An exclusive Bryn Mawr departure

We invite you to join us on a journey through Portugal, a tiny country, squeezed between Spain and the sea, that has had a long and proud history of fierce independence. Traditional agricultural and fishing communities continue unchanged beside bustling and cosmopolitan cities. Mountainous landscapes, untouched by time and modernization, stand in curious juxtaposition above the jet-setting coastal resorts.

We begin and end in the capital, Lisbon. A city with a vitality, variety and a pulse like none other. Turning north, we visit the picturesque town of Obidos, originally an important port town. Continue to Castelo de Sao Jorge, Lisbon Tomar and visit the magnificent Convent of Christ before arriving in the fascinating city of Oporto. Nearby Bom Jesus do Monte takes us to the extraordinary 18th- century religious sanctuary which takes the form of a giant stairway. Moving into the Douro valley, the heart of port country, visit traditional “quintas” where we taste the sweet fortified wine that enjoys a worldwide reputation. As we leave northern Portugal and the magnificent mountain range “Serra da Estrela,” we exchange snow-capped beauty for the rolling sun-baked plain of the Alentejo. Our destination is the enchanting city of Evora which flourished in the Middle Ages as a center of learning and the arts and which gained international recognition in 1986 when it was declared a World Heritage Site. Returning to Lisbon, we drive to the wooded hillside town of Sintra, just to the north of the city, for visits to two elegant royal palaces.

Date Information

Friday, May 11, 2018 - Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Day 1: Friday, May 11th

Evening departure from your chosen US gateway city.  Overnight: Plane

Day 2: Saturday, May 12th

Upon arrival in Lisbon you’ll be met by your tour guide for the short transfer to your city center hotel. There will be time to rest from the flights before you begin to explore the
neighborhood. This evening, a dinner party at the hotel welcomes the group to Portugal. (B,D)     Overnight:   Lisbon

Day 3: Sunday, May 13th

Panoramic sightseeing this morning, with a local guide, introduces this fascinating city; from the grand neoclassical buildings of the Baixa district to the narrow cobbled alleys of the Moorish Alfama quarter. Experience the rich variety of the city, with visits to the Castelo de Sao Jorge, a hilltop fortification with magnificent views over the city and the Tagus River, Belem Tower and the exquisite Monastery of Jeronimos. The afternoon is free for independent exploration. Visit the National Tile Museum in the cloisters of the splendid Madre de Deus Church to view Portugal’s traditional “azulejos”, take the Santa Justa Elevator, created in 1901 by Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) to the elegant Chiado district or explore the Botanical Gardens. This evening, we experience the husky beauty of “fado,” Portugal’s traditional music, as we have dinner.

Day 4: Monday, May 14th

Turning north, we make our first stop in the enchanting medieval walled town of Obidos. We’ll visit the simple church of Santa Maria where the future Alfonso V married his 8 year old cousin. We continue to Tomar for a visit o the Convent of Christ, founded in 1162 by the Grand Master of the Templars. Seldom visited by tourists, this massive building retains its sense of dignity and antiquity. Its Manueline embellishments, a unique style of Portugal, are some of the finest surviving examples. We head north to our hotel in the dazzling city of Oporto. Dinner at hotel this evening. (B,D)              Overnight: Oporto

Day 5: Tuesday, May 15th

Morning sightseeing of the city with a local guide includes the Cathedral District, the riverside quarter of Ribeira and the civic and shopping centers of Central and Baixa. This afternoon, an excursion to Portugal’s most spectacular religious sanctuary, “Bom Jesus do Monte.” The 18th - century giant baroque stairway was designed to lead up to the small shrine, the church of Bom Jesus. We return to Oporto for a free evening. (B)      Overnight: Oporto

Day 6: Wednesday, May 16th

We tour port country today as we travel due east through the Douro Valley. We’ll stop at traditional “quintas” to sample the different varieties. The panoramic views of the terraced mountains upon which the grapes grow are spectacular. Turning south, we enter the Serra da Estrela, the “star mountains”. The area is a designated nature reserve and the traditional lifestyle of the indigenous shepherds still survives here. Our destination is the Pousada Serra da Estrela, where a log fire and stunning views over the snow-capped mountains greet us. Dinner at the pousada. (B, D)          Overnight: Oliveira

Day 7: Thursday, May 17th

We continue further south, along the border region, making a first stop at the extraordinary Jardim Episcopal in Castelo Branco. The garden’s 18th - century layout is conventionally
formal; its surprise lies in the many statues found throughout. The bishop’s palace now houses a museum, which displays primitive art, 16th century tapestries and a wide range of archaeological finds. Continuing our route south, we  arrive at the medieval walled city of Evora which rises mysteriously from the Aletejan plain. Dinner at our city center pousada this evening. (B, D)                 Overnight: Evora

Day 8: Friday, May 18th

A walking tour with a local guide this morning introduces Evora and the architectural and cultural treasures which fill its tangled web of streets and alleyways. This afternoon is free for individual exploration…shop for handicrafts along Rua 5 de Outubro, browse through the city museum, or experience the bustle of the Praca do Giraldo, Evora’s main square. The evening is free as well to sample one of the city’s justifiably famous restaurants. (B)        Overnight: Evora

Day 9: Saturday, May 19th

Returning to Lisbon today, we explore the coast north of the city: the beautiful hill town of Sintra and the palaces which dot the wooded hills. Visit both the National Palace and the Palace of Pena before time in the cosmopolitan seaside resort of Cascais. A farewell dinner at our hotel brings the trip to a memorable conclusion with time to share memories and laughter. (B, D)         Overnight: Lisbon

Day 10: Sunday, May 20th

Return transfer to Lisbon Airport for your transatlantic flights back to the U.S. (B)

Cost and Inclusions: 

The cost of this itinerary, per person, double occupancy is:

Land only (no airfare included):   $4,299

Single supplement:                      $880

The following services are included:

Hotels:                 8 nights accommodation in first-class hotels, all hotel taxes and service charges included

Transportation:    All ground transportation as detailed in the itinerary

Meals:                 Buffet breakfast daily, 6 dinners

Guides:                Discover Europe tour director throughout, local guides in Lisbon, Oporto and Evora as well as a Bryn Mawr faculty host throughout the trip*

Luggage:            Porterage of one large suitcase per person

Entrances:          Entrance fees to all sites included in the itinerary

*Contingent on a minimum number of travelers