Full buffet breakfast daily; 5 three-course dinners with wine, including a welcome dinner in Lisbon, and a special dinner in Viseu
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon, Portugal
Welcome to Lisbon! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner with wine at your hotel.
Day 2 Lisbon
isbon was the center of Europe’s longest-lived overseas empire. Portugal’s imperial ambitions date back to Prince Henry the Navigator’s 15th-century discoveries in West Africa. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide features a drive through the Baixa quarter’s main squares. Then, enjoy a walk through the cobblestone alleys of quaint ALFAMA, the popular quarter of the seamen and Fado singers. Drive along the grand Avenida da Liberdade up to Pombal Square, and stop for pictures of Belem Tower and the Monument of the Discoverers. Also visit JERONIMOS MONASTERY with the tomb of Vasco da Gama. An exciting optional excursion to the royal palace of Queluz is available, as well as dinner at a typical taverna with Fado-style entertainment.
Day 3 Lisbon–Obidos–Alcobaça–Nazaré–Fatima–Tomar
top in medieval Obidos and go back in time as you pass the main gate in the impressive perimeter wall and walk along the narrow streets. Continue to Alcobaça to visit the CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA MONASTERY, built in the 12th century for 999 Cistercian monks. See the elaborate tombs of King Pedro I and his Castilian lover, Inês de Castro. The fishing harbor of Nazaré is the perfect place for a leisurely lunch break. In the afternoon, mix with the pilgrims at the country’s hallowed national shrine, Fatima’s SANCTUARY OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY. Overnight in Tomar, the historic seat of the mighty Order of the Knights of Christ.
Day 4 Tomar–Conimbriga–Coimbra–Oporto
Visit the hilltop CONVENT OF CHRIST with its famous Manueline Window. Farther north, the ROMAN RUINS OF CONIMBRIGA are eloquent testimony to centuries of Roman influence. Tour the excavations, admire the well-preserved mosaics, and visit the excellent MUSEUM. Continue to Coimbra, strategically situated on a hill overlooking the Mondego River. After a visit to the gilded baroque LIBRARY of its 700-year-old university, drive by ancient Buçaco Forest on your way to Oporto, Portugal’s second-largest city. Tonight, why not join an optional cruise on the Douro River, followed by dinner at one of Oporto’s fine restaurants?
Day 5 Oporto
Sightseeing with a Local Guide includes a panoramic drive to the mouth of the Douro River, the soaring cathedral, the richly decorated CHURCH OF SAO FRANCISCO, and the STOCK EXCHANGE with its contemporary ARABIAN HALL, inspired by Granada’s Alhambra. Next, visit the famous Sandeman & Co. PORT WINE CELLAR to taste the Port wine produced from grapes of the Douro Valley.
Day 6 Oporto–Guimaraes–Vila Real–Viseu
In Guimaraes, often referred to as the “Cradle of Portugal” because of its association with the country’s first king, Alfonso Henriques, enjoy a walk through the medieval center. Next, taste Portuguese tapas with wine at the Quinta da Aveleda winery and visit its splendid gardens. From here, a scenic road through the port wine vineyards leads to Viseu, where a special dinner with local specialties and wine awaits you at Forno da Mimi restaurant.
Day 8 Evora–Algarve
A massive wall surrounds Evora’s medieval center, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Follow your Local Guide on a walking tour through its narrow alleys to the Roman Temple, the early gothic CATHEDRAL, Portas de Moura fountain, and SAO FRANCISCO CHURCH. Visit the OSSUARY CHAPEL, whose walls are covered with thousands of human bones and skulls. Next, proceed across the arid Alentejo plain to the Algarve, Portugal’s most popular vacation area, and check in to your hotel with rooms overlooking the ocean. Tonight, why not try one of the seafood restaurants for which the Algarve is famous?
Day 9 Algarve. Coastal Excursion
Highlight today is a visit to the wind-swept PROMONTORY OF SAGRES, where Henry the Navigator lived and planned his overseas expansion. Only a few miles away is Cape St. Vincent, the southwestern corner of continental Europe, a dramatic cliff defying the waves of an ever-angry Atlantic Ocean. Time in pretty Lagos before returning to your hotel.
Day 10 Algarve–Azeitao–Lisbon (Embarkation)
Take the scenic route over the Serra da Arrábida and savor sweeping views of the Tróia Peninsula. Catch glimpses of the castle at Sesimbra, which recall fierce medieval battles between Christians and Moors, and stop in Azeitao to visit a traditional TILE WORKSHOP. After crossing the Bridge of April 25th, you’re back in Lisbon. At 4 pm, transfer to your elegant yacht for embarkation, where a welcome cocktail and dinner awaits! Overnight at sea.
Day 11 Cruising: Portimão
A half-day optional excursion takes you to Silves, which was virtually destroyed by an earthquake in the 17th century. Marvel at the ancient Moorish castle complex with its underground reservoir; the 13th-century cathedral, built by Alfonso X of Castile on the site of a former mosque; and the 15th-century bridge that spans the Arade River. You’ll also have free time to browse the fascinating exhibits at the Archaeological Museum. Next, travel into the dense forests of the Serra de Monchique mountain range to reach the picturesque city of Monchique. Its 16th-century charm is evident as you stroll along the cobblestone streets past small doorways that reveal various artisan trades. Of particular interest are the 17th-century Franciscan monastery overlooking the city, and a 16th-century Parish Church decorated with hand-crafted blue ceramic tiles. Return to Portimão for a late lunch. This afternoon, you could join the optional walking tour in Portimão, or spend your free time shopping or relaxing at the local beach. Later, cruise to Cadiz.
Day 12 Cruising: Cadiz, Spain
Leave port to drive inland for a full-day optional excursion to Seville, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, where Moorish and Spanish art and culture have left their mark. Guided sightseeing introduces you to the magnificent cathedral, the Alcazar palace with its Andalusian gardens, Maria Luisa Park, and the elegant Santa Cruz district. Return to Cadiz late this evening and overnight in port.
Day 13 Cruising: Cadiz
Today, consider joining the exciting optional excursion to Jerez de la Frontera, famous for its wines, horse breeding, and Flamenco dancing. Guided sightseeing shows you the Alcazar, the cathedral, and a ganadería, where bulls are raised for the Spanish sport of bull fighting. Return to your ship for lunch on board, then join an optional guided tour of Cadiz, famous for its white and blue buildings; and Sanlucar de Barrameda to visit a wine cellar renowned for its production of Manzanilla. Return to the ship in the late afternoon, and overnight at sea on the way to Gibraltar.
Day 14 Cruising: Gibraltar
Arrival at the Rock of Gibraltar, where an optional half-day excursion begins at the Cable Car Base Station. From here, a cable car whisks you to the summit of Gibraltar for breathtaking panoramic views, then your guide shows you around this British territory. Afterward, travel to the Middle Station, sanctuary of Gibraltar’s famed Barbary apes, which roam freely around this area. A short coach ride takes you to Princess Caroline’s Battery and the entrance to the Great Siege Tunnels, a system of tunnels carved out of solid limestone. Proceed to the Gibraltar Museum with its vast collection of artifacts and exhibits. You have the option to return to your yacht or to stay in town and return on your own later. Overnight in port.
Day 15 Cruising: Porto Banus, Spain
Early this morning, cruise to Porto Banus for an optional full-day excursion to Ronda, renowned for its unique geography, charming Old Town, and 18th-century Puente Nuevo that spans the gorge dividing the city. Ronda is also famous as the birthplace of modern bullfighting, which today is held just once a year at the spectacular Feria Goyesca festival. Plaza de Toros is now a museum, where you can stroll out into the bull-fighting arena. During your excursion, visit the 16th-century convent and the historic district with its mansion-lined cobblestone streets. Walk to the lovely Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, which boasts a convent, two churches, and the exquisite Iglesia Santa Maria del Mayor belltower. Return to port, with plenty of time to visit trendy Marbella. Overnight at sea on the way to Motril.
Day 16 Cruising: Motril
Arrive in Motril. An optional full-day excursion takes you to Granada, one of the most fascinating cities in Europe and the last Muslim city to fall to the Christians in 1492. Visit one of the world’s most brilliant architectural jewels—the Alhambra, a series of palaces and gardens built under the Nazari Dynasty in the 14th century. Also visit the cathedral with its royal chapel, where Isabel and Ferdinand are buried; the Monastery of La Cartuja; and many churches built by Moorish craftsmen in Granada’s unique mudéjar style after the Reconquista. This afternoon, depart Granada and return to Motril. Overnight at sea on the way to Málaga.
Day 17 Málaga (Disembarkation)
Disembark in Málaga and transfer to your hotel. Balance of the day at leisure.
Day 18 Málaga
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.