Portugal comprises seven regions, each a marvel on its own, and more than that, the smorgasbord of tourist attractions synonymous with the country make it one of the most tempting destinations for travelers. Portugal’s varied landscapes, first-rate beaches, rich history and culture, beautiful cities, and gastronomy and wines are considered among the best on the planet, which is why the best way to explore it is by taking a tour.
Full-Day Tour to Sintra, Cabo da Roca & Cascais. Lisbon sits at the center of the country, making it a perfect launch-pad to the countless attractions that border it. The eight-hour tour starts with a saunter in Pena Park, where attractions such as secret caves and the romantic Pena Palace lie. Then it takes you to Sintra, a UNESCO heritage site perched atop a volcanic hill that’s home to awe-inspiring castles. You’ll have time for lunch or can opt to explore the National Palace instead. From there, drive through the Sintra Mountains and stand literally at the edge of the world at Roca Cape, the westernmost point in continental Europe. Then wrap up the tour with a trip to Cascais, a glamorous coastal resort town that is a dream for every beach lover. The cost for the tour is 64 EUR.
Lisbon Essential Tour: History, Stories & Lifestyle. Lisbon is one of the most scenic and captivating capitals in Europe, sprawling across a series of hills that provide wonderful views. This three-hour tour takes you to some of the capital’s most attractive spots, leaning more towards historic and religious sites. It also lays bare the various architectural masks that have characterized the city through the centuries, from Mannerist and Baroque to Gothic and more. Highlights include the San Roque – one of the first Jesuit churches in the world – the Carmo convent and church where the Carnation Revolution of 1974 began, and several attractions in Baixa, Lisbon’s historic heart and commercial hub. The price is 18 EUR per person.
Douro Valley Tour: Wine Tasting, River Cruise and Lunch. The Portuguese wine region of Douro is named after the Douro River, one of the major rivers in the Iberian Peninsula. It’s a must-visit for wine lovers and gastronomes. The full-day tour begins with a hotel pickup and takes you on an exploration of the valley. You will discover the best Douro has to offer, from its magnificent landscape to its local cuisine and wine. You’ll make two wine estate visits and see how different varieties are produced as you partake in some wine tasting. The tour also includes olive oil tasting and a typical Portuguese lunch, preceded by a relaxing hour-long ride aboard a traditional Rabelo boat on the Douro River. The cost for the tour is 85 EUR.
Sintra, Cascais, Estoril Full-Day Tour. Sintra served as an inspirational spot for famous authors like Hans Christian Anderson and Lord Byron, the latter famously describing the enchanting town as “the most beautiful in the world”. Lying 30 kilometers from Lisbon, Sintra is the westernmost point in mainland Europe. This day-long tour gives you time to soak in its wonderful atmosphere, architecture, and surroundings. There are many attractions here, including the National Palace and Pena Palace, which served as the residence of Portugal’s royal family. Lunch is followed up by a visit to the actual western tip in question, with the impeccably preserved fishing village of Cascais – established in the 12th century – wrapping up the tour. The price is 300 EUR for a group of 3 people.
Private Day-long Tour of Sintra, Cascais & Cabo da Roca. Sintra is known for its allure; one of the best ways to experience the UNESCO World Heritage Site fully is to take a private tour. Discover secret trails and caves in the mysterious Pena Park and catch magnificent views of the Moorish Castle when you pop into the Pena National Palace. Explore Sintra Natural Park by car and see palaces such as Monserrate, Quinta da Regaleira and Seteais, with photo moments at Roca Cape – “the edge of the world”. Enjoy a swim or go surfing at Guincho Beach, then hop on a beautiful ride along the Atlantic coast. Wrap up the trip with a stop at the trendy resort town of Cascais before heading back to Lisbon. The price is 300 EUR for a group up to 8 people.
Madeira East Island Tour and Levada Walk. Madeira Island is known for its natural beauty. This eight-hour tour aboard an 8 or 14-person modern airbus takes you on a mission to uncover its magical beauty. You will see the lovely wicker works of Camacha, as well as the Pico do Arieiro – the third-highest peak on the island which stands at 1818 meters. Spend some time at Ribeiro Frio, dubbed Madeira’s most beautiful spot, before heading to Faial along the northern coastal road. A three-course lunch awaits at Grutas do Faial, a legendary restaurant on the island, complete with a bottle of superb local wine. The price is 45 EUR per person.
Madeira West Island Tour with Levada Walk. The tour starts with a morning hotel pickup and takes you straight to Câmara de Lobos, the famed fishing village where Winston Churchill spent time painting whenever he visited Madeira. Cabo Girao, the tallest sea cliff in Europe, also stands on this side of the island. After viewing it, you will head to Ribeira Bravo, where you’ll explore the island’s most beautiful village, Ponta de Sol, with a quick stop at the local church. The full-day tour also includes a visit to the “Brides Veil” waterfall in Seixal; the volcanic rock pools of Porto Moniz; a stop at Encumeada Pass; and a stroll along a levada (a type of irrigation channel exclusive to Madeira). The price is 45 EUR per person.
3-Hour Algarve Caves and Coastline Boat Trip. Algarve has emerged as a major holiday destination famed for its sandy beaches, buzzing nightlife and beautiful fishing villages such as Albufeira. This tour takes you on a three-hour exploration of Algarve’s spectacular coastline. You’ll visit its caves and rock formations and take a catamaran cruise from Albufeira to the Carvoeiro area. But this is not your ordinary catamaran; it boasts a bar, lounge and a flybridge section for better views – although this is not included in the package. Enjoy a dip in the warm waters when you make a swimming stop. The price is 28 EUR per person.
Albufeira Half-Day Caves and Dolphin Watching Cruise. Set sail aboard a 47-seat jet-powered boat from Albufeira and head out on a dolphin-watching adventure, a mission that also includes searching for hidden caves. Enjoy the beautiful views of the rock formations and resorts of Albufeira and Carvoeiro. A marine biologist accompanying you will provide insights into these intelligent beings. However, since these are not zoo waters, dolphin sightings are not a cast iron guarantee. The price is 28 EUR per person.
Braga and Guimarães. This day-long tour takes you from Porto and through the region of Minho to the cities of Braga and Guimarães. It is bound to be a memorable trip due to its unique nature. First, spend time at Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for being the birthplace of Portugal and the country’s first king. Guimarães is a treat for the history lover. After some time here, you will head to Braga, one of the world’s oldest Christian cities. Other activities include visiting the local cathedral and historical center, and a scrumptious lunch at a local Portuguese restaurant. The trip also covers two of the most important sanctuaries in the area, the Bom Jesus do Monte and Sameiro Sanctuary. The price is 80 EUR per person, lunch included.
Most cities also have free walking tour companies (tips are expected) and those are a great and affordable way to get your bearings and a quick overview of the city’s history.