Charming Portugal is one of the special roundtrips outlined and offered by Jinah Trans. During this wonderful and unique 13-day roundtrip, you get to know the charm and character of Portugal. Our expert English-speaking guide takes you north to discover numerous attractions, beautiful natural landscapes and delicious culinary locations during a special 'other-than-normal' round trip from Lisbon to Porto.
Do you like an intense holiday experience and do you want to see a lot in a short time? Then this trip is for you!
The journey starts at Lisbon airport and ends at Porto airport. We cross the country and take you to the most charming places. So don't forget your camera! Also bring your most comfortable pair of walking shoes, because we will wander through many charming cobbled streets, which can sometimes be quite steep. Choose this unforgettable tour and absorb the time of the Knights Templar, the age of exploration and the echoes of the ancient maritime spice routes at first hand.
Whether you are travelling with your partner, one or more friends or your family, your private guide & driver will accompany you during the entire tour of charming Portugal and will tell you everything you want to know about the history and culture of this beautiful country.
Below is a summary of the unique itinerary for this special tour. Adjustments are of course possible if you want to see or do something special along the way. In this case, please let us know before you confirm your booking!
Time is scheduled each day for lunch and dinner. If you are not familiar with the locations we visit, your guide will help you choose restaurants according to your taste and budget.
This package includes a round trip with a private guide & driver, but you choose and book the hotel or accommodation yourself within the predefined route of this special round trip. See the itinerary of the special tour Charming Portugal. In the detailed itinerary below you can see where we stay.
Book now your special tour 'Charming Portugal'
On this first day of your special trip 'Charming Portugal', your private guide welcomes you at Lisbon airport and takes you to your hotel. Depending on the arrival time of your flight, we can visit one of the districts of Lisbon.
So, put on your walking shoes, stretch your legs and enjoy this beautiful city. Lisbon is built on seven hills so some of the streets can be quite steep. Also bear in mind that most of the streets are cobbled and have narrow pavements.
After a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, our special journey through charming Portugal really begins with a further exploration of the capital Lisbon. By the end of the day, you'll understand why Lisbon has won several awards as best travel destination. Your private guide makes sure that you visit all the places that you absolutely cannot miss. The driver & guide deliberately do not use a car for this. After all, Lisbon is too busy and too difficult to find a parking space. We therefore suggest you take public transport or a hop-on/hop-off bus, depending on your personal preference.
Below you will find a list of sights to visit. Discuss with your personal guide what you would like to do and see!
- Belèm Palace: the residence of the Portuguese president since 1910.
- Pasteis de Belèm: on the way from the palace to the monastery, you will see people lining up in the streets for the popular and delicious Pasteis de Belèm, the local delicacy.
- Mosteiro dos Jerónimos: This monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church houses the resting place of Vasco da Gama, the famous Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea (15th century).
- Monument to the Discoveries: the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is located opposite the Jerónimos Monastery on the north bank of the Tagus. It was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator, an important figure in the history of Portugal and the Age of Discovery.
- Belèm Tower: this monument, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located further along the river bank. The fortress was built in 1515 and guards the entrance to the Lisbon channel. It was the starting point of many voyages of discovery and for many sailors the last sight of their homeland.
- Pálacio Nacional da Ajuda: This palace is one of Europe's most romantic buildings with a rich interior. In our opinion, one of the most beautiful palaces we have ever seen.
The Baixa district begins on the northern bank of the Tagus River with the Praça do Comércio, Lisbon's ceremonial entrance. This square is surrounded by classical buildings with the triumphal arch as the gateway to Rua Augusta, a popular shopping street with lively side streets. One of these side streets houses the Elevador Santa Justa, a wrought iron industrial Art Nouveau wonder.
Between all the visits we take time to have lunch in a restaurant of your choice.
Before dinner, you will of course get the chance to freshen up in your hotel. Afterwards, we go to Alfama, Lisbon's oldest district. Here you will find the São Jorge castle and the Sé (cathedral) and many other historical buildings. But the most adorable facet is the labyrinth of narrow streets with a surprise around every corner.
While visiting this part of Lisbon you can choose to dine in a typical Portuguese restaurant and then enjoy an evening of Fado in one of the intimate local Fado bars.
After breakfast, we leave Lisbon and continue our special tour through charming Portugal towards Sintra. We follow the river Tagus as much as possible to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. We pass Estoril, known for its casino, and drive further to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Here, in the incessant surf, you can literally feel how the Portuguese used to wonder what would be on the other side of the sea.
After a short stop, the journey continues inland to Quinta da Regaleira. This house with a somewhat frightening architecture was built in the 20th century. The gardens surrounding it are enchanting and contain hidden tunnels and symbolism of ancient secret orders.
On the way to the next sights, we suggest having lunch in a 5-star hotel that used to be a palace and where you can still enjoy idyllic views accompanied by delicious food and wine. If you do not wish this, please let your guide know.
After lunch, we continue to the Palace of Monserrate, a 19th-century mansion with Islamic-inspired architecture. The fine details of the palace are simply perfect thanks to the inspiration of Sir Francis Cook, an English merchant who had his ideal palace built. The quiet, peaceful gardens contain exotic plants from Sir Cook's personal collection.
After this visit, your guide will take you to your hotel in Sintra, where you can freshen up before dinner. If you wish, your guide will be happy to give you suggestions for restaurants in Sintra.
One of the highlights of this special tour of charming Portugal is undoubtedly the fairytale-like Sintra. Due to busy streets and one-way traffic, it is difficult to drive around and park our car here. Therefore, after breakfast, we take a city bus to visit the Palácio da Pena and the Castelo dos Mouros.
The exterior of the Palácio da Pena is painted in vibrant colours and offers a fusion of all kinds of artistic styles and architectural influences. The interior is an equally interesting profusion of styles. The woods surrounding the palace have a variety of unusual plants, hidden paths and great viewpoints.
Did it make you hungry? At the end of the palace visit, there is a cafeteria where you can have something to eat.
Continuing our special tour, we visit the Castelo dos Mouros, a Moorish castle built in the 9th century as a fortified observatory. Its hilltop location amidst dense woodland is excellent for spectacular panoramic views of Sintra and far beyond!
After this visit, your guide will take you to the centre of Sintra where you can enjoy a free afternoon and evening. Spend this time as you like. Perhaps lunch, some shopping or a visit to the Palácio Nacional de Sintra followed by an intimate dinner in a restaurant of your choice?
We leave Sintra and after breakfast continue our special tour of charming Portugal to another spectacular monument. The Baroque neoclassical palace of Mafra, built in the 18th century, was clearly influenced by the Italian style. This palace houses a monastery and a basilica. The palace has 1200 rooms and the part where the monks stayed is huge. The palace could accommodate 300 monks, the royal family and their entourage and sometimes very many guests. The north tower and its wing was for the king, the south tower and wing for the queen.
A must see is the library, considered one of the most beautiful in the world and containing rare books, including the Chronicle of Nuremberg. As with the Joanina Library in Coimbra, which we will visit later on in this trip, bats help preserve the books.
Tip: After your visit to the palace, your guide may take you to a local vineyard, where you can enjoy a guided tour, wine tasting and gastronomic lunch (not included in the price). Let your guide know if you are interested in this so he can make the reservation.
Our next stop is the Buddha Eden Garden which, at 35 hectares, is the largest oriental garden in Europe. Large Buddha statues, ornate pagodas, a real terracotta army and other intriguing sculptures can be admired here. A surprising encounter with the far east in the far west of Europe.
After enjoying this vast spectacle, we continue to drive to a town that time has forgotten. Óbidos is a medieval walled town known as the Villa das Rainhas (the town of queens). With its charming, narrow cobbled streets, traditionally painted houses and robust castle, Óbidos offers a unique window into Portugal's past.
Soak up the atmosphere and wander in and out of interesting shops on the main street. Taste a Ginja (a cherry liqueur) served in a delicious chocolate cup. Delicious!
Afterwards we drive via Foz do Arelho to Nazaré, where you can have dinner and stay the night.
You don't have to pack your bags yet, because tonight you will sleep in the same hotel. After breakfast we depart for Alcobaça, where we visit the Santa Maria Cistercian Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since the 12th century, the monastery has been a centre of learning and is known for its excellent agriculture. The church, one of the largest in Portugal, has 2 royal tombs with an intriguing story... Your guide will tell you all about it!
After this visit, and perhaps a terrace on the main square around the monastery, we drive to Sítio, the district that towers above Nazaré. There, you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the city, the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. The church is also worth a visit, if only for the black Madonna and the legend that accompanies it.
Nazaré is synonymous with extreme surfing. At the infamous north beach (Praia da Norte), Rodrigo Koxa, a world-famous Brazilian surfer, recently broke Garrett McNamara's world record by surfing the highest wave ever: 24.38 m high (equivalent to an apartment building of about 8 floors).
The healthy sea air must have made you hungry, so it's time for lunch. We'd like to suggest an excellent restaurant in São Martinho do Porto. While you enjoy the food and wine, you'll have a nice view of the sandy, horseshoe-shaped bay of the town, which attracts thousands of tourists every year during summer.
Of course, you can also choose to stay in Nazaré. If you prefer to have lunch in São Martinho do Porto, then we will take you back to Nazaré via the coastal route, where you can enjoy a free afternoon of shopping or doing some pavement cafes. Be sure to take a walk along the coastline, where you can still see women in traditional costumes, drying locally caught fish in the sun on the beach.
Pack your bags, because after breakfast we will drive to Batalha to visit the Santa Maria da Vitória Monastery, another monument that belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage List and a wonderful example of Portuguese and European architecture. Its construction lasted more than 150 years. Therefore, you will recognise different architectural styles in the building, including Gothic, Manueline (the typical Portuguese style) and even Renaissance.
After this visit we continue our special tour of charming Portugal inland for a delicious lunch in Fátima. Of course this can be in a restaurant of your choice, but your guide can suggest a very good one.
Fátima is a well-known Catholic place of pilgrimage. Admire the huge square with the original church where the shepherd children were buried, the open chapel with the statue of Mary and the modern cathedral.
Then we drive to Tomar, the land of the Knights Templar, to visit the Convento do Cristo, again a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stories your guide has to tell offer an insight into the events of the past, giving you an indelible impression of history.
Afterwards, your guide will take you to the historic centre for a short walking tour.
Today we drive north to Conímbriga to visit the Roman ruins. Excavations only started at the beginning of the 20th century and the entire Roman city has not yet been mapped out. However, you can already enjoy the many beautiful mosaics, city walls that have largely remained intact, ruins of Roman villas, the Castellum Divisorium, the forum and more.
We then depart for Coimbra, home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. Here you will visit the old university with its baroque Joanina library, built at the beginning of the 18th century. To this day it remains one of the richest and most opulent libraries in Europe. Only small groups of visitors can enter the library at once. That way, the atmospheric and conservation conditions are not compromised.
After lunch your guide will take you for a guided walk through the lower and/or upper part of the city of Coimbra. Maybe there will be some time for shopping before dinner!
On the ninth day of our special trip through charming Portugal, your feet can rest a bit, because after breakfast, your guide will take you to the Serra da Estrela region so that you also have the opportunity to admire the beautiful Portuguese nature. On the way to this beautiful natural park, we pass some slate villages and, if you wish, we can stop at a local farm for a wine and cheese tasting. If you are not interested, please let your guide know.
Along the way, we stop whenever you want, so you can enjoy the sites, the sounds, the smells... and capture the beautiful surroundings on photo.
For the night, we suggest a Pousada in the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, where you can also enjoy a delicious dinner.
If you want to stay in another hotel, no problem.
Welcome to the Rio Mondego, the largest river that runs through Portugal from its source to its mouth. After breakfast we cross Portugal from east to west. To do this, we follow the river from its source in the Serra da Estrela along the Serra do Buçaco to Aveiro.
Aveiro is sometimes called the Portuguese Venice because of its canals. Even though it is much smaller than Venice or Bruges, it is still fun to take a boat trip. After the boat trip and a lunch in a restaurant of your choice, you will enjoy free time to explore the town further. Maybe you want to buy some souvenirs or just relax.
For dinner, your guide will be happy to give you tips for restaurants with dishes that offer the true taste of Aveiro.
We hope you enjoyed a good night's sleep, because today, after breakfast, we continue our special tour through charming Portugal to the city of Porto. During an informative walking tour, your guide will show you all the relevant highlights of the city. Maybe you will also manage to visit the world-famous Lello bookshop, where according to insiders J.K. Rowling found the inspiration for her Harry Potter books.
In Porto, you can hardly avoid tasting port wines! This is perfectly possible across the Douro River where you will find many adegas. So, enjoy this opportunity for the rest of the day or do some shopping.
Would you like to dine in a good restaurant in the evening? Ask your guide for tips.
Today you can choose to experience a cruise on the Douro River. There are various possibilities: from short trips to a full-day cruise with lunch included.
Admire the unique views of the valleys, the vineyards and the magnificent panoramas from the Douro. Be charmed by the typical steep terraces carved out of the green hills. You can almost feel the grapes ripening on the vines! And why not try some Douro wine?
A perfect ending to this special tour through 'Charming Portugal'.
Today we say goodbye to you. Your guide will take you to Porto airport in time for your flight back home.
Summary of the day:
The 13-day guided roundtrip in which you cross charming Portugal northwards from Lisbon to Porto is meant for 2 persons to a group of maximum 6 persons. Are you travelling alone, with a partner, one or more friends or your family? You and/or your company will always enjoy exclusive private guidance during the whole tour. The price for this guided tour along the most beautiful places of Portugal is calculated according to vehicle occupancy.
The day tours, mini-trips and special multiple-day tours of Jinah Trans are popular. So, book well in advance to avoid disappointment!
Is this not the guided day trip you had in mind? Then have a look at our other day tours. If you still cannot find what you are looking for, please contact us! We will be happy to put together a bespoke tour for you.
Standardly, Jinah Trans provides trips for up to 7 people. Is your group larger? Then contact us!