• 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

from $2,895 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $625

See Tour Dates

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!

Dates & Prices

2015

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 • Fátima visit • Alcobaça Monastery • Conímbriga'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 (weather dependent)...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 2015
  • 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 Bairro 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 free to visit any of Lisbon's "niche" museums (tile, fado, port wine, and other Portuguese specialties). Tonight we'll regroup and enjoy a soulful fado performance with dinner. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Seafaring Belém and the Gulbenkian

We'll begin our day with a bus tour through Lisbon to its 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. Then we'll take in the view from Edward VII Park before 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. You'll have the evening free to continue to explore the museum or return to Lisbon for dinner on your own. 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. This afternoon, we'll return to Nazaré via its historic Sítio neighborhood to enjoy its sweeping cliff-top views before taking the funicular down to the lower town for 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

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. 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

Barbara

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Imbedded in the sites, was a new appreciation for the culture, food, and people of Portugal Travel companions were fun and interesting

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coimbra ---the library at the school. It was totally amazing Dazzling Oceanside of Nazare"

Douglas

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal was a wonderful destination for us. For such a small country the options are varied: great history, beautiful architecture, stunning scenery, friendly people who often speak English, and excellent food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Douro Valley. The visit to that area was my highlight."

Rodrick

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The library in Coimbra!"

Linda

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Maria was so good at her job that nothing could have possibly gone wrong. She showed us the beauty, history, and personality of Portugal in a manner that couldn't have been better. We loved everything about it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the beauty of the vineyards in the Douro Valley was definitely a "wow" moment. Visiting the cork farm was also certainly a highlight."

Kathleen

Norman, OK

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour exceeded our expectation of a group tour. We were treated well and were given clear instructions and information. Problems were taken care of quickly. We loved the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The library in Coimbra was a wow moment. I have to say the Duro Valley was up there in satisfaction."

Drew

Norman, OK

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Praise first for Maria Jose. She was so kind in so many individual, personalized ways. She was very knowledgeable and conveyed her knowledge clearly and effectively. She was so clear in information and instructions about the daily "tasks" of the tour. She was wonderful. Portugal exceeded my expectations in every regard -- its history, its monuments, its historical sites (churches, monasteries), its landscapes, its people, its food. So pleased that we chose to see Portugal -- a gem.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two "wow" experiences: The library at the University of Coimbra. Incredible beauty, intellectual significance, and unique protection of the books from insects by using bats living in the library. The monastery at Alcobaca. Like the library, incredible beauty, historical significance, and unique insights into the history of Portugal. Not to be missed."

Jonathan

Maitland, FL

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The most enjoyable group I've met so far on any tour I've taken. This group was very compatible. Our guide, Christina was extremely knowledgable, extremely helpful and just plain fun to be with. Her intimate knowledge of every place we visited added a great deal of value to our experience, Hotels were excellent and the food was even better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Nazare the locals were wearing traditional costumes at a festival on the waterfront. At the same time fisherman's wives were drying and selling the day's catch on the beach. In the streets back off the beach the seafood restaurants put their offerings on display and the clams in one of the pans were so fresh that they were squirting water!!!"

Margaret

Locust Grove, GA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour guide Christina was excellent! The visit to the cork farm and port making winery were highlights and added a very personal touch to the trip. We were the first group to have a tour of the tile factory. Seeing the process first hand provided a very memorable experience and gave us all a keen appreciation of the artistry and work that goes into making their beautiful ceramics.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip to the Douro Valley was amazing. The views provided some of the most spectacular scenery I've ever seen. Being in the countryside is always my favorite part of any trip and the images and pictures from this area will stay with me forever."

Dolph

Locust Grove, GA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour .The itinerary exposed us to cities and some out of the way places. Portugal is such a beautiful place. Our guide Christina took excellent care of us and was knowledgeable on a breadth of subjects. The travel group was fun and there was always someone with to share the experience. Although we had a day of rain ,it did not hamper the things we had planned to do . Overall it was a great tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Driving through the Douro Valley and seeing the vistas of vineyard and olive trees was truly spectacular."

John

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A tie between the Cork Farm tour and the Duoro Winery tour. The Fado dinner was very fun."

Mary

Eagle, ID

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour, the tour guide, the tour group and the country of Portugal all added up to a fantastically wonderful time! This is our 7th Rick Steve's tour and the 7th time that we loved learning about a new country, meeting locals, eating the food, drinking the wine, all orchestrated by a talented and personable tour guide, Cristina. We have never been disappointed and that did not end with this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the cork farm, walking through the land, eating lunch with the family and having them answer all our questions. But equally as wonderful was the port vineyard in the Duoro Valley! The families love of the land, wine, port and traditions shone through in everything they did. The Portuguese people were warm and welcoming. And let's not forget watching the ladies in Coimbra hand painting ceramics...and then we got to try our hand at it! Great fun! And the fado performances!!! Great!"

Darwin

Eagle, ID

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the first meeting with our tour guide Christina and the other tour members we knew this would be a great trip. Christina was such a joy to be around, very knowledgeable about her country, a genuinely good hearted person who is fun loving and a little saucy! This was our 7th Rick Steve's trip and this group of tour members seemed to jell very well from the first night's meeting to the end of the trip, which makes these trips all that more memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite Wow moment was really three on this trip: 1: The cork farm visit including a wonderful lunch and great wine tasting 2: The Port vineyard tour & visit including lunch and great Port & wine tasting 3: The ceramic factory tour (was the first time it was offered) and was informational, interesting to see how everything is hand made, and the highlight was painting our own tiles and having them delivered to us at our last stop in Porto"

Phil

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I did not think I would enjoy my fellow travelers as much as I did.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cork farm."

Susan

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Interesting to finally see Portugal., great tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Fado in Combria, library in Coimbria University, cork farm, Gulbenkian museum in Lisbon outskirts, garden and Serralves Art museum in Porto."

Linda

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was beyond my expectations! Tour guide was not only knowledgeable but more than that was genuine, warm an caring. Her love and pride of Portuguese history and is people was moving and gave me a profound appreciation of a country and a people I knew little about. My fellow travelers were a great bunch. They were very considerate and respectful of one another. The choice of activities and places to stay was superb. I felt very much cared for. looking forward to next trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My most memorable moment was the visit and lunch at the Rovisco Gracia cork farm and winery."

Susan

Dana Point, CA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Christina help all of us to get to know each other and it was like a well oiled family on vacation together with all of the stresses taken out!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip was well planned, executed great and was made even better because we had a little rain but for the most part the weather made it perfect!"

Dennis

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent guide, devoted and involved. Hotels generally good, trip well organized

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cork farm, Coimbra university, fado"

Ronald

Normal, IL

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best improvement over last years tour was the "whisper" it made the whole experience so much better and easier.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were lots of great moments but none that were out of this world.I did like the cork forest tour , the boat ride in Porto ,and Fatima during Mass,"

Judy

Schaumburg, IL

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved parts of Portugal. Overall I did enjoy the tour, made very special by Cristina. One of the hotels left much to be desired. Especially loved the two farms we visited. Seeing and meeting the "owners" was a fabulous experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moments were the farms. Seeing the different cultures and agriculture was great! The Douro Valley was absolutely spectacular. Another wow was the Gulbenkian Museum. Cristina's knowledge of art was amazing and made the museum come alive for me."

Rebecca

Normal, IL

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 5th Rick Steves' Tour and we loved this one as much as our earlier tours!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Douro Valley and visiting a "farm" there. The terracing was amazing to see; and to think it was all man-made!"

Holly

Wildwood, IL

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a Great Tour Leader in Maria, and the entire program was put together so well. Just loved the farms, the wonderful hotels (not all were), the interesting places we were taken to, and all the amazing information about Portugal. RS Tours attracts just the best people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Library at Coimbra University. This was one of those little places I would never have found on my own. That amazing hotel in Avora, I thought I died and went to heaven."

Antonia

Moline, IL

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our group consisted of 25 interesting and friendly people. This is usually true of all of Rick Steves' groups.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved our time spent in Nazarre!!!"

Mary

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everyday was different from staying at the beach to being in the mountains to having lunches and tours with families. I enjoyed it all especially the wonderful people of Portugal.

Garry

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cork farm tour"

Mark

Kenwood, CA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved Portugal, the people, and the food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lunch at the cork farm."

Steven

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A really special trip for us. My wife and I were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary and decided to make this our first trip to Europe. The overall tour more than met our expectations. Exceptionally well planned and organized, with an almost perfect balance between the scheduled times with the tour group and time alone for us to explore on our own. Likely would have rated this outstanding had it not rained 8 of the 12 days we were there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A nice side trip to Sintra."

Janice

Fort Wayne, IN

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good. Rain dampened some of trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cork farm and winery. Families very interesting and welcoming. Food lovely in a lovely setting."

Naomi

Naperville, IL

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My husband and I had no expectations since we knew little about Portugal, but wanted to learn. We would describe this tour as "high-value." There was almost too much to see and do. Maria was knowledgeable and eager to share her country with us. The people in the tour group were close to us in age and circumstances....retired, but active....and the group got along well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We would have to choose two: Fado in Coimbra and the farm tour and luncheon at the vineyard/cork farm between Evora and Nazare."

Fay

Mandeville, LA

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed this tour of PortugL. Our guide was fantastic and very informed about the history and culture of the places we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was the time at Fatima and seeing the devotion of the pilgrims who were so devout in their faith."

Sharon

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It had all the elements I wanted in a tour. First, an experienced, knowledgeable and fun guide; a thorough education on the past history of Portugal; exposure to art history, architecture, culture (loved the Fado performances); agriculture (loved the cork farm tour and port winery visit), politics (EU influences) and a grand bus tour of the countryside.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Grape stomping and then lunch and port wine tasting."

Sandra

Venice, FL

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having the opportunity to attend mass at Fatima was an unexpected bonus. The experience was very special. The visit to the cork farm and the opportunity to learn from the family about their enterprise was eye opening Being allowed the privilege and fun filled experience of stomping the grapes at the winery in the Douro valley was a special day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Receiving Communion at Fatima"

Steven

Sparta, MI

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed a mixture of city and agricultural experiences. The combination of seaside/vineyard/urban views allowed a more complete appreciation of Portugal. Our guide allowed us to see a large variety of sites and experiences much more efficiently than I could have engineered myself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I might list a few memorable incidents: 1)confirming that the waves at Nazare are indeed awe-inspiring 2)Fado at Coimbra is excellent 3)crushing grapes in the Douro Valley was a rare gift 4)friendly and helpful portuguese citizens"

Terry

Chicago, IL

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was extremely well organized, well timed, with a good balance between free time and group time. We had an extremely congenial group which bonded well and I am sure many friendships will continue.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the cork farm and the visit to the port vineyard! Both experiences were special because we were able to meet the people who owned and ran them. Their love of tradition and family land was obvious. We also had outstanding meals at those places and it was great to taste the wines and olive oils they produced."

Jeanne

Merion Station, PA

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a fine tour, but exhausting. Given that almost all of us (including our guide) were sick by the end of the 12 days, I suspect that each day included too many events. We moved suitcases, packed and unpacked many many times. And we were traveling in an enclosed bus. Most of us caught the respiratory entrovirus that one of our members picked up on a plane on the way over to Portugal. A slower pace might have allowed us to sleep, to absorb what we were learning, and to stay well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stone carving in some of the churches was astounding. The sunsets over the red tile roofs were stunning. And I loved the mountain roads as we traveled through the northern region. The bus driver, who became a real personality on our tour, was a fantastic guy."

Kristin

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our sixth RS tour taken over the last ten years. Christina was a wonderful guide, so knowledgable about the history of Portugal as well as the present economic problems. We very much liked the pace of the trip with restful interludes built into the itinerary. This was particularly important because there was a virus going through the group almost from Day One. I will continue to recommend these tours to my friends!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say our two visits to Portuguese landowners. The first to the cork farm followed by lunch with the family and the second to the Douro Valley vineyard where we got to stomp the grapes and then were served a delicious lunch while we learned more about the family business. These types of experiences have really made these tours unique."

Ann

Upland, CA

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very impressed by the entire experience. This was my first Rick Steves tour. The diversity and pacing of the activities was terrific. Our guide was amazing - warm, attentive, knowledgeable, professional, and adaptable. The large bus was comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had an unexpected opportunity to "stomp grapes" in the Douro Valley. That was a magical moment."

David

Mandeville, LA

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of Portugal was another GREAT Rick Steves Tours. This was our 5th RS tour, and it exceeded our expectations! Our guide Christina was fantastic, and the tour itinerary truly captured the Heart and Soul of Portugal. Our tour group was an especially good group of folks that blended quite well. Made several new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As always on a RS Tour there is more than one "wow" moment. If I had to pick only one it would be our visit to Fatima on a Sunday when we could attend a multi-language outdoor Mass and receive communion -- very emotion to see the pilgrims there. Other "wow" moments were the "stomping of the grapes" (perfect timing for us to experience this), our visit to the "Cork Farm", and the Fado Performance in Coimbra."

Henry

Folsom, CA

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We got a real feel of what Portugal was all about because of our tour guide Christina.Some companies talk about "experiential Travel', but this tour delivered! This was our first trip with Rick Steves and it will not be the last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Cork farm and the Port experience, but the big wow was being able to interact with each of these families and understand them on a deeper level because of these one on one discussions."

Therese

Folsom, CA

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal tour was our first experience with a tour group and it surpassed our expectations.Our group was fabulous from the first night to the last! Our guide,Christina was passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.She was kind and observant to group needs, snacks and breaks. We wanted an immersion experience with the people and food and it was better than anticipated. We are excited to experience another RS tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip was a wow & our group was a main reason.- sharing the afternoons with the families of the cork farm and the port winery. Fabulous food, wine and port.Loved hearing their history and stories. The grape stomping was a great experience with our group!Fado concert excelent,Fatima most moving experience.Loved our day in Sintra,Evora-Maria,Roman ruins,Gulbenkian Museum,Obidos & Douro Valley - all great!"

Patrick

Doylestown, PA

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Maria was an outstanding tour guide. The group on the tour was compatible and enjoyable to be with. We did a nice variety of things and learned the important role Portugal played in world history as well as seeing it today.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The FADO performance in Coimbra!! I had expected it to be mildly entertaining but instead was simply blown away by the quality of the singer's voice and the music of the Portuguese guitar."

David

Weaverville, NC

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There were no bad surprises but there were several good surprises. Everything was as described in the literature except Maria our tour guide, she was the glue that held everyone and everything together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a tough one to answer as there were several. I'm going with the two working farm stops, one featuring cork and the other vineyards and wine. Coimbra is also a favorite as there was so much to explore in the city and Nazaré was equally charming. Actually, The whole itinerary was great."

Elizabeth

Nashville, TN

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I appreciated the visits to the vineyard and cork farm the best. The countryside really drew me. The local people were very friendly. And our tour folks pleasant and interesting. Appreciated our informative guide, Maria, who was ver;y knowledgeable in Portuguese history. Our bus driver Raphael was excellent on the hillside curves. And, the accommodations and food were excellent. Thank you again for the trip. Looking forward to the Ireland Rick Steves Tour May, 2015.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cork Farm."

Deborah

Mason, MI

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stomping grapes at the Quinta Santa Eufemia! I've always wanted to do that, and I was amazed that I actually had the opportunity. What grape fun!"

Linda

Weaverville, NC

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour offered the complete top quality package - transportation in a full sized bus with a competent driver, a knowledgeable, personable guide, small group, charming hotels, memorable restaurants, quality group activities, adequate free time and a fun and enjoyable 12 day immersion into Portugal's culture. The 12 days had a nice blend of city, countryside and coastal experiences. The tour truly exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The walking tours with Maria and the local guides. There were so many bits and pieces of quality information offered as we explored new territory. Confident, knowledgeable replies were always given to our many questions. With the small group and the communication devices it felt as if you were always with a personal guide. The scenic moments were terrific but without Maria's comments they would have been just a tour photo."

George

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great organization, the guide [ Marie ] was excellent and it was a fun group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The farm visit."

Carolyn

Doylestown, PA

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall the tour was very good, but I was disappointed in Lisbon. It's too bad that the economy is in the cellar---Portugal's best days seem to have been in the distant past. I don't understand why Sintra is not included. I think another day in Porto would be good too. I know we had guide books to read and refer to but a cheat sheet of past history would be a good reference as we toured.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day we spent at the winery in the Duoro Valley!! And then the gorgeous hotel on the river in Pinhao where we spent the night. What beautiful terrain and what charming people at the winery. Fun to stomp the grapes:)"

Marion

Stonington, CT

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I would highly recommend this tour. I did not know a whole lot about Portugal when deciding to go on this tour. It is such a beautiful country physically with the mountains and shoreline. Its history is so interesting and the architecture so ornate and impressive. I loved the energy of the cities especially Coimbra. The vineyards of the Douro and cork farms in the center of the country were both lovely and like nothing I'd seen before. I'd love to come back to explore more of the shoreline.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my favorite "wow" moments was walking down the length of the beach at Nazarre and taking in the breathtaking sunset with waves crashing on the shore."

Sally

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Terrific. I loved the locations, guided oreintation, and time allowed to explore independently!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Porto--- overall impression will stay with me. walking tour and images at night were very dramatic. RSteves called it gritty--- i didn't find that!!"

Shirley

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never been to Portugal and this trip included a variety of different areas and activities to give a good sense of the country. I enjoyed the casual style of travel and the opportunities for exploring cities on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking back to our hotel in Evora on the narrow streets following the aqueduct from the reservoir near the center of town to the city wall."

Arlene

Mount Dora, FL

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 4th RS tour and while I have enjoyed other tours, Portugal has been put to the top of my list as a wonderful place to visit. The history was most interesting. The landscape in the Douro Valley was exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the cork farm and the port wine farm were my wow moments."

Karen

West Kelowna, BC

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have travelled twice to Europe with Trafalgar. Rick Steeves tours are by far better. Love the smaller groups and the care taken to make it an enjoyable experience. Our travel guide was amazing (Chistina). She treated us like adults , no name tags and ability to choose our seats on the bus (no rotation schedule). Loved her little extras, like showing up with pastries for no reason. Will definitely do another Rick Steeves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stomping grapes with the group and so much fun!"

Dwight

West Kelowna, BC

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our goal was to get closer to and get to know the people of Portugal, the tour fully met these expectations. We did not want to spend our time looking out a bus window.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many including the close knit small group. The time spent touring the Cork farm,great location in Nazare and Douro valley(grape stomping)."

Nina

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal had been on my mind for years. I was completely satisfied w the tour and ate my way from Lisbon to Porto.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tromping on grapes at a real vineyard was very fun and the feast that followed. Painting a tile was also very fun. It was so refreshing to sit down and create your own souvenir. Out of 9 RS Tours this was the first time I had been offered the opportunity to be creative, besides photography."

Nancy

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought everything was wonderful. Our guide brought a lot of local knowledge to the experience since she is Portuguese. She made everything flow beautifully. We had a very compatible group--everyone got along.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is hard to decide. I loved stomping grapes in the Douro Valley and visiting the cork farm. Both were really great unexpected experiences."

Rich

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent presentation of Portugal's history, culture, sites, people, food and drink.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lisbon...enjoyed the energy of this San Francisco-like city. Visits to the Castle, Monumument to the Discoveries, the Monastery of Jeronimos, Belem Tower and the tour of the city's neighborhoods were all very enjoyable."

Marianne

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved the Portugal tour, our second RS tour. It was a wonderful experience immersing ourselves in the Portuguese culture of music, language, architecture, food, wine, and life itself. The experiences the tour provided were wonderful, from spending the days at the quintas (farms), meeting and eating with the families who own them, to the Fado performances and the wonderful local dishes we ate. Heartily recommend this tour to anyone!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral at Alcobaca was my wow moment, the plain, simple and gorgeous architecture was thrilling."

Connie

Trial, BC

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In a word excellent. I knew virtually nothing about Portugal and had only a vague recall of their history as a world power in the early exploration of our planet. The tour has helped me fill in a 500-600 year gap of my knowledge. Physically the country has an interesting variety of land and water features.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was seeing the inside of the Chapel at the University in Coimbra. But as has happened on every other Rick Steves' Tour, the people are the best feature of the trip."

Melvin

Middleton, WI

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I usually visit countries on our own avoiding tours. This time we decided to try Rick Steves". The tour selection was outstanding visiting cork farms and wineries not open to the individual traveler. Our guide saved us time with her animated expertise and humor. The bus driver handled the mountain roads much better than I would have. We met locals and struggled with the language but were never hindered by crowds as our tour number was low.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult choice. Seeing the sunset on the Atlantic Ocean tied with the cork farm. The family has created a touring experience with cork, olive, wine, and trophy hunting experiences"

Steve

Duluth, MN

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the trip met my expectations. Those expectations were based, in part, on two previous Rick Steves trips. If this had been my first trip, it probably would have exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My standout "wow" experience was stomping grades at the Quinta de Ste Eufemia winery in the Douro Valley. It reminded me of the beginning of the episode with Lucy and Ethel. The music and rhythm were the same but it did not deteriorate"

Ann

Athens, OH

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was wonderful--every single bit of it. It was remarkable not so much for the HUGE things, but for innumerable small delights throughout the day. The cities are charming and the museums interesting. The food fresh and abundant. The tiles! the music! the cream cakes! And Maria was the most excellent guide: smart, informative, funny, kind. Thank you all for a fantastic experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of our tour members was a fantastic pianist and he played some music for us in one of the monasteries--it was magical."

Susan

Kerrville, TX

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another wonderful Rick Steves Tour. Portugal, it's diverse geographic areas, it's welcoming people, it's fascinating history and an excellent guide, Maria, who was so knowledgeable and able to handle any situation...even pouring rains and coming up with alternative plans while taking it all in stride. We had a gregarious group of 24 travelers with whom to enjoy a wealth of diverse experiences from Fado performances to student life in Coimbra. It was all a joy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit to the Cork Farm, meeting the family that owns and runs the farm, and the wonderful homemade lunch we were served. The farm elders, a lovely couple close to 90 years old, came out to greet us and lunch with us. A family member sat at each table and could tell us their experiences in running their farm based on bio diversity. It was a wonderful way to experience a different slice of life and get a further appreciation of all Portugal has to offer."

Gail

Reno, NV

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great tour! Maria was a wonderful guide.THE BEST! She is a professional, organized, informed guide. A very accommodating and caring person. She made our trip a most memorable journey. Our travel companions were a great people. Everyone was considerate, congenial & just fun to travel with for 12 days. The places visited were well chosen & gave us a good sense of Portugal's history, culture & everyday life. Food was good. The accommodations were mostly good. Except for Coimbra, too dated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite WOW moment? Hummm...not the best question to ask. You need to rephrase this question. There were many fun and memorable moments. The family farm tour and yummmmm lunch at the Alentejo biodiverse farm. The tour and lunch at the Douro Valley family run vineyard/wine farm. Fatima for Sunday Mass. Our wonderful Maria, walking down the road and waving to stop oncoming cars & clear the way for our wide bus to get across the narrow bridge. Wish I had a picture!"

James

Reno, NV

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very nicely paced and comprehensive tour of the people and places in Portugal. I learned a lot about the country and its people. Maria was outstanding. She was informative, comfortable and really ensured all of us were taken care of, whether it was logistics in a town or in regards to travel plans. Manuel was a great driver and a very helpful and interesting person. The stops and overnights were a wonderful blend of urban, rural and coastal experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Honestly, I had several wow moments. Not to slight Lisboa by any means, but the beaches and cliffs at Nazare were remarkable, the incoming student experience at Coimbra was unique and special. Truly wow was the drive in to and out of the Douro valley. The tours and lunches at the vineyards with the families was extra special. While not part of the tour.....Bob playing at Jeronimos was priceless and something I won't forget."

Linda

Marietta, GA

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my 2nd RS tour (Sicily last year)....I'm hooked on RS tours. Have traveled w/other tour companies, but they don't have the outstanding "formula" RS has developed for the BEST experience in traveling abroad.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh my, tall order....so many new experiences. I appreciated the visit w/the family at their Cork Plantation which included the BEST meal I had in Portugal. The Improptu concert by the Mississippi Mission at the museum in, oops ?"

Marie

Chesterfield, MO

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a very good enjoyable tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nazare , is a very beautiful place . And we happened to be at Sarralves museum when there was a performance by the Black Monastics and the Black Monks of Mississippi , i know it was not a planned activity but for me it was a great experience."

Susan

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third tour with RS and I'll continue to travel with this group. Our guide Maria kept up the tradition of excellence exhibited by RS guides. The itinerary was great, providing a good overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Coimbra."

James

Bow, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being invited to lunch and sharing the food, drink , love and passion of the the very large family and owners of the cork farm. Getting to know something about them, their family values and love, their struggles to keep it alive and going and their joyfulness"

Christopher

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour with good people and wonderful guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nothing special I just enjoyed every day fully."

Paul

Lutherville, MD

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we had a fantastic time. Cristina and Robert were terrific hosts and guides...fun, friendly, warm, & Cristina was a perfect ambassador for her country. The group meshed well and provided great company. The tour balanced group activities and free time well. We added on a few days and went to Sintra on our own. My only critique of the tour is that this is a must-do in Portugal and would be good added in as part of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At the Fado show in Coimbra, my wife and I were surprised by a special shout out for our anniversary. A fun moment and memory for a lifetime."

Nancy

Lutherville, MD

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We absolutely loved this tour! This was our first tour as we usually plan our trips ourselves, so we were hesitant. Our group was fabulous and our guide, Cristina, was phenomenal! She was knowledgeable and had a caring sensibility and a great sense of humor! Robert was our coguide and was also outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the cork farm and lunch with four generations of the owners' family was the highlight of our tour!"

David

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a terrific time exploring Portugal. Knowing little beforehand of the country and its people, we acted like sponges for two weeks. The topography is much more beautiful than I expected, the language much more difficult to understand, and the people more beautiful and friendly than I imagined. And then there's that amazing egg custard that they use in all of their pastries! I did not want to leave, ever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most impactful experience of our trip for me was walking through the chapel of bones in Evora. It was at once eerie, depressing yet fascinating, especially when one realized that such a place was created and maintained by Christian monks."

Carol

Marlboro, NJ

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Portugal tour 9/1/14 - 9/12/14 was my first guided tour with Rick Steves and I am already planning my next trip. The memories, new friends, and the experience I had will be in my heart forever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments everyday on the trip, but the best one for me, was driving through the scenic Douro Valley. The landscape took my breath away. The tour part of the of the Douro Valley is an experience you cannot get on your own or on a cruise. It is an experience of a lifetime."

Darrell

Lacey, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We very much enjoyed our tour of Portugal. We learned so much about the history, culture, politics and food and came away with a much better understanding of the Portugal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The introduction to Fado in Lisbon."

Martha

Rocky Hill, CT

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal is a pleasure to visit, our guides are great, Portuguese are friendly and food are great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are many, I like the most about Obidos' postcard perfect beauty and Douro Valley' rustic and nature beauty, with terraced vineyard on both hills, Douro River flows below against blue sky and white clouds! I also very much impressed about visiting two farms, one cork farm and the other vine. The families are so friendly and tried so hard to make us feel welcome! Cooked family meals for us and told us cork farming, vineyard work and conservation about land use. Such an experience!"

Noel

Verona, NJ

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous.

Sherri

Edmond, OK

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal was a very beautiful and interesting country. The tour allowed us to experience both the interior of the country and the coastline, cities and small villages, and as always some backdoor experiences you would not enjoy if traveling on your own. Cristina was a wonderful guide. Seeing her country through her eyes and experiences added to the richness of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is always a hard question as there is never just one "wow" moment. The cork farm and lunch was definitely a "wow" moment. Meeting four generations of the family and hearing the love of the land and the care that is invested for future generations was inspiring. The visit to the wine estate in the Duoro Valley with the luncheon served by the family was also a "wow" moment. These kind of backdoor experiences really let you see the lifestyle and culture of the people of a country."

Marva

Cleveland, OH

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip was thoroughly enjoyable. Our guide was very knowledgeable and passionate about the culture and people of Portugal. She always made sure we understood all about how to navigate through each city whether she was with us or not. It was a very relaxing experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour and lunch at the cork farm was amazing."

Carol

North Delta, BC

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Although we have travelled quite often, this was our first 'tour' experience. We were pleasantly surprised. We have used Rick Steves' tour guides for years and have found them to be invaluable in our own travel planning. Our guide and travel companions were wonderful people to be with while exploring Portugal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I very much enjoyed our visit to the olive and cork farm. The family were very gracious hosts and the meal and wines served were fantastic. It was great to learn about one family's love of their land and their sincere efforts to maintain a sustainable estate. Also enjoyed being out in the countryside."

Jennifer

Fair Oaks, CA

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fantastic time touring Portugal and learned a lot about their beautiful country, friendly people, delicious food and interesting history and culture. Before traveling to Portugal we knew nothing about the country but this tour has enriched our lives and educated us, thanks to Cristina and your book.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite experience was visiting the Cork Farm, traveling through the cork tree fields and learning all about the harvesting of the cork from a delightful member of the family owned business. Also we were told about their production of wines and olive oil, plus their controlled hunting trips.The visit ended up with a delicious home made meal, served in their hunting room with the Family joining us and being so gracious. The Family philosophy, regarding respecting the land, was refreshing."

Linda

Hollywood, SC

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really loved the tour! Having done Grand Circle and OATS tours, I did not think it could compete, but it did! Cristina was a wonderful guide. The variety was great, from big cities to small towns. I liked having an introduction to each place we stayed on arrival. Our planned meals were great. The group size was perfect and we appreciated the large bus. The rides were comfortable and never too far. It was a great trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the "Cork Farm" was probably the best. The tour of the grounds was great, but the caring family, setting, great food and wine, and kindness of the people made it even more special! What a wonderful family in an absolutely perfect setting. The chicken pot pie, fish and dessert were amazingly good. The winery visit and lunch was also wonderful. Getting to know the people at both was the best."

Robert

Pompano Beach, FL

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We completely enjoyed our first trip to portugal. The people were friendly and the food and wine very good and plentiful. The hotel selections were very good for each area we were visiting. I particularly enjoyed Cristina's commentary about the age of discovery out at the Lisbon monument.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day trip with lunch to each of the two family estates were a real bonus. One family focused on cork oak trees and olives, and the other on vineyards and wine making in the Duoro River valley."

Cindy

Pompano Beach, FL

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Christina is a great guide and she is passionate about Portugal! I think the farm visits were my 2 highlights. the group got along well, no one was habitually late...all is all a great tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Has to be the farm visits...the families were so open and honest about the challenges of keeping the farms going...also loved the wines on the whole trip!"

Charlotte

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this trip and I have traveled a lot -- this was my first Rick Steves trip and I had always wanted to do one. I have been watching his programs on PBS for years! Finally last fall, 4 of us went up for the seminars in Edmonds and I was determined to do one of his trips. Since my return I have been talking about it to all my my friends and telling them these are the tours to take. Good value for the money also.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going to the Duro Valley - seeing the beautiful wine country. Our visit to the winery, our tour there, our great home cooked lunch, and of course the wine tasting! I also really enjoyed the cork/wine farm visit and spending time with that family. We had an outstanding lunch there and also got to taste the wines that they produce. Both are "wow" moments."

Ronald

North Delta, BC

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A great tour, glad we went, I can see us trying another Rick Steve tour at some later date.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The map of the world with the dates of when territories and countries were first visited by the Portugese navigators."

Rodney

Cleveland, OH

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had an enjoyable time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were no wow moments for me because I am use to the Rick Steves' mystic, that formulaic equation that results in a marvelous experience for all. ,"

Ridgely

Hollywood, SC

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations. Christina deserves a great deal of credit for this. What I had heard about Rick Steves Tours was a slightly lower level of hotels and service. Except for one property, this was not true. Group meals were of a quality standard, and except for one restaurant, the wine was very acceptable. The bus and the restricted # of travelers was critical for success. This was our first Rick Steve's Tour, but we found your tour compatible AATking, Oats, Grand Circle.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our day in the Duoro Valley. The geography and manicured vineyards was awesome. Our 2 home hosted meals were truly wonderful. Both families conveyed their passion and pride. And our night's lodging in Pinhau was the best of all the hotels. It should be a 5 star if it is not."

Elaine

Bethel Park, PA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

When I tell my friends about this tour I emphasize that it is comprehensive. We covered the entire country (almost). The cities were diverse, the hotels were superb to satisfactory. Out guide, Maria, was just THE BEST. She has poise, great delivery, very competent. She was very friendly, but private. I really appreciate that. I would give her a DOUBLE OUTSTANDING. Change the restaurant in Coimbra. Use the Italian one near by. I have never had a steak that was tougher than the one ...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I hate this question. I don't know. I want to enjoy my entire trip. I don't need a wow moment. Oh yeah when we stayed at a really great hotel. I like going through "The Front Door" on my trips at this stage of the game. I began to think I was on another tour!"

Angie

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent, I think Rick Steves really chose some very notable places to visit in Portugal and I thoroughly enjoyed every site. The hotels were beyond my expectations, and Maria was a pleasure to have as a tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed going to the two family run farms - cork farm and vineyard. The hosts were very friendly and it was interesting learning about some of Portugal's signature items."

Jane

Redmond, WA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

i hate to say this....we've been on quite a few tours with ETBD....this one wasn't great....sadly, our group turned out to be made up mainly of people who wanted to chatter - ALL THE TIME - on the bus, during walking tours - very disrespectful - to the guides and to the few of us who were trying to pay attention....i don't know if there's a good way to do this - but - perhaps - the back of the bus could be 'designated' for those who are more interested in chatting, rather than listening....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the vineyards in the Duoro Valley"

Michael

Lake Waynoka, OH

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I chose Portugal from your brochure because it looked appealing and then we started researching and then got excited about going. From the small villages to the big cities we were exceptionally pleased. The two best experiences were the cork farm tour and lunch (just wonderful people) and the winery and lunch. What I would rate lowest was the afternoon in Fatima (I was disappointed at the commercialism and the huge crowds. No fault of the tour it is just how it is there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide, Maria, and her wealth of information. She made the trip for me. She was accommodating, cordial, professional, clear, dignified and very funny. The local guides were also wonderful and I wouldn't change any of them. Perhaps another wow moment was seeing the Douro Valley - just exquisite. Our accommodations were excellent but for one hotel. It was probably the oldest one we stayed in and it needed some repair."

Marlene

Lake Waynoka, OH

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Portugal guided by Maria, our wonderful Portugal guide. Maria shared so much Portuguese history and culture with us---we now feel we can share that knowledge with others. The trip included so much variety--- large cities, small villages, rural areas,coastal areas; great walking tours, museum variety, visits to cork farm and mountain winery, lunches and time spent with the owners of these rural endeavors.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the Cork farm - I had no idea where cork came from and was fascinated and surprized at the length of time needed to harvest it (you would have to be a very patient person), the way it was done, and its versatality - AMAZING! I might add the winery and the roman ruins were also a favorite!"

Jeanne

Mukilteo, WA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful trip. The Places we went gave me a good picture of Portugal. Our tour guide was excellent. She gave us so much of the history of the country, she was there to help with whatever we needed, she always suggested things to see and do on our free time, she did extra things for us along the way like buying pastry and giving us the opportunity to paint tiles. I have travelled a lot, had many tour guides, Maria was up there with the best. I liked having free time & tours. ,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going to the cork farm and having lunch with the family"

Joanne

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour, although I have traveled with Rick's books on my own for many years prior to this trip. Once I got over the shock of traveling as an single w/so many other people, I found the experience to be very good, as the other travelers were interesting, friendly, and knowledgeable. I liked the fact that the group was small (although, I would have liked it to be even smaller) and that we were able to spread out when we were transported on the larger buses.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The excursions to the cork farm (after leaving Evora) and to the winery (Douro Valley area) were really so well done, and lunching with the families (owners) was very special. I feel so lucky to have had these experiences. The Gulbenkian Museum tour was very, very good also. Douro Valley setting/lodging was just lovely. Good hotel location in Porto and excellent hotel in Lisbon. Experiencing Fatima on a Sunday was wholly unexpected and mystical. Obidos was also a great place."

Elizabeth

Roseville, CA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour lived up to the Rick Steves' rclaim. I learned a lot of history and impressive churches, castles, and local culture. Our guide was sweet natured & knowledgable. There were several tour members who had special requests or problems, and she dealt with it all professionally. The "whisper" system was a nice change from previous tours,very helpful to facilitate communication. There were extra activities and treats included. Good value for price.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorites were the library in Univ of Coimbra, lunch with family at cork oak farm (able to talk with them), gorgeous treasures at the Gulbakian museum, Tile Museum and train trip out to Sintra. Latter 2 not on tour but recommended in book and well worth it."

Patricia

Libertyville, IL

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fifth Rick Steves tour, and we are already planning the next one! Our Heart of Portugal tour was outstanding in all ways, from the tour guide, Maria, to the wonderful travelers we shared our adventures with, to the sights and sounds and tastes of the country, to the warm-hearted and gracious people of Portugal. The towns and regions we visited gave us a real flavor of the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a few "wow" moments for me, among them: the visit to the Cork farm and the gracious hospitality extended to us by the family that owns it; the visit to the vineyard in the Duoro Valley, and the warmth and excellent food & drink that met us there. I like to see churches, so there were many of those that added to my enjoyment. The food and especially the sweets and wine including the port were delightful!"

Marcel

Dollard Des Ormeaux, QC

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

the points of interest highlighted were representative of Portugal. The small group made it easy to get around the sites. The amount of free time available was great allowing for a bit of personal freedom to pursue specific interests. The lodging were very acceptable except perhaps in Cambria where the location was good but the dirty carpets really damage the image of the place. Clearly not acceptable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The farm visits where the highlight of the trip for us."

Frank

Saint Petersburg, FL

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Met our expectations after two other R/S tours in the past few years. Loved Portugal and its people. Our guide Maria's charm, wit and knowledge made the experience delightful. Of course, our companions on the tour were the best. The friendships made in such a short time are extraordinary!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The two afternoon spent with families on their vineyards had to be the highlight. We were treated as part of the family and made to feel most welcome. The food & wine, plus the spectacular surroundings did bring forth the word "WOW". The Fado show in Lisbon was way above what we expected. Professional and a joy to listen to."

Jonathan

Bethel Park, PA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group of fellow travelers. Everyone got on well throughout the trip. There was enough free time to let us go our own way. On top of it all, Maria was just great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the moment hat will remain with me for a very long time was the Fatima visit. Seeing the pilgrims, attending the outdoor Mass, the candle burning and more. I only wish we could have stayed there longer."

Barry

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour experience was excellent. The itinerary was well planned, the hotels were very good (with the exception of the hotel in Coimbra), the group meals and other group activities were fun, and our guide (Christina) was superb. The mix of planned activities and occasional free time worked well. Christina did a great job of developing the tour participants into a cohesive group that enjoyed being together in a wonderful country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No single "wow" moment, but several very vivid memories: the cork farm, the library at the university in Coimbra, the vineyards in the Douro Valley, the river cruise in Porto."

Anne

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved the mix of visiting the usual tourist sites and the chance to hang out on a farm and a vineyard and meet the family members who run the businesses,as well as the mix of city and small towns. Our guide Christina was very knowledgeable and gave us a lot of information about history, economics,and educational systems. I felt I got a real feel for the country and its people, much more than just a tour of monuments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visits to the cork farm and vineyard and chance to visit with the people who ran them."

Kay

New Smyrna Beach, FL

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed the tour. Good group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cork farm, museum in Lisbon, library in Coimbra, Duoro Valley views"

Mary Lou

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved visiting the University at Coimbra with the ancient books, gorgeous rooms and the beautiful setting. Seeing the students in their gowns on the plaza was interesting."

Robert

Novato, CA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I had a good time. I was a little disappointed because there wasn't as much hiking outdoors available as in other Rick Steve's trips. Also, I didn't like having to wear the ear plugs when touring the city neighborhoods - it seemed like kind of a distraction from the "back door experience". That was OK in the museums however. The tour guide was very knowledgeable,very concerned about our well being, and very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say there was a big "wow" moment. However, I especially enjoyed the free time we had in Nazare and the short hike in the Duoro Valley vineyard."

Anita

Ellensburg, WA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Portugal tour provided a very comprehensive look at a diverse country. We started in Lisbon which alone has many sites from historical to modern. We experienced cities, farms, the valley of vineyards, the beauty of beach( including an Atlantic sunset in Nazaare) and the religious holy site of Fatima. It was another outstanding Rick Steve's tour with many unique aspects . There are always pleasant surprises but no hidden cost surprises. This was our fourth trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My personal "wow" was Fatima. As a Catholic being able to attend Mass at this holy site was an unexpected meaningful and inspiring experience. I appreciate the respectful way the guide explained the site and allowed sufficient time for those who wanted to participate . My educational wow was the cork farm. I had not known how cork is harvested or it's many uses.The financial diversity of the farm was growing pine nuts, vineyards, olive orchards, cattle, and guided hunting"

Gerald

Madisonville, LA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was well paced and presented a very good view of the different life styles in Portugal. The history, architecture, food and the people exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Gulbenkian Museum was my "wow" moment. It is so well laid out and the presentation of the art is perfect. The art works Mr Gulbenkian collected were superb and the foundation that built and presented the art work did a masterful job."

Judith

Grand Marais, MN

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had been to Lisbon 50 years ago, and loved it, but wanted to see the rest of the country. It was even more than I expected the trip to be, thanks to the careful planning and wonderful experiences provided by your company. I would never have been able to spend time and company with the families at the cork farm and the quinta. I loved all the cities and towns we visited and the great knowledge of Cristina and the guest guides. This was a super trip with a great bunch of fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Though I would not have thought it to be true, I was overwhelmed by the spectacle of mass at Fatima on a Sunday morning. I was expecting this place to be a bit much in the tourism department, but I felt the real faith of the people and even the spirituality of the shopkeepers. Cristina prefaced our visit with a heartfelt request for respect for this display of faith. I was touched by her sincerity."

Loch

Lummi Island, WA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour guide (Cristina)who really "took care of us". Kept us interested, lots of useful information, mad sure ther were no glitches

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cork farm and winery/vineyards"

Vincent

Pensacola, FL

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal was a pleasant surprise in many ways. Portugal was less arid and dry than I anticipated, in fact we saw a lot of lush green country side and vineyards. The Portuguese people were warm and friendly and almost speak English as a second language. The cities were clean and modern. It's hard to believe they have such a high unemployment rate. Our guide Cristina was an excellent Portuguese Ambassador - and could have a second career as a stand up comedian. She was a real asset to RS.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first of two wow moments were the tour of the cork farm/vineyards. The tour of the farm on the tractor pulled trailer was outstanding. The family were such gracious hosts, and the dinning experience was exquisite. A family member sat at each of our tables and entertained us with genuine Portuguese hostility. The second was the port wine vineyard and dinner. The tour was great and dinner excellent. The family were also great Portuguese hosts and likewise sat at our tables."

Elizabeth

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful itinerary, wonderful group, perfect balance of scheduled and free time, and group and private meals. The time spent on the two farms was a delight. Guide was so well informed and very personable. Trip was just the right length.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Fatima was a real surprise. Arriving there during Mass on a Sunday morning surrounded by worshipers was truly inspiring. I can still get emotional when I think of it."

Sandra

Three Rivers, MI

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the whole trip. Christina was an excellent guide and friend. She is fun, knowledgeable, and helpful. The group was very friendly and got along well. We were in a triple room and for the first time on a tour, I was very satisfied with the accomodations for the 3 of us in one room. it made the trip even more comfortable. The food was good most of the time but there were a couple times I thought a different location might have been better. Too much history at times...will never rememb

Favorite "WOW" moment

"None in particular. Did really enjoy the Douro Valley with the beautiful scenery and the good wine!! The home tour there was fun and enjoyed meeting the family. Enjoyed the cruise in Porto also."

Carol

Victoria, BC

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the coverage of the people, country and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Nazare and it's relationship to cork. Great walkin through the cork trees and ending in the estates feast with the owner joining us."

Connie

Arroyo Grande, CA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was really a fun trip. We saw a lot and had time to explore on our own. Good mix of city, country, beach, and rivers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Aside from running into Rick in Paris after the tour (having lunch at a recommended cafe)? I can never name just one thing. Everything adds up to make a great experience. Gulbenkian museum, the art deco house at Serralves in Porto, the stock exchange palace in Porto, being on the farms, the beautiful architecture in the churches and monasteries. Fun to stay in five star hotels."

Philip

Brooklyn, NY

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'd never been on a Rick Steves tour before. In fact I'd never been on any tour as I have always shunned them. I was greatly surprised at this tour. It was a revelation to me. I thought I'd be my usual introverted, grumpy self full of sarcasm and cynicism. But the opposite was true. I enjoyed being with the group and passing time with them, eating with them and hanging out. Portugal is a country I'd never visited before but would like to do so again. And thanks to Maria for her guidance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved both farms and I could say they could be, but instead I would have to say it was the Fado both in Lisbon and in Coimbra. I've always been attracted to folk music. And Fado I'd classify as a folk genre. But Fado seems like a living thing to me not something trotted out to rally the troops or raise money or be shown off like a museum piece. Though I don't understand Portuguese, the emotions were projected in such a way that I didn't have to understand."

Michael

Bothell, WA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was completely pleased with all aspects of the tour and could not have covered all the experiences and important attractions on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but the cliffs overlooking Nazarre with the long ocean beach below was tops!"

Roger

Westlake Village, CA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We got an excellent overview of Portugal - a nation that is not at the center of world activity these days and previously one about which we knew very little. The places chosen to visit, museums, cathedrals and the two active agricultural enterprises gave us a nice overview of the country. The history we encountered is complex and difficult to sort out as a first brush but certainly left us ahead of where we were before. It is unfortunate that economics impacts preservation here.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was most impressed by the Gulbenkian museum. The pieces on exhibit are outstanding and beautiful. The tour of the winery in the Douro valley is a close second for me. A most impressive view and operation as well as an excellent lunch."

Robert

Victoria, BC

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved Portugal but do think the tour is too short.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coimbra was all "wow" right down to the giant meringues in all the bakeries. Would love to have had an extra guided day there."

Harrie

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Portugal turned out to be more than I had anticipated. Beautiful cities, fascinating history, a unique artistic and musical culture, friendly people and low prices. Our guide Maria was a Porto native and her enthusiasm for her country was infectious. We visited interesting sites, stayed at lovely hotels, ate great meals (the barnacles, notwithstanding), drank delicious port wine and enjoyed a harmonious group experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two for me. The first (and probably the one that will be cited most) was the visit to the cork farm and the amazing home cooked meal that was served to us by the owners. The tour that was given to us of the estate was very informative and the family members were gracious and warm hosts. The second 'wow' for me was when Maria ushered us into what appeared to be a tourist shop in Coimbra and then took us upstairs to a work room where we all got to create our own Portuguese tiles."

Christie

Hood River, OR

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 10th tour with RS and as usual we were not disappointed. I really appreciate the pace of the tour, where we visit places as a group but also have plenty of free time to explore on our own. I love learning the about the culture and history of each area and making great friends in the tour groups. Maria was so knowledgeable and so friendly and warm, that I wanted to bring her home with me. Portugal has many surprises to reveal and I would encourage everyone to take time to visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As usual, I have a hard time picking out just one wow moment. Spending time on the family farms was fantastic and learning about the cork, olive oil and port production along with eating delicious meals prepared by the families was so special and personal. However, I also enjoy just getting to know all my fellow traveler's on each trip and sharing experiences together that enhances each journey that we make."

Ron

Hood River, OR

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We love Portugal, it is a great country, nice people, varied topography....with such a historic past as a world leading country for 200 years in the age of discovery to present time with a struggling economy but a resilient population. MARIA our guide was fabulous and made the tour special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"no wow moments, but this was a great tour as always, but, you know, I think our guide Maria was a "wow", she was fantastic in addition, my wife and I after the tour, took a bus from Porto to Tui Spain and walked the Camino from Tui to Santiago Spain, that was a wow"

Linda

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

overall enjoyable. Cristina is a fun, energetic woman and kept us all moving and handled the "bumps in the road" with ease. My only suggestion for her is to try to condense her comments. She tends to over-explain to the extent that sometimes I sort of lost track of what her point was. I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent in the smaller towns and country visits. That is when I learned the most about the country and what the residents' lives were like.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"visit to the olive grove/cork farm. The family members were all so warm and inviting and the tour and discussion of how cork is harvested was very interesting. Also just the conversations at lunch about how they ended back on their farm after WW 2 and what they are doing to keep it viable."

Susan

Kent, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour very much. The weather couldn't have been better for the whole tour. In order to take in everything I ended with a sleep deficit, as expected. The tour is jam-packed with must-see and must-experience items that it is just plain difficult to get 8 hours of sleep every night. (This is NOT meant to be criticism.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching Cristina and our bus driver find alternate transportation after dinner in the high city of Nazare when we discovered the funicular didn't run as late as we thought. Our Dynamic Duo sprang into action and found a fellow tour bus driver who took us all back to our hotel. This is NOT a criticism of Cristina or anyone else except the funicular company who posted such an insignificant sign. It just added to the sense of adventure!"

Richard

Wyoming, MN

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Very nice tour. Excellent group & tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gulbenkian Museum"

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.

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.

Transportation

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.

Many 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. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Lisbon and out of Porto (“multi-city” on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Portugal. Lisbon and Porto both offer good transportation options, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

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 to decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

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: Port Wine Institute; Museum and School of Portuguese Decorative Arts; 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.

Packing

For advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick’s packing tips.