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 tour of the palace and then free time to stroll in the gardens and Pena Park. A truly delightful place to wander and relax at your leisure!

You may like to take a taxi back down to the town of Sintra for lunch and maybe explore more of the winding and hilly streets. Here you can visit the breathtaking Moorish Castle, The National Palace and the Monastery dos Capuchos, before taking your return train to Lisbon. We will provide you with our delicious restaurant recommendations in your Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal Travel Journal, so that you can discover more great Portuguese cuisine.

Tour in a nutshell: Local train tickets for a day in Sintra. Private guided tour of Palacio da Pena. Overnight in Lisbon.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Today marks the wine tour of Portugal portion of your trip, when you depart Lisbon. A representative of our car rental company will deposit your luxury vehicle (Mercedes E, Audi 4, or similar) at your hotel, equipped with automatic transmission and GPS. On the way to Porto we suggest making a short detour to visit one of the hidden gems of the Portuguese countryside: the beautiful 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 here. Relax this afternoon and enjoy the view across the River Douro to the historic centre of Porto from your balcony. You may like to use the hotel luxury spa facilities with its large indoor pool and hot tub or sit around the outdoor pool offering panoramic views of Porto. You can have dinner at your hotel tonight, or try one of the many restaurant suggestions found in your Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal Personal Travel Journal

Tour in a nutshell: Luxury rental car delivery. Drive to Porto via Obidos. Overnight in an elegant 5* wine hotel and spa in Porto.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

This morning you are booked for a guided tour of a fantastic Port Wine Lodge, which is one of the oldest, 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. You will enjoy a private guided tour of the Wine Lodge concluded with a delightful tasting of some of their best ports.

The rest of your day is free to discover more of Porto. Head into the old town and wander through the mazes and alleys of the city, taking in its bohemian spirit. Major cultural highlights include Bolhao Market, Clerigos Church, and the 14th century Church Sao Francisco, well worth seeing for its incredibly ornate Baroque decorations. 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 three most beautiful book-stores in the world! Rumor has it that this bookstore provided the inspiration for the character of Harry Potter! Should you wish, we will be delighted to arrange our excellent local officially licensed Porto guide to take you for a private tour of the city, so that you do not miss any monuments or information. For dinner this evening, as always we have many restaurant suggestions in your Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal Personal Travel Journal.

Tour in a nutshell: Port wine lodge visit and tastings. Overnight Porto.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Onward now to Pinhao, in the heart of the Douro Valley, considered one the most spectacular wine regions of the world; with its lushly terraced vineyards meeting the meandering river below. Your abode for the next three nights is a charming 5-star property dating back to the 18th century when it was a Port winery, overlooking the Douro River. 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. The quaint town of Pinhao is spectacularly located at the confluence of the Douro and Pinhao rivers; and is the epicenter of the Port wine-making area.

This afternoon we have arranged for you to have a small group Rabelo boat cruise along the Douro River. On your 2 hour cruise up the river you will see the beauty of the area with the many wineries running down the hillsides and be able to imagine how, traditionally, Port wine was carried down the river from Douro to the lodges in Porto. If you prefer, we can arrange a privately skippered cruise. On your return to the dock, you may like to take a stroll beside the river or visit iconic Pinhao train station, just behind your hotel. 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? It overlooks the vineyard-covered mountains for an evening to remember.

Tour in a nutshell: Drive to Douro Valley. Rabelo boat cruise. Overnight in a charming 5* riverside hotel in the Douro Valley.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Get ready to experience the love of nature as you drive out for a day into the picturesque Douro Valley wine region. First off 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 world’s first demarcated wine region in 1756. You will have a full private visit of the winery, including the vineyards (with mind blowing views of the River Douro) and cellars, followed by a tasting of their incredible wines and ports. Then enjoy a romantic winery lunch, perfectly accompanied by their top wines from the aperitif through to dessert.

After lunch your Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal will take you to another great Quinta, where you will enjoy a private visit to an exceptional winery. 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 small 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, where after a complete private tour, you will enjoy a Douro Valley wine tasting.

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.

Tour in a nutshell: Private guided visits to two prestigious wineries with tastings of their finest wines and lunch at one. Overnight Douro Valley.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Your Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal continues with you driving to the Alentejo wine region. The charms of this land lay in its simple beauty; wheatfields, cork oak forests, wildflower meadows and tiny white-washed villages, with a warm and welcoming people. On the way through the Alentejo wine region 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, a celebration of one of the greatest Portuguese Renaissance Masters. Continuing your journey, you will arrive in Guarda; well known for its natural beauty and as the highest town in Portugal. Guarda is also an excellent place for you to take a break for some country-style Portuguese food and wine.

Next on the route is 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 sizable Jewish presence in the Middle Ages for which the town is now known. Just another ten minute drive 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.

Tour in a nutshell: Drive to Marvao via Viseu, Guarda and Castelo de Vide. Overnight in a charming Pousada in Marvao.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Enjoy a leisurely start this morning, before you leave for the walled city of Evora. On the way you will be stopping near Estremoz, to tour an extremely modern Alentejo winery. Priding itself on a blend of the old and the new, this is one of the most modern cellars in Alentejo, but the old tradition of stomping on the grapes is still practiced! You will enjoy a private tour  followed with a tasting of their best Alentejo wines. At the winery you can enjoy a delicious harvest lunch of Portuguese cuisine. A local array of delicacies with Alentejo bread, olives, cheeses, 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 lovely Estremoz, go to our favorite bar; situated inside a medieval jail tower at the picturesque pousada, for great views.

Continuing today’s Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal, if you are looking for more history and Alentejo wines, 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 you will head to your hotel; a former convent that has been renovated and turned into a 5* luxury hotel. After check in we suggest some relaxation – perhaps a visit to the spa and a wonderful massage? We recommend you have dinner at your hotel this evening.

Tour in a nutshell: 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.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Today, after a relaxing breakfast, you are free 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 white washed houses. Evora 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. Stop for lunch to indulge in the best of 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 in your Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal Personal Travel Journal. Located in a 16th century Jesuit refectory, just outside the city walls, there is an Alentejo winery where wines are no longer produced, but that is definitely worth a pop-in. It is well worth going to the shop here to taste/buy their range of wines, from modestly priced to the Alentejo region’s most expensive wine – the legendary Pera-Manca, of which you are allowed to buy only one bottle. If you would like to have a private guided tour in Evora; we will happily arrange it for you.

Then later this afternoon your hotel provides a wine tour for guests to learn of the old convent building of the XV century, and later on with their sommelier, you can try the nectars from their collection of wines!

Tour in a nutshell: Free day in Evora. Hotel winery tour and wine tasting. Overnight in Evora.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

More Portuguese food and wine is to be discovered today when you journey to the pretty little village of Azeitao. Dotted with country palaces, running fountains and cobbled alleyways, it is famous for its wines, olives and creamy sheep’s cheese, the last prized as one of the best cheeses in the country. Your day will commence with a winery tour owned by a major art lover and one of the wealthiest men in Portugal. 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. Following, we suggest that you pause for a typical Portuguese lunch with dessert being an ideal opportunity to taste the local specialty, Torta 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 cellars before finishing with a tasting of their excellent wines and Moscatel.

Return to Lisbon via the incredible Vasco de Gama Bridge – 17km (11 miles) long – it was the longest bridge in Europe when it opened in 1998, and remains one of the longest in the world today! On arrival in Lisbon you will return your rental car to the local office and check in once again to your 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 your Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal Personal Travel Journal.

Tour in a nutshell: Drive to Lisbon via Azeitao. Private visits to 2 prestigious wineries. Overnight in 4* boutique hotel in Lisbon


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Today is your final full day in Portugal, so if there’s anything you haven’t seen yet which you still wish to; now is your chance! If the beautiful array of Azulejo tiles you have seen on your Portuguese tour have piqued your interest, why not pay a visit to Lisbon’s fantastic National Tile Museum, which is dedicated to everything fired in a kiln? The institution traces the important history of tile-making and its associated technologies from the days when the Moors first brought this artform to Iberia. To be expected, the best part of the exhibitions on display are the blue-hued azulejos. You’ll get to see all types, sizes and designs, and learn about the development of the enchanting motifs that adorn their cobalt surfaces.

If you are keen for more outdoor exploration, why not explore the seven hills of Lisbon by funicular? In Lisbon there are a series of funicular railways to help transport to and from the neighborhoods above the city. It’s an utter pleasure to ride on some of the tracks such as the ‘Ascensor da Bica’, which winds up the tight-knit cobbled lanes on the hillside of Largo do Calhariz. Another historic piece of Lisbon is the ‘Ascensor do Lavra’ which dates back to the late 19th century and has been honored with a national heritage tag. Most impressive are the views caught as you travel up the the soaring Santa Justa Elevator which lifts people from Baixa to Carmo, offering spectacular views of the Lisbon downtown area along the way. Otherwise some last minute gift-shopping may be in order, or a wander around the old town, the choices are yours.

Tour in a nutshell: Free day in Lisbon. Overnight in Lisbon.


Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

It is always sad to say goodbye, but this is the last day of your Portuguese wine and cultural tour and after breakfast you will check out of your Lisbon hotel and have a chauffeured transfer to the airport for your onward journey.

We do hope you will join us for this enticing and memorable Independent Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal. No doubt an experience to remember for life!

Tour in a nutshell: Private chauffeured transfer to Lisbon airport.

Tour quotation

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Wine & Culture Tour of Portugal

Tour in a Nutshell

History, monuments & traditions: Portuguese Culture

Unique wine tours in Porto, Douro, Alentejo: Portuguese Wine

See the best of Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, Douro Valley & Alentejo

Private tour guides & 24/7 assistance: easy self-drive vacation

14 days/13 nights, boutique 4* &  5* hand selected hotels

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