Portugal & Its Islands featuring the Estoril Coast, Azores & Madeira Islands - 2021
At a glance
Experience the beauty of Portugal’s Riviera with visits to Cascais and Estoril. Discover the bountiful crops of the Azores at pineapple and tea plantations. Gaze upon the pristine twin lakes of Sete Cidades.
Standing proudly on the bank of the Targus river in Lisbon is Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This 16th-century tower was where explorers from the Age of Discovery set out towards the New World, across the Atlantic.
Lisbon's Belém district's undisputed heart-stealer is this Unesco-listed monastery. The mosteiro is the stuff of pure fantasy; a fusion of Diogo de Boitaca’s creative vision and the spice and pepper dosh of Manuel I, who commissioned it to trumpet Vasco da Gama’s discovery of a sea route to India in 1498. The monastery church abounds with symbols of the age like the armillary sphere and the cross of the Military Order, plus gargoyles and fantastical beasties on the upper balustrade.
Sintra's National Palace
With its rippling mountains, dewy forests thick with ferns and lichen, exotic gardens and glittering palaces, Sintra is like a page torn from a fairy tale. Its Unesco World Heritage–listed center, Sintra-Vila, is dotted with pastel-hued manors folded into luxuriant hills that roll down to the blue Atlantic. The jewel on the crown lording ominously over the picturesque town center is the National Palace, once the summer retreat of the Portuguese monarchy.
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.
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.
Choices on Tour
In Ponte Delgada, you may 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. In Funchal, you have the choice between two activities. You can discover the Madeira Botanical Gardens on your own, making your way through a terraced landscape of more than 2,000 exotic plants. Or, embark on a walking tour of Funchal and wander along the colorful Rua de Santa Maria, decorated with vibrant murals and brightly painted doors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Have an immersive cultural experience when you attend a traditional Portuguese folkloric show. Folklore is a meaningful part of Portuguese culture, and you’ll have the opportunity to witness this entertainment firsthand.
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.
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.
Day 1 / Lisbon, Portugal - Tour Begins
Your adventure opens in Lisbon where Old World traditions still thrive. Experience Portuguese cuisine, regional wines and folkloric entertainment among colorful buildings and winding pathways. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner. Accommodation: Eurostars Lisboa Parque Meals: Dinner
Day 2 / Lisbon - Belem - Lisbon
Set out on a tour of Lisbon featuring Jeronimos Monastery* (UNESCO), the Monument to the Discoveries, and the Tower of Belem (UNESCO). The remainder of the day is yours. Perhaps you’ll wander around the sprawling Praça do Comércio next to the Tagus River, or maybe take the historic tram to the vibrant Alfama district. Accommodation: Eurostars Lisboa Parque Meals: Breakfast
Day 3 / Lisbon - Sintra - Cascais - Estoril - Lisbon
Explore the town of Sintra (UNESCO), the summer residence of Portuguese kings, and visit the National Palace. Continue to the coastal resorts of Cascais and Estoril on the Riviera. Return to Lisbon or, perhaps you’ll decide to stay in Cascais or Estoril on your own, (your Tour Manager can provide you with local transportation tips). This evening, indulge in Portuguese cuisine and wine while local artists perform the traditional Fado (UNESCO). Accommodation: Eurostars Lisboa Parque Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 4 / Lisbon - St. Michael, Azores - Ponta Delgada
To the Azores! Fly to St. Michael, the largest of the 9 volcanic islands that form the Azores archipelago. On a brief walking tour of Ponta Delgada’s town center, see the Portas da Cidade (the City Gates), Saint Christ’s Church, St. Sebastian Church, and the coastal promenade. Enjoy dinner this evening at a local restaurant featuring traditional Azorean cuisine. Accommodation: Azoris Royal Garden Hotel, Ponta Delgada Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 5 / Terra Nostra Botanical Park - Furnas Valley - Ponta Delgada
Today, it’s your choice! Take a stroll through the natural beauty of Terra Nostra Botanical Park -OR- rest and relax in the park’s thermal water pool.** In Furnas Valley, experience a cozido das Furnas lunch, cooked in the heat of the volcanic earth. Then head to the verdant pastures of a tea plantation, one of the only in Europe, and delve into its timeless cultivation methods and trade. Later explore a local pineapple plantation before relaxing with a refreshing pineapple drink in hand. The evening is yours to do as you please. Accommodation: Azoris Royal Garden Hotel, Ponta Delgada Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Day 6 / Ponta Delgada
Make the most of a day at leisure. Perhaps you will take an optional whale watching adventure and cruise over the waves on a catamaran with an expert biologist followed by lunch at a local restaurant. Regardless of your Azorean activities during the day, gather in the evening for a cocktail and dinner set in one of the best family-run restaurants of Ponta Delgada. Accommodation: Azoris Royal Garden Hotel, Ponta Delgada Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 7 / Sete Cidades - Ribeira Grande - Nordeste - Ponta Delgada
Visit the Sete Cidades volcanic crater and peer down at its twin lakes. The lakes appear to be different colors - one blue (reflecting the sky) and the other green (reflecting the ground). Take a leisurely hike inside the crater before journeying to Ribeira Grande, known for its historic buildings. Visit a family-owned liqueur shop to taste some of the local liqueurs. Continue to the highest part of the island, Nordeste, and explore the famous waterfalls of Ribeira dos Caldeiroes. Accommodation: Azoris Royal Garden Hotel, Ponta Delgada Meals: Breakfast
Day 8 / Ponta Delgada - Funchal, Madeira
Fly to Madeira, the “Pearl of the Atlantic.” Enjoy free time to explore, perhaps stopping for lunch at one of the many outdoor restaurants. Then, it’s your choice! Discover the Madeira Botanical Gardens on your own and make your way through a terraced landscape of more than 2,000 exotic plants -OR- embark on a walking tour of Funchal and wander along the colorful Rua de Santa Maria, decorated with vibrant murals and brightly painted doors. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. Accommodation: Pestana Casino Park Hotel Meals: Breakfast
Day 9 / Funchal
The day is yours. Perhaps you’ll embark on an optional trek along the island’s levadas,*** wandering through lush greenery or simply relax and enjoy the amenities that your hotel has to offer. No matter how you spend the day, gather in the evening for a traditional dinner known as an espetada. Folk dancers and lively music entertain you as you feast on a favorite local dish cooked over an open fire. Accommodation: Pestana Casino Park Hotel Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 10 / Funchal - Monte - Câmara de Lobos - Porto Moniz - Funchal
Begin your day with a stop in Monte, perched on the hills overlooking Funchal. Continue to Câmara de Lobos, a traditional village with a picture-perfect bay which served as a special retreat for Sir Winston Churchill. It is here where he admired Madeira’s natural beauty and became captivated by the region painting various images of the village. Drive along mountain roads, pass banana plantations and vineyards while en route to the world’s second-highest cliff, Cabo Girão. Arrive in the lively fishing village of Porto Moniz, enjoy free time for a swim** (weather permitting) in the natural volcanic pools before returning to Funchal. Accommodation: Pestana Casino Park Hotel Meals: Breakfast
Day 11 / 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. Accommodation: Eurostars Lisboa Parque Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 12 / Lisbon - Tour Ends
Depart for home with Portugal in your heart as your tour draws to a close today. Meals: Breakfast
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