Home to world-renowned beaches, Portugal is a sun seekers’ paradise. But those who venture away from the sand will be rewarded by this bountiful country: cobbled hilltop villages, verdant islands and captivating cities await exploration.
For such a small country, Portugal’s regions are immensely varied. The mountainous Minho and Trás-os-Montes in the north preserve a rural way of life, while the southerly Algarve has been transformed into a holiday playground. In between these two extremes are forested hills, sun-baked plains, grape-laden valleys and buffeting waves.
The landscape of the two remote archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean differs again. Madeira is a green, subtropical paradise, while the Azores is characterized by otherworldly azure lakes and volcanic craters. Urban Portugal is a tale of two cities.
With cutting-edge art galleries and ornate Manueline monasteries, creamy custard tarts and the spine-tingling wail of traditional fado music, it’s little wonder that Lisbon has become a firm favorite with visitors.
But Porto is a serious rival to the capital city. Adorned with pretty azulejo tiles and tattooed with gritty street art, Portugal’s northern hub is both charmingly historic and modishly cool. Voguish brunch spots rub shoulders with the ubiquitous port lodges in this foodie’s haven.
This ten-day tour of Portugal and Spain includes Madrid, Salamanca, Porto, and a riverboat cruise deep into the Douro River Valley for an authentic taste of life in a seldom-visited region steeped in a wine-making culture thousands of years old.