With festivals and fado music, fortified towns and fortified wine, Roman ruins, Baroque buildings, cobbles, castles, cathedrals, and coastal resorts, Portugal protects its heritage and adds ‘the garden isle’ of Madeira and the amazing landscapes of the Azores.
Choosing to tour in Portugal is a multiple-choice decision, narrowed down to the mainland’s myriad historic, scenic, religious, and cultural attractions; the crater lakes, thermal pools, geysers, and greenery of the Azores; or Madeira’s sub-tropical flora and spectacular ocean cliffs.
Settled by Romans, Celts, Visigoths, Moors, and Christians over the centuries, Portugal has absorbed and amalgamated the various influences to create a culture all its own. Benevolent Nature supplied the scenic landscapes and superb shores; and travel by road, rail or river cruiser makes exploration effortless.
The country’s best-known cities are the three riverside sentinels of Porto, straddling the Douro, Coimbra on the banks of the Mondego, and Lisbon on the Tagus estuary. Their differing tempos deftly described in the adage, “Porto works, Coimbra studies, Lisbon plays”; the various assets of each are awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, Porto’s historic core, Coimbra’s 13th-century university, and Lisbon’s monastery and Belem Tower.
A cluster of other cultural UNESCO sites include the historic centres of Guimarães, the ‘cradle of the kingdom of Portugal’, and Evora, with Roman ruins, regal façades, and a Gothic cathedral.
As beautiful as they are spiritual, UNESCO protected religious enclaves feature the huge complex of the Convent of Christ, in the Knights Templar town of Tomar; Braga’s Bom Jesus do Monte church, halfway to heaven atop a 17-flight stairway; and the medieval Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria in Alcobaça.
Similarly UNESCO-celebrated are the landscapes of the Alto Douro wine region, Sintra’s parks, gardens, and forested slopes, the Laurisilva woodland in Madeira’s Natural Park, and Pico Island vineyards in the Azores.
Add in Portugal’s coastal charms in Setúbal, Sesimbra, or Faro, and the country covers all bases.
One of the warmest countries in Europe, Portugal’s average annual temperature is 21°, generally varying by 4 or 5 degrees between the south and cooler north. With summer highs of 29 to 35° from June to August, spring and autumn are warm, barmy, and excellent for exploration.
Enjoying a sub-tropical, Gulf Stream climate, the Azores average 24° throughout the summer; and, between the months of April to October, there’s a chance to spot whales and bottlenose dolphins. Madeira’s temperate climate ranges from around 20° in spring and autumn, to 26° in June to September, with fabulous floral displays particularly abundant in April and May.
With tours to Roman ruins, Moorish enclaves, medieval towns, splendid cities, and Atlantic shores; River Douro cruises through vineyard valleys, to visit palaces and port wine cellars; stays in ‘pousada’ inns, formerly a monastery, manor house or convent; days amid the bucolic landscapes, coastal cliffs and colourful flora of Madeira; and island-hopping visits to four of the nine Azorean islands; Portugal has sites to sate the appetites of history buffs, culture vultures, and nature lovers, often all in one tour.
With 45 years’ experience and a passion for creating extraordinary adventures, Jules Verne takes you to iconic landmarks and lesser-known sites, with expert tour guides who share their local knowledge, and show you hidden gems. Our journeys in Portugal reveal the sights and psyche of the country, varying from the capital’s fountains, Fado singers in Old Town cafés, and sunshine-yellow trams; to the romantic legend of Óbidos, presented by King Denis to his queen, Isabel.
All our guided tours to Portugal are ABTA and ATOL protected, and we offer a 100% price guarantee, so you can book with complete confidence.
Pousadas of Portugal
Staying in hand-picked Pousadas (inns), formerly a monastery, manor house and convent, this tour reveals the sights and psyche of Portugal, from regal splendour to religious heritage, from port-wine cellar to Fado show, from Porto to Coimbra and the capital, Lisbon
Highlights of the Douro
Cruising the Douro from its mouth on the Atlantic to its crossing into Spain, with daily excursions to medieval towns, majestic palaces, port wine cellars, and vineyard valley landscapes, this beguiling journey includes visits to Guimarães, Lamego, and Salamanca
Royal Barge on the Douro
From baroque castles to beautiful bucolic villages, from hilltop medieval ruins to valleys cloaked in the vineyards of age-old wine estates, from mountain scenery to ocean shore, enjoy the ever-changing landscapes of this unique Royal Barge cruise on the Douro