Portugal is an all-encompassing country armed with a renowned medieval fortress, populated by red-roofed buildings and tiled walls, bordered by sun-laden cliffs, and inhabited by majestic palaces once occupied by royalty. Even this descriptive summary barely does the country justice, as its welcoming arms provide a sanctuary for every type of traveler looking to experience European charm outside of typically-visited cities. From humble fishing villages to colorful castles, the initial contradicting nature of this diverse country merges together to form a tranquil scene for visitors of all statures.

As one of the westernmost countries in Europe, Portugal is an excellent introduction to the laidback European culture bearing a storybook past. Our immersive tour throughout the country introduces globetrotters to some of the nation’s most iconic cities and quaint countryside highlights in a matter of six days. Jump into a few of this itinerary’s focal points below.

Lisbon’s Bustling Scene and Sintra’s Breathtaking Castles

Not enough can be said about Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon. As you awaken with the locals, peer out your hotel balcony at the azulejo tiles embellishing the buildings. With these mesmerizing squares making a grand first impression on your soul, you’ll be driven to spring into action, exploring the streets from a ground level. As you walk through the city, keep your eyes peeled for Lisbon’s idyllic tram cars, cafés selling pastel de nata, and haphazard sightings of Gothic architecture. Consider a stroll to the Belém Tower to see one of the city’s earliest fortresses and point of embarkation and disembarkation. From here, continue onto Jerónimos Monastery, a symbol of Portugal’s wealth and power from the Middle Ages to current times.

Lisbon’s captivating terraces and side streets could take years to explore in their entirety, but an hour train ride away from the city center reclines the regal countryside of Sintra, the cradle of royalty and lavish castles inviting present-day explorers to roam their premises and imagine themselves in a life of luxury tucked away from onlookers. Pena Palace is one of the more unique castles in the town, parading sprightly colors and containing one of the largest tile collections in Portugal. Visitors have rarely been able to find a residence as enchanting as this animated palace.

An Excursion to Évora

Characterized by its milky-colored homes and uncanny skeletons, Évora is an ancient city showcasing a timeless influence. Included in its perimeters is the Roman Temple, a historical landmark symbolizing the previous Roman occupation. The still-standing monument gives insight into the previous inhabitants of the land, the crumbling columns telling a story of their own. Other highlights of Évora include an early Gothic cathedral, cobbled streets leading to the main square, and Sao Francisco Church, home to the Chapel of Bones.

This skeleton-bordered Ossuary chapel is a fascinating sight to behold for multiple reasons. In an eerily intriguing manner, the chapel lures visitors to view its walls decorated with human bones and skulls, a modern-art form once constructed as a result of too few graveyards.

A Fascinating Sight in Fátima

A drive through Portugal’s scenic countryside will eventually deliver you to Fátima, a municipality bearing talk of biblical history, as it is rumored to have been where the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in 1917. In this place of Catholic significance, visitors are encouraged to tour the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, an outstretched shrine in commemoration of this apparition.

As the main draw to the region, the shrine is an impressive religious landmark signaling a respected backstory and attracting the likes of the Pope.

A Visit to Porto

A colorful coastal city in Northwest Portugal, Porto is recognized for its vibrant hues stamped on buildings and its production of port wine. To celebrate safe travels to the region, we recommend participating in some classic wine tasting, savoring the city’s distinct blend of flavors. Leisurely stroll from one wine cellar to the next, mingling with locals and tourists alike with buzzing energy. For as much time as the day allows, meander throughout the aged streets and gaze at the energetic happenings, diners dwelling in glee, and numerous buildings bearing a unique story.

Included in your itinerary should be a stop at the Church of Sao Francisco, a Gothic monument of Porto furnished with Baroque decorations. The church’s Arabian Hall is a timeless open ballroom dressed from head to toe in ornate gilding and elegant tiles. Stand speechless in its vicinity before exploring the rest of the grounds. Being immersed in the hub of Porto is a remarkable way to experience the city, but many would argue that, in order for your Porto encounter to be considered complete, you would have to see it from a unique perspective. By opting into a Douro River cruise, you’ll be introduced to compelling views of the rich colors adorning the central buildings and port wine cellars spread across the region and will cross under bridges stemming from one valley to the next. Upon departing the boat, you’ll likely decide to disperse throughout the streets in search of specialty recipes, bidding farewell to the local charisma you’ve come to call a friend.

Posted by Gate 1 Travel

More of the World for Less