Day 1: Lisbon, Portugal - Tour Begins
Travel through some of Portugal’s most beautiful regions. Experience Lisbon, the Azorean island of St. Michael, and the island of Madeira. Your adventure opens in Lisbon where Old World traditions still thrive. Experience medieval towns, coastal villages, Portuguese cuisine, regional wines and folkloric entertainment. Tonight, meet your fellow travellers at a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Lisbon - Sintra - Cascais - Estoril - Lisbon
Your tour of Lisbon features the Moorish Alfama Quarter, Jeronimo’s Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage site), the Monument to the Discoveries, and the Tower of Belem (UNESCO). Later, explore the town of Sintra (UNESCO), summer residence of Portuguese kings for six centuries. Continue to Cascais and Estoril, coastal resorts dotted with speciality shops.
Day 3: Lisbon - Fatima - Nazare - Obidos
Today you’ll visit Fatima, and discover the famous Basilica and Batalha Monastery before continuing to Nazare. Then it is on to Obidos, where whitewashed houses are guarded by a hilltop castle and medieval city walls.
Day 4: Lisbon - St. Michael, Azores - Ponta Delgada
Fly to St. Michael, the largest of the nine volcanic islands that form the Azores archipelago. A walking tour of Ponta Delgada features the ‘Portas da Cidade’ (The City Gates), Saint Christ’s Church, St. Sebastian Church with 17th century painted tiles, the Jesuit College and the seashore promenade. Later, visit the twin lakes of Sete Cidades (Seven Cities), one of the region’s most beautiful natural settings. Composed of two lakes inside a volcanic crater, it is the island’s most popular national park. From the edge of the crater, one lake appears blue (reflecting the sky) and the other looks green (reflecting the ground). Your day concludes with a magnificent view of the coastal village of Mosteiros.
Day 5: Ponta Delgada - Terra Nostra Botanical Park - Furnas Valley
Today it’s your choice! You may take a stroll through the Terra Nostra Botanical Park, home to the world’s largest collection of camellias. Or you can choose to rest and relax in the park’s mineral rich thermal water pool*. In Furnas Valley, experience a cozido das furnas lunch in which meat and vegetables are stewed in the heat of the volcanic earth. Afterward, explore Caldeiras das Furnas, the town’s famous hot springs area. The day comes to a close at a tea plantation where you will learn about timeless methods of production.
Day 6: Optional Whale and Dolphin Watching - Cooking Class
Enjoy a morning at leisure to explore Ponta Delgada or take an optional whale and dolphin watching excursion. Late afternoon, discover the secrets of Azorean cuisine with an interactive cooking class at one of the island’s most popular restaurants. Learn how the Azoreans use traditional old recipes when making tasty soups, fish and meat dishes, and tasty desserts. Your evening concludes with a sumptuous dinner.
Today breakfast and dinner will be included.
Day 7: Ponta Delgada - Lagoa do Fogo - Ribeira Grande - Nordeste
Delve into the art of hand-painted ceramics during a studio visit. Next, take in the beautiful vistas of the mystical Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake). Journey to Ribeira Grande, known for its historic 16th- and 17th-century buildings. See City Hall, Church of Our Lady, and the eight-arch bridge, a symbol of the town. Then, visit a family-owned liqueur shop to taste some of the all-natural local liqueurs. Continue to Nordeste, the highest part of the island. Here, explore the natural beauty and famous waterfalls of Ribeira dos Caldeiroes. We make our final stop of the day at a pineapple plantation where an expert leads you through the farm’s greenhouses.
Day 8: Ponta Delgada - Funchal, Madeira - Monte
Fly to Madeira Island, the ‘pearl of the Atlantic.’ Madeira boasts a subtropical climate, majestic mountain ranges and volcanic caves. Stop in Monte, perched on the hills overlooking Funchal. Visit the Botanical Garden of Madeira with its vast collection of exotic and indigenous birds and more than 2,500 plants from all continents. Discover Madeira’s history during a leisurely paced tour of Funchal’s charming plazas, colonial mansions, 15th century cathedral and local market.
Day 9: Funchal - Câmara de Lobos - São Vicente - Porto Moniz
Begin your day with a visit to Câmara de Lobos, a traditional village with a pictureperfect bay. Continue along mountain roads, passing banana plantations and vineyards en route to Cabo Girão, the world’s second highest cliff. Make a stop in São Vicente, a charming agricultural town that boasts dramatic views of the coast and surrounding villages. Explore the lively fishing village of Porto Moniz, renowned for its natural volcanic pools. Then it’s on to Calheta, home to a working sugar mill. Nearby is the Paul da Serra plateau, sprinkled with scenic country landscapes.
Day 10: Funchal - Ribeiro Frio - Santana
Set out on a winding trip through the mountains to Pico do Arieiro, the island’s third-highest point. Then, it’s your choice! At Ribeiro Frio (Cold River), explore the natural beauty of a trout farm. Or you may join an exhilarating levada walk** and follow the paths that run along the water channels that flow through the mountains. Next we continue to Santana, a village of small triangular homes thatched with straw. Visit a family-owned embroidery shop and meet local artisans who offer a first-hand look at their delicate craft. Then, it’s time to sample some world-famous Madeira wine. Celebrate with a traditional dinner known as espetada. Folk dancers and music entertain as you feast on a local dish of beef marinated in herbs and cooked over an open fire.
Day 11: Funchal - Lisbon
Return to Lisbon and spend the remainder of the day at leisure. Later, bid ‘adeus’ to Portugal during a farewell dinner at St. George’s Castle, beautifully situated on a hilltop overlooking the city of Lisbon.
Day 12: Lisbon Tour Ends
Your tour ends in Lisbon.