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From the wine cellars of the Douro to magnificent Coimbra and the sanctuary of Fatima, from the bustling streets in old town Lisbon to the royal palaces in Sintra and the sun-drenched coast of the Algarve, this 11-day Independent Rail Tour showcases Portugal's most celebrated destinations!
Welcomes to Porto! On arrival at Porto Airport, your driver will be waiting to comfortably transfer you to your centrally located Porto hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax or start exploring this charming city located on the banks of the Douro River on your own.
Following breakfast at your hotel, get ready to discover the city of Porto and its most iconic monuments, as well as the best sightseeing places. During this 3-hour essential guided walking tour, you will be able to understand how Porto became the second biggest Portuguese city, worthy of the UNESCO distinction of World Heritage Site for Humanity, and enjoy an inside perspective of the particularities of Porto locals. Meet your guide at the Praça Gomes Teixeira, also known as the Lions Square, and set out for a walk through the historic city centre. Learn about the city's history and how its development was influenced over the centuries by the arrival of the Romans, the Moorish and Castilian invasions, and more recently in the nineteenth century, by Napoleon's troops. See Livraria Lello & Irmão, the Clerics church, and the beautiful São Bento Train Station with its stunning tiled mosaics, built on the site of a former Benedictine convent already inside the walled city. This is also one of the landmarks of the city and one of the most known stations in the world. The tour then proceeds to the Porto Cathedral and the Santa Clara convent. All along the route, your guide will point out numerous other attractions and highlight their importance in the city's long history. The afternoon is free to pass as you chose. Take a stroll along the Douro River or perhaps walk across the Dom Luis I bridge to Villa Nova Gaia to visit some of the riverside wine cellars which produce the famous Port wine. An optional guided Port Wine walking tour is available on request. (B)
Today set out on a full-day guided tour from Porto to discover two of Portugal’s most significant sites. Start the day driving towards Fátima, the religious centre of Portugal, where you can learn more about the phenomenon of the Marian apparitions, which took place for the first time on May 13th, 1917. Visit the Sanctuary, the Basilica, and Chapel of Apparitions. Lunch is included today and, in the afternoon, we proceed to the magnificent city of Coimbra. Birthplace Portugal’s first university, and one of the oldest in Europe, Coimbra is known as the “Student Capital” of Portugal and a city that lives and breathes culture & youth. Explore the old town, visit Coimbra’s Romanesque Cathedral and the University area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This tour last approximately 8-9 hours. Return to your hotel in Porto for a well-deserved rest. (B.L)
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing on a full-day tour to the Douro Valley wine region. We will guide you through the beautiful landscapes of the Douro Valley to admire panoramic views of the Alto Douro wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and have the opportunity to visit two wine estates and taste different types of Portuguese wine. Lunch will be held in a typical restaurant, where you will enjoy some of the traditional gastronomy and also appreciate some wine produced in the Douro Valley. In the charming town of Pinhão you’ll board a boat for a 1-hour panoramic cruise on the Douro River, before returning to Porto. Includes guided tour, lunch, wine tasting, and panoramic cruise. (B.L)
Today depart Porto and journey to Portugal’s capital city. Following breakfast, check out and transfer independently to the railway station where you will board a train to Lisbon. Upon arrival, make your way to your centrally located hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day to relax or start exploring your new surroundings. (B)
A full day dedicated to discovering the highlights of Lisbon in a small-group tour. Learn about one of the oldest cities in Europe, Lisbon, the capital of the oldest European country. We will start to visit in the morning the most historical quarters of Lisbon - The Discoveries Quarter of Belem, from which the Portuguese Caravels sailed off to the epic maritime discoveries. Once at Belem, the Belém Tower, Discovery Monument, and Jeronimo's Monastery represent the most luxurious and prestigious times of the Portuguese Monarchy, built after Vasco da Gama discovery of India, in the late 15th-century. Following this, we will make a quick stop at the most famous local pastry shop in Portugal “Pasteís de Belém" founded in 1837 where you can try some of this local specialty (not included). The tour will head towards central Lisbon, to admire the major squares such as Rossio Square and Commerce Square, and learn all the history behind the Portuguese Inquisition in the 16th Century. Enjoy some free time for lunch on your own. In the afternoon, we start from Restauradores Square and follow up to visit Lisbon downtown, admiring the narrow streets of Alfama, the Lisbon Cathedral, originally built more than 1000 years ago, and views of the majestic Lisbon Castle (St Jorge). We then pass by Chiado, Bairro Alto quarters, and some amazing viewpoints like Portas do Sol and Santa Luzia. The tour will end with a visit to Parque das Nações, the new and modern part of the city, near the Tejo River, that hosted Expo'98, built to celebrate the 500 years of India's discovery by Vasco da Gama. (B)
Today's small-group tour will show you the most important sights in Sintra, classified as Unesco World Heritage since 1995, the cosmopolitan village of Cascais and Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe. Departing Lisbon, we head towards the hillside village of Sintra, one of the most romantic villages in the world and once the favourite Summer retreat of Portuguese royalty with charming mansions & palaces surrounded by lush vegetation. Located right in the town's historic centre, the National Sintra Palace stands out with its conic chimneys, Manueline style windows & tile murals, while the romantic and colourful Royal Pena Palace sits perched on one of the highest peaks of the mountain range nearby (optional entrance fee to Pena Palace available on request). Enjoy some free time to discover Sintra and for lunch on your own (lunch not included). Make sure to stroll around the narrow streets of Sintra, full of small shops offering Portuguese handicrafts, tiles & ceramics, a walk that will take you back in time. After lunch, the tour continues to the westernmost point of Europe at Cabo da Roca to admire the wide ocean views from its windswept cliffs. A drive along the coast will then take us past Guincho Beach, one of the best beaches near Lisbon before reaching the former fishing village of Cascais, now a fashionable seaside resort where we will stop for some free time. Finally, we drive through Estoril before making our way back to Lisbon in the late afternoon. (B)
Following breakfast, make your way to Lisbon railway station where you'll board a train bound for Albufeira on Portugal's sunny Algarve Coast. Upon arrival, transfer independently to your Albufeira hotel and, after checking in, enjoy the remainder of the day to relax and explore your new surroundings. (B)
Today is free to spend as you please. Relax and soak up the sun by the hotel pool and perhaps take a stroll along Praia da Falesia beach. Or ask about booking one of the optional excursions available on the Algarve coast. (B)
A full day at leisure to enjoy as you please. Explore Albufeira’s old town and colourful marina, visit nearby Villa Moura or relax on one of the area’s many lovely beaches. (B)
Today unfortunately marks the end of your Highlights of Portugal Rail tour. Following breakfast, and at a time to suit your departing flight, your driver will arrive and transfer you to the airport in Faro for your return journey to Canada. (B)
Some excursions featured in this tour do not operate daily; the itinerary will be modified to suit.
Highlights of Portugal Rail Tour can also operate in reverse.