Portugal is located on the Iberian Peninsula, occupying most of the southwestern tip with Spain. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes with the Algarve’s beaches as a major destination.
For the wanderlust in you, Portugal has lively cities, a gorgeous countryside and a rich culture with most of the architecture dating back to the 1500s through 1800s. The best way to experience Portugal is to sit down at a street café with a drink and watch the world go by.
The main attractions are their beaches and resorts, fishing, archaeology, festivals, culture, churches, and monasteries while you enjoy great food and an active nightlife near the cities and resorts. Young Portuguese still listen to fado and party in stylish bars and cafes.
Travel + Leisure just named Portugal as their “Destination of the Year” for 2016 saying “When it’s time to choose our Destination of the Year, we here at Travel + Leisure look to the places that feel exciting, that warrant rediscovery, that have come into their own and stepped onto the international stage in some new way. In 2016, Portugal was a natural fit.”
Depart Home to Porto
Your Hotel – The Yeatman Hotel
PORTUGAL, VILA NOVA DE GAIA
The Yeatman is a luxury wine Hotel and Spa in Porto, Portugal, situated high on a hilltop on the south bank of the Douro River and has stunning panoramic views of the city and river, located in the heart of Vila Nova de Gaia, the historical headquarters of the Port wine houses, owes its name to a family of British traders who are still active: a legacy that can be found in the décor of the rooms and the great collection of Portuguese wines. The Chef showcases contemporary gastronomy in the restaurant, where food and wine pairing is an important part of the dining experience. The final touch is the choice of Caudalie and Vinotherapie® treatments for the spa.
Evening – PORTO by NIGHT:
3 hour guided bohemian Porto walking tour at night. Explore Porto’s lively squares and cobblestone streets. Be introduced to the best local pubs and nightlife hotspots, glowing coffee shops, and bustling restaurants. Sample traditional local food, mingle with locals and admire the surrounding architecture. During the tour, you’ll also see historic sites like Avenida dos Aliados, the Church and Tower of Clérigos, Market of Ferreira Borges, Square of Batalha and more.
PRIVATE TOUR OF FATIMA AND COIMBRA
Experience the magic of two of Portugal’s most important cities on this full-day private tour of Fátima and Coimbra. Cross paths with busy students in the university town of Coimbra and visit the sacred religious sites of Fátima. Learn about the history of Fátima and Coimbra from your expert guide Discover the stories of two of Portugal’s most important cities.
The tour will start with a visit to Coimbra, home to the oldest university in Portugal and other monuments and historical treasures. After Coimbra, you will continue along the road to Fátima, one of the most esteemed religious centers in the world and a highly sought-after tourist destination in Portugal. Every year, thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit the Sanctuary of Fátima, especially during the days of pilgrimage on the 13th of May and October. Upon arrival at your destination, you will visit the imposing neoclassical basilica that rises at the Shrine of Fátima and the Chapel of Apparitions.
Private Tour: Braga and Guimarães
Go back in time and experience important moments in Portugal’s past on this full-day private tour of Braga and Guimarães. You will visit the oldest city in the country, Braga, also known as the “Rome of Portugal” known for its rich culture and traditions. Here you’ll visit the Sé Cathedral, the Bom Jesus Sanctuary, and Sameiro Sanctuary.
Next, it’s off to the medieval city of Guimarães, where you’ll visit several historic sites including the Guimarães Castle, the Palace of the Dukes and the city’s center.
HALF-DAY PRIVATE TOUR OF BARCELOS
Half-day private tour of Barcelos where you will discover the beauty of this quaint village known for its pottery and crafts. Learn about the heritage from your guide and engaging locals you meet along the way. The land rich is rich in history and strong traditions. Barcelos is also the owner of phenomenal heritage, that you are able to see in the many historical monuments, such as the 16th Century Bridge; the Tower of Barcelos from the 15th century and several churches. From the 13th century, the Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia and Bom Jesus da Cruz of the Holy Cross which dates from the 16th century and was erected, according to the legend, following the miraculous appearance of a Cross through the soil in Barcelos.
Beyond monuments and its history, you find also in Barcelo’s crafts stores, full of amazing artworks. Barcelos is also the stage for many medieval fairs and traditional festivals. In this memorable half-day tour, see the Medieval Bridge of Barcelos, visit the Church of Bom Jesus da Cruz, explore the historical center, ending the day visiting the gorgeous Tower of Barcelos. Discover the culture and legends, admire all the beauty around, go back in time through this unique Portuguese city.
PRIVATE HALF DAY PRIVATE AVEIRO TOUR
Explore the coastal canals of Aveiro that include a Moliceiro cruise during a half-day guided trip from Porto. Aveiro’s charm lies in its Venice-like canals, which you will experience aboard a classic ‘moliceiro’ boat. Walking alongside an expert guide, discover more captivating sights of Aveiro’s town center. Learn about the charming history of Aviero’s fishing roots and thriving medieval seaport. Then, discover the countless canals as you arrive in the ‘Venice of Portugal. See an abundance of alluring Art Nouveau homes and then stop at the 15th-century Cathedral of Aveiro to observe its Baroque architecture. Hear stories of the town’s Roman settlement heritage as you pass Museo de Aveiro, formerly a famous Convent of Jesus of the female Dominican Order.
Next stroll the white sandy spectacular beaches of Costa Nova a spirited fishing town. Along with its coast, enjoy snapping fun photos of candy cane-striped fishing homes that line the town’s beachfront. Pop into a café for a snack and a drink.
Next stop: The town of Matosinhos is famed for its fresh fish, in part due to its large fishing fleet, and there are numerous great fish restaurants in the town. Often the fish is cooked on BBQs that are set up in front of the restaurants. There is a large fish market in Matosinhos where the fresh catch is sold; this market is opposite the port and is served by the Mercado metro stop. The fish market is best visited early in the day and is completely finished by lunchtime.
The fort at the southern edge of the beach is called the Castelo do Queijo, the cheese castle. This bizarre name originates from the rock where the small fort is constructed upon, which is said to resemble a block of cheese. Inside the 15th century fort, there is a small museum and wonderful views along the coastline.
Board the AmaVida to continue your journey on your cruise with memories to last a lifetime…
Lisa Crawford is the founder and CEO of SitInMySeats VIP Tickets, Travel & Concierge Services and can be reached at (954) 456-0419 or email Lisa@SitInMySeats.com