October 23 – November 2, 2013


The very best of the Algarve starts your journeys with easy guided walks featuring the flowers and plants if this unique area. Pretty villages and footpaths will take you to into hidden areas with a magnificent variety of landscapes, historical treasures and ancient treks and footpaths in areas that have been protected. For those who do not want to walk every day, there is plenty to do in Lagos, our base for our Algarve stay. Then north to two beautiful towns. Setubal on the Atlantic coast, and Evora, a historic small town where your accommodations in both places will be in charming local Pousadas. The journey continues first to Sintra and the amazing Sintra National Park and then ends in Lisbon, one of the most delightful and unspoiled capitals of the world. Like Rome, it sits on seven hills with unparallel vistas. Influenced by the great sea expeditions, it is a mixture of Northern Gothic elegance with Southern exuberance reflected in the Manueline style of architecture. Plus, there are echoes of the Moorish presence where you will see tiled walls contrasting with the richly styled Baroque architecture.

Tour Includes:
• Round-trip coach transportation to Newark
• Round-trip jet flights to Lisbon
• Round-trip transfers between airport and hotels
• First Class accommodations
• Airline & hotel taxes
• Service charges at the hotel
• Transportation throughout Portugal
• Guided walks in the Algarve and Sintra
• Daily breakfast
• Additional meals as indicated
• Sightseeing tours as per itinerary
• Sightseeing entrance fees

Accommodations (or similar)
Lagos – Hotel Albetgaria Marino Rio
Setubal – Pousada De Setubal
Evolra – Pousada De Evora
Sintra – Hotel Tivoli Sintra
Lisbon – Hotel Altis Avenid


1st Day, Wednesday, October 23: Depart New Jersey

Transportation from the East end to Newark to board your connecting flights to southern Portugal.

2nd Day, Thursday, October 24: To Lagos (D)

Morning arrival in Lisbon, where you connect to your flight to Faro. After clearing Customs, we transfer to our hotel. Time to rest and get acclimated  to the time change before dinner at our hotel.

salema-fmira3rd Day, Friday, October 25: In Lagos – First Algarve Walk (B)

This morning’s walk is to the Burdens Wetlands as a short drive takes us through the countryside to the Burdens wetlands and to the fishing Village of Salema. Here we will start our walk as we see all types of orchids and variety of plants and lavender. Return to Lagos in the afternoon and lunch and afternoon on our own in Lagos. Dinner on our own at one of the lovely Lagos restaurants. Today’s walk- 4 miles.

4th  Day, Saturday, October 26: In Lagos – Second  Algarve Walk (B)

aljezur-romainmoToday we depart for the Esteveira Nature Reserve as we drive west to Cape St Vincent, where we stop at an old Moorish town called Aljezur. Continue to a tiny nature reserve perched high on the cliff tops and view the flora that is only found in an Atlantic dune habitat.  Then to the Segres peninsula and a stop in Vila do Bispo at the 18th century church with its classic blue and white tiles and decorative fresco paintings. Continue our walk on the south-facing slopes with its wild windswept landscape Return to Lago for the afternoon at leisure and dinner on our own. Today’s walk- 5 miles.

silves-gonzalommd5th Day, Sunday, October 27: In Lagos – Third Algarve Walk (B/D)

After breakfast, we start with a drive to Odelouca and Arade Rivers and a visit to the Moorish capital Silves. Continue to Vale de Lima to start our walk around the limestone knoll “Ilha do Rosario” that is bounded on two sides by the two rivers. We follow an old water trekking path above the rivers as we complete the circuit. Return in the afternoon to Lago and dinner at our hotel.
Today’s walk about 6 miles.

6th Day, Monday, October 28: To Setubal  (B)

setubal-fotografarWe leave the southern coast and head north towards the Atlantic. Our destination is Setubal. According to legend, Setubal was founded by Tubal, the son of Cain. Today, it’s a quaint fishing city and the country’s third largest port.  Away from the industrial sprawl there’s an attractive old town with pedestrian streets and squares filled with shops and cafes.  Our overnight accommodations will be in the Pousada de Setubal situated in the historical city of Setubal. Located in an old fortress, it offers views over the River Sado, the Tróia peninsula and all of the surrounding Natural Park of Arrábida.  Dinner on our own at one of the charming fish restaurants.

7th Day, Tuesday, October 29: To Evora (B)

evora-pp l qqThis morning’s drive takes us to Evora, is one of Portugal’s finest and most delightful towns. It is a true open-air museum with a large number of wonderfully preserved monuments and buildings of public interest that led UNESCO to protect it as a World Heritage Site.  Each age has left its trace on Evora. It was the Celts who named it Ebora and the Romans gave it its most famous landmark, the Temple of Diana. Time this afternoon to walk and explore the city on your own. Our overnight accommodations will be in the Pousada de Evora, right in the center of the city. Dinner on our own at one of the charming fish restaurants.

8th  Day, Wednesday, October 30: To Sintra (B/D)

Depart this morning for Sintra. After checking in at our hotel, we will have some time to rest before start our afternoon tour with a guided walk through the Sintra National Park. This will be followed by a 90-minute night walk and a candlelight dinner at a local restaurant. Today’s walk about 90 minutes.

9th Day, Thursday, October 31: In Sintra and to Lisbon (B/L)

sintra-paul-stephensonWe start the day with a walk to the Peninha Chapel, once a popular pilgrimage site. This moderate 3 hours walk takes us to this 17th century convent set on a summit in the Sintra Hills. The view from the Baroque chapel is amazing. We have a picnic lunch and then continue to the Penna Palace, the inspiration for Disneyland castles and we take a short walk in the park created in the 19th century. by King Ferdinand, the artist king, Return to our hotel to get our luggage and then drive to Lisbon and our reserved accommodations. Late dinner on our own. Today’s walk will be about 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon.

10th Day, Friday, November 1: In Lisbon (B)

alfama-Kelsie-diPernaThis morning’s sightseeing tour highlights the best of Lisbon as we drive down the Liberty Avenue to Rossio, the very heart of the city. To Black Horse Square before crossing over the Tagus River to the Belem Tower and Monument of Discoveries. The tour ends at the famous Jeronimo’s Monastery, considered to be a marvel of stone lacework. Our tour ends at St. George’s Castle to have a glimpse of the Old Quarters including Alfama, the oldest and most picturesque. From here, we have the balance of the day free. Wonderful sights delight walkers at every turn in this culturally rich and charming part of Lisbon, which through its architecture reminds visitors of its Visigothic roots Dinner on our own. Or take an optional “Lisbon Fado Show & Dinner” tour for dinner at a typical local restaurant and an evening performance of Fado.

11th  Day, Saturday, November 2: Tour ends. Back to Newark (B)

Transfer to the airport for our non-stop flight home.

Musical experts cannot agree on the true origin of Fado. Although the word comes from the Latin fatum, meaning fate, some believe its drawn-out laments are a legacy of the Moorish occupation. Others say it developed from an African dance in Brazil, and according to another theory, the melancholy character of the music evolved from Portuguese seafarers who sang of home during their long absences at sea. Dinner will be at a famous Fado restaurant owned by a professional guitarist. It is situated near the Alfama Cathedral. Decorated in typical Portuguese with old stone columns with Moorish influence.

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Photo credits: Miguel Vieira, F. Mira, Romainmo, GonzaloMMD, Fotografar, pp l qq, Paul Stephenson, Kelsie diPerna