A trip to Portugal offers lush landscapes, stunning coastal scenery, interesting history and delicious food and drink. Hop on a tram to explore Lisbon, see the colourful domes of the Pena Palace in Sintra, walk in Madeira or cycle the Algarve.
From the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Algarve to the ancient footpaths of Madiera and the lush volcanic landscape of the Azores, our small group tours to Portugal will transport you into the heart of this sought-after adventure vacation destination.
Whether you’re island hopping in the Azores or exploring the colorful Pena Palace at Sintra, our local tour leader will show you the must-see sights of Portugal as well as the hidden gems. Portugal has vibrant cities to discover - stroll the historic streets of Lisbon with the chance to hear fado music or sample port in Porto. Take a Portugal walking trip, join our cycling tour up the Douro Valley to explore one of the world’s oldest wine regions in Porto, or go whale watching from the island of Pico.
Considering a trip to Portugal but new to Explore? We've answered some of the most-asked questions about our small group tours.
Our selection of small group vacations to Portugal will take you from the golden sandy beaches of the Algarve and bustling food markets of Porto to the exotic islands of the Azores and mossy footpaths of Madeira.
Here are some of our Portugal Tour highlights:
Set off on foot to discover hidden gems in an unspoiled corner of Portugal along the western Algarve on our Coastal Trails of Portugal walking vacation. The Algarve region is famous for its glistening turquoise waters, golden sand beaches, fresh seafood and delicious local wines. Uncover the jagged arches of Ponta de Piedade and take the coastal trail along towering cliffs to Europe’s most south-westerly point, Cabo Sao Vicente. Alternatively, head to Tavira on our Eastern Algarve Walking Tour for leisurely walks through picturesque villages, traditional fishing towns and untouched sandbank islands.
Portugal’s Azores Islands are located in the mid-Atlantic and boast verdant hillsides, aquamarine seas, volcanoes and exotic flora. Visit five islands on our Azores Island Hopping Walking Vacation to see the best that they have to offer. Wander around the emerald green crater lakes of Sao Miguel, swim in the lava rock pools on the coast of Terceira, walk along the ridge of the lush Caldeira de Cima gorge on Sao Jorge, go whale watching from Pico and trek amongst blooms of wild blue hydrangeas on Faial.
Jump on board a train to Porto on our Highlights of Portugal Tour. Follow your tour leader through the rustic cobbled streets and to the quayside of Casi da Ribeira where colorful old townhouses line the water’s edge. Then take some time to explore the bustling food markets, discover churches embellished with ornate azulejo tiles and relax in a cozy coffee bar. A visit to Porto wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a local port lodge too. Learn about the history and production of white, ruby and tawny port before putting them to the test with a tasting session.
Madeira is an archipelago of four Portuguese islands located off the west coast of Africa. Explore the main volcanic island on foot with our Madeira Trekking Vacation and uncover a verdant world of mossy levadas, ancient footpaths and clifftop passes. Uncover waterfalls cascading through the hillsides, take a dip in the freshwater levada pools, hike to the highest summit of Pico Ruivo, navigate your way through dark tunnels and feel your heart rate rise as you step onto the famous Balcony Walk cut into the edge of the cliff face.
Traveling alone? You're in the right place! All of our Portugal trips are perfect for solo vacations. Many of our customers come on their own so you'll be in good company and make new friends along the way. Let us take away the stress and worry and look after all of the logistics so you can relax and enjoy your adventure.
The best time of year to visit Portugal depends on which part(s) of the country you want to visit and what you want to do. In general, though, spring and fall are the best times to plan a trip. Both have good weather and opportunities to experience seasonal delights like springtime blooms or fall colors (wine lovers will especially like visiting during autumn for harvest). Popular tourist attractions and major cities will also be less crowded, as both spring and autumn fall on either side of the summer high season.
Thanks to its location right by the Atlantic Ocean, many of Portugal's top attractions are related to the ocean, from seafood-inspired local food to the picturesque beaches of the Algarve region. Its major cities like Porto and Lisbon are also hubs for culture, art, cuisine and architecture, with many historic town centers being UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Wine lovers also flock here to go wine tasting in bucolic wine regions like the Douro Valley (another UNESCO World Heritage Site) and try local specialties such as port wine. Whether you want to experience food, art, history, culture or the great outdoors, Portugal has a bit of everything.
It's not necessary to learn Portuguese before your trip to Portugal. If you're traveling as part of a guided tour, your tour guide will speak both English and Portuguese and can assist with any necessary translations.
However, if you're traveling alone, it can be a good idea to learn some basic phrases and words. In big cities and major tourist destinations like the Douro Valley, most locals you encounter will likely speak or understand English. But if you plan on traveling to off-the-beaten-path areas or are exploring the country on your own, speaking some of the local languages will ease your travels around this amazing country. Even if you're on a guided tour, picking up some beginner Portuguese phrases helps you better connect with the local culture.
Five days to a week is usually enough to do all the highlights, plus have some free time, in a particular region or city. But if you plan to explore multiple regions in one trip, you'll likely want to plan for up to two weeks of travel.
Luckily, you don't need to get a visa to visit Portugal if you're planning to visit for under 90 days. This is the same as with many other European countries that are part of the European Union. You will, however, need to have a valid passport if you are traveling from America.
As a small country, Portugal is easy to get around without needing to rent a car. Train routes and buses connect most of the country, and its compact size also means you can thoroughly explore entire regions by foot or bike on a walking tour or a cycling tour.
A bus tour is another easy and convenient way to explore many of Portugal's top attractions, whether you want to visit historic sites or go on a winery tour.
Of course, if you travel with Explore to Portugal, all of your local transportation is included in the trip price.
Portugal’s safety record has made it an extremely popular destination for travelers - solo and otherwise. Crime rates are low, and locals are very friendly and welcoming. You'll want to be wary of pickpockets and petty theft in major cities.
Currently, you don't need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to travel to Portugal.
Walking and Cycling Tours:
• Comfortable hiking or cycling shoes
• Activity-appropriate clothing (cycling kit, hiking pants, etc.)
• Clothing layers
• Waterproof jacket
• Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.)
Cultural and Food Tours:
• Season-appropriate clothing (warm layers for winter, cool lightweight clothing for summer)
• Comfortable walking shoes
• Layers (jackets, fleeces, etc.)
• Waterproof jacket
• Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.)
The specifics of what is included vary from tour to tour, but accommodations and some private transport options are included across the board. On guided tours, one of Explore's expert guides will be with you every step of the way, offering guided activities and information. Included meals vary by itinerary.
Our Portugal walking and cycling tours range in difficulty from easy to moderate, requiring a good level of health and fitness. Some hikes and cycling routes will have elevation gains, but nothing too strenuous. For cycling tours, you also have the option to choose an e-bike for a power assist.
From big wows to hidden gems, our tours leave you feeling that you've really explored.
Chosen for their great knowledge of your destination and a passion to make your trip extraordinary.
Average groups of 11; solos, couples and friends, united by a desire for authentic experiences.
How we operate sets us apart; our flexible booking policy, our loyalty scheme & sustainable approach.
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