Portugal Northward to Spain: Lisbon, Porto, Galicia & the Camino de Santiago
June 13 – 25, 2017
TUES & WED, 6/13 & 14 • Fly to Lisbon • Meals: (D)
Travel from your home city to Lisbon, Portugal. Arrive in the capital city the next day. We will be transferred from the airport to our hotel. In the later afternoon, we’ll meet our fellow travel companions, tour guides, tour director during a Tour Orientation. Afterward, we’ll take to the streets of Lisbon to enjoy dinner at a select Lisbon restaurant that showcases Portugal’s classic cuisine – chosen by our guides.
THUR, 6/15 • Lisbon • Meals: (B) (L)
After breakfast, we’ll join our guides for an an introduction to this vibrant city. Lisbon boasts a glorious climate, historic monuments and buildings, a fantastic culinary scene and lively nightlife. We’ll start in Baixa, the heart of the city. We’ll wander its grid layout of wide streets lined with Neo-Classical buildings and lively squares. We’ll take the Elevador de Santa Justa, a national monument, that transports passengers in polished wooden carriages to a skyway with views of the city and waterfront. We’ll learn about 3000 years of Portuguese history as we walk the oldest neighborhood in the city – Alfalma. Alfalma is picturesque with its medieval cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and wrought iron balconies adorned with flower pots and caged birds. It needs to be experienced by wandering up and down the narrow streets (and maybe getting a bit lost). Alfalma has postcard-perfect views. We’ll end the day with a visit to St. George’s Castle, a Moorish hilltop castle that was the residence of Portuguese kings. The evening will be free time to relax, see more of Lisbon on your own or have dinner with new friends.
FRI, 6/16 • Sintra • Meals: (B, L)
We’ll head out in the morning for a day trip to Sintra. Sintra is a picturesque Portuguese town set among the pine covered hills of the Sierra de Sintra. This slightly cooler climate enticed the nobility and elite of Portugal who constructed exquisite palaces and decorative gardens. We will visit the Pena Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Sintra’s colorful hilltop Moorish palace. This vividly painted palace was designed by a king who was passionate about the arts and wished his rosy retreat to reflect that of an opera. It’s a must-see! After our visit to Pena Palace, we’ll take a short drive to the rocky coastline for magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean at Azenhas Do Mar Restaurant. Located cliffside, it will be a chance to take in the ocean air and relax during an unforgettable meal of grilled fresh seafood (alternative choices available).
SAT, 6/17 • Lisbon, Porto • Meals (B) (D)
This morning, we’ll take in some last must-see landmarks in Lisbon in Belem – Belem Tower, the Discoveries Monument and the Jeronimos Monastery. The morning will be a walking tour of this cultural center of Lisbon near the waterfront. After lunch, we’ll board our coach and depart for Porto, the sophisticated coastal city that is the home of Port wine. We’ll arrive in Porto in the later afternoon in time for an evening riverfront walk, views of the iconic Ponte de Dom Luis I Bridge and dinner at a select restaurant.
SUN, 6/18 • Porto • Meals: (B) (L)
Porto is a vibrant city that is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s most respected destinations. Porto sits a bit inland from the Atlantic and is situated on the banks of the Douro River. Porto boasts an extensive history of the river reflected in its Port industry. The region is famed for its production of Port wine in the Douro River Valley. Port is stored in vast cellars that stretch along the banks of the Douro River (river of gold) in the city. We’ll have a free morning to relax or sleep in. In the later morning, we’ll head out to discover the best of Porto, the historic old town, Clerigos Tower, the Majestic Cafe, the famous Lello Bookshop and the Romanesque Se Cathedral. We will be sure to visit some of Porto’s unique shops. Did we forget to mention the Port wine tasting houses across the bridge? Trust us, we won’t forget to taste at some of the best ones in town! This will be a day of discovery in this fascinating city.
MON, 6/19 • Douro River Valley Cruise • Meals: (B, L)
The Douro River is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula. The banks of its steep terraced vineyards along the Douro River Valley have become one of Europe’s great wine destinations. Port, as well as red and white wines, are made at quintas (estates) along this narrow river gorge snaking 100 miles throughout the mountain ranges of Spain and Portugal ending in Porto. We will spend the day in the valley. We’ll take the train from Porto to a select quinta enjoying the vistas along the way. We’ll tour the quinta, learn about port and winemaking and have lunch paired with wines on the terrace. The views from this terrace are spectacular! Then, we’ll be picked up by boat for a cruise along one of the most beautiful stretches of the Douro River. At the end of the day, we’ll take the train back to Porto and arrive at Sao Bento Railway Station. Sao Bento Station is a historic building in itself. Its interior is covered with 20,000 Portuguese blue and white tiles detailing the history of Portugal.
TUES, 6/20 • Galicia, Spain • Meals: (B, L, D)
Today, we’ll leave Portugal and make our way northward to Spain’s Galicia region. This area is known for its beautiful beaches, historic medieval towns and exceptional local seafood. We’ll stop at Fortaleza de Monterreal in Baiona, a fortress with a 2 km walking trail inside the perimeter of its stone wall. The views of the rocky shoreline and the hidden beaches along the trail are breathtaking as is the history of the fortress. Along the walk, we’ll find a spot and be treated to a gourmet picnic prepared by our guides. Baiona has its own place in history. On March 1, 1493, Columbus’ ship The Pinta stopped in Baiona for provisions. We’ll visit Baiona Harbor and to see a replica of The Pinta. Then onward to Pontevedra, a city with a long maritime tradition. Pontevedra has one of Galicia’s most elegant historic quarters. Situated at the edge of an estuary, it is one of the pretties cities in Galicia.
WED, 6/21 • Cies Islands • Meals: (B, L)
Today, we’ll take a ferry from Vigo to the Cies Islands. We’ll spend the day on Rodas Beach, named by The Guardian as ‘the best beach in the world‘. Its clear turquoise waters and fine white sand certainly make it one of the most idyllic beaches in the world. This beach links two of three islands, creating a half-moon shape. There are nearby coves to explore and walks to take along trails. We will catch the ferry back to Vigo in the later afternoon. That evening is free time to relax or explore more of Pontevedra on your own or with new friends.
THURS, 6/22 • Cambados • Meals: (B, D)
We’ll have a free morning to relax. Later that morning, we’ll head to Cambados, one of Galicia’s historic towns but also the capital of Albarino wine country. The local Albarino grape is a white grape which produces full-bodied wines that often exhibit ripe citrus and stone fruit flavors. The town of Cambados has a compact core of cobblestone streets, a historic district and a main plaza dotted with inviting Albarino wine tasting bodegas. We will visit a bodega (or two) and taste their wines. We’ll have dinner in Cambados showcasing some of the area’s best fish and shellfish as well as fresh produce from local gardens (alternate choices to fish or seafood available). The gastronomy in this area is some of the best in Galicia.
FRI, 6/23 • Santiago de Compostela • Meals: (B, L)
From Pontevedra, we’ll finish the last segment of our journey in Santiago de Compostela. This is Galicia’s capital city whose magnificeint cathedral is the burial place of Saint James. The cathedral is also the final destination of the pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago. We’ll spend the day in Santiago visiting this beautiful city, touring the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela and take in the culture of the pilgrimage. Santiago de Compestola has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The evening will be free to relax, explore Santiago on your own or enjoy dinner with new friends.
SAT, 6/24 • A Day on the Camino • Meals: (B, L,D)
The last day of our tour will be spent on a select rural section of the Camino (French route). We will be dropped off at one point and walk the Camino for approximately 3 miles. Along the way, we’ll meet pilgrims who have been walking for days on their spiritual journey to Santiago. We’ll stop and have lunch at a family-run cafe typically visited by pilgrims. The goal is to experience, in a small sense, what the Camino is all about. Our guides have walked the French route. They will share their experience with us. The scenery will be lovely as we cross rural fields and forests. For those who do not want to walk, there will be an alternative activity provided or free time, as desired. Once back in Santiago, we will bring our tour to an end at a special Farewell Dinner. It will be time to reflect on our journey, the people we have met and our best memories.
SUN, 6/25 • Fly Home • Meals: (B)
Guests will be transferred to the airport in Santiago de Compestola for the flight home. Farewell to Portugal and Spain – for now!