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Wine tour central Portugal: wine regions of Lisbon, Dão and Douro

8 days
Ribatejo wine regionPortugalLisbon
  • Enjoy the wonderful and varied countryside of three major Portuguese wine regions
  • Sample superb Portuguese wines at five emblematic wineries
  • Enjoy the national gastronomic delights: from innovative and playful cuisine to traditional ‘home-style’ cooking
  • Stay at exclusive hotels – on wine estates, and in historic city centres
  • Delight in welcoming and captivating Portugal and take advantage of the warm climate
  • Explore the wonderful cityscape of the historic towns of Lisbon and Porto
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About Lisbon and its wine region

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, enchants its visitors with its laid-back but seductive culture. On the one hand this is a metropolis with a large array of imposing squares and grand buildings. On the other hand, the majority of the individual neighbourhoods have each kept their own village-like character. When exploring this city it is best to fall into its Mediterranean rhythm, which is regularly peppered with African and Latin American influences. 

Lisbon was once the center of the world’s first colonial power. It is therefore not surprising that the city has many monuments worth seeing. If you stray off the tourist track, then the city becomes a trove of unexpected treasures. We should also mention the city’s beautiful location being situated on and around seven hills, at the mouth of the river Tagus. It’s up and down layout provides a wealth of breath-taking viewing points, called ‘’miradouros’’. 

The Portuguese capital has always been one of the best places in Europe for seafood, however, it was not until fairly recently that one can eat these and other delectable dishes in chic modern surroundings. Nowadays restaurants range from the old-fashioned to the trendy and stylish – in the latter category a younger generations of chefs has become celebrated for inventive Portuguese cuisine, with influences of former colonies including Brazil, Macau, Mozambique and Goa. 

Here classic dishes such as Amêijoas a Bulhão Pato (venus clams with white wine and herbs), Perdiz a Guincho (braised partridge) and Arroz de Pato (flavoured duck cooked in the oven with ham, chorizo sausage & rice) have been successfully reinterpreted. Then there are the excellent Portuguese wines served in the restaurants, bars and enotecas. Think crisp and refreshing white wines with peachy aromas, made of local grapes such as Antão Vaz and Arinto. Or deep velvety red wines made of Castelão, Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are delicious when drunk with black pork dishes.

Lisbon’s wine region, Ribatejo, has a lot going for it. The Ribatejo stretches along both sides of the Tejo (Tagus) river, north of Lisbon. It is a land of rolling hills and wide plains – this is Portugal’s agricultural heartland with olive groves, paddy fields and extensive vineyards. The best vineyards are grown in the sandy soils at a good distance from the fertile floodplains of the Tejo river. The region is also known for its vegetables and fruits, producing, amongst other things, tasty irregular shaped tomatoes and beans of various shapes and hues.

There are fascinating beautiful historic towns like Tomar, Santarém and Golegã. Life in this authentic region is unspoiled and unhurried, there are no crowds. There are good restaurants, where the restaurateurs take pride in serving dishes like Cabritinho no Forno (baby kid from the oven), Perdiz de Escabeche (partridge escabeche), or Carpaccio de Polvo (octopus carpaccio).
 
The necessary accompaniments to any Ribatejo meal are its wines. Portugal has hundreds of exciting, relatively unexplored indigenous grape varieties. In this region there are bold reds made of local grapes such as Trincadeira and Castelão, which are sometimes blended with international grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. White wines vary from easygoing to complex, with Fernão Pires and Arinto as favoured white wine grapes. In Ribatejo, as in other Portuguese regions, great wines are now being made.

About Dão wine region

The granitic Dão wine region in central Portugal has been the favourite wine region for many Portuguese for a long time, it is seen as their equivalent to Burgundy. In the past some wines may not have been appealing to all, but these days this lovely region produces some fantastic wines which are universally acclaimed. The vines are grown at relatively high altitudes between 200 and 400 meters’, allowing for good acidity in the wines. There also high mountains and forests, there is still a lot of photogenic wild nature here. Moreover, the landscape is dotted with medieval villages and historic palaces, often originally used as hunting lodges by the Portuguese nobility. There are beautiful historic cites too, like Viseu and Castelo Branco.

At the same time the wines have never been better, and there is a healthy reliance on indigenous grape varieties. A real good white wine from Dão made from the local Encruzado grape can rival a fine white from Burgundy in France. Then reds made with the Alfrocheiro or Baga varietal deliver serious, full-bodied reds of character, with good acidity.

Combining the wines with local food, one can have great gastronomic experiences. Local specialities like roast suckling pig, Serra de Estrela cheeses and the local corn bread are delicious.

The Dão wine region is certainly worth a detour.

About Douro wine region & Porto

The Douro Valley wine region, where the unspoiled rural countryside becomes increasingly dramatic, may be Europe’s most spectacular wine region, offering the visitor stunning scenery. The deep gorge that the Douro has carved through soft slatey soils allows for magnificent vistas. The steep hillsides are covered from top to bottom with terraced vineyards – so steep that to this day grapes can only be handpicked.

Whilst the Valley is historically famous as the producer of port wines, for the last 15 years some of Europe’s best unfortified table wines have also been made here. The best wine estates make both port and table wines and, in a few instances, the estate owners take their table wines more seriously than their port wines. The vineyards are mostly planted with the local varieties like Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Amarella.

Reflecting the dramatic variations in both the orientation and altitude of the land, the characters of the wines produced in neighbouring vineyards can be quite different. The style of the wines also varies enormously depending on the provenance of the grapes and the intentions of the winemaker. There is a real air of excitement in the Douro valley about this extraordinary terrain’s ability to express itself in such a diverse range of wine; leading wine magazines like Decanter and Wine Spectator have given high marks to a number of Douro table wines. Even the Bordelaise have been moving in, buying vineyards or setting up joint ventures with some of the local estates.

Our wine tour ends in the handsome old city of Porto, set on the banks of the Douro River. There is much to see in this charming city; the large UNESCO heritage listed historic center is still largely intact.

The city, adorned with some grandiose baroque monuments and outstanding art galleries like the Serralves museum, offers as well some striking modern architecture -world-famous architect Rem Koolhaas’  stunning concert hall Casa de Música for example.

For centuries, Porto has been the center of the port wine trade; historic port lodges abound in the Gaia district of the city. Some of these lodges have beautiful azulejo tiled tasting rooms, where one can enjoy various styles of port wines. As in any good wine growing culture, excellent food is also prevalent.

Classic seafood dishes such as Polvo a Lagareiro (octopus with baked potatoes), Seabass with Asparagus or meat dishes like succulent roast kid and slow cooked Porco Bísaro (pork from pigs fed only on chestnuts) served with forest mushrooms, are being revisited with originality and finesse – it is a pleasure to dine in these restaurants even for the most experienced food lover.

What to expect

With our ‘Wine tour central Portugal: the wine regions of Lisbon, Dão and Douro’ you will discover some of Portugal’s’ culinary and cultural delights; you will also taste some of the country’s best wines at wonderful and at the same time very different wineries. This 8 days / 7 nights experience is perfect for discerning travellers seeking fine wines, delectable cuisine and wonderful cultural heritage in an intimate and exclusive manner. 

Accommodation – Lisbon

Accommodation for one night in Lisbon is in a 4-star hotel. The hotel is situated in an imposing historic building dating from the early 20th century which has been recently refurbished in a calm but chic modern style.

The hotel successfully blends traditional Portuguese charm with modern design.  All the rooms have parquet floors, air-conditioning and are very comfortable. Some rooms have their own private terrace.

The hotel is located in a quiet area in the heart of Lisbon, near Praça Marques Pombal. It is very close to a convenient metro stop.

Accommodation – Lisbon’s wine region
You will be staying 1 night at an intimate 4 star boutique hotel in the heart of the beautiful and historic city of Golegã, just over an hour’s drive from Lisbon.

The hotel is located in an 18th century manor house, lovingly transformed by its current owners into an intimate and elegant venue. The manor house has a central but quiet location. There are 25 rooms, each of which is tastefully furnished and equipped with air conditioning.

The property has spacious gardens and terraces, with spectacular views over the countryside. The hotel has a good restaurant, and a nice spa and swimming pool too.

Accommodation – Dão wine region
You will be staying 1 night at an intimate 4 star boutique hotel cum winery in the heart of the beautiful county side of the Dão wine region,  just 3 hours’ drive north of Lisbon and 2 hours south of Porto.

The house is set in a splendid baroque place, surrounded by botanical gardens, a baroque garden and vineyards. It may be one the most beautiful palaces in all Portugal. In 2009, the building was converted into a hotel with around 30 rooms. Rooms offer elegant accommodation with contemporary comfort, including air conditioning.

There restaurant is one of the region’s best. A large outdoor pool is shaded by citrus and olive trees. The old winery of the palace has been reorganised, and the palace produces wonderful wines these days.

Accommodation – Douro valley
You will stay 2 nights at a working winery cum hotel in the heart of the Douro Valley. The 18th century Quinta (manor house), the centre of the winery, has been extensively restored and turned into an intimate and exclusive hotel, with 15 rooms.  Rooms are spacious and comfortable, decorated with charming period details. The overall design feels light and uncluttered.  

The property, situated within an estate of around 200 acres, has spacious gardens and terraces allowing for wonderful views over the Douro River, vineyards and mountains. Wines made at this property have been receiving critical acclaim regularly.

Accommodation – Porto
You will stay in a charming 4-star hotel located in the heart of the old town of Porto, within walking distance from some of Porto’s most notable monuments.

The heart of the hotel is a row of historic buildings of medieval origin, which have been renovated and converted into an elegant hotel.

Guestrooms are very comfortable, with original details like granite walls and hard wooden floors. There is air conditioning.

Rooms have views to the Douro river, or to the old town of Porto. This hotel offers all the amenities one would expect from a very good hotel.

Dates 2017:

  • This wine tour is available throughout the year, with the exception of August.
  • Minimum number of guests is two.
  • To check availability for specific dates, please get in touch.

The price for an 8 days (7 nights) break:

  • Euro 1135 per person
  • Euro 225 single room supplement

What is included?

  • 1 night accommodation 4 star hotel Lisbon
  • 1 night accommodation exclusive hotel / manor house Lisbon’s wine region
  • 2 nights’ accommodation exclusive palace hotel / winery Dão wine region
  • 2 nights’ accommodation exclusive hotel / winery Douro Valley/Portugal
  • 1 night accommodation 4 star hotel Porto
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 1 restaurant dinner Lisbon – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 private guided tour & tasting & lunch at winery Lisbon’s wine region – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 restaurant dinner Lisbon’s wine region – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 lunch at palace /winery/hotel Dão, with lunch – including wines and soft drinks, followed by a tour of the palace/gardens/winery
  • 1 private guided tour & tasting at winery Dão, with lunch – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 dinner at palace /winery/hotel Dão – including wines and soft drinks,
  • 1 private guided tour & tasting at winery Douro Valley, with dinner – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 private guided tour & tasting at winery Douro Valley with lunch – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 restaurant dinner Porto – including wines and soft drinks

There are many direct flights into Lisbon and Porto from many cities in Europe. However, it may be easier to fly into Lisbon airport, and depart via Porto. For trans-Atlantic flights, it may be easiest to connect in Lisbon.

If you wish to book your flights directly, we kindly refer you to http://www.flytap.com/– the website of TAP Portugal. TAP Portugal is Portugal’s national airline; they are known for their reliability and good level of service.

Alternatively you might what to try Iberia, Vueling and Air France or British Airways for European connections. For trans-Atlantic flights you might consider United Airlines.

Paladares Travel does not offer flights. We suggest you to book directly with one of the many companies offering such services. However, if would like Paladares Travel to assist you in making arrangements, please let us know.

How to get around central Portugal

In order to get to the various wineries and venues taking part in the tour, you would need to rent a car or arrange for a private car service. Kindly note the pricing on our website does not include transportation, since the cost is largely dependent on the number of people requiring such service. Kindly note in Lisbon or Porto hiring a car is not necessary, taxi are ubiquitous, and not expensive.

Of course we would be happy to organize a bespoke car service on your behalf. As regards standard car rental services we would suggest that you to book these directly with one the many companies offering such services. However, if you would like Paladares Travel to assist you in making such arrangements please let us know.

Day 1 Sunday
  • Arrival Lisbon, check in hotel
  • Time to unwind – you may wish to get a feel for Lisbon, or would like have a rest after the flight.
  • Dinner in the old town, in a celebrated local restaurant renowned for great Portuguese cuisine mostly based on recipes from the coastal areas around Lisbon. Think fresh fish and seafood but also lamb and game. There will be a three-course meal which will be paired with good Portuguese wines.
Day 2 Monday
  • Breakfast at leisure
  • Drive into Lisbon’s wine region, Ribatejo, in northerly direction, just one hour’s drive.
  • Visit to the quinta (manor house) of one of the region’s finest wineries. There will be a tour of the imposing quinta, gardens and winery of this excellent wine producer, which will be followed by a wine tasting with a light local lunch.
  • From the winery it is just short drive to the delightful historic and typically Portuguese town of Golegã.
  • Check in hotel, a an elegant and intimate 4 star hotel set in an 18th century manor house, in the centre of town.
  • Time to relax, and to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
  • Dinner at the restaurant of the hotel – it has one of the best restaurants of the region. The food will be paired with local wines from Lisbon’s wine region.
Day 3 Tuesday
  • Breakfast at leisure
  • A beautiful 2-hours’ drive in northerly direction, to the very picturesque Dão wine region.
  • Arrival at hotel cum winery where you will be staying two nights. This is a splendid baroque palace, a real find. The place has been fully restored to its original splendour; it has splendid baroque gardens too. The setting within the landscape may remind you of Tuscany, but then without the tourists.
  • Lunch at the palace, with the dishes paired by various wines from the estate.
  • After lunch there will be tour of the palace and its gardens.
  • Free time to unwind by the pool, or to explore the estate further.
  • Dinner on your own – the village at walking distance has some nice eateries.
Day 4 Wednesday
  • Breakfast at leisure
  • Visit to one of the best wineries in Dão, close to your hotel
  • It is a lovely historic place with a striking renaissance-style manor house, nicely set in the landscape. The 17th century buildings, while preserving the original features of its architecture, also contain an excellent modern wine making operation. 

    The winery (quinta) produces outstanding red wines, with wonderfully ripe fruit helped by judicious use of new oak. Wines have received high accolades from domestic and international wine journalists. The tour of the quinta will be followed by a wine tasting of their signature wines, accompanied by some local dishes, serving as a light lunch – the quinta has a good local restaurant.

  • Return to the hotel, with more time to relax and enjoy the splendid surroundings.
  • Dinner at the charming restaurant of your hotel/winery
Day 5 Thursday
  • Breakfast at leisure
  • In the morning: time to enjoy the splendid surroundings. Lunch on your own.
  • Depart for the Douro valley, in the morning or afternoon.
  • Check in at the charming winery cum hotel in Douro valley. The hotel is set on a large estate, views to the countryside and the Douro river are just splendid, but the landscape is quite different from the Dão region.
  • At the end of the afternoon there will be a tour of the winery adjacent to your hotel followed by a comparative wine tasting.
  • Tasting will be followed by dinner. Here you can enjoy tasty country dishes which may feature local produce like cold cured meats, game on the spit, chestnuts and wild mushrooms. The food will be paired with the wines from this excellent family owned estate table wines as well as port wines.
Day 6 Friday
  • Breakfast at leisure.
  • Visit to one of the best wineries in the Douro sub region Baixa Corgo.
  • It is a lovely historic place with a beautiful manor house typical for the region. The early 18th century buildings, while preserving the original baroque features of its architecture, also contain an excellent modern wine making operation. Here some impressive but unshowy contemporary architecture combines skilfully with the baroque architecture and the sublime Douro vineyard landscape.
  • Wines are superb too, receiving frequently high accolades from domestic and international wine journalists, including those working for Wine Spectator. The tour of the Quinta will be followed by a wine tasting of their signature wines, accompanied by some local delicious food, serving as a light lunch.
  • After lunch it is back to our hotel where there will be some time for relaxation.
  • Dinner on your own. There are many good restaurants nearby.
Day 7 Saturday
  • Breakfast at leisure.
  • Departure for Porto, a 2 hours’ drive.
  • Check in at Porto hotel. After check in, you will have some free time to explore Porto
  • In the evening, dinner at a stylish Portuguese restaurant, acclaimed for its modern and innovative Portuguese cuisine, as well as its excellent wine list. It is a great place to sample some of the region’s finest produce, in both food and drink. Each dish served will be accompanied by a matching wine, as you’ve come accustomed to. The restaurant is within easy walking distance from your hotel.
Day 8 Sunday
  • After breakfast the program ends.
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