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Essence of Portugal (20D/19N)
from €910

Self-Guided Tour
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Essence of Portugal (20D/19N)
Tour Length:
20 days, 19 nights
Tour Themes:
When To Go:
All Year

Essence Of Portugal - Day 1


Arrival to Lisboa Airport and pick-up of the car at the airport. Accommodation at the Hotel.

Overnight in Lisboa.

Essence Of Portugal - Day 2


Visit the downtown (“Baixa”) and feel the hustle and bustle of city life. It is also in this district that you will find Lisbon’s oldest and most traditional shops. Go up the hill and discover wonderful viewpoints from Saint George Castle.  Visit the Lisboa’s Sé and the old Moorish quarter of Alfama.Have lunch at one of the restaurants by the river Tagus and enjoy the light of Lisboa being reflected in the water just like a mirror. In the afternoon visit Belém, the quarter dedicated to the Portuguese discoveries where you find the Tower of Belém and the Discoveries Monument. The fabulous manueline style of Jerónimos Monastery cannot be missed.

Overnight in Lisboa.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 3

Lisboa / Cascais / Sintra / Lisboa

Drive along the “marginal” (road parallel to the river) and discover the Coastal resorts of Estoril and Cascais. Continue along the coast, stop at Cabo da Roca and be surprised by a stunning view from the westernmost point of continental Europe. Drive to Sintra, a mountain village that is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In the centre lies the spectacular Sintra National Palace with its twin chimneys, in the top the Pena National Palace is also worth a visit. Taste some of the wonderful regional pastries.

Overnight in Lisboa.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 4

Lisboa / Óbidos / Alcobaça / Aveiro

Head north of Lisboa to Óbidos. On entering the delightful town of Óbidos, you will be travelling back in time. Walk through the walls of  this town, with white houses adorned with bougainvilleas and honeysuckle.
Continue to Alcobaça and pay a visit to the renowned Alcobaça Monastery, a Unesco Heritage Site. The Gothic church, with its baroque façade  along with the cloister, make it one of the most beautiful pieces of Cistercian architecture in Portugal. Have a break in one of the terraces near the Monastery and try the local specialties in the restaurants around  the square.By the end of the day drive to Aveiro.

Overnight in Aveiro.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 5

Aveiro / Porto

Aveiro is surrounded by salt-flats, beaches and lagoons and dominated by the Central Canal which runs through town.  It is also intersected by canals, genuine streets of water, along which can be seen gliding the brightly coloured boats known as barcos moliceiros.
This is a city to discover on foot and with many hidden secrets, such as the beautiful Art Noveau façades of some houses.

Overnight in Porto.



Essence Of Portugal - Day 6


Capital and gateway to the north of Portugal it is located near the mouth of Rio Douro.
Discover the city centre on foot. Visit the Palácio da Bolsa (the Chamber of Commerce) with its splendorous Arabian Hall, the S. Francisco Church with its overwhelming gilded carved wood decoration and walk along the Ribeira, one of the most picturesque quarters of Oporto.Cross the bridge and taste a Port at Port Wine Cellar.


Overnight in Porto.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 7

Porto / Viana do Castelo / Ponte de Lima / Braga / Porto

While in Viana do Castelo, climb up the Santa Luzia hill and enjoy the wonderful panoramic views over the Lima, the sea, the hills behind, and the rooftops of Viana below. Pass by Ponte de Lima, where you will find the bridge that gave its name to this very ancient and very beautiful town.Continue to Braga, known as the "Portuguese Rome" for its concentration of religious architecture.

Overnight in Porto.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 8

Porto / Gerês / Porto

The Peneda-Gerês National Park includes the municipalities of Melgaço, Arcos de Valdevez, Ponte da Barca, Terras de Bouro and Montalegre and was the first protected area to be established in the country. It extends to the mountains of Gerês, Amarela and Peneda which, with their luxuriant greenery, are an open invitation to visit the park. Here you will find a wild and impressive landscape, with valleys of pine trees, oak and yew and a myriad of wildlife, including wild boar, badgers otters and, occasionally, wolves and golden eagles. The surrounding villages have preserved a wealth of traditions. At the various entrances to the park there are information centres which provide details, maps and suggestions for walks

Overnight in Porto.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 9

Porto / Guimarães / Amarante / Pinhão (Douro Valley)

Guimarães. Known as the “cradle of the nation”, it is believed to be the birthplace of the first king of Portugal. Visit the Sacred Hill, crowned by  Guimarães  Castle, as well the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, whose original building dates back to the 15th centuriesIt is worth stopping at Amarante, a pretty town proud of São Gonçalo, known for the promotion of love and marriage. Take the beautiful road to Pinhão and relax at sunset with a bottle of excellent Douro wine.

Overnight in Pinhão.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 10

Pinhão (Douro Valley) / Lamego / Viseu

At Pinhão (Douro Valley) be surprised by one of the most beautiful landscapes of northern Portugal. Pinhão is considered to be the geographical centre of the Douro demarcated wine region, and it is here that many of the Port wine estates are found.  Drive to Lamego, where you can visit one of Portugal's most important shrines, Nª Sª Remédios Sanctuary with its magnificent baroque style staircase.Continue to Viseu, centre of the Dão Vineyards and a city connected with Portugal´s oldest “hero”, Viriato, the Lusitanian chief.In the shadow of the Cathedral, narrow streets and doorways with coats of arms carved in granite make up the ancient town of Viseu. Next to the Cathedral is Grão Vasco Museum dedicated to master Vasco Fernandes, a famous 16th century painter. Along the centre you will find a busy commercial area.

Overnight in Viseu.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 11

Viseu / Belmonte / Castelo de Vide / Marvão

Spend your morning in Belmonte, one of the historical villages of Portugal. For hundreds of years, the local Jews were forced to practice their belief in secret. The Synagogue is open for visitors.Drive to Marvão through Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede. While in Marvão take a walk through the small streets and picturesque corners. Visit the Church of Santa Maria, converted into a museum.

Overnight in Marvão.

Essence Of Portugal - Day 12

Marvão / Estremoz / Vila Viçosa / Évora

At Estremoz climb up to the walled area of the castle and relax, enjoying the view of the infinite Alentejo horizon. The House of the Dukes of Bragança, the most powerful noble family after the Royal Family, was established in Vila Viçosa. The region is also known for the marble, extracted and cut at more than 160 quarries, and internationally famous (especially the pink marble).

Overnight in Évora.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 13


Évora stands out quite distinctly on the vast horizon of the Alentejo plain. Its historical centre is protected by a vast ring of fortified walls and considered World Heritage Site by Unesco. A prosperous university city that is full of character. Take a walking tour and visit the Roman Temple, Évora Cathedral, Giraldo square and St Francis Church with its unique bones chapel.Évora is the perfect place to taste the delicious regional cuisine. In the Alentejo you will find a touch of creativity and imagination into every dish, where the odours are wisely transformed into tastes completed with fruity whites and the mouth filling red wines

Overnight in Évora.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 14

Évora / Monsaraz / Évora

Visit the small and charming village of Monsaraz. Conquered from the Moors in 1167, the town was given to the Order of the Templars and, later, the Order of Christ (which replaced the former). Located on the border, in 1381 it was attacked by English archers and in 1385 by the King of Castille. Nowadays, with the passing of centuries, it is a quiet town. Walking in the peace and calm of the old village down the schist paved streets with their whitewashed houses is like taking a journey back in time. Situated on top of a hill, Monsaraz also offers a fantastic view of the surrounding landscape and the delightful waters of the Alqueva dam.

Overnight in Évora.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 15

Évora / Sagres

Legend has it that Henry the Navigator set up his navigation school in Sagres. Henry the Navigator was the leading strategist behind the Portuguese overseas explorations and   for this reason Sagres is twinned with Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Explore the marine environment by taking a sea discovery trip (aboard a boat) or dive into the waters, accompanied by experienced divers.

Overnight in Sagres.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 16


Drive over to the extreme South Eastern section of the Park.  Make sure to visit the lighthouse in the Cape of São Vicente after whom this stretch of coastline has been named and the nearby Sagres promontory that housed the famous nautical school founded by the Infante D. Henrique in the 15th century. Discover the mysteries of this unique part of the Algarve and the fantastic view over the Atlantic Ocean from the headland.

Overnight in Sagres.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 17

Sagres / Lagos / Albufeira / Tavira

At Lagos, the emphasis is definitely on the sea. Just enjoy the scenery all around you, whether you’re sitting on the terrace of the fortress, with its magnificent view of the bay and the marina, or strolling amidst the rock formations of the headland of Ponta da Piedade with its breathtaking views over the sea. Albufeira historical  has picturesque white houses still line the steep, narrow streets. Be prepared for crowds in July and August - although there will certainly be plenty of excitement and entertainment!

Overnight in Tavira.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 18

Tavira / Vila Real de Santo António / Castro Marim / Tavira

, in the eastern Algarve, has an almost Mediterranean feel. The town was founded by the Phoenicians and later occupied by the Romans and the Visigoths.Tavira specializes in the art of making visitors welcome. In addition to tourism, the town’s traditional activities, salt and fishing, still survive. Vila Real de Santo António is a small border town at the mouth of the river Guadiana was built on the orders of Marquis of Pombal, who decreed that this territory near Spain should be occupied.A pretty town by the river Guadiana, Castro Marim retains the characteristics of the traditional Algarve settlements.

Overnight in Tavira.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 19

Tavira / Lisboa

Spend your morning resting in this beautiful town and after lunch head back to Lisbon to enjoy your last night in Portugal. Go to a Fado performance or a drink by the river.

Overnight in Lisboa.


Essence Of Portugal - Day 20


If your flight is only in the afternoon spend your morning at the eastern part of Lisboa.Parque das Nações (the Park of Nations) hosts a wide variety of facilities, including cable car, a train station and a pleasant shopping centre in addition to extensive cultural and commercial zones.



This tour includes: 

        • Welcome at the airport and transfer to your first hotel.

        • Accommodation (breakfast included) - three price levels of your choice.

        • A Rental Car.

        • A Pre-programmed GPS.

        • Our 200 page exclusive Portugal Travel Guide (see a sample). 

       • A Roadbook (see a sample), with tips and directions that will be very useful while on the road. 

        • A Portugal road map.

        • A helpline (phone number) to assist you while on holiday.

        • Transfer from your last hotel to the airport.

Portugal Trails can adapt this tour to your specific needs or design a tailor-made tour exclusively for you. Contact us.

With this self-guided tour you can travel independently: no herding of people on and off buses. At the same time, you will not feel alone since Portugal Trails is only a phone call away.

Our deep knowledge of Portugal allows us to make the best selectionof itineraries and hotels at the best prices.

If you book a tour with us you will receive a Travel Kit, that includes our exclusive 200 page Guide Book (see a sample), maps and a roadbook with tips and suggestions tailored to your interests and a pre-programmed GPS.

While in Portugal we will be here to support you through our helpline

As part of our self-drive tours, we will provide you with a GPS which will be pre-programmed according to your itinerary on a day-by-day basis. You will not have to be a technology expert, nor have to enter by hand any city names, addresses or coordinates, either

All you have to do is to start the engine, turn on the GPS and be prepared to enjoy your day with just a few clicks of the GPS.

Should you prefer not to drive, we will be happy to provide pricing for a guide or a driver. Alternatively, we can design a different tour in which you can travel by train or bus.

Senior discount if you are 55 or older! Portugaltrails can get you a better deal based on our partner’s discounts.  If you are 55 or older, please let us know, and we will apply any available discounts to your tour price!

We look forward to hearing from you. Contact us

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