Luxuriate along the water as you escape to Northern Portugal and Madeira. Imagine azulejo tiles and port cellars in Porto, cruising along the Douro River, enveloped by vineyards, and then an oceanfront retreat in Funchal, used as a relaxed base for discovering Madeira. In this corner of the world, you can take things slowly while being completely surrounded by local culture and beauty. With one week in Portugal, some might think you would need to hurry, but this is one corner of the world where...
Porto – The Evocative Heart of Northern Portugal
Back-dropped by granite cliffs and perched over the Douro River, Porto is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities. Port cellars cascade along one bank, their famous names illuminated the evening sky while lanes of charming cobblestone fill the other bank, winding up the hill towards Sao Bento Station. Neither side of this UNESCO World Heritage center is wide enough for vehicle traffic, so the soundtrack is generated by your own footsteps and by the harmonious ringing of church bells. The riverside promenades are flat and easy to walk on, and the good news is that you will not need to walk far, nor will you want to walk fast when azulejo tiles line the lanes everybody likes to take it slowly.
Land at Porto’s airport and you will be greeted at the arrivals gate by your guide. Transfer into old Porto and your hotel porter will meet your vehicle where the road ends. The final few minutes are on foot as you will be staying at a boutique hotel inside the city’s medieval core, and you will be escorted right to your hotel room door. Your guide will introduce you to Porto over a coffee, wine, or beer, offering some historical context to where you are staying. Nothing specific is planned, and there are a number of beautiful little places within easy walking distance of your hotel so you can easily stretch your legs and relax away the evening in a wine bar or on a restaurant terrace.
Douro Valley – Exploring the Lanes of Azulejo Tiles: Boarding the Boat
Day 3 - 4
Douro Valley – Leisurely Cruise Through the Douro Valley
Funchal – Relaxing on the Coast in Madeira
Funchal – Discovering the Western Half of Madeira
Porto – Relaxed Highlights of Eastern Madeira and Departure
- Luxuriate on the Douro River during a three-night cruise
- Explore the beautiful blue heart of Porto, one of Europe’s best preserved old cities
- Lounge along the coast as you spend three days at an oceanfront hotel on the island of Madeira
- Cruise through the vineyards and take short trips to ancient sites such as Castelo Rodrigo and Lamego
- Spend one day exploring the western half of Madeira island, where vineyards meet cliffs and enchanting forest
- Indulge on local Portuguese gastronomy, like bolas de lamego, Douro wine, and Porto port tasting
- Uncover the breathtaking highlights of eastern Madeira, including the thatched roof village of Santana
Northern Portugal is one of Europe’s most relaxed regions. There is always a spare hour for coffee on a cafe terrace, and always time to gaze over the water and watch the people walk by. While Lisbon has its bustle, northern Portugal runs to an almost medieval rhythm. The island of Madeira is equally laid-back as part tropical retreat and part old-world cultural enclave. This small island also places you along the water with villages and vineyards setting the scene for each day of easy exploration.
Handcrafted for senior travelers, this one-week tour takes things at a leisurely pace in Northern Portugal and Madeira. Both destinations offer inspiring cultural encounters, and you will authentically experience how the lifestyle is different from elsewhere in Europe. Neither destination requires you to travel extensively, so mostly you can just sit back and allow the highlights to come to you. Imagine cruising through terraced vineyards as sunset paints the horizon, lounging on the oceanfront with a glass in hand, or wiling away the evening on a sultry summer terrace, watching a city roll by.
This is a two-center vacation with international flights in and out of Porto. Spend your first night in Porto city itself, at a hotel that’s along the river in the UNESCO World Heritage center. Nights two to four are enjoyed on a luxury cruise, your boat twisting into the inner depths of the Douro Valley with daily excursions to small hidden villages and imposing castles. Return to Porto next, and then fly to Funchal, the main town and gateway to Madeira. Here you will spend two nights with plenty of time to lay back at the oceanfront hotel. The next day, you will take a full-day trip to the western half of the island and your final day will include a couple of enchanting little places close to Funchal before you fly back to Porto and out of Portugal.
There are other destinations to consider in Portugal if you have more time, as the country certainly is not short on beautiful places for senior travelers to visit. Porto is the ultimate city highlight for most visitors, as in comparison to Lisbon, it is small and compact, with most of the charm found along the river. Plus, there is hardly any vehicle traffic, and the culture has always been more relaxed in the north than in the capital. The Douro is an exclusive escape, a region that is difficult to visit without a cruise. You will wind through breathtaking landscapes and explore places that remain off the tourist trail.
Madeira will then be a true island break. Unlike the popular coastline in southern Portugal, the island has not been transformed by tourism. Funchal, its main city, remains a quiet cultural haven, back-dropped by some of the world’s highest cliffs. Nature rules the island, yet it is relatively easy to get around. You can set out on private day tours in comfortable vehicles with the flexibility to add or remove destinations as each day continues. Much like Hawaii in the Pacific, Madeira has one foot in one culture, and the other foot forging its own island path. After time spent in Portugal, the comparison between destinations a great highlight of this one-week tour. Looking for more recommended Portugal travel inspiration? Consider browsing our Portugal travel reviews page.
$1,815 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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