Lisbon’s sweeping river views, lavishly ornamented churches and monuments, and hilltop castles never fail to enchant. Walk winding medieval streets photographing colorful azulejos, stand where great explorers like Magellan and de Gama set off to change our understanding of the world, and see the stunning palaces of Sintra surrounded by elaborate gardens. In the tranquil cloister of the Jerónimos Monastery, identify symbols of the sea in the intricate details of the Manueline architecture. Since no visit to Portugal would be complete without experiencing the country’s distinctive cuisine, wine, and music, we will enjoy a fresh seafood lunch in a fishing village, taste fine wines at a leading vineyard, and conclude our adventure with a memorable dinner at a fado restaurant.
Day 1 - Lisbon, Portugal
Disembark National Geographic Explorer after breakfast and begin your exploration of this fascinating city on a morning tour by tuk tuk. See the city’s stunning 18th-century downtown area and take in views in the Graça District—one of Lisbon's oldest suburbs, located atop the city’s highest hill. Enter Terreiro do Paço, the Palace Square where the royal palace stood for over two centuries, and marvel at the grandeur of the Lisbon Cathedral. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant, and in the afternoon continue to Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This intricately carved building was crafted to showcase the magnificent wealth that the age of exploration brought to the Portuguese empire. Continue to the Belém Tower, a 16th-century fortification that served as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon and as a starting and ending point for Portuguese explorers. In the late afternoon, check into the Altis Grand Hotel in the mid-afternoon and take some time to rest and freshen up. This evening, join your fellow travelers for dinner at one of Lisbon’s excellent restaurants. (Day 2: L,D)
Day 2 - Sintra
This morning, we head to Sintra after breakfast at the hotel. Built by King Ferdinand in the 19th century, the Palace of Pena is where we begin our explorations with a tour of the extraordinary palace and grounds. Stop for a fresh seafood lunch in the fishing village of Azenhas, where we’ll dine at a restaurant perched above the Atlantic Ocean. This afternoon, continue on to the stunning Palace of Queluz and its gardens. Explore this 18th-century French-styled former royal residence and discover its baroque architecture and ornate ballrooms, which still host state receptions today. Return to Lisbon in the late afternoon and choose to explore the city independently or relax at the hotel. Dinner is on own this evening. (B,L)
Day 3 - Alentejo Countryside
After breakfast, meet your fellow travelers and depart on a scenic drive to the Alentejo region of Portugal. We spend the day at a private, family-owned palatial 18th-century wine estate, Quinta Dona Maria, home to some of the the country’s finest wines. The owner will act as host, sharing the winery’s history on a walking tour of the grounds and its chapel. Join her for a special tasting of the estate’s best wines and see where the grapes are still hand-pressed in centuries-old marble vats. Lunch will be served in the dining room along with expertly paired fine wines and cheeses. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. This evening, reconvene for dinner in a local fado restaurant and enjoy a typical Portuguese dining experience. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Lisbon / U.S.
Have breakfast at the hotel this morning and transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)
Costs & What's Included
Cost per person 2022