Highlights of Portugal

Your Escape Details

In Portugal, the sun is bright, the food is delicious, and the living is easy. Wander the hilly streets of coastal Lisbon, where you can munch on a custard tart while gazing at sun-dappled architecture. Get your fill of history and culture at UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Monastery of Batalha, Coimbra University, and the picturesque town of Sintra. End the tour in Porto, where the majestic Douro Valley begs for you to lounge back with a glass of port wine in hand. Felicidades! And welcome to Portugal.

8 Days Lisbon to Porto and Return

Our small group tours are specifically curated to bring you deeply into the destination. Food, drink, people, customs and soft adventure activities to get you close to the natural surroundings. Specifically on this trip you will experience local culture and history, UNESCO sites, the Douro Valley with port wine tasting. This tour is, combined self directed and tour guide. Your guide will provide all the information you need for you to explore.

Our service is second to none, from your decision to join our tour, throughout the trip and when you get home, we will be there for you.

Each escape brings you experiences you wouldn’t find on your own.

Tour dates – November 8-15, 2020

As we explore Portugal, we will:

  • Fado Night with Traditional Portuguese Meal
  • Lisbon Culture & History
  • Visit Sintra
  • Lisbon orientation walk
  • Batalha gothic monastery entrance and visit
  • Porto orientation walk. Port wine cellars visit and tasting
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site, Coimbra University
  • Scenic coastal drive through Aveiro & Obidos
  • Optional pre-tour to Evora (Fly in one day early, call for details)

Escape With Us

Our escapes are unique in offering you an adventure filled itinerary with a local flavor. We work with local guides, planners and connections to make sure you do, see and even eat and drink things you may not have even thought of on your own.

Small Groups

We keep our groups small so we get to know each other and travel together, unified by the destination and our experiences.  Often lifelong friendships are forged. If anything, our growing group of like minded travelers start traveling together on future trips. “Where should we go next?” is often the last question asked as we depart for home.

Are you traveling solo? It is our pleasure to welcome you to our small group. We will match you with another solo traveler of the same gender. If you wish, you may choose to pay a solo supplement to have your own room. Please check for availability.

For each trip, you will be invited to our Facebook group so you can chat with fellow travelers, dream about the upcoming trip together, maybe prepare together, hiking, practice a useful skill, etc. Usually, we also organize a get together about a month before the trip to share information, pass out travel documents, and ‘break the ice’ so when we embark on our trip we already know each other a bit. If you don’t live in the area, no worries, we will Skype you into the party and mail you your travel documents.

Why negotiate and plan yourself. Even the best guidebook can’t give you the freedom to embrace and immerse yourself in the destination. Enjoy the pleasure of travel without having to think about the details, leave the planning to us, your job is to fully embrace the journey without the hassles! We are so happy you are considering being our guest and can’t wait to deliver your fantastic experience!

Itinerary

Day 1 Lisbon

Arrive at any time.

Explore on your own, Lisbon’s past in Alfama, one of the city’s oldest quarters. Wander along narrow medieval streets lined with typical tile-covered façades and take a step back in time; the area largely survived the great earthquake of 1755, and still retains much of its original layout. Listen for Portugal’s traditional music, fado, gracing the streets at night.

Or wander through Praça da Figueira traditional open air market. Then visit the lively Rossio Square.

If visiting the historic district of Belém is on your bucket list, we recommend arriving early on this day to explore its major sites like the Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower. Most attractions in Belém are closed on Mondays.

Optional Belém District Visit

10EUR per person

Discover Belém, a western suburb that’s linked to Portugal’s Golden Age of Discoveries – it was the site where famous navigators once set sail to discover the world. While there, take some time to tour nearby must-see attractions: the Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower, the Tropical Botanical Garden, and the Berardo Museum of contemporary art. Please note: most attractions in Belém are closed on Mondays.

Accommodation Residencial Florescente (or similar)

Day 2 Lisbon

Enjoy a brief walk with your tour guide. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs.

Take a break from reality to visit the fairytale-like town of Sintra. Get lost exploring the colorful manors, medieval palaces, and lush gardens of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

In the evening enjoy a Fado night and traditional Portuguese dinner in one of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods.

Meals included: Breakfast | Dinner

Accommodation Residencial Florescente (or similar)

Day 3 Lisbon to Coimbra

Leave Lisbon behind and head north to the small hill town of Batalha, best known for its ornate gothic monastery the Bathala Monastery, built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese over the Castilians at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. The elaborate, Gothic-style architecture of this UNESCO site is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the region.

Then settle back in our vehicle to enjoy the scenery on our way to Coimbra.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation Hotel Astoria Coimbra (or similar)

Day 4 Coimbra

You can explore Coimbra on your own. Opt to visit the famous Coimbra University, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013 (and also the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts).

Portugal’s most prestigious university, the University of Coimbra is a must see landmark. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site (and also the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts). Explore the World Heritage Site as you enter through the Porta Férra, the old entrance to the citadel of Coimbra constructed in the 10th century. Walk through the campus along mosaic cobblestone paths, explore it’s botanical gardens and Chapel of S. Miguel and opt to visit the ornate Joanina Library. The Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina) is a must see and one of the most ornate libraries in the world with it’s breathtaking frescoes, intricate carvings and gold-leaf touches.

Later, explore the winding streets and the riverfront filled with restaurants and bars.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation Hotel Astoria Coimbra (or similar)

Day 5 Coimbra to Porto

Enjoy a bit more time in Coimbra until you board the train, just like the locals do and head to Porto.

Once in Porto, enjoy an orientation tour with your guide to get the lay of the land, main squares, restaurants and sites not to miss.

The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore Porto on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation Hotel da Bolsa (or similar)

Day 6 Porto

Today you are free to explore Porto or to take an optional tour of the Douro Valley.

Take time to walk around Ribeira Square, a charming area with lots of hustle and bustle. Visit the Porto Cathedral, (called Sé do Porto in Portuguese) is a National Monument and one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Adorned with high ceilings, an exquisite courtyard and light-filled cloisters, the Sé has held deep religious and cultural significance for the people of Lisbon for centuries.

Don’t miss one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, Sao Bento Railway Station.

Optional Tour: Board a boat and take a cruise down the Douro River or “river of gold”. Float along this ancient route used for centuries as a port wine shipper’s route. Marvel in the beauty of the terraced hills along the way. 20 Euros

Optional Tour: Full Day tour of the Douro Valley. Visit a beautiful winery to sample wine, Olive Oil and Honey, with a private Miradouro (considered by BBC one of the most beautiful landscapes of the World). (Optional, call for pricing)

Accommodation Hotel da Bolsa (or similar)

Day 7 Aveiro, Obidos and Lisbon

Board your private vehicle to drive back to Lisbon via the beautiful coastal route.

We will stop and visit Aveiro, coined as ‘Little Venice’ the town is made up of canals filled with colorful boats.

We will continue to Obidos, sitting atop a little mountain, a charming walled town with streets filled with the local handicrafts; ceramics, linens and souvenirs. After some shopping we will head back to the Lisbon Airport.

Breakfast

Accommodation Airport Hotel

Day 8 Fly Home

Today you fly home.

Your Investment

Your Investment is $1950 per person based on double occupancy. (we will match same gender roommates) If you want your own room, the single supplement is $550 and space is limited.

The deposit to hold your space is $350 per person.  Final Payment is on May 16, 2020.

If you prefer to make payments, please contact us and we will arrange a plan that works.

Your Trip Includes

  • Accommodations
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Tours as listed in the itinerary
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
  • Tour guide throughout the trip

Your Trip Does Not Include

  • International Flights (flights from Boston in the range of $600 per person)
  • Meals not listed in itinerary
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional tours
  • Gratuities

How We Make Your Escape Awesome!

We are ready to answer your questions throughout the process via phone or email.

Once you sign up and pay your deposit:

  • We will send you a link to your My Trips account. You can view your trip details any time from your PC or Mobile Phone.
  • We will send you arrival and departure details so you can make your flight arrangements.
  • We will email you your final payment reminder about 1 week before it is due.
  • About two-three months before the trip we will send significant details like packing lists, further itinerary details, etc.
  • One month before the trip we will mail you your travel documents (or pass them out at a gathering for those local).

Facebook Group

You will be invited to a private Facebook group where you can meet, virtually, your fellow travelers, discuss the trip, make any preparation plans together, and share your excitement.

Our groups are typically 10-15 travelers. We aren’t a ‘big bus’ tour and don’t want to be. We don’t just look out the window and drive by the sights. Typically, our tours are custom and private. The advantage is, we can say, ‘stop here, we want to see this’ and we can stop and explore, even if it isn’t in the plan. Yes, we have an itinerary, but we also feel it’s important to take advantage of unexpected moments that arise. We attract travelers who are flexible and adventurous. A bit of spontaneity is a good thing!

You should know, our travelers are like you, they don’t want a canned tour, they like a sense of freedom on their trip, they understand the value of flexibility in travel, and they love the idea of working with a planning team that understands and respects their travel values.

So, Is this Trip for You?

  • You love traveling with like minded people and a tour company that is focused on traveling deeply into a destination, knowing how to read the group and make the best decisions for a perfect trip.
  • You find joy in trying new things, food, activities, etc.
  • Plans are good, and important to a great trip, however, flexibility sometimes brings a deeper experience and it’s OK with you.
  • You enjoy meeting and traveling with new people.
  • Some moderate physical activity will bring you the memories that make your trip special.

This Trip is Not for You If…

  • Travel is stressful and sometimes you find yourself anxious and frustrated when things don’t go perfectly as planned.
  • New things, new situations, aren’t really your thing.
  • You don’t like trying unusual local foods.
  • You feel uncomfortable and unsafe in places that are ‘foreign’ to Western culture.
  • Too much walking for long distances is tough.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often will I change accommodations during the trip?

Please refer to the itinerary. Your accommodations will change every 2 nights as you progress north through Portugal.

Can I extend my stay?

Absolutely, adding a pre or post stay always enhances a trip. You spent the money to get there, why not stay a while? We will be happy to help you make plans.

What airport do I fly into and out of?

You will fly round trip to Lisbon.

What are VISA requirements for these countries?

There are no visa requirements for Portugal.

What type of currency is used in these countries?

Portugal uses Euros.

Who do I contact for other questions and travel advice?

Call us at 860-779-6531 or send an email to lwhittemore@cruiseplanners.com

What is the age group of my potential fellow travelers?

Our guests typically range in age from 45-75. They tend to be of an age where they are either already retired and traveling is an objective for them, or are getting close. There are some tours that attract a younger group, sometimes adult children of a traveler in the group will join the tour.

Groups tend to be predominantly female, although we are wanting a good mix of men and woman, solo and couples traveling.

In any case, our travelers are in good health, active and adventurous.

I’m not a tour person, will this be too much of a standard tour for me?

No worries here, your fellow travelers feel exactly the same way and so do we, your tour curators. Of course there are some parts of our tours that are standard, we travel often by a van or motor coach, we eat together and do activities together. What makes us different, are two critical things, we don’t like traditional touring either, we work hard to be different. And two, you will always have the opportunity to choose. If you want to do something on your own or different than the group plan, you are welcome to do that.

We would love to have you join us! We will do our best to provide the opportunities and activities that allow you to make amazing memories and lasting friendships. We are looking forward to traveling with you.

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