UK - Lisbon - Cascais
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Lisbon. On arrival we transfer to the Vila Galé Cascais Hotel (4T) and are greeted with a welcome drink.
For over two millennia Lisbon has grown on the banks of the River Tagus, and honoured with the title of Portugal’s capital in 1255. Following disastrous earthquakes in the 18th century, Lisbon was rebuilt with wide boulevards majestic architecture, and a grand square, Praça do Comércio. Today there are distinct modern and ancient districts, combining great shopping areas with culture and sightseeing in the Old Town, built on the city’s terraced hillsides. We take a guided drive through the town, stopping to take photographs at famous landmarks such as the Monument to the Discoveries and Belém Tower, and visiting the decorative Jerónimos Monastery, an impressive symbol of Portugal’s power and wealth during the Age of Discovery. This afternoon is free for you to explore further, maybe while riding one of the city’s famous old wooden trams, before returning to our hotel.
The delightful Portuguese fishing town of Cascais is a picturesque place to spend your first free day. A favourite summer retreat with Portuguese nobility since the 19th century, it still holds the elegance and charm of this time, with family-run open-air cafés, fine parks, stretches of golden sand beaches and a two-mile promenade that connects Cascais to prosperous Estoril, where further beaches and historic sights await. The stunningly wild and rugged coastline can be appreciated on a half-mile walk in the opposite direction, where Boca do Inferno (the ‘Mouth of Hell’) is idyllic on a calm day and ferocious on a bad, and dramatic Praia do Guincho is just four miles north (accessible by public bus services).
The National Palace of Queluz and its historical gardens are one of the most remarkable examples of palatial architecture in Portugal. Built in 1747 as a summer residence at the orders of the future King Pedro III, it illustrates the evolution of the Court’s tastes in the 18th and 19th centuries, with marks of Baroque, rococo and neoclassicism. After a tour of the palace, you can wander among the lakes, fountains and mythical statues that fill the garden, and along the surprising Canal dos Azulejos. We return to our hotel for the remainder of the day.
Spend today at leisure or discover traditional Portuguese towns on an optional excursion. Obidos is the first stop, a pretty town of whitewashed houses on cobbled streets that was presented by King Dinis to his wife Isabella as a wedding gift, starting a royal tradition. Next are the colourful fishing villages of Nazaré, and Sitio, set on the cliff tops. Then Alcobaca, Portugal’s spiritual centre is the last destination, including a visit to the 12th century Alcobaça Monastery, the largest Gothic religious structure in Portugal, and the Cloisters of Silence, commissioned by King Dinis.
A day to explore independently, or take an optional excursion to Mafra National Palace. This grandiose palace-monastery, ordered by King João V in 1717 to celebrate the birth of his first child, boasts 880 rooms, 5,000 doorways, 2,500 windows, 330 monks’ cells and two bell towers that house over 100 bells (the largest collection in the world) that can be heard across 15 miles. The library is one of Europe’s finest, with over 40,000 rare volumes including the earliest edition of Homer’s tales in Greek.
Enjoy your last day at leisure, maybe exploring Lisbon in more detail (connected to Cascais by train), or take an optional excursion to charming Sintra, with many stunning buildings and works of art that have awarded the town with UNESCO protection. The excursion includes Pena Palace, one of Portugal’s finest attractions with a hedonistic mix of vividly painted terraces, decorative battlements and mythological statues that exemplifies 19th century Romanticism. It also includes a visit to a winery in Colares, where you can partake in wine tasting, and a stop at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe.
Day 8 Cascais - Lisbon - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.