Walking and Wine in Portugal - A Private Tour
11 days/10 nights | October 3-13, 2018
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This custom tour was planned for a private group who requested an active Layla tour to Portugal Our 2019 Portugal tour, which is open to anyone, is similar except we will focus more on the food and wine of the country and less on the active portions of this private tour. Click here to see the itinerary and pricing for this wonderful tour.
Wednesday, Oct 3
Upon the group’s arrival at the Lisbon International Airport you will be met by a chaffeur and transferred directly to the Duoro Valley where you’ll immediately appreciate the incredible beauty of this region of Portugal. En route we will stop for lunch before arriving at the Quinta do Portal Winery, our home for the next two nights. After checking into our rooms, it’s time to enjoy the wines of this Quinta with a guided tour of the storage cellars followed by a wine tasting. After some time to freshen up, it’s time for our welcome dinner at the Quinta do Portal Restaurant wgere we’ll enjoy views over the Duoro Valley.
Thursday, Oct 4
After breakfast the chauffeur will take us to our first stop, Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House, named “one of the nine must-see wineries in the world,” by American Airlines. This winery has been owned by the Amorim family since 1999, but historical research shows that the land once belonged to the Portuguese Royal Family and is, undoubtedly, one of the oldest wineries in the Douro region. We will visit the production area of wines, the vineyard, the winery of 1764, and the underground wine cellar. We will end the visit with a tasting of 3 wines in the store. Next it’ll be time for lunch at the winery’s restaurant where we will enjoy the menu “4 moments.” The proposals are different every day and guests never know the menu, letting themselves be guided by the inspiration of Chef José Pinto. In the afternoon, we will visit Quinta de La Rosa, a boutique winery where the Bergqvist family has been making Port wine since 1815. The cellar of Quinta de La Rosa was built in an unusual location, on a hill with steep stairs that connect the different levels beside the Douro River. After our tasting we will have dinner at the Quinta de La Rosa Restaurant where we will enjoy their wines and port along with the meal.
Friday, Oct 5
After breakfast and checking out, it’s time relax during our private cruise on the Douro River. On board the Libertu’s sailboat we will feel like we are reliving history during the time that the Rabelo boats carried the barrels of port down the valley to the caves of Porto to be aged. After the cruise, it’s time for a cultural break in the town of Lamego. We’ll visit the Lamego Castle where construction began in the 13th century with the goal of protecting the city inhabitants. Next we visit the Lamego Museum with it’s amazing collection of ancient art and artifacts, including a fully-reconstructed chapel dripping with gold. The last visit will be at the Shrine Lady of Remedies. From one of the central avenues in Lamego, climb to the top of the hill up an imposing baroque staircase with 686 steps ending in a shrine built in the rocaille style in the mid-eighteenth. After visiting Lamego, we will drive to the city of Porto where we will check into our hotel. After freshening up, we will head out to one of the famous Port Caves to enjoy a tasting and learn the special way of storing port and come to understand the difference between a Ruby and a Tawny. Next it’s time for dinner where, once again, we enjoy some wonderful Portuguese cuisine.
Saturday, Oct 6
After breakfast at the hotel, it’s time to discover the amazing historical city center of Porto, declared a World Heritage by UNESCO. Our private guide will show us the highlights of the city during our walking tour, beginning in the historic centre we’ll visit the Clérigos Tower and Lello Bookstore, considered by Lonely Planet one of the three most beautiful bookstores in the world. Across Aliados Avenue, is São Bento Railway Station, where you will be awed by its 20,000 painted tiles depicting historical landmarks. Next we make our way to Santa Catarina Street to see the famous Majestic Café. Then, enjoy one of the most beautiful views over the Douro River from Porto Cathedral. Next up is the Stock Exchange Palace of Porto “Palácio da Bolsa”, the building with the most different architectural styles in Porto and a visit to the Church of Saint Francis, the most prominent Gothic monument in Porto. After our private walking tour we will have a bit of free time for lunch before meeting back up to enjoy some additional time on the Duoro River. We’ll float through the river banks of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in a typical Rabelo Boat and discover the beauty of Douro River and the city of Porto. After our one hour cruise it’s time to visit another one of the port caves and enjoy another tour and tasting, after which the rest of the evening will be free to enjoy Porto as you like.
Sunday, Oct 7
After checking out of the hotel, we will leave northern Portugal and head down south. We’ll enjoy the beautiful scenery with a couple of stops along the way before arriving to the amazing Alentejo area and Arrifana Beach. We’ll check into our fisherman-turned-vacation homes overlooking the beautiful beach cliffs of Arrifana. You’ll have the afternoon free to wander the beach, take a swim or maybe even enjoy a surfing lesson. Or you might choose to walk one of the many nearby paths of the Rota Vincenta, a network of walking trails in SW Portugal. Comprising the Historical Way, the Fishermen’s Trail, and several Circular Routes, the rota Vincenta totals 450 km between the city of Santiago do Cacém and the Cape St. Vincent, the south westernmost point in Europe. After our free afternoon we we will meet up for dinner at one of the seaside restaurants and enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Atlantic.
Monday, Oct 8
Today it’s time to get out on the water as we enjoy a day of standup paddleboarding. We’ll board along the Algarve coast paddling into beautiful secluded caves, enjoying the golden coast. We’ll have a chance to stop on a secluded beach and try a bit of cliff jumping, if you’re up for it. After our SUP adventure, we’ll be ready to replenish with a lunch at one of the local restaurants before heading back to our beach houses. The rest of the day will be free to enjoy the way you’d like. Perhaps you’ll take another walk on theRota Vincenta, or maybe you want to try your hand at surfing again.
Tuesday, Oct 9
Today we’re going to head out as a group and enjoy some hiking on the Fisherman’s trail. Here we will be amazed at the beauty of the coastline, the sea cliffs and crystal clear waters. We’ll take one of the loop walks in the morning, find a place to stop for lunch overlooking the sea and then enjoy another walk on a different part of the route before heading back to our beach houses. After our day or exploring the Rota Vincenta, the rest of the evening will be free for you to do as you choose.
Wednesday, Oct 10
Today it’s time to pack up your beach house and head to the city. We’ll drive to Lisbon and check into our boutique hotel in the center of the city, our home for the remainder of our tour. After some free time for lunch, we will enjoy a couple of Lisbon’s must-see sites. We’ll begin with the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Museum of Mosaic Tiles). Here we will learn how, due to the Moorish influence, mosaics went from being pavements to becoming decorative elements in their own right. We’ll also see one of the hightlights of the museum, the 23-metre tile panel depicting the city of Lisbon before the 1755 Earthquake. We’ll then head to the Castle of Sao Jorge which stands above central Lisbon. This castle was the ancient seat of power for over 400 years. From the vantage point of the battlements we will enjoy incredible views over central Lisbon. Next stop will be the The Sé de Lisboa Cathedral, the oldest and most important church in the city. Its construction dates from the twelfth century, and is predominantly Romanesque in style. After our first instroduction to Lisbon, we will enjoy a relaxing dinner at a unique location in Lisbon.
Thursday, Oct 11
After breakfast, we will enjoy visiting the neighborhoods of Lisbon on bike. We’ll have a private guide lead us through the heart of historical Lisbon and follow along the river side, learning about the past and present of this European capital. We’ll visit the historical neighborhoods, learning about their differences and smiliarities. After we are finished biking through Lisbon we’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant. After we eat, you’ll have the rest of the afternoon free to do as you’d like. Perhaps you’ll choose to visit one of the incredible art museums in Lisbon or ride the historic Tram 28. In the evening it’s time to work for our dinner as we enjoy a hands on gourmet cooking class. We’ll use the best local products and ingredients to make a gourmet Portuguese meal. Once we’re done cooking, we’ll learn plating techniques before enjoying the fruits of our labor as we sit with the chef and eat our gourmet dinner.
Friday, Oct 12
Today we get out of the city and take the train to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Region. Sintra is a uniquely picturesque town set in the foothills of Serra de Sintra mountain range. The nobility and elite of Portugal chose this area to build their palaces and exquisite gardens, however, there’s more to Sintra than these amazing palaces and we will spend the day exploring its many areas. We’ll begin with a hike up to the Moorish Castle, a hilltop medieval castle with soaring sea views. Next we’ll walk to Pena Palace where we’ll visit this fairytale like castle, the most famous of the area. Pena Palace, conceived by King Ferdinand II, is a grand example of Portuguese Romanticism. With its many colors and towers, the castle looks like it is made up of many different palaces. After enjoying the castle and its views, we’ll walk through the forest and queens gardens to the Countess Chalet before working our way through mountain trails to Monseratte. After we’re done exploring the forest and trails, we’ll enjoy some free time in the historical center of Sintra before taking the train back to Lisbon. Once back in Lisbon we’ll freshen up before it’s time to head back out for our farewell dinner. We’ll get one last taste of the Purguguese cuisine as we relive our fun times in the beautiful country.
Saturday, Oct 13
Sadly it’s time to leave beautiful Portugal and head back home. The tour will end after breakfast and you will be transferred to the airport according to your flight departure time.
Note: The itinerary is descriptive, not definitive and is subject to change. In particular our actual itinerary will depend on the ferry and flight schedules, which vary from year to year. There also may be modifications due to weather and availability of local activities and guides.