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North Portugal

13 September 2023 - 26 September 2023

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Discover the delights of northern Spain and northern Portugal with this fabulous two-week tour. Starting and finishing in Plymouth, UK, we shall take the overnight ferry to Santander, Spain. The tour will head south to the enchanting city of Salamanca, before crossing into Portugal. Drive along lanes lined with olive groves, along the border towns, guarded by centuries-old castles. Discover the enthralling Serra da Estrela mountains, before turning north to the Douro Valley, where you can learn all about port wine production. Spend time in the wonderfully Dickensian city of Porto before spending a couple of days wending your way gently through the very north of Portugal and back into Spain. The final night of the tour will be in the awe-inspiring Picos de Europa mountains.

 

Highlights of North Portugal & northern Spain

  • Visit the beautiful Spanish cities of Santander and Salamanca
  • Enjoy some spirited driving in the Serra da Estrela mountain range in Portugal, home to the country’s highest mountain
  • Stroll around the fascinating citadel of Almeida
  • Marvel at the 12th-century castle at Linhares
  • Drive down the Douro Valley, staying at Pinhao and Porto
  • Visit quintas (vineyards & wineries) along the Douro Valley, with a private lunch, cellar visit & wine tasting
  • Spend time discovering the fabulous city of Porto
  • In Porto sample some of the port wines at the likes of Dows, Grahams et al
  • Discover Braga, Portugal’s ecclesiastical capital
  • See the famed pilgrimage church of Bom Jesus
  • Explore the medieval town of Guimaraes
  • Drive through the beautiful Picos de Europa mountains in Spain

 

Route map
Price: €4,895 per person*
Price per person, based on two people sharing a double or twin room/cabin and one car
*Price is €4,995 per person if booked after 1 January 2023
Single supplement: €TBC

Price is €4,520 per person, sharing, if joining in Spain (no ferry)

Starts: 13 September 2023
Duration: 13 nights / 14 days
Mileage: 1,135 miles

What's Included?

  • Return ferry crossing from Plymouth to Santander with an overnight crossing each way in Club cabins
  • Eleven nights of luxury hotel accommodation (incl all taxes/fees)
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Three-course dinner on nine evenings, with wine (1/2 bottle per person)
  • Tour Pack & Route Book – includes a brief history of the region, route maps and easy-to-follow directions, and a detailed account of everything there is to do, see and visit each day.
  • Portugal & Spain road atlas
  • Rally plate
  • GPX files for your own GPS device/smartphone
  • Experienced Tour Director, Sarah Dowding & assistant to ensure you’re able to make the most of your tri
  • Dedicated tour mechanic, Joe Coleman of Oldtimer Services, in case of any failures to proceed.

Itinerary

May be subject to change.

Day 1: 13 September 2023

Leave Plymouth, Devon at 12.15 (lunchtime) on the overnight ferry to Santander. Club cabins with sea views have been booked for everyone. We shall have a welcome lunch on board for everyone.

Day 2: 14 September 2023 120 miles

Arrive in Santander at 10.30am and drive south to Palencia. Stay in a fabulous converted monastery on the Camino de Santiago pilgrims’ way. Dinner is included.

Day 3: 15 September 2023 125 miles

Drive across the country to Salamanca, one of Spain’s most fantastic cities. Salamanca is built almost entirely of the local sandstone, and dominated by its two cathedrals and university – the oldest in Spain, founded in 1215, and for four centuries the most important in the world. Stay in a superb hotel, in the centre, a few moments walk from all the sights. There are many restaurants in the city to choose for dinner, which is at leisure.

Day 4: 16 September 2023 158 miles

Head west for Portugal, and wind your way up from the river frontier through steep terraces of olive groves. Visit the lovely citadel of Almeida and take a stroll along the castle walls.  Continue south, past Guarda to Belmonte. Stay for the next two nights in a superb Pousada, a former monastery, with lovely views across the valley. Dinner is included on both evenings.

Day 5: 17 September 2023 94 miles

A ‘must do’ drive today around part of the Serra da Estrela mountains. It is a wonderfully twisty road up to Manteigas, which then flattens out as you climb eventually up to Torre, Portugal’s highest mountain at a shade under 2000 metres. It is then a truly outstanding drive back, down Europe’s largest glacial valley. The lower reaches of the valley still have traditional thatched barns and farms and the views are wonderful.

Day 6: 18 September 2023 143 miles

Leave Belmonte and drive across the Serra da Estrela again. Enjoy a wander around the enchanting hillside village of Linhares, with its 12th-century castle and pretty houses. Continue northwards to Trancoso, yet another charming village, encased in thick, ancient walls, and while away some time over lunch and take a stroll around the medieval streets.

Drive north to the Duro River and cross to the northern side, where the hills afford beautiful views of the river valley. Continue to Pinhao, a quintessential Duoro Valley town, delightfully surrounded by vineyard terraces. Spend the next two nights at an idyllic riverside hotel. Dinner is included this evening.

Day 7: 19 September 2023

No driving today as we have a short river cruise up the Douro to the fabulous Quinta do Castro, which often features in the Top 20 of the World’s Best Vineyards.

Enjoy a guided tour of the Quinta, followed by a traditional lunch, which will be accompanied by five of the estate wines.

Return to the hotel by river again. The remainder of your day and evening is at leisure.

Day 8: 20 September 2023 78 miles

Wind your way along the Douro Valley, visiting some more Quintas on the way. Stop at Peso de Regua to visit the excellent Museo de Duoro. Continue to the fabulous city of Porto. We shall be staying in a beautiful villa on the coast in Porto. Dinner is included this evening.

Day 9: 21 September 2023

Spend the day wandering around the beguiling city of Porto, one of Portugal’s oldest cities. Discover more about its history and culture by walking its well-signposted guide route, or experience a nostalgic journey with an old-fashioned tram ride to Foz, where the River Douro meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Explore the riverside neighbourhood of the Ribeira Circuit and discover the Casa do Infante, the Trading Palace, or the renowned Rua Ferreira Borges and the well-preserved Rua de Miragaia. And, of course, take time to visit the Port wine lodges on the south bank in Gaia, home to famous names such as Grahams, Dows, Taylors and Cockburns. Dinner is at leisure.

Day 10: 22 September 2023 54 miles

Leave Porto and head north to Braga, Portugal’s ecclesiastical capital. The journey will then take you to the Baroque stairway and pilgrim church of Bom Jesus do Monte, one of Portugal’s best-known images. Then drive to Citania de Briteiros, an impressive archaeological area.

Continue to Guimaraes, with its medieval centre, and birthplace of the first king of Portugal. Stay overnight in a 12th-century former Augustian monastery surrounded by 8ha of beautiful gardens. Dinner is included.

Day 11: 23 September 2023 136 miles

Drive some superb roads to Vinhais and Braganca. On a hill above Braganca, the remote capital of Trás-os-Montes, stands a circle of perfectly preserved walls, enclosing a white medieval village and rising to a massive keep and castle. Known as the Cidadela, this is one of the most memorable sights in Portugal. Stay overnight in a lovely pousada overlooking the castle. Dinner is included.

Day 12: 24 September 2023 223 miles

Leave Portugal behind and start the northwards journey home. However, the best is far from over. The entire drive today is lovely, but culminates in the amazing Picos de Europa mountain range. The Picos are a compact mountain range, no more than 30 miles long and 15 miles wide, and not far from the coast, but the limestone mass gives the area a ‘violent’ topography, with dramatic canyons, caves, and superb mountain rock folds. Stay at a fabulous mountain-top parador where dinner is included.

Day 13: 25 September 2023 82 miles

A lovely drive to Santander, firstly through the incredible gorge of Hermida and then down to the sea. Meander through the fishing village island of San Vicente, the pretty cobbled streets of Comillas, and wander the narrow streets of the chocolate-box village of Santillana del Mar, with its picturesque houses and stunning Romanesque church.

The home-bound ferry departs from Santander at 18.00 and we shall have a farewell dinner on board. Club cabins with sea views are booked for everyone.

Day 14: 26 September 2023

Arrive in Plymouth at 15.30 and depart for home.

Accommodation

We have hand-picked some really delightful and charming hotels, each with unique character. There are converted monasteries, old palaces, former riverside warehouses, Pousadas and Paradors – with a great history and story to tell. Each hotel has good parking, lovely rooms and that ‘something special’ about it, yet all giving you an excellent flavour of northern Portugal and Spain.

Requirements

  • Each person must have a passport (and any necessary visas for non-EU passport holders) valid for Spain, and Portugal and any other countries you may visit to participate on the tour. All passports must be valid for six months after the end of the tour
  • You will also need your vehicle registration documents, driving licence (a photo-card licence or international permit is best), and international insurance cover.
  • Please check your travel and motor insurance that you are covered for travel in the required countries.
  • You are also required to safety equipment: carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, fluorescent jackets, set of replacement bulbs and a national identification sticker.

Bespoke Fitted Luggage

Make packing for your next tour simple and easy. Classic Travelling Luggage offers bespoke fitted cases for a large range of classic and sports cars. Participants on our group tours enjoy a 10% discount on items.

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North Portugal Tour Booking Form

TOUR PRICE: €9,790 euros per car/2 people (if booked before 31/12/2022). Price is €9,990 per car if booked after 1/1/2023

NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT: €500 (includes €300 booking fee)
SECOND PAYMENT (non-refundable): €2,000 euros (due before 31 December 2022)
OUTSTANDING BALANCE: €7,290 euros (due before 13 July 2023)

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