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2022 Palaces & Gardens of Portugal Tour
Palaces and Gardens of Portugal
September 16th to 25th, 2022
Palaces and Gardens of Portugal Tour Itinerary
USA DEPARTURE Friday, September 16, 2022
Saturday, September 17: Porto
Upon arrival we’ll meet our guide and transfer to our hotel where we’ll enjoy a welcome lunch together. Afterward we’ll check into our hotel and depart on a city tour.
Capital and gateway to the north of Portugal, Porto is both the city and the place that provided a nation with a name and a fortified wine known world-wide: port. With its splendid geographical location on the mouth of the Douro River and an architectural heritage of exceptional quality, the historic center of Porto was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. Dinner is planned this evening at our hotel.
Overnight Porto Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Sunday, September 18: Porto
This morning we visit the Serralves Foundation, a contemporary vision of Art and Landscape and one of Portugal’s leading cultural institutions. The Foundation’s entire landscape and architectural heritage was classified as a National Monument in 2012. It consists of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Casa do Cinema Manoel de Oliveira (both designed by the architect Álvaro Siza), Serralves Villa (a unique example of Art Deco architecture), and the Serralves Park with the pioneering Treetop Walk: an elevated walkway close to the treetops.
After the visit the remainder of the day is free to explore Porto.
Overnight Porto Meals: Breakfast
Monday, September 19, BRAGA/PONTE DE LIMA
This morning we’ll travel to Braga, known for its abundance of churches and thus called the “city of archbishops”. Apart from its rich and long ecclesiastical history and numerous churches, the city also boasts beautiful views from the hills surrounding it.
We’ll stop to see the Santa Bárbara Garden, located adjacent to the eastern wing of the 14th century Archbishop’s Palace. This public garden takes advantage of the historic backdrop and also incorporates the medieval arches that remain of an arcade from the palace. Laid out in the 1950s the garden was designed by Jose Cardoso da Silva in the Romantic style, in keeping with its surroundings.
Afterward we’ll drive to see the Gardens of Santuário do Bom Jesus and the incredible Baroque stairway that leads up to the hilltop church. This UNESCO World Heritage has 600 steps which zig-zag to the top. As the stairs ascend the mount there are a number of landings. On each landing are fountains, grottoes, allegorical statues and friezes depicting the life of Christ.
We’ll continue on to Ponte De Lima, considered the “most floral town of Portugal”. It’s also one of the oldest towns and is historically significant as a Roman settlement on the road from Braga to Santiago de Compostela and Lugo.
Enjoy exploring the town with free time for lunch and ending with a visit to the annual International Garden Festival of Ponte de Lima.
Overnight Porto Meals: Breakfast
Tuesday, September 20, PORTO This morning we’ll visit Quinta De Villar d’Allen, a private property that displays the dedication of several generations of keen botanists, with gardens meticulously laid out according to the influence of Parque de Serralves over various different time periods. It has many exotic species, especially camellias, of which there are hundreds of different varieties. We’ll be guided by a member of the family followed by a port wine tasting.
After the visit we depart for Quinta da Aveleda, a name which spans several generations. The first records of the sale of bottled wine at the quinta date back to 1870, with Manuel Pedro Guedes. Since then, the successive generations of the family have been devoted to the production of high quality wines, preserving this family legacy.
We’ll visit its parks and gardens, where rare species of trees flourish, some of which have been around for over two hundred years. We’ll have lunch and enjoy a wine tasting here.
Overnight Porto Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Wednesday. September 21 SANTAR/LISBON
This morning we’ll check out and travel to the village of Santar. Landscape designer Fernando Caruncho has transformed the town of Santar with a series of lush, connected garden plots where everyone is free to roam. He connected the series of walled properties with gates and bridges in a unified 50-acre master plan, one that incorporated the agriculturally cultivated countryside. We’ll enjoy a private tour and lunch at the Manor House of Condes de Santar.
Afterward we continue our journey south to Lisbon. On the right bank of the broad Tagus River estuary, the capital of Portugal graciously reclines over rolling hills. This is a spectacular geographical location and does much to explain the cosmopolitan history of the city. Its exceptional natural light, which has long inspired writers, photographs and filmmakers. Brightly colored buildings straddle the slopes with the striking ochre of the roofs. The tiling on so many facades and the narrow twisting alleys of the medieval districts bestow Lisbon with the peculiar atmosphere of a city perched somewhere between the European north and the Mediterranean south.
Overnight Lisbon Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Thursday, September 22, LISBON/ Fronteira Palace and Gardens
This morning we’ll enjoy a guided visit of the Fronteira Palace, located in a very quiet area, near the Monsanto Forest Park. The house and the garden have seventeenth-century “azulejos” (Portuguese tiles) representing different themes such as battles or monkeys playing trumpets. We’ll walk through the formal gardens with its boxwood hedges cut to represent the different seasons of the year.
Enjoy the remainder of the day on your own wandering Lisbon’s distinctive neighborhoods, taking the tram through historic neighborhoods, riding the century-old lifts up and down the steep slopes, taking a boat ride on the Tagus, or even jumping on the metro, itself a veritable underground museum of contemporary Portuguese art.
Dinner is served during a very special presentation of Fado music, known for how expressive and profoundly melancholic it is.
Overnight Lisbon Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Friday, September 23, Sintra/Monserrate Palace & Park
In the morning we’ll travel to Sintra. Our first stop Monserrate, the 17th-century Moorish villa, surrounded by multiple elegant gardens, creating the illusion of stepping right into a real-life fairy tale.
The Monserrate estate deteriorated for many years, until Sir Francis Cook decided to buy the quinta in 1863. His hugely successful Cook, Son & Co. textile company allowed him to invest in the renovation of both the palace and the gardens. He hired James T. Knowles as his architect and collected exotic plants from all over the world. He also added fantastical features, like an artificial waterfall and a false ruin.
Afterward we’ll depart for Quinta da Alegria for lunch and a tour of the gardens. When Elisabeth von Schmieder, Princess von Auersperg bought Quinta da Alegria in 2007, the garden and the house had fallen into disrepair. At the same time as restoring the house she began redesigning and replanting the 10-acre garden.
Overnight Lisbon Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Saturday, September 24, Portuguese Tiles
This morning we’ll depart for the Azulejos de Azeitao tile production studio. The word ”azulejo” itself is of Moorish origin as is the concept of using tiles as floor and wall covering. Although often mistakenly assumed, ”azul” does not refer to the lovely blue color often associated with the tiles, but rather stems from the Arabic az-zulayj, meaning ”polished stone.’” We’ll learn about the art of making a tile and have an opportunity to paint one.
Afterward we’ll walk to the nearby Quinta and de Bacalhôa Palace vineyard and gardens for lunch and a wine tasting. The architecture and the décor of the Palace gardens show the influences of many Portuguese discoveries. Memories of their first owners inspired their travels in Europe, Africa and the East, thus helping to transform this space into a single gem and is classified as a National Monument.
In the evening we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner together in Lisbon.
Overnight Lisbon Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Sunday, September 25, Departure
Early hotel check out and transfer to Lisbon Airport. Or you have the option to stay longer in Portugal.
So, join me as we explore Portugal with all its rustic charm, rich food and culture, and diverse gardens. As with all our trips we only take 20 people so, Space is Limited.
And I’ll be seeing you in the gardens of Portugal next fall.