Upon arrival at the airport of Oporto pick-up the rental car and start your journey to Guimaraes, for check-in at the Historic Pousada Mosteiro de Guimaraes, with its origin in the ninth century. We sug- gest going down to the city center, or take advantage to appreciate the infrastructures of the hotel and its lovely gardens.
Drive down to the city to visit Guimaraes, the "Cradle of the Nation", where D. Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal was born. The historic center classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, is one of the best preserved in Europe. Continue to Braga, the city of the Archbishops, with a great number of churches, of which we highli- ght the old Cathedral and the baroque Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, with its majestic staircase and a beautiful view over the city. Enjoy lunch in one of the typical downtown restaurants. 1n the after- noon, take the highway directly to Oporto, the second largest city in Portugal. Try to leave the car in one of the many public parks in the center and take a walking tour of the city, passing through the most emblematic monuments and tourist attractions, from Avenida dos Aliados to Ribeira. Take a "Rabelo" boat tour and visit the well-
-known Port Wine cellars. Dine in Oporto or return for dinner in Guimaraes.
Check out and leave to Aveiro, one of the most beautiful cities of the coast, often called the Portuguese Venice thanks to the canals that cross the city, where colorful "Moliceiro" boats slowly glide. Cross the demarcated region of Bairrada, visit the forest of Bussaco with the Palace that was once a royal hunting house and one of the most beautiful romantic palaces. Enjoy lunch in Mealhada, in one of the local restaurants, where the main dish is the famous piglet called "Leitao a Bairrada". 1n the afternoon, drive to Coimbra, a student city with one of the oldest universities in Europe. Drive to the top to visit the university, and then go to the south bank of the Mondego River to check-in at Quinta das Lágrimas 5 *, a palace that witnessed the most romantic tragedy in Portugal's history, between king Pedro 1 and 1nes de Castro.
Continue to the interior of Portugal, making a first stop in Fátima to visit the Marian Sanctuary. Continue on to Tomar and visit the Con- vent of Christ, home of the Templars, later called Order of Christ, of crucial importance in the time of the Maritime Discoveries.
Today you continue towards south, and in Alter do Chao you have the possibility to visit Alter do Chao stud farm (except Mondays), founded by King Dom Joao V in 1736, with all the elegance of the famous Lusitano horses. Continue to Évora, the main town in the Alentejo. Stroll through its historic center, surrounded by a wide belt of walls, a valuable cultural heritage and a World Heritage Site. The city, of strong Arab influence, rests on two millennia of history. Enjoy lunch and learn some of the secrets of Alentejo cuisine. 1n the afternoon continue the crossing of the vast Alentejo plain, now to- wards east, passing by Lisbon, until you reach Sintra, the most ro- mantic Portuguese village, where all fairy tales, kings, queens and princesses have a perfect framework.
Sintra is one of the most beautiful and romantic places, full of magic and mystery. Also called "Mount of the Moon", is part of UNESCO "Cultural Landscape and World Heritage" places. Free day to visit the various palaces, stroll through the historic center and enjoy your time.
Drive to the coast, passing by Cabo da Roca - the westernmost point of the European continent - and Guincho beach, to the village of Cascais for a stop. Enjoy the beauty of this little town by the ocean and have lunch in one of the many local restaurants. 1n the afterno- on, continue along the coast, passing Estoril, until you arrive in Lis- bon, to the monumental district of Belém. Stop to discover the Mo-
nument to the Discoveries, the Tower of Belém and the Jerónimos
Monastery. Be sure to taste the famous "Pastéis de Belém", delicious
custard tarts. Head to the city center to return the rental car (maybe you prefer to stop first at your hotel to drop off your luggage and then take a taxi to the hotel).
Now without a car, walk through the historical center of the capital of Portugal, take tram nr. 28 to go up to S. Jorge Castle and "lose yourself" in the alleyways of Alfama. This evening we suggest going to a "Fado" restaurant for a nice dinner and to listen to people sing the traditional Portuguese songs. Accommodation.
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Lisbon airport for your return flight. Thank you for traveling with us and enjoy your flight home!
Palaces, Castles, Monasteries become hotels full of charm. Landscapes and places of great beauty, a warm and welcoming population.
Perfect ingredients for a magic trip, driving a car at your own pace through the roads of Portugal.