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Group Travel Tour Operator for holidays to Portugal

Northern Portugal

  • Porto from Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal ©Photo by Rui Morais de Sousa

    Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal ©Photo by Rui Morais de Sousa
  • Caves Ramos Pinto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Portugal. ©Photo João Paulo

    Caves Ramos Pinto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Portugal. ©Photo João Paulo
  • Douro Valley, Portugal ©Photo Rui Cunha

    Douro Valley, Portugal ©Photo Rui Cunha
  • River Douro © Wines of Portugal

    River Douro © Wines of Portugal
  • Aveiro, Portugal ©Jose Manuel

    Aveiro, Portugal ©Jose Manuel
10 day tour
From £730 per person - minimum 30 passengers

Dsicover Northern Portugal including Porto and the Douro Valley

Northern Portugal is a delightful medley of contrasting landscapes, historic monuments and wonderfully atmospheric towns. The region’s historic capital, Porto, sits astride the Douro River. On this tour, we enjoy this higgledy-piggledy, charismatic town. As well as this, discover four of the region’s historic towns.

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Explore the Picturesque Porto and the Sumptuous Douro Valley

The Douro is a majestic wilderness, an UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001, it is one of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world. It is a surprisingly silent place where tranquillity reigns supreme. Porto offers a far contrast to this, offering the bright lights of a beautiful city and a charming old town. You will be see Porto’s majestic bridges and and traditional old boats which will be your mode of transport to the opposite bank. This is where you will discover Vila Nova de Gaia. Home to the city’s most famous product, Port wine. The perfect setting for a tour and tasting experience.

The Costa Verde; Braga and Guimarães

There are several historic and interesting cities, towns and villages on the Costa Verde that will fascinate. Particularly important are the towns of Braga and Guimarães located more inland. Braga’s Cathedral is one of the oldest in the country and was built in the 12th century by the parents of Portugal’s first King, D. Henrique and D. Teresa, who are buried there. Stroll around the historic centre to visit some of the many churches, admire the houses and historical buildings, such as the Palácio do Raio, the Theatro Circo, the Arco da Porta Nova, and to have a coffee at the emblematic Brasileira with a view of the busy Avenida Central.  Braga is considered the youngest city in Portugal and, from its contemporary landmarks such as the football stadium and the Universities provide a buzz to the city.

In contrast, the city of Guimarães retains many of medieval buildings and its castle is imposing. The city buildings like the hilltop, 10th-century Guimarães Castle, offer truly stunning vistas of the city. The restored Dukes of Bragança Palace, built in the style of a French chateau, has a museum showcasing furniture, tapestries and weapons. Between the palace and the castle is the Romanesque São Miguel do Castelo Church, built in the 13th century.

Costa de Prata; Aveiro and Coimbra

Located next to the sea and the estuary, the the city of Aveiro is crossed by a network of channels through which moliceiros (local boats) meander. These slim, colourful vessels used to be used to collect algae and seaweed, and today are for sightseeing trips. Aveiro has a number of buildings in Art Nouveau style that are worth seeing. Many are situated along the main channel, but there are some off the beaten track and here you will find many restuarants and Tascas offering you the delights of sea. Be sure to indulge in the shellfish, fresh fish grilled or casseroled and eels, characteristic of this region and Northern Portugal, which are served casseroled or marinated.

Noted for its cultural traditions and artistic treasures, Coimbra was long the intellectual capital of Portugal and remains one of the most picturesque cities in Northern Portugal. With its suburb of Santa Clara, the city spreads out along the two sides of the Mondego River. The city’s steeply stacked historic centre dates to back to Moorish times and with its dark cobbled lanes and monumental cathedral, the centre is wonderfully atmospheric.

Gothic León and the capital of  Cantabria, Santander

After you’ve left Portugal, head towards León in Northern Spain, popular with those travelling the Pilgrim Road to Santiago de Compostela. Here, delight in the 13th-century artistic masterpieces, the charming back streets and the delicious gastro-culture. It’s home to many churches and cathedrals noted for their architecture and art. one such highlight is the beautiful French style gothic cathedral with its abundance of stained glass. Gaudí also left his mark in León, with the exquisite Casa Botines, whose medieval façade was in fact inspired by the cathedral. There will also be some time to explore the  city of Santander is the capital of the Cantabria region on Spain’s north coast. The Palacio de la Magdalena, once the royal summer residence, lies at the mouth of the Bay of Santander on the rocky La Magdalena Peninsula. West, the city centre is home to the Catedral de Santander, with its octagonal cupola and Gothic cloister.

Why not see more of Portugal and visit the captivating capital, Lisbon.


Dates

Dates throughout 2021


Suggested Itinerary

Day 1-2

Travel to Spain

Board the ferry from Portsmouth for an overnight sailing to Santander. Arriving in Santander the following evening, stop for an overnight in this coastal city.

Day 3

Arrive in Porto

This morning, continue onward to Portugal. Upon arrival in Porto, enjoy some free time to explore at your lesiure.

Day 4

Porto sightseeing

This morning we take a walking tour of Porto to see the Ribeira district, the heart of the city and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with ancient houses and narrow cobbled streets. In the afternoon, perhaps take a cruise on the Douro River. An optional visit to a Port Wine Lodge for a tour and a tasting is available.

Day 5

Douro Valley

We head into the Douro Valley. At the charming riverside village of Pinhão, the walls of the little railway station are decorated with 24 blue glazed mosaics dating from 1937 that depict local wine-producing scenes. Today’s tour can include a trip on a traditional flat-bottomed ‘rabello’ boat and a visit to a vineyard for a tour and a tasting.

Day 6

Braga and Guimarães

We travel further into the Costa Verde today to visit Braga, a famous pilgrimage site and Portugal’s religious capital. We visit Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, and take the funicular to see one of Portugal’s most beautiful churches. Guimarães is home to a ruined castle and a splendid museum housed in a palace. We also stop at medieval Viana do Castelo, the ‘Jewel of the Costa Verde’.

Day 7

Aveiro and Coimbra

Today we head south into the Costa de Prata region to visit Aveiro, the ‘Venice of Portugal’, where gaily painted fishing boats glide along the town’s charming canals. In the afternoon we visit historic Coimbra, a medieval riverside city and one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful university towns.

Day 8

León

Heading back northwards, we return to Spain and visit the city of León, which is home to a wealth of grand, historic buildings. Admire León’s beautiful French style gothic cathedral with its abundance of stained glass. Gaudí also left his mark in León, with the exquisite Casa Botines, whose medieval façade was in fact inspired by the cathedral.

Day 9-10

Return to the UK.

We travel back to Santander and spend the afternoon and evening exploring this city. We then board the overnight ferry to Plymouth, docking the following afternoon.


We have a selection of 3 and 4 star hotels available


You may also be interested in:

Porto and The Douro Valley

Discover Lisbon – The White City

Spain’s Beautiful Basque Country

Best of Brazil


Dates Half Twin Single Supplement
Dates throughout 2021 From £730.00 per person From £415.00 per person
All prices are per person based on sharing a double or twin room and with one free place in a single room, based on a minimum 25 full fare paying passengers. Prices do not include UK coach hire or travel insurance. Dates are subject to availability. Smaller groups can be quoted for on request. Greatdays Holidays Limited is a member of ABTA (Y0380) which means you have the benefit of ABTA's assistance and Code of Conduct. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. Greatdays Holidays Limited has an ATOL licence (4279) and all of our air package tours are protected under this licence. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the Civil Aviation Authority will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any monies you have paid to us for an advance booking. All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this tour are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate. Our website policy is to use only copyright free images or images which have been authorised to us for free use by the owner. If you consider an image to be unauthorised or to be your property, please contact us immediately and if invalid we will have the image removed. If your image requires crediting or is missing a copyright statement then we will be pleased to add this to the webpage, contact us at info@greatdays.co.uk

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