Go Ahead Tours (tel. 800/590-1170; www.goaheadtours.com) is offering a last-minute deal on its Lisbon City Stay in mid-February. If you're concerned about traveling to Europe in winter, don't worry too much. In February, average lows in Lisbon are in upper 40s while average highs reach the low 60s.
After a red-eye flight from New York City, a tour representative meets you in the morning at the Lisbon airport. You'll be escorted to the Sana Metropolitan Hotel, in the city's business district. The four-star property has Wi-Fi, a piano bar, restaurant, and more. On your first full day, you'll tour the city with a local guide and visit Padrão dos Descobrimentos (the memorial to famous explorers); the landmark Tower of Belém; and the old Moorish district, the Alfama. You can't visit Lisbon without walking the esplanades and climbing the ramparts of Saint George's Castle, set atop a hill overlooking the Tagus River, or Monastery of Jerónimos where some of the country's greatest figures are entombed.
The other days of your trip are at your leisure, so you can plan your own itinerary, or book one of Go Ahead's day trips. Add $79 per person for a one-day excursion to Sintra, also known as the Portuguese Riviera. Or travel to Évora ($75 per person) for its whitewashed houses and Gothic cathedral. Add $69 per person for dinner and a fado music show just outside of Lisbon.
Why is this a deal? Airfare from JFK to Lisbon, according to an Expedia search, starts at $746 per person. The hotel costs an average of about €138 ($186) per night, or $744 for four nights, with taxes. If booked separately, the airfare ($746 per person) plus hotel stay ($372 per person) would put the trip at $1,118 per person, with taxes and fees. The full-day city tour (worth about $100), dinner (a $50 value), and round-trip transfers (worth $67) brings the DIY price to $1,335.
If you book this package with Go Ahead, the trip comes to $1,300, with government taxes and fees. In this case, booking the package is certainly worth skipping the hassle of booking everything on your own. Don't speak Portuguese? A bilingual Go Ahead tour director keeps regular desk hours at the hotel. It's like having a personal concierge to help you sort out how to get around, where to go, what to eat, and where to shop in Lisbon.
Trip Type: Air-inclusive, partially escorted
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Round-trip airfare from New York-JFK, Boston, or Washington, D.C. to Lisbon, Portugal; transfers; four nights at Sana Metropolitan Hotel; a welcome dinner; breakfast daily; the services of a bilingual Go Ahead tour director; hotel services charges and tips; and airline fuel surcharges.
What Else You'll Have to Pay:Government taxes and fees of $131
Book By: Nov. 30, 2011
When: Feb. 18, 2012
Single Supplement: $225
Other Gateways: Atlanta, Chicago (add from $200); Los Angeles (add from $270). You can extend this trip for two more nights from $259 per person.
Other Details:All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Blackout dates may apply. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways. The single supplement is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.