Portuguese Archaeology

Ancient Roman temple ruins in Evora
Ancient Roman temple ruins in Evora

Andante Travels have joined forces with Brightwater Holidays to showcase all that Portugal’s history has to offer with visits to the Almendres Cromlech, walk the former streets of Conimbriga and Citânia de Briteiros.

Variety, as the old adage goes, is the spice of life — and nowhere is this more true than in Portugal. From the sacred hush of woodlands and ancient sites to rolling rivers and buzzing cities, we take it all in.

Around Portugal’s burgeoning modern cities, rugged coasts and quiet woodlands, you’ll find clues to civilisations who came before. Visit the Almendres Cromlech, where the sun-warmed soil supports 8,000 year old stones; walk the former streets of Conimbriga, an extensive Roman settlement; and marvel at the remains of the Iron Age hill fort at Citânia de Briteiros.

Fast-forward to the Middle Ages — which brought us the charming town of Guimarães and the monumental baroque majesty of the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary — and even further to the present, and enjoy all that Portugal’s history has to offer. There’ll also be plenty of time to relax, whether on lazy Douro boat rides or walks in the woods, making for a wonderfully varied getaway.

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

This morning we depart from London Gatwick on a direct flight to Lisbon. Upon arrival we are taken on an introductory tour of Lisbon. We check into our hotel and the remainder of the afternoon is free to spend at your leisure. Dinner is served at the hotel this evening.

Day 2

This morning we travel to Évora and visit the megaliths including Almendres Stone Circle and Menhir as well as Anta Grande do Zambuieiro. 95 of these mystical stones make up two circles and it’s believed the first stones to be placed here was 6000bc.

After lunch in Évora, we continue with a photo stop at the Cathedral (Sé), the largest of Portugal’s medieval cathedrals; and opposite it the Igreja de São João, a 15th century convent church which features a stunning collection of blue azulejos (tiles) by António Oliveira Bernardes, dating from the early 1700s.

We return to the hotel, where we have the rest of the evening free to spend at our leisure.

Day 3

Head for Sintra where the group makes a visit to Palacio Nacional de Sintra. The 11th century Moorish Palace is richly embellished with glazed tiles, surmounted arches and the iconic geometric patterns synonymous with Moorish design. Following lunch in a local restaurant we continue to Castelo da Pena. The castle is a dramatic spectacle of colour and romanticism build on a high point of the estate so it can be seen across the Sintra Hills.

This evening we spend at our leisure.

Day 4

Today we head to our next base for the trip, Coimbra. On the way we visit the Mosteiro de Batalha. The UNESCO World Heritage site has over six centuries of history and is one of the best and original examples of gothic and Manueline architecture in Portugal. For lunch we try the Mediterranean delicacies in a local restaurant before we continue to the ruins of the ancient city of Conimbriga. Some of the earliest remains date back to 9th century BC, before it was taken over by the Romans in 2 century AD.

We return to the hotel this evening and enjoy dinner as a group.

Day 5

This morning we check out of our hotel and journey north to Porto. We pass the Bucaco Forest, Portugal’s most famous and revered woodland. After pausing for lunch, we continue to Porto where we spend the afternoon on an introductory tour of the city followed by wine tasting in one of the famous Port Lodges.

We check in to our hotel this evening where dinner is served.

Day 6

Today we have a full free day to explore Porto at leisure, alternatively, you can join an optional excursion up the Duoro River. We depart in the morning on boat trip from the quay at Vila Nova de Gaia and we cruise up the Duoro River as far as Regua with lunch included on board. On arrival at Regua there will be some free time to explore before returning to Porto by train. The town is the nestled in the river valley, in the midst of the port-wine region.

Day 7

Today we continue north of Porto to the religious sanctuary of Bom Jesus Do Monte. It is a pilgrimage site for many and has a stunning Baroque stairway which climbs 116 meters up the hill. As you climb the stairway look out for the symbolic fountains, allegoric statues and baroque paintings of biblical scenes. The 18th century church, which stands at the site was built by Carlos Amarante and was inspired by an Italian neo-classical design. Following lunch, we continue to archaeological site at Citania de Briteiros before we conclude with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Guimaraes.

We return to the hotel for our final night we spend at our leisure.

Day 8

After breakfast we check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for our flight home.

What's Included

  1. Hotel
  2. Expert Guide Lecturer
  3. Professional Tour Manager
  4. Local Travel - Comfortable local travel in air conditioned coach
  5. Meals - Three nights' dinner (with wine) – five lunches (six incl. optional excursion)
  6. Excursions and tips - Entry to all excursions and tips in the programme
  7. Flights - Return flights (UK only)

Hotel Info

Bed and breakfast: three nights in Lutecia Hotel, one night in Tryp Hotel Coimbra, three nights in Mercure Porto Gaia Hotel (or similar)

Travel Information

This tour is being run jointly between Andante Travels and our sister site Brightwater Holidays.

Brightwater Holidays are specialists in escorted Special Interest Tours and Tailor Made Travel for Groups

For full information about passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

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