Small and seemingly isolated on the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula, in the early modern period Portugal ruled the seas, the age of Portuguese exploration and expansion forming an empire stretching from Indonesia to Brazil. This imperial wealth translated to lavish architecture – see the ornate Renaissance buildings of Braga, Sintra, and Lisbon for proof on an included sightseeing tour on your Portugal tour, that also includes; Nazare, Alfama, Mafra, Obidos and Evora.
Portugal even developed its own style, Manueline, named after the Portuguese monarch Manuel I, who was ruler during the kingdom’s period of expansion and accumulation of staggering wealth. The architectural style, seen only in Portugal in the 16th century, is characterised by rich and lavish ornamentation and nautical themes, such as moldings encrusted with carved barnacles and nautical instruments over windows and doors fronting onto the cobblestone streets. The style flourished only for a few decades, bridging the Gothic style and the Renaissance and Mannerist styles that became popular in Portugal. The Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a prime example of the Manueline style typically explored as a walking tour suitable for senior travelers.
However, it is also important to know the tragic dimension of the Age of Exploration: for two hundred years, from 1440 to 1640, Portugal had a monopoly on the slave trade. In the 16th century, Lisbon had a large African population, unique among European cities at this time, but around 10% of the city’s population were slaves.
On our Portugal tour for seniors, we with your tour director and tour guide balance exploration with education, and more and more people are setting out to explore the beautiful cities and the amazing natural wonders of Portugal for a memorable travel experience. Go on a city tour with an expert local tour guide to know more about history, or enjoy discovering on your own. This maritime country is also famous for its fresh and delicious seafood, which is best to be experienced in a small local restaurant. Leave some room for dessert and visit the Fabrica dos Pasteis de Belem, which has been baking the Portuguese custard tart since 1837.