The flamboyant English poet, Lord Byron, spent many years in the area of Portugal encompassing Lisbon and his love for the beautiful towns and castle remains that break up mile after mile of rolling hills and pastureland was evident in his writing. These towns in question include: Lisbon, a capital draped in a dazzle of festive lights, and our base for this Christmas holiday; Óbidos, the romantic ‘Wedding Present Town’; and Sintra, one of the country’s most iconic towns and a favourite of many a visitor, including Lord Byron and Portuguese royalty. Enjoy a festive break in this lovely corner of the world, from your centrally-located hotel.
5 nights in hotel (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Gatwick Airport for a direct, scheduled TAP Portugal flight to Lisbon. On arrival we transfer to the ideally located Hotel Mundial (4T). This afternoon we take a walking tour of the local area - there is much to see in the vicinity of our hotel. Local landmarks include Rossio Square, with two monumental fountains overseen by the statue of King D Pedro the 4th, the extraordinary Santa Justa Elevator and Rua Augusta, the main street of Baixa Pombalina abuzz with cafés, street artists, traditional flower sellers and hot chestnut sellers. You may also enjoy an energetic walk to the hilltop ruins of São Jorge Castle, where you can take in views of the city from its beautiful gardens.
Day 2 Lisbon
A half-day tour of Lisbon takes in the sites a little further afield and includes entrance to the Maritime Museum. The museum is contained within Jerónimos Monastery, fittingly built on the site of a church dedicated to sailors, where Vasco da Gama - one of Portugal's most famous explorers - is said to have prayed before setting sail from nearby Belém harbour towards the Indies. Portugal played a great part in the Age of Discovery and this museum houses many reminders from those pioneering voyages, including: models of the ships that sailed into uncharted seas; replicas of 16th century maps showing the world as it was known then; and two 18th century ceremonial barges that have transported a list of royalty that includes Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Queen Elizabeth II of England. The remainder of the day is free, before dinner.
Day 3 Christmas Eve - Óbidos
Our day starts with a tour of Óbidos, one of Portugal’s most attractive gems. In the 13th century its beauty was famously noted by Queen Isabel de Aragon, whose husband, romantic King Dinis, offered it to her as a gift on their wedding day. Ever since, princes have offered this pretty whitewashed town to their brides. The town is full of legends that seep from the walls of the well-preserved castle, a formidable medieval fortification, and the renaissance church where Prince Afonso V married his cousin aged ten and eight respectively. This evening we have a special Christmas dinner with drinks at our hotel.
Day 4 Christmas Day - Lisbon
Today is free for you to relax and enjoy festive feasts at the hotel. A special Christmas lunch will be offered with drinks, and dinner later in the day. Between meals, you may like to stroll through the city to enjoy the Christmas lights - Lisbon has a reputation for hosting Europe’s tallest artificial Christmas tree - and, although many places will be closed today, a limited number of attractions will still be opening their doors and you have a choice of grand churches to visit.
Day 5 Boxing Day - Sintra - Cabo da Roca - Cascais - Estoril
We drive across verdant hills and alongside farmland to Sintra, where Lord Byron spent much of his youth - even on a winter’s day, 200 years later, Sintra is immensely picturesque. The town is dotted with fairytale palaces and we take time to wander through the ornately decorated rooms of Sintra National Palace, in the heart of the old town. Considered the best-preserved medieval royal palace in the country, it was the summer retreat for the Portuguese royal family for six centuries. We travel onwards to the edge of the eastern world - the headland of Cabo da Roca, before continuing to glamorous Cascais and Estoril - fashionable summertime playgrounds of the wealthy. The once sleepy villages entice the visitor with golden sandy beaches, restored palaces and world-leading golf courses. A final dinner is included this evening.
Day 6 Lisbon - London
We transfer to the airport for a direct, scheduled TAP Portugal flight to London Heathrow. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.