La Dolce Vita: Portugal Exploration - Escape Artist

La Dolce Vita: Portugal Exploration


La Dolce Vita: Portugal Exploration

“Doce Vida” in Portuguese

Designed & Led by Wheeler Expeditions

8 Days: Thursday, May 24th – Friday, June 1, 2018


5 Days: Thursday, May 24th – Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Explore Lisbon, Sintra, the Portuguese Riviera,

the Silver Coast, and the Algarve.  

You may have noticed the focus on Portugal lately, with so much well-deserved attention as a “must-see destination.”

We’ve talked about the history of Portugal (09/18) in a previous article, California in Europe. You may remember that’s where Escape Artist and Wheeler Expeditions offered special customized trips designed with you in mind.

This is an exploration. You get to find out what is unique and distinctive about Portugal. You’ll get to see Portugal from the eyes of Americans who have spent a great deal of time here over eight years. After leading four successful trips here, we’re able to show you the best and most interesting aspects.Portugal Exploration map

We find it is most enjoyable as a relatively small group, about 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.

Although this is not a conference, you have the opportunity to meet Portuguese experts and ask expats about living, working, or retiring here – any of which can be an appealing breath of fresh air.

Why? Because 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.

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

La Dolce Vita harbor

Portugal Exploration

Today, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most charming, timeless, and elegant cities. It is very clean and rated the third-safest city in the world. For this week, we expect guests from various countries; however, coming from North America, you would arrive in Lisbon in the morning.

Here’s our overall schedule and some of the highlights. For the full details including prices, visit Portugal Exploration May 2018, and once you enter your name and confirm, you can download it.


Day 1 – Thursday, May 24 Arrival – Lisbon

Everyone is responsible for being in Lisbon by Thursday 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’d like.

You will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in an ideal location; walking distance to many attractions in the lively center of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.


Our hotel is only steps away from so many noteworthy sites and attractions – and you can see them with us in May. Meanwhile, here are some glimpses…


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

La Dolce Vita old roman street

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

We will visit  St. George’s Castle, Lisbon. 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 overlooks the city…

Castelo de São Jorge

La Dolce Vita Castelo de São Jorge

We will visit the famous Se Cathedral


We’ll ride the cable cars…

cable cars

In the evening, we’ll visit a special highly-rated restaurant which offers a wide variety of wonderful dishes. If you are a food and wine lover, Portugal is your place!


La Dolce Vita:meat

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

nightlife in Baixa

Day 2 – Friday, May 25 – Belem and Lisbon

The nearby Belem area of Lisbon is considered the “Capital of the Portuguese Discoveries.”

The Torre or Tower of belem 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.

tower of Belém

La Dolce Vita tower of Belém

It’s across from the World Heritage Site of the Monastery of Jerónimos, one of the most magnificent buildings in Europe and 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.

Vasco da Gama.

La Dolce Vita: Vasco da Gama

Monastery of Jerónimos

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

Museu dos CochesMuseu dos CochesAnd 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.

Museu de Marinha

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

Pastéis de Belém

This is the Praca do Comercio (Commercial Plaza) near the water.

This is the Praca do Comercio

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.

fado show

Day 3 – Saturday, May 26 – Historic Sintra

Today, we’re in Sintra, the famous historical city on a hill where we’ll stay and tour the extraordinary World Heritage Site of Sintra

We’re staying at the classic hotel Tivoli, with panoramic views in the center of historic Sintra and access to everything in the village.

The Palace of Monserrate has a history that goes back to 1540, and it 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.”

Palace of Monserrate

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

Pena Palace

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)…

Pena Palace

…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.”  

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

After a hearty Portuguese lunch, we can explore this afternoon, visiting the Quinta da Regaleira with beautiful expansive gardens and their famous Initiation Well.

La Dolce Vita: Quinta da Regaleira

La Dolce Vita: Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

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

Day 4 – Sunday, May 27 – The Portuguese Riviera

After breakfast with a view at the Tivoli’s buffet, we’ll head for the coast – the Portuguese Riviera.  

The Portuguese Riviera

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


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


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.  

O’Luain’s Irish Pub

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

Cascais-Estoril Promenade.

Cascais is full of wonderful restaurants and shops…

Cascais shopping

We take a spectacular scenic drive up the coast where we’re likely to see surfers at Guincho Beach.

Guincho Beach.

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

La Dolce Vita: Guincho Beach.

La Dolce Vita: Guincho Beach

Up the coastline, we’ll arrive at our oceanfront hotel in the seaside village of Ericeira. This evening you can enjoy the quiet beach and the sunset before dinner.

village of Ericeira

We’ve asked for rooms on the ocean.

village of Ericeira

Day 5 – Tuesday, May 28 – The Silver Coast of Portugal


We leave Ericeira and head out for a visit to the walled medieval city of Obidos.

All of Obidos has been declared a national monument. It is known as the “Wedding Present Town” because it was a gift that King Dinis gave to Queen Isabel on their wedding day in 1282.

castle of Obidos.

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


La Dolce Vita: Portugal Exploration

We’ll explore the villages and oceanfront along the Silver Coast. It is an area becoming increasingly popular with those who want a home near the ocean at a reasonable price.


There are many sections that are very popular with surfers, including Peniche and Nazare, which have world-record-breaking surfing.


At the end of the day, we drive to our hotel, Arribas in Colares – right on the sea at Praia Grande. Every single room at the Arribas has a spectacular ocean view. We’ll meet for dinner overlooking the ocean.


You can watch the sunset from your balcony…


Day 6 – Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday, May 30 – The Algarve

This morning, anyone joining for the 5-Day Exploration is off to the airport early.

We also leave early and drive to Lisbon, where we transfer to the Alfa Pendular, Portugal’s high-speed modern train that connects the major cities.


We continue on our way to the Algarve – the ever-popular summer destination for Portuguese and foreigners alike. It is also home to increasing numbers of non-Portuguese residents; many from the U.K., countries in Europe, and the U.S. Soon you will see what they love so much about it.

First is Faro, on the Southern Coast, the regional capital of the Algarve. Faro has an international airport which makes it convenient if this becomes home.


We can see Tavira, Albufeira, Portimao, and other towns to give you an idea of the region.

Then it’s a short drive to Lagos, an increasingly popular retirement and vacation spot.


We arrive at our hotel, Costa D’Oiro Ambiance Village. This will be our base as we enjoy this town and coastline for the next two and a half days.


Our hotel is just a 5-minute walk from beaches and easy walking to shops and restaurants.


 Portugal Exploration

Day 7 – Wednesday, May 30 – Free Day in Algarve

We have an entirely free day here for you to explore, swim, scuba, sun, relax, shop, and whatever you want.


rock cafe

Day 8 – Thursday, May 31 – Algarve & Lisbon

Today we get to enjoy our morning at our hotel in Lagos…


… and then this afternoon we say farewell to the Algarve and return on the high-speed train to Lisbon.


Once in Lisbon, we’ll have some time for last minute shopping and to enjoy a bit more of the city, before…


…our Farewell Dinner at a special restaurant near the Marques de Pombal, where we’ll be staying.


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.

Here’s our overall schedule and some of the highlights. For the full details including prices, just visit Portugal Exploration May 2018, and once you enter your name and confirm, you can download it.

Special Announcement:

Per your request and to make this trip flexible and convenient, you have a choice of our full 8-day trip or a 5-day weekend visit. We’ve designed it to be fully inclusive once you arrive.

This will fill up fast. If you’re considering it, get in touch soon to discuss, be on the tentative list, or sign up.

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

Portugal Exploration May 2018

May 2018 – Portugal Exploration

Designed and led by Wheeler Expeditions


Thursday, May 24th – Friday, June 1, 2018

Explore Lisbon, Sintra, Portuguese Riviera, & Silver Coast

Explore the Algarve  


Thursday, May 24th – Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Explore Lisbon, Sintra, Portuguese Riviera, & Silver Coast

Note: 5-Day does not include the Algarve

Click here to get advance notice of expeditions you can join & stunning photos of Once-in-a-Lifetime Adventures

Jack Wheeler is the founder of Wheeler Expeditions.


©2019 Jack Wheeler – republished with permission

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