18 days
Duration

Join Odyssey Traveller on this immersive 18-day tour of Portugal, a multi-sensory experience taking us from the capital of Lisbon, through Portugal's many historic cities, and end at vibrant Porto on the coast of the Atlantic. This journey is especially designed for senior travellers and offers a rich sampling of the culture and history of this European country.

Portugal: A Rich Culture and History

We will visit several cities and monuments listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, including the iconic Belem district in Lisbon, the colourful Sintra historic centre filled with castles in the style of 19th century Romantic architecture, the Convent of Christ in Tomar which was once a stronghold of the Knights Templar, the 76-metre Clerigos Tower in historic Porto, the impressive Monastery of Batalha built to commemorate the 1385 Portuguese victory over the Castilians, and Alcobaca's monastery and church, the first Gothic buildings built in Portugal.

We will also explore Portugal's oldest university, the University of Coimbra, and walk through its historic buildings.

Local Traditions & Unique Experiences

We will experience a Fado performance at a local restaurant. Fado ("fate") is a type of Portuguese expressive and melancholic musical performance which dates back to the 1830s. In Nazare, we will have a guided half-day tour to learn more about the town's fishing traditions and view the beach famous among surfers the world over for its giant waves. In Fatima, we will follow in the footsteps of Catholic pilgrims who visited the city following the reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917. In Evora, we will enter the Capela dos Ossos, or the Chapel of Bones, where more than 5,000 bodies are interred, displayed in the chapel in the 16th century to serve as a place to meditate about death and the meaning of life.

In Porto, we will relax in a river cruise on the Douro River and explore the hillsides where Portugal's port grapes are grown. Fans of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series will enjoy the beautiful, neo-Gothic Livraria Lello & Irmão (Lello & Irmão Bookstore), which is said to have inspired her writing during her time in Porto in the 1990s. 

We will enjoy spectacular views of the cities we will visit from famous viewpoints: Santa Luzia and Portas do Sol over Lisbon, Miradouro do Suberco over Nazare, and Cape Roca in the westernmost point of mainland Europe, which provides a panoramic view of the Atlantic.

Culinary Offerings

In addition to these experiences, we will also sample Portugal's culinary offerings. We will have a special visit to the Fabrica dos Pasteis de Belem, which has been baking the Portuguese custard tart since 1837. We will have chance to taste this creamy pastry--its secret recipe guarded since the 19th century--and stroll inside the beautiful café-factory. In Sintra, we will try the travesseiros (puff pastry filled with almond cream) from the Piriquita, a famous local cafe and bakery. While in Obidos, we will have a chance to taste a favourite local drink: ginginha (cherry liquor native to Portugal) in a chocolate cup, which means after drinking you can eat the cup! Of course, a trip to Portugal will not be complete without visiting its wine cellars and having a taste of port wine and sweet Moscatel.

This tour mixes guided tours with plenty of free time, and the small group setting affords travellers focused attention and flexibility. For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right-hand side of this page.

We also have a Spain and Portugal tour that explores the sights of the Iberian Peninsula, and an in-depth tour of Barcelona.

Click here to see the rest of our Guaranteed tours and here to see the 2020 and 2021 tours included on our Pre-Catalogue Sale.


PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
Explore Lisbon’s Belem district, which has many of the city’s iconic monuments.
2
See the colourful Pena Palace, located at the top of the hill in the Sintra Mountains and celebrated as the grandest example of Romantic architecture.
3
Enjoy a river cruise on the Douro River and explore the hillsides where Portugal’s port grapes are grown. 
4
Explore Portugal’s oldest university, the University of Coimbra, and walk through its historic buildings.
5
Visit the Fabrica dos Pasteis de Belem, which has been baking the world-famous Portuguese custard tart since 1837.

Overview: Upon arrival in Lisbon, we will make our own way to our hotel. The Odyssey Program Leader will greet the group and the rest of the day is free until we meet again in the evening for our welcome dinner. (D)

Accommodation: Hotel Borges Chiado or similar

Overview: Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal, sitting on the Atlantic coast and serving as the country’s chief port. It is also distinguished as the westernmost capital city in continental Europe. The city’s name is a variant of Olisipo, which may have been derived from the pre-Roman name for the Tagus River (Lisso).

Located at the mouth of the river is the Belem district, which we will be exploring today. Many of the city’s iconic monuments are located here. We will have a special visit to the Fabrica dos Pasteis de Belem, which has been baking the Portuguese custard tart since 1837. We will have chance to taste this creamy pastry–its secret recipe guarded since the 19th century–and stroll inside the beautiful café-factory.

We will move on to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites–the Jeronimos Monastery, a former monastery of the order of St. Jerome that has since been secularised; and the Tower of Belem, a 16th century fortification that played a significant role in Portugal during the European Age of Discovery. This era of exploration is celebrated by the Monuments of the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) on the northern bank of the river where ships used to depart to the East, which we will also view today.

We will stroll through the cobbled streets of Alfama, one of Lisbon’s oldest districts, and enjoy spectacular views of the city from the viewpoints in Santa Luzia and Portas do Sol. We will end the day’s tour in the area of the São Jorge Castle (no internal visit) to view the Moorish castle overlooking Lisbon and the Tagus River. (B)

Accommodation: Hotel Borges Chiado or similar

Overview: Today we will have a full-day trip to Sintra, Cape Roca, and Cascais.

From Lisbon, we travel to the city of Sintra, famous for its 19th century Romantic architecture. Its historic centre is listed as a World Heritage Site. It has many royal palaces and gardens, and early today, to avoid the crowds, we will explore the colourful Pena Palace, located at the top of the hill in the Sintra Mountains. It has a mix of styles running the architectural gamut from neo-Gothic to neo-Renaissance, and is celebrated as the grandest example of Romantic architecture.

From the hilltop palace, we will transfer to Sintra Town, where we can try the travesseiros (puff pastry filled with almond cream) from the Piriquita, a famous local cafe and bakery.

Still in Sintra, we will visit the magical Quinta da Regaleira, a palace and a chapel set on a hillside, which also showcases an eclectic mix of architectural styles. The property also has fountains, grottoes, statues, caves, and ponds connected above-ground through pathways and below-ground through tunnels lit with fairy lights.

We will transfer to Cape Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe, to enjoy a panoramic view of the Atlantic. From Cape Roca we will travel the coastal road to Cascais, where we will have free time to explore the seaside town on our own, and transfer back to Lisbon. (B)

Accommodation: Hotel Borges Chiado or similar

Overview: After our excursion yesterday, we will now enjoy a free day to spend at our leisure. We can spend the day to rest or explore the area, and in the evening we will gather together to enjoy dinner and a Fado performance at a local restaurant. Fado (“fate”) is a type of Portuguese expressive and melancholic musical performance traditionally associated with pubs and cafes. The Lisbon style of Fado dates back to the 1830s and we will have experience this tradition tonight. (B,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Borges Chiado or similar

Overview: From Lisbon, we will travel to the historic town of Evora, capital of Portugal’s Alentejo Province. Evora has roots in Roman times, and today we will visit the Roman Temple (circa 1st to 3rd century) located in the town’s historic centre.

We will enter the Capela dos Ossos, or the Chapel of Bones, with a design based on the ossuary of San Bernadino alla Ossa in Milan, Italy. More than 5,000 bodies are interred here, taken from the cemeteries around Evora and displayed in the chapel in the 16th century to serve as a place to meditate about death and the meaning of life. We will then visit the Cathedral of Evora, completed in the 18th century.

In the evening we will have dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Accommodation: M’Ar de Ar Muralhas or similar

Overview: Our morning is free, and in the afternoon we will visit the Cartuxa Winery, located on the Quinta de Valbom estate, for a tour and wine tasting. (B)

Accommodation: M’Ar de Ar Muralhas or similar

Overview: Today we will leave Evora to move to Obidos, where we will enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour. Obidos grew from a Roman settlement and a Moorish fortification, until it was extensively remodelled under Dinis I. Dinis I offered the town to his wife, Isabel, in the 13th century, and its architecture was enriched in the following centuries.

While in Obidos, we will also have a chance to taste a favourite local drink: ginginha (cherry liquor native to Portugal) in a chocolate cup, which means after drinking you can eat the cup!

In the evening, we will have dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Accommodation: The Literary Man Obidos Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we will have an excursion to the town of Nazare and Alcobaca. On the way to the fishing town of Nazare, we will stop en route at the spa town of Caldas da Rainha to view the factory that produces the traditional ceramic of Caldas.

In Nazare, we will have a guided half-day tour to learn more about the town’s fishing traditions and view the beach famous among surfers the world over for its giant waves. It is not unusual to see fisher women here still wearing traditional clothing: skirt with seven colourful layers (said to represent the days of the week), wooden clogs, and black headscarf. We will be afforded a beautiful view of the sea from the famous lookout point, Miradouro do Suberco. We will stop for a fish lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to Alcobaca.

We will visit the Monastery of Alcobaca, established in the 12th century by the first Portuguese king, Afonso. The monastery and the church were the first Gothic buildings built in Portugal and are listed as a World Heritage Site. After the monastery visit, we will have some free time to explore the town on our own before we return to Obidos. (B, L)

Accommodation: The Literary Man Obidos Hotel or similar

Overview: Today is a free day in Obidos, which we can spend by resting in our accommodation or taking a stroll in the area. (B)

Accommodation: The Literary Man Obidos Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we will be leaving Obidos to go to Fatima. En route we will stop at Batalha to visit its impressive monastery built in the Gothic and Manueline (Portuguese Gothic) styles. The Monastery of Batalha was built to commemorate the Portuguese victory over the Castilians at the 1385 Battle of Aljubarrota, ending the Castilian plan to capture the Portuguese throne.

We will continue our journey to Fatima and take a guided tour of the town. The city of Fatima became an important destination for Catholic pilgrims following the reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917. The three children–Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta–were canonised in 2017, making them the Catholic Church’s youngest saints. (Of the three, Francisco was the oldest, at age 10.) A collection of buildings called the Sanctuary at Fátima was built in the area where the Marian apparitions took place, and we will have time to visit the Basilica. 

We will stay in Fatima for the night and have dinner at the hotel.  (B,D)

Accommodation: Hotel D. Goncalo and Spa or similar

Overview: From Fatima, we will travel today to the Convent of Christ in Tomar. The exquisitely designed former Roman Catholic convent was originally a stronghold of the Knights Templar (later the Knights of the Order of Christ) in the 12th century. The convent and castle complex was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

After our exploration in the complex, we shall return to Fatima. The remainder of the day is free. (B)

Accommodation: Hotel D. Goncalo and Spa or similar

Overview: Today we will take a trip to Coimbra, once a Roman settlement and the former capital of Portugal (12th and 13th centuries), to view the city’s main sights. Coimbra declined as Portugal’s political centre in the late Middle Ages but rose as a cultural centre with the settlement of the University of Coimbra in 1537 (initially established in Lisbon in 1290). We will be exploring Portugal’s oldest university and its historic buildings, including the Royal Palace, the Chapel of St. Michael, the Baroque Library (Biblioteca Joanina), and the College of Jesus.

We will also visit Conimbriga, one of the largest Roman settlements excavated in Portugal.

From Coimbra we will transfer to the small town of Luso, where we will spend the rest of the day. In the evening we will gather for dinner at the hotel. (B,D)

Accommodation: Palace Hotel do Bussaco or similar

Overview: Today is free to spend at our leisure in Luso. Luso is famous for its agua (water) as the location of Aguas do Luso, a mineral water company, and as a spa town. (B)

Accommodation: Palace Hotel do Bussaco or similar

Overview: From Luso we will transfer to Porto, famous for port wine (which is in fact named after the city) and its World Heritage-listed historic centre. We will view the 76-metre Clerigos Tower (no internal visit), the emblematic bell tower of the Clerigos Church. We will explore the beautiful, neo-Gothic Livraria Lello & Irmão (Lello & Irmão Bookstore), which is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Rowling taught English in Porto in the 1990s.

We will also view the double-deck Dom Luís I Bridge spanning the Douro River, and stroll around the lively Ribeira area on the riverbank. As port, Portugal’s famous liquor export, originates in the city, we will also be treated to a tour and tasting in a port wine cellar.

We will transfer to our Porto accommodation and have dinner at the hotel. (B,D)

Accommodation: The Artist Porto Hotel & Bistro or similar

Overview: Today is free to spend at our leisure in Porto. (B)

Accommodation: The Artist Porto Hotel & Bistro or similar

Overview: Today we will enjoy a full-day excursion to the majestic Douro Valley. We will transfer by coach to the S. Bento train station and take the train to Regua. At Regua, we will transfer to Pinhao, where we will enjoy a one-hour cruise on the river and view the hillsides where Portugal’s port grapes are grown.

After the relaxing cruise, we will transfer to the vineyard village of Favaios and visit the gardens at Quinta da Avesseda. We will also have a chance to taste the sweet Moscatel produced here.

After lunch at a traditional restaurant, we will visit Favaios’ Bread and Wine Museum to learn more about the production of these two regional products.

We will transfer to Porto by coach. (B,L)

Accommodation: The Artist Porto Hotel & Bistro or similar

Overview: The day is free to be spent at our leisure. In the evening we will meet again for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Accommodation: The Artist Porto Hotel & Bistro or similar

Overview: The end of breakfast marks the end of the tour and our services. (B)

What’s included in our Tour

  • Services of an Odyssey Tour Leader.
  • 17 nights of accommodation.
  • 17 Breakfast, 2 lunches & 8 dinners.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Service charges and gratuities.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.
  • Transport, ferry travel, lectures, and field trips as indicated.
  • Meals as detailed on the itinerary.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • International return airfares including taxes.
  • Items of a personal nature.
  • Visas for entry.
The Pena National Palace Sao Pedro de Penaferrim, Sintra, Portugal
lisbon Pena Palace Sintra
The Pena National Palace Sao Pedro de Penaferrim, Sintra, Portugal
Wine Cellar, Porto, Portugal
Alfama, Lisbon Portugal
Porto, Portugal
Porto Portugal
Small group tour to Spain and Portugal Porto skyline
Portugal
Portugal
Portugal
Portugal
Portugal
Praco do Comercio waterfront square

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