DAY 1: Friday, March 4, 2022, OVERNIGHT FLIGHT TO PORTO
Departure from the US for overnight flight to Porto via Lisbon.
Airfare is not included but Celestial Voyagers can help you get the best airfare and schedule.
DAY 2: Saturday, March 5, 2022 Porto: A SWEET WELCOME TO PORTUGAL | Meals: D | Hotel: Eurostar Oporto Centro 4*
Arrival and transfer to our highly-rated hotel for two nights.
In the afternoon, we begin our exploration of Oporto with our knowledgeable local guide who will share the fascinating story of this venerable port city.
Oporto is famed for its art of confectionary using the “holy trinity” of eggs, flour and sugar. We’ll learn the story of typical sweets at local bakeries more than a century old and taste delicious pastries like the iconic “pastel de nata”, a dark-glazed mini custard tart.
Get to know your travel companions at dinner, which is sure to be a memorable experience at the renowned Casa de Chá Boa Nova (Michelin 2*). This creative tea house and restaurant on the water is a light-filled modern space adjoining the lighthouse of Leça. The kitchen is under the direction of the renowned Chef Rui Paula. The restaurant, of course, specializes in the freshest of fish and seafood.
DAY 3: Sunday, March 6, 2022 GET TO KNOW PORTO | Meals: B D | Hotel: Eurostar Oporto Centro 4*
After breakfast, meet with your local guide to explore Oporto’s well-preserved Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical treasures like the Cathedral, the Tower of Clérigos, and Ribeira, a UNESCO world heritage site. Oporto also stands out for its much-admired modern architecture including the Casa da Música and the Serralves Foundation.
Lunch is on your own, perhaps sampling a Francesinha, the popular local Portuguese take on the croque-monsieur.
After lunch, explore the old Jewish district to learn about its secret past. In the evening, relax and have dinner at a restaurant featuring local cuisine
DAY 4: Monday, October 24, 2022 | EXPLORE ROMAN PROVENCE | Meals: B L | Hotel Mercure Pont d'Avignon 4*
After breakfast, we depart for the Douro Valley wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the first demarcated wine region in the World (1756).
Our tour through the beautiful Douro Valley will introduce us to the culture of wine and the region’s people.
We’ll visit the Quinta de Pacheca vineyard and learn how the region’s world-famous Port wine is produced, followed by lunch at the vineyard accompanied by a selection of their wines.
In the afternoon, check in to for two nights at the charming, family-run Casa Rural Dos Viscondes, a large vineyard, farm and 1804 aristocratic house with historical gardens.
DAY 5: Tuesday, March 8, 2022 DOURO VALLEY AND THE PANORAMIC ROUTE| Meals: B L D | Hotel: Rural Casa dos Viscondes, Lamego
Today, get the feel of the Douro Valley by traveling the panoramic route of the N222 Road, renowned as one of the best roads in the world for driving. Hugging the River Douro for about 25 kilometers, this glorious road passes by steep terraced hillside vineyards.
We’ll explore Lamego, a peaceful city in the heart of the Douro vineyards, and its sumptuous baroque shrine, Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, set amidst colorful flowering gardens. We’ll also learn about Lamego’s Jewish history.
At lunchtime, we’ll taste the famous “Bola de Lamego,” a yeast bread filled with meat, codfish or sardines.
In the afternoon, we will join the countess of one of Portugal’s oldest families for a cooking class featuring old family recipes using the wood-burning stove in the old country-style kitchen of her family’s ancestral home that is our hotel.
If weather permits, we’ll enjoy dinner accompanied by the best local wines al fresco under the trees or inside by the cozy fireplace. Evening at leisure. The hotel is located in the Saint-Pierre district surrounded by restaurants and boutiques.
DAY 6: DOURO VALLEY, Buçaco & COIMBRA Wednesday, March 9, 2022 | Meals: B L | Hotel: Quinta Das Lagrimas, Coimbra
Today, we’ll explore the Sangalhos region and the Bairrada Region. In the Bairrada, abundant rainfall and mild temperatures help to produce grapes with the high acidity and low alcohol content that is ideal for making sparkling wines.
We will visit the Aliança Vinhos de Portugal Underground Museum, and taste the region’s sparkling wines. Lunch will be in the cellars and will feature the local specialty Bairrada Suckling Pig (an alternative will be provided for those who don’t eat pork).
After lunch, we’ll walk through the beautiful Buçaco Forest Park with its former royal hunting lodge, now a luxury hotel. Founded in the 6th century by a monastic community, the Forest Park of Buçaco contains nearly 700 native and exotic species as well as one of the tallest trees in Europe.
After check-in to our small luxury hotel in Coimbra for two nights, dinner (or a snack) will be on your own in this historical university town.
DAY 7: Thursday, March 10, 2022 CODFISH, THE VENICE OF PORTUGAL & PASTRY | Meals: B L | Hotel: Quinta Das Lagrimas, Coimbra
In the morning, discover the taste and history the “faithful friend “of the Portuguese people – the codfish. First we visit the Maritime Museum In Ílhavo to understand the traditional “Faina Maior,” cod fishing with hook and line in single man dories as done in in Newfoundland and Greenland. Onto the Costa Nova, known for its colorful striped “palheiros”, traditional fishermen’s cabins, where we’ll learn about the machines and animals that were used to haul the fishing boats onto the beach.
Lunch will feature the famous cod--perhaps you’ll sample crispy bolinhos de bacalao—salt cod fritters.
At Aveiro, the “Venice of Portugal,” with its extensive canal system, we’ll taste Ovos Moles (“soft-cooked eggs” pastry) and learn how to make the dough and fillings for this town specialty.
Dinner will be on your own in back Coimbra, a chance to stroll the streets and find your own favorite dining spot.
DAY 8: Friday, March 11, 2022 FADO, A MEDIEVAL VILLAGE & GINJINHA LIQUEUR| Meals: B D| Portugal Boutique Hotel 4* Lisbon
Today, we explore Coimbra, the city of students, home to one of the first universities in Europe and the most important in Portugal.
We’ll stroll in the oldest part of Coimbra where narrow streets lead to the top of the hill.
We’ll visit the Fado ao Centro (Fado Cultural Center), where we will hear the most genuine and traditional Fado music from Coimbra played by the best musicians of the city.
Next, we depart for the medieval village of Obidos where we will travel back in time in this walled medieval town with its Gothic churches and narrow winding streets.
Our arrival will be celebrated with a “ginjinha”, sour cherry liqueur in a glass of chocolate.
Afterwards, we’ll drive to Lisbon, check into our centrally-located boutique hotel for three nights.
Dinner will be at a local restaurant featuring the typical cuisine of Lisbon.
DAY 9: Saturday, March 12, 2022 GET TO KNOW LISBON’S NEIGHBORHOODS | Meals: B D | Portugal Boutique Hotel 4* Lisbon
After breakfast at your hotel, we begin the day with a guided city tour of Lisbon, a port city that has been influenced by many different far-off cultures over time. Lisbon’s various historic neighborhoods still have a village feel them. Stroll through the Pombaline grid of streets in the Baixa district that opens on to the Tagus in Praça do Comércio, then follow the river to discover some of the city’s most beautiful parts: the monumental area of Belém with its World Heritage monuments, and the medieval district of Alfama.
At the end of the day, we’ll get to know one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, where the Fado movement started, to understand the history and culture behind this haunting music.
We’ll stroll through the neighborhood’s small streets and alleyways, visit taverns where the locals gather every evening, and taste cheeses, cured ham and “ginjinha”. Our tour ends at a small, intimate restaurant and Fado house owned by a prominent Fado singer.
There, our dinner will consist of a tasting of a series of traditional “petiscos” (small dishes) and wine, while enjoying the Fado music.
DAY 10: Sunday, March 13. 2022 MARKET COOKING & SINTRA| Meals: B L D | Portugal Boutique Hotel 4* Lisbon
After breakfast, we’ll shop at a city street market where we will find all the ingredients to prepare a traditional Portuguese lunch at a cooking class taught by a chef. We’ll enjoy the meal accompanied by excellent Portuguese wines. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn some secrets of Portuguese cuisine in a fun and relaxed environment. Each guest will receive detailed recipes, so you can reproduce the dishes back home.
In the afternoon, we depart for an excursion to the beautiful seaside village of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Discover the charms and history of Sintra and taste local delights like travesseiros (pillows), crispy puff pastry pastries with a rich almond cream filling, a signature dessert of Sintra.
Return to Lisbon for our Gala Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant and our last night in Lisbon.
DAY 11: Monday, March 14, 2022 BOA VIAGEM! A FOND FAREWELL TO PORTUGAL | Meals: B |
After breakfast, drive to the Lisbon Airport for flights home (or extend your stay in Portugal--we can help).
- Tasting and stories of traditional sweets in Oporto at centenary bakeries
- Memorable dinner at Michelin 2* waterfront restaurant, Casa de Chá Boa Nova in Oporto
- Winery visit and tasting in the gorgeous Douro Valley wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Explore the old Jewish district of Oporto to discover its secret past
- Drive the panoramic route of the N222 Road, one of the best roads in the world for driving
- Join the countess at her family’s Douro wine estate for a cooking class and a delicious regional meal
- In the Sangalhos region, visit a winery, taste sparkling wines with lunch featuring roast suckling pig (we can provide an alternative if you don’t eat pork)
- Visit the Bauçaco Forest Park, founded in the 6th century by a monastic community and home to nearly 700 native and exotic species
Listen to fabulous local music, Fado de Coimbra and the oldest type of Fado in Lisbon
Spend an afternoon in the beautiful seaside village of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
INCLUDED ON THIS TOUR
- Nine night’s accommodation, double occupancy
- Daily breakfast at the hotels
- Welcome dinner (drinks not included)
- Three lunches (beverages not included, wine included at winery lunch and as part of cooking class)
- Seven dinners including one petiscos meal (beverages not included, wine included at cooking class, at winery, and at Fado Show in Lisbon)
- Two Fado musical experiences in Coimbra and Lisbon
- Bottled water on coach and with meals
- Coffee and tea with meals
- Expert commentary, culinary advice and background by Chef Aliza Green
- All culinary activities and excursions in the program.
- Two cooking classes and two wine tastings
- English-speaking assistance for airport arrival and departure
- Professional English-speaking local guide for the visits in the program
- All entrance fees to museums and historic sites
- Luxury, private coach for transfers and excursions
- Daily city tax at the hotels
- VAT and Local taxes, as per tax system valid in 2019, subject to modification
NOT INCLUDED ON THIS TOUR
- Single room supplement
- International flights between US and Porto
- Beverages (other than bottled water, coffee and tea) with lunches and dinners
- Meals not mentioned in the program
- Gratuities to guides and drivers (we will help with suggested amounts)
- Trip cancellation and travel insurance (travel insurance is required)
- Passport and visa fees as needed (Note: if you are not a US citizen a visa may be necessary; a green card is compulsory.)
All passports must expire at least six months after the trip date so after September 18, 2022
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the proposed hotels may not be the one we will be confirmed in March 2022, but any replacements will be of equal or superior quality. When Portugal opens to international travel, it is under strict hygiene rules determined by the government. Your safety and comfort are among our top priorities and final confirmation of hotels will depend on a very careful selection related to the appropriate safety regulations.
PORTO: 2 nights Eurostars Oporto
LAMEGO: 2 nights Hotel Rural Casa dos Viscondes de Varzea
COIMBRA: 2 nights Quinta das Lagrimas
LISBON: 3 nights Portugal Boutique Hotel