CLASSIC PORTUGAL THE AUTHENTIC WAY

Regions

Lisbon, Center, North

Starting Point

Lisbon

Best time to travel

all year

Recommended Length

7 - 10 days

Minimum Age*

Off the beaten track

Activity Level **

3/5

This authentic Portugal at a glance tour will take you along the fantastic cultural heritage of central Portugal. Take your time traveling between Lisbon and Porto while discovering beautiful towns, hidden villages and UNESCO world heritage in the heart of Portugal. Learn about Portugal's glorious past, experience wine and relax on a quinta in the beautiful Douro Valley and enjoy soft outdoor adventures in varied authentic and rural scenery all along the way.

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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

✓ admire the grande palaces in the royal residence and UNESCO listed site of Sintra
✓ hiking tours in authentic nature parks and unspoiled scenery
✓ UNESCO world heritage at Sintra, Alcobaca, Coimbra, Tomar and the Douro Valley
✓ visit the historic Schiist villages in the Serra Lousa Mountains
✓ relax and unwind at a cozy quinta in the beautiful Douro Valley
✓ learn about history, culture and heritage all along the way

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TOUR OVERVIEW

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Day 1 - arrival - overnight in Sintra (40km)
Day 2 - discover the palaces of Sintra - coastal sunset cycling tour and dinner - overnight in Sintra (40km)
Day 3 - hiking in the Sintra Nature Park - overnight in Sintra
Day 4 - Obidos - Alcobaca - Parque Natural das Serras de Aire - overnight in Tomar (220km)
Day 5 - hiking along the Schiist villages of Serra da Lousa - overnight in Coimbra (140km)
Day 6 - relax at a wine quinta in the Douro Valley - overnight in the Douro Valley (180km)
Day 7 - hiking and eco tour in the Douro Internacional Nature Park - overnight in the Douro Valley (210km)
Day 8 - departure

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DETAILED ITINERARY

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DAY 1 - WELCOME TO PORTUGAL
After arriving to Portugal, you will transfer to Sintra, the former royal residence of Portugal’s kings and queens. Enjoy the rest of the day strolling through the lively medieval lanes and relaxing in the small cafes and restaurants of the beautiful town.
Overnight in Sintra.

DAY 2 - THE ROYAL PALACES OF SINTRA - SUNSET CYCLING TOUR
Spend the day exploring the magnificent palaces and pompous manor houses of Sintra. Visit the extravagant Pena Palace, scramble around the ruins of the impressive Moors Castle or wander in the lush gardens of the fabulous Quinta da Regaleira.
A relaxing guided e-bike tour is waiting for you in the evening, taking you from Sintra through small villages all the way to the coast on quiet roads, where you will get to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Atlantic ocean while enjoying a sumptuous dinner before heading back to Sintra.
Overnight in Sintra.

DAY 3 - COASTAL HIKE SINTRA-CASCAIS NATURE PARK
A full day guided hike through the Cascais-Sintra nature park awaits you today, taking you along the blue waters and steep cliffs of the fantastic coastline. The tour will take you from Sintra to Portugal's and mainland Europe's most Western point, Cape Roca, and the small towns of Ulgueira and Azoia.
Overnight in Sintra.

DAY 4 - OBIDOS - CAVES MIRA DE AIRE - TOMAR
Visit the charming medieval village of Obidos with its white-washed houses along the small lanes and the well preserved castle, which counts to one of the seven wonders of Portugal. Head on to the Serra de Aire E Candeeiros Nature Park, a beautiful nature area stretching over two mountain ranges and the biggest limestone area in Portugal. The area is full of historic artefacts and you can explore the historic salt pans, medieval castles or try one of the different walking routes. The area is particularly famous for its magical limestone caves, Mira de Aire or Algar do Pena, which have been formed by water in the soft limestone over thousands of years. Admire the bizarre structures and learn about the formations as you descend to the underground. Continue to the Templar city of Tomar, where you can spend the evening strolling through the historic center and visiting the UNESCO listed Convento de Cristo.
Overnight in Tomar.

DAY 5 - HIKING THE SCHIST VILLAGES OF SERRA DA LOUSA - COIMBRA
Today you will escape to the quiet Serra da Lousa, a scenic region in central Portugal filled with old castles, authentic villages and many hiking trails in lush and green nature. Travel back in time as you hike around the valley on old narrow forest paths and visit the scenic Schist villages of Talasnal and Casal Novo. Continue to Coimbra, where you have the rest of the afternoon free to explore the historic lanes of this beautiful UNESCO listed university town.
Overnight in Coimbra.

DAY 6 - DOURO VALLEY WINE
The beautiful Douro Valley is known for its scenic landscape and excellent wines grown on the romantic vineyards along the river. Make your way to a historic quinta, where you will enjoy the scenic views over a traditional lunch before touring the vineyards to learn more about the region and the tradition of the Douro wines followed by a tasting of some of the delicious wines.
Overnight in the Douro Valley.

DAY 7 - DOURO VALLEY
You will have the day to relax at your quinta to sip on some local wines, enjoy a kayaking tour on the quiet waters of the Douro or explore the area on the cycling or walking tour. Alternatively, you can make your way up the Douro River to visit the magnificent unspoiled Douro Internacional Nature Park at the border to Spain, which is a home to a large variety of migrating birds every year over the nesting season. A boat tour will take you along the impressive high cliffs to observe the animals.
Overnight in the Douro Valley.

DAY 8 - DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport and departure.

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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.

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

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