Historical Algarve - a journey into the past
First settled by Phoenician traders long before the arrival of conquering Romans and Moors, the region, later to become the gateway for the Portuguese exploration of the ‘New World’, boasts a rich and varied past much of which can still be experienced today. Visit the former capital city of Silves, its castle and cathedral once the scene of fierce fighting between liberating Crusaders and the occupying North African garrisons, enjoy the panoramic views from Foia, the peak perched above the sleepy mountain town of Monchique, and follow in the footsteps of Henry the Navigator in Sagres and on the Cape St Vincent, Europe’s most south-westerly point.
Price: 30 €
We will take you to a typical restaurant in the Algarvian countryside, carefully chosen for its authenticity and natural ambience. Enjoy outstanding local dishes and wines (drinks during the meal are included in the price) while being entertained by traditional folk dancers and musicians- a must!
Price: 39 €
Fátima - a pilgrimage upcountry
The trip to Portugal’s holiest shrine, made famous by the visions of the later beatified nun Luca dos Santos in 1917, takes you through Vila Franca de Xira and the land of bulls and horses. Having passed stoic herdsmen typical of this part of the country on the banks of the River Tejo, the wonders of the ‘Lourdes of the West’ await- the Chapel of Apparitions, the Cova de Ira and the Basilica. The day trip includes free time for a visit to the famous Sanctuary, or to indulge in some lunch and shopping, before returning home via Vilinhos near Ajustrel, the site of the House of the Three Shepherd Children.
Price: 34 €
Heading east, the rugged cliff-tops of the Western Algarve give way to a more expansive coastline dominated by rolling dunes. Experience the old world charm of the regional capital Faro before sampling the delights of Olhao, one of the last traditional fishing ports. Sometimes referred to as ‘the Venice of the South’, nearby Tavira offers up a surprisingly different perspective: canals and open-air restaurants give a distinctly Mediterranean impression. Nearing the Spanish border, the Cacela Velha National Heritage site provides for panoramic views over the Formosa River estuary and its nature reserve, home to countless birds and protected species. On the banks of the Guadiana River which forms Portugal’s natural eastern border, stands Vila Real de Santo Antonio, built from scratch with mathematical precision on the orders of the Marquis of Pombal following the 1755 earthquake. From here an optional ferry crossing can take you to Ayamonte on the Spanish side.
Price: 32 €
A closer look at the often neglected city of Faro, capital of the Algarve since 1756. The outing combines sightseeing with ample time for shopping- experience the contrast between the pedestrian zone featuring local traders and the Algarve’s most modern commercial center boasting many well-known European high street brand names.
Price: 22 €
A day spent visiting the imposing capital of Andalusia. The tour of the historic city center takes in all of the main sights including the Maria Luiza Park, the Spanish Square and the old Jewish Quarter. There is plenty of free time to visit the beautiful cathedral, sample some ‘tapas’ for lunch, or do some shopping.
Price: 30 €
This former fishing village has grown into an important regional trade center, featuring the now traditional famous Gipsy Market. Anything from handicrafts to leather goods can be bought here at bargain prices- haggling is not frowned upon!
Price: 15 €
Lisboa City Tour
A brief introduction to the city of the seven hills, considered to be one of Europe’s most picturesque capitals. The center is reached by crossing the Tejo River on the 25th of April Bridge, named after the date of the 1974 Almond Revolution, passing an impressive aqueduct on the right. The main sights to be visited include the Jeronimo Convent, the Tower of Belem and the Discoveries Monument. Following a walk through the historic Alfama quarter you will have time to lunch and shop at the famous Rossio. The return journey takes you across the Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest in Europe.
Price: 32 €
A Saturday morning with a difference- mingle with the locals at the region’s biggest fresh produce market. Dozens of stalls overflowing with fruit, vegetables, meat and poultry invite you to shop to your heart’s content- there is time enough to visit the next-door Gipsy Market as well as the old part of this inland town. A stop for free wine tasting should enliven the return trip!
Price: 15 €
Lagos & Sagres- heading West
| Lagos, once the center of Portugal’s maritime activity, is probably the most beautiful and historically well-preserved town in the Algarve. A stroll along the massive protective wall is a must, while the nearby modern marina upholds seafaring traditions. Take in the stunning Ponta da Piedade rock formations before heading further west to Cape St Vincent via the fortress and romantic fishing harbour at Sagres. |
Price: 20 €
Silves & Monchique
|Away from the hustle and bustle of the coast the former capital of Silves invites exploration at a gentle pace- sitting snugly along the Arade River below the ancient castle walls, there are many reminders of the glorious past such the cathedral and Roman bridge to view. Further inland across the Odelouca River the sleepy mountain town of Monchique together with its famous healing springs awaits. Time seems to have slowed down along the steep cobbled lanes of this former Moorish stronghold, today the perfect place to relax and forget the world for a while. Even further up, Foia, the Algarve’s highest point at just over 900m, offers breathtaking views over the coastal plane below. |
Price: 20 €
| The day is spent taking you through the beautiful Andalusia countryside via Seville and Jerez de la Frontera to Gibraltar. There you will have five hours to take advantage of the tax-free shopping opportunities, join an optional tour of the ‘Rock’, or explore on your own before our return. |
Price: 34 €
Sevilha & Gibraltar
|Day One introduces you to the beautiful and diverse city of Seville. A guide will take you to the pretty Maria Luisa Park, the impressive Spanish and American Squares as well as the historic Bairro de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter. You are then free to view the largest Gothic cathedral in the world as well as the ‘must see’ Royal Alcazar, before browsing along the “Calle Sierpes”, a shopping paradise. Most of the best ‘tapa’ restaurants are found downtown, while your guide can arrange for you to attend the famous Andalusia Flamenco dance at the “Pateo Andaluz”.|
Day Two heads towards Gibraltar for a five-hour exploration of the Rock. Take in the famous St Michael Caves and Barbary Apes on an organized tour, explore on your own or simply hit the shops- the choice is yours.
Price: 95 €
Sevilha & Gibraltar & Tânger
|Day One is spent in the Andalusia capital Seville (see above) before the journey continues to Algecirias for dinner and an overnight stay.|
Day Two sees a quick ferry transfer to the African continent and Tangiers after breakfast. Upon arrival a well-informed local guide will show you this very old Arabian city before breaking for a traditional “Cus-Cus” lunch. Some free time will allow you to soak up the unique atmosphere while sampling the local goods.
Day Three takes you back across the Straits of Gibraltar for a five-hour stay on the Rock (see above) - return to the Algarve by night fall.
Price: 159 €
Evora and the Wine Route
| The trip to the famous city of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, combines history with a taste of one of Portugal’s best known wine making regions. Having visited the exceptional cathedral, Roman temple and Chapel of Bones, you can relax and line your stomach over lunch in preparation for your descent into a wine cellar- here you will discover how good wines are produced and will no doubt have the opportunity to sample a drop or two. The return journey takes in the medieval castle at Monsaraz. |
Price: 36.60 €
Lisboa & Sintra & Estoril
| Day One is spent in Portugal’s vibrant and beautiful capital on the estuary of the Tejo River. You will have the opportunity to view some of the most famous historical landmarks such as the Jeronimo Convent, the Tower of Belem and the Discoveries Monument before taking a gentle stroll through the old Jewish quarter which enjoys splendid views of the whole of Lisbon. Alternatively you can chose to ride one of the famous No12 or No28 tram lines still operating around the former city center. The evening has been left free for your personal enjoyment.|
Day Two takes in the city of Sintra and its highlights before crossing the hills to the resort of Cascais. This quaint little town with its miles of adjoining seafront is well worth the visit and very popular with Lisbonites during the summer months. The trip continues to neighbouring Estoril, home of Portugal’s only Formula One circuit and ATP international tennis tournament, before returning to Lisbon for a two-and-a-half hour stop-over. Algarve-bound, the capital is left behind via the Vasco da Gama bridge, the longest of its kind in Europe.
Price: 87 €