Current as of: June 14, 2024 - 11:06

Lisbon Sunset

Highlights of Portugal Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Portugal
  • Programmes: Culture
  • Activity Level:

    1 out of 7 - Leisurely

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: ADP
  • Carbon Footprint: 18kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Journey from Porto to Lisbon via the Douro Valley and cultural highlights of Portugal

Once a powerful kingdom that dominated the world sea routes, Portugal today is one of the most welcoming and peaceful countries in Europe, though the legacy of its former wealth can still be found in its historic cities. Starting from colourful Porto, the second city and a Unesco site, our journey follows the verdant valleys and rolling hills of the Douro wine region, before heading to the lesser-known interior, where we visit Coimbra, the Unesco Batalha monastery, medieval Óbidos before reaching Lisbon, one of the most enchanting capital cities in the world.

Highlights of Portugal

At a Glance

  • Seven nights in four- and five-star hotels
  • Guided visits and sightseeing on foot
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Minimum age: 16
  • Travel by private air-conditioned minibus or van
  • Option to travel by train to your adventure

Highlights

  • Visit Porto and the Unesco-listed Douro wine region with included wine tasting
  • Explore magnificent heritage in Lisbon
  • Discover medieval Óbidos and elegant Coimbra

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is rated Activity Level 1 (Leisurely). For more on our trip gradings, visit our Activity Level Guidelines page.

This is a comprehensive, fast-paced itinerary that aims to showcase the highlights and lesser-visited sites of Portugal in eight days, taking in vibrant cities and ancient villages. All transfers are by private air-conditioned vehicle and none of the distances is particularly long. The itinerary is busy and there are some early starts to ensure we can fit in all visits on the itinerary. There is some free time to relax or sightsee at leisure.

Portugal can be hot, reaching the high 30Cs (around 100F) in summer. Although this itinerary is mostly based on sightseeing, please be prepared for a reasonable amount of walking between sites. Walks involve some steep climbs to reach the sites and the ground can be uneven underfoot, with cobblestones commonplace in Portugal. The trip is suitable for everyone in good health and fitness.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

Highlights of Portugal

Land Only

  • Start City: Porto
  • End City: Lisbon

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Porto

This trip starts in Porto at our hotel in the Ribeirinha district, close to the historic centre and on the banks of the scenic Douro River. Time permitting, we will familiarise ourselves with the hotel, and there will be a welcome briefing in the evening.

Day 2
Morning guided sightseeing in the Unesco-listed historic centre; port tasting; free time for optional activities and transfer to Douro Valley

Today starts with a guided tour through the historic centre of Porto, a Unesco World Heritage site. As we amble along the ancient streets and medieval lanes, we visit important monuments, including São Bento Station, a neoclassic jewel. In the buzzing, colourful squares and traditional, unique cafes, we discover the authentic heart of the city. We conclude our guided visit in Ribeirinha, the picturesque riverside area, where we enjoy a tour of the historic port wine cellars, ending with a short wine tasting.

The afternoon is free for individual sightseeing. City highlights include Porto Cathedral; Saint Francis Church; Livraria Lello (one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world) and Clérigos Church and Tower. Later, we transfer by private bus to  the Douro Valley (approximately 90 minutes).

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Optional Douro River cruise; enjoy lunch and wine tasting at a winery with river and vineyard views; transfer to Coimbra

Today we explore the heart of the Douro Valley, the first officially designated wine region in the world, renowned for excellent port wine and pretty landscapes of steeply terraced riverside vineyards. In the morning, you have the option to enjoy a leisurely boat cruise along the Douro River. Later, we enjoy a delicious lunch with an included wine tasting in an 18th-century estate surrounded by terraced vineyards that climb high above the dramatic confluence of the Douro and Tedo rivers.

In the afternoon, we transfer by private bus to Coimbra (approximately two hours) in the central region of Portugal.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4
Visit Coimbra and its university; then to Batalha and its Unesco monastery.

Known as the City of Students, Coimbra has a history closely linked to the Unesco-listed University of Coimbra, which was founded in 1290 and is the second oldest in Europe. The city is divided into two distinct areas, the baixa (downtown) by the river, where most of the commercial activity is concentrated, and the alta (upper town), home to the oldest and most important buildings, including Sé Velha (Old Cathedral), Sé Nova (New Cathedral) and the university.

We visit the most important areas and sites this morning during a guided tour. There will be free time in the afternoon for independent sightseeing before we transfer (approximately one hour) to the peaceful little town of Batalha, the setting of the most important battle in Portugal, the Batalha de Aljubarrota (1385). This battle secured Portuguese independence from Castile, and to honour it, King João I constructed the Mosteiro da Batalha, the finest monastery in Portugal. We visit this Portuguese gothic masterpiece that combines various influences from its lengthy construction, which lasted several reigns. We will have the opportunity to visit the outstanding interior, including the Founders’ Chapel with its fine stained-glass windows, cloisters, the Unfinished Chapels with their Manueline and Flemish gothic features and the Chapter House.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Head to Nazaré beach; transfer to Óbidos

Our first stop today is the seaside town of Nazaré, home to some of the largest surfing waves in the world. There will be time for a stroll, lunch and free time to soak up the lovely atmosphere of this coastal village.

Then we move to Óbidos, our base for the night. This small, fortified village resembles a medieval film set. It has been carefully preserved by the inhabitants, who take pride in maintaining the architectural image of the village, characterised by narrow winding streets, whitewashed houses and impressive fort walls, perfect to enjoy after day-trippers have left. We stay overnight in Óbidos.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Transfer to Lisbon; guided tour of the Belém neighbourhood

Today we head to Lisbon, one of the most vibrant capital cities in the world (transfer 1 hour). This morning we take a guided tour of the Belém neighbourhood, home to the Unesco-listed Monastery of Jeronimos and the bakery serving the original pasteis de Belém (custard tarts). Historically, Belém was the location of Lisbon’s shipyards and docks which helped to bring incredible wealth to the country through the trading routes established from the 16th century.

The remainder of the afternoon is free for relaxation or further independent sightseeing.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Guided sightseeing in Lisbon

Today we continue to explore the second-oldest capital in Europe (after Athens) on a guided tour. Lisbon was once home to the explorers Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator. Today, it is one of the most sought-after destinations, offering delicious food, ancient monuments, quirky cafes, charming neighbourhoods, and views over the Tejo river. Lisbon is known as the City of Seven Hills, so wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a few steep climbs and steps during today’s walking tour.

We start with an optional ride on the famous Lisbon tram, which takes us to the elegant area of Graça. We then descend on foot through Alfama, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Lisbon, with its maze of colourful alleyways, old buildings and breath-taking viewpoints. We conclude our busy guided tour in Rossio, the heart of the city.

The rest of the day is free for further independent sightseeing.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
The trip ends in the morning

Our Highlights of Portugal trip ends after breakfast. However, with so much to see and do in Lisbon, we recommend adding some extra days after the tour to truly appreciate the many attractions this city offers. Speak to your sales representative to book.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels

Highlights of Portugal

All hotels on this trip have been specially selected for their location, character and comfort. We stay mostly in modern buildings within or near the historic centres we visit. Some hotels have a pool.

List of hotels normally used:

  • Porto: Hotel Vila Galé Porto Ribeira
  • Douro Valley: Hotel Régua Douro or Hotel Douro Scala
  • Coimbra: Hotel Dona Inês or Vila Cale Coimbra
  • Batalha: Hotel Lis Batalha
  • Óbidos: The Literary Man or Josefa de Óbidos Hotel
  • Lisbon: Hotel Marquês de Pombal

 

Single supplement from £ 340

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, one lunch and one wine tasting included.

Portugal is known for excellent wines and delicious regional cuisine that uses a lot of natural resources and produce. All meals have strong links to the land and sea, often prepared following old recipes.

We can try a variety of traditional specialities during the trip and the local leader can always recommend good restaurants. Portugal has some of the best fish in the world. Salt cod is a staple here, eaten all kinds of ways, from baked with cream and potatoes to grilled with salad.

The Douro and Alentejo regions are also well-known for an endless number of meat dishes, which include roasted goat with rice and potatoes, porco preto (black pork cooked confit-style), posta mirandesa (veal steak) and cozido à portuguesa (boiled meat, sausages and cabbage). Finally, we can’t leave Portugal without trying pastel de nata, the quintessential Portuguese custard tart originating in Lisbon.

Please note, vegetarian meals are available on request although options may be limited.

Transport

Transport from and to the airport is by minibus or comfortable 9-seater vans. We use a private air-conditioned vehicle for all transfers and excursions allowing us to enjoy comfortable, flexible and stress-free journeys.

Weather & Seasonality

Portugal hasa fairly mild climate, with the south generally slightly warmer than the north. It can be rainy and windy during autumn and winter, but spring and summer see temperatures hit 38C (104F) in the interior and 35C (95F) in the north. Departures in March, April and October have a higher chance of rain and cool temperatures, especially at night, so it is important to pack warm clothing and rainproof gear. Between May and September, chances of rain are slimmer and days will be long and hot.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening at 530pm, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Porto Airport (OPO)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately 15 to 20 minutes’ drive from the airport. Your options for this journey are:

Take an Exodus transfer

Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

Make your own way

You can reach the start hotel relatively easily by taxi. A cab from the airport costs €15-€18. On arrival at the hotel, please make the reception staff aware that you are part of an Exodus group and they will have more details on meeting with your leader and group.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

There’s a group departure transfer to Lisbon Airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Porto
Location end: Lisbon

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Small daypack for camera
  • Water bottle to refill and use when walking and sightseeing (tap water is safe to drink)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Waterproofs

Optional Equipment

  • Swimwear
  • Guidebook

Practical Information

Passport

Remember to check the expiration date of your passport if travelling internationally. Many countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return.

Visa

Portugal

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Portugal. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/portugal
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/portugal
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Portugal.html

Vaccinations and Health

Portugal

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus and rabies. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

If you’re a UK citizen, please note that your UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid and offer the same cover as the Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Portugal's time zone: Europe/Lisbon (UTC +01:00)

Electricity

European plug:  2 round pins.
Highlights of Portugal

Money

Portugal's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

Cashpoints are available in all the major towns and cities visited. Many restaurants and shops and all the hotels accept credit cards. We recommend travelling with some cash to use in shops and bars in smaller villages and rural areas.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow €20-€25 for lunch and €25 – €30 for dinner (taken in a standard restaurant), excluding alcoholic beverages. You may also need extra cash for drinks or ice creams in cafes or bars during the sightseeing and in the evening. Typically, a beer will cost around €2 and a coffee will cost around €1. A reasonable bottle of wine at dinner about €15.

Local taxes: Many destinations, including Portugal, have introduced a tourist tax for non-residents. The local administration oversees the tax, which will be collected by the accommodation provider at check-in or check-out. This fee varies depending on the hotel category, the season and number of days of stay. It is usually between €1 and €2 per person per night. For this trip, please allow approximately €10 for the week.

An optional kitty of €40 per person in cash will be collected at the beginning of the trip for those who wish to participate in the following optional visits and including local tips:

  • Day 3: Douro Valley boat ride
  • Day 5: Entry to Nazaré Museum and funicular railway 2 ways in Nazaré
  • Day 7: Tram ticket, Lisbon
  • Day 7: Metro ticket, Lisbon

Any money that is unused will be returned to you at the end of the trip.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. Most of our clients wish to give a tip to their guides in appreciation of their help and friendliness. This, of course, is in no way compulsory and depends on the service received. As a starting point, we recommend €20 – €25 per person for the guides.

People, Places & Planet

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here¦

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.