The area around the city of Lisbon is known for its great diversity. From the bustling city centre, rich with ancient Moorish influence, maritime history, and Portuguese art, to the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais and the stunning golden beaches on Portugal’s western coast.With a mix of historic hotels and resorts with abundant facilities, this holiday is perfect for family groups as well as couples looking for an alternative to single-centre beach holidays. Couples looking for a short, cultural break might choose to use the first two stops of this tour, without the final two nights at the Martinhal Cascais.This touring holiday takes you to some of the region’s most beautiful areas, each within half an hour from the city centre, striking the perfect balance between infectious culture and peaceful relaxation. The short driving distances at each hotel ensures that the route fits comfortably into a 7-night tour. Arrive into Lisbon Portela Airport and travel through the city on your way to your first hotel, the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais, just outside the beautiful town of Sintra, a favourite destination of Lord Byron. Then, after a stay of two nights in this hilltop palace, continue south past the Parque Naturel de Sintra-Cascais to the Penha Longa, former residence of Portuguese kings. Spend three nights enjoying rural seclusion, before driving further south to the Martinhal Cascais, on the beachfront in Greater Lisbon, for your final two nights. Make the most of the proximity to the city’s waterfront, visiting the cultural monuments along the banks of the Rio Tejo, but also take the time to relax on the sheltered beaches. What’s included:• Scheduled flights with British Airways from London to Lisbon Portela• Group A hire car• 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Superior room at the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais, Sintra• 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a double room at the Penha Longa, village of Penha Longa• 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Deluxe room at the Martinhal Cascais, Cascais, Greater LisbonPricesFrom £1,180 per person based on two people sharing.
Days one to two:Arrive into Lisbon, drive on to SintraYour arrival into Lisbon takes you directly into the city, so as you drive west on your way to the first hotel on this touring holiday, you pass the University, sports stadiums, the Parque Florestal de Montsanto, and several neighbouring towns and villages. On a verdant mountainside west of Sintra, is the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais, an incredibly palatial hotel with fantastic views. You can see both the town of Sintra and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra Castle. While staying in this regal boutique hotels, accompanied by ornate tapestries, frescoed ceilings, and opulent dining rooms, venture out to enjoy the local sports and culture. The Castelo dos Mouros in Sintra is a 9th-century ruined castle set amongst the Serra de Sintra forests, and is a valuable excursion of a few hours. Sintra itself is recognisable for its Romanticism-Style architecture, which is prevalent throughout the town. A highlight of the local area will undoubtedly be the Park and National Palace of Pena, a vast hilltop structure with a menagerie of styles and colours and a higgledy-piggledy kind of composition. Each turret, bridge, and archway, whether red, yellow, or grey is wholly unique. In the evening of your second day, perhaps travel back into Lisbon for dinner, to witness the city at night.Days three to five:Sintra to Penha LongaThe next leg of the journey skirts the edge of the dense, green Parque Naturel de Sintra-Cascais to the Penha Longa Resort. On your way, you may choose to take a detour to the east back into Lisbon. During a daytime visit, you can best appreciate the very distinct Moorish architecture of the Castelo de Sao Jorge in the Alfama towards the waterfront, with its tall, imposing battlements and towers and historic exhibitions within. The Museu Gulbenkian, the Museu de Arte Antiga, and the Berardo Collection showcase a range of modern and classical Portuguese art. After lunch in an authentic restaurant or café, and an afternoon of exploration, arrive at the Penha Longa Resort, immersed in a beautiful natural landscape dense with trees. The pink-tinged exterior hints at the building’s opulent past. Spend three nights here enjoying the seclusion. Perhaps spend one of your full days making your way around one of the hotel’s two golf courses, or one of the other 17 in the area, as this is a serene method of taking in the views, or indulging in the spa. The Sintra Mountains rise all around you, providing sensational walking and hiking routes through the trees for your second day, or bikes can be rented at the hotel.Days six to seven:Penha Longa to CascaisAfter your three nights in Penha Longa, begin the short drive south to the Martinhal Cascais on the coast. You can choose to drive through Greater Lisbon and past the Estoril race course, or you can take the slightly longer route west through the villages surrounding the National Parks and around the area’s most westerly coastline, with the ocean and golden sand on your right. The Martinhal Cascais is a well-equipped resort set just a few minutes from the beach. Modern accommodations, built around the central pool and facilities have a real sense of privacy. The focus of your two nights here will be on the waterfront, both the beaches and the riverside in Lisbon. In waterside Cascais, you can visit the whimsical 19th century Museu Condes de Casto Guimares, set in a renovated stately home. However, if you head into Lisbon along the riverside, you will see first the Belém Tower, which rises out of the water with intricate majesty. The Jerónimos Monastery sits further into the city centre. This grand building dates back to the 16th century, is impressive in size, and demonstrates unique Late Gothic Manueline architecture. Once you reach the heart of Lisbon, enjoy the views across the water while having a late lunch. Day eight:Return to the UKAfter your second night at the Martinhal Cascais, drive back into Lisbon to return your hire car and catch your flight back to the UK.
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