"Douro Valley tour"


 

DAY 1: LISBON

Situated on the north bank of the Tagus, Lisbon is one of the oldest settlements in Europe, its foundation being attributed to the Phoenicians c. 1.200BC. Over 500 years ago, Lisbon was the center of the world's richest and farthestreaching empire. In 1755 two thirds of the city were destroyed by an earthquake and tidal wave, and a new Lisbon was rebuilt. Today it stands as one of Europe's grandest cities. It has managed to preserve its traditions, continually renovating its historic monuments and maintaining its black and white mosaic sidewalks, pastel façades and cobbled medieval alleys.
Today Lisbon is a cosmopolitan city boasting fashionable shops, modern art exhibitions and cultural centres. The city's historic quarters and monuments, the many museums, breathtaking views from the top of its seven hills, the local flavors that you can taste in modern restaurants as well as in traditional ones will make you fall in love with Lisbon.

Your private driver will pick you up at Lisbon's airport and will take you sightseeing in Lisbon. The wide shaddy avenues of the centre, the Baixa or Lisbon's downtown, and the Belém quarter. Belém is the monumental area of Lisbon, from where sailing ships set forth to brave the Ocean Sea: the 16 th century Belém Tower built in the middle of the river to guard the entrance to the port, is a jewel of the Manueline style; the Jerónimos Monastery built over 500 years ago thanks to the riches that accumulated after the voyage of Vasco da Gama to the Indies in 1497-99 and the discovery of Brazil by Pedro Cabral in 1500. At the most famous Lisbon's pastry shop dating from 1837, you will taste the "pastéis de Belém", a pastry that is a local specialty.

Lunch on your own.
If time allows, your afternoon will be at leisure.

In the evening you will be enjoying your dinner in a typical restaurant while listening to Fado, the song of Lisbon.

Overnight in Lisbon.

DAY 2: LISBON-SINTRA-ÓBIDOS-FÁTIMA

On our way to Sintra we will take the coast road to discover the Coast of Lisbon, passing by Estoril and its casino and the picturesque fishing town of Cascais. Sintra built on the north slope of Sintra's Mountain was the favorite summer residence of the Portuguese court for more than five hundred years and Lord Byron's "Glorious Eden". Sintra is a Unesco World Heritage Site as Cultural Landscape: its ancient history, the many castles with exotic parks, the beauty beauty of the landscape and varied flora.

In the historic centre of Sintra is the National Palace dating from the Middle Ages. Built close to the highest peak of Sintra's Range is the 19th century eccletic Pena Palace . Both palaces were used by the Portuguese kings as summer palaces until the proclamation of the Republic in 1910.

The historic centre of Sintra has many shops with the traditional crafts of Portugal, fascinating antique shops and cafés with terraces where you can taste the local pastries.

Lunch on your own.

Our next stop is Óbidos, a walled medieval town that was part of the dowry of the Queens of Portugal until the 19th century. A walk in Óbidos will make you go back in time. Winding, narrow streets and alleys lead to the top of the hill from where you will enjoy a magnificent view of the town and its surrounding countryside. Don't forget to try the local cherry brandy, the "ginginha"! Cafés and most shops with the local handicrafts are along the main street.

In the afternoon we travel south to Fátima. Fátima is a world famous pilgrimage place since the 1930's when the Vatican gave official credit to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. You will have a chance to visit the sanctuary of Fátima: the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary where are the tombs of the seers of Fátima, the Chapel of the Apparitions and the modern Basilica of the Holy Trinity.

Overnight in Fátima. Dinner on your own.

DAY 3: FÁTIMA-COIMBRA-AVEIRO-PORTO

Arriving to Coimbra, our local guide will take you to see his city.The University of Coimbra is the oldest in Portugal and we will visit its magnificent baroque Library. Coimbra is the ancient capital of Portugal and the birthplace of several kings. The town is situated on the banks of the Mondego has a 12 th century romanesque cathedral and other interesting monuments such as the Monastery of the Holy Cross where the first two kings are buried.

Lunch on your own.

From Coimbra we will travel north to Aveiro, the Portuguese Venice. Canals crisscross the town spanned by several small bridges ; the graceful "moliceiros " as well as their mooring posts inevitably bring to mind Venitian gondolas and their palli. In addition, the town centre has several lovely buildings , a fine museum , and a main avenue with plenty of shade.
You may want to try the "ovos moles", a type of egg sweet , usually served in miniature painted wood barrels.

We will continue travelling north to Porto, where we spend the night.

Overnight in Porto. Dinner on your own.

DAY 4: PORTO-AMARANTE-MESÃO FRIO

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, the country's most important industrial area. This town gave its name to one of the most famous wines in the world – Port Wine.

This morning our local guide will take us for a sightseeing tour of Porto: the Cathedral, the Palácio da Bolsa built in 1834 by the Commercial Association of Porto with its beautiful rooms and painted ceilings, and the Tower of Clérigos Church built in the 18 th century by the Italian Nicola Nasoni.

Crossing the beautiful Dom Luís Bridge we will get to Vila Nova de Gaia across the Douro river from Porto. Wine stores or lodges cover acres of the south bank of the river in the lower quarter of Gaia. More than 58 port companies are established in the area. We will visit one of the wine lodges, learn about the making of Port and have a wine tasting at the end of our visit.

Lunch on your own.

After lunch, we have a beautiful drive from Porto to Amarante. Amarante, a picturesque small town with 16 th , 17 th and 18 th houses, complete with wooden balconies and wrought iron grills. It is built in tiers up a hillside overlooking the Tâmega. The town, well-known for its pastries and "vinho verde", comes alive each year on the first Saturday in June when it celebrates the feast day of its patron saint, Gonçalo. Gonçalo lived as a hermit in the 13 th century and is also the patron saint of marriage and fertility.

From Amarante the road climbs, overlooking to the right the valley and to the left beautiful views of the summit of the Serra do Marão (4 642 ft). Finally, we approach the slopes of the Douro Valley and arrive at Mesão Frio, the "Door of the Douro", where the first granite markers or millestones were placed along the bounderies of the vineyards from 1858. You will be charmed by the outstanding landscape of vineyards on terraces . In Mesão Frio the Town Hall is a beautiful building that was originally an 18 th century Franciscan convent.

Overnight in Mesão Frio. Dinner on your own.

DAY 5: MESÃO FRIO-PESO DA RÉGUA-LAMEGO-VISEU-LISBON

After breakfast we leave Mesão Frio and head for Peso da Régua where we will make a stop. This small town is responsible for the administration of the Port Wine trade.

Lamego is just a short drive taking a beautiful road in the Douro Valley region. Lamego lies in a landscape of green hills covered with vines and maize. This attractive small episcopal and commercial town is well-known for its sparkling wine and its smoked ham.
On the hill, above the town, the Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios with its crossed ramps of the staircase ornamented with azulejos and pinnacles, and famous for its annual pilgrimage held in late-August-early September.

From Lamego we will travel to Viseu in the region of the famous Dão vineyard. Old Viseu has all the attraction of an ancient town with narrow alleys paved with granite sets and Renaissance houses emblazoned with coats-of-arms. Viseu had a flourishing painting school in the 16th century led by two masters influenced by Flemish artists. The Grão Vasco Museum is not to be missed by those who love painting. The Romanesque Cathedral was remodeled between the 16th and the 18th century, thus presenting the Portuguese Manueline style in its vaultings as well as monumental baroque altarpiece in guilded wood.

By the end of the day, we will reach the Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.

Overnight in Lisbon. Dinner on your own.

End of our services.

Our quotes always include De luxe Mercedes or similar Car with English speaking driver

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MAIA LEGENDS, Agência de Viagens e Turismo - RNAVT 4284

Rua do Alentejo nº 44, 4º Esq
2835-756 Santo António da Charneca – Portugal
Telef:/Cell phones: +351 914 968 806 / +351 918 653 832
email: maia@maialegends.com