The Iberian Peninsula is a magnificent destination, but so often Spain's western neighbor gets overlooked. A land of stunning landscapes, historic castles, bountiful wine and sun is awaiting you in Portugal. Spring and summer brings warm temperatures and a plethora of deals to get you to that other Atlantic coastline.
Petrabax (tel. 800/265-4842; www.petrabaxusa.com) is currently promoting a special "Lisbon, Algarve or Porto Combination" package with a six-night split -- three nights in Lisbon and the remaining three nights in your choice of Algarve or Porto. The starting price of $809 plus taxes includes round-trip airfare from New York to Lisbon, and from Lisbon to Algarve or Porto on Tap Air Portugal, six-nights accommodation in four-star hotels, and daily breakfasts. This price is valid from now until 15 June and September 1 to October 31, 2005. From June 16 to August 31, 2005 the price increases to $1,295 plus taxes.
Go-Today tel. (800/227-3235; www.go-today.com) has a few discount packages to Portugal, like their $699 plus taxes deal to Lisbon which includes round-trip airfare from New York to Lisbon, six-nights accommodation at the VIP Hotel, continental breakfast daily, hotel taxes and service charges. Add $20 from Boston or Philadelphia, $40 from Washington, D.C. and $60 from Chicago, Miami and Orlando. Other departure cities available on request. This deal is valid for departures from now until May 29 and September 1 to October 31, 2005. Bookings must be made by May 12, 2005. For $669 plus taxes, Go-Today is promoting a Fly-Drive package that includes round-trip airfare to Lisbon from New York, seven-days Hertz economy manual car rental, local taxes and unlimited mileage. For an extra $310, why not add on an Algarve coastal stopover. This deal (valid from now until July15 and September 1 to October 31, 2005) includes three nights accommodation at the Ria Park Hotel, continental breakfast daily, all hotel taxes and service charges and three-day compact manual car with unlimited mileage.
Affordable Tours (tel. 800/935-2620; www.affordabletours.com) -- a discount seller of discount packagers' travel products -- has dozens of tours of Portugal from a number of different tour operators, ranging from budget to deluxe. Prices range from a "Classic Spain and Portugal" tour from Gate 1 priced at $619 (land-only) to a luxury 15-day Abercrombie and Kent tour priced at $10,990 plus airfare. There are many priced in between including a nine-day Christian pilgrimage tour to Fatima and Lourdes from Collette Tours base-priced at $999 and a 12-day "Portugal In Depth" tour from Globus Tours priced from $1,199. Several tours take in Spain, cover the entire Iberian Peninsula or include side trips to Morocco in their itineraries. Affordable Tours guarantees to save you between 5% and 14% on the published price of any tours it offers.
Abreu Tours (tel. 800/223-1580; www.abreu-tours.com) is featuring an 11-day escorted tour of Northern Portugal and Spain visiting Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Santiago de Compostella, Guimaraies and Viseu. Highlights include famous vineyards, ancient castles, historic sites and Roman ruins. The tour price includes round-trip airfare from New York, nine-nights' hotel accommodation (service charges, tips and taxes included), transportation by air-conditioned private motor-coach, and an English speaking tour director. Prices start at $2,405 per person based on double occupancy for May, early June and September departures. Add $415 for late June, July and August departures.
Abreu is also offering a fall six-day cruise on the beautiful Douro river, winding through the Douro valley with stops in Porto, Regua, Pinhao, Bitetos, Guimaraes and Braga. With round-trip airfare on Tap Air Portugal from New York (other departure cities are available for additional cost) the price in November is $1,073 per person, based on dual occupancy.
Not interested in a tour or a package deal? Fly independently and reap the rewards of discount flights through 1-800 Fly Europe (tel. 800/FLY-EUROPE; www.1800flyeurope.com). Between October 27, 2005 and April 2, 2006, for $395 plus tax, you can get a round-trip ticket from New York to Lisbon. From now until May 29, 2005, the airfare for the same route starts at a low $464 plus taxes and during the peak summer period (June 1 to August 31, 2005), the price goes up to $882 plus taxes. No advance purchase is required.
Airline Consolidator (tel. 888/468-5385; www.airlineconsolidator.com) has select date departures in April and May from New York to Lisbon on United for even less -- $377 plus taxes. Possibly the cheapest summer flights are through British Airways (www.britishairways.com) via London. On select dates in June, July and August, fares range from $760 to $805, but bear in mind that taxes through Heathrow Airport may end up making this route more expensive after all.
Marketing Ahead (tel. 800/223-1356; www.marketingahead.com/pousadas.html) represents a range of accommodation types throughout Portugal, from seaside retreats to luxury hotels. It's list of Portugal's network of 48 inns, known as pousadas, gives you the option to stay in some of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the country, including palaces, monasteries and castles. Reservations made through Marketing Ahead require a minimum three-night stay. They offer a 5% discount on your total package, including car rental if requested. Prices start at around $100 a night in a three-star property and go up to $500 or more for a five-star hotel.
For information from fellow Frommer's readers and travelers, simply click over to our Portugal Message Boards.