Portugal UNESCO World Heritage Self-Drive Tour

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At a glance
Itinerary
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At a glance

Where: Lisbon Estoril & Cascais
Staying At:
Visit:
Monastery of Jerónimos and the Tower of Belém of Lisbon, Cultural Landscape of Sintra, Fado's Intangible Cultural Heritage, Coimbra University, Uptown and Sofia, Convent of Christ in Tomar, Monastery of Alcobaça, Monastery of Batalha, Historic Centre of Évora, Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications 

PLACES YOU WILL VISIT

  • Monastery of Jerónimos and the Tower of Belém, Lisbon - The Monastery of Jerónimos is a remarkable work of architecture commissioned by King Manuel I in the early 16th century. It is considered the “jewel” of Manueline style, exclusively Portuguese, incorporating architectural features of late Gothic and Renaissance, associated with a royal symbolism that makes it truly outstanding. 
  • Belem Tower - King Manuel I also commissioned the construction of the Belém Tower, achieving an innovative and effective plan for the defence of the river and the protection of Lisbon, within a system of crossfire with other defensive structures at the entrance of the estuary. A symbol of the King’s prestige, it is decorated with Manueline motifs, including knots, ropes, ringed spheres, crosses of the Military Order of Christ and naturalistic features.
  • Cultural Landscape of Sintra - Sintra was one of the first places in Europe to experiment with Romantic architecture in the 19th century. King Consort Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, married to Queen Maria II, converted the ruins of a monastery into a castle, bringing together in a brilliant manner Gothic, Egyptian, Islamic and Renaissance features, surrounded by exuberant, exotic grounds to the taste of the period. The same model was adopted in other palaces of the Sintra Mountain and served as inspiration for other European landscapes.
  • Fado, Intangible Cultural Heritage - Sung by a solo performer and accompanied by the classical and the Portuguese guitars, Fado has its origins in the historic districts of Lisbon - Mouraria, Alfama, Bairro Alto and Madragoa, and is associated with the fate of destiny and love. Rendered with intensity and soul, it is today a music of the world, an acknowledged symbol of Portugal.
  • Coimbra University, Uptown and Sofia - Founded in 1290, Coimbra University is the oldest in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe. Particularly during the 18th century, it defined the character of the city as a student town, on the urban, architectural, artistic and social levels. Examples are the Paço das Escolas, the Graça and Jesus Colleges, the Joanine Library, the Botanical Gardens, Coimbra Uptown, Rua da Sofia and the ancient academic traditions and usages. From its inception, the university has been a disseminating hub of scientific knowledge and a reference of Portuguese language and culture all over the world.
  • Convent of Christ, Tomar - For its historical significance and artistic importance, the Convent of the Order of Christ in Tomar and the Templar Castle form a unique monumental group. Work done over the centuries reflects the history of Portuguese art, with examples from Romanesque art, Templar symbolism, the Gothic and Manueline styles from the era of the Discoveries, through to Renaissance art, then Mannerism in its various facets and, finally, Baroque in the architectural ornamentation.
  • Monastery of Alcobaça - This is one of the most important European Cistercian abbeys, a symbol of the Cistercian Order. It was founded in the 12th century, by donation to Bernardo de Claraval by the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques. The church, begun from its apse, as was the custom, with three naves on the same level, the two-nave transept and the ambulatory, creates an impressive ensemble for its simplicity, grandeur and austerity. 
  • Monastery of Batalha - A masterpiece of creative genius, the Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória was erected on King João I’s orders in acknowledgement for the victory of the Portuguese over the Spanish at the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. It is the major monument of Portuguese late Gothic, where one of the first examples of the Manueline style appeared. Bearing witness to an exchange of influences in the arts, it is one of the most beautiful monastic buildings in Europe from the late Middle Ages.
  • Historic Centre of Évora - Évora, dating back to Roman times, had its golden age in the 15th century, when the Portuguese Kings established their residence there. Its unique character lies in its whitewashed houses, the indoor tiled decorations and the wrought-iron balconies, all of which make it a representative urban landscape of an historical period (16th to 18th centuries). Its monuments had a decisive influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil.
  • Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications - Close to the border, you will find in Elvas the largest star fort in the world, about 10km in perimeter and with an area of 300 ha. A unique testimony to the development of military strategic design, it incorporates various monuments: the castle, two forts, three small forts, the walls and the majestic 7km long Amoreira Aqueduct with 843 arches.

Day 1:

Arrive to Lisbon and make your way to Lisbon with your hire car.
3 nights stay in Lisbon at the Heritage Avenida Liberdade or Lisboa Plaza.
During your stay in Lisbon, visit the magnificent Jeronimos Monastery, The Belem Tower and taste your Pastel De Belem in the famous patisserie.
A day should be dedicated to Sintra and Cascais to appreciate these coastal towns, its Moorish Architecture and the beauty of the small historic centres. The Pena Palace is worth a visit when you are in Sintra. 

Day 4:

Depart for Coimbra. This beautiful town in the heart of Central Portugal is a must. 
3 nights stay in Coimbra at Sapientia Book & Wine Hotel located in the heart of the old town. (Alternative hotels also available.)

Day 7:

Continue to your last stop, the gastronomy centre of Portugal, Alentejo for your last 4 nights.
4 nights stay in the charming eco hotel Ecorkhotel Suites where you can relax and enjoy the surrounding places but be a shot drive away for the mesmerising Evora.

Day 11:

Drive back to Lisbon Airport for your flight back to UK.

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