If you’ve been in Lisbon for a few days and loved it is only natural that you want to see more of Portugal, and this is why we’ve prepared these local tours around the capital’s ever-surprising surroundings. Our tour explores the stunning landscapes, the dazzling monuments and the memorable traditions that make Portugal so blessed. They’re all waiting for you at a short-trip’s reach!
We start our day on an ancient headland, in the dazzling Atlantic surroundings of Arrábida, where the unmistakable scent of the Mediterranean somehow hangs in the air. Our first stop is a very spiritual place, the Franciscan friary, built in the 16th Century on the steep slopes of a landscape that still has the power to evoke echoes of a centuries-old mysticism. The green of the trees, the blue and emerald of the sea fuse in a heaven-on-earth setting that will be hard to forget.
After this inspiring experience, prepare to uplift your senses with a very special hosted visit at a large family-owned property. Enjoy a private regional cheese workshop, followed by local products sampling and lunch at the owner’s house facing the unforgettable views of Arrábida Mountains. You will also get to know the farm’s excellent wines and other biologically produced regional delicatessen.
Azeitão has been a popular summer retreat since the Renaissance and boasts beautiful country estates, of which the Quinta da Bacalhôa, from 1554, is the most spectacular, the first example of the adaptation of the architectural and landscape ideals of the Renaissance to a Portuguese style. This is our next stop, where you won’t want to miss the superb tile murals that abound in the property, with pictorial and Moorish echoes. For an even deeper experience of the fabulous world of azulejos, you will be taken to a local workshop where the craftsman will welcome you and show you the secrets of the Portuguese art of azulejo. Before returning to Lisbon, time for a stop at the wine cellars of José Maria de Fonseca to discover the unmistakable aromas of the Moscatel wine, made with the juicy and sweet regional grapes.
The day starts… fishing! From the beautiful bay of Cascais you will a professional fisherman on his boat for an exciting experience which gloriously ends with an on board lunch, where you will eat the fish you’ve caught!
After a quiet stroll around Cascais, you start the climb up to Sintra, the region’s magic mountain, on road that runs through a landscape of rare beauty. This land overlooking the sea, covered in luxuriant vegetation, has long seduced poets from home and abroad. Sintra, the “Glorious Eden” of Lord Byron and ancient summer refuge of the royal court, is today the natural setting for stunning monuments, singular estates, houses and landscaped gardens bounteous with exotic plants.
In Sintra, made a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural landscape, we climb to the mythical Castelo dos Mouros (Moors’ Castle) and the Palácio da Pena – a romantic fantasy that enchanted both Byron and Richard Strauss.
Your exploration of Lisbon’s captivating surroundings continues by heading northwest of Lisbon, to Mafra, where an imposing National Palace was built in 1717. Here, you will visit the chapel to discover its magnificent set of 6 organs, and delight in one of the countries’ most important libraries, which, apart from being visually impressive, full of ornaments and baroque decorations, holds some a collection of more than 36.000 books, and thus emerges as a true guardian of knowledge.
The thirst for knowledge may have opened your appetite. At Ericeira, a lovely fisherman’s village to the North of Lisbon, you will enjoy fantastic sights of the Atlantic, seen in full force here, and savor a fabulous lunch, as the region’s specialties – the freshest fish, the most succulent seafood – are served on a terrace with a view.
Next stop is beautiful Óbidos, Portugal’s most romantic medieval village, also known as the “Wedding Present Town” because it was a gift from King D. Dinis to Queen Isabel on their wedding day in 1282. Besides being one of the most picturesque villages in Portugal, thanks to its small white houses built inside the walls of the castle, as if time had stopped, Óbidos has a fantastic new energy thanks to the variety of cultural programs it holds – literally – inside its walls. Another highlight of this charming town are the bookstores that have sprung about everywhere, in the most unusual, unexpected places … there’s a lot to explore, especially for booklovers who will love to look for bibliophile treasures in this historic setting.
The last day is really a wine tour around Lisbon, which will get you the chance to explore the natural beauty of the region while finding out more about the fascinating Portuguese wine culture. The west region, namely the region of Alenquer, only 50 kilometers from Lisbon, has some of the best producers of Portuguese wine.
The tour starts with a full immersion in local wine culture, as we visit the historic Real Celeiro (Royal Barn, built in 1811 under the King D. João VI and remodeled in 2002) of Alenquer, where the region’s 12 top wine producers of the region are represented. This is the perfect introduction to an exceptional region, where the unique microclimate of the Serra de Montejunto greatly contributes to the quality of the wines. The rest of the day is devoted to the discovery of this beautiful land and its excellent wines, by visiting the some of the centennial wine estates of the region, where the owners are waiting for us to host the visit.
The Quinta de Chocapalha spreads over the sunny hills of Alenquer with historical vineyards known since the 16th century. The estate is really charming not only for its architecture but especially for the beauty of the vineyards’ surrounding landscape, with the mountain as backdrop. Here, you will be welcomed by the owners, who will be delighted to show you the cellars where the old stone wine presses set the perfect atmosphere for a memorable wine tasting moment. If you wish, a hosted lunch will be served to complete this handpicked, personalized experience.
Afterwards we move to a private tour of the Quinta do Pinto. The owners’ passion for wine and their bond to the land – generated over five generations connected to winemaking and agriculture- were the foundation for the enthusiasm and dedication of all the Family to this project.
Our final stop at Serra de Montejunto is the village of Cadaval, where we will visit a curious Ice Factory and travel through the pleasant route of the 34 windmills.