CENTRAL PORTUGAL ROAD TRIP

Regions

Lisbon, East, center, North

Starting Point

Lisbon

Best time to travel

all year

Recommended Length

10 -14 days

Minimum Age*

Road Trip Adventure

Activity Level **

3/5

This classic tour will take you to the central heart of Portugal while you travel between Lisbon, Evora and Porto. After enjoying some exciting days around Lisbon and the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park, you will head to the traditional Alentejo area, where you will spend some days discovering beautiful authentic landscapes and experience culture, heritage and traditions in rural eastern Portugal. Get active in the high mountains of the Serra da Estrela and relax and unwind with some of excellent wines at a beautiful quinta in the scenic Douro Valley before enjoying some final fun and action in the Arouca Geopark.

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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

✓ explore the lively atmosphere in the buzzing streets of Lisbon
✓ admire the grand royal palaces in Sintra and the surrounding nature park
✓ rich traditional heritage, culture and unspoiled nature in the rural Alentejo region
✓ relax, unwind and learn about wine on a Douro Valley quinta
✓ visit historic towns and villages of eastern Alentejo
✓ walking, cycling, hiking, kayaking and much more in the unspoiled scenery of central Portugal

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TOUR OVERVIEW

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Day 1 - arrival - overnight in Lisbon (30km)
Day 2 - cycling tour to Sintra - free time in Lisbon - overnight in Lisbon (55km)
Day 3 - kayaking in rural Alentejo - overnight in the Evora area (140km)
Day 4 - traditions and heritage of Alentejo discovery tour - overnight in the Evora area (100km)
Day 5 - Elvas - hiking to Marvao - overnight Marvao (170km)
Day 6 - Olive oil museum - Monsanto mountain village - overnight in Corvilha (220km)
Day 7 - hiking in the Serra da Estrela Nature Park - overnight in the Douro Valley (180km)
Day 8 - tour and tasting at a Douro quinta - free time at the quinta - overnight in the Douro Valley
Day 9 - cycling and hiking in the Arouca geopark - overnight Arouca geopark area (120km)
Day 10 - canyoning in the Arouca geopark - overnight Arouca geopark (40km)
Day 11 - departure

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DETAILED ITINERARY

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DAY 1 - WELCOME TO PORTUGAL
Welcome to Lisbon. You will have some time to explore the beautiful capital of Portugal on your own before joining a guided walking tour, which will take you to some hidden places and authentic neighborhoods in Lisbon, where you will learn about culture and history while getting to taste some delicious local food and wine.
Overnight in Lisbon.

DAY 2 - CYCLING TOUR TO SINTRA
The former royal residence and UNESCO World Heritage town of Sintra is characterized by grandiose palaces, castles and pompous villas. Surrounded by the dense green forests and mountainous terrain of the Sintra-Cascais Nature Parks, the area also makes for great biking. A guided cycling tour will take you all the way from the Portuguese capital to the medieval village, where you will get to visit one of the amazing palaces, and enjoy the natural environment and some fantastic views over the coast in the surrounding nature park.
Overnight in Lisbon.

DAY 3 - KAYAKING IN ALENTEJO - EVORA
You will leave Lisbon after breakfast and head to the eastern Alentejo region, reknown for it's rich historic and cultural heritage and the perfect place to experience a truly authentic side of Portugal. Enjoy a relaxed kayaking trip on the calm waters of the Degebe river and take in the peaceful views of the beautiful countryside. You will have some time to explore the historic cobbled lanes in the UNESCO listed town of Evora with it's many churches and National Monuments in the late afternoon and evening.
Overnight in Evora.

DAY 4 - HERITAGE AND TRADITIONS OF ALENTEJO
A private tour will take you around the Evora region today, where you will discover some beautiful scenic and cultural highlights and learn about local traditions, food and wine. You will visit some very special local farms, where you will get to taste some fantastic local Portuguese wines at a private winery, learn about the cultivation of prickly pears and hear about the transformation of cork at an authentic transformation factory.
Overnight in Evora.

DAY 5 - ELVAS - MARVAO
Visit the historic and UNESCO listed town of Elvas in the morning, a truly hidden gem close to the Spanish border. The fortified town is dominated by the magnificent Armoreira Aqueduct from the 16. century and the well preserved Graca Fortress North of the town. Continue to the beautiful village of Marvao, sitting high on the top of a mountain overlooking the surrounding Alentejo area and the Portuguese - Spanish border. Conquer the hilltop village on a guided hiking tour will bringing you up the mountain to the invincible fortified village and to visit the medieval castle. Enjoy the evening exploring the old lanes of the village and enjoying the magnificent wide views over the quiet countryside.
Overnight in Marvao.

DAY 6 - OLIVE OIL MUSEUM - MONSANTO - COVILHA
Start the day with a visit to the local olive oil museum, where you will learn more about the tradition of olive oil production, visit the groves and mills and taste some of the high quality oil together with some local products. You will continue to the unique Monsanto village, often referred to as the "most Portuguese village" in Portugal. Here you will find granite cottages squeezed in amongst giant boulders. The village has hardly changed in the last 100 years and enjoys distinction as a living museum. Continue to Corvilha, one of the gateways to the Serra da Estrela. Visit the Museu do Queijo - cheese museum - to learn more about the story of Portuguese cheese making in the area and to taste some of the excellent local products.
Overnight in Covilha.

DAY 7 - HIKING SERRA DA ESTRELA
You will spend the day in the beautiful Serra da Estrela Natural Park, home to mainland Portugal's highest mountain Torre, beautiful glacial valleys, powerful rivers and deep ravines. You can choose from various hiking trails to suit your fitness level, taking you along scenic rivers, up to impressive granite mountain summits or through lush green forests. Be sure to be rewarded with stunning views over the unspoiled nature park. Continue to the Douro Valley.
Overnight in the Douro Valley.

DAY 8 - A DAY AT A DOURO WINERY
Enjoy a relaxed day at a winery in the heart of the Douro Valley, one of Portugal's most renown wine regions. Join the winemakers on a tour over the vineyard, where you will be introduced to the region and learn about the secrets of cultivation and production of the world famous Douro wines. Of course you will get to taste a selection of some fabulous wines on the tour. Spend the afternoon relaxing at the quinta or exploring the Douro valley by foot or bike before returning to the quinta for a sumptuous dinner accompanied with some local wines.
Overnight in the Douro Valley.

DAY 9 - CYCLING OR HIKING IN THE AROUCA GEOPARK
Portugal's Arouca Nature Park lies southeast of Porto and has been recognized as a UNESCO Geopark due to its outstanding geological heritage. The park is surrounded by mountain ranges and crossed by several rivers, providing the perfect setting for a wide selection of outdoor activities. Today, you will explore the park on a mountain biking or hiking tour, taking you along panoramic mountain roads and through picturesque mountain villages while learning more about the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the region.
Overnight in the Arouca Geopark region.

DAY 10 - CANYONING ADVENTURE IN THE AROUCA GEOPARK (B)
The Arouca Geopark is crossed by many streams and smaller rivers, which have have been carving their way into the soft rock characteristic for this part of Portugal for thousands of year, leaving a beautiful landscape made of canyons, river valleys and deep gorges. You will explore some of the beautiful waterways on a canyoning adventure, which will take you along the riverbed and let you explore the beautiful nature from the waters perspective. Climb up rock, swim, scramble and jump into the fresh waters - whatever way keeps you going, this will sure be a fun way to get close to nature. Enjoy the afternoon to explore more of the cultural and natural heritage of the Geopark.
Overnight in the Arouca Geopark region.

DAY 11 - DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport and departure.

This is our standard itinerary, which can be tailored to your specific wishes and needs. Just talk to us if you wish to add extra nights, adventures or special requests!

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SERVICES INCLUDED

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- accommodation in good standard middle-class hotels, quintas and/or guesthouses
- private care hire for the entire trip
- activities, visits and tours as outlined, with a certified, English speaking guide where desired/required
- all taxes and insurances for the activities
- expert travel planning, trip preparation and 24/7 on-tour support

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TIMES & RATES

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Description

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GALLERY

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Family Adventure Holidays

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Contact us for a quote

Talk to us to get a quote for this tour or let us design a tour just for you. 

TRAVEL TIPS

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When to travel
Thanks to its mild climate, Portugal is a great destination all year round. March to May is a great season for outdoor activities or sight-seeing. It is not too hot yet, but temperatures can already be nice and warm, especially on the Algarve or in Portugal's southeast. Nature is in full bloom and forests are lush and green at this time of the year. While average daily temperatures in Lisbon are around 18 degrees, it can be cooler in central and northern Portugal.
Summer in Portugal comes with high temperatures and a lot of sun. While Lisbon has an average of 28 degrees over the summer months, temperatures can rise over 40 degrees in northern and central Portugal between June and August and also easily reach around 35 degrees on the Algarve, though a fresh breeze from the Atlantic makes it feel less hot. The Algarve is perfect for a beach holiday, though the water temperatures hardly go over 22 degrees. Generally the waters around Portugal stay cool with not more than 20 degrees. The summer months in Portugal are full of festivities, which take place in every part of the country.
September and October are again perfect for outdoor and cultural activities as the days are still warm and mostly dry. November until February are the months with the most rain over the year, especially in northern Portugal and there can be snow in the mountains. Temperatures would still reach around 15 degrees on the Algarve and would rarely drop below 10 degrees in Lisbon.

How to travel
Portugal has three major airports - Porto in the north, Lisbon in central west Portugal and Faro on the Algarve in the south. While Faro is much more frequented with charter and holiday flights from other countries in Europe, Porto and Lisbon offer a well developed network of scheduled flights to destinations all over Europe and overseas as well. With a volume of more than 20 million passengers a year (2018), Lisbon is by far the busiest airport in Portugal. Porto and Lisbon airport are well connected to the city centers by subway.
The easiest way to get around Portugal is by car. As it is a rather small country, distances are never far, for example you can travel from Lisbon to Porto or Faro in less than three hours and from Lisbon to Evora in less than 2 hours. There is a dense network of modern motorways linking the major centers, especially in central and Northern Portugal, which are operated through a tolling system. Apart from the motorway connecting Lisbon to the Algarve and the A22 along the Algarve coast, Alentejo is mainly characterized by national and regional roads.
Further, Portugal has a well developed rail network, connecting every corner of Portugal. The high speed Alfa Pendula connects Braga in the north with Faro in the south and stops in Porto and Lisbon on the way. The bigger cities can be reached by ”Intercidades” and the regional trains link to the more remote areas. Further, the ”urbanos” connect the commuter zones in Porto and Lisbon with the city.
The ”Linha do Douro” follows along the Douro river, passing 26 tunnels, 30 bridges and one of the most scenic landscapes in Portugal. Parts of the route are classified as UNESCO world heritage. The journey takes you along vineyards, quintas, small villages and through stations decorated with blue azulejos.
The “Linha do Algarve” runs along the Algarve coastline, offering panoramic views over the sea and the hinterland while connecting Lagos with Vila Real de Santo Antonio.

Travelling with children
Kids are king in Portugal! Family friendly hotels, great beaches, a large choice of activities and a lot of sun turn Portugal into a great destination to enjoy with the whole family. The varied scenery offers plenty of choice for kid-friendly outdoor activities like cycling, swimming, surfing, climbing or canyoning and the rich historic heritage with medieval castles, grand palaces and traditional villages allows for exciting discoveries.
Many hotels in Portugal are very focused on families and offer many extra services and facilities, ranging from kid friendly menus, babysitting service or activity programs for kids. Alternatively, farms cater for families looking for a more rural escape in the countryside.

What to bring
Depending where and when you travel, there are several things you should make sure that end up in your suitcase before setting off.
As summer is generally warm, if not even hot in Portugal, light summer clothes will be a must, including shorts, t-shirts and light summer shoes. Make sure to bring swim gear and the necessary protection against the sun, including lotion, sun glasses and a sun hat, though all of the items are of course widely available in Portugal at reasonably good prices. Due to the breeze, evenings spent at the sea can feel a bit chilly, so don’t forget a light sweater or cardigan. If you are travelling to the more continental mountain areas, a warm jumper will keep you warm in case you experience a colder evening or two. The terrain is fairly dry over the summer months, so solid shoes for hiking tours will work fine, though proper hiking shoes or boots will give you extra stability and grip when hiking in some of the rocky areas.
Winters are not cold in Portugal, but prepare for rainy days, so bring a waterproof coat or rain jacket. Solid shoes are perfect for exploring towns and cities and, if you are planning on hiking or walking in nature, hiking shoes or boots are highly recommended for this time of year. Also pack a few sweaters and cardigans for the colder evenings. Temperatures in central and eastern Portugal tend to be lower than along the coast. The sun can still be strong, especially in the mountain areas, so it is always a good idea to bring sun lotion, sun glasses and a hat.
To catch Portugal in all it’s historic and natural beauty, you should of course not forget to bring a camera. A small backpack or bag will be perfect for storing your valuables while out exploring.

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* The minimum age is based on the overall tour, some activities can require a higher minimum age, this will be advised at proposal stage. While not all activities are suitable for very small children, we are happy to tailor the tour to meet your specific wishes and needs.

**  The activity level is based on the amount of tours and activities included (1 - few tours and activities with a lot of free time, 5 - a lot of tours and activities with little free time). The activity level does not reflect the difficulty of the activities or tours included. Itineraries can be tailored to match the preferred level of activity.

Adventure Weeks

For more practical travel advise and general information on visiting to Portugal, please visit our Useful Information on Portugal page.

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