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Portugal - Best Tours & Trips 2019

271 trips to Portugal tours from 90 tour companies. 666 reviews. 4.7/5 avg rating.
Portugal, which shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, is the closest country in continental Europe to America, yet has long been overshadowed by its much larger neighbor. That's changing fast, as savvy travelers are discovering that Portugal is a beautiful country in its own right, and a bargain at that.
All Portugal tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 437 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

Travelers Age

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

Company

Flights & Transport

Continents & Regions

Stride Gives Back Stride Gives Back This trip visits a destination impacted by climate change. When you opt in to the Stride Gives Back program, we will donate 10% of our net revenue to organizations that help mitigate climate change in these destinations and across the globe. Learn more

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Portugal Wine and Castles Guided Cycle

UTracks
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 312 / day
$ 2,495
From : $ 3,493
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Discovering by bike the small villages, interesting castles and ancient sites of the Alentejo
  • Visiting local producers and authentic restaurants to sample wine, cheese, pastries and pesticos
  • Experiencing the hospitality of hand picked charming hotels and guesthouses, many with swimming pools, some located in historic buildings such as a convent or palace.
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of a group of like minded travellers and picnics brimming with local gourmet specialties
  • Exploring Évora's historical centre, classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site
Visits:
Lisbon, Portugal
View Trip

Best of Portugal Summer 2019

Trafalgar
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 236 / day
$ 2,595
From : $ 3,192
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • CITY TOUR in Lisbon, Évora and Porto
  • ORIENTATION of the Algarve, Lagos, Castelo de Vide, Viseu, Tomar, Nazaré and Obidos
  • VISIT the Hieronymite Monastery in Lisbon, the cathedral in Évora, the Palace Gardens at Palacio de Mateus, the Stock Exchange Palace and Arabian Hall in Porto, the University Library of Coimbra, the Convent of Christ in Tomar, the Shrine at Fátima, the Gothic Monastery at Batalha and the medieval village of Obidos
  • VIEW the Castle of Guimarães
Visits:
Algarve, Lisbon, Porto, Portugal
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Treasures of Portugal

SmarTours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 218 / day
$ 2,399
From : $ 5,797
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Walking Tour of Porto
  • Visit the Royal Palace (Coimbra)
  • Enjoy beautiful view of Marvao Medieval Village
  • Visit Fatima
  • Visit the Cathedral and Cloisters of Evora
  • Enjoy Wine Tasting (Evora)
  • Explore Belem Riverside District (Lisbon)
  • Obidos Medieval Fortress
  • Fado Show with Dinner
Visits:
Coimbra, Lisbon, Porto, Portugal
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Spain & Portugal on a Shoestring

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 112 / day
$ 1,349
From : $ 1,567
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Explore moorish palaces and great iberian cities
  • Sample some of europe's best cuisines
  • Chill out on the algarve coast
  • Indulge in tapas and wine
Visits:
Algarve, Barcelona, Granada, Lisbon, Madrid, Seville, Portugal, Spain
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Portugal Real Food Adventure, featuring Galicia

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 313 / day
$ 2,547
From : $ 3,378
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Cook up a Galician feast using Vigo's finest seafood
  • Sip world-class wines in the spectacular Douro Valley wine region
  • Discover why Alentejo is Portugal’s best kept foodie secret on a farmstay
  • Stand around with the Lisbon locals and enjoy a tipple of cherry liqueur
Visits:
Douro Valley, Lisbon, Porto, Santiago, Santiago de Compostela, Portugal, Spain
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Spain, Morocco & Portugal

Contiki
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 128 / day
$ 1,925
From : $ 2,695
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Guided local tour of the Medina of Fez
  • See the Royal Palace, the Medina and the local markets
  • Visit the Cooperative of handmade carpets
  • Guided local tour of Marrakech
  • See bustling Jamaa el Fna Square
Visits:
Casablanca, Fez, Granada, Lisbon, Madrid, Marrakech, Medina, Seville, Morocco, Portugal, Spain
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Iberian Coast

Topdeck
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 124 / day
$ 1,829
From : $ 2,348
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Local guide in Fes and Volubilis
  • Visit the historic city of Meknes
Visits:
Barcelona, Lisbon, Seville, Valencia, Morocco, Portugal, Spain
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Portugal’s Golden Cities

7 days
$ 1,819
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy sweeping views of Lisbon from São Jorge Castle, a Moorish wonderland that sits perched upon a hilltop overlooking the city.
  • Explore the grounds of the historic University of Coimbra, Portugal's oldest university.
  • In Coimbra, hear the haunting melodies of Portugese Fado, sung only by men.
  • Indulge in Portugal's famous cuisine. Be sure to try bacalhau, caldo verde, and pastel de nata.
  • Treat yourself to a ride down Porto's Douro River, enjoying scenic valley views and indulging in a glass (or two) of local wine.
Visits:
Coimbra, Douro Valley, Lisbon, Pena Palace, Porto, Salvador, Santa Cruz Island, Portugal
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Portugal Biking

Butterfield & Robinson
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
6 days
$ 833 / day
$ 4,995
From : $ 5,694
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Ride from Monsaraz to Evora, where you'll be surrounded by vineyards
  • Explore Lisbon
  • Enjoy the perfumed air of the Alentejano countryside
  • Wine tasting at the impressive winery Monte dos Perdigoes
Visits:
Lisbon, Portugal
View Trip

Madrid and Lisbon

5 days
$ 87 / day
$ 437
From : $ 1,222
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Discovery, Belem Tower, and the beautiful Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore Lisbon
  • Explore Caceres and stroll in the historic centre, one of the best preserved mediaeval and Renaissance open complexes in the world
  • Visit to the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas bullring
  • Visit Admission to Las Ventas Bullring included, one of the most famous bullrings in the world will learn about the tradition of “corridas” in the Bullfighting Museum
Visits:
Lisbon, Madrid, Portugal, Spain
View Trip
All Europe
Group Tour
Stride climate
This trip visits a destination that is affected by climate change

All Europe

26 days
Check price
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Visits:
Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Berlin Wall, Bratislava, Budapest, Cologne, Colosseum, Florence, Frankfurt, Geneva, Grindelwald, Innsbruck, Lisbon, Lucerne, Madrid, Milan, Pisa, Prague, Rome, Salzburg, St. Peter's Basilica, Venice, Zurich, Arctic, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain
View Trip

The Portugal - Porto Untour

7 days
$ 168 / day
$ 1,179
From : $ 1,592
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy Sample the local Port wine in and around Porto, and cruise the river
  • Venture deeper into the Douro River Valley for vineyards and scenery
  • Explore beautiful Medieval cities like Braga and Guimarães, where you can stroll the atmospheric labyrinth of their ancient core
  • See Portugal’s oldest university and the intricate layers of history in lovely Coimbra.
  • Board a colorful boat and explore the canals of lovely Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal.
Visits:
Coimbra, Douro Valley, Portugal
View Trip

The Portugal - Sintra Untour

7 days
$ 160 / day
$ 1,119
From : $ 1,511
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore all that Lisbon has to offer, including its most beautiful gardens and churche
  • Its street life, and inviting neighborhoods like Alfama
  • Discover nearby Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon and Montserrat right in Sintra, both gorgeous diversions
  • Beyond Sintra and Lisbon, find history and natural beauty in places like Évora
  • Caiscais, Sesimbra, Óbidos, Caba da Roca, Fátima and Nazaré, Sesimbra, Tomar, the wine regions and much more.
Visits:
Lisbon, Portugal
View Trip

Best Of Spain and Portugal

Indus Travels
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 193 / day
$ 2,499
From : $ 3,914
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore the culture and heritage of Spain and Portugal
  • Embrace Lisbon’s historic architecture and charm
  • Admire the third biggest mosque in the world: The Mosque of Cordoba
  • Be delighted with the vibrant cuisine and culture from Fatima to Seville
  • Enjoy astonishing panoramic views of Seville
Visits:
Córdoba, Granada, Lisbon, Madrid, Porto, Portugal, Spain
View Trip

Essential Portugal and Spain

Indus Travels
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 220 / day
$ 2,199
From : $ 2,693
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Experience lively and cosmopolitan Madrid on a panoramic city-tour
  • See two of Europe’s oldest universities, in Salamanca and Coimbra
  • Explore the city of Porto, famous for its Port wine
  • Sightsee Lisbon and wonder at the Belem Tower, Monument to the Discoverers
  • Visit Caceres and its blend of Roman, Islamic, Gothic architecture
Visits:
Lisbon, Madrid, Porto, Portugal, Spain
View Trip
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Top Portugal Experiences and Attractions

Top Portugal Experiences

Exploring Evora, a small old town with numerous historic structures

Cruising the Azores, an archipelago consisting of 9 volcanic islands. Whale watching is one of the popular activities

Sipping a glass of wine in Porto, known for its port wine production

Taking a Portugal walking tour through beautiful areas tasting local food

Relaxing in the sunny Mediterranean climate on the beaches of Algarve

Visiting Lisbon, Portugal’s picturesque capital

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Portugal Trip Reviews

666 Portugal Tour Reviews - Summary 97% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 535
Great 97
Average 18
Disappointing 13
Terrible 3
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.7
Transportation
4.7
Meals
4.7

Tour Reviews Write a Review

So enjoyable and memorable

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Thank you to Cristiane for making our family’s trip to Portugal so enjoyable and memorable. Everything from the drivers to the hotels to guides was five stars! We never had to wait in line and were treated like royalty. It was fabulous! We had never been to Portugal and left feeling like we learned so much. We fell in love with the people and culture.

Read more
Operator Eco Trilha

Indus does NOT Disclose Key Aspects of Trip

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0

Actually this is a review of A Taste of Portugal. Indus fails to fully answer questions prior to booking. It was not until we booked that we learned that the air travel "included in trip" was the Absolute Cheapest International Flight. We would need to pay $360 extra for luggage which is normally free for international flights. Also, that the cheapest flight WOULD NIOT PERMIT US TO UPGRADE THE INDUS FARE; choosing to upgrade would cost MORE than the full price advertised online. Un fortunately IT COST US $1000 to cancel this ripoff.
Complaints to agent Rachel and Supervisor Tordes was fruitless. Had they answered the one question we asked "Can We Upgrade Flights?" we would not have booked. INDUS FAILED TO DISCLOSE TERMS; it cost us "suckers" $1,000. Richard Supinski

Read more
Operator Indus Travels

It completely fulfilled my expectations

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I booked a Braga tour and it completely fulfilled my expectations. Great value for money. Highly recommended.

Read more
Operator Eco Trilha

Good except for the tour leader

4.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 2.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0

PREAMBLE
This was the first Explore tour we have taken so I don’t know whether my experience was typical of their tours. Overall it was satisfactory and I enjoyed the tour. I do not regret booking this holiday but there are clearly some improvements that could be made.

TOUR LEADER
It hurts me to say it but Tania, the tour leader, was not up to the job. She tried hard and as a hiking guide she was very good, keeping the group together and encouraging those who were having difficulty. She was energetic and enthusiastic but as an organizer and communicator she was hopeless. She would announce a plan and you could almost guarantee that the plan would change, often several times. In addition, she did not make sure that everyone heard these announcements so different members of the group were working off different versions of the plan. Another problem was that she would say things that later turned out to be untrue. For example, she discouraged us from visiting the lava tunnels on Terceira because she said that the ones on Pico were free to visit. This was not true. Because of this tendency to make stuff up, it was hard to trust anything she said. The wisdom of treating her statements with caution was proved several times.

I don’t know what instructions Tania was given about optional hikes but the notion of “options” means, to me, that each person can choose between the various options irrespective of what others in the group might prefer. This was not the way that it worked. She was very insistent that everyone did the same thing. So, on the 3rd Sao Jorge day, there were two hikes offered (one of which was different from those in the itinerary provided by Explore) but she insisted that everyone did the same hike, or no hike at all. Now obviously she cannot be in two places at once, but there is no reason that she has to accompany everyone. We were all experienced walkers who have done dozens of hikes without a guide. The trails in Azores are well marked and there was no reason at all that one group could travel without Tania. I will return to this issue in the section below headed ‘Hikes’.

As I informed Explore, shortly before the tour I underwent surgery that meant that I was unable to carry my suitcase. I also told Tania so that she would understand why my wife was doing the heavy lifting. We would not expect Tania or any of the other customers to assist us. However, I would have thought that, where there was the option of putting us on the ground floor of hotels without a lift, she would have done so. There were two hotels without a lift, in Praia da Vitoria and in Horta. In both cases there were rooms on the ground floor that some members of our group occupied. In both cases we were put on an upper floor meaning that my wife had to struggle with our bags on the stairs. Tania had no regard for making it easier for us, which was quite disappointing.

Although Tania gives the impression that she has been leading this tour for several years, I note from another review that, in May 2019, the leader was “Mandy” who received excellent reviews. Maybe Tania is new to the Explore tour and is still trying to get on top of the details. This is the most charitable interpretation that I can place on her confusing instructions. Perhaps Tania should be replaced with Mandy, if she is still available, until Tania is properly trained.

ACCOMMODATION
The hotels were generally good; not first class but usually perfectly adequate. The exception was the hotel on Sao Miguel where we stayed for four nights. I thought the accommodation was substandard. In addition, it was not well situated, well away from the main tourism centre. The joining hotel sets a level of expectation and it should not be the worst place on the tour. Explore really needs to find somewhere better; there is no shortage of accommodation in Ponta Delgada.

I did have a minor gripe with the Hotel Caravelas in Madalena. Some of our group (and Tania) had a complimentary basket of fruit in their room while others (including us) didn’t. If we were all paying the same then we should be treated equally. I pointed this out to Tania (who treated it as a joke) and to reception, but no fruit was provided.

TRANSPORT
The land transport provided was fine. It was a bit of a mixed bag, but nothing was inadequate. Generally, distances and travel times are short in The Azores so some occasional minor discomfort was easily tolerable.

My main complaint concerns two of the transfers. Going from Terceira to Sao Jorge we were on a 4 pm flight. Because we needed to check out from the hotel at around 1 pm, there was really nothing useful we could do in the morning except see the very limited attractions in Praia da Vitoria. By the time we got to the hotel on Sao Jorge it was too late to do anything there so effectively the whole day was wasted. This would be acceptable if there had been no alternative. But there was a 10:30 am flight and if we had been on that we would have had an entire afternoon to explore Velas. To make a badly planned situation worse, the 4 pm flight didn’t take off until nearly 5:30 pm.

The opposite problem occurred with the ferry transfer from Pico to Faial. We were made to get up early and have a rushed breakfast in order to catch the 8:15 am ferry. We arrived at the hotel in Horta before 9 am and were told to go away for 6 hours because our rooms would not be ready until 3 pm. There were ferries at 10 am and at 11:30 am which we could have taken. Either would have allowed plenty of time to explore Horta, relax in the hotel, or both. Note that in the itinerary provided by Explore we were supposed to transfer to Faial in the afternoon. Tania gave no explanation for the silly change in plan.

HIKES
There is a fundamental problem with the hikes that needs some thought. The information provided on the Explore website about the four included hikes suggests that the pace would be fairly easy and within the capabilities of relatively slow walkers such as me and my wife. We were not the only slow ones. At the same time, some of our group were very fast, no doubt attracted to the tour by the longer and more difficult optional hikes. So, the fast ones were constantly having to stop, which is unfair to them. Meanwhile, the slow ones were going as fast as they could. Tania was caught in the middle with no way of keeping everyone happy. The only solution I can suggest is to split the group. Maybe Explore need to have an extra hiking guide although, as mentioned above, the trails are well marked and most people would be able to follow a trail without a guide.

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Operator Explore!

Looking at different options what would…

3.0
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Looking at different options what would a 9 day trip to Spain cost from us with about 20 students

Thanks

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Operator ACIS

Traveling with ACIS takes all the…

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Traveling with ACIS takes all the anxiety and pressure off of me and I can concentrate on enjoying the trip with my students and embracing the new adventure.

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Operator ACIS

Portugal Tours and Travel Guide

Portugal Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Portugal, which shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, is the closest country in continental Europe to America, yet has long been overshadowed by its much larger neighbor. That's changing fast, as savvy travelers are discovering that Portugal is a beautiful country in its own right, and a bargain at that.

Hilly Lisbon, the capital and largest city, is crowned by a fort with magnificent views, and pretty Douro, in the north, is the heart of Port wine country and the embarkation point for Douro River cruises. The southern Algarve region is replete with beaches, and Portuguese cuisine is gaining fame. You won't regret putting Portugal on your tour list. 

Portugal’s western border is the Atlantic ocean, with Spain as the eastern border. Among Europe’s smaller countries, Portugal exhibits a strong, vibrant culture, coupled with incredible natural beauty. Travelers to the westernmost mainland country of Europe are still discovering its many secrets.

A History of Exploration

In modern history, Portugal has emerged relatively unscathed from two world wars, and remains fairly autonomous from its more entrenched European neighbors. But there was a time when Portugal was very much at the center of the world stage.

The contributions made by Portugal in science and exploration during the Age of Discovery are many and significant. Both by virtue of location, and the many “enlightened” thinkers who passed through. They were leaders in maritime travel and technology.  

This fascinating history comes alive as you walk the streets. Enjoy this vibrant culture which has grown from the many discoveries of explorers through the ages.

Top Cities in Portugal

1. Oporto (Porto)

Charming as all get out, Porto is, of course, known for its port wine industry. This up-and-coming city in country’s north is a must-see during your Portugal tour, not only for the wine, but for its vibrant nightlife, postcard-perfect rabelo sailboats, ancient Ribeira district and a great art scene.

Take a trip on one of the picturesque boats, perhaps with a glass of port in hand (or try the Porto Flip, a concoction of red port, brandy and egg yolk).

Small group tours to Porto can unveil the labyrinthine cobblestone streets of the Ribeira district and its centuries-old homes, arrange for port wine tastings and set up private boat cruises along the Douro River. In fact, from Porto, it’s easy to add on a full Douro River cruise through Spain and Portugal (read about our favorite Douro River cruises here).

2. Lisbon

Visit the capital of Portugal and slip back in time, to an era when brave souls like Vasco da Gama set off to see what the world had in store. We can’t quite believe they left this stunning city, though! Today, Lisbon is quickly becoming one of Europe favorite cities for its welcoming, liberal attitude, affordability, modernism, traditional heritage and abundant beauty.

History buffs flock to Baixa, Alfama, Chiado and the Avenida da Liberdade on tours that delve into Portugal’s past - each of these areas is very walkable and within easy distance of the city’s major sightseeing attractions.

For a view from the water, take a ferry ride or river cruise on the Rio Tejo. And for a view from higher up, head to the top of one of the city’s seven renowned hills. Travelers interested in photography will adore these Portuguese miradouros (viewpoints) over the cathedral-dotted cityscape and winding river. No filter is necessary for the technicolor photos you’ll take from Portas do Sol, Santa Luzia, Castelo de São Jorge and other top vantage points.

Beyond the allure of the city itself, a Portugal vacation boasts beach time, too. To the west, explore the Cascais-Estoril coastline; to the south, wiggle your toes in the sand of the Costa de Caparica.

3. Sintra

Away from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon and Porto, Sintra - once a center of European Romantic architecture - is home to ornate palaces and ancient castle ruins, all tucked in the hillsides of the Serra de Sintra. If you’re interested in architecture, Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-see on any Portugal tour.

Don’t miss the Royal Palace in the center of town, dating back to the early 15th and 16th centuries - the front-facing tiles are known to be one of the best examples of the Mudéjar technique (a blend of European and Moorish styles) on the Iberian Peninsula.

Sintra is just as well known for its green spaces - in fact, much of the region sits within the protected area of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. This includes Pena Park, where you’ll find the romantic, mountaintop Pena Palace - active travelers might enjoy the challenge of cycling to the palace.

If hiking is more your style, ask about Portugal tours that offer guided hiking at Pedra Amarela and Penedo da Amizade - offering the very best views of Sintra. Tired? Return to town and refuel with a famous queijada (cheesecake) or travesseiros (almond pastry).

4. Salamanca

The sandstone buildings of Salamanca appear to glow giving this UNESCO World Heritage Site its nickname of La Dorada, or The Golden One. Visit Salamanca on your Portugal tour if you love that contagious university town feel, where scholars frequenting the lively bars, cafes and restaurants. The University of Salamanca is a world-class school, popular with both Spanish and international students.

History buffs love Salamanca for its rich, 2,000-year-old history, during which time the village was frequented by Vacceans, Vettones, Romans, Visigoths and Moors. As a result, there’s a stunning diversity of culture and architecture here, making it a top historic site in Portugal. Wander the same streets walked by Cervantes and San Juan de la Cruz during the Spanish Golden Age.

If local Portuguese cuisine is important on your group tour, make your way here - again, the many cultural influences over the centuries have led to a variety of must-try dishes. Tuck in to a hornazo pastry stuffed with pork and hard-boiled eggs or a cochinillo al fuego (roasted suckling pig).

Not to be outdone in the wine department, Salamanca offers a chance to tour the historic Hacienda Zorita Winery. Sweet tooths must stop at Convento de las Deunas for sweets and baked goods made by the resident nuns.

From here, it’s easy to tour nearby Portugal highlights, including Madrid (two hours away), the endearing small town of La Alberca (about 40 miles away) and Zamora, Toledo and Valladolid, all great choices for in-depth Portugal vacation.

5. Coimbra

Another youthful university city is Coimbra, the medieval capital of Portugal for over a century. Sightsee and dine where six Portuguese kings were born. This is a prime spot for catching local music and dance during your tour - you’ll hear guitarra (Portuguese guitar) and fado singers throughout lingering summer evenings. Don’t miss the incredible 12th-century Romanesque cathedral in the old town.

Portuguese Culture

Looking for European culture? Private and small-group Portugal tours are a sure way to experience the country’s three official European Capitals of Culture: Lisbon, Porto and Guimarães. These cities and the rest of the country have been heavily influenced by many cultures over the centuries - Phoenician, Sephardic Jewish, Moorish, Germaic and Celtic to name a few.

There’s a renaissance of the arts on the rise here. Today’s Portugal art tours open travelers’ eyes to tucked-away local art exhibitions in smaller cities, trendy art galleries like the Arte AFK in Lisbon and university museums in Coimbra.

Bookworms are in for a delight on a Portugal tour - celebrated Portugeuse literary figures include Luís Vaz de Camões of the 16th century, Fernando Pessoa and the more recent José Saramago. Ask your Portugal tour guide to include a visit to Porto’s Lello bookstore just to view its incredible staircase - or time your trip to Portugal with the Lisbon Book Fair each June.

You won’t leave Portugal without a taste for fado and folk music. Fado means “destiny” or “fate” and you’ll quickly see why - the lyrics and tunes you’ll hear are most often associated with longing and homesickness. When you see a performance of this most important form of music during your Portugal vacation, it is polite to applaud (if in Lisbon), or quietly clear your throat (if in Coimbra). Fado is so interwoven into Portuguese life that it is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Sports fans, worry not. Your Portugal tour guide can lead you straight to the arena or a pub that is showing the latest futebol (or soccer) match - another standby of Portuguese culture. Undoubtedly the most popular sport in Portugal, futebol has been here since 1903 when the oldest club, Boavista, was founded. The country’s national team ranks quite highly by FIFA - and if you’re not already familiar, Cristiano Ronaldo will become a household name after your trip to Portugal.

Before the sightseeing begins each morning of your escorted Portugal tour, take a moment to savor the cafe culture of the country. Local residents flock to their favorite haunts to catch up, read the paper or watch the news and prepare for the day ahead. It’s the perfect, and easiest, way to feel like a local in Portugal.

Portuguese culture emanates from its year-round holidays and celebrations, most of which revolve around food. No matter what time of year you visit Portugal on a private tour, you’ll have the chance to party with the locals, celebrating everything from wine to cheese to garlic.

Carnaval is a big deal here, and runs for several days leading up to Lent (not just on Fat Tuesday), with parades, singing and dancing taking over the streets. Summer Portugal tours may coincide with several saint days (for Saints Anthony, John and Peter) in June - look for weddings, fireworks and don’t be surprised if someone uses a toy plastic hammer to “hammer good luck into you”!

Portugal is a predominantly Roman-Catholic country and as such, the Christmas holidays are celebrated with much pomp and circumstance. Holiday tours to Portugal may include the chance to attend Midnight Mass, try a treat of fried pumpkin dough or, later, on the Feast of the Epiphany in early January, tuck into a Bolo Rei, or King Cake, inside of which small treats are placed to be found.

Food and Wine

Portuguese cuisine has many influences, namely from their Spanish neighbors. But as a relatively small ocean-bordered country, over the centuries Portugal has seen visitors from all over the world. You’ll see extremely fresh seafood, all over Portugal, so be sure to enjoy it! Specialties include dry cod and sardines, which feature in many local dishes.

A long standing, wine industry will also be found here. Portuguese wines are less popular in the United States, so you’ll probably enjoy tasting from local producers who don’t export as much. The Porto region produces world class Port and Madeira wine. Definitely don’t pass up a chance to taste wine on your visit to Portugal!

5 Top Foods to Try in Portugal

1. Bacalhau (Codfish) - A dish traditionally enjoyed by Portuguese people on Christmas Eve, this flaky and delicious whitefish is best enjoyed when it’s made simply. A classic recipe involves olive oil, lemon, and onions. Bacalhau is also commonly dried and salted, which makes for a great pick me up snack during your Portugal tour!

2. Alheira (Portuguese sausage) - Something as simple as sausage couldn’t possibly be historically interesting could it? Think again. Alheira represents a food that helped thousands of people practice their religion in secret in the late 1400s. When the Jewish population of Portugal was expelled, many groups escaped to refuge in the Trás-os-Montes region, where this sausage hails from.

The Jewish people made it (without using pork) as a way to be convincing in their conversion to Catholicism. Today Alheira is still traditionally made smoked with chicken, turkey, partridge, veal, or rabbit. Some pork variations can be found, but if you want authentic Alheira opt for another meat.

3. Francesinha - There is no English translation for francesinha; if there were it might be “don’t order unless you’re really hungry”. This is definitely a dish that foodies will want to sample, but you may want to split it with someone else. Francesinha originates from Porto and consists of bread stuffed with several different meats, covered with melted cheese, and a fried egg. If that wasn’t enough, it’s then served with a tomato and beer sauce! Be sure ask around to find out where the locals like to grab one of these hunger quenching sandwiches.

4. Polvo à Lagareiro (Whole Octopus) - Seafood is second nature in Portugal, and you’ll find no end to delicious options. If you’re feeling adventurous, you should definitely not pass up the opportunity to try Polvo a Lagareiro. A whole octopus is boiled then baked, traditionally with potatoes and garlic.

If you’ve never had octopus before, try coaxing someone in your tour group to share with you - the flavor and texture is sometimes an acquired taste. But if there was ever somewhere in the world to expand your seafood reproitroiure, it’s Portugal!

5. Sardinhas grelhadas (Grilled Sardines) - Another famous seafood treat to try in Portugal is grilled sardines. Many Portuguese make use of the grill, and it really brings out the smokey flavor in these morsels. Very commonly served in restaurants, grilled sardines can also be found as street food, served simply with a piece of bread.

Outdoor travel in Portugal

Besides food and wine, Portugal is also a hidden secret for outdoor travelers. Hiking and cycling are two of the most popular activities for active and adventure tours visiting Portugal. The Azores islands and Madeira archipelago off the coast are great spots for getting away from it all. And the mainland isn’t too shabby either with Portugal’s coastline offering spectacular views.

Bear in mind that most hiking or cycling tours that visit Portugal are fairly strenuous given the hilly terrain. If you’d rather not spend your entire vacation on the trails, consider choosing a Portugal tour that includes a few optional hiking activities on the itinerary.

Portugal’s Best Hiking & Cycling Areas

1. Penada-Geres - Oddly, Portugal only has one official national park, the Penada-Geres. Situated in the northern part of the country and crossing the Spanish border, Penada- Geres is stunningly beautiful, and a great area for wildlife viewing, camping, walking, and hiking. There are several trails throughout the park, suitable for all different physical levels.

2. Rota Vicentina - All you long distance hikers out there should not miss a chance to enjoy the challenging yet rewarding Rota Vicentina trail. There are two main trails, a coastal route, the “Fisherman’s Trail” and a route that goes inland called “The Historical Way”. The Rota Vicentina covers 450 km (280 miles), and its southernmost point is actually the southernmost tip of Europe, Cabo de São Vicente.

3. Madeira - Off the North African coast, Madeira is the perfect getaway for outdoorsy travelers seeking a truly off the beaten path experience. The paths are not for the faint of heat, so be sure you’re prepared for some steep and challenging hiking, but the work is well worth the reward as you take in amazing views from the summits around the islands.

Douro River Cruises in Portugal

Portugal’s serpentine Douro River lends itself beautifully to Europe river cruising. And, for those looking for off-the-beaten-path cruising, this emerging destination can be a fun one to check off your list before the rest of the world discovers it.

Typically, Douro River cruises sail roundtrip from Porto, set in western Portugal near the Atlantic Ocean. Cruises head east to Vega de Terron, Spain, about 125 miles down the Douro River. Along the way, your small river cruise unveils a world food, wine, history and music, past ripe vineyards and quiet villages.

Small river cruises on the Douro introduce travelers to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is as culturally significant as it is beautiful. Known for its miles upon miles of vineyards, the Douro River Valley is home to some of Europe’s friendliest and most welcoming people, a hefty amount of excellent Port wine and Portuguese pingo, similar to espresso (and paella as you cruise into Spain).

As your Douro River cruise continues upstream, you’ll enter the Alto Douro (Upper Douro) wine region and most likely stop at Pêso da Régua (or simply Régua) - if you’ve bought wine from this region of Portugal in the past, this is probably the river port through which it was shipped.

Appreciate the vastness and beauty of the terraced vineyards on both sides of the river - these are the grapes grown for the wine that ultimately becomes port, after the addition of Portuguese brandy (aguardente) - and you’ll sample it right at the source!

Look for signs of the Alto Douro’s long history (in fact, this is the world’s oldest formally demarcated wine region) at area wineries, where you may glimpse original stone foundations or dine in a centuries-old estate.

Throughout your Douro cruise, get your fill of the port wine that defines the area’s industry, but also the red and white table wines that are garnering interest worldwide. If it’s harvest time when you cruise the Douro River, ask about picking grapes or stomping them with the local residents and winemakers.

Top Portugal Travel Companies

Things to Know Before You Go

Tours in Portugal cover a very wide range of activity levels and interests. If you want to explore Portugal only, there are a few tours that focus on the country only however the majority of Portugal tours will also visit Spain, and sometimes Morocco. Portugal is also a popular port of call for small ship cruises to Europe.

Who will enjoy traveling in Portugal?

Portugal is great for travelers who are interested in a less visited European country. With its Mediterranean vibes combined with ancient history Portugal presents a unique travel opportunity while still remaining within the realms of comfortable travel.

For those who might be looking to stretch their comfort zone, you could consider a tour that also visits Portugal’s nearby neighbor, Morocco - a country with whom it shares much history.

Wine lovers as well should definitely consider a trip to Portugal, where the wine regions are still rugged and salt of the earth. You’ll encounter many different kinds of wine, but the major draw in portugal is the Port.

What is the weather like in Portugal?

Portugal is a small country, half of which is bordered with North Atlantic sea coastline to the west and south. The climate is largely Mediterranean and you can expect several microclimates throughout your journey. So definitely bring layers no matter what time of year you choose to tour Portugal.

The weather in Portugal is fairly mild, with the warmest months in the summer reaching around 80 degrees F, and the coolest months in the winter reaching the low 60s, with light to moderate rainfall.

What is the best time to visit Portugal?

While Portugal is a welcoming country for tourists pretty much year round, there are some things to keep in mind when planning your visit. Summertime is the peak season, and you can expect much higher crowds and prices while traveling around the country.

In June, there are major festivals held in Lisbon and Porto. Though they have religious roots, the festivals can be enjoyed by anyone looking for a good time with lots of live music and delicious traditional foods. If meeting locals, visiting small towns, and getting an authentic sense of local community, you should definitely try and attend the June festivals in Portugal.

What to wear in Portugal

Fashion in Portugal is causal - you’ll fit in just fine with jeans pretty much anywhere. Pack comfortable walking shoes or sandals. Most cities in Portugal are set up for walking - though they aren’t always flat! The 25 de Abril Bridge is not the only similarity Portugal has to San Francisco - you will experience some hills while walking around.

Sun hats, sunglasses, and light breathable clothing is recommended for the summertime. In winter, you will probably experience some rain so be sure to pack a waterproof jacket.

Even though the weather is toasty in summertime, be sure to bring a pair of long pants and shoulder covering scarf or top for when you visit churches and cathedrals.


All Portugal tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.7 for all Portugal trips.

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