The Charms of Portugal & North West Spain 2024

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1-888-597-3519

905-639-9954

dhtour@dhtour.ca

6 Days / 5 Nights
Availability : April to November
Start: Lisbon, Portugal
End: Madrid, Spain

The Charms of Portugal & North West Spain: 2 nts Porto, 2 nts Santiago de Compostela, 1 nt Salamanca

The ancient civilizations of Europe left behind a wealth of wonders.

The monks of Porto created delicious drinks for religious ceremonies, the Romans shaped entire mountains in their pursuit of gold, and the 16th-century kings used their riches to build ostentatious plazas and palaces.

On this journey, you leave behind the modern world and venture to the edge of ancient Europe to discover the tastes, traditions, and treasures of the past.

You wander through the cobbled lanes of Portugal’s old towns. You learn about the influential universities of Coimbra and Salamanca. You explore the cathedral that marks the end of the world-famous pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. And you experience some of the greatest achievements of the Roman Empire.

It’s the perfect trip for someone who loves ancient history, delicious seafood, and stunning natural landscapes.

6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS / MAX 16 GUESTS

Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca to book this small group tour The Charms of Portugal & North West Spain.

Tour Details
Places you explore

Coimbra – This historic, cultured town was once the capital of Portugal and boasts the oldest university in the country

Porto – A historic centre, charismatic locals, sumptuous food, and famous port: no one can resist the charms of this UNESCO World Heritage city

Douro Valley – Admire steep terraced vineyards by the Douro River on an optional boat cruise

Santiago de Compostela – Combine artistic and spiritual delights when you visit this grand city, the final stop of the epic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route

Cape Finisterre – Stare into the horizon on this beautiful cape once believed to be the end of the known world

Costa da Morte – Plunging cliffs, remote sandy beaches and rocky headlands; this is the stunning and treacherous ‘Coast of Death’

Las Médulas– Marvel at the reddish mountains that once hid the most important gold mine in the entire Roman Empire

Salamanca – Steeped in history and golden sandstone buildings, this university city has been a centre for learning for centuries

El Escorial – A 16th-century combination of royal institutions by the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama, north-west of Madrid

Pick Up Location & TIme

Lisbon (Google Map)
8:30am – Hotel Zenit, Avenida 5 de Outubro 11, 1050-047 Lisboa, Portugal

Drop off Location & Time

Madrid  (Google Map)
7:00pm – Hotel Porcel Ganivet, C. de Toledo, 111, 113, 28005 Madrid, Spain

Price Includes

  • 5 nights 3/4 star hotel accommodation
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • Daily breakfasts
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
  • Entrance to Coimbra University Library and El Escorial

Meals

  • 5 breakfasts
  • 0 lunches
  • 0 dinners
  • 0 teas

Price Excludes

  • Entry fees to visitor attractions/Optional Activities
  • Airfare
  • Transfers
  • Pre / Post hotel nights
  • Driver / Tour Leader gratuity is at your discretion
  • Travel Insurance
What to Expect

Explore in 16 seat mini-coaches, always taking the scenic route, you have great views through large windows, and you’re free to sample the local tipple without worrying about driving. Our driver-guides are famous for their knowledge, facts, quirky stories, history, and fairy-tales. They truly take you beyond the guidebooks and into your adventure. You make your trip your own. We provide the timetable; and you can choose where you want to eat and which attractions you pay to see. So, if you want to skip a castle and read your book by a mountain view, you can.

A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel. So we’ve hand-picked three-star to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys. Your accommodation is included in the tour price.

Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it’s worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.

We’ve arranged experiences for you on your tour. The ‘included activities’ are already booked and paid for as part of your trip, whereas you can purchase ‘optional activities’ while on your tour. You also have free time in many destinations to pick and choose which attractions you visit.

Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views. Carry swimwear and a towel for swimming spots. Your holiday’s more fun when you protect yourself from the sun.

Itinerary
The Charms of Portugal & North West Spain

Day 1Lisbon - Óbidos - Coimbra - Aveiro - Porto

  • Marvel at the Moorish architecture in the town of Óbidos
  • Learn about the thinkers of the past in one of the oldest universities in the world in Coimbra

You say ‘bom dia’ to your guide and fellow travellers, leave the coastal capital city of Lisbon, and travel the short distance to Óbidos.

This quaint walled town has a wealth of wonders for you to discover. You can study the sturdy walls of their Moorish Castle; amble through the little cobbled shopping lanes; or combine two of your favourite guilty pleasures in a drink of Ginjinha d’Óbidos, a sweet liqueur served in a chocolate cup.

Back on the road, you venture further north to Coimbra. This former Portuguese capital is famous for being the home of one of the oldest universities in the world. You will explore this magnificent institution, whose roots go back to the 13th century, before finding some local food for lunch.

After you’ve soaked up the history, it’s time to head to Aveiro. You feel like you’ve been teleported into little Venice in this town that’s lined with canals and art-nouveau architecture.

Your final stop of the day is in Porto, your home for the next two nights. It’s been a busy day, but hopefully you’re not too tired to walk to a sunset spot in this many-tiered town.

Included Activities: Entrance to Coimbra University Library

Accommodation: Grande Hotel do Porto or similar, Porto

Day 2Porto - Douro Valley - Porto

  • Peruse shops and restaurants of Porto’s cobbled lanes
  • Marvel at the terraced vineyards on the banks of the Douro River

Today, you have an important decision to make.

Do you lounge around and take in the cathedrals, cellars, and cuisine of beautiful Porto? Or do you hop on the mini-coach with us and venture through the Douro Valley?

Lucky for you, there’s no wrong option.

When you join our optional half day excursion, you travel to Pinhão by coach to enjoy a river cruise on a traditional rabelo boat. Once you’ve arrived at this small port-producing town, it’s time to savour its delicious tipple and admire the stunning vistas.

Next you drive to Peso de Regua for an optional wine tasting at a local winery. Alternatively, spend a little time exploring the town. 

Before returning to Porto mid-afternoon, you’ll stop off at Mesão Frio viewpoint for stunning views of the river Douro and its banks.

The rest of the day is yours to discover more of the city and indulge in its wines and flavours in your own style. And if you’re a fan of live music, don’t miss out on a performance of Fado, Portugal’s emotionally stirring traditional music. (B)

Optional Activities: River Douro boat cruise and wine tasting, and Wine tasting at winery in Peso de Regua

Accommodation: Grande Hotel do Porto or similar, Porto

Day 3Porto - Braga - Guimarães - Santiago de Compostela

  • Cross the border into Northern Spain

You leave Porto behind and venture north to Braga where you’ll visit the famous Bom Jesus Sanctuary. This place of religious, cultural and architectural heritage was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.

At the foot of Mount Espinho, you’ll admire the Baroque staircase as it zig-zags upwards with ornate granite fountains and statues on display. Perched at the top is a neoclassical church with stunning views over the city. To get to the top you can purchase a ticket for the special elevator. Or, if you’re feeling fit, you can tackle the almost-600 steps by foot.

Your next stop is Guimarães, known as the ‘birthplace of Portugal’. The historic centre is of the city is part of UNESCO World Heritage. As well as learning more about the city, you’ll have some free time here to enjoy lunch. For a must-see glimpse into the 15-16th century life of the Braganza Dukes, you can opt to visit the Palace of Braganza.

And now, it’s over the border and into Spain. You arrive in Santiago de Compostela, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in the world, where you stay for two nights. (B)

Included Activities: Ticket for Bom Jesus do Monte Funicular (elevator)

Optional Activities: Entrance to Palace of Braganza

Accommodation: Hotel Gelmirez or similar, Santiago de Compostela

Day 4Santiago de Compostela - Ézaro waterfall - Cape Finisterre - Muxía - Santiago de Compostela

  • Explore the architecture, atmosphere, and history of Santiago de Compostela
  • Journey to Cape Finisterre, the furthermost edge of ancient Europe

Today, you can relax and enjoy the sights of Santiago de Compostela at your own pace or come on an adventure with us.

If you join our trip, the day will start with a drive along the Costa da Morte, ‘the Coast of Death’. And no, this isn’t a shoreline infested with pirates and cannibals, it’s a place that was once notorious for shipwrecks. You’ll arrive first at the town of Noia, then continue on to Muros for a coffee stop. Next up is a photo stop of Galicia’s largest beach – Playa de Carnota.

You’ll then visit the Ézaro waterfall. Here, you go for a small walk to take in the views of a rare wonder – the Ézaro River tumbling straight into the sea.

After you’ve enjoyed the waterfall, we travel to the ‘End of the World’ at Cape Finisterre. Ancient civilisations believed this was the end of the earth. You have time here to admire the lighthouse and look out over the wild Atlantic Ocean.

Your next stop is in Muxía. This lovely, historic harbour town is the perfect spot to sample the fresh seafood that this region is famous for and watch the ships set off to sea.

When you arrive back in Santiago de Compostela, the evening is yours to try Galician specialities or admire the famous cathedral built over the remains of St James, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. (B)

Accommodation: Hotel Gelmirez or similar, Santiago de Compostela

Day 5Santiago de Compostela - Lugo - Las Médulas - Salamanca

  • Roam upon the ramparts of the ancient Romans in Lugo
  • Survey the other-worldly landscapes that were created by the Roman gold excavating technique, ruina montium (wrecking of mountains)

Your first stop of the day is in Lugo. This town has a lot to be proud of. Apart from a stunning cathedral and oodles of charm, it has the only fully intact Roman city walls in the world. So feel like a Roman Legionnaire and take a stroll along the defences.

You continue to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans and travel to Las Médulas. Strange red pinnacles and holes in the mountains make this landscape look and feel otherworldly. The Romans created what you see before you by boring into the earth in their quest for gold.

You explore this area and enjoy your lunch before continuing the journey to Salamanca for your overnight stay. This mesmerising city is adorned with the riches of the Spanish Golden Age and boasts a great culinary scene. (B)

Accommodation: Hotel Artheus Carmelitas or similar, Salamanca

Day 6Salamanca - El Escorial - Madrid

  • Admire the artistic achievements of the Spanish Golden Age in Salamanca
  • Become envious of the lifestyle of kings in the palace of El Escorial

You have time in the morning to marvel at the golden-hued landmarks of Salamanca’s Old Town and university. Or you can have a lie-in if you enjoyed the famous nightlife a little too much the night before.

Cast a last glance at the stunning architecture of the city before we head off, and you continue the journey through the vast plains of Castile and León.

You’ll have a lunch stop and some free time in the city of Ávila before visiting El Escorial, the remarkable residence of the Spanish Royals and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After having been immersed in the riches of Spain, we take you to Madrid in the evening. (B)

Included Activities: Entrance to El Escorial

Dates and Prices - Hotel accommodation
Departure Dates and Days Double/Twin (pp) Single Rate
2024: April 15, 29 $2,690 $3,280
2024: May 13, 27 $2,760 $3,320
2024: June 10, 24 $2,760 $3,240
2024: July 8, 22 $2,690 $3,220
2024: August 5, 19 $2,690 $3,160
2024: September 2, 16, 30 $2,760 $3,270
2024: October 14, 28 $2,690 $3,170
2024: November 11 $2,610 $3,080

All guaranteed departures.

Pricing

Pricing is per person (pp) based on twin/ double occupancy.
Rates are in $ CAD.

 


Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca  to book.

Ask us for the best available pricing for your dates & choice of airline.

 

Notes
Mobility: All of our tours involve walking and require our guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility.

Luggage: You’re restricted to 20kg (44lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items.

Want to extend your stay in Lisbon and/or Madrid?  Ask us for a hotel package. 

Map

Photos

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