• Lisbon
  • Lisbon's Belém District
  • Roman Temple in Évora
  • Nazaré
  • Cork Farm Visit
  • Cistercian Monastery in Alcobaça
  • Fado Performance
  • Douro Valley
  • Port Tasting
  • Porto

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Heart of Portugal in 12 Days Tour

Starting in lively Lisbon and ending in proud Porto, the Heart of Portugal combines a dazzling mix of Roman, Moorish and Baroque architecture with the small towns, seacoast, food, wine and music of this tradition-rich country. Venturing far from the tourist crowd, this tour has a real "Europe in the old days" feel to it. Your Rick Steves guide will take you on an intimate adventure that connects you with the Portuguese people, from salty harbors to sun-baked farms to lovingly-tended vineyards. Join us for the Heart of Portugal in 12 Days!

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Portugal come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 21 group sightseeing events • Lisbon walking tour • São Jorge Castle • Monastery of Jerónimos tour • Monument to the Discoveries • Gulbenkian Museum tour • Fado performance • Évora walking tour • Olive oil tasting • Cork farm visit • Batalha's Monastery of Santa María • Fatima visit • Alcobaça Monastery • Conimbriga's Roman ruins and museum • Coimbra walking tour • Coimbra musical performance • Port wine tasting and lunch • Porto panoramic bus tour • Porto walking tour • Porto's Stock Exchange Palace • Serralves Foundation Contemporary Art Museum and park • Douro River cruise...and more
  • All group transportation from Lisbon to Porto
  • 11 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves' Portugal guidebook, Portuguese phrase book, map, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2014
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Portugal

We'll gather at our Lisbon hotel around 5 p.m. for a "Welcome to Portugal" get-together, followed by a short orientation walk through our neighborhood, a stroll down the fancy Avenida da Liberdade, and dinner together. Sleep in Lisbon (3 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Neighborhoods of Lisbon

This morning we'll take a walking tour through Lisbon's colorful downtown neighborhoods — the Barrio Alto, the Alfama and the Baixa — including a panoramic view of this vibrant city from São Jorge Castle. Along the way we'll learn about "village" Lisbon's neighborhood life, the poetry of the revered Fernando Pessoa, and Portugal's "Carnation Revolution" which peacefully ended nearly five decades of fascist rule in 1974. You'll have the rest of your afternoon and evening free to visit any of Lisbon's "niche" museums (tile, fado, Port wine, and other Portuguese specialties). Or, your guide will help point you in the right direction for a half-hour train ride to Sintra — famous for its gardens, palace and castles. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Seafaring Belém and the Gulbenkian

We'll begin our day with a bus tour through Lisbon, taking in the view from Edward VII Park and ending at the world-class Gulbenkian Museum, where we'll see how an international oil tycoon assembled a priceless art collection spanning 5,000 years. Then we'll drive to Lisbon's seafaring Belém District, home to many of the city's most historic buildings. Sticking close to the waterfront, we'll learn about Portugal's golden age of exploration at the heroic Monument to the Discoveries, and how faith, money, and a knack for sailing combined to build the dazzling Monastery of Jerónimos. Tonight we'll regroup and enjoy a soulful fado performance with dinner. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Historic Évora

Today we'll head east to the laid-back Alentejo countryside and the history-rich university town of Évora. We'll take a walking tour of Évora's preserved-in-whitewash old section, marveling at its Corinthian-columned Roman Temple and its macabre Chapel of Bones. As you'll discover in your free afternoon and evening, Évora has a world-apart feel to it that really connects you with traditional Portugal. Sleep in Évora (1 night). Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: Olives, Oaks and Nazaré

This morning begins with a memorable visit to a working farm and estate. We'll have a chance to meet farming locals, and taste-test their olive oil. Then we'll wander through their forest of cork oaks, learning how the bark is harvested and how it's being regulated today. We'll cap off our visit with lunch together, including some of the estate's wines. This afternoon we'll follow the sun as we make our way to the old fishing town of Nazaré. Upon arrival we'll take an orientation walk, and learn why old women still wear seven layers of petticoats. Sleep in Nazaré (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 6: Royal Intrigue, Alcobaça and Óbidos

We'll begin today with a visit in Alcobaça to tour the ornate Baroque-Gothic Cistercian Monastery of Santa Maria, and hear the star-crossed story of King Pedro and his doomed mistress, Inês. Later we'll enjoy a chance to explore the delightfully-preserved town of Óbidos — given to the queen as a wedding gift 800 years ago — before returning to Nazaré for a free afternoon, where you can stroll the long crescent of ocean beach. We'll end our day with a vertical trip up the funicular to the Sitio neighborhood, where we'll enjoy its sweeping views, and dinner together with some of Europe's best and freshest seafood. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Batalha and Fátima

We'll continue our journey north, stopping in Batalha to visit its grand Monastery of Santa María, a symbol of Portuguese pride and its victory (with help from English archers) over Spanish domination 600 years ago. Then we'll visit the nearby pilgrimage site of Fátima — a favorite of Pope John Paul II — where three children shared controversial visions of the Virgin Mary in 1917. Later we'll connect with Portugal's ancient Roman past, wandering the evocative remains of Conímbriga. Our destination this afternoon is Portugal's historic capital of Coimbra, where we'll enjoy an orientation walk and a relaxing dinner together. Sleep in Coimbra (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Classic Coimbra

Today we'll happily stay-put in Portugal's easiest-to-enjoy city. We'll start with a walking tour through Coimbra's maze of narrow lanes and its steeped-in-tradition, 700-year-old university. The palatial university library — with 30,000 books from the 18th century — is like nothing you've seen before. The rest of your day will be free for making more discoveries on your own. Tonight we'll rendezvous for a performance of Coimbra's unique style of fado...more likely devoted to revolutionary student ideals than lost love. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Douro Wine Country

We'll drive to Portugal's most famous wine-making region today: the lush, green Douro Valley, where we'll visit an old family estate and winery (quinta) with spectacular views of the surrounding valley. It's a perfect chance to learn all about the proud art of making fine port — and taste it too! Later in the afternoon we'll make our way to our hotel and wrap up the day with dinner together. Sleep in the Douro Valley (1 night). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 10: Vineyard Views and Porto

Today we'll travel through terraced wine country on our way to the port city of Porto. On arrival in this rustic Portuguese San Francisco, we'll take a panoramic bus tour of Porto's classy neighborhoods, dynamic downtown and bustling port. Then it's all aboard for a relaxing cruise on the Douro River. We'll finish our day of sightseeing with a tour of the Serralves Foundation, a contemporary art museum and park that includes an irresistible, pastel-painted Art Deco mansion. Sleep in Porto (2 nights). Boat: ¾ hr. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Savoring Proud Porto

This morning we'll take a walking tour of Porto's riverfront Ribeira district, including the lavish rooms of its Stock Exchange Palace, the exquisitely-gilded Church of Santa Clara, and São Bento Train Station. Then you'll have time to wander on your own through Porto's lively city center — or seek out some more sipping at an old Port lodge. This evening we'll enjoy a final dinner together, sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Saúde! No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: Tour Over After Breakfast

Your guide will help steer you to Porto's airport, which is an easy metro or taxi ride away. Or you may want to stay for further Portuguese adventures on your own. Adeus!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Heart of Portugal in 12 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to four hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.

Reviews

Sanders

Shreveport, LA

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful insider's view of Portugal. So well thought out and [INVALID]d. I have arranged 5 or 6 private tours to Europe for groups of 20 to 30 persons and there is just no reason to do this yourself when you can get such an intimate and personal tour like this. This was only our second Rick Steves tour, but, there will be more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many that is is not really fair to pick only one, but, unexpectedly Fatima was quite an emotional experience. To be there with the pilgrims and see the devotion and faith lived out. Really amazing."

James

Severna Park, MD

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we skeptical about traveling with a group. As it turned out we had a great time. We have traveled a lot and were surprised to learn that about half of the group had more travel experience than we did and the other half was equally well traveled. One couple was on their 8th Rick Steves tour. We got to see and experience parts of Portugal we never would have seen on our own. We made many new friends. Maria was an excellent guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were more than one. The visit to the cork/pine nut & vineyard farm was especially enjoyable. After the very tour the owners 4 family members treated us to lunch with wine. We had 4 tables and a family member sat at each table and joined in lively conversation. They shared their excellent home made food with us and explained what each course consisted of. The fact that this very well to do family took their time to spend with us was amazing. They only do this for Rick Steves tours."

Paula

Severna Park, MD

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found, first of all, that the number of participants on the tour was just right. I dreaded the thought of being "herded" to see things, but this never happened. The tour members were of like dispositions to mine, so the compatibility factor was terrific. Perhaps only like minded people are attracted to the type of tour offered by Rick Steves' organization, and that is a plus in my mind. I would rate my "overall" experience as top notch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, but I must say that seeing the academic library in Coimbra had an especially visual impact on me."

Robert

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our experience on our Portugal tour was by all accounts a positive experience. Our guIde, Maria, was very informative, helpful, and personable. We enjoyed her company as well as her guidance. I feel as though received all that we paid for and much more. An excellent bang for the buck, so to speak. Our fellow travelers were all fun and diverse. Thank you Rick Steves Tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moments were the two farm tours with the local farms, the cork farm and the port wine vineyard tour."

Deborah

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour was a wonderful experience. Maria, our tour guide, was very personable, knowledgeable, with a good sense of humor and so comfortable to be around. We enjoyed getting to know the other 23 people on our tour and everyone seemed to get along well. We appreciated the pace of the tour, most of the time staying in one place for two to three nights instead of moving each night to a new place. Also, leaving at 8:30 to 9:00 in a.m. was a perfect starting of the day time for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can one have more than one "favorite" time? For me I especially loved visiting both farms, the cork and olive farm and the wine/port farm in the Duoro Valley. Wine stomping to a family member playing the accordion was a once in a life time experience. When eating the incredible meals with and prepared by the family, one immediately sensed the family's pride and passion in regards to the farms that had been in their families for over 200 years. It was informative on many different levels."

Victoria

San Diego, CA

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour and our fellow travelers were a great group and we had the best tour guide ever (Maria)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting to stomp grapes and eat with the families at the vineyard and the cork estate."

Eugene

Oroville, CA

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was Great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching my wife crush grapes."

Donna-Sue

Great Neck, NY

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip brought together a great group of people to visit a lovely country. The group bonded quickly & looked out for one another. For me, travel is about the food & the people, not just the tourist sites, & the food experiences were excellent. I loved Lisbon (cities are a favorite for me) and Coimbra. Nazarre was faded in October but I enjoyed walking near the beach. Fatima is a crass touristy stop. I could have skipped it in favor of more time in charming Obidos & Alcobaca.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the 2 days where we spent time with the family owners of the cork farm and the port vineyard. We got to know them and their businesses, and had great fun and great food along the way. Stomping the grapes was definitely a highlight. In Evora, Maria treated us to a wine & cheese spread at dinner time. We were outside on the terrace of our spectacular hotel, overlooking the pool and greenery and the ancient aqueduct, as the sun set with gentle purples and pinks. Memorable!"

Ian

Sutter Creek, CA

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First, Maria was outstanding! Second, we had a wonderfully cohesive group of participants. The group was fun to be with and all were great travelers. The tour was all completely as promised plus more. This was our second Rick Steves tour and our experience further confirms the quality of your organization. Great food, wonderful sights, fun and interesting guides and travel companions, and a personal touch that is priceless.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maria was our "wow" experience. Maria is a very intelligent and caring person who took great care of us during our visit. Maria adapted to each individual's needs and handled a couple of unexpected situations with humor and expertise. Our visits to the cork farm and to the port winery in the Douro Valley were highlights, as were the visits to the University of Coimbra and my wife's and my "accidental" visit to the University of Evora."

Marti

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved my time in Portugal. The history was so interesting. The land was beautiful and diverse. The people were so friendly and helpful. Our accommodations were wonderful, with a mixture of posh and historic hotels. I felt the pacing of group and independent activities was just right. I also liked the interspersing of travel days with staying put for several days at a time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two memorable moments. The lunches we shared at the cork farm estate and the vineyard were wonderful. To meet those so intimately involved with the land and so proud of their heritage and contribution to the economy was very moving. Both meals from their estates' bounty and prepared by their hands were outstanding."

Judith

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal was such a wonderful surprise! This tour provided such a myriad of exceptional experinces and beautiful locales. We went during the first weeks of October and the weather was perfect (except for a little rain on the first few days in Lisbon.) Our giuide Cristina was an absolute "gem". Also, we had the most amazing group of travelers! Our group really "jelled" and enjoyed each other as much as the travel sites. All our photographs reflect this happy and funloving attitude.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We lucked out with the time of our arrival, because it was harvest time in the wine country. We got to actually go into the vinyards, cut the grapes from the vines, then change into "borrowed attire" and get into the vat and "stomp" the grapes!!! (This reminded me of the old "I love Lucy" episode where Lucy stomped the grapes!) We were knee deep in the grapes and the juice as we moved to the beat of a drum and the music of a live accordian player! WOW! What a memory!"

Howard

Vernon, BC

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cristina really brought Portugal to life with her enthusiasm. She probably worked harder than necessary. She could shorten up some talks as our attention spans are shorter after 50. I don't think it necessary to babysit people who have chosen meals. She was sure a great guide. Howard

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cork producing family was the best although I loved the Porto guide and the city and also the Duoro Wine producing family was great as well."

David

Buderim,

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The actual tour experience was excellent, our hard working guide Christina did an outstanding job and gave us all an insight into the lives of current day Portugal residents. Visits to family operated cork producing farm which has diversified into tourism, wine and pine nuts and to a winery were highlights. The general economic malaise illustrated by poorly maintained public buildings and parks, and street begging has resulted in my "good" rating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the Gulbenkian Museum was my "wow" moment. To view this eclectic array of faultless exibits in the one museum was amazing."

Joan

Charleston, SC

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Going to Portugal was my dream for 20 years. Being able to go in 2013 and on a Rick Steves tour gave me such a thirst and desire for more of Portugal. I will definitely be returning to this beautiful country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon on our second day. Visiting the Gulbenkian Museum on our second day in Lisbon. I had read the entire guidebook, but the museum was so much more than words."

Christine

Tulsa, OK

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal is a real hidden gem of Europe. I found the people very friendly and helpful. The food was much better and creative than I imagined. Of course, the wine and port outstanding, even the "green wine". Our particular group was our best yet in 6 tours with everyone getting along so well and mixing company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching my husband stomp grapes to music!"

Sharon

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am late doing this evaluation because, the first time around, after having spent considerable time writing quite a lot, I clicked out with plans to finish later. But clicking out disappeared everything. So this will be briefer. The tour was terrific--good choices of hotels, places to visit, and wonderful guide(s). Both my daughters and their husbands were in the tour, and that contributed to making the trip especially memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but the visit to the Roman ruins near Coimbra knocked my socks off! The extent of the ruins and the wonderful condition of the mosaic floors, for example, far exceeded my expectations. And the fact that our group was virtually alone, to wander at will! The museum there, too, was super."

Jill

Jefferson Hills, PA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an excellent tour for us because we were a group of three couples with pretty extensive but varied travel experience. None of us had been to Portugal. Portugal was really engaging and friendly and relaxed. Even the bigger cities felt safe, friendly and welcoming. The countryside portions (the cork farm and the port wine farm) were wonderful. The families were great to chat with during lunch. The experience made me want to do another "non-big-city" tour (like the France one).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would not say there were big "wow" moments - but everything was new and interesting! I knew very little about Portugal. The stories, with the royal intrigue of Petro and Inez, the dynasty of Joao and Phillipe, the founding of Fatima, the gorgeous beach at Nazare', it was such a variety! I guess the most picturesque "wow" was the Douro Valley vineyards - very impressive (though it was sort of drizzly and foggy for us...)."

Sara

Baltimore, MD

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The tour was very good although 5 days with rain made some of the excursions less enjoyable than they might have been. The addition of the hearing devices used in Lisbon was a great idea-- I would encourage their use during the whole trip. They are especially helpful on tours with a preponderance of middle aged folks who have hearing aids or slightly impaired hearing. We saw more churches and monasteries than I would have liked.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the visit to the winery and tromping on the grapes--not an experience one has everyday. The visit to the cork estate was also great--the hosts were very gracious & learning about cork farming was interesting. And painting the tiles in Coimbra was a fun activity. I also particularly liked Obidos."

Mark

Porter Ranch, CA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Maria was the most delightful tour guide we have ever had.She set the ambiance for our trip.Our rooms were better than expected, we especially enjoyed the modern hotel in Evora and Vintage House in Pinhao.The meals were good with the exception of Sitio, poor service and suboptimal quality, Our last night was however disappointing,Food made Gail ill and the setting was dismal for Porto.Highlights were the wonderful friends we met and the people of Portugal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For us, the Cork farm meal with Grandpa of the clan and the two Fado performances especially in Lisbon."

William

Tulsa, OK

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

we've been on 6 of your tours and rank it as one of the best. I found Portugal to be a country defined by sharp contrasts: busy, bustling, sometimes noisy cities such as Lisbon and Porto populated by rather humble and friendly people, restaurants that served up incredibly tasty food that your mother might make rather than the fanciful concoctions found in the upscale Manhattan, Chicago, or San Francisco. The countryside is beautiful, especially the wine country with its ancient vineyards .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Never had the WOW type moment such as the balloon ride in Turkey but there were innumerable special moments such as vigorously stomping on grapes for a half hour to an accordion and drummer and finishing up with a wonderful lunch and wine tasting. Listening to the students perform fado in Coimbra was very special."

Rolf

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cristina made this tour an absolutely incredible experience and she deserves to be on your future DVD of Portugal. Her love, knowledge and compassion for Portugal came through with every aspect of this tour. This was my first tour and Cristina's enthusiasm excited me to explore other tours. The emphasis on art, culture, architecture, food exceeded my expectations. The food experience was exceptional along with great hotel facilities, especially the Hotel Victoria in Coimbra.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow almost daily. I must say the experience at Fatima was outstanding and very moving. Also, stomping grapes in the Duoro Valley was a dream come true. The tour and lunch at RoviscoGarcia was so informative on learning cork farming and pine nuts. The staff at RoviscoGarcia were remarkable."

Ronald

Surrey, BC

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything I wanted and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult to narrow it down to just one. The two farm visits - the cork farm, and the Douro winery (with grape stomping) were among my favorites. Coimbra and Porto were both particularly fascinating cities."

Jan

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It is hard to imagine how well we were informed and shown the unique features of this fine country that we knew very little about before the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit to the cork plantation complete with red deer, farmland and vineyard producing excellent wine. Meeting the family with three generations present to promote the operation was special."

Richard

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I did not know much about Portugal before the trip. But I soon discovered it to be a wonderful country with friendly, warm people, a proud heritage, and many beautiful places to visit. I hope to get back to Portugal sooner than later! Oh yes, one big surprise was the quality of the wine and food - both were excellent! (I've been buying Portuguese wine a lot since coming home!)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment came at sunset in Nazare when our group took the funicular to the higher area for our group dinner. What a view!"

Stephen

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

rick steves tours score again. this was the first of back to back rick steves tours-our 4th and 5th. our tour guide, christina, didn't disappoint. she was friendly, knowledgeable and patient. how do you find such wonderful guides? the memories that she helped us create will be with us for a lifetime and we will certainly have wonderful memories of the energetic group we toured with. thank you again, rick steves for a wonderful vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"that is a tough question since the whole tour was a wow for us. special memories would have to include our emotional trip to fatima, the lovely family who operated the cork farm and served us the best meal we ate in portugal and our day at the port wine vineyard where we stomped grapes and partied with the family with several members of our group taking turns playing the accordion. it was a festive atmosphere!!"

Susannah

Mechanicsburg, PA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful group of 22 people who were all real troupers, with an enthusiatic and knowledgeable guide Cristina. I enjoyed learning about the history, seeing the art, walking the towns, and engaging in the special events--painting a tile, fado evenings, grape stomping, cork farm experience. The people of Portugal were welcoming and their countryside charming. Would definitely return again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it had to be "stomping" the grapes during the fall harvest in the Douro valley. When else could a 76 year old grandmother behave like a youngster, or get an opportunity to do this sort of thing? The countryside was spectacularly beautiful around the farm where this event was held also, more mountainous than I expected with lovely grapevine rows curving around the green slopes."

John

Mechanicsburg, PA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal had been a dream trip for me for many years since I read a book by Datus Proper, "The Last Old Place" (A Search Through Portugal). It must have stirred that part of me that had been a Portuguese fisherman in a previous life. Proper's historical perspectives, discus-sion of cultural practices, descriptions of the countryside, its villages and village life, wines, foods and people are unique. This would be a good book to add to the Rick Steves reading list for Portugal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There is one distinct moment that I stopped dead in my tracks to observe what was before me. Our visit to Batalha and the church of Santa Victoria marked an entry for me into Portu-guese history[INVALID]observing the larger than life monument to Nuno Alvarez was striking, but entry to the church is what gave me pause. The ornate gothic exterior I had seen before[INVALID]nothing new there, but the opening into the main hall is what stopped me. The ultimate aus- terity was like nothing I'd ever seen before!"

Melanie

Bethesda, MD

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the entire experience - this was my 4th Rick Steves tour and I've not been disappointed. Our time was filled - but not overfilled - and the experiences were a great mix of the life and culture of Portugal. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the cities - loved Coimbra! - and smaller towns and the two farm trips where we got to eat and talk with the local families were a pleasure. Can't forget the wonderful wines!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't pinpoint just one - loved all the cities and towns but immersing myself in Coimbra and Porto was especially enjoyable. Our visit to Coimbra University was terrific - watching the students as the year started was really entertaining. Strolling around smaller Evora was especially enjoyable and provided a slice of small-town Portugal. The Douro Valley was gorgeous and I couldn't get enough of the beautiful tilework everywhere."

Patricia

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We both were very impressed with the day we spent touring the working cork farm. We learned so much about an industry that we were previously unaware of. Our hosts were wonderful and the meal and surroundings outstanding. The second best moment was the vineyard in the Douro valley and our time at the Quinta. These are among the moments we won't forget."

Susan

Walla Walla, WA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the experience was so pleasurable, informative, organized, and fun. Maria was an excellent tour guide going "above and beyond" with helpful suggestions for individual side trips, shopping, photo shots, scheduling train, plane, and bus arrangements, explanations about food, drink, mores, politics, religion, and general information. Every question was answered and perceived crisis handled. All members of the tour were respected for their differences and no favoritism was experienced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"both farm tours, one with the wealthy, old established family who had a more hand's off experience and the down to earth family who worked in the fields and every part of the operation."

James

Lewes, DE

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Explored a country new to us. As always, it was a great experience.

Christine

Burlingame, CA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Your Portugal tour has been one of the best tours I have ever taken. Cristina is an outstanding tour guide. Her love and passion of Portugal and its people made the tour. We became participants not just tourists in Portugal. The tour not only took the group to the typical sights one would want to see in Portugal but also to places that places normal tours don't venture. The pace had a perfect balance of group and individual time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was our tour to the family farms. The Rovisco Garcia Cork and Oil Olive farm was outstanding. We learned how Portugal's history played a role in this family generational business. What more intimacy could one ask for but to have an absolutely delicious lunch with a family member at your table."

Tom

Burlingame, CA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Christina was the most wonderful tour guide I have experienced in my many years of travel. She was open, sincere, joyful, fun to be with, and most knowledgeable of the various day activities, sights, and history. She made each day a delight to share with her. I really felt she loved being with us (me) and having the opportunity to share the Rich Steves' you are uniquely known for. Because of her I will once again look to your tour group while traveling. Thanks for making Portugal memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Your magic of putting together sights, sounds, tastes (restaurants), makes traveling with your tour company a delight. Every destination , was presented in the the best way possible. So I guess the whole trip was a "wow" movement for me. Thanks for the memories"

Lorraine

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved our tour! Wonderful accommodations, wonderful breakfasts, wonderful walking tours and bus tours. Great sights! Our tour-mates were interesting and friendly people, and we enjoyed being with them--and kidding with them. Our guide--an extremely knowledgeable and friendly--and funny woman! The selection of events was wide-ranging and interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had looked forward to seeing the "discoveries' monument" outside of Lisbon, and I was not disappointed. I think our favorite experiences were l) the cork oak family farm. Loved hearing about the cork from the family--and enjoying a lovely lunch with them. 2) the wine quinta--also run by a fourth-generation family. These families were so passionate about their crops and their heritage. Loved that. Also really enjoyed the Coimbra University and the students in their long black robes."

Leslie

Reston, VA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal had been on my list for a long time and I finally just bit the bullet and scheduled it. I was looking for a tour that was already organized to go to the places that I wanted to see and the price was right. It was a great tour because we saw so much of each place that we went, we had really interesting guides who taught us so much about what we were seeing (OMG, the cork farm tour was amazing!), and I got a much better feel for Portugal's history - they really are a baby democracy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cork farm tour, eating grapes off the vine at the winery, driving in and out of the Duoro Valley - so beautiful and the Arabian Room at the Bolsa in Porto - wow!"

Romona

Pasco, WA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Knowledgeable, Portuguese guide Christina made the tour exceptional! She anticipated group needs before you were aware of a needed snack or break. All hotels surpassed desires with views, pools and breakfasts! The multi-generational working cork farm and Douro Valley Port vineyard tour and luncheon experiences exceeded our cultural immersion wishes. A Sunday visit to Fatima created special personal memories. Gulbenkian Museum, and Coimbra Library are magnificent. Food/wines fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to chose favorite between Gulbenkian Museum tour and Fado dinner performance in Lisbon, touring Roman Temple at Evora, beach and Bullfight in Nazare, touring Alcobaca's Monastery of Santa Maria, walking and shopping the quaint streets of Obidos, Sunday service at Fatima, visiting and "breaking bread" with families at working cork/olive and Duoro Valley port vineyard, or touring Coimbra University Library. Perhaps favorite was sharing all with a wonderful guide and group of fellow travelers"

Eric

Glenhaven, CA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I traveled with my younger sister and my 79 year old mom. My moms father was born in the Azores, and my mom always wanted to travel to Portugal. We had a great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think our visit to the cork farm was the best. We got to meet and enjoy lunch with all four generations of the family, plus learned a lot about cork production and it's uses."

Ronald

Moorhead, MN

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My bride & I appreciated the fact that our tour experiences were so authentic. What a pleasure to come away feeling more like a "local" rather than a tourist. Our guide Cristina and her assistant Jorge offered just the right amount of commentary concerning the sights we were seeing along with adequate instruction on how to navigate public transportation on our own. We have toured with several other companies in the past but feel sure we will be looking at future Rick Steve's tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the surprise opportunity to attend a Portuguese "piling on" bull fight, on our own, that just happened to be scheduled in the city of Nazare the evening we were staying there. That cultural experience will forever trigger fond memories of our visit to Portugal."

Weather

Portugal / Lisbon

Portugal Weather

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Portugal before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Portugal guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Portuguese and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Many of Lisbon's sights are closed Mondays. See your guidebook for more details. Confirm all sightseeing plans with any tourist information office.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Lisbon that we do not do as a group: House of Fado and Portuguese Guitar (closed Mondays), National Tile Museum (closed Mondays), National Coach Museum (closed Mondays), Maritime Museum (closed Mondays).

If you would like to visit Sintra as a day trip from Lisbon, we recommend that you include time before your tour starts. While you will have time in the afternoon on Day 2, Sintra can be a full day outing depending on your interests. See your Rick Steves' Portugal guidebook for more details.

Transportation

Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). Lisbon and Porto both offer good transportation options, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

The most direct option is to fly into Lisbon and out of Porto. If you have extra time and flexibility, you might want to consider a round trip flight into and out of Lisbon, which will require a train journey or low-cost flight from Porto and an additional overnight. Porto also has good connections throughout Europe and you may want to consider flying home via another European city (additional overnight required).

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips and decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Portugal: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Packing

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.