GERHARD'S ODYSSEYS

 

Walking and Hiking Portugal

September 19 to September 27, 2017

Porto

The tour date is only available for members of a private group. Please contact us for details.

For Americans, Portugal has long been Western Europe’s best kept travel secret. It has changed little over recent decades and the people remain warm and friendly. The country offers a huge variety of landscapes, amazing wines, breathtaking views and a foodie paradise. You will have an opportunity to experience the true diversity available in this small country and discover what Portugal has to offer.

Our trip showcases distinctive hotels, gourmet cuisine, and outstanding wines. Walking each day can be of varying degrees of difficulty, from simple strolls to more strenuous hikes. Walks follow gentle routes on even-surfaced and clearly-marked paths with some uphill sections that are not too steep or long. More demanding hiking is available for those who want the extra challenge. There will always be an option for those who suffer from vertigo and it will be well noted which routes require a “head for heights”. There are also ample opportunities for golf, tennis, shopping, and/or lounging at a beach or pool.

Plan to arrive at Porto Airport no later than Tuesday, September 19th. Gerhard will meet your flight and provide a transfer to our luxury hotel. If you would like more time to enjoy the delights of Porto and have an opportunity to get over jet lag, you may wish to arrive a day or two before the tour begins.

The journey comes to a close on Wednesday, September 27th, as we bid farewell to Europe and jet back to North America from Lisbon International Airport.

DAILY ITINERARY
Tuesday
(September 19th), Porto. Gerhard will meet you at the Porto airport and provide the transfer to our hotel. Afternoon at leisure to relax and walk the lovely river front of a city that has always been linked to the sea (the Romans gave it the name Portus, or port). Dinner either at the hotel or a nearby restaurant with Portuguese delicacies.
Hotel Pestana Vintage Porto.

Porto

Wednesday, Porto. A walking discovery of Porto’s historic center, the Ribeira — a UNESCO World Heritage Site where traditional plazas and small storefronts stand atop Roman Ruins. Before dinner we will savor rich aromatic and aptly named “Portos” in the birthplace of port wine, the Douro wine region.
Hotel Pestana Vintage Porto.

Thursday, Madeira. Morning flight to the lush subtropical island of Madeira. This volcanic island is a mere dot in the Atlantic Ocean. With its reputation as the “Isle of Flowers,” it has colorful bougainvillea, orchids, geraniums, poinsettias, birds of paradise, and wisteria. On a walking tour, our local guide will introduce us to Funchal, the island’s capital. Architecture and nature are charmingly combined, surrounded by cliffs to the east and west, and steep green mountains to the north. The city's streets are paved with black and white mosaics and lined by blue-flowered jacaranda trees, making it an ideal city for a delightful stroll. Before dinner we will sample the famous Madeira wines.
Belmond Reid’s Palace.

Maderia

Friday and Saturday, Madeira. Meander along some of Portugal’s most beautiful areas as we join our local expert for various walking explorations of the island. We will explore walkways that wind along Madeira’s coastlines, weave through gardens, and lead to the island’s most scenic vistas. Let yourself be dazzled by the beautiful landscapes that arise along the way, revealing a little more of the natural beauty of this region. Waterfalls form ponds of pure crystal water.
Belmond Reid’s Palace.

Sunday, Lisbon. Morning flight to Portugal’s capital followed by a short discovery tour of Lisbon by bus with a visit to Jeronimo's monastery, the Belem Tower, and the Monument to the Discoveries. Six centuries ago, ships and sailors departed Portugal’s shores to find fresh knowledge, vast riches, and not a little conflict during a period known as the Age of Discovery. On our tour you will visit some of the architectural treasures of this period. Strolling along the waterfront promenade of the Parque das Nacoes allows you to take in views of modern Lisbon, including Europe’s longest bridge, and stunning architectural feats, such as the Gare do Oriente train station.
Pousada de Lisboa.

Lisbon

Monday, Lisbon. This morning we walk and hike the historic Lisbon center with our local guide. We’ll be sure to include a few hills in our walk. You’ll quickly come to understand why Portugal’s capital has become one of Europe’s – and quite possibly the world’s – hottest destinations. Earlier this year Conde Nast Traveller described Lisbon as one of the most dynamic cities in Europe. Some are calling Lisbon 'the new Berlin', thanks to its exciting startup and arts scene and population of energetic young creatives, drawn by the quality of life and low cost of living.
Pousada de Lisboa.

Tuesday, Lisbon. This morning we visit the picturesque outskirts of Lisbon. Nearby Sintra is one of the oldest Portuguese towns and was the summer retreat of the royal family. It is well known for its charming narrow roads enveloped in lush greenery, its climbing flowers and semi-tropical vine-like plants trailing from mossy walls and balconies. Estoril is a lovely international resort on the Portuguese Riviera. A special farewell dinner at Restaurant Tagide.
Pousada de Lisboa.

Wednesday, September 27th. The adventure comes to a close as we regretfully bid farewell to Portugal and jet back to North America from Lisbon International Airport, arriving home the same day. You may wish to linger another day or two in Lisbon.

Tour price: $5,795 per person ($750 single supplement)
Tour date: September 19th to September 27th, 2017 (9 days/8 nights)
Tour Leaders: Hosted by Gerhard & Darlene. Local guides will be available throughout the trip.

The tour date is only available for members of a private group. Please contact us for details.

Tour cost includes:
Hotel accommodations for eight nights, buffet breakfast each morning, two lunches, and eight dinners with wine, beer and other beverages. Gratuities, taxes, and service charges. Air transport from Porto to Madeira and Madeira to Lisbon with airport/hotel transfers. Sightseeing, local guides, museum admissions, and all other items mentioned in the tour itinerary.

The cost is based on a minimum of 12 tour guests. If there are fewer than 12 members in the group, a surcharge will apply. The trip is limited to a maximum of 18 guests.

OUR SELECTION OF HOTELS:
Porto (two nights) – The Pestana Vintage Porto is located on the waterfront of the legendary Douro, with fabulous views over the river and the historic Port wine houses on the other bank. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the hotel has the most enchanting location in Porto. It is situated right on the charming historic Ribeira square, the discerning traveler’s first port of call. With this privileged location, merely staying at this hotel already means that one has experienced the inimitable essence of Porto, and it is also an excellent base from which to explore the historic city center, with all the most important landmarks within walking distance. The hotel itself forms part of the history of Porto, incorporating a group of buildings dating back to the sixteenth century; it has been completely rebuilt as a luxurious modern hotel, offering all the comfort and facilities modern travelers could wish for. The bar has a large selection of port wines to choose from, all of which can be savored in comfortable surroundings overlooking the river Douro. During the summer months, you can enjoy your drinks or port wine tastings outside on the terrace, enjoying views of the river.

Funchal (three nights) – Belmond Reid's Palace is set in subtropical gardens overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. For more than a century, it has been the ultimate place to stretch out in the sun and relax. Its gardens are internationally renowned, and now feature a spa tucked in among the trees. Over the years Reid’s has honed the art of pampering every single guest. Whether a young child or a centenarian, a fun-seeking teenager or a sports-mad 30-something, there are activities both within the hotel’s estate and beyond to keep you on the go year-round. Reid's Palace is particularly known for its tradition of serving afternoon tea on the terrace. Famous guests over the years have included General Fulgencio Batista, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, David Lloyd George, deposed emperor Karl von Habsburg, Roger Moore, Gregory Peck, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, the missionary Albert Schweitzer, and dramatist George Bernard Shaw.

Lisbon (three nights) – The Pousada de Lisboa is located in Terreiro do Paco, the main riverfront square in Lisbon. It occupies the regal 18th century building that formerly housed the capitol’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and you can walk a path of undulating Portuguese tile sidewalks from Lisbon’s riverside Praça do Comércio to enter the new property. Inside, the 90-room hotel doubles as a Portuguese museum, with lobby and floor niches throughout displaying national art handpicked from local museums. The rooms, elegant and stylish, exhibit classic and timeless beauty. Some overlook Terreiro do Paço and, others the various streets and rooftops of Lisbon's downtown. The bright colors and urban and chic palette explain why this is the only hotel in the Iberian Peninsula with a partnership with Dom Pérignon. A hidden rooftop pool and a deck for sunbathing, protected from all prying eyes, is a true oasis in downtown. There is a fully equipped fitness center and after sightseeing and exploring the city, you will also enjoy the spa, where you can take advantage of the sauna and Turkish bath, in addition to massages.

SOME GOLF OPTIONS:
Santo da Serra Golf Club looks over the bay of Machico, where the Portuguese navigators first landed on Madeira Island. Its original course, built in 1937, was redesigned in 1991 by the famous golf architect, Robert Trent Jones Sr., who created a completely new and spectacular 27-hole golf course in one of the most beautiful natural landscapes. The 3rd and 4th holes of the Machico Course are the signature holes of the course, unforgettable to any golfer who plays them. The Machico and Desertas courses are where the Madeira Island Open is played, part of the PGA European Tour. The Serras course is a delightful alternative with lakes, mountain views and a flatter terrain. There are four optional tees on each hole, a player can choose different game levels - enjoying a simple relaxing game or testing yourself against the course as the pros do. Golf stars, including many Ryder Cup players, have attested to the excellent quality of the fairways and greens. The semi-roughs and roughs show meticulous care and attention to the courses conditions. The course is a true botanical garden, ornamented with four beautiful lakes and scenic views.
Lisbon - Oitavos golf course is located inside Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, within a 30-minute drive of Lisbon. Set between dense woods and picturesque sand dunes, the course lies in an area of unparalleled natural beauty surrounded by the Sintra Mountains to the north and south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. As described by the architect Arthur Hills, the objective was to create one of the Europe’s most unique golfing experiences. In a place simply overflowing with natural beauty, each hole was designed in its own special setting. The course is a magnificent blend of beautiful pine forests, sand dunes and varying coastal areas, while the coherence and variety of its design is much appreciated by the more demanding players. 18 holes of 5,845 meters in length, Par 71.
Lisbon - Penha Longa golf course (approximately 40 minutes from Lisbon). It is part of the protected landscape Area of Sintra and Cascais, and is situated in a region full of historic monuments. Robert Trent Jones II, the architect of the course, designed it to best take account of the steeply sloping terrain and excellent views of the surrounding mountain landscape and the sea. This means that the first three holes, and the final three are laid out in a valley wooded with pines and studded with granite outcrops. The 6th to the 13th holes, meanwhile, have been built on a hill offering extensive views over the region. Its championship characteristics, as well as its excellent level of maintenance, contributed to its being selected to host the Portuguese Open Championship, just two years after its inauguration. It was unanimously voted by golf professionals as one of the best courses on the European Circuit. 18 holes, Par 72.

View the Tourist Office Web sites for some of the destinations we visit.
http://www.christmastrips.com/pages/travelresources.php

 

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