The gems of Portugal await! On your adventure to discover the best of Portugal, relax and enjoy multi-night stays on the remote islands of São Miguel, Azores and Madeira: the “Pearl of the Atlantic.” Marvel at the geothermal wonders of the Furnas Valley, and take in the beauty of the twin lakes of Sete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake). In Madeira, uncover charming coastal villages and beautiful botanical gardens. Take part in a wine tasting and an interactive cooking demonstration that lets you experience Azorean culinary traditions first hand. Explore charming Cascais and chic Estoril on Portugal’s stunning Riviera, and tour the grand capital of Portugal, Lisbon. Get swept away by the melancholy sounds of Fado, and visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the fairy-tale town of Sintra.
- Itinerary Type : Standard
- Activity Level : 2
- Number of Days:13
- Number of Meals:18
- Hotels:Pestana Casino Park Hotel (Funchal, Madeira Island), Azoris Royal Garden Hotel, Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel, Azores), Eurostars Lisboa Parque (Lisbon), Eurostars Lisboa Parque (Lisbon)
- Experiences:Experience the beauty of Portugal’s Riviera with visits to Cascais and Estoril.
Discover the bountiful crops of the region at pineapple and tea plantations.
Gaze upon the pristine twin lakes of Sete Cidades.
- Must Sees:Tour Lisbon and uncover its treasures including the impressive Tower of Belem.
Discover stunning St. Michael, the largest of the Azorean islands.
Explore the island of Madeira, known as the "Pearl of the Atlantic."
Immerse yourself in the vast history of Sintra’s National Palace.
- Culinaries:Experience a truly unique cozido das furnas lunch in Furnas Valley.
Learn the secrets of Azorean cuisine with an interactive cooking demonstration.
Celebrate your Madeiran adventure with entertainment and a traditional dinner known as an espetada.
Enjoy a tasting of Madeira wine, known for its sweet, fortified flavors.
Itinerary (12 days)
Lisbon, Portugal - Tour Begins
Your adventure opens in Lisbon where Old World traditions still thrive. Experience medieval towns, coastal villages, Portuguese cuisine, regional wines and folkloric entertainment. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.
Lisbon - Sintra - Cascais - Estoril - Lisbon
Set out on a tour of Lisbon featuring the Moorish Alfama Quarter, Jeronimo’s Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage site), the Monument to the Discoveries, and the Tower of Belem (UNESCO). Later, explore the town of Sintra (UNESCO), the summer residence of Portuguese kings for six centuries. Enjoy a visit to the National Palace. Continue to the coastal resorts of Cascais and Estoril on the Portuguese Riviera. This evening, indulge in Portuguese cuisine and wine while local artists perform the traditional Fado.
Lisbon - Batalha - Nazare - Obidos - Lisbon
Travel to the “Silver Coast,” a region of sleepy villages, vineyards and age-old castles. You visit three distinct villages, each with its own cultural character. Venture to Batalha to see the magnificent Batalha Monastery (UNESCO), built to commemorate the Portuguese victory over the Castillians in 1385. Experience Nazare, a seaside community named for a small wooden statue of the Virgin Mary that arrived here in the 4th century. Then it is on to picture-perfect Obidos, where whitewashed houses are guarded by a hilltop castle. Return to Lisbon and enjoy an evening at leisure.
Lisbon - St. Michael, Azores - Ponta Delgada
To the Azores! Fly to St. Michael, the largest of the nine volcanic islands that form the Azores archipelago. A brief walking tour of Ponta Delgada’s town center highlights the Portas da Cidade (The City Gates), Saint Christ’s Church, St. Sebastian Church, and the seashore promenade. Later, take in the beautiful vistas of the mystical Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake), and join an Azorean at a pineapple plantation, where an expert leads you through the farm's greenhouses.
Ponta Delgada-Terra Nostra Botanical Park-Furnas Valley-Ponta Delgada
Today, it’s your choice! You may take a stroll through the Terra Nostra Botanical Park, home to the world’s largest collection of camellias -OR- you can rest and relax in the park’s mineral rich thermal water pool.* In Furnas Valley, experience a cozido das furnas lunch in which meat and vegetables are stewed in the heat of the volcanic earth; you’ll also explore Caldeiras das Furnas, the town’s famous hot springs area. Afterwards, head to a tea plantation where you will learn about timeless methods of production. The day ends as you delve into the art of hand-painted ceramics during a studio visit.
The morning is yours to explore Ponta Delgada or perhaps take an optional tour…maybe you will choose to swim with dolphins, take a whale and dolphin watching boat trip, or kayak and hike around Sete Cidades. Later, discover the secrets of Azorean cuisine during an interactive cooking demonstration at one of the island’s most popular restaurants. Your evening finishes with an incredible dinner.
Ponta Delgada-Sete Cidades-Ribeira Grande-Nordeste-Ponta Delgada
Today, gaze at the twin lakes of Sete Cidades (Seven Cities). Composed of two lakes inside a volcanic crater, it is the island’s most iconic national park. From the edge of the crater, one lake appears blue (reflecting the sky) and the other looks green (reflecting the ground). At Sete Cidades, it’s your choice! You can explore the Sete Cidades Interpretation Center -OR- you may prefer to take a leisurely hike inside the crater and admire the pristine Bay of Silence. Afterwards, journey to Ribeira Grande, known for its historic 16th- and 17th-century buildings. See City Hall, the Church of Our Lady, and the eight-arch bridge, a symbol of the town. Visit a family-owned liqueur shop to taste some of the local liqueurs. Continue to the highest part of the island, Nordeste. Here, explore the natural beauty and famous waterfalls of Ribeira dos Caldeiroes.
Ponta Delgada - Funchal, Madeira - Monte - Funchal
Fly to Madeira. The “Pearl of the Atlantic” boasts a subtropical climate, majestic mountain ranges and volcanic caves. Visit the Botanical Garden of Madeira with its collection of more than 2,500 plants from all continents. Stop in Monte, perched on the hills overlooking scenic Funchal. Discover Madeira’s history during a panoramic tour of Funchal’s plazas, Colonial mansions, 15th-century cathedral and the local market. Tonight, celebrate with a traditional dinner known as espetada. Folk dancers and music entertain as you feast on a favorite local dish cooked over an open fire.
Funchal - Câmara de Lobos - São Vicente - Porto Moniz - Funchal
Begin your day with a visit to Câmara de Lobos, a traditional village and picture-perfect bay. Along mountain roads, pass banana plantations and vineyards while en route to the world’s second-highest cliff, Cabo Girão. Stop in São Vicente, a charming agricultural town with dramatic views of the coast. In the lively fishing village of Porto Moniz, enjoy free time for a swim* (weather permitting) in the natural volcanic pools.
Funchal - Camacha - Funchal
Set out on a winding trip through the mountains to Camacha and Pico do Arieiro, the island’s third-highest point. Visit a family-owned embroidery shop and meet local artisans who offer a first-hand look at their delicate craft. Then, it’s time to sample some world-famous Madeira wine. This afternoon you may choose to join a local guide on an exhilarating optional levada walk** and follow the paths that run along the water channels that flow through the mountains.
Funchal - Lisbon
Board your flight and return to the metropolitan energy of Lisbon. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Later, bid “adeus” to Portugal during a farewell dinner.
Lisbon - Tour Ends
Your tour ends today.
Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon offers all the delights you’d expect of Portugal’s star attraction, yet with half the fuss of other European capitals. Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums are all part of the colorful cityscape, but the real delights of discovery lie in wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets. The Lisbon experience encompasses so many things, from enjoying a fresh pastry and bica (espresso) on a petite leafy plaza to window-shopping in elegant Chiado. It’s mingling with Lisboêtas at a neighborhood festival or watching the sunset from the old Moorish castle.
The Riviera stretches from Lisbon and Cascais. The coastline has become a place where the elite vacation between September and October, and a popular tourist destination for its chic look. Removed from the city, the Lisbon coastline is easy access to all the culture that Lisbon offers. It has become a major hotspot for major international celebrities from the world of fashion, sport, and entertainment. The Riviera is also known for is world class conditions for surfing.
Fado Dinner Show
Fado is a popular style of music in Lisbon, Portugal. In Lisbon, fado is always sung by a solo performer, while in other regions of Portugal it is typically performed in a group. Fado can be traced back to the 1820s, but it is said to have much earlier origins.
Venture to the picturesque town of Batalha, and see the magnificent Batalha Monastery. Built in 1385, this UNESCO World Heritage site is an example of late Gothic architecture.
Obidos is a small town located on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal. The town’s origins can be traced back to an early Roman settlement. The area of the town is located on a hilltop, surrounded by a fortified wall. From its streets, squares, fortified wall and castle, the town remains as a well preserved example of medieval architecture. It is because of this that the town is a popular tourist destination.
St. Michael Island-Azores
The island, named for Archangel Michael, is also referred to as “The Green Island.” Sao Miguel is the largest island in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. The island was established in 1427 after the discovery by Goncalo Velho Cabral. The island is home to the Presidency of the Autonomous Region of the Azores. Tourists come to Sao Miguel, to view the lakes, rolling high, high mountains, and enjoy the beaches. Sao Miguel offers a variety of outdoor activities that include several of its scenic features.
Ponta Delgada is the largest municipality and administrative capital of the Autonomous Region of Azores in Portugal. The city is named for its location along volcanic lands that lead to the sea. Today, the city has several parks providing green-spaces for multiple recreational activities and along the southern coast is the urbanized core of the historic village, which is where several of the tourist and cultural attractions are.
Choices on Tour
In Ponta Delgada, choose to stroll through the Terra Nostra Botanical Park, home to the world’s largest collection of camellias, or rest and relax in the park’s mineral rich thermal water pool. At Sete Cidades, choose to explore the Sete Cidades Interpretation Center, or you may prefer to take a leisurely hike inside the crater and admire the pristine Bay of Silence.
During a one hour visit to a pineapple and tea plantation, guests will have a commentary done by a local guide in St Michael-Azores. Today, São Miguel has about 6,000 greenhouses. Guests will that it takes two years to raise the pineapple from flower to fruit, and lots of smoke to fertilize the plant as it grows. The Ananaz – or Azorean pineapple is unique with its small crown and intense flavor. Many use the pineapple to make pineapple cakes, sugared pineapple, pineapple liqueur, pineapple jams and pineapple garnish on roasted meats. Pineapples are one of the most delicate and laborious fruits to grow. The peculiarity of these pineapples is that, four to six months after being planted, part of the procedure is to smoke out the greenhouse. All windows are shut and dry leaves are burned along the middle of the greenhouse. The next day, the greenhouse is aired. This procedure achieves the goal of all pineapple plants bloom at the same time. However, from planting to harvesting, a whole year goes by.
Furnas Valley is a civil parish whose name originates from the Portuguese word for caverns. One of the earliest references to Furnas came from the harvesting of the trees in the valley in order to assist the construction of many of the homes destroyed by the 1522 earthquake and landslides in Vila Franca do Campo. After being deforested and isolated, the English Consul-General constructed a home in 1855, which eventually started renting out rooms to summer tourists.
Sete Cidades is a civil parish in the center of Ponta Delgada, that is loczted in the center of a massive volcanic crater. The region comes from Latin origins and became a historical reference as the Island of the Seven Cities. The first documentation recognizing Sete Cidades was written in 750 A.D. The urbanized portion of the parish, the village of Sete Cidades, is located in the southwest of the crater. Most of the land is covered in farmlands, pastures, and forests.
Discover the secrets of Azorean cuisine during an interactive cooking demonstration at one of the island’s most popular restaurants, culminating in a delicious dinner.
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago, a group of islands, located in the North Atlantic Ocean. The island was claimed by Portuguese sailors in 1419, and became a settlement a little more than a year after. The archipelago is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Today, Madeira is a popular year-round resort visited by about a million tourists a year. Noted for its Madeira wine, flowers, landscapes, and embroidery artisans, Madeira has also been officially recognized by Guinness World Records for its annual fireworks show on New Years.
Established around 1500, Monte turned into a summer refuge for many wealthy families of Funchal, a town located on the island of Madeira. Monte is a civil parish, known as Nossa Senhora do Monte, in the municipality and a suburb of Funchal. Also in Monte is a cog railway that was a means of transportation between Funchal and Monte. Monte is renowned for its older gardens and greenspaces, with exotic plants and flowers, some of which is open to the public.
The Botanical Gardens have been operating since 1960 as one of the most famous Madeiran tourist attractions. The garden covers about 35 thousand square meters of 2500 exotic plants, from all continents. The gardens are divided into five main areas: Indigenous and Endemic Plants, Arbortum (Plants from the Himalayas and Tropical Regions), Succulents (Plants originating from South America), Tropical/Cultivated/Aromatic/Medicinal (Tropical and subtropical fruits – Mango, Avocado, Papaya, Coffee, and Sugar Cane), and Loiro Park, which shelters a notable collection of colorfully exotic birds such as Dwarf Parrots or parakeets. The garden has a primary concern with the preservation of species
During an evening on Madeira Island, experience a traditional Portuguese dinner and show. While you are entertained by folklore music and dance, dine on classic Portuguese cuisine. Dig in to delicious espetada, a type of kabob made from beef or chicken. These skewers are marinated in garlic and salt before being slow-roasted over an open fire. In the traditional fashion, the espetada will be served with bolo do caco (a type of Maderian bread) or milho frito (fried cornmeal bites).
Located along the southern coast of the island of Madeira, the sea cliff is a popular lookout point, especially after a glass-floored viewing platform was installed. Cabo Girao is a popular starting point for hikers. The cliff is the second highest cliff face in the world. Its incredible view is what brings tourists to the cliffs.