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Insight Vacations Country Roads of Portugal (Summer 2017) (E928)

12 Days starts and ends in Lisbon Print
Tour Style: Country Roads Tour
Europe & Britain 2017/18
Visits: Portugal

Portugal's great discoveries brought trade and wealth which left their mark throughout the Kingdom. Witness this legacy, from the sunny beaches of the Algarve to the vineyards of the Douro Valley.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHT

  • Obidos: Walk through the picturesque narrow streets up to the main square of this ancient walled town.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Lisbon: Tour the spacious avenues and elegant squares. See the Monument to the Discoveries and ancient Belem Tower. Visit Jeronimo's Monastery, built during the city's Age of Discovery.
  • Portimão: Explore this Algarve resort.
  • Évora: With a Local Expert see the city walls, Roman Temple, Cathedral, Praça do Giraldo and Capela dos Ossos.
  • Coimbra: Enjoy an orientation tour of the Old town.
  • Mateus: Visit the gardens of the 18th century baroque palace.
  • Guimarães: Enjoy views from the ruined castle. Explore the maze of streets in the historic old quarter.
  • Porto: See the bridges and buildings decorated in tiles.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Lisbon: Enjoy a tasting of the famous 'Pasteis de Belem'.
  • Algarve: Join your Tour Director at one of the excellent eateries found around the marinas of the Algarve, for a fun-filled evening of classic seafood dishes and wine.
  • Monsaraz: Enjoy a leisurely cruise followed by a delicious Alentejo lunch with wine in an old olive oil mill.
  • Porto: Enjoy an informative tour of a famous cellar at Vila Nova de Gaia, take in the views and taste the port.
  • Porto: Shared experiences and memories are often the foundation for special bonds and friendships. Celebrate with wine and good cheer at a restaurant in Porto, devoted to the enjoyment of regional cooking.
  • 10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Highlight Dinner (HD), 1 Highlight Lunch (HL), 1 three-course table d’hôte Dinner (DW) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Lisbon: Visit Jeronimos Monastery with its beautiful Manueline architecture, reflecting Portugal's trade over the centuries.
  • Evora: Visit the famous Roman Temple and Capela dos Ossos, plus the fascinating cathedral, a mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
  • Fatima: Join the faithful at one of the world's holiest sites and pay homage at the Chapel of the Apparitions.
  • Tomar: Dominating the town, visit the Convent of Christ, see the Manueline Window and follow the story of the mysterious Knights Templar.
  • Tomar: Visit one of the best preserved medieval synagogues in Portugal.
  • Conimbriga: Visit the museum with a local historian and witness the Roman ruins and mosaics.
  • Coimbra: With a Local Expert, visit the University and witness the triumphal arches, painted ceilings, golden flourishes and walls of ancient tomes.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Évora: Among the white-washed houses of Évora, next to the Roman aqueduct, your 5-star M`AR De AR Aqueduto hotel blends part of an old monastery with modern design.
  • Douro Valley: The Vintage House Hotel enjoys an idyllic and tranquil riverside location at Pinhão in the authentic heart of the Douro Valley.

ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR SERVICES

  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will guide you on your journey. Serving as your 'travelling concierge', this skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Insight Vacations Tour Itinerary

Day: 1 Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).
Day: 2 Welcome to Lisbon
On arrival at Lisbon Portela Airport, there are complimentary transfers to your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30 hours. Settle in and relax. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.(WD)
Day: 3 Lisbon and the Age of the Great Discoveries
Your guided panoramic sightseeing takes you along the spacious avenues of the Lower Town and across the tree-shaded squares. Pass beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to the Terreiro do Paco, the finest square in the city, named after the palace which was destroyed in the terrible earthquake of 1755 (along with much of the rest of the city). Visit the Belem Quarter from where sailing ships set forth to discover unknown lands. See the traditional patisserie that has managed to hold on to the secret recipe of Portugal's finest pastry for over 100 years and enjoy a tasting of the famous 'Pasteis de Belem'. See the modern Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belem Tower, erected to protect Jeronimos Monastery, whose church we visit. Enjoy free time in the afternoon. Perhaps take the funicular railway up into the steep alleyways of the old town or explore the terraces of the Alfama district?(BB)
Day: 4 The Algarve
Cross the River Tagus and head for the sun-drenched southern coast. Lunchtime finds you on the coast at Lagos, a fishing port nestled at the back of a bay. After free time to explore, your gracious resort hotel is not too far away, set within a magnificent 360 acre estate. Simplicity is the soul of Algarve cuisine, along with seafood so fresh it still tastes of the sea. The small coastal towns and fishing ports house a rich variety of restaurants and your Tour Director knows the best! Enjoy a delightful evening of wine and classic seafood dishes rooted in the region.(BB / HD)
Day: 5 Everlasting Évora
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, journey to the medieval walled city of Évora. Join a Local Expert to explore the highlights of this beautifully preserved town. See the Roman Temple and visit the Capela dos Ossos - an extraordinary 17th century chapel comprising the skulls and bones of 5,000 bodies. Visit the cathedral with its attractive mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. In the afternoon, perhaps hire some bicycles or take a stroll through Évora’s unique historical centre and follow the aqueduct inside the city walls?(BB)
Day: 6 Monsaraz and Évora
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, you'll be transported to the striking white village of Monsaraz, situated on an imposing hilltop, surrounded by cork oaks and vineyards. From the castle ruins, admire the spectacular views across to the dry Spanish plains, contrasting with the blue of one of Europe's largest artificial lakes. Enjoy a leisurely cruise before a delicious and memorable lunch in a restaurant that was formerly an old olive oil mill. The choices offered are all typical of the local Alentejo region, with wine and drinks included. Later, return to Évora where cathedrals, churches, aqueducts and ancient castle walls all serve to create the feeling that this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city is a living, breathing museum to Portugal's rich past.(BB / HL)
Day: 7 Scenic drive to Óbidos, Fátima and Tomar
In the morning, pass fields of cork oak and expansive rice fields as you journey to the fortified town of Obidos. Walk inside the walls to explore the craft shops, art galleries and flower-bedecked houses that line the narrow, medieval streets. Continue to Fátima, Portugal's most renowned place of pilgrimage. See the basilica or visit the Chapel of the Apparitions, which commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three young shepherds in 1917. Now on to one of Portugal's historical jewels - the Templar Castle and Convent of Christ at Tomar. With a Local Expert, explore the octagonal Templar's Rotunda in the cloister and glimpse the day-to-day life of a warrior monk in the domestic areas. Outside on the battlements, the Manueline Window is perhaps the finest example in the country. Next, visit the Synagogue of Tomar, one of the best preserved medieval synagogues in Portugal, housing a small Jewish museum.(BB / DW)
Day: 8 Coimbra, the Douro and Pinhao
(Relaxed Start) Drive to Conímbriga, Portugal's best-preserved Roman archaeological site. With a Local Expert, marvel at the mosaics, explore the ‘House of the Fountains' and visit the museum. Move on to Coimbra, where guided sightseeing shows you the highlights of the Old Town, including a visit to the impressive baroque University library. Continue through rolling hills to your hotel, nestled on the vine-laden banks of the Douro.(BB)
Day: 9 Guimarães and Porto
Journey to Guimarães, known as the Cradle of Portugal. From the ruined castle there are wonderful views. Down in the historic heart lies a web of washing-hung alleyways, cobbled streets and cosy squares with tiny bars and cafés. Head on to the bright lights of Porto, situated on the River Douro and celebrated as the Port wine capital of the world. The Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores house these famous port wines. Walk along corridors of casks and get to know your tawnys and vintages during a tasting.(BB)
Day: 10 Porto, Grande Dame on the Douro
(Relaxed Start) A free day to enjoy at your own pace. Why not admire the multi-coloured houses and churches covered in beautiful glazed tiles, as well as the iconic bridges (‘Eiffel Towers on end' according to one Frenchman) or join a relaxing Douro River cruise for a different perspective and excellent views of the city? In the evening, bid 'adeus' to your Tour Director and friends with a palate-provoking Celebration Dinner, complete with wine at an authentic Porto restaurant.(BB / CD)
Day: 11 Return to Lisbon
Enjoy the morning in Porto before the 12:00 coach continues to Lisbon, arriving at approximately 17:00.(BB)
Day: 12 Depart Lisbon
After breakfast, your departure transfers arrive at Lisbon Portela Airport at 7:00 and 9:30.(BB)

Available Room Types: Single, Twin, TwinShare, Triple

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