Portugal is a fascinating country with a proud history that can be felt throughout the country ~ from its capital, Lisbon, down to each tiny, picture-perfect village. Its rich culture is the result of a complex flow of different civilisations and many influences, including Celtic, Lusitanian, Phoenician, Germanic, Visigoth, Roman, Viking, Sephardic Jewish and Moorish. During the 15th and 16th centuries, during the Golden Age of Discovery, Portuguese sailors embarked to explore the unknown world. With the success of these voyages, Portugal emerged as one of the richest countries in the world and a major European power in terms of economic, political and cultural influence. It is to this fascinating country that Somerset Tours & Travel now invite you to join us as we journey to explore this rich cultural heritage.

The tour departs from South Africa on 28 August 2020, and flies on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul to Lisbon where we will spend three nights. Portugal’s capital city offers an unpretentious culture coupled with a splendid, historic cityscape. As one of Europe’s oldest cities, it’s also one of the most fascinating to explore.

It’s a short, but interesting drive from Lisbon to Evora as we pass through the iconic Aletejo lowland landscapes with its cork trees and white-washed villages. Evora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the “City Museum” because of the ancient artistic manifestations found within its walls. During our walking tour of this medieval city, we’ll visit the impressive “Capela dos Ossos” (Bone Chapel), the Roman Temple and the Cathedral.

From Evora, the tour proceeds to Obidos visiting en route the charming village of Arraiolos, famous for its excellent wines. We’ll spend a night in the picturesque medieval hilltop village of Obidos where we’ll enjoy a guided walking tour and sample the famous traditional liqueur, Ginjinha, the following morning.

The tour then proceeds via the fishing village of Nazaré to the famous Catholic pilgrimage town of Fátima, where the famous apparition of Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherds. Here we’ll visit the important sacred sites, churches and chapels before continuing on to Ourém for overnight.

En route from Ourém to Coimbra, well visit Tomar, former seat of the Order of the Knights Templar. Tomar is a city of great charm and noted for its artistic and cultural wealth. Here we’ll visit the Templar Castle and the UNESCO World Heritage site, Convent of Christ.

The university town of Coimbra is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal, with many historical monuments, medieval churches and the most important library in Portugal. A guided walking tour through the historic centre is the best way to discover this fascinating city.

Heading north towards Porto, our next stop is the enchanting village of Aveiro, also known as the little Venice of Portugal. Here we’ll explore the Art Nouveau district on foot and the canals and waterways in a Moliceiros boat.

We’ll spend three nights in this coastal city, known for its stately bridges and port wine production. In the medieval Ribeira district, narrow cobbled streets wind past merchants’ houses and cafes. Porto is a historic and varied city with interesting tourist attractions and a full day of sightseeing is included.

While in Porto, we’ll also explore the enchanting Douro Valley, heart of the vineyard growing region and visit a family winery for wine-tasting and lunch. A short boat cruise on the Douro River is included.

From Porto, the group flies to Funchal on the island of Madeira where we will spend four nights discovering this pearl of the Atlantic, island of eternal spring. Madeira is noted for its Madeira wine, gastronomy, historical and cultural value, flora and fauna, landscapes that are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and embroidery artisans.

From Madeira, the itinerary returns to Lisbon for another night before flying back to South Africa on Turkish Airlines.

Liz Cotton will lead the tour and the group will be escorted by English-speaking local guides.

If you have any queries, or would like to secure your reservation on this tour, please do not hesitate to contact me on +27 (0)21 786-2598 or cell +27 (0)83 357 4855 or email info@somersettours.co.za.