After Lisbon and the Alentejo region - Heritage of Portugal tour - Lifestyle Vacations takes you to the North of Portugal, the cradle of the Portuguese civilisation. This region has Porto for capital, which was known for its artisanry, and today reemerges as a design hub, gastronomy spot and architectural attraction.
Facing the Douro bank Ribeira historic quarter, Vila Nova de Gaia houses impressive aging caves of the biggest wineries, spreading over decades of hectares, and you will visit it.
Fourty-five minutes north of Porto, you will discover the historic cities of Braga and Guimarães, listed at the World Heritage. One has been founded by the Romans and expanded at the Middle-Age, as the other one was the birth place of King Alfonso Henriques (1109-1185).
A hundred miles east, you will explore the majestic Douro Valley with vertiginous riverbanks sculpted by centuries of vineyard cultivation. This is the oldest wine region in the world, founded by the Marquis of Pombal in 1756. You will explore the valley by the wine route meandering through the schistose hills covered with vineyards, and by boat for a recreational cruise. You will succumb to the charm of the valley's sunny terraces. You will be pleased by the wine growers warm welcome. You will enjoy the comfort of luxury Quinta and boutique-hotel accommodations. You will experience the Portuguese cuisine through a gourmet tour and a cooking lesson. You will visit top-ranked wineries to improve your oenological knowledge in Port wines. You will love Portugal for sure!
Our original program includes a two-county exploration and two charming boutique-hotel & luxury guest house accommodations.
Descobertas is certainly one of the most centrally located boutique-hotel straight in the Ribeira quarter, next to the Douro river banks. It offers 18 modern designed rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Amenities include a flat-screen cable TV, minibar, free WiFi, safety deposit box, and hairdryer + toiletries in the bathroom. Daily buffet breakfasts are served until 11am in the dining room. Featuring a 24-hour front desk the Descobertas boutique-hotel also provides a laundry and ironing service. Since the property is located on a pedestrian street, you won't support the traffic noise.
Quinta do Vallado once belonged to the legendary Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, and still in the family today. It lies on both banks of the Corgo River, a tributary to the Douro river, close to Peso da Régua. Today, with 90ha, of which 20ha in the new Quinta do Orgal in the Douro Superior, Quinta do Vallado has achieved national and international acclaimed levels of quality and recognition, and is part of the group Douro Boys.
Land of sea, plains and mountains, Porto and the North of Portugal's gastronomy is as diverse as the landscape where its food and wine are produced and tasted. With four demarcated wine regions, the North of Portugal offers high quality wines including the internationally well-known Port wines.
The Douro Valley wine region, with its 250.000 hectares marked by numerous microclimates, is divided in three sub-regions which vary greatly in terms of temperature and rainfall: Baixo-Corgo, Cima-Corgo and Douro Superior. It's here, in poor and schist soils that the Port and liquorish wines are produced but also – and increasingly more – red and white wines of superior quality.
Back to the kitchen… you will see that the Portuguese cuisine is straightforward and hearty, matching the best of the sea with meat and quality-fresh ingredients from the fertile land. Spices including piri-piri, black pepper, vanilla, cinnamon and saffron… are very used and it's a remembrance to the influence of Portugal's former colonial possessions. Olive oil is also the basis of the Portuguese cuisine as garlic and herbs flavor lots of dishes.
Bacalhau (codfish) is more than a traditional dish, it's a national obsession.
There are hundreds of different recipes and versions of this classic, including Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, Bacalhau à Zé do Pipo, Bacalhau à João do Buraco but Bacalhau à Brás is one of the best… combining onions, chips, olives, parsley, egg and, of course, cod.
From octopus salad to codfish croquettes, sautéed clams with herbs and garlic, caldo verde vegetables and chorizo soup, cataplana fish stew, chicken in the pot, custard pastry…there is a long list of specialities, and you will have the chance to cook some of it.
In visiting Porto, you won't miss to taste a Francesinha, a meats and cheese sandwich served with a spicy sauce, and accompanied with a Fino local beer served in a thin and tall glass. But before that, you will certainly enjoy a Porto Tónico, a cocktail made with a dry Port wine, tonic warter, ice and a lemon slice and served in a tall glass… another way to taste Port wines! In Gaia, you will order a Broa de Avintes, a kind of corn bread which matches well with the typical Caldo Verde soup…
Aside to the tribute paid to the Port wine production and tastings, this program also features a region and country's rich history, traditions and culture. In Porto, you will explore the city through a food & history walking tour, but not only. You will discover the picturesque towns of Braga and Guimarães. You will visit several Douro Valley wineries (here called quintas) including Quinta Do Panascal, Quinta do Crasto, and Quinta do Vallado. You will experience a recreational river on the Douro river to admire the exceptional beauty of the valley with its vineyards planted terraces. The visit to Graham's cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia (Porto) will be one of the tour's highlight.
DAY 1 (Thursday) : Welcome to Portugal !
Welcome to Porto airport. Morning transfer to the Douro Valley.
Check-in at Quinta do Vallado.
Lunch in Régua. Resting time.
Afternoon visit to Quinta Do Vallado winery.
Dinner at the quinta. Overnight.
DAY 2 (Friday) : Morning visit to top-ranked winery – Afternoon cruise on the Douro river
Breakfast at Quinta Do Vallado.
Visit to Quinta do Crasto which is one of the highlights of this tour. Located on the right bank of the Douro river, Quinta do Crasto, has been Leonor and Jorge Roquete family estate for more than a century. Walking tour through the vineyards, visit to the winery with its beautiful warehouse barrels maturing table wines and premium Port wines. You will enjoy a 5 wines tasting. Quinta do Crasto has been awarded the 3rd best wine in the world by Wine Spectator for its 2008 vintage, giving the 95 rating in 100 points.
Afternoon 2-hour cruise on the Douro river aboard a traditional boat to admire the most emblematic wine estates between Régua and Valeira's locks.
Transfer to Quinta Do Vallado.
Dinner in a Michelin restaurant.
DAY 3 (Saturday) : Morning Cooking Class – Afternoon visit to Quinta Do Panascal winery
After breakfast, morning cooking class at Quinta Da Pacheca. You will learn to prepare and cook a 3-course menu including a starter, a main course and a dessert. Tasting lunch accompanied by wine follows.
Afternoon visit to Quinta Do Panascal located in the charming Távora river valley in the heart of the Douro region. This is the most important winery of the prestigious company Fonseca named by James Suckling, as the "Bentley" of Port wine. Dinner in Pinhão. Overnight.
DAY 4 (Sunday) : Morning transfer to Porto - Afternoon visit to Port wines cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia Port
Check-out after breakfast. Transfer to Porto (about 1h30).
Lunch in a gourmet restaurant offering a classic Portuguese cuisine while enjoying the stunning panoramic view all over Porto historic quarter.
Afternoon visit to Ferreira or to Graham's.
Check-in at Descovertas Boutique-Hotel. Resting time.
Dinner in a typical restaurant nearby. Overnight.
DAY 5 (Monday) : Full-day excursion to Braga & Guimarães World Heritage towns
After breakfast, transfer by van to Braga (45mn).
The 2h30 walking tour starts with a coffee and a traditional pastry and then proceeds through the historic Roman and medieval quarters. It highlights the main buildings and points of interest such as the ancient castle's keep, the cathedral, Santa Barbara's gardens, Porta Nova Arch, among others.
Lunch in a traditional restaurant.
Afternoon transfer (30mn) to Guimarães, a old city founded over a thousand years ago. You will explore the city by walking, enjoying iconic monuments, lower-filled squares, and relaxing pavement cafés. Beautiful artisans shops in Guimarães for shopping addicts ! Transfer to Porto (45mn).
Dinner at Cantinho Do Avillez restaurant (by a wellknown chef). Overnight.
DAY 6 (Tuesday) : Morning gourmet & cultural walking tour – Afternoon free for shopping or visiting
After (a light) breakfast, join your local tour guide for a unique walking in Porto featuring the food, wine and culture. While strolling through Porto off-the-beaten paths, you will enjoy at least 10 food tastings (a perfect balance of sweet and savory delights) paired with tea or coffee and wines. You will visit the bustling Bolhão authentic food market, and learn about the food culture.
Afternoon free for shopping and for enjoying Porto as you wish.
Gourmet dinner at “Pedro Lemos" Michelin-starred restaurant in Fos (Porto). Overnight.
DAY 7 (Wednesday) : Check-out – Transfer to Porto airport.
After breakfast, check-out, and transfer to Porto airport by private van.
End of the tour.
US$ 3,950 per person (DBL occupancy)
SGL occupancy supplement: $680
All taxes and VAT included.
Price includes :
7-day escorted tour, airport tround-trip transfer and ground transportation by private luxury van,
3-night Quinta Do Vallado luxury House Winery accommodation in the Douro Valley,
3-night Descobertas boutique-hotel accommodation in Porto,
Daily breakfasts, lunches and dinners as detailed in the itinerary,
Visit to top-ranked wineries as detailed in the itinerary,
Traditional boat Douro river cruise,
Half-day gourmet & cultural walking tour in Porto,
Full-day excursion to Braga and Guimarães,
And all which is listed in the above itinerary.
Not included : airfare from/to your country, wine in restaurants, personal insurance, personal expenses.
September 12-18 (6 spots left).