Escorted tour holidays in Portugal promise some of the most dramatic coastlines, sun-dappled vineyards, medieval towns, modern cities and charming people, not to mention a culinary scene to rival anywhere in Europe. A country that’s sunny all year round, Portugal is, without a doubt, one of the best destinations to visit for fun, adventures and plenty of activities.
Portugal’s fascinating history is evident in everything from the Moorish-influenced architecture to the African communities of the major cities, a reminder of how the country grew rich off the back of empire and trade. Today, the country is a wonderful mix of old and new, which explains why millions of people choose a Portugal holiday every year.
The cosmopolitan city of Lisbon with its grand buildings, exciting museums, art galleries and fancy restaurants have helped to make Portugal’s capital one of Europe’s hottest destinations, so be sure to include it on your escorted tour itinerary. Lisbon’s buzzing bars, historic architecture and colourful neighbourhoods are also big draws for visitors, both young and old. There’s a plethora of history in Lisbon too, and you won’t have to look far for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, prestigious art collections and fantastic food markets. Head to the Lisboa Story Centre to unravel the city’s past and visit the Basilica da Estrela to see Lisbon’s iconic church with sky-piercing spires. And remember, you can’t visit Lisbon without checking out its vibrant nightlife scene.
Just outside Lisbon and within the hills of the Serra de Sintra is the gorgeous Portuguese town of Sintra, a place that should be included in your escorted tour holiday plans. Sintra is a Portuguese gem that offers a variety of attractions, lavish mansions, historic buildings and an ancient castle ruin. Another of Portugal’s most beautiful areas is Evora, a charming city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is hard to resist. Evora has become a young and vibrant city that has a lot to offer visitors, including historical monuments, an impressive Roman temple, the majestic cathedral and fabulous restaurants.
Portugal’s second city, Porto, is famous as the home of port wine, and it provides the perfect introduction to the delightful Douro Valley. Make sure your escorted tour holiday includes free time to quaff the local tipple in cosy cellars or allows you time to strike out into the countryside to explore the quaint villages and hillside vineyards. There are lots of unique places that you shouldn’t miss during a tour of Porto, such as the world’s most amazing bookstore, Livraria Lello, the place where JK Rowling began writing her famous Harry Potter series. You can also hit the beach of Homem do Leme or the beaches in the Foz neighbourhood to enjoy some sunshine and relaxation during your Portugal holiday.
If you enjoy spending time in walled towns, then you will love the Portuguese town of Obidos. It’s a characterful town that’s considered one of the best tourist spots of the Lisbon region and it features narrow streets, traditional houses and an impressive medieval castle. The region surrounding Obidos is also well worth a visit during your Portugal escorted tour holiday as it enables you to explore a working fishing port, some glorious beaches and Europe’s largest collection of Buddha statues.
The university town of Coimbra could appeal to you if you enjoy discovering ancient buildings and medieval castles. Most people go there to see the Monastery of Santa Cruz which houses the tomb of the first King of Portugal, the Machado de Castro National Museum that contains the Roman Cryptoporticus and the historic university buildings. You can also visit Braga, Portugal’s third-largest city and home to the oldest cathedral in the country. Although Braga has gothic churches, modern shopping areas, baroque buildings and a maze of pretty narrow streets, it isn’t overcrowded, making it a real joy to explore at your own pace.