"Highlights of Portugal, a unique discovery"



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 for sightseeing tour of the city: the historic centre and the Baixa, Lisbon's downtown, the monumental area of Belém with its 16th century Tower of Belém and Jerónimos Monastery, and the opportunity to taste a local gastronomic specialty, the "pastéis de Belém", in pastry shop that has been baking them since 1837.
Lunch is on your own.
If time allows, afternoon at leisure.
In the evening we suggest that you enjoy a wonderful dinner listening to Fado, the song of Lisbon, in a traditional restaurant in one of the old sections of the city.
Overnight in Lisbon.

Day 2: LISBON-SINTRA-ÓBIDOS-FÁTIMA

To reach Sintra, we will take the scenic corniche road that links Lisbon to the coast that lies west, passing by the 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.
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 the 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-ALCOBAÇA-BATALHA-COIMBRA

After breakfast we will depart Fátima to visit two of the most important monuments of the country, both Unesco World Heritage Sites: the 12th century former Cistercian Monastery of Alcobaça and the 15th century Our Lady of Victory or Batalha Monastery.
Lunch is on your own.
Getting to Coimbra the ancient capital of Portugal in the afternoon, our local guide we show us the city: a visit of the University and its magnificent baroque Library. Portugal´s oldest university, the University of Coimbra was founded in 1290 and was the only university in Portugal. until 1911.
Coimbra is situated on the banks of the Mondego, Portugal´s largest river. Apart from the University, the 12th century romanesque Cathedral, the 12th century Monastery of the Holy Cross where the first two kings of Portugal are buried and the Machado de Castro Museum are must-sees if you have the time.
Overnight in Coimbra. Dinner on your own.

DAY 4: COIMBRA-BUÇACO-AVEIRO

Morning at leisure and lunch on your own.
North of Coimbra lies the Buçaco National Park near the Luso spa, crowing the northernmost peak of the Buçaco Mountain Range. The 250 acres of forest in Buçaco include over 400 native varieties of trees and about 300 exotic species. In the centre of the forest stands a castle-like palace-hotel built in 1900 to a extraordinary unusual design.
The battle of Buçaco was fought in September 1810 and was decisive to put an end to the Napoleonic invasions and the Peninsular War in Portugal. Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army using guerrilla tactics defeated an army of 66.000 French soldiers.
Lunch on your own.
Aveiro, the Portuguese Venice, will be our next stop. 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.
Overnight in Aveiro. Dinner on your own.

DAY 5: AVEIRO-VISEU-PESO DA RÉGUA–MESÃO FRIO

Today 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.
Lunch on your own.
After lunch we will travel north to enter the Douro Valley (Unesco World Heritage). A stop at Peso da Régua, a small town that is responsible for the administration of the Port Wine trade.
Getting to Mesão Frio, the "Door of the Douro", where the first vineyard demarcation pillars were erected in the 18 th century, you will be charmed by the outstanding landscape of vineyards on terraces as well as by the beautiful building of the Town Hall, originally an 18 th century Franciscan convent.
Overnight in Mesão Frio. Dinner on your own.

DAY 6: MESAO FRIO- AMARANTE- GUIMARÃES

Departing Mesão Frio in the morning, we will head for 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.
Lunch on your own.
Our next stop will be Guimarães, in the region of Minho, the region of the refreshing vinho verde. Guimarães is referred as the cradle of Portugal for having been the birthplace of King Afonso Henriques, Portugal's first king in about 1110. We will take a look at the fortress originally built in the 10 th century to protect a monastery and rebuilt on the orders of Henry of Burgundy, and the nearby Chapel of Saint Michael that contains a font in which it is said Afonso Henriques was christened. Next to these monuments is the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança. You will enjoy a pleasant stroll through a maze of streets and squares bordered by old houses in the well-preserved historical centre (Unesco World Heritage).
Overnight in Guimarães. Dinner on your own.

DAY 7: GUIMARÃES-PORTO

Today we travel to Porto, the second largest city in Portugal and the most important industrial area in the country and the town that gives the name to one of the most famous wines in the world – Port Wine.
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. Afternoon at leisure for your own discoveries or shopping.
In the early evening, close to sunset, you will enjoy the Six Bridges River Cruise offering you a different perspective of this beautiful city and its river, and great photo opportunities.
Overnight in Porto. Dinner on your own.

DAY 8: PORTO-VIANA DO CASTELO-PONTE DE LIMA-BARCELOS-BRAGA

In the morning we will depart Porto to discover the beautiful green region of Minho. Our first stop will be Viana do Castelo on the north bank of the Lima Estuary at the foot of the sunny hillsideslope of Santa Luzia.
A humble fishermen's village in the Middle ages, it suddenly came to great prosperity in the 16 th century when, following the Great Discoveries, its fishermen set sail to fish for cod in off Newfoundland and trade with the Hanseatic Cities. It was during this period that the Manueline and Renaissance houses were built which today make the old town so attractive.
Viana do Castelo is known for its ceramics, embroidery and filigree work.
A short drive from Viana do Castelo on a beautiful countryside road we will arrive to Ponte de Lima, a small town with a long historical past. Romans built a strategic bridge at this point. The town's medieval quarter is made up of streets lined with Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, baroque and neo-classical constructions in granite, many bearing coats-of-arms.
Barcelos is our next stop. A small attractive town on the north bank of the Cávado, the capital of the first county of Portugal and the first residence of the duke of Bragança. It is now a busy agricultural market and a well-known center for the production of pottery and woodwork.
In the open-air Archaeological Museum is a 14 th century monument set up in honour of the Barcelos cockerel, one of the symbols of Portugal.
Braga is the capital of Minho and known as "Portuguese Rome" because of its long clerical history. Roman Bracara Augusta would become the seat of the first archbishopric of Portugal and its cathedral is the oldest of Portugal. Henry of Burgundy and his wife Teresa , parents of Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal are buried in the King's Chapel in the Romanesque Cathedral.
You will enjoy walking in the pedestrian streets of the old quarter, discovering the Former Episcopal Palace made up of 14 th, 17 th and 18 th century sections, the pretty Santa Bárbara Gardens, baroque fountains and houses with coat-of-arms.
Braga's most famous landmark, the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte is 4 miles east of the town on a hillside carpeted in greenery. Bom Jesus do Monte, the most important shrine in Portugal after Fátima, has a baroque flight of steps carved out of grey granite set off by whitewashed walls, an example of the northern baroque style. The Holy Way, which pilgrims ascend on their knees, consists of a path bordered with chapels illustrating the Stations of the Cross and the Stairway of the Five Senses followed by the Stairway of the Three Virtues. It represents the spiritual journey of believers to gain salvation.
Overnight in Braga. Dinner on your own.

DAY 9: BRAGA-PORTO

Transfer from your hotel in Braga to the airport in Porto, one hour away.
Transfer time to be announced depending on your flight.

Notice: The Six Bridges' Cruise in Porto is subject to weather and navigation conditions in the Douro. In case the River Cruise is cancelled, we will offer you another program.

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