Portugal is a marvelous country to explore and take a much-needed break. After all, this country is so much more than cork products, gorgeous sea. It’s a country that will draw you back time and time again with shed loads of historic cities, gorgeous National Parks, and enough great food and yummy wine that will satisfy even the hardest palate.
Let's unveil all the wonders of these top regions.
Douro Valley Region
The Douro Valley Region is one of the most interesting and enchanting destinations in the northern part of outstanding Portugal. This region offers landscapes of exceptional beauty with the Douro River as the protagonist, accompanied by prestigious wine cellars, historic fortresses, medieval stone houses, and vineyards located in sloping territories. Furthermore, the Douro is a strong river, with occasional waves, which characterizes this unique landscape, making it even more unique.
When arriving at the Douro, you should go first to the Douro Museum that will give you another perspective of the wine culture and the region. Not far, but on the south bank, is Lamego, one of the most beautiful cities in the north of Portugal, located at the base of an immense staircase of blue and white tiles that leads to the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. In the Pinhão, even to the edge of the river, the station of the railroad is of obligator visit to see its old tiles dedicated to the culture of the vine. Moreover, when arriving at Pocinho, on the south bank visit the castle of Numão and enjoy the view over the horizon. A little further east is the Archaeological Park of Foz Coa, an open-air rock art gallery classified as a World Heritage Site, as well as the respective Museum in Vila Nova de Foz Coa. Also, if you enjoy natural parks then the Natural Park of Douro International where the river from here to Miranda do Douro borders Portugal and Spain. In this route, the river runs tight between high cliffs until it reaches the small town of raia where it enters Portugal.
Furthermore, in the Douro is where the river made the first work digging the deep valleys in the earth, while Man transformed the schist mountains into earth and walls and planted the vine in it, green in summer, fire color in autumn. With wisdom inherited from generations, he bent the terraces so that the sun's rays would embrace the vines and give the grapes the warmth that wine needs. That is why of the fruits of the earth and the work of man this wine and this unique landscape were made. For more adventure and unique moments in the Douro, enjoy one of our tours in this unique and old region.
As the writer, Miguel Torga has written in his poem ("Diário XII") "The sublimate Douro. The prodigy of a landscape that ceases to be so by the force of unbridled. It is not a panorama that the eyes contemplate: it is an excess of nature..."
Alentejo region is where the plains start to lose sight of their beginning. So, if to the north is marked by the green of the meadow, in the south is where the landscape combines the sun, heat and a rhythm compassed. Furthermore, through the landscape you will notice that its amplitude is cut by cork oaks or olive trees that resist trough time.
Santarém is a natural belvedere over the immensity of the Tagus. Here and there stands a walled enclosure, like Marvão or Monsaraz, or the antiquity of a tapir remembering the magic of the place. In the hills, white and earthy houses crown small elevations, the castles evoke fights and conquests, and the courtyards and gardens attest to Arab influences that have shaped people and nature. In addition, enjoy walking or cycling, bird watching, or even riding a horse. And let's not forget the dams like in Alqueva, the serenity of the waters, or the contemplation of the mantle of stars of the Dark Sky Route.
Don't forget to explore Évora, it is where you will understand why it was long ago classified as World Heritage. Admire the Roman temple and some of its churches, such as that of St. Francis with the famous Chapel of the Bones.
Don't leave Alentejo without exploring the coast. There, the landscape is high and steep, with small beaches sheltered between cliffs, and many that are ideal for surfing. And also here there are country scents, the herbs spice up fish, seafood, and other regional dishes, which are accompanied with excellent and premium wines from the region. After all, the whole Alentejo lives to the rhythm of what the land gives. For more adventure and unique moments in the Alentejo, enjoy one of our tours.
Why book now your 2020 or 2021 tour? Because by booking all your tours with us you will have flexibility in the future, plus all the COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidlines. Through these unique times, we are available to plan, reschedule, and move your trip around your needs, as always. If your new dates may no longer work with your initial travel plan, a dedicated consultant will be available to tailor and reschedule your time in Portugal according to your needs and preferences, and to assure you that you will have the best and most memorable experiences.