Portuguese Extravaganza: Exploration of Old-World Charms

From the soul-stirring melodies that can be heard in Lisbon's Fado, to the rugged majesty of Madeira's landscapes, embrace a harmonious symphony of culture that is uniquely Portuguese.
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Portugal, a country steeped in history and brimming with captivating landscapes, beckons you to experience its treasures in a manner befitting royalty. From the cobbled streets of Lisbon, adorned with colorful tiles and ornate facades, to the dramatic cliffs and lush gardens of Madeira, to the pristine beaches of the Algarve, this itinerary is interwoven with lavish encounters.Indulge in exquisite gastronomy, unwind in luxurious accommodations, and dive into the deep pool of Portuguese culture. Let us guide you through a world where time-honored traditions merge seamlessly with modern indulgences and where each day brings ushers in new discoveries. Welcome to a sojourn that promises to redefine luxury travel in the heart of Portugal!

Day 1: Fly to Faro Airport

Flights leaving the US usually depart the evening before arrival in Portugal, and will usually require a layover in Lisbon as Faro is a regional airport.  Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by y our driver and privately transferred to the luxurious Bela Vista Hotel & Spa.

Check-in at Bela Vista Hotel & Spa

Once you check into Bela Vista Hotel & Spa, multilingual staff at the reception desk in the lobby are happy to answer any questions. This 5-star hotel is located in Praia da Rocha, just a few steps from the beach.  Amenities include a baggage storage service and a safe. Wireless internet access (no extra charge) allows guests to stay connected while on vacation. The tour desk offers assistance with booking excursions. The hotel has wheelchair-accessible facilities and an elevator. A fireplace creates a cozy atmosphere.

Guests of the hotel are welcome to relax in the garden, and there are a number of shops as well.  Active guests can make use of the bicycle rental service to explore the surrounding area.  After checking in (and a bit of rest), you will be able to truly start your Portuguese adventure! 

Exploring Algarve

Algarve’s weathered red cliffs, idyllic beaches, and quiet fishing towns stretch one hundred miles across the coast of the Atlantic, giving Portugal’s southernmost region a sense of being isolated from the rest of the world. Upon arrival, the sea breeze lulls visitors into a state of bliss, carrying you away with the local scents of orange blossom, charcoal-roasting fires, and fresh Atlantic air.

Between golfing on cliffs above the crashing sea, exploring natural grottoes on a kayak, and taking in the sunset while you enjoy crisp vinho verde and succulent seafood, you will quickly see why the Algarve is one of Europe’s most loved beach destinations. Throughout the region, red and orange flowers spill from wrought iron balconies, contrasting beautifully with the crumbling white walls and bright blue sea, while 13th-century churches and Moorish castles stand regally next to open-air markets full of locals bartering with fishermen over the day’s catch.

The friendly locals will point you in the direction of the best ways to spend your days, whether that be relaxing on an untouched beach or shopping for handmade tiles. Whichever seaside village you choose to explore, and whichever activity you choose to take on, you are sure to find yourself in constant awe of your surroundings.

Cliffs in Algarve
Algarve boasts some of the world’s most captivating cliffs.

Next to the modern outdoor pool, you will have a bartender at your disposal and all the tranquility you are looking for to enjoy the blue sky, the main feature of this region.  Bela Vista also has private access to the beach, just in case you prefer to take a walk on the sand or bathe in the ocean.

You and I Boat Experience

Next, you will meet one of the members of the crew at the lobby of your hotel and transfer to the Port.  Enjoy a unique private experience: a late afternoon cruise along the Ria Formosa with a champagne toast, followed by sunset dining.

Between its stunning beaches, crashing blue ocean, and incredible cliffs, the Algarve is full of idyllic settings. You are sure to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the evening magic of the lagoon. Then, you will have a private dinner on a deserted island, made complete with sushi and more champagne.

Day 3: Day at Leisure

You are free to explore the Algarve region.

Day 4: Privately Transfer and Fly to Madeira, Portugal

After a little travel, you will arrive at your next destination: majestic Madeira.

Check-in at Reid’s Palace, A Belmond Hotel

Reid’s Palace, A Belmond Hotel, is a first-class historic hotel that was built in 1891, situated on a main road in Funchal a few steps from the pebble beach. The center with all its tourist hotspots can be reached within around one mile. There is a direct connection to public transportation, and a number of bars, restaurants, and shops.

For well over a century,  this pristine palace has enjoyed a well-earned reputation as one of the most luxurious spots in Madeira.  Perched on a cliff above Funchal’s harbor, this five-star resort is surrounded by beautiful gardens and extensive grounds – including three swimming pools, tennis courts, a spa and gym, and a kids club. Its 188 rooms and suites are the epitome of timeless style; some are even named after esteemed former guests like Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw. Make sure to sample the exquisite cuisine served at each of its four restaurants.

Portugal, Reid's Palace
Enjoy royal accommodations at Reid’s Palace.

Meet your guide outside the main entrance of the hotel.  Start your day visiting the beautiful capital of Madeira. This city is well-known for its botanical garden hidden at every corner in the city. With more than 500 years of history and lying within a powerful landscape between the sea and the majestic mountains, the capital of the island offers a very charming, historical and complete context.

Take the opportunity to learn a bit more about this island with an outstanding stroll, local traditions, and markets like Dos Lavradores Market (Farmers Market) where there are all kinds of products from the island, the Sé Catedral (Cathedral of Funchal), Santa Catarina Park or enjoy walking by Zona Velha; city’s old town which is characterized for the great number of street art remains.

**Please note that Dos Lavradores Market is closed on Sundays.**

Day 6: Half-Day Madeira Discovery Sailing Experience

Transfer to Funchal Marina and get ready to cruise!  During your sailing experience along the south coast of Madeira, you will get to know all the tonalities of the island and the subtropical flora, all in contrast to the blue of the ocean.

You will also discover Cabo Girão, with more than 580 meters high, is the highest cliff in Europe and the second highest in the world. It is said that its name “Girão”, which means “back”, dates from the first exploration trip to the coast of Zarco in the year 1420.

**On your way back, you can enjoy a swim in the Atlantic waters.**

Day 7: Full-Day Excursion to Porto Santo: Jeep Visit to Porto Santo & Wine Tasting

Meet your driver outside the main entrance of the hotel and transfer to the pier in Funchal where you will take the ferry to Porto Santo (first Class tickets included).  Arrive in Porto Santo, and meet your driver-guide.  Explore this island with a Jeep Tour and enjoy a wine tasting at Casa da Serra.

Discover all the natural richness of the island. Since many of the local roads are gravel roads in Porto Santo, an all-terrain vehicle is the best way to scroll through them. Learn about the geological sites of special interest, and make some stops to admire the beautiful environment of this island.

After this spectacular experience of visiting the most incredible spots hidden in Porto Santo landscapes, visit a typical house. It is important to remark that most inhabitants of the island live near the coast and that most local and old houses lie on opposite sides. Your visit will be to Casa da Serraan old house totally rebuilt by a local, located right in the middle of the mountains where his antecedents lived. Here, you can enjoy a wine tasting with accompanying snacks (cost of wine included).

Transfer back to the city center, say farewell to your guide, and enjoy a local restaurant lunch on your own (cost of food not included) before heading back to Porto Santo’s pier and hopping on the ferry.  Spend the rest of your day enjoying your accommodations back at Reid’s Palace.

Portugal, Sailing
Sail Portugal.

Day 8: Check out from Reid’s Palace and Get Ready For Your Return Flight Home

As your journey through Portugal’s sumptuous landscapes and historic wonders comes to a close, we hope this itinerary has painted a canvas of special memories to hold dear.  Until our paths cross again on a future quest, may the legacy of your Portuguese adventure continue to enrich your travels — and your soul.

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