Soak up the rhythms of life in Portugal from your base in the heart of Lisbon, discovering World Heritage sites, walled villages, and an enduring culture through guided visits and off-the-beaten-path experiences from the rugged Atlantic shores to the Roman ruins of Évora.  

Starting at: $7,890 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Traditional guitar accompaniment for <i>fado</i> music
 Traditional pasties de nata
 Street car at Commerce Square, Lisbon
 Typical tile decoration along the streets of Lisbon
 St. George's Castle, Lisbon
 Belem Tower, Lisbon
 Monument to the Discoveries, Lisbon
 Cloister of St. Jeronimos Monastery. Credit: Beth Gordon
 Jeronimos Monastery and Cathedral, Lisbon
 The Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon
 Expansive tile design in Lisbon. Credit: Beth Gordon
 Tile work, Lisbon
 Traditional petiscos, or tapas, in Lisbon. Credit: Beth Gordon
 Church on Giraldo Square, Évora
 The Roman temple in Évora
 The town of Sintra, with the National Palace at center
 A grand room at the National Palace, Sintra. Credit: Beth Gordon
 Coastal town of Cascais
 The elaborate church at the Batalha Monastery
 Landscape of Cabo Espichel
 Panorama of the walled town of Óbidos
 Tile work at a home in Óbidos
 Charming square in Óbidos

Living in Portugal: A Stay in Lisbon

19 days from $7,890

Soak up the rhythms of life in Portugal from your base in the heart of Lisbon, discovering World Heritage sites, walled villages, and an enduring culture through guided visits and off-the-beaten-path experiences from the rugged Atlantic shores to the Roman ruins of Évora.  

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person when you book by April 5, 2024!

Overview

Built on seven hills where the Tagus River meets the sea, lovely Lisbon is graced with stunning architecture inspired by its seafaring past, as well as ancient neighborhoods brimming with charm. Make your home in the city center during a 19-day stay, and set out to discover a colorful history of monarchs, Moors, monks, and navigators—and a vibrant modern-day culture woven through with tradition. Take day trips to intriguing sites that illustrate Portugal’s past, from the Roman temple of Évora to medieval Óbidos to the 20th-century pilgrimage site of Fátima. Spend time at a historic wine estate and in the royal retreat of Sintra, and take advantage of ample free time to explore Lisbon at your own pace.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Lisbon: Take guided tours of Lisbon’s highlights, from the Tower of Belém and the Alfama to the Basilica of Estrela and ancient Baixa; and sail the Tagus River past the city on a sunset cruise.
  • Excursions: Explore the World Heritage sites of évora, Sintra, and the Monastery of Batalha, as well as the walled castle town of Óbidos. Visit the pilgrimage destination of Fátima and see the famous surf of Nazaré.
  • Experts: Delve into Lisbon’s history and gain an inside perspective on fascinating sites through talks and tours by local experts.
  • Local Culture: Listen to the melancholy strains of fado music during a dinner at a popular local fado restaurant, and enjoy lunch and a cellar tour at the historic Jose Maria da Fonseca wine caves. Join a well-known chef for a cooking workshop and lunch in her 18th-century home in Evora, and enjoy free time to experience the culture of everyday life in Lisbon.
  • Enrichment Tracks: Enhance your experience with one included enrichment track of your choice, and opt to pursue additional tracks if you wish: Food and TraditionsActive Discovery, and Hidden Gems of Lisbon.

Itinerary

Day 1 & Day 2 – Depart the U.S. for Lisbon, Portugal

Depart the U.S. on an evening flight to Lisbon. Upon arrival the next morning, transfer to your apartment-style hotel near the city center: your home for the next two and a half weeks. The afternoon is yours to get settled and explore the neighborhood. Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program for suggestions regarding sightseeing, restaurants, shopping, and any other assistance you may require. In the evening, meet your fellow Smithsonian travelers to kick off your stay in Portugal with a welcome reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 3 – Lisbon

After breakfast at the hotel, learn about the history of Lisbon from its founding by the Phoenicans until today, tracing the tales of adventurous monarchs and famous navigators. Then set out to discover the city’s World Heritage-designated monuments: the Tower of Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery.  Set near the mouth of the Tagus River, both sites are tied to Portugal’s seafaring history and stunning examples of the country’s Manueline architecture style, which blends Gothic elements with nautical themes. Take a walk in the captivating Baixa district, a 2,000-year-old town that was a thriving trade center before it was destroyed by the massive earthquake of 1755. It was rebuilt as a “modern city” using the latest 18th-century innovations—many of which are still visible today. After lunch at a waterfront restaurant, enjoy the rest of the day to get to know Lisbon on your own.  (B,L)

Day 4 – Lisbon

Venture into the steep, winding streets of the Alfama with a local guide to discover one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, shaped first by the Visigoths and then by the Moors. See the 11th-century stone walls of the hilltop Castelo São Jorge, and admire expansive views of Lisbon from the Miradouro do Recolhimento. After lunch at leisure, gather for a lecture on Portugal’s 20th-century history followed by an informal discussion with your expert in the Smithsonian Travelers Corner. (B)

Day 5 – Lisbon

Ensconce yourself in life in Lisbon, taking advantage of a day at leisure to pursue your own interests. Those who have opted for the Food and Traditions track will embark on a culinary tour of Lisbon, weaving through historic neighborhoods with a local guide to find venerated food shops as well as best-kept secrets, and sampling traditional specialties such as cheeses, salted cod, pasteis de nata, wines, cherry liqueur, and more. In the early evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a sunset cruise on the Tagus River, taking in stunning views of the city in the golden light—including the Tower of Belém; Lisbon’s cathedral; and the Castelo São Jorge, poised on one of the city’s hilltops. (B)

  • Optional Food and Traditions Track 1.1: Culinary tour of Lisbon

Day 6 – Lisbon/Evora

Head east through the olive and cork oak orchards of the  Alentejo region on a day trip to the World Heritage site of Evora. Encounter a Roman temple in the heart of the old town, and view Evora’s lovely 16th- and 17th-century homes. Then venture into the eerie Chapel of Bones, where Franciscan monks in the 16th century interred the dead once the town’s cemeteries had filled—leaving skulls and bones exposed as a commentary on the prevalent materialism of the day. Join a local chef in her historic home for a cooking workshop and a delectable lunch of Portuguese specialties. Return to Lisbon for an evening at leisure. (L)

Day 7 – Lisbon

During a full free day in Lisbon, let your interests be your guide. Your Smithsonian Journeys Resident Director will be on hand with recommendations and to help with logistics for your day.  Consider a visit to one of Lisbon’s many museums—we recommend the delightful National Coach Museum;  the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology; the National Museum of Ancient Art; and the Museo of Fado among others. You might go for a walk along the lively shopping streets of the Chiado, or simply gather with new friends for an espresso at a café near your hotel.  In early evening, join fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner to exchange ideas about what you’ve encountered so far. Then head to an inviting fado restaurant together for an evening of soulful singing accompanied by a Spanish guitar and a traditional 12-string Portuguese guitar. (D)

Day 8 – Lisbon

If you are not participating in the optional track activity, enjoy a day at leisure. Those who have opted for the Active Discovery track will travel to the Atlantic coast south of Lisbon to explore the Jurassic cliffs of Cabo Espichel. Start out with a tour of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Espichel, a 15th-century pilgrimage site, then set out on an easy coastal hike, taking in views of the dramatic cliffs and rock formations, and the secluded beaches they hide. Along the way, seek out a surprising collection of fossilized dinosaur footprints that span 50 million years. After lunch in a local restaurant, return to Lisbon for an evening on your own.

  • Optional Active Discovery Track 1.1: Cabo Espichel hike

Day 9 – Lisbon/Sintra/Cascais/Estoril

Spend the morning in the royal retreat of Sintra, a favorite of Lord Byron’s, where intriguing palaces and castles are nestled among lush forests. Step back in time on a tour of the stately National Palace, the oldest palace in Portugal, which has played host to Moorish sultans as well as many generations of Portuguese monarchs. Trace the history of Portugal as you meander through its grand halls and elaborate kitchens with a guide, and admire its stunning architectural details—from azulejos to Mudejar flourishes.  You’ll have free time to explore Sintra’s picturesque center before lunch with the group. Then take a scenic drive along the Atlantic coast from Cabo da Roca, continental Europe’s westernmost point, along Guincho Beach to the charming harbor town of Cascais and the seaside resort of Estoril. Make a stop in Cascais for a guided walk. (L)

Day 10 – Lisbon

Those not participating in optional track activities have a free day for individual pursuits. If you’ve chosen the Lisbon’s Hidden Gems track, pay a visit to the National Azulejo Museum for a closer look at the hand-painted, blue-and-white tiles for which Portugal is known. Set within a beautifully restored 16th-century Manueline convent, the collection represents 500 years of azulejo craftsmanship. After a guided tour, enjoy coffee in the former refectory, adorned with spectacular tiles.

Travelers who have chosen the Food and Traditions track will embark on an evening foodie adventure in Lisbon’s different neighborhoods. Try petiscos, or Portuguese tapas, at a local restaurant in the spirited Principe Real neighborhood. Walk through the neighborhood to a lookout point for sweeping views over Lisbon’s seven hills—and insight into the city grew over the centuries. Then  head to Bairro Alto to sample typical cheeses and fire-roasted chouriço (chorizo). Savor local dishes at a tasca, or family-owned bistro, and cap off the night with a glass of port.  (B)

  • Optional Lisbon’s Hidden Gems track 3.1: National Museum of Azulejos visit
  • Optional Food and Traditions track 2.2: Evening tasting tour

Day 11 – Lisbon

Take advantage of a day free of planned activities. You could go for a stroll through the Feira da Ladra flea market, thought to date back to the 12th century, browsing all manner of antiques and vintage items. Tonight, gather with fellow travelers for dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 12 – Lisbon/Setubal

Travel by coach to the town of Setúbal, located in a prominent wine-producing area. Learn about Portugal’s wine-making traditions on a visit to the historic Jose Maria da Fonseca wine caves. Tour the manor house, the Fonseca family residence until the 1970s, and venture into the century-old wine cellars. Sit down to a lunch and a tasting of the estate’s famous wines. Upon your return to Lisbon, the evening is at leisure. (L)

Day 13 – Lisbon/Óbidos

Experience the medieval magic of Óbidos, a walled medieval town situated among vineyards an hour north of Lisbon. Visit its castle and defensive city wall, hearing the colorful legends associated with the town, and take a walk along narrow, cobblestoned streets lined with blue-trimmed, whitewashed houses. Return to Lisbon for a free afternoon.

Day 14 – Lisbon

This morning, venture to Lisbon’s Estrela district, named “star” for the five streets that fan out from the main square in front of the hilltop Basilica da Estrela. Admire the ornate marble interior of the basilica and see its famous nativity scene, made up of 500 cork and terracotta figures. Stroll through the lovely Jardim da Estrela, and end the tour at Mercado de Campo de Ourique, a covered market with a food hall where you can find cured meats and locally produced cheeses as well as specialties from different parts of the world.

Day 15 – Lisbon

Enjoy another day at leisure or, if you have opted for the Active Discovery track, set off with a local guide for a hike that begins in the lush hills surrounding Sintra. Traverse the forests of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park on narrow paths—some of which date back to Roman times. Then emerge onto the rugged coast, hiking along a rim high above the sea. The duration of the hike is approximately two hours. Stop for lunch at a typical restaurant in Cascais before returning to Lisbon.

  • Optional Active Discovery track 1.2: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park hike

Day 16 – Lisbon/Fatima/Batalha Monastery/Nazaré

Embark on a full-day excursion north of Lisbon, beginning with the important Christian pilgrimage site of Fátima, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to three children in 1917. Visit the Sanctuary of Fátima, and learn about the biannual pilgrimage that still brings thousands to the town on foot—and sometimes even on their knees. Next, tour the 15th-century Monastery of Batalha, a World Heritage site and a stunning example of Portuguese Gothic architecture. Your final stop is Nazaré, a traditional fishing village known by surfers worldwide for its extraordinary waves. Take in views of the famous surf from the cliffs above town. (L)

Day 17 – Lisbon

For those not on the optional track, the day is yours to explore on your own. If you have chosen the Hidden Gems track, head just outside Lisbon to the Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira,  built in 1640 as a summer retreat for the first Marquis of Fronteira and still inhabited by his descendants. On a guided tour, admire the palace’s ornate interior, including the Room of Battles where scenes of the battle for Portuguese independence from Spain are depicted in intricately decorated tiles. Meander through its stunning formal gardens, discovering panels of sparkling azulejos, fountains, and classical sculptures.

  • Optional Hidden Gems track 3.2: Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira tour

Day 18 – Lisbon

Soak up the rhythms of daily life as a Lisboeta during your final free day in the city. Return to your favorite haunts, or set out for a museum you may have missed. This evening, gather with your new friends to celebrate your sojourn in Portugal at a festive farewell reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 19 – Lisbon

This morning, transfer to the airport to begin your journey home.

Please note that the sequence of this itinerary may be changed due to operational considerations.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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