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This comprehensive itinerary takes you to the cities from which the great Portuguese navigators first set sail. The voyages of exploration made in the 15th century to the Far East and Brazil brought a period of great wealth to Portugal, influencing the country's art and architecture for centuries. In Lisbon, an included tour takes you to two of the city's landmark monuments, the Tower of Belém and the Monastery of Jerónimos, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Tower of Belém stands on the former beach at Restelo, point of departure for sea voyages. And the Jerónimos Monastery is a magnificent monument marking the high point of the Manueline style that developed out of the Portuguese Voyages of Discovery.
Then spend two days on the southern coast known as the Algarve. Lined with sandy beaches perfect for sunbathing, the area also has a history of Moorish occupation, navigators and pirates. Stop in the town of Silves, the former Moorish capital of the region, where you'll visit the red sandstone castle and wonderful Gothic cathedral. Visit Lagos where Prince Henry the Navigator, the great mentor of all the explorers of the time, founded his School of Navigation. You'll also take a trip to Sagres. On its jutting headland, known as the "sacred promontory" and where Henry built his fort, you’ll get a sense of why this region became the base for so many famous sea voyages.
Depart northward to explore the medieval walled city of Evora with a local expert. This beautifully preserved town still retains the splendor of a royal city. Highlights include the famous Roman Temple and Capela dos Ossos, an extraordinary 17th-century chapel. In Tomar, the Templar Castle and the Convent of the Knights of the Order of Christ dates back to the year 1160 and have been witness to some of the most heroic events in Portuguese history. Conclude your journey in Porto, Portugal's second largest city and birthplace of Henry the Navigator. It was from here that the first overseas expedition set out for North Africa in 1415. Enjoy the city's picturesque vistas on a cruise of the Douro River and sample the region's local wines, including Port wine, the sweet fortified wine the area is famous for.
• 8 nights accommodations in superb 4- and 5-star luxury hotels: 2 nights in Lisbon, 2 nights in Portimao, 1 night in Evora, 1 night in Tomar and 2 nights in Porto
• Daily buffet breakfast, Welcome Reception and 3 dinners
• Local sightseeing by luxury air-conditioned coach
• Services of a professional Tour Director
• Lisbon sightseeing tour and tour of Evora with a local expert
• Two full days to enjoy the sundrenched southern coast known as the Algarve
• Wine tasting and river cruise in Porto
• Visits to: Castle and Gothic Cathedral of Silves; the remains of Henry the Navigator’s fortress in Sagres; the great Basilica of Fatima; the Templar Castle in Tomar; the picturesque town of Obidos; Porto’s many buildings featuring unique architecture and beautiful glazed tiles
• All hotel service charges, taxes and porterage
• Airport arrival and departure transfers on Days 2 and 10
Day 1 - Depart the U.S.
Board your overnight flight to Lisbon (cost of airfare not included).
Days 2 & 3 - Lisbon and the Age of the Great Discoveries
Welcome to Lisbon! On arrival at Lisbon Portela Airport there are complimentary transfers to the tour hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Then time to relax or explore. Tonight, get together for a Welcome Reception with drinks and a light informal meal. After a restful night’s sleep, a panoramic guided tour takes you along the avenues of the Lower Town and beneath the hilltop Bairro Alto to Terreiro do Paco, the finest square in the city. Visit the Belem Quarter from where sailing ships set forth to discover unknown lands. See the modern Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belem Tower. It was erected to protect Jeronimo’s Monastery which you visit next. Take some time to admire the fabulous double tiered cloisters. The rest of the day is at leisure. Perhaps join a tour to the beautiful town of Sintra which was the summer residence of the Kings of Portugal?
Accommodation: Altis Lisbon - 2 nights
Days 4 & 5 - The Algarve
Cross the River Tagus and head for the sun drenched southern coast. Lunch time finds you in historic Silves, the former Moorish capital of the Algarve. The large red sandstone castle and wonderful Gothic cathedral dominate the town, while there are beautiful narrow streets to lose yourself in. Your gracious resort hotel is not too far away, set within a magnificent 360-acre estate. The neighboring coastal towns of Portimão and Pria da Rocha house a rich variety of restaurants, so this evening choose your own personal ambience and cuisine from our Dine-Around selection. The next day relax by the pool, utilize your resort’s superb golf course or join us for an included excursion along the enchanting Algarve coast. Head for the famed Cape St. Vincent, Europe’s most westerly land mass and the wind-swept Sagres headland, where Henry the Navigator built his fort and spent his later years. See his statue in the charming resort of Lagos on the way back to your hotel.
Accommodation: Le Meridien Penina Golf and Resort - 2 nights
Days 6 - Everlasting Evora
Today we travel north through the rugged interior past the towns of Castro Verde and Beja. An old proverb declares that, “there is no shade in the Alentejo” and you find out if that is true as you head for the medieval walled city of Evora. Join a local expert to explore the highlights of this beautifully preserved town. See the famous Roman Temple, granite Cathedral and Capela dos Ossos, an extraordinary 17th-century chapel that houses the skulls and bones of 5000 bodies. Then time to people watch in the Praça do Giraldo, Evora’s main plaza, surrounded by attractive townhouses with wrought-iron balconies.
Accommodation: M’ar De Ar Aqueduto - 1 night
Day 7 - Tomar and the Knights Templar
This morning we will make a stop in the fortified spa town of Castelo de Vide, where you can enjoy its cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses and fascinating architecture. Continue onto Tomar, where on arrival you will have free time for lunch and exploration. Then enjoy a fascinating visit to the Templar Castle, founded in 1160, and the Convent of Christ. The two-story octagonal Templar’s Rotunda in the middle of the cloister is an exquisite creation, while the domestic areas gave you a sense of what a warrior monk’s life was like during quieter times. Outside on the battlements, the Manueline Window is perhaps the finest example of the Manueline architectural style in Portugal.
Accommodation: Dos Templarios - 1 night
Days 8 & 9 - Porto, Grande Dame on the Douro
After breakfast drive to Fatima, Portugal’s most renowned place of pilgrimage. Visit the Basilica which commemorates the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary to three young shepherds in 1917. Continue to the fortified city of Obidos, for a walk inside the walls to explore the craft shops, art galleries and flower decked houses that line the narrow, medieval streets. Then head north past Coimbra to Portugal’s second largest city. It is situated on the River Douro and celebrated internationally as the Port wine capital. Admire the multi-colored houses and churches covered in beautiful glazed tiles as well as the iconic bridges to the south bank where the Vila Nova de Gaia wine stores house the famous port wines. Enjoy magnificent views across the Douro River, walk along corridors of casks and vats, and get to know your Tawnys and vintages during a tasting. The following day, from the Ribera quay side, you can capture one of Porto’s picture perfect views, the tall outline of the Luis I Bridge. Join a relaxing Douro River cruise under the famous bridges for a different perspective and enjoy excellent views of the city. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy at your own pace. This evening at an authentic Porto restaurant, bid “adeus” to your Tour Director and friends with a palate-provoking Celebration Dinner, complete with wine and good cheer.
Accommodation: Tiara Park Atlantic - 2 nights
Day 10 - Return to USA
Your departure transfer arrives at Porto Airport 09:30 or 12:00. The 12:00 coach will continue to Lisbon arriving at 17:00.
Limitations & Restrictions
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
CST #1003968-80. Registration as seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.