Peaceful Couples Tour: Porto to Lisbon

A 7 day trip to Portugal 
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Portugal sets a scene for romance to thrive with cobbled azulejo-clad streets, 9th-century hilltop palaces, quaint medieval towns, and terraced Douro vineyards. You cannot help but be caught up together, and while the backdrops will change, with each stop you will delve deeper into local culture, luxuriating on Portugal’s fine cuisine, wine, art, and history. One week is plenty of time when you are just two, as Porto and Obidos are destinations from a dream, Lisbon rivals Paris for romantic experiences, and the Douro Valley offers an exclusive escape.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Porto, Douro River, Batalha, Alcobaca, Lisbon, Baixa, Bairro Alto, Belem, Sintra, Alfama

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Porto – Luxuriating With Port and Fine Dining

Porto is always quick to charm. Draped along both sides of the Douro River, dominated by steep cobbled lanes, this northern city proffers its pride with ease. Your hotel is tucked into the UNESCO World Heritage area and beside the chiming of cathedral bells and the clip-clop of life from a medieval age. Everyone falls in love with the city at first glance, so you can get lost in the mazy lanes, and the azulejo begin to dominate your memory. Get too lost and just descend, for all paths eventually lead to the river and a series of waterside cafes and restaurants.

After some free time to get your bearings, your guide will take you across the river in a paddle boat with an iconic bridge arching high above you. Welcoming you on the opposite bank is Vila Nova de Gaia, where enormous port cellars line up beside old boats. Traveling slowly now you will delve into one of these cellars, following the lines of barrels as peculiar smells flicker through the room. Up and out you go, back into the light and an expansive terrace with superb views over the river and city. This is one of Portugal’s best restaurants, and the dinnertime menu pairs fine food with port and Douro wine, a sumptuous introduction to the country’s gastronomy with a sunset view to boot.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour, dinner

Day 2: Porto – Immersed in the World of Azulejo Tiles

There will be endless blue tiles cladding the streets in mosaics of old-world splendor. Each tells a tale, narrating a scene such as crusaders negotiating with Moors, or farmers out in the fields. Visit Porto, and you can expect to see azulejo in famous monuments – the one in Sao Bento Railway Station is certainly superb – but azulejo is the vernacular here, making Porto feel like an art gallery. Immersed in a blue world, you can explore the city, a local guide taking you on a tour of the historical center and beyond. Admire the thick stone fortress that is Porto Cathedral, take in the lines of the Stock Exchange Palace, and then discover the atmosphere of Bolhao Market.

It will take three to four hours to tour Porto’s key highlights, and the rest of the day is free. You could amble between wine bars near the riverside, take a tram to the beach, or head uphill to smaller neighborhoods that have a very local feel. Porto remains a laid-back city as if it still desires to be in a medieval era, and you cannot rush too much when the hills are so steep either. So take your time, lounge around the Douro, and feel the romantic setting that Portugal can provide.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Douro Valley – Cruising Down the River to a Remote Vineyard Stay

Wooden rabeloboats have navigated the Douro River for almost four centuries, carrying wine barrels and grapes back and forth. These traditional vessels still make this journey, and some of them now do so with visitors on board. So set off this morning on a cruise into the mountains, meandering along the river until vineyards begin to dominate. The valley narrows, and each vineyard is a series of terraces, and the vines seem to lurch over the edge and their incredibly long roots are one reason Douro wine is so distinctive. After three hours on the river, you will disembark to a 200-year-old estate, where your villa is hidden inside the vineyard.

Check into the villa and enjoy your lunch on the terrace, along with a local wine tasting. Add privacy to the setting, and you probably will not want to leave the villa. But feel free to walk hand in hand through the vineyard, perhaps down to the river to see the fields being worked by hand. You can also walk to a small nearby village, where the slow pace of life is on display as the locals are drinking wine on cafe terraces. Dinner is served at the estate’s restaurant and can be accompanied by a tasting of wines from beyond the region, topped off with a little port.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Batalha to Alcobaca to Obidos – Portugal’s Finest Medieval Memoirs

From one UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Douro Valley, to two more, this romantic tour continues with the monasteries of Batalha and Alcobaca. Odes to a distant time, these enormous structures showcase a grandeur that is no longer seen in modern architecture. Colonnades sweep around their entrances, and colored stones enliven their floors. Sculptures and statues add intimate detail to some of the austere interiors with almost every corner or corridor having something. Mostly you are wowed by size, as you cannot imagine how these monasteries can dominate a town just by looking at their photos on Google.

It takes around two hours to reach Batalha and Alcobaca, where you also stop for lunch. Then transfer further, to the end of the road where it meets the Obidos gate. Here lies a medieval city, encased behind fortress-like walls where the streets are too mazy for a map. Boutique stores line the narrow lanes, with goods spilling out onto the cobbles. Small plazas are lined by cafe terraces and the scent of indulgence as church spires act as compass points and the more you get lost the fun it is. The Obidos experience is all about walking hand in hand, without a map, discovering the medieval charm that hides around corners. Someone from the hotel provides an orientation upon arrival, so you will not gettoo lost.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Lisbon – Exploring Lisbon’s Neighborhoods on Tram 28

Before Lisbon, there can be beaches and waves, with an optional stop in Nazare or another small coastal village. Your guide can take you to a great seafood restaurant for an early lunch should you wish to visit Lisbon via the coast. Or you can transfer directly to Lisbon and your hotel in Baixa. With every vacation, there is so much to be gained from having great local guides. But you also need space and privacy, and perhaps a chance to wander off and create your own adventure. That is why Tram 28 is so good. Meandering up and down this city of seven hills, the tram route connects Lisbon’s most distinctive neighborhoods. You can hop on and hop off anywhere along the route.

Jump out in Bairro Alto, where boutiques now line the 16th-century streets, and street musicians strum on the corners. Take the tram out to a 12th-century church and a large park for romantic strolls, and then return the same way, passing a royal palace, going up and down and up and down past grand plazas. Soon the tightly packed neighborhoods give way to space, with glamorous arcades lining the way. Jump off, look around, then get back on and go all the way up to the castle, where you can watch an Atlantic Ocean sunset with a drink in hand.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Lisbon – The Fairytale Palaces of Sintra and an Evening Fado Performance

Historians still disagree as to the age of National Sintra Palace, though the consensus is that it is an early Moorish design from the 9th century. It is certainly unlike any other palace in Europe, a mosaic of color and strange shape perched on a forested hill. Romance seeps from its walls as you explore its grand series of rooms. Sintra’s other palaces have a similar atmosphere, monuments that provide an escape from the every day, their legend talked about in hushed whispers. Sintra is a lovely place to grab lunch before the one-hour trip back to Lisbon. With a free afternoon, you might visit Belem, where Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower are Portugal’s two most famous sights.

Entering a small tavern, you will be guided by aromas this evening. Take a seat in the gloomy room, and soon the music will start, a lone voice ringing out in a venue that only seats 100 guests. Another voice will join in, a guitar will play, feet will tap. This is Fado, the sweet sound of 19th-century Lisbon, nostalgic and wistful as it provides an emotional journey. Distinct from flamenco although sharing many similarities, this art form originated in Alfama, almost 200 years ago. You will be experiencing a performance in Alfama in a venue where all the top artists want to play. Food and wine comes with the show, and you return to the hotel in a state that mixes elation with emotional exhaustion.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Lisbon – Free Time in Lisbon and Departure

Your final day is left free, and you have a vibrant city on your doorstep. Late checkout has been arranged so that you can explore to your heart’s content, and then freshen up before the airport transfer. Try broad avenues of fashion boutiques, drink a coffee or beer at one of the ubiquitous kiosks, wander the back lanes around Bairro Alto or stroll along the riverside promenade.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$1,395
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.