Highlights of Portugal Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Portugal
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
ADP
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

Once a powerful kingdom that dominated the world sea routes, Portugal today is one of the friendliest and most peaceful countries in Europe, though the legacy of its former wealth can still be found in its historic cities. Starting from the colourful Porto, the country's 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, mediaeval Obidos and magnificent Sintra before reaching Lisbon, one of the world's most enchanting capital cities.

 

Temporary changes due to COVID-security measures.

Last updated: 16th October 2020

At Exodus, we acknowledge our responsibility to have the most up to date information on anything that will affect our customers on holiday and to communicate this to our customers as effectively as possible.

Our general global COVID security measures are described in our Travel Safety Charter, and changes will be made to these measures as required by the global pandemic situation.

However, we also expect there to be requirements, measures and sometimes itinerary changes that apply to certain trips only, and may well be temporary measures. We have highlighted all known changes in the section below.

Entry requirements.

For all trips, having the correct documentation and visa, if required, remains the customer’s responsibility based on their own nationality. We, therefore, encourage all travellers to check entry requirements using the travel advice of their home nation for the relevant destination. For UK passport holders that is https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) currently advises against all non-essential travel to Portugal (mainland). Information on local restrictions will be provided and updated in 2021, closer to the time when trips be operational again.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights in 3, 4 and 5-star hotels 
  • 8 days flight inclusive / land only
  • Guide visits and sightseeing on foot
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private air-conditioned minibus or van and train

Trip Highlights

  • Visit Porto and the UNESCO Douro wine region
  • Explore magnificent heritage in Lisbon and Sintra
  • Mediaeval Obidos and elegant Coimbra

Is This Trip for You?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely) This is a comprehensive and fast-paced itinerary which aims to showcase the highlights as well as the lesser-visited sights of Portugal in eight days, taking in vibrant cities and ancient villages. All the transfers will be by private air-conditioned vehicle or train (only on one small section along the Douro River) and none of the distances is particularly long. The itinerary is quite busy although some free time is built-in to allow some relaxation or sightseeing at leisure. Please note that Portugal can be very hot, reaching the high 30's in the summer. Although this itinerary is mostly based on sightseeing, please be prepared for a reasonable amount of walking between sites. The trip is suitable for all people who are in good health and fitness.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Foz do Douro (Porto)
End City:
Lisbon

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
Lisbon

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Foz do Douro (Porto).

    This trip starts in the exclusive residential district of Foz do Douro, approximately 5 km from Porto's historic centre, and renowned for its superb views of the point where the Douro River meets the ocean. Time permitting, we will have a short orientation tour around the hotel before dinner.

  • Day 2

    Morning guided sightseeing in the UNESCO historic centre; Port wine 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 mediaeval lanes we visit some of the most important monuments such as the St. Bento Station, a neoclassic jewel. In the bustling and colourful squares and the traditional, highly unique cafés we will discover the authentic heart of Porto. We conclude our guided visit by 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 further individual sightseeing of other iconic monuments and sites such as the Porto Cathedral, Saint Francis Church, Lello´s bookshop and library and Clérigos Church and tower. Later, we will transfer by private bus to Mesao Frio in the Douro Valley (approx. 1.5 hrs journey), and spend the night in a beautiful hotel offering views of the world-famous UNESCO vineyards.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Panoramic train ride in the Douro Valley; enjoy lunch at a winery with views over the river and its vineyards; optional river cruise.

    Today we explore the heart of the famous Douro Valley, the world’s first officially designated wine region renowned not only for the excellent port wine but also for the postcard-pretty landscapes made of steeply terraced vineyards carved into the landscape along the river. We start with a short transfer from our hotel to Peso da Regua (20 mins), followed by a short but very scenic train ride to Pinhao. Later, we enjoy a delicious lunch with local wine in an eighteenth-century estate surrounded by terraced vineyards that climb high above the dramatic confluence of the Douro and Tedo rivers. In the afternoon, we have a couple of hours free to enjoy some of the best views of the Douro Valley - you can opt to relax or take a guided tour of the wine estate or enjoy a leisurely boat cruise along the Douro River. We conclude the day with a transfer by private bus into the central region of Portugal (approx. 2hrs drive) to Coimbra.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 4

    Visit Coimbra and its UNESCO University; transfer to Batalha.

    Widely known as 'the city of students', Coimbra’s history is closely linked to its university, which was founded in 1290 and is the second oldest in Europe. The city of Coimbra is divided into two distinct areas, the baixa (downtown) by the river, where most of the city’s commercial activity is concentrated, and the 'alta' (upper town), where the city’s oldest and most important buildings Sé Velha (Old Cathedral), Sé Nova (New Cathedral) and the UNESCO University of Coimbra are found. We visit the most important areas and sites this morning during a guided tour. There will be some free time in the afternoon for further independent sightseeing before we transfer (approx. 1hr) to the peaceful little town of Batalha, which was once the setting for Portugal’s most important battle, 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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Visit UNESCO Batalha monastery and famous Nazaré beach; transfer to Obidos.

    This morning we visit the mighty Monastery of Batalha, a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic that combines various influences from its lengthy period of 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, the cloisters, the Unfinished Chapels with their Manueline and Flemish Gothic features and the Chapter House. Our next stop is the charming seaside town of Nazaré, where waves are famed for being among the largest in the world. There will be time for a stroll, lunch and some free time to soak up the lovely atmosphere of this coastal village. Next we move on to Obidos, our base for the next two nights. This small fortified village resembles a medieval film set. It has been carefully preserved by its inhabitants who take pride in maintaining the architectural image of the village, characterised by narrow winding streets and white-washed houses and impressive fort walls, perfect to enjoy after day-trippers have left.

    Overnight in Obidos.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Day trip to Sintra; free time to visit the historic town or the magnificent Pena Palace.

    Today we take a day trip to the elegant hilltop town of Sintra, once the old residence of kings, nobles, poets, painters and artists. Sintra's beautiful surroundings of forested hills are the perfect frame to the town's collection of elegant palaces, castles and museums. Our tour leader will provide a short orientation tour of the historic centre on arrival but the remainder of the day is free to visit the site and palaces that most suit your interests. You may opt to visit the iconic National Pena Palace, the most complete and notable example of Portuguese architecture in the Romantic period. The palace lies in a picturesque setting, perched on one of the rocky peaks of the Serra de Sintra, and blends in with its natural background of greenery and crags, testifying to the aesthetic potential of the project. There will also be time to explore other splendid buildings such as the Sintra Palace or the Moorish Castle. Finally, enjoy a stroll and some shopping opportunities in the historic centre before travelling back to Obidos later in the afternoon.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Guided sightseeing in Lisbon.

    This morning we transfer to Lisbon (approx. 1hr journey), Europe's second-oldest capital after Athens, and once home to the world's greatest explorers like Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator. Lisbon today is one of the most sought-after destinations offering everything you would expect from a trendy capital: delicious food, ancient monuments, quirky cafés, charming neighbourhoods, and a stunning riverside view 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 by visiting the famous neighbourhood of Belem, with its UNESCO Monastery of Jeronimos and the iconic bakery serving the original Pateis de Belem (custard tarts). Next, we transfer to the elegant area of Graça, and descend on foot through Alfama, one of Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhoods boasting a maze of colourful alleyways, old buildings and breath-taking viewpoints. We conclude our busy guided tour in the heart of the city, Rossio. The remainder of the afternoon is free for relaxation or further independent sightseeing. With so much to see and do in Lisbon, we recommend adding some extra days at the end of the tour in order to truly appreciate the many attractions this city offers. 

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    The trip ends in the morning

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels

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

List of hotels normally used:

3* Hotel Boavista or similar, Foz do Douro (Porto)

5* Hotel Douro Scala (Mesao Frio)

3* Hotel Dona Ines or Hotel Tryp (Coimbra)

4* Hotel Lis Batalha (Batalha)

4* Hotel Literary Man (Obidos)

4* Hotel Sana Malhoa or Ramada (Lisbon)

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £335.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 1 wine tasting included

Portugal is known for its excellent wines and the delicious regional cuisine which makes use of a lot of natural resources and produce. All meals have strong links with the land and sea, often prepared following old traditional recipes. We will have the opportunity to try a variety of traditional specialities during the trip and the local leader will always be on hand to recommend some good local restaurants. Portugal also prides itself in having some of the best fish in the world. Salt cod is a staple in Portugal, eaten in 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 the famous roasted goat with rice and potatoes, porco preto (black pork cooked confit-style), posta mirandes (veal steak) and cozido à portuguesa (boiled meat, sausages and cabbages). Finally, we can't leave Portugal without trying the world-famous Pastel de nata, the quintessential Portuguese custard tart originating from Lisbon. Please note that vegetarian meals are available on request although options may be very limited.

Transportation

Transport from and to the airport is by minibus. We use a private air-conditioned minibus for all transfers and excursions allowing us to enjoy comfortable, flexible and stress-free journeys. Train is used only for a short section on Day 3.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Due its proximity to northern Africa, Portugal is one of the warmest European countries with an average temperature of 15°C (55°F) in the north and 18°C (64°F) in the south. It can become rainy and windy during autumn and winter, but spring and summer see temperatures soar to as high as 38°C (104°F) around the interior and 35°C (95°F) in the north. The departures in March, April and October will see a higher chance of rain and cool temperatures, especially at night, so it is important to pack some warm clothing and rainproof gear. Between May and September chances of rain are slimmer and days will be long and hot.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of TAP Air Portugal or British Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up-to-date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Foz do Douro (Porto) and ending in Lisbon

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Foz do Douro (Porto) in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the  Final Joining Instructions, sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

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.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

The start hotel is located approximately 15km from Porto airport, in the picturesque neighbourhood of Foz do Douro, a residential and elegant part of the city, where the Douro river meets the Atlantic oceanAlthough it is possible to travel to the start hotel by public transport, the journey requires some changes and it is recommendable to travel by taxi instead (approx. 20 mins journey, €15-18). Private transfers can also be arranged through Exodus prior departure - please contact our Customer Operations team for a quote.

Location start:
Foz do Douro (Porto)
Location end:
Lisbon

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Comfortable walking shoes, small daypack for camera, guidebook, water bottle to refill and use when walking and sightseeing (tap water is safe to drink), sun cream, hat, sunglasses, waterproofs.

 

Optional Equipment

Swimwear

Practical Information

Passport

Portugal

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Portugal

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Please note that European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will only be valid for most UK citizens up to 31st December 2020.  This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. After 1st January EHIC cards will no longer be valid for most UK citizens.

Local Time

Portugal's Timezone:
Europe/Lisbon WET (GMT +00:00)

Electricity

Portugal's Electricity:

European 2-pin plug. 

European plug:  2 round pins.

Money

Portugal's Currency

The national currency of Portugal is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

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 and Spending Money

Allow €10-20 for lunch or dinner (taken in a standard restaurant), excluding alcoholic beverages. You may also need some extra cash for drinks or ice creams in cafes or bars during the sightseeing and in the evening. Typically, a beer or coffee will
cost around €1.5 and a reasonable bottle of wine at dinner about €13.

LOCAL TAXES: many destinations including Portugal have recently introduced a tourist tax for non-residents. The local administration is in charge of 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 euros per person per night. For this trip, please allow approx. €10 for the week.

Other optional visits

Douro River cruise - €10 per person

Pena Palace - €14 per person

Moorish Castle -   €8 per person

Sintra Palace - €9,5 per person

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. For this trip we recommend between €15 and €20 per person for the leader.

Responsible Tourism

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… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.