The Iberian Peninsula's best-kept secret, Portugal's countryside is dotted with medieval castles and hilltop villages - a land characterized by old-world charm welcoming people. On this immersive journey, travel from one picturesque village to another, learning about Portugal's people, culture, and rich history. Hear tales of Roman rule and successive invasions by Visigoths and Moors and take in the haunting sounds of fado singers on a walking tour of Lisbon's old quarter. Feel the soul of old Portugal as expert local guides bring the past and present to life.
Arrive at Lisbon Portela Airport in the morning and meet your MT Sobek representative, who will transfer you to the hotel. Enjoy some time to check in and freshen up before lunch, then take a walking tour through the old town of Lisbon, and the Mouraria and Alfama neighborhoods. Finish the first day with a festive welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
After a hearty breakfast, begin the journey inland to the small village of Salvaterra do Extremo, near the border of Spain, to begin today's hike on varied terrain along an ancient Roman road. Stroll around this charming place, a former stronghold used by the Romans and the Arabs, seeing traditional homes made of shale, the House of Sardoes (lizards), a moon-shaped well, the bell tower of Casa da Camara (complete with storks in the belfry!), and the cylindrical granite stiles. Continue on to Monfortinho, home for the next two nights.
Hike through a dazzling landscape today, from village to village. Begin in Idanha-a-Velha, a former Roman settlement dating back to 16 A.D. Hike up to ancient Monsanto, "the most Portuguese village in Portugal," perched against the face of a rocky cliff where houses sit wedged between giant boulders. Hike up to the castle above it, for a picnic lunch and stunning panoramas. En route back, take a brief side hike to the village of Penha Garcia, with its labyrinth of streets winding among small, flower-covered houses. Hike back to Monfortinho for dinner.
Leave Monfortinho after breakfast and head to the medieval village of Sortelha, with its walled fortress high atop a rocky promontory at 2,500 feet. Continue to Belmonte village, dominated by a 13th-century castle and a labyrinth of ancient alleyways that make up the old Jewish quarter; Belmonte is still home to the largest Jewish community in Portugal. Continue to Linhares da Beira, a Lusitanian hill fort on the western slopes of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park. Today ends at Penhas Douradas on the central high plains of Estrela Mountain.
Today hike through the diverse landscapes of Penhas Douradas, a region of Serra da Estrela Natural Park marked by rocky outcrops, boulders and crags, several of which resemble human forms. The destination today is the dam of the Vale do Rossim, a picturesque lake with a small beach perfect for resting, soaking your feet, and enjoying a nice picnic. Then head back to the hotel, arriving in the early afternoon to relax or explore.
Today leave Serra da Estrela behind, heading towards the small town of Lousa. En route, visit the photogenic village of Piodao, where cobblestone avenues lined with shale houses cascade down a gentle slope. With its white facades and cylindrical buttresses, a beautiful 19th-century church dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Conceicao stands out among the shale houses. Reach today's destination, the charming town of Lousa, in the middle of the afternoon, with plenty of time to unwind or explore.
Start at the Castle of Arouce and hike on the magnificent Serra da Lousa trail, passing through villages seemingly lost in time. Wander through the winding alleyways of Talasnal and drink straight from the village's spring fountain. Continue across bridges and creeks and climb towards the village of Casal Novo, then catch amazing views of the valley and the castle. After lunch, take a dip in a river pool before returning to Lisbon. Check in and head out for dinner in a casa de fado, a restaurant that features Portuguese fado music.
Enjoy breakfast before your guide assists with your airport transfer (3 hours before your scheduled flight).
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This popular and unique MT Sobek journey follows an age-old route through Portugal's most historic villages.
Expert guides lead you from one picture-perfect village to the next, providing insight into Portugal's people, culture, heritage and rich history.
This memorable MT Sobek journey is bookended with a walking tour of Portugal's capital, Lisbon, and a fado dinner show.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Guided village-to-village hikes through gorgeous scenery and walking tours that take in the villages as well as the highlights of Lisbon.
Boutique hotels exuding historical charm, restored palace hideaways, mountain resorts, and modern city hotels, all featuring upscale amenities.
Portugal boasts a warm, Mediterranean climate, with dry summers. There is often a sea-breeze that helps to keep the summer months bearable.
Arrive at the Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) by 11 AM on Day 1. After clearing customs, an MT Sobek representative will welcome you and transfer you to the hotel in Lisbon.
No. The best footwear for this trip would be cross-training shoes or lightweight hiking boots.
You can expect a variety of wonderful fish dishes, particularly cod (bacalhau), shellfish, cheese, pork, salads, olive oil, and some incredible red and white wines as well.
You will want to wear comfortable shoes for walking, and bring a layer in case of light rain. In the evenings, you might prefer to dress smart casual for dinners.
No. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for tourist stays of 90 days or less.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"This was an awesome trip. The itinerary was fantastic and the duration was perfect. The guides were welcoming, flexible, encouraging, and delivered an experience that will never be forgotten."
MT Sobek Guest, Walking the Route of Historic Villages
"All I can say is WOW. MT Sobek you have done it again. The trip to Portugal was above and beyond what I could ever hope for. The meals and hotels were excellent and the hiking was amazing."
MT Sobek Guest, Walking the Route of Historic Villages