Portugal 2017: Wine, Food, and Fado!

We fell head over heels for Portugal back in 2014 when we started our full time travel life. Back then we were on a "trial run" to see if we'd like traveling all the time. It was very likely our time in Portugal that convinced us that, yep, the travel life is the life for us. We've hardly looked back since then, but we've yearned to get back to Portugal. We think you'll fall in love with Portugal just like we did, which is why we've put this tour together.

We'll retrace some of our prior steps and we'll see some new things with you. We're firm believers that there should always be an element of discovery in our travels, and we're excited you're considering coming along with us. We aim to keep our group to 10 (plus us makes 12) so that we can all get to know each other and we'll be able to visit smaller, cozier places without overwhelming them.

How You Too Will Fall In Love With Portugal

Portugal's Duoro Valley

You'll arrive at Lisbon's sleek, modern airport mid to late morning on Sunday, September 17. You'll find us just as you leave the secure area (we'll make sure you can't miss us). From there we'll whisk you to our hotel in central Lisbon where you can relax and do your jet lag fighting routine, and for stay-awake incentive we'll have a welcome party early that evening (there might just be wine served). We'll practice our Portuguese (always interesting after a few glasses of wine), and we'll discuss our touring options for Monday.

Monday morning we'll meet for breakfast (or you can sleep in if you prefer) before a day out exploring Lisbon. If you like what we are planning to do, you're welcome to join us, but if you prefer you can strike out on your own (but do plan to catch up with us later to share your experiences). The top of our list will include the Castelo de S. Jorge, an 11th century Moorish castle in the heart of the old city, a visit to the cathedral of Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa (or more simply, "The Lisbon Cathedral" for the Portuguese challenged), and some people-watching and wine sipping at the iconic waterside plaza Praça do Comércio. We'll meet back at the hotel and marvel at what a beautiful city Lisbon is.

Tuesday morning after breakfast our driver will pick us up in our private minibus and drive us in climate-controlled comfort north toward the medieval city of Obidos. While only 90 minutes away, we might take a long route and enjoy the countryside or even views of the "Oceano Atlantico". We'll stop somewhere interesting for lunch. And while we're driving we'll talk about Portugal's wine (there might just be some sampling going on...we have a driver, after all). We'll settle into our hotel in Obidos in the afternoon, and for that evening and all the next day, we will enjoy the slower pace of a place where the biggest sight-to-see is the city itself. We'll be on the lookout for a fado bar to visit later for an evening of the quintessential Portuguese music and (yes) more wine.

Quinta dos Tres Rios

On Thursday morning after breakfast we'll board our minibus and continue further north toward Portugal's Dao region. While the nearby Duoro Valley is better known because it's where true Port wine comes from, "The Dao" is the epicenter of all of Portugal's other wine production--which is equally as impressive (if not moreso, but we'll let your wine taste buds decide for themselves). If we get out on time, and if everyone's up for it, along the way we'll stop off in Portugal's university hill town, Coimbra, for lunch and stunning views of the neighboring countryside. Continuing on to our rendezvous with Quinta dos Tres Rios, we'll be greeted by Hugh and Jane, our hosts for the next few days. We will relax that afternoon on Hugh and Jane's stone porch overlooking his vineyard and the neighboring valley, created by the rushing Rio Asnes river below. 

Touriga Nacional GrapesWhile at Hugh and Jane's quinta, if you've ever wondered how wine is made, now's your chance to ask. Hugh will enthusiastically show you through his vineyard, describe how each of his traditional Portuguese varietals are used in his wines, and proudly serve you unlimited quantities of his wine (that's right, "unlimited" wine). Hugh will also take us to visit some of his favorite local neighboring wineries, including a 1-day unforgettable Port-tasting tour through the Duoro Valley. And if we're lucky, harvest will be underway and Hugh will have some grapes he needs us to stomp.

It might seem that Hugh and Jane are all about wine, but they're also all about food. Before they were quinta owners Hugh and Jane ran one of the most successful meat-smoking companies in Europe. Hugh still smokes all his own meats, and you'll certainly enjoy some of the tastiest meals you've ever had during our visit. This just adds to the fact that their quinta is also a fully functioning farm producing most of their own fresh vegetables and fruits. If there are still peaches on their trees when we visit, you can just pluck one from its branches and enjoy the juices running down your arms. And then there's Hugh's olive trees and oil press...and their award-winning pastry chef daughter...all adding up to culinary heaven. For the foodies in our group, expect to be offered a cooking demonstration where we get to eat the demonstration.

300x_qdtr-2.jpgThe following Tuesday morning we will tearfully say goodbye to Hugh and Jane and board our minibus for the Portuguese coast and the beach resort of Aveiro. We'll stay a short walk from the beach on the cobble stoned Praia da Costa Nova, the most unique beach front promenade you're likely to ever see. Naturally, seafood is the cuisine here and we'll enjoy the Portuguese version of paella, and for the brave among our group, sausage-sized olive-oil soaked baked sardines. There will, of course, be wine to wash it all down with, including perhaps Portugal's variety of Sangria. If our days are sunny, we can enjoy the beach, or we can board our minibus and explore nearby sites such as the Roman ruins at Conimbriga.

On Friday we will return to Lisbon. That evening you will be our guests at a group thank-you dinner and party (a main objective of which will be to consume whatever wine we have left over). The next morning, after breakfast, we will return to the Lisbon airport and bid farewell to Portugal. 

Hopefully from this narrative you get a sense of what we're going for in our small group tour of Portugal. The goal is discovery, but a key is flexibility. We will necessarily make adjustments as we go. If our beach day is rained out, we'll visit some Roman ruins. If we find a winery's tasting room unexpectedly closed, we'll find another one. If the group decides to take the long way to the beach, we'll do that. If we learn there's a festival one night in a nearby town, we might decide to go. That dose of serendipity, hopefully, will make your Portugal experience that much more rewarding.

300x_qdtr-4.jpgDates

Saturday, September 16, 2017 to Saturday, September 30, 2017

What's Included

  • 1 or 2 pre-trip planning meetings and get-to-know everyone sessions over the web
  • Round trip coach airfare from eastern US gateway cities (Atlanta, Detroit, New York)
  • All lodging
  • Airport transfers
  • Transportation (ala the minibus)
  • All breakfasts
  • Many (about half) lunches and dinners (we'll provide a chart showing what to expect)
  • Wine tours (and lots and lots of wine)
  • Cooking demonstration

Pricing And Options

$2,980 per person based on double occupancy

Connections to the US gateway cities are available for an additional cost; just let us know where you'll be connecting from.

A discount is available if you wish to provide your own airfare or if you'll be joining us from elsewhere (like the UK), but please understand that airport transfers will require everyone to arrive and depart at similar times.

Get A Quote And Hold Your Spot

If you're interested in joining us, please submit the form below. Select your options and we'll send you a quote. No money is required now; we'll start accepting deposits in January and let you know what the payment timeline is. As we want to limit the size of our group, we'll use our list as a "first option" sort of list: when it's time for deposits, we'll let people know starting with the earliest form submitted.

The River Anses, Portugal