Portugal has a long tradition of gardening, its roots date back to Roman and Moorish times – the genuine Portuguese Garden is a secluded Garden with shrubs in pots, aromatic herbs in plots and a couple of trees, namely pine trees fig trees or olive trees to give shade where the family gathers to enjoy the breezy coolness in complete privacy.
Of course gardens have changed throughout the centuries according to fashions and foreign influences: there are fine examples of Italian renaissance gardens, French royal gardens and big English parks. Our proposal of itinerary will cover the most beautiful and renowned gardens not forgetting the other monumental attractions many of which included in UNESCO heritage sites.
Arrival at Lisbon airport from USA ( very likely in early morning) Meeting with our English speaking guide, who will escort the group during the whole stay, and panoramic tour of LISBON ( Expo grounds & Monsanto Park) before arrival at Hotel.
(Please note that rooms may not be available before 1 PM)
At 2:30 PM visit of Lisbon including the Jerónimos Monastery (church and cloisters) and Tower off Belém ( both Unesco Heritage monuments the finest examples of manueline architecture 16th century). Visit of the Botanical garden of Ajuda planted for the Royal family in 18th century in one of the hills of Lisbon overlooking the mouth of river Tagus.
Dinner and overnight in 4 (xxxx) hotel in Lisbon.
Fullday excursion in the outskirts of Lisbon with lunch included in restaurant.
We begin with QUELUZ Palace and Gardens, residence of the Portuguese Royal Family during the second half of 18th century – visit of the Royal apartments and the gardens designed according to the French fashion.
Continue to SINTRA (UNESCO site) and visit the PENA Palace and Park – this is a romantic reverie built by a German born prince, consort husband to the Portuguese Queen, around 1850 only comparable to the Bavarian castles of the same period.
Lunch in restaurant ( drinks included).
In the afternoon visit of Monserrate garden in the slopes of Sintra hills, a classical English Park of the 19th century surrounding a neo-Moorish bizarre pavillion.
Drive on to the coast until Cape da Roca, the westernmost point of Continental Europe. Return to Lisbon along the scenic road passing through the resort small towns of Cascais & Estoril as well as Carcavelos the surfers’ beach.
Dinner free, overnight in Hotel (xxxx) in Lisbon.
Departure for COIMBRA with a brief stop on the way at Fátima, one of the most important catholic shrines in the world (optional visit of the Basilica and Holy places according to the group’s wishes).
Coimbra is small town of art and culture being siege of the oldest University of Portugal founded in 1291.
We shall visit the University old buildings
( Rococo Library and Graduation cerimonial rooms) and Santa Cruz Church and Garden of Manga.
Dinner and Overnight in 4 (xxxx) in Coimbra.
After a two hours’ drive through a scenic highway of pinewoods and
vineyards we will arrive at Vila Real to visit the Gardens and the interior of the Mateus palace façade of Which made the tour of the world depicted on the labels of Mateus Rosé wine.
The small palace is a top example of baroque recreational mansion surrounded by orchards and vineyards.
In the afternoon drive on to Guimarães ( UNESCO heritage town) as know as the cradle of Portugal since the first king of the country was supposedly born there in 11th century. The medieval streets and places of the old quarters are among the most beautiful urban medieval spots in Europe.
The day will end in Oporto. Dinner and overnight in 4 (xxxx) hotel
Morning city tour visiting the old districts of this important town, the second largest in Portugal whose name became synonimous of the rich generous wine that was exported from here mainly to England since the late 17th century. Visit will include a tour of a wine cellar – with tasting if the group wishes so – and a cruise along the Douro river with duration of one hour.
Gourmet lunch of local specialities with drinks included.
In the afternoon drive southward and visit two top favorite touristic attractions in this country: Nazaré a typical fishermen’s village although today is more mentioned as a surfers’ destination since the American Mac Namara rode a huge wave of 30 meters high; and Óbidos, a medieval town encircled by huge walls with turrets and battlements - this visit is on foot.
Dinner and overnight will be in Hotel 4 (xxxx) at Caldas da Rainha
Leave for Lisbon but stop on the way to visit the Berardo Buddha Garden – modern garden displaying the large collection of Buddha images – the biggest outside Asia.
Arrival at Lisbon, Lunch in a local restaurant with drinks.
In the afternoon visit two precious jewels of botanical interest: Estufa Fria – a kind of conservatory occupying an abandoned quarry and opened in 1912 displaying rare trees and tropical plants considered one the most original tropical gardens in Europe, the other is Fronteira Palace garden, a sophisticated 17th century garden of Italian renaissance inspiration but having the peculiarity of using Portuguese glazed tiles (azulejos) as main material covering the walls and grottoes.
Dinner is free ( optional dinner in a Fado restaurant)
Overnight in 4 (xxxx) hotel in Lisbon
Transfer to Lisbon airport and END of our SERVICES