About your trip
Mainland Europe’s westernmost nation is a joyful place to experience, with vibrant cities, luscious countryside and splendid beaches, not to mention an incredible food scene and an endearingly laid-back approach to life. This eight-day itinerary connects the country’s two major cities, as well as its most famous wine region and charming towns, via an assortment of scenic train journeys. After living the good life in Porto and the Douro Valley, we’ll hit the tracks south to Aveiro – the Portuguese Venice – and later the capital, Lisbon, as well as the gorgeous hilltop town of Sintra.
- Sip on sweet Port wine in the old cellars of Porto
- Marvel at the majesty of the Douro Valley on a picturesque boat ride
- Fall in love with the Art Nouveau houses and canal boats of Aveiro
- Embark on some of the most scenic train rides in all of Europe
- Gorge on pastel de nata and experience live music in Lisbon
- Explore the Unesco-listed fairytale town of Sintra
Upon arrival at Porto Airport (OPO) you’ll make your way into the city – this should take around 40 minutes by metro, or 20 minutes by taxi, depending on traffic. Our hotel will be nice and central, with beautiful views over the Douro River. Check-in, relax and get your bearings before the whole group gathers together for a welcome meeting, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.
Our first full day is all about exploring Porto. Portugal’s second city is easy on the eye, particularly from the banks of the River Douro, which separates the medieval Ribeira district from Vila Nova de Gaia, connected by the awe-inspiring Luís I Bridge. You’ll spend most of the day touring the city on foot – with a bit of public transport to help get us up the city’s hills – meandering down beautiful cobbled alleys, discovering artisan shops and old churches. You’ll have the chance to visit the Palácio da Bolsa and Church of São Francisco, but the highlight of any visit to this city can only be one thing – a Port tasting. Porto was practically built on the back of this sweet fortified wine, so sampling some of the city’s finest in one of the old riverfront cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia is an absolute must.
You can’t visit Porto without making a trip out to the wine-producing region that is intrinsically linked to it. Barrels have been transported on traditional Rabelo boats from the Douro Valley to Porto for centuries, and today you’ll get to follow in the wine’s footsteps. First up is a bus transfer to Regua. The route we’ll take through the Douro Valley is spellbindingly beautiful, as countless vineyards wrap their way around the riverbank hills. In Regua we’ll check out the train station, which is home to gorgeous tile work that depicts the region’s wine culture. We’ll head for a customary lunch at a local winery – washed down with some fine local produce – before embarking on a boat ride down the Douro. Having enjoyed all of the beauty this region has to offer, you’ll return to Porto by train in the evening, dozing off on one of the most beautiful rail routes in all of Europe.
Our journey south begins today as we leave Porto behind, hopping on a train to Aveiro. This lagoon city is a sight for sore eyes, with colourfully-painted Moliceiro boats gently floating by gorgeous Art Nouveau buildings on the canalfront – there’s no wonder this place is described as the Portuguese Venice. You’ll get a full walking tour of the city with our Local Insider, which includes a short cruise on a Moliceiro boat, plus a chance to taste this city’s most famous delicacy – ovos moles. This sweet treat is made with sugar and eggs, wrapped in a light crusty wafer and sold in wooden barrels all over the city. You’ll have some free time later in the afternoon, so we recommend a visit to one of the expansive Silver Coast beaches nearby, followed by an evening indulging in delicious seafood delights.
This morning we embark on the longest train ride of this trip, which is also your most expansive visual insight into the splendid, ever-changing countrysides of Portugal. We’ll pass through the old capital, Coimbra, and by the epic Ponte Vasco da Gama – Europe’s largest bridge – en route to the modern capital, Lisbon! After check-in at the hotel you’ll have the rest of the day at your leisure, before reconvening for an evening Fado show. This soulful form of folk song is sung all over Portugal, but originated in Lisbon, and is a beautiful music specific to Portuguese culture. There’s no better introduction to the capital than experiencing a live Fado show with a drink in hand.
Today is dedicated entirely to exploring the many delights of Lisbon. You’ll embark on a full guided walking tour of the city centre with our Local Insider. Along the way you’ll also get a tasting experience of the city’s most iconic delicacies, from cod fritters and Ginginha berry liqueur to the most famous of them all, the pastel de nata – there’s no better place on Earth to gorge on these sweet treats. We’ll then hop on the tram to Belem to visit two of the city’s most beloved sights, Saint Jeronimo Monastery and Belem Tower. The rest of your evening can be spent at your pace. Top tip – the nightlife here is out-of-this-world.
Our last day trip is focused on the magical hilltop town of Sintra, just an hour's train ride from Lisbon. Surrounded by luscious pine forest and centred around the striking yellow structure of Pena Palace, this Unesco-listed town really is like something out of a fairytale. You’ll get a tour of Sintra, as well as a visit to the striking gothic palace of Quinta da Regaleira, before hopping on a bus to Azenhas do Mar. This nearby seaside town is a charming spot for us to have an authentic Portuguese lunch before returning to Sintra. Spend the next few hours wandering around Sintra, imagining yourself at the heart of a romantic fairytale. In the evening we’ll hop on the train back to Lisbon for our farewell dinner back in the capital.
After your final breakfast in Lisbon – last chance to cram in as many de natas as you can! – it’s time to say goodbye and part ways. You’ll need to check-out of the hotel by late morning but whether you head to the airport or not is up to you. Is this really the end, or just the beginning of your Portuguese adventure?
- 7 nights accommodation
- Train tickets
- 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
- Local Insider
- Welcome meeting
- Full day Porto tour with guide
- Port tasting
- Douro boat ride
- Walking tour of Aveiro
- Cruise on Moliceiro boat
- Ovos moles tasting
- Fado show + drink
- Full day tour of Lisbon
- Lisbon delicacies tasting
- Visit to Belem Tower
- Visit to Saint Jeronimo Monastery
- Visit to Sintra and Quinta da Regaleira
What's Not Included
- Travel insurance
- Hotel transfers (unless otherwise stated in the Included Activities section above)
Vila Gale' Porto Ribeira
Stay right in the heart of Porto’s most picturesque neighbourhood, Ribeira, with this hotel on the banks of the Douro. Not only are you perfectly placed to explore the city, but you’ll also be able to relax in the artfully designed rooms, some of which have views of the Douro. The outdoor terrace of Bar Fidélio is perfect for al fresco dining, or a glass of wine as the sun goes down over Porto.
You have to keep it Art Nouveau if you’re staying in Aveiro, which is exactly what this stylish four-star hotel does. Rooms are cosy and modern, the onsite pub is ideal for a nightcap and the breakfast spread is to die for – choose your pastry wisely!
Heritage Lisboa Plaza
This city centre haven has been a family-run hotel since 1954, found near Avenida da Liberdade, one of Lisbon’s main boulevards. The hotel has maintained a lovely sense of traditionalism despite simultaneously feeling fresh and newly renovated. Our favourite spot is the rooftop terrace, the perfect place to enjoy a bit of sunshine and views of the city, within a serene hideaway spot.
Your safety and wellbeing are our top priority, so we’ve put the following measures in place on all our TRIPS:
- Please check the entry requirements for the destination you are travelling to. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- We recommend you confirm all guidance on official government sites and check that you are able to travel with your travel insurance issuer. Your travel insurance may be invalidated if you travel against government advice. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- You must be aged 25 years or over to join this trip.
- Please be sure to check whether or not you need a visa to enter the country you're travelling to. Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions for further information.
- If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or accessibility requirements, please notify our Customer Support team as soon as possible.
- We won't charge you extra if you travel alone – you'll be allocated a twin room with another traveller of the same gender.
- To upgrade to a private room, share a room with a friend, or book pre- and post-trip accommodation and/or airport transfers, please contact our Customer Support team.
- Please be aware that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers.
- Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. While unlikely, these changes can happen due to circumstances beyond our control. We will always do our best to ensure minimal impact on your experience.
- Please be aware images on this page are for illustrative purposes and may not reflect your itinerary exactly.
If you cancel 56 days or more before your scheduled departure date, you will receive a 100% refund. Otherwise, the total cost of your trip is: 100% payable if you cancel 29 days or less before your departure date. 50% payable if you cancel between 30 - 55 days before your departure date. Please note you can only book this trip in advance up to 14 days before the departure date. After this time the trip may be booked on request.
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions.