Visit the southern Portugal regions of the Alentejo and the famous beaches of the Algarve. Your motorcoach will travel through the peaceful landscapes of vast open plains of golden wheat fields, almond and olive orchards and cork oak trees of the sunny Alentejo. Here you will find numerous medieval castles, walled towns and whitewashed houses. Then on to the popular Algarve, the southernmost region of the country whose mild climate and rugged cliffs and grottoes shelter fabulous sandy beaches.
Day 1 - Lisbon/ Evora (+/- 140 km | 88 miles)
Depart Lisbon in the morning for the 4 day/3 night escorted South of Portugal tour. Head east through the Alentejo, Portugal's largest region, passing through vast plains, acres of olive orchards, vineyards and cork oak trees to Evora, an enchanting walled city rising from the plain. In Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will walk through the narrow streets past monuments that are testament to the long habitation of the city. The Roman temple, the Romanesque-Gothic church with its macabre Bones Chapel and the University (founded in 1559). In the marketplace see the richness and variety of ingredients used in the local cuisine. Evora is also known for its handicraft items of cork, ceramics and copper. Free time to enjoy lunch (not included) and an afternoon to explore on your own. Overnight in Evora.
Day 2: Evora/ Beja/ Silves/ Lagos (+/- 250 km | 155 miles)
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart Evora in the late morning for Beja (stop), a regional capital under Julius Caesar who called it Pax Julia after peace was made here with the fierce native warrior tribe, the Lusitani. The town's 13th century castle keep is unusually tall. Climb the 183 steps to the top and be rewarded with a panoramic view of the countryside. Continue across the rolling hills of the Alentejo to the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal. Among the orange groves is the town of Silves (stop), the historic center of Moorish culture in the Al-Gharb (Algarve). The city is dominated by the red stone castle of Moorish origins. Continue to Lagos, passing by the popular resort of Praia da Rocha. Overnight in Lagos.
Day 3 - Lagos/ Ponta da Piedade/ Sagres/ Cabo de S. Vicente/ Lagos (+/- 140 km | 88 miles)
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning will include a tour of the Algarve. Stop at Ponta da Piedade to admire the magnificent view of the Atlantic Ocean and the cliffs eroded by wind and sea. Continue westward to Sagres and the Sao Vicente Fortress said to be the location of Prince Henry the Navigator's famed School of Navigation. From here, Portuguese caravels in the 15th century were sent south to explore the African coast which ultimately led to the Portuguese rounding of the Cape of Good Hope and reaching India before other European nations. Drive along the seaside cliffs to Cabo Sao Vincente (Cape St Vincent), the southwestern point of Europe. Return to Lagos for a lunch stop (lunch not included). Lagos is a cosmopolitan town with a marina and fishing port where you can sample Algarve dishes such as "Cataplana", a seafood stew cooked in a copper pan of the same name. Local sweets include almond and fig cakes. Free afternoon in Lagos.
Day 4 - Lagos/ Setubal/ Serra da Arrabida/ Lisbon (+/- 330 km | 205 miles)
Breakfast at the hotel. Say farewell to the Algarve this morning. The return trip to Lisbon will take you along the western coast and include a stop the port city of Setubal and a drive along the Natural Park of the Arrabida Mountain Range whose wooded hillsides are thickly covered in aromatic shrubs, trees and vineyards. Savor the sweeping view of the Troia peninsula before arriving Lisbon in the late afternoon. End of the tour.
Major Sights: Evora, Beja, Silves, Alvor, Sagres, Lagos, Setubal, Arrabida
Duration: 4 Days
Departures: 9.00 a.m.
Languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish & French
Frequency: Saturdays (on guaranteed dates - minimum 4 persons to operate)