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9 Days Cultural and Culinary Holiday in Portugal

Lisbon - Porto - Douro - Monsanto - Evora

Discover Portugal Wine Tours and Culinary Vacation

Find yourself immersed in the culture and custom of the Portuguese people in this 9-day Portugal tour. Traverse her scenic roads, cook in a wood-fired oven, alongside a Portuguese family, enjoy off-the-beaten-path adventure and sample the diverse dishes and distinctive wines of the area. Experience not simply the points of interest, but places of prominence that only a local can share. Enchant yourself in her stunning landscapes, colorful people, irresistible food and luscious wines. You’ll be enriched and delighted by “Europe’s Best Kept Secret”.

Highlights

  • Baking experience
  • Port and wine tastings
  • Wonderful hands-on cooking class
  • All breakfasts, seven lunches, and four dinners
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Transportation to all locations
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • English speaking guide

Styles


8 days with instruction
The maximum participants in the group is 12
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Accommodation

The hotels that you will stay in Lisbon and Porto are 5 and 4 stars located in a super central locations. When in the countryside you stay in hotels like Pousdas of Portugal. These are historic hotels in Portugal: located in palaces, castles, convents and monasteries.

Here are examples of hotels Food N' Wine Vacations works with:

  • Avenida Palace
  • Pousada Belmonte

Program

During this fantastic tour, you will explore the history and culture of Portugal as well as her diverse culinary scene. You will visit two distinct wine regions, take in the stunning landscape of the Douro Valley, and visit hilltop medieval villages which appear untouched by time.

You will also travel back a few centuries in Alentejo, recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site and will taste exquisite ports, exceptional wines, fruity olive oil, fresh-caught seafood, delectable stews and soups, and the ever-present pastries and sweet desserts the Portuguese enjoy.

You will spend time in local shops and emporiums including a workshop for hand-made pottery and spend the night in a village built around a massif of granite, the incredibly large boulders balanced impressively about.

It’s been said that Portugal lead the Age of Discovery. Come with Food N' Wine Vacations on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, let your eyes drink in the beauty, your palate taste the freshest, most delicious foods, travel back to days of old, and discover Portugal as only a real explorer can, from the heart.

Day 1: Arrival, afternoon introduction tour of Lisbon

Welcome to Portugal! Arrive at your hotel at your convenience. If necessary Food N' Wine Vacations can arrange private transfer for you. You’ll come together in the hotel lobby at 4:00 pm where you’ll meet your tour guide. Be ready to have some fun as you see the sights in a surprising way! Experience the City of Seven Hills in all it’s enigmatic glory. From the bohemian to the cosmopolitan, the richly appointed to simplistic beauty.

Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital and is known as Rainha do Mar, or Queen of the Sea. From her throne of seven steep hills, Lisbon looks out onto the Atlantic Ocean, while stretching along the banks of the Taugus River. Portugal’s largest city boasts a lovely Mediterranean climate, pastel colored buildings, Gothic cathedrals, an impressive suspension bridge and architectural delights.

After a lively tour you will enjoy the first of many outstanding meals at a local restaurant. Then it’s back to your hotel to rest and renew for your day tomorrow.

Overnight in Lisbon. Meal plan: dinner.

Day 2: Day trip to Sintra and Belem

This morning you venture to Sintra. This day trip is right out of a fairytale! Set against a spectacular backdrop of verdant green hills, dotted with lovely pastel villas, retreats fit for royalty, castles, and the famed Pena’s Palace, a castle that is reminiscent of Germany’s Neuschwanstein, Sintra is an extraordinary resort town.

Pena’s Palace was built in the mid 1800’s as a sanctuary and retreat for Portuguese royal get-away. The forested terrain and native plants and flowers surrounding the palace paint a portrait reminiscent of an enchanting tale of romance and adventure. Prepare to be swept away as your guide regales you with the story of the palace, as you tour room by room.

After the palace tour you will be free to enjoy lunch on your own and visit the unique shops of this quaint town.

In the afternoon you will enjoy a tour of Belem. Belem is the southernmost parish in the municipality of Lisbon and is recognized for its high concentration of national monuments. This namesake of Bethlehem is famous for the delicious pasteis de Belem, which you will enjoy together at the birthplace of this delectable treat.

Your evening is free to enjoy. Perhaps a visit to the lively Bairro Alto, home to Lisbon’s trendiest nightlife. As the sun sets the bars open. Let yourself be carried away as the partying continues well into the night.

Overnight in Lisbon. Meal included: breakfast.

Day 3: Cooking class, Evora

This day finds you making your way to Alentejo, a region of sunbaked olive groves, traditional Portuguese villages, and fortified towns. The town of Evora may be small, however it holds a vast array of historic monuments. In fact, Evora is home to the second largest collection of Portugal’s national monuments.

You will have a hands-on cooking class at a chef’s 18th century house in the historical center of Evora. Cooking and world heritage come together amazingly in this lovely place and Sofia will welcome you in the traditional friendly manner as you are invited as a guest to her home.

After the cooking class you will stroll in Evora’s streets before heading back to Lisbon. Remember to pack your bags tonight.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Day 4: Obidos, Coimbra, Porto

You’ll say farewell to Lisbon and head north today. Your first stop will be the charming village of Obidos. This medieval village is tucked away behind a fortress wall, protecting her historic center and magnificent castle. Take a stroll through labyrinthine passages and narrow, cobbled streets, leading to busy village squares, enticing shops, inviting cafes, and quaint whitewashed residences bedecked with colorful flowers.

Your next stop will be the university town of Coimbra. Charming Coimbra sits along the Mondego River in central Portugal. In addition to the prestigious University of Coimbra, one of the oldest in Europe, Coimbra is home to a seemingly endless treasure trove of historic sites and beautiful gardens. The University campus is an architectural delight and no visit to Coimbra is complete without a stroll around the grounds. You’ll visit the university library, which houses over 35,000 books, many dating back a century or more. This epic library is reminiscent of a scene right out of a Harry Potter movie.

You’ll journey your way to your destination of Porto where you’ll check into your hotel, freshen up and then go out for dinner.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 5: Porto walking tour, free time

This morning you will awaken in the coastal city of Porto, known for its fine port wine production, stately bridges and picturesque waterfront. After breakfast, you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of the city, with stops along the way; the local food market, Sao Bento train station which is among the world’s most beautiful train stations, and the famed Lello Bookstore.

Considered one of the must-see attractions in Porto this bookstore ranks high with visitors and residents alike, if only for the buildings architecture. Once inside this architectural treasure you’ll find even more breathtaking beauty. The art nouveau style showcases a spectacular spiral staircase, wood paneled ceiling and carved bookshelves, masterpieces one and all. In addition, this fully operational bookstore boasts several thousand tomes in various genres. Impressive indeed.

Porto, the unofficial capital of northern Portugal, may be virtually unknown outside of the country, but can rival popular Lisbon for historic sites, active local scene and exciting nightlife.

Porto’s historic center is proud of its architecture, both traditional and unique, with winding streets jam packed with hidden gems. Modern Porto celebrates a vibrant culture, nightlife, and exciting and daring, cuisine.

After your walking tour the rest of the day is yours to enjoy in this marvelous city overflowing with sights. Stroll through Porto, do some shopping, and be sure to visit the lively riverfront, always a hub of fun activity. You may even be enticed to sample some more of the luscious port for which Porto is known.

Overnight in Porto. Meal included: breakfast.

Day 6: Douro Valley, Douro river cruise, winery visit

This morning you will depart Porto and continue your travels deep into the region known for fine port and other wines, the majestic Douro Valley. The Douro Valley is stunning in its beauty and is also intensely cultivated. This is where the grapes are grown for vinho verde (green wine) a popular wine of Portugal. Because the region’s climate does not allow these grapes to fully ripen, the wine is produced using the very young grapes. This lends a bright and quite light quality to the wine, as well as a bit of a sparkle.

The Douro is a swift river, dropping over 120 meters during its 160 kilometer (nearly 100 miles) trek across Portugal. This fast-moving river cuts a swath of deep canyons, carved precipitously into the landscape. This unwieldy geography hasn’t discouraged the people who make their home along the steep, fertile slopes which bank the Douro. You’ll be amazed at the tiny white villages, clinging to steep hillsides. narrow strips of fields form stair-steps down to the river. The views along the Douro are some of the most picturesque you’ll find in Portugal.

You’ll take a scenic river cruise on the private Rabello boat. These traditional river boats were once used to transport port barrels to eager patrons beyond Porto. Your 2-hour cruise will take you along beautiful landscape with breathtaking vistas. A wonderful way to relax!

Today you’ll visit some of the area’s family vineyards, and take an opportunity to enjoy a picnic lunch, among the vines. Breathtaking views surround you and should your tour take place during harvest time, you may want to try your hand or foot at stomping the grapes. This area is one of the few remaining wine regions in the world that still uses foot stomping to crush the grapes, instead of the more common machine crushing. It’s said that “the gentle tread of the pickers’ feet gradually extracts the rich color and tannin from the grape skins. There’s no need to worry this process is unsanitary. Experts say the delicate balance of acid, sugar, and alcohol prohibits human pathogens from surviving in the wine.

Days end will find you heading to your overnight in a historical palace in the countryside.

Overnight in Belmonte. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 7: Monsanto, help baking bread in the community oven

You’ll continue with adventures in the heart of Portugal today as you head to a family sheep farm, where you will learn about their life and taste local specialties.

Next you continue your journey deep into the heartland of this remarkable country and experience a traditional Portuguese bread baking the same way the local villagers have done for hundreds of years. The village has a community oven and you will see how they bake the bread. This will be a truly memorable experience.

Your next destination is Monsanto. This remarkable medieval village is built in and around massive 200 ton boulders. After lunch in the village you’ll drive to Tomar for the night.

Evening at leisure.

Overnight in Tomar. Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Day 8: Templars, Nazare, Lisbon

Your final day proves to be one of great discovery as you journey to Tomar, stronghold on the Knights Templar. Those not familiar with the Templar-prominently featured in the thrilling book-made-movie “The DaVinci Code”- will be amazed as you uncover the deeply held secrets of this clandestine group.

The fortress of the Templar is an amazing site. Surrounded by mighty walls, the Convento de Cristo is perched high upon a steep hill. Amazingly the temple was built in 1160 and has withstood the test of time. The Templar knights were made up of warrior monks who play a vast role in the history of Portugal. You will truly be amazed as you discover the story of the fortress of the Knights Templar.

You’ll leave the Templar behind and journey to Nazare, Portugal’s famous fishing village. This long stretch of beautiful sandy beach is a colorful fishing village. In the long held tradition of Portuguese fishing, it’s a not uncommon sight to witness fishmongers bedecked in the time honored custom of “seven skirts”.

Sitting steep atop a cliff is the old part of town. You’ll stop to enjoy the most iconic view of the Portuguese coast, one which you may recognize. This 318 meter (1043 feet!) rock face has a sheer drop to the sea below. In 2011 this area was the ideal spot to witness Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara’s great fete. The now-famous surfer broke records as he rode a wave that measure 78 feet from crest to trough. Totally rad!

Your journey to the heart of Portugal ends in the capital, where it began, Lisbon. Here you will spend the night and prepare for your departure on the following day.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Day 9: Departure

Group transfer from the hotel to the airport will depart at 09:15 am.

Included excursions

  • Excursion to Douro Valley for a wine tasting and a picnic in the vineyards
  • Journey to Alentejo
  • Tour of Lisbon
  • Trip to Evora and Monsaraz for a cooking class in a winery
  • Trip to Sintra and Cascais
  • Trip to Sortellha, Belmonte, and to Monsanto for a cooking experience in the community oven
  • Visit to Marvao, Estermoz, and Evora
  • Visit to Obidos, Coimbra, Aveiro, and walking tour with food and wine tasting at Porto

Location

This holiday will take place at five different locations in Portugal. You will visit Lisbon, Porto, Douro, Monsanto, and Evora.

Tucked into the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is a country of vibrant diversity. Known for it’s historic cityscapes, charming villages, bucolic countryside and unpretentious, people-friendly nature, it’s easy to understand why this up-and-comer was named Travel+Leisure’s Destination of the Year for 2016.

For a relatively small country, Portugal is chock-full of beautiful beaches, inspiring coastline, enchanting villages and cities which display an abundant history in art, architecture, and lore.

Food

For this holiday, you will be served one daily breakfast, seven lunches, and four dinners at wonderful restaurants. This tour experience also includes a hands-on cooking class, a baking activity, a wine tasting, and a port tasting. You will be delighted with all the traditional and delicious dishes that Portugal has to offer, form its cultural wines to its sophisticated and contemporary meals.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

During this culinary tour, you will have plenty of free time to explore the locations on your own and visit the local shops, markets, and attractions.

What's included

  • 8 nights accommodations
  • All breakfasts
  • 4 lunches including wine
  • 3 dinners including wine
  • Hands-on cooking class
  • 1 hour private cruise on the Douro river
  • Port tasting
  • Transportation
  • One group transfer from the hotel to the airport
  • English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned in the program

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS).

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 90 days before arrival.

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