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  • Rick Steves' Heart of Portugal in 12 Days, Day by Day

    Starting in lively Lisbon and ending in proud Porto, Rick Steves' 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. Ready for a little time travel? Enjoy this day-by-day slideshow preview of our Heart of Portugal in 12 Days tour. Let's go!

  • Restaurant dinner in Lisbon, Portugal

    Day 1: Welcome to Portugal

    We'll gather at our Lisbon hotel (where we'll stay three nights) for a "Welcome to Portugal" get-together, followed by a short orientation walk through our neighborhood and dinner together.

  • Miradouro Largo das Portas do Sol, Lisbon, Portugal

    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. 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.

  • Guide at Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal

    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.

  • 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.

  • Day 5: Olives, Oaks, and Óbidos

    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 medieval walled town of Óbidos. Upon arrival we'll take an orientation walk through the perfectly preserved cobblestone streets and learn why this is known as Portugal's "wedding city."

  • Nazaré and its beach, as seen from Sítio neighborhood, Portugal

    Day 6: Royal Intrigue, Alcobaça, and Nazaré

    We'll begin today with a visit in Alcobaça to tour the ornate Baroque-Gothic Cistercian Monastery of Santa Maria, where we'll hear the star-crossed story of King Pedro and his doomed mistress, Inês. Later we'll enjoy some fun in the sun in the old coastal fishing village of Nazaré. Splash in the waters of the Atlantic, sample the local specialty — barnacles — or take the funicular up to the historic Sítio neighborhood to enjoy its sweeping cliff-top views. This evening we'll return to Óbidos for dinner on your own.

  • 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. This afternoon, our destination is Portugal's historic capital of Coimbra, where we'll tour the city'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. We'll end our day with dinner together in the heart of the Old Town.

  • Day 8: Classic Coimbra

    This morning we'll journey back to Portugal's ancient Roman past, wandering the evocative remains and perfectly preserved mosaics of once-prosperous Conímbriga. The rest of your day will be free back in Coimbra 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.

  • Port wine tasting, Douro Valley, Portugal

    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, with all evening free to relax and watch the sun set over the Douro River.

  • Swimmers along Cais da Ribeira, Porto, Portugal

    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. After checking in to our hotel, a savvy guide will show us how to explore the city through our taste buds with a sampling of delicious local cuisine, teaching us about history, architecture, and culture along the way. We'll end our day with a relaxing cruise on the Douro River.

  • Port wine lodge, Porto, Portugal

    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 São Francisco, 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-wine lodge. This evening we'll enjoy a final dinner together, sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Saúde!

  • Porto, Portugal

    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!

    We have a few hard to find seats available for departures in April. Learn more at Heart of Portugal in 12 Days tour!