From hidden bays in southern Portugal to homely dinners in Madrid. You may be a tourist technically speaking, but the local life is where you’ll slip in. Here in Europe’s sunshine states, we’ll frolic beyond the usual trail. With meals & moments & magic discoveries weaving the fabric of our travel tale.
Today we’ll shack up in the land of siestas and sangria & start unravelling the real Madrid. At 4pm the crew will meet, greet, & share the buzz of the 12-days ahead. By evening we can start our city shimmy, hanging somewhere local like a special roof top bar.
With pretty 1920’s architecture and an unassuming charm, it won’t take long to feel smitten by the Spanish capital. Those keen to kick it beyond the city skirts can venture to the medieval walled city of Toledo. More locally you could kill time café hoping in the hip hub of the Malasaña district or catch some reflection rainbows at the Crystal Palace of Buen Retiro Park.
Our last full day in Madrid is a license to eat way too many tapas & sample churros like they’re going out of fashion. You can then choose to ease the guilt by hitting the city on pushbike, taking to hidden streets & deciphering Madrid’s distinct map of neighbourhoods. Those in need of more charming could shop for art at a local gallery or sit under the shelter of 6,000 almond trees in La Quinta de los Molinos.
With Madrid’s many great nooks now done & dusted, we’ll gather up our goods & hit the road for Portugal. Out of Madrid we’ll float through sunflower fields and pass ancient towns like Avila before taking a border hop & heading towards Porto. Pulling up in Porto we’ll find sprawling terracotta buildings by the Douro river & one of Europe’s oldest town centres. Here in the home of fortified port wine, we’ll get to know a city experiencing a well-deserved renaissance.
With both waterways and walkways on the menu for exploring, there’s not much of Porto we can’t see today. In our downtime you could laze at a local café, visit a cool local or visit on of the many Art Museums.
Today we can tap into Porto’s heritage, tasting the sweet nectar that is port wine & riding the old wooden tram. You could then shop macramés & cork bags from the markets & have a last stroll of the UNESCO stamped alleys of Ribeira.
Feeling more than impressed by our introduction to Portugal, we’ll carry on our venture by moving south. On the journey from Porto to Algarve we’ll cruise past little towns of Juliet balconies and fields of olive groves. Spotting Santarem and its Roman heritage will mark the halfway point of our trip. After the windmill filled journey down Portugal’s west coast, we’ll arrive in the southern region of The Algarve. With turquoise caves & long balmy days, our region of Lagos is what travel dreams are made of.
Today marks our biggest scene change as we head beachside to the pebbled Portuguese bays otherwise known as heaven on earth. At some point in the day we suggest sampling a fresh catch of seafood in an alfresco café; wine soaked mussels should hit the spot. By night there are some trendy little bars worth checking out, particularly since we can shake off shady feelings tomorrow by hitting the beach.
Still riding the wave of yesterday’s salt water induced bliss, we’ll be keen to jump in a boat and see the idyllic beaches from a different view. Tomorrow we’ll be moving on to the big smoke, so we best make the most of this time by the ocean.
No journey to Portugal would be complete without a bout in the much adored capital of Lisbon. Brimming with quirks & an undefinable charisma, this city will woo us within an hour. Cruising north with the Oceano Atlântico somewhere to the left, we’ll pass through Portugal’s fertile lands and quaint villages. A little after pretty Grandola we’ll reach our final destination known locally as Lisboa. A mosaic of tiled streets, pastelarias, & antique stores awaits us in the capital of Lisbon. Boasting the slow-paced Portuguese way of life, we’ll take long lazy strolls & dine for hours sinking into this pretty habitat.
A mountain of castles & secret gardens can be found today in Sintra, the place that many locals call the cultural heart of the country. Here we’ll roam through markets, admire local street artists & ogle at the sprawling vistas seen from ancient monuments. Back in the city we can liven ourselves up with invigorating Portugese coffee & consider a bit of bar hopping or a saunter along the seaside.
In no mood for winding down, we’ll tap into the banquet of possibilities available in this sweet European city. Speaking of sweet, it’ll be time for more pastel de natas, as the devastation of leaving Portugal unfathomably good baked treats starts to sink in. We can also take a mosey around Bairro Alto, where boutiques, bookshops & cafes sit by the lanes of the antique tram.
Today we’ll wake to the heartbreaking reality that our days on tour have come to an end. Feeling completely at home in the cities we’ve been to, we’ll wrap up our trip desperate for more culturally immersive travel.
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Trip Name: Madrid to Lisbon
Duration: 13 Days
From Price: $2,104
Supplier Tour ID: EXML/205366
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