Essential Portugal – 8 days


Join us for a journey from Portugal’s second largest city, Porto, followed by a visit to wine country in the Douro Valley and then to the magical  university town of Coimbra.  We’ll end our tour in one of the world’s great cities for walking and dining—Lisbon—where we’ll stay nearby at Portugal’s best resort in Sintra.

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  • Limited to 16 guests.
  • Prices start at $5,495 per person and are based on double occupancy.
  • There is a single supplement of $999.

September 23-30, 2023

Day 1: Arrive in Porto

  • Your MaxaTours team will arrange for complimentary transfer from Porto International Airport to our host hotel, a luxury property nestled in an 18th century castle.  In the late afternoon, we’ll offer a tour briefing before walking through historic Porto whose granite walls and narrow streets are perched dramatically above the Douro River.
  • Our welcome dinner will be at a traditional restaurant, O Fado, named after fado, a genre of Portuguese music known for its longing lyrics and tunes. 

  • Meals included: Welcome dinner

  • Hotel: Pestana Palácio do Freixo 5*

Day 2: Porto

  • Enjoy a morning tour with our local guide through the of historic center of Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Douro River is the city’s centerpiece, lined with 58 storehouses of famous wine houses that have held the valuable wines from the region since the 19th century.  You may know some of the names of their local ports such as Taylor’s, Sandeman, and Ramos Pinto.  While obviously known for port, Porto is also a lively city of bistros, shops, and flower-bedecked homes.
  • We’ll walk to the cais da Ribeira with its brilliantly colored, 18th-century homes and visit the Sao Francisco Church as well as the old stock exchange, the Palacio da Blosa, with its stunning, glass-covered entrance and breathtaking rooms.
  • After lunch, you may take an optional ride on a traditional Rabelo Boat, a flat-bottomed wooden boat that was used for years go bring wines from the Douro Valley to the wine houses of Porto.
  • Or you may spend the afternoon on your own shopping or exploring Portos’ charming and winding alleys and admiring its architecture.


  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Meal highlights: Dinner at Restaurante<em”>Campo Alegre / Compadre</em”>

Day 3: Douro Valley

  • This morning we head into the heart of Portugal’s wine country in the Douro Valley.  We’ll journey aboard the Lonha Do Douro that’s known as Portugal’s best train, thanks to its scenic route that follows the Douro River. 

  • Upon arrival, we’ll have lunch and visit wineries in the afternoon.  Portugal’s wines are only now becoming widely appreciated in the US, but both the country’s whites and reds (and, of course, ports) are world-class and very well priced.
  • In late afternoon we’ll arrive at our hotel that overlooks vineyards sloping down to the Douro River.  The afternoon and evening is at your leisure—spa treatments are available at the hotel.

  • Dinner is pre-arranged and can be taken at any time at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant.


  • Meal highlights: Dinner at Palato D’Ouro
  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Douro Palace Hotel Resort & Spa 5* 

Day 4: Douro River Cruise and Coimbra

  • The importance and beauty of the Douro River cannot be exaggerated, and this morning we’ll take a cruise along the river.  After lunch, we’ll head to the town of Coimbra, home to a preserved medieval village and a university known for its baroque library. 


  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Meal highlights: Dinner at A Cozinha da Maria

  • Hotel quinta Das Lagrimas 5*

Day 5: Coimbra

  • Our local tour guide will show us Coimbra and its University‘s Johannine Library that’s constructed on the ruins of a medieval prison.  After lunch, we’ll take a ride along the coast and stop at the formidable Peniche Fortress perched on a peninsula that juts into the Atlantic Ocean. Its breathtaking views allowed armies to ward off enemies since the 16th century. 


  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Meal highlights: Dinner at Sunitra in the heart of Sintra

  • Hotel: Penha Longa – A Ritz Carlton Resort 5*

Day 6: Sintra – Choose one

  • Option 1:  Play a round of golf at the resort’s 27-hole, championship golf course and/or visit the hotel’s spa–your green fees are covered by MaxaTours–and the rest of the day is on your own.

  • Option 2: Take an early-morning drive to the easternmost point of mainland Europe, Cabo da Roca, and enjoy a breathtaking view of the coast and its light house as the sun rises. We’ll stop for the regional pastry specialty, a Portuguese custard tart, pastel de nata, at a local bakery before returning to our hotel for a hearty breakfast.  Then we’ll head to the town of Sintra to visit its museums including the Pena Palace. We’ll head into the nearby resort town of Sintra after lunch where a guide will show you the epic Pena Palace, a perched castle that permits a view of Lisbon on a clear day.  You may also visit the Moorish Castle down the hill from the Pena Palace. 

  • Option 3: If you’d like to get a head start on visiting Lisbon (which we do with a guide the next day), we’ll send you into the capital city, about a 20-minute drive from our hotel depending on traffic.  There you can explore on your own by foot and perhaps take a lunch at one of the world’s most interesting food courts, Time Out, near the waterfront and main train station. We can suggest a couple of good restaurants for dinner in Lisbon, as well, or you may return to join us for dinner in Sintra. 


  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch (except for those going in to Lisbon this day on their own) and dinner.

  • Meal highlights: Dinner will be served at Incomum in Sintra.

  • Hotel: Penha Longa – A Ritz Carlton Resort 5*

Day 7: Lisbon

  • Today we head to Lisbon to join our local guide who will show us some of the city’s famous sites that may include St. George’s Castle, a citadel begun by the Romans 2,000 years ago that looks over the city; the Belem Tower on the waterfront that’s famous for representing about four different kinds of architecture in one tower; Tram 28, a yellow streetcar that climbs a short but very steep hill that links the older, upper part of town (the Alfama neighborhood) with the more modern downtown. And, as usual, we’ll continue our quest for the best pastel de nata in town.


  • Meal highlights: Our farewell dinner will be a specially prepared, Michelin experience presented by our luxurious resort.
  • Hotel: Penha Longa – A Ritz Carlton Resort 5*

Day 8: Departure

  • After breakfast, start your journey home from Lisbon.


When you let The Original Savvy Traveler arrange your trip through Europe, you are guaranteed peace of mind. Rudy Maxa’s team provides personal service and assistance from booking all the way through your journey.

What’s included:


  • Welcome package with luggage tags, tour information, and a personal gift from Rudy Maxa.
  • An exclusive experience with a small group (maximum of 20 guests.)
  • Rudy Maxa’s expert team lead by his Group Director will make your trip seamless, and magical. In addition to the team traveling with you, known and approved local guides with extensive knowledge will be show guests around.
  • The freedom to choose between multiple excursions and programs.
  • All tours, admissions, and entertainment.
  • Airport arrival meet and greet with transportation to the first host hotel.
  • Upscale, handpicked hotels inspected and approved by Rudy Maxa’s team.
  • All meals, including an upscale restaurant every night inspected and approved by Rudy Maxa’s team.
  • Luggage Butler Service: leave your bags in your hotel room in the morning and find them waiting in your room at your next hotel.
  • Transportation between cities in smaller luxury vehicles, high speed trains, or by air.
  • All gratuities.