Summer in Portugal means quiet fishing towns, mellow beaches, and inexpensive fresh lobster eaten overlooking a calm shoreline while sipping a local white wine. Proud of their seafaring, discovering, and fine-living past, the Portuguese have reminders of their early colonial history, deep religious faith and culinary delights almost everywhere. Whether you're looking for a beach vacation or for a private area between the cliffs of the Algarve, trips through the countryside with hearty meals, or the big city museums and architecture of Lisbon, deals to Portugal cover it all.
Trafalgar Tours (tel. 866/544-4434; www.trafalgartours.com) has an air/land "Discover Portugal" package covering virtually the entire country and visiting Portugal's main sites. Departing on August 13, 2006, the eleven-day trip costs $2,465 with air and $1,425 for the land-only portion. The package goes down to $2,200 for fall departures. Starting in the capital city of Lisbon, the tour heads out over the mountains to the Algarve, visits the resort town of Lagos, hits the Oporto (think Port wine) vineyards and the national parks and the Roman town of Conimbriga. Sightseeing, transportation in a Trafalgar luxury coach, ten breakfasts, four full course dinners and one cultural feast, all accommodations in luxury and three-star hotels, and all hotel taxes are included. Additional excursions, such as a fish dinner in the Algarve and sightseeing of old cathedrals and convents, are available for small fees.
Colette Tours (tel. 800/942-3301; www.escortedcollettetours.com) is currently offering a ten-day "Sunny Portugal" tour starting at $1,499 for a November departure out of New York. Earlier departure dates are available for slightly more funds, such as $1,889 for a mid-September departure. Focusing on the coastal areas, the trip spends four nights on Portugal's Estoril Coast and three nights in the Algarve. Estoril is better known as the Portuguese "Riviera." With so many cultural spots, such as 2nd century temples, fishing stories, cork factories, and hand-painted tiles, this tour leaves you with a deep impression of classical Portuguese life. Fifteen meals are included on the tour, and you stay at three hotels so you're not constantly on the move.
For wine-oriented splurges, Cellar Tours (tel. +34 91 521 3939; www.cellartours.com) has a land-only five-day "Discover Portugal's Wines and Castles" trip. The VIP luxury tour stays in five-star accommodations and includes private transportation in a chauffer-guided vehicle. Daily breakfast and wine tasting highlights this trip that is based in Lisbon and takes lengthy day trips to nearby vineyards in Alentejo and around Sintra. Discounts are given to larger groups with a four-person private van tour and English-speaking guide costing approximately $2,120. Located in Spain, Cellar Tours has trips to Spain, Portugal and Italy. The site is also an excellent educational tool describing the different wine regions in each of the countries the tour provider visits.
For a combination trip visiting Northern Spain and Portugal, Djoser (tel. 877/356-7376; www.djoserusa.com) has a lengthy 17-day air/land trip digging deep into city and country life in both cultures. As with all Djoser trips, included in the total price you get airfare, accommodations, hotels and a very-well-versed local tour guide. Meals are on you, but your tour guide knows all the best local eats whether you want to eat fancy or casually. Prices for this trip are $2,730 out of New York, $2,955 out of Los Angeles, and $2,955 out of Miami. There are spots still available for August 18 and September 1, 2006 departures. Starting in Madrid and ending in Lisbon, this Djoser splits time between the two major cities and the distance in between. Check out the excellent slide show which gives glimpses of the natural and architectural wonders you'll see on this adventure.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Portugal Message Boards today.