Private Tour of Portugal
Portugal : Lisbon & Algarve
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The gritty and yet picturesque city of Lisbon lies draped across a string of seven hills on the western Iberian Peninsula and is the westernmost and oldest city in western Europe. Its long and tumultuous history has resulted in an aesthetic characterised by a haphazard combination of old and new; however, the aesthetic chaos of Lisbon only adds to its appeal and its undeniable charm. Bright yellow centenarian trams rattle their way up steep, tree-lined, cobbled streets; ornate ironwork balconies overrun with bougainvillaea sit above elegant outdoor cafes housed in ancient whitewashed, red-roofed stone houses; and a flurry of detailed mosaics decorate the sidewalks. Ancient statues adorn grand squares and hidden gardens. A diverse culinary scene, a plethora of fascinating museums, and numerous castles make it easy to see why Lisbon is one of Europe’s most misunderstood and underrated cities.
Set on the west coast of Portugal in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, the town of the same name is a wonderland of historical castles and palaces. These architectural jewels range from the 12th-century Moorish fortress, with its imposing stone walls and the elegant white facade of the medieval Sintra National Palace, to the eerie Gothic extravagance and exquisite gardens of the Quinta Regaleira. The most famous of its ancient citadels is the hilltop Pena Palace, a Romanticist masterpiece with fantastical turrets, domes, vaulted arches and crenellated walls, recently restored to its original purple and ochre colours. Make sure to take a wander through the city’s old quarter, where a network of narrow alleys lead past exclusive boutiques and souvenir shops, cosy taverns and traditional bakeries; or head to Pena Park for a stroll along its beautiful forested trails.
Lagos, Nigeria’s gloriously chaotic economic and cultural powerhouse, sprawls inland from the Gulf of Guinea across Lagos Lagoon. This bustling capital megacity of thirty million residents is known for its exploding arts and music scene. Must see attractions include: Victoria Island, the financial center of the metropolis, which features a number beach resorts, boutiques and nightclubs; Lagos Island which is home to the National Museum Lagos, displaying a fascinating array of cultural artifacts and craftworks; and Freedom Park, which was once a colonial-era prison and now a serves as a major venue for concerts and public events. The city also boasts an impressive National Theatre, several colourful markets and some lovely beaches to explore.
Sagres is a scenic fishing village in the southern Algarve of Portugal, in the municipality of Vila do Bispo. Boasting four beaches, enormous cliffs, and a lovely harbour, the town is a serene favourite among outdoor enthusiasts. Praia da Mareta provides a vast stretch of soft sand, is usually sheltered and good for swimming, and is flanked by a line of excellent bars and restaurants. Praia do Tonel offers great waves for surfers, while Praia da Baleeira is reliably sheltered and Praia do Martinhal, just out of town, provides a quiet respite. History enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the 15th-century Fortaleza de Sagres, which uses three 200-foot cliffs as its walls. Make sure to visit ‘the end of the world’ - Cabo de Sao Vicente - the westernmost point of mainland Europe, was once believed to be so and offers some truly awesome views.
Situated in the south of Portugal, the Algarve is a region famed for its pristine golden beaches, fringed by dramatic cliffs and lapped by the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Visitors flock here to stay at the many luxury villas and spend days in the sand, sea, sun, and surf, or explore the many adventure-sport, sightseeing, and entertainment options. Stroll through the historic terraced hill villages and enchanting castle towns of the Algarve's interior, enjoy a round of golf on a world-class course, and wonder at the region’s magnificent bird life. Known for its balmy weather, the Algarve boasts over 300 days of sun per year. Don’t miss a visit to more remote western coast with its picturesque coves and rugged rock formations.
Lisbon district is located in southwestern Portugal and encompasses the country’s trendy capital, as well as beautiful Atlantic beaches. Lisbon City’s culture has distinctly modern elements such as street murals, quirky boutiques, hip cafes, and a thriving live music scene. However it is infused with reminders of ages past in the form of the ancient stone streets and candy-coloured buildings of its old town, as well as its hilltop Moorish castle and 16th-century monastery. Beyond the confines of the city, you can explore fairy-tale castles and manor houses in the forested area of Sintra, or relax on picture-perfect beaches in Cascais or Ericeira.
The Costa de Prata is an enchanting strip of Portugal’s west coast, combining spellbinding scenery, idyllic beaches and a wealth of activities with ancient history and rich tradition. Those looking for sea, sun and R&R should head to Nazare, a summer resort town with a wide half moon of softly burnished sand and some of the country’s most formidable surf breaks, or Peniche, a stony peninsula with dramatic ocean views. Immerse yourself in history at the university town of Coimbra, famous for its medieval architecture, or the fortified city Obidos (one of Portugal’s Seven Wonders), enclosed by high ramparts and crowned by an imposing 12th-century stone castle that now functions as a luxurious hotel. The Costa de Prata is also a favourite golfing destination, with a string of world-class courses across the region.
Located along Portugal’s breathtaking Algarve coast, a short 31-minute drive from Portimao, Lagos is a bustling city with beautiful beaches, dramatic seaside landscape and a vibrant nightlife. Take a kayak tour around the coast to get the maximum effect of the region’s rose-hued cliffs, azure waters and golden sands, or spend a few hours wandering through the walled old town, with its historical churches and central piazza lined with sidewalk cafes. To explore the darker side of the city’s past, visit the Slave Market Museum, which traces the history of the slave trade in the Algarve from 1944 when slaves were first transported into Europe through Lagos. Lagos is the perfect springboard from which to explore Portugal’s southwest coast, with its idyllic beaches and excellent surf.
Faro is a city and district in southern Portugal’s Algarve region, known for its idyllic beaches and diverse water-based activities. The capital is a port town with a picturesque marina and a beguiling old quarter with ancient Moorish and Portuguese architecture. Spend a day scuba diving, snorkelling or sailing along the coast; or take a dolphin-watching cruise to experience these amazing marine mammals up close in their natural habitat. You can admire a dazzling array of birdlife in the Ria Formosa wetlands reserve, and take a tour of the lagoon’s barrier isles, with their deserted sandy beaches. Visitors can also look forward to the region's delicious local cuisine, which focuses mainly on seafood dishes such as caldeirada, a hearty Portuguese seafood stew, and arroz de lingueirão, a rice dish flavoured with razor clams.