In our “Luxurious Portugal” itinerary, you will experience a 12-day adventure of some of Portugal‘s most alluring destinations. These include Porto, the Douro Valley, Lisbon, and the Algarve.
Bathed by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and cradled by Spain to the East, Portugal has a lot to offer. Its friendly people, fascinating history, world-class foods, and wines and luxurious hotels, will have you immediately falling in love with this tiny, welcoming country. Portugal’s diverse climate and geography allows many different experiences in a small amount of space. From the Duoro Valley’s terraced vineyards in the north to the craggy beaches of the Algarve on the southern coast, Portugal offers something for everyone. Thus, allow yourselves to enjoy four different “tastes” of this amazing country in absolute luxury.
OPORTO – 3 NIGHTS
Bem Vindo a Portugal! The first stop on your Luxurious Portugal itinerary will be the lovely riverside city of Oporto, otherwise known as, Porto. After you arrive at Porto Airport, we will arrange for a private transfer to your accommodations of choice. Bella Vita Travels has a wonderful selection of 5-star luxury hotels for you to choose from. During your stay in Porto, we will arrange the following special experiences:
- Our favorite way to start any trip to Porto is with our Private Half-Day Walking Tour of the city. Porto was made for exploring on foot and today, you’ll do just that by taking in the city’s historic center with its network of alleys, tile-fronted churches, and varied monuments. Porto was designated a World Heritage Site in 1996. Overlooking the Douro River, it was the Romans who give the city the name Portus, or port, in the 1st century BC. With your private guide, visit some of the city’s key historic sites. Begin with the neighborhood of Praça da Ribeira with winding, cobbled streets. Then, Porto’s main thoroughfare, the architecturally impressive Avenida dos Aliados. Next, the beautiful São Bento railway station, whose walls tell the history of Portugal through more than 20,000 tiles. Afterward, São Francisco church, a fine example of Baroque ornamentation. Lastly, the historic Livraria Lello bookstore is said to have inspired JK Rowling!
- No trip to Porto would be complete without a Private Port Lodges of Porto Tour and Tasting. Across the Douro river, facing Porto, you’ll visit the city of Gaia, home of more than 60 Port wine lodges. You will enjoy a guided visit and tasting at the19th-century Graham’s port cellar. Then, you’ll have reservations for lunch at the acclaimed on-site restaurant Vinum. Following lunch, you’ll visit a second port lodge, Real Companhia Velha. This is an older traditional lodge dating back to 1756, for an exclusive visit and tastings. These Port wine lodges are two of the most iconic producers in Douro Valley. Afterward, you will return to your luxurious accommodations.
DOURO VALLEY – 2 NIGHTS
It’s time to move on to the next destination of your Luxurious Portugal tour, the beautiful Douro Valley. Here you will stay in one of the country’s most elegant and splendid hotels. During your stay in the Douro Valley, you will enjoy the following special experiences.
- A Full-Day “Douro in Style” Excursion. Your private driver will meet you at the hotel and take you to the starting point for today’s magical and exclusive tour. First, you will begin with a walk across an impressive pedestrian bridge over the river Douro. Here you can take in the panoramic views and breathtaking landscape. Shortly after, you will visit a medium producer wine estate and enjoy both port and wine tastings. Then, make a very worthy visit to the old, symbolic train station of Pinhão. Here you can admire the 24 blue-glazed mosaics, known as azulejos. These depict typical scenes from the Douro Valley, all related to port wine production. Afterward, you will board the train for 10 minutes and arrive in Ferrão. Be welcomed into one of the most emblematic wine estates in the region for a vinous lunch experience. It is a place of extreme beauty in the heart of Douro valley, run with a strong family vision and a passionate commitment to viticulture. Then, you will board a private boat from Ferrão to Pinhão, with a magnificent view of the World Heritage Site along the way. Visit another estate and enjoy Vintage Port wine tastings in one of the best and biggest producing wine estates in the region. Finally, the day will end with a trip to one of the most magnificent viewpoints in the world!
LISBON – 4 NIGHTS
At last, the third stop on destination on your “Luxurious Portugal” tour, will be magnificent Lisbon. Located on seven picturesque hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo, the city boasts a postcard-perfect panorama filled with cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins, red rooftops, a spectacular bridge, and cathedrals along a bustling cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Your private driver will pick you up in the Douro Valley and accompany you 4 hours south to the capital. But not without some fun along the way (see below)! In Lisbon, you will stay in one of our preferred 5-star accommodations. The lodging choices are plentiful and range from boutique to elegant luxury. During your 3 days in Lisbon, you will enjoy the following experiences:
- En-route from the Douro Valley, you will have the choice of two wonderful stops along the way. First, you can visit the ancient city of Coimbra with a private guide. Long ago, this site was occupied by the Celts, but the process of Romanisation brought a great cultural transformation to this region. The presence of the Romans is still visible in the various archaeological remains housed at the Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, built over the cryptoporticus of the Civita Aeminium, the forum of the Roman city. It is also a center of learning, par excellence, with the University of Coimbra which was founded in 1290. The university is one of the oldest in Europe and was classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Secondly, you can choose to take the scenic route down the Atlantic, visiting the famous beach of Nazaré. Next, it’s on to the charming village of Óbidos, where you’ll meet your guide for the day. This small village is one of the most picturesque and well preserved in Portugal, and certainly one of the more significant wedding gifts throughout history. King Dom Dinis built his massive castle here (now a Pousada) and gave the city to his wife as a wedding gift. Óbidos then became the traditional gift for Portuguese queens. Still completely surrounded by its ancient walls, its whitewashed houses, and colorful bougainvilleas make this a truly pleasurable visit.
- A Private Full-day Lisbon Highlights Tour. First, your tour will start in the Baixa district. The neighborhood was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake and has beautiful cobbled streets, named after the artisans who traded in the area. You can’t miss the famous Elevator de Santa Justa, a remarkable iron elevator built in the late 19th century and designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Gustave Eiffel. Secondly, you’ll go to the Alfama district. Known as the “soul” of the capital city, it is adorned with steep winding alleys, hidden landmark churches, echoes of tunes of fado music, and stunning views of the Tagus River. Since the 5th century, Alfama was inhabited by the Visigoths, and remnants of a Visigoth town wall remain but it was the Moors who gave the district its shape and atmosphere. In Moorish times this was an upper-class residential area. The earthquake brought down many of its mansions (and post-Moorish churches) and the district reverted to a working-class, “fisherfolk” quarter. Next, you continue to the Castle of St. Jorge, formerly a Moorish citadel. Here you can see Lisbon sprawling along the banks of the Tagus River estuary. From the city’s hills, you can look toward the Atlantic, and let your thoughts run free. You will then have a break for lunch at a lovely river or seaside restaurant. Afterward, you have a sweet stop at the nearby 19th-century factory converted into a pastry shop for a gourmet treat with Pastéis de Belem (delicious custard tarts typical of this neighborhood of Lisbon). Lastly, end the day with a very special private vintage yacht cruise along Tejo river where you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the Belem district, Discovery Monuments, and Belem Tower.
- A Private Day Trip and Tour to Cascais and Sintra with Cooking Lesson and Lunch. This morning you’ll start your day by meeting your private chauffeur. The first stop is Cascais, a formerly quaint fishing village that became a popular resort favored by European nobility and kings in the early 20th century. Today it is a colorful cosmopolitan town with elegant pedestrian streets, luxuriant villas, fashionable shops, restaurants, and bars. Upon arrival, you’ll enjoy a private guided tour to the local market accompanied by your chef. Following your market tour, you’ll enjoy a private cooking lesson at a charming noble house facing the sea. Afterward, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labors with a delicious lunch. Then, continue to Sintra, an extraordinary town with a surreal mixture of history and fantasy, protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. During the afternoon, your expert guide will lead you on a private guided tour of Sintra’s historical center and visit the colorful Pena Palace. You will return to your hotel in Lisbon in the early evening.
ALGARVE – 2 NIGHTS
Your last destination on your Luxurious Portugal itinerary is the spectacular Algarve region. Here you will find a mild climate tempered by the Atlantic. There are endless soft sandy beaches amongst craggy rock formations. The local cuisine is mouth-watering, and the scenery is beyond breath-taking. It is the perfect “vacation from your vacation”.
Your private driver will take you directly from Lisbon to the Algarve. Here, we have several choices of fabulous 5-star hotels for you to choose from. Then, you will have the first afternoon to enjoy your wonderful accommodations. During your stay, your private driver/guide will take you on a wonderful day of Private Touring along the Algarve. There is plenty to see and enjoy. You could visit the charming fishing village of Tavira and the lovely old town of Faro. Alternatively, you could head west to the traditional villages of Silves or Monchique and then all the way to Capo Saint Vincent. The day will be tailored to your travel wishes.
On the day of your departure, your private driver will take you to the Lisbon Airport for your flight home or elsewhere. Alternatively, you can fly out of the nearby Faro Airport.
If you are not yet ready to go home, we can add several options to your Luxurious Portugal tour. A few days on the Azore Islands? Or a visit to the eno-gastronomic and historical region of Alentejo? Or add this itinerary to a tour of Spain or Morocco? The choice is yours and we would be happy to design your trip as you wish.