The First Escape Artist Exploration

Designed and led by Wheeler Expeditions

Part 1: 5 Day Weekend Exploration
Thursday, November 9 – Monday, November 13, 2017

Parts 1 & 2: 8 Day Complete Exploration
Thursday, November 9 – Thursday, November 16, 2017

 

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Last week (09/18), we learned about the history of Portugal in California in Europe.  We also learned that’s where Escape Artist and Wheeler Expeditions will offer a special customized trip designed with Escape Artist readers in mind.

This is an exploration. You get to find out what is unique and distinctive about Portugal. We will show you what we’ve learned in the past eight years as Americans living in Portugal. After leading four successful trips here, we’re able to show you the best and most interesting aspects of the country.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Although this is not a conference, you have the opportunity to learn from in-country experts and expats about living, working, or investing in Portugal, which can be highly advantageous to many of you.

This trip is best enjoyed as a relatively small group of a dozen or so Escape Artist travelers. We’ll share the experience of discovering this gorgeous, friendly, and authentic European country while getting to know each other.

I might as well give you a warning up front. In addition to learning more about Portugal (and the opportunities here) than you thought possible over a long weekend or a week, you run the risk of falling head over heels in love with the country.  It is utterly captivating, and once you are there, you’ll easily understand why.

Portugal is the authentic Europe, unknown and unspoiled. It’s legendary for its weather, wine, and food. It’s also known for the friendliness of its people.  I hope you’ll join us.  You’ll never forget it.

With the tourist season in Portugal now extended through late October, the crowds are finally gone, the fall colors are peaking, and the weather beautifully crisp and clear. It’s like California in November.

Enjoy the pictures!

Here’s our schedule:

Thursday, November 9 – Arrival Day 1

Note: Everyone is responsible for being in Lisbon by Thursday at noon. You can get there however you want and there are non-stops from several U.S. cities (Newark, JFK, Boston, Miami) that are easy and fast. It takes less time to fly from New York to Lisbon (6 hours flat) than it does to fly from New York to Los Angeles (over six hours). We have a travel agent who can assist you if you like.

We expect guests from many countries;  however, coming from North America, you would arrive in Lisbon in the morning. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel, the Pestana Citadela, located in a former historic walled fortress on the ocean in Cascais, the Newport Beach or La Jolla of this part of Portugal.

This classy hotel has a spectacular ocean view and is only steps from the village and shops.You may watch the sunset from your balcony:

The First Escape Artist Exploration

You’ll be able to relax or check out the beautiful town before our welcome lunch with EA hosts, Dan Wilhelm and Tyler Sorce, and Rebel Holiday with Wheeler Expeditions.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

This aerial photo shows you why many say that Cascais is the jewel of the Portuguese Riviera.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Cascais is Portugal at its most captivating, with picture postcard scenes everywhere:

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Cascais is teeming with cool and quaint little shops, cafes, and bars. Beer lovers can walk over to O’Luain’s Irish Pub for a Guinness or Kilkenny.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Then we can stroll along the boardwalk to see classic architecture and year-round beach goers as we pass all the pocket beaches along the Cascais-Estoril Promenade.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

For dinner, we’ll enjoy authentic Portuguese cuisine and wine in a top-rated restaurant, which you will love.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Day 2 – Friday, November 10

After a sumptuous breakfast on the oceanside terrace, we’ll head out toward Lisbon, stopping in Belém, considered the “capital of the Portuguese Discoveries.”

The Torre or Tower of Belém is the landmark of Portugal, built in the early 1500s at the height of Portugal’s great Age of Exploration.  We’ll enjoy breathtaking views along the Tagus River.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

It’s across from the World Heritage Site of the Monastery of Jerónimos, one of the most magnificent buildings in Europe, housing the tomb of Portugal’s greatest explorer, Vasco da Gama.  It is a solemn moment to be in the presence of such epic history.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

While we’re in Belém, we’ll visit two extraordinary museum. There is the Museu dos Coches, “Museum of the Coaches,” from times when there were only horse-drawn carriages.

The First Escape Artist Exploration The First Escape Artist Exploration

And then there is the incredible Museu de Marinha, or “Navy Museum,” which houses original ships from Portugal’s Age of Exploration. These are not replicas, you will be seeing the real deal.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

After stopping to sample the delicious pastries at the famous Pastéis de Belém, we will head into Lisbon, the capital.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe, founded by the Phoenicians as Allis Ubbo (Safe Harbor) over three thousand years ago (1200 BC).

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Today, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most charming, timeless, and elegant cities. It is very clean and one of the safest cities in the world.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

We’ll be staying at the lovely PortoBay Hotel in the city center, a four-star rated hotel on TripAdvisor.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

We can have lunch and a glass of wine at an open air café at the Rua da Prata…

The First Escape Artist Exploration

…and while we do so, we can reflect on how archaeologists have excavated a 2,000-year-old Roman street directly underneath us, with shops and cafés just like what we’re enjoying right then.  I told you Lisbon is old – a thousand years old by the time of Rome.

 

We’ll ride the cable cars…

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Have a snack and pastry or glass of wine at open air cafés…and have fun discovering it together.

This is the Praca do Comercio, “Commercial Plaza,” near the water.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Dinner will be delicious Portuguese cuisine nearby at a highly-rated restaurant. After dinner and a classic Portuguese musical fado show, those who are still energized can visit one of Lisbon’s most popular clubs.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Day 3 – Saturday, November 11

This morning, anyone who’s up early and wants to visit the Lisbon farmer’s market can check it out.

We’ll begin with the breakfast buffet at the PortoBay Hotel and set off to see the sights.

We will visit  St. George’s Castle. The hill was used by indigenous Celtic tribes, then by Phoenicians Greeks,  Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and finally the Portuguese themselves. In Portuguese it is called Castelo de São Jorge and it overlooks the city.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

We will visit the famous Se Cathedral 

The First Escape Artist Exploration

There’s so much to see and do in Lisbon.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

After a delicious lunch, the afternoon will offer you a choice of hosted activities, including the following:

The largest aquarium in Europe according to Wikipedia, the Lisbon Oceanarium (Portuguese: Oceanário de Lisboa,) with 16,000 individuals of 450 species.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Art lovers can become immersed in a visit to the world famous Calouste Gulbenkian Museum that displays art from 2000 BC to the early twentieth century.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Or you may opt to visit the National Azulejo Museum that showcases the development of azulejos, or ceramic tiles, in Portugal over the centuries. The magnificent collection is housed in the fifteenth-century Madre de Deus convent. These beautiful and distinct tiles found all over Portugal, in churches, homes, palaces, and restaurants reflect themes from religion, nature, and art.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Some may want to walk around the city on their own, see Rossio Square, take a run, or go to the gym.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

When we meet up again for our cocktail reception, we will be meeting some Portuguese experts who can share with us an overview on living and working or investing in Portugal. Topics will include the options for Portuguese residency and citizenship, which gives you access to living and traveling throughout the European Union. We will have dinner with our Portuguese guests and you will be able to get answers to your questions in these areas.

We will dine in a fantastic restaurant that offers a wide variety of wonderful dishes. If you are a food lover, Portugal is your place!

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

After dinner, there’s the option of checking out the nightlife in Baixa – Chiado, which is extremely popular, or just relaxing as you like.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Day 4 – Sunday, November 12

After two activity-packed days in the nation’s capital, we take a spectacular scenic drive up the coast where we’re likely to see surfers at Guincho Beach,

The First Escape Artist Exploration

then continue on to our first stop at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of land in Europe.

​​The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

We’re on our way to Sintra, the famous historical city on a hill where will stay and tour the extraordinary World Heritage Site of Sintra.

We’ll see the Palace of Monserrate, which has a history that goes back to 1540 and was completely renovated several times over the centuries to its current pristine condition. In 1809, Lord Byron visited the place and described it as the “first and foremost beautiful place in the Kingdom.”

The First Escape Artist Exploration

We’re staying at the classic hotel Tivoli in historical Sintra, with a panoramic view and walking distance from everything in the village. After a hearty Portuguese lunch, we can explore during the afternoon, visiting the Quinta da Regaleira with beautiful expansive gardens and their famous Initiation Well.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

We’ll again have a fantastic dinner at a favorite restaurant in Sintra.

Day 5 – Monday, November 13

After a breakfast with a view at the Tivoli’s buffet, we’ll explore more of Sintra.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Today we visit the magical fairytale Pena Palace, the summer residence of the Portuguese royalty during the 19th century:

The First Escape Artist Exploration

We visit the Castle of the Moors, first built in the 8th century and captured by Christian knights in 1147.  After exploring its ramparts (notice Pena Palace in the background),

The First Escape Artist Exploration

we descend to the famous Lawrence’s Hotel for afternoon tea and pastries. This is where Lord Byron stayed in 1809 to write his poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, in which he praised Sintra as a “glorious Eden… palaces and gardens rising in the midst of rocks, cataracts and precipices; convents on stupendous heights.”

The First Escape Artist Exploration

You’ll have some free time in the late afternoon to visit the shops and wander through Sintra’s tiny winding cobblestone streets.

Tonight we’ll have dinner at a beloved Sintra restaurant, tucked away and hidden from most visitors.

Day 6 – Tuesday, November 14 – Portugal Retreat – Post Trip Begins. This is an optional 3-day extension to see more of beautiful and diverse Portugal, plus more World Heritage sites.

9 a.m. – Depart hotel and drive 1 ½ hours to Fatima. The first stop is Our Lady of Fátima (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora de Fátima is a title for the Blessed Virgin Mary, due to her apparitions to three shepherd children here in 1917).

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Our Lady of Fátima – Sacred shrine and cathedral.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Next we drive to the World Heritage site of Tomar, where we will have lunch.

Tomar is a small Portuguese town of about 40,000 people with many surprises…

…such as a 17th Century Aqueduct.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Next we’ll visit the Knights Templar’s Castle, one of Portugal’s historical jewels, and was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The town of Tomar was born inside the walls of the Convento de Cristo, constructed under the orders of Gualdim de Pais, the fourth grand master of the Knights Templar in the late 12th century. Its extraordinary architecture is called Manueline, after King Manuel I (1469-1521).

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

When we leave Tomar, we head for the Buçaco Palace, a very special place, located in the mountain range of Serra do Buçaco, in central Portugal. The area around the Buçaco Palace was part of a Carmelite convent established in 1628.

The monks not only built a convent, but also created a huge luxurious garden with many species of trees. The garden was supposed to represent Mount Carmel (where the order was founded) and the Earthly Paradise.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

This is the Palace Hotel do Buçaco, considered one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.  We’ll spend the next two nights here.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Once inside, you’ll see the exquisite interior… the staircases, lobby, and sitting rooms, adorned with paintings and stuccoes, are truly breathtaking.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Serving breakfast and dinner, the dining room is beautiful and the food is excellent. We will enjoy both an elegant dinner and a beautiful breakfast here the next morning.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Day 7 – Wednesday, November 15

After breakfast at Bussaco, we depart for a full day in Coimbra, the original capital city of Portugal during the High Middle Ages. It is known for its University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe .  There are many archaeological structures dating back to the Roman era, when Coimbra was the settlement of Aeminium.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

At the University we find the World Heritage site of the magnificent Joanine Library, with its rich baroque décor – a true work of art. It has over 300,000 books and, over the centuries, served as a model for other libraries in Europe and the Portuguese-speaking world.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

We will visit the beautiful and famous 18th Century Botanical Garden of Coimbra University

The First Escape Artist Exploration

And the famous Chapel of St. Michael (Capela de São Miguel)

The First Escape Artist Exploration

We then make a short drive to Batalha to stay at the Hotel Batalha Mestre Afonso Domingues which is a lovely 4-star rated hotel near the World Heritage site Monastery. We’ll have a wonderful dinner and get a good night sleep to be rested for our last day.

Day 8 – Thursday, November 15

We start with an exploration of Batalha Monastery, built in 1385.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Just 45 minutes away is our next stop in Alcobaça, yet another World Heritage Site…many travelers like to “collect” these World Heritage Sites. This is the Monastery of Alcobaça.

After seeing these extraordinary cathedrals, we head to the walled medieval city of Obidos.

We will take time for lunch in this historic town. All of Obidos has been declared a national monument. It is known as the “Wedding Present Town” because it was a gift King Dinis gave to Queen Isabel on their wedding day in 1282.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The Medieval Castle of Obidos encircles the town, often called one of Europe’s most romantic villages.

The First Escape Artist Exploration

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Now we head to Colares, Sintra, to catch the sun setting in the ocean and relax before our farewell dinner.

We return to our hotel, the Arribas, on Praia Grande beach in Sintra:

The First Escape Artist Exploration

Every single room at the Arribas has a spectacular ocean view, which means you can watch the sunset from your balcony:

The First Escape Artist Exploration

For the evening, we’ll enjoy our Farewell Dinner at a restaurant perched on the cliffs just above Praia Grande beach.

I’ve been to every European capital city, and I can assure you that however you rate a city, this one scores highly.

Whether you’re into natural scenic beauty, history, culture and arts, food and wine, or you enjoy people, Portugal will be a pleasure. It can also be a practical choice to live and work abroad or retire and live well.

We invite you to join us on this exploration and find out what Portugal holds for you.

To make this trip flexible and convenient, you have a choice of a 5-day in-country visit or an 8-day visit – we’ve designed it to be fully inclusive once you arrive.

 For more information and the details, click the link below:

 http://Escape_Artist_Portugal Trip_2017.com

 

The Escape Artist Portugal Exploration

Designed and led by Wheeler Expeditions

Part 1: 5 Day Weekend Exploration
Thursday, November 9 – Monday, November 13, 2017

    Parts 1 & 2: 8 Day Complete Exploration
Thursday, November 9 – Thursday, November 16, 2017

 

Jack Wheeler is the founder of Wheeler Expeditions.