Day 1: Board
Your Overnight Transatlantic Flight.
Day 2: Arrival
Portugal. Free time to rest or start exploring the Portuguese capital.
At 6 p.m. meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink hosted
by your tour director. Overnight in Lisbon
Day 3: Lisbon. Now the capital of a small country on the western
fringe of the Iberian Peninsula, Lisbon was the center of Europe's
longest-lived overseas empire. Portugal's imperial ambitions date
back to Prince Henry the Navigator's 15th - century discover. Overnight
Day 4: Lisbon / Fatima / Tomar. First stop on your northbound journey
is medieval Obidos.
Go back in time as you pass the main gate in the impressive perimeter
wall and walk along the narrow streets. Continue to Alcobaça to
visit the church of Santa Maria Monastery, built in the 12th century
for 999 Cistercian monks. See the elaborate tombs of King Pedro
I and his Castilian lover Inês de Castro and hear how she was murdered
at the order of Pedro's father. The fishing harbor of Nazaré is
the perfect place for a leisurely lunch break. In the afternoon,
mix with the pilgrims at the country's hallowed national shrine,
Fatima's Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. Overnight in Tomar,
the historic seat of the mighty Order of the Knights of Christ.
Day 5: Tomar
/ Porto. On the way out of Tomar visit the hilltop Convent of Christ
with its famous Manueline window. Further north, the Roman ruins
of Conimbriga are eloquent testimony to centuries of Roman influence.
Tour the excavations, view the well - preserved mosaics, and visit
the excellent museum. On to Coimbra,
strategically situated on a hill overlooking the Mondego River.
After a visit to the gilded baroque library of its 700 -year - old
university, drive through the ancient Buçaco Forest. Marvel at its
luxurious variety of plants from various parts of the world, carefully
protected for centuries. Before dinner in Porto there's time to
visit a port wine cellar where the famous wine produced from grapes
of the Douro Valley is aged in huge vats.
Day 6: Porto.
Morning sightseeing with a local guide in Portugal's second largest
city, the bustling capital of the north. After a panoramic drive
to the mouth of the Douro River see the soaring cathedral, admire
the richly decorated Church of Sao Francisco, and visit the Stock
Exchange with its contemporary Arabian Hall inspired by Granada's
Alhambra. Afternoon at leisure and tonight your tour director will
suggest an optional dinner at one of Porto's typical restaurants.
Day 7: Porto / Viseu. Having seen Portugal's prosperous urban life,
today you'll catch glimpses of a different reality: a rural population
living off tiny patches of land tended with traditional farming
methods. Head inland to Guimaraes, often referred to as the "cradle
of Portugal" because of its association with the country's first
king, Alfonso Henriques. Next you reach Vila Real, former capital
of Portugal's northeastern region of Trás - os - Montes. Just outside
town, visit the splendid park and manor of Palacio de Mateus, whose
picture graces the label of the Mateus rosé wine. From here, a scenic
road cuts right through the valley of the Douro River, which flows
between terraced slopes where port wine grapes grow. Spend the night
in Viseu, believed to have been the home of the Lusitanian leader
Viriate who resisted the Roman conquest.
Day 8: Viseu
/ Evora. The new fast road provides splendid views of Portugal's
highest mountain range, the Serra da Estrela. Pass Guarda, the country's
highest city, and stop in Belmonte,
birthplace of Pedro Alvares Cabral, and the discoverer of Brazil.
Today Belmonte is a symbol of Jewish awakening. Some of its inhabitants
have reconverted to the belief of their ancestors who, during the
dark days of the Inquisition, were forced to accept the Catholic
religion. Cross the Tagus River, enter the Alentejo plain and look
forward to an afternoon break in enchanting Castelo de Vide. Time
to walk through the Jewish Quarter with its white-washed houses
and take pictures of the 14th-century castle. Continue to Evora,
the cultural center of southern Portugal and a former royal residence.
Day 9: Evora
/ Algarve. A massive wall surrounds Evora's medieval center, classified
as a World Heritage Site. A guided walking tour through its narrow
alleys takes you to the Roman Temple, the early Gothic Cathedral,
Portas de Moura Fountain, and Sao Francisco Church. Visit the Ossuary
Chapel, whose walls are covered with thousands of human bones and
skulls. After lunch proceed across the arid Alentejo plain to the
Portugal's most popular holiday area.
Day 10: Algarve Excursion. Today you may prefer to relax, explore
this beautiful resort at your own pace, or join the included excursion
along the enchanting southern coastline. History comes alive as
you reach the wind - swept promontory of Sagres, where Henry the
Navigator lived and planned his overseas expansion. Only a few miles
away is Cape St. Vincent, the southwestern corner of continental
Europe, a dramatic cliff defying the waves of an ever - angry Atlantic
Ocean. After a lunch break in Lagos, you return to your hotel with
time left in the day to catch up on your postcards and shopping.
Tonight is your chance to try one of the seafood restaurants for
which the Algarve is famous.
Day 11: Algarve / Lisbon. Head north to Setúbal,
a major port and industrial center on the north bank of the Sado
Estuary. From here take the scenic route over the Serra da Arrábida
and savor sweeping views of the Tróia Peninsula. Catch glimpses
of the castle of Sesimbra, which recall fierce medieval battles
between Christians and Moors. After crossing the Bridge of April
25th you're back in Lisbon for a last evening with the companions
of an exciting touring adventure.
Day 12: Your Homebound Flight Arrives the Same Day.