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Package Overview

Overview Discover Portugal on this new 15-day tour, from the triumph of Lisbon’s Golden Age, with its refined Manueline architecture and lively azulejos tiles, to the World Heritage-listed sites of Sintra and Évora, and the prehistoric megaliths of the Almendres Cromlech. At Tomar’s Convento de Cristo, headquarters of the Knights Templar, and medieval Coimbra, explore Portugal’s encounter with its Moorish legacy. Take a private cruise of the Douro, admire Paleolithic rock art in the Côa Valley, and witness Porto’s revival in outstanding contemporary art and architecture. Discover Portugal’s archaeology, from granite megaliths at Almendres Cromlech to dinosaur footprints at Cabo Espichel An architectural tradition embracing Roman, Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance styles Rich cultural heritage – from fine wines and port, to the melancholic music of fado A varied landscape of turquoise coastlines, lush river valleys and rugged interiors The legacy of the explorers’ Golden Age of Discovery, in Lisbon’s many layers of history and art HIGHLIGHTS An exceptional range of museums and galleries in Lisbon and Porto A full day in Sintra, exploring exquisite palaces decorated with tiles Walk in the footprints of dinosaurs and admire spectacular coastline on Cabo Espichel A full day cruising the Douro and two nights in Pinhão, celebrated for its excellent port wine Exquisite Romanesque and Manueline Gothic churches, cathedrals and monasteries Cutting-edge contemporary architecture from Rem Koolhaas and Álvaro Siza Vieira in PortoReturn international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

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Day wise Itinerary

  • Day 1 : Arrival in Lisbon

    Passengers arrive and check-in at leisure. Our tour starts with an introductory talk in the hotel, followed by a welcome dinner in a popular restaurant close to our hotel. Overnight Lisbon

    • Meals & Drinks : Dinner
  • Day 2 : Lisbon

    This morning we pay homage to the Golden Age of Discovery and explore the bairro (borough) of Belém. Our touring commences at Belém Tower, a 16th century fortification commissioned by King John II at the mouth of the Tagus River, which formed a vital part of Lisbon’s defences. We continue up the river to the Discovery Monument, celebrating the location where explorers departed to the Far East to open important trade routes. After a coffee break and a Portugese tart at a celebrated café, we move on to the Jerónimos Monastery with its superb Manueline cloisters. Here seafarers came to pray before leaving port. In the afternoon we make an excursion to the National Tile Museum to view its exquisite collection of azulejos, dating from the 15th century. The museum is housed in the monastic buildings of the Madre de Deus Convent whose interiors are amongst the most magnificent in the city. Overnight Lisbon

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 3 : Sintra and Surrounds

    On our full day trip, we first visit the highly ornate Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira outside Lisbon with acres of manicured gardens, followed by the Palácio Nacional de Sintra, in Sintra itself. Sintra is a unique combination of natural mountain beauty and fairytale palaces, and the National Palace is easily distinguished by its two large conical chimneys and architecture which combines Manueline, Gothic and Moorish styles. Inside, a series of interconnecting courtyards, galleries and corridors join a cohesive set of rooms decorated with magnificent tiles. On our way back to the capital we visit the Convent of the Capuchos: a stark contrast to the palaces, this austere Franciscan Monastery seems to emerge from the surrounding woodland, setting off the decorative simplicity of the tiny cells carved out of the rock with interiors covered in cork. We journey back to Lisbon along the coast via the seaside town of Cascais. Overnight Lisbon

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 4 : Art and Alfama

    Our first visit today is to one of Europe’s great unsung treasure houses, the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, a fine private art collection featuring works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Dyke and Renoir. In the afternoon we go up to the Castle of São Jorge to enjoy its outstanding views of the city. From here we meander down through the labyrinthine Moorish bairro of Alfama, a truly emblematic part of the city. Alfama was largely spared in the earthquake of 1755 and is still a maze of narrow streets, steep steps, flower-laden iron balconies and small squares. This evening we enjoy dinner and a fado performance at a local restaurant. Fado is a distinctly Portugese musical style, usually with a melancholy theme. The importance of fado to the Portugese is illustrated by the death of the most famous fadista, Amália Rodrigues in 1999, when the nation stopped for a state funeral and a period of national mourning. Overnight Lisbon

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 5 : Setúbal Peninsula and the Alentejo Region

    Departing Lisbon, we travel south to the dramatic Setúbal peninsula. At Cabo Espichel we witness the ferocity of the Atlantic Ocean beating against towering cliffs. In this magnificently isolated spot with its barren outlook, it is possible to view two different, well preserved sets of dinosaur footprints, dating over 50 million years apart. We stop for lunch in Sesimbra, one of Portugal’s finest beach towns, where we suggest partaking of the local seafood. Our drive continues through the Arrábida National Park, before heading to Évora, capital of the Alentejo region. The Alentejo is famed for its wine as well as the cork oak forests, wheat fields and olive tree plantations which cover its rolling hills. Dinner tonight is in the restaurant of our hotel, a historic converted convent in the centre of the World Heritage listed city of Évora. Overnight Évora

    • Hotspots : Food
    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 6 : Évora

    We take a guided walk around the historic centre of Évora, starting with the city’s most iconic site, the Roman Temple, dating from the 1st century CE. This temple is one of the best preserved on the Iberian Peninsula; its base of huge granite blocks is still intact despite having been put to a variety of uses over the years, including as a slaughterhouse! Other highlights of our walk are the Igreja (church) de São João and attached Lóios convent (part of our hotel) dating from the 15th century and built over the top of Évora’s Moorish castle. We also visit the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of St Francis), best known for its lugubrious Chapel of The Bones, where a Franciscan monk decorated the walls with skulls during the Counter-Reformation era. After a break for lunch we take a ride through the semi-arid Alentejo countryside to the surrounding hill towns. We stop in Estremoz which rises like a pyramid from the plain and was fortified against Spanish invasions in the 13th century. The town is most famous for its marble, which rivals that of Carrara in Italy, and a striking 30 metre tower built entirely of the stone stands at its centre. Overnight Évora

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 7 : Monoliths and Wine Tasting

    Our destination today is the unique site of Chromeleques dos Almendres, a megalithic stone circle pre-dating Stonehenge. The 96 standing stones, some of which are engraved, are in a spectacular hillside location among olive and cork trees, with views down to Évora. The exact use of this site is unknown but it has always been considered sacred. We continue on the Herdade do Rocim winery for a tour, tasting and excellent light lunch. The afternoon is free for sightseeing in Évora. Overnight Évora

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 8 : Tomar

    Heading north, our coach stops in the Templar city of Tomar. This settlement grew from a site granted to the Knights Templar for a monastery, after they assisted with the reconquest of the region from the Moors in 1159. The Templar Convento de Cristo is a historical jewel. The oldest part is the 16-sided Templar church, or Charola which, like the castle, dates from the 12th Century. This church was then converted to a Chancel under Manuel I in the 16th century, turning it into one of the finest works of the Portugese Renaissance and giving it the World Heritage status it enjoys today. After our guided tour and lunch, we continue our journey to Coimbra, via a viewing of the 180 arches of the nearby Acueduto de los Pegões. Designed by a distinguished architect in the 17th century to provide water to the Convento de Cristo from nearby springs, it is nearly 6 kilometres long and 30 metres high. We arrive in Coimbra in the late afternoon and enjoy dinner in our hotel, the 18th century palace, Quinta las Lagrimas. Overnight Coimbra

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 9 : Coimbra

    In medieval times, the river-front city of Coimbra was the capital of Portugal. Declining in importance in the Late Middle Ages, the city remained a major cultural hub and still boasts the country’s finest university; one of the longest continuously operating in the world. Our walking tour covers the well preserved medieval core of the city, with the Old University and the pearl at its heart, the Juanina Library which was a gift from King John V and is adorned with ebony, jacaranda and rosewood tables and ceilings painted with frescoes. We see the well preserved Sé Velha, the best example of a Romanesque cathedral in the country, and at the heart of the city, the Praça do Comércio, or Commercial Square. In the afternoon we take the short trip out to Conimbriga to an outstanding Roman site from the 1st century CE, with a magnificent set of mosaic floors representing hunting scenes, monsters, birds and animals. Overnight Coimbra

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 10 : Aveiro - the Venice of Portugal

    Today we leave the centre of Portugal and head north to Porto via the town of Aveiro, often dubbed the Venice of Portugal. We enjoy a lunch break here watching the colourful high-prowed boats or moliceiros. These were once used for harvesting seaweed but now ply the picturesque network of canals for tourist use. We arrive in Porto in the mid afternoon and, before dinner, enjoy a port tasting at the prestigious Ferreira cellars. Overnight Porto

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 11 : Porto

    We discover Porto’s historic centre on foot, climbing the narrow streets behind the hotel where buildings are adorned with colourful tiles and stopping at the exquisite Lello bookshop, an inspiration for the Harry Potter books. Moving on to the World Heritage listed Palácio da Bolsa, or Stock Exchange building, we take a tour of the interior and the celebrated Arabian hall before finishing at the train station with its vast display of over 20,000 tiles, representing battles and the history of transport in Portugal. We save the afternoon for contemporary Porto with a visit to the outstanding Fundaçáo Serralves gallery and a look at the Casa da Música, designed by controversial Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Overnight Porto

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 12 : Douro Cruise

    Leaving the roads behind, we pack our bags and embark on a full day private cruise from Porto along the Douro river to rural Pinhão. As we navigate the various dams and locks of this stretch of river, which once transported port grapes to the coast, we enjoy breakfast, lunch and a port aperitif. The views of the Douro valley are of steep terraced vineyards dotted with wine producing farmhouses or quintas, built with the wealth from the deal with British traders for port export in the 18th century and many now transformed into luxury hotels. Disembarking in Pinhão we settle into our hotel for the night and have dinner. Overnight Pinhão

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 13 : Paleolithic Rock Art

    Today we drive to Vila Nova de Foz Côa to visit the World Heritage listed Côa Valley Archaeological Park. Here we are treated to a guided tour in 4WD vehicles to view the best of the 5000 or so examples of rock art and engravings, dating from the end of the Paleolithic era (22,000 years ago) to 8000 BCE. This extraordinary site, in a rural and isolated spot, along with its outstanding museum, gives us an excellent window into the life of primitive man on the Iberian Peninsula. Overnight Pinhão

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 14 : São João de Tarouca

    Our return to Lisbon is punctuated by a stop at São João de Tarouca to view the church and monastery. Founded in 1139, this was the first monastery to be erected by the Cistercian order on the Iberian Peninsula and has recently been carefully restored. The three-nave church is lavishly decorated in gilt, with carved wood and tiles from the 17th and 18th centuries. After our break here we continue our journey back to our hotel in Lisbon and enjoy a farewell dinner before departure the next day. Overnight Lisbon

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 15 : Departure

    The tour concludes today after breakfast. Airport transfers are included for anyone booking their flights through Academy Travel.

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
  • Airport Transfers
  • Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

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Exclusions

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

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Terms & Conditions

Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.

Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.

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This Tour is Offered by

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  • Level 1, 341 George St Bank of New South Wales Building, NSW, Sydney, Australia
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  • XXXXXXXXXX@academytravel.com.au View Mail ID

About Academy Travel

Academy Travel is an Australian-owned travel company, dedicated to providing tailored small group journeys for individuals and associations. Academy Travel is a qualified travel agency. As well as managing your tour booking, our experienced consultants are happy to assist with all aspects of your travel, including international flights, pre and post-tour accommodation and travel insurance. Read More...

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