Next Departure Date: 08 May 2020
Price per person: $13,975 per person twin share, $16,795 sole occupancy
Tour Duration: 26 Days
Take this chance to visit two of Europe’s most popular destinations, Portugal and Croatia. We travel via Dubai with stopovers on the way there and back, including a full days tour on the way there. From Dubai we head to Portugal and Lisbon. Apart from Lisbon our tour of Portugal includes the historic towns of Sintra and Cascais, the medieval town of Evora and the Algarve on the beautiful southern coastline including the towns of Lagos and Sagres. We also travel to the north and spend time in the historic city of Porto, famed for its port wine and a World Heritage Site. We also visit the Douro Valley before returning to Lisbon to catch a flight to Croatia and the historic city of Dubrovnik. From Dubrovnik we transfer by ferry to the island of Korkula, one of the biggest islands in the Adriatic to enjoy its history and its beaches. Next is the city of Split before continuing north into the Krka National Park and the Plitvice National Park then to Zagreb, the Croatian capital. Here we farewell Croatia and Europe and head for home with an overnight stop again in Dubai.
Day 1: Australia to Dubai
Welcome aboard our Portugal and Croatia adventure! We transfer by coach from Canberra to Sydney where we join our Emirates flight to Dubai this evening.
Day 2: Dubai
We arrive into Dubai early this morning and are transferred to our hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. This evening we have a special treat! We head into the desert for a Bedouin style dinner including traditional belly dancing.
Day 3: Dubai
Waking refreshed this morning we spend the day taking a good look around Dubai and all it has to offer. Our trip includes the Dubai Museum, which is home of the Al-Fahidi Fort, built in 1800 and considered to be one of the oldest buildings in Dubai. The fort was used to defend the town from warring tribes and also served as the seat of Government, the ruler’s residence, a store for ammunition, and a jail. We also stop at the Heritage and Diving village for a photo shoot. Here, you will find potters and weavers displaying their craft. At the Dubai Gold Souq all the shops are blazing with the shine of gold ornaments everywhere we look. Next, walk down to Dubai Spice Souk, famous for its spices, incenses and traditional medicines stacked along the narrow lanes. We move to the other side of Dubai, to Sheikh Mohammad’s Palace in Zaabeel, named after the late his highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first President of United Arab Emirates. After a brief photo stop at the palace, we drive on to Jumeirah, the upmarket area of Dubai. En route we cross the Mall of the Emirates, the world’s first mall to have an inbuilt artificial ski resort, called Ski Dubai with indoor slopes and snow park. Our special lunch is at the Burj Al Arab, the only 7 star hotel in United Arab Emirates. This is pure indulgence and shows us how the ‘other half live’! From one extreme to another we stop at Souk of Madinat Jumeirah, famous for Arabic artisans and crafts people showing their wares and do not forget to enjoy the street performers here. We will end this tour with a stop at one of the most beautiful mosques in Dubai, called the Jumeirah Mosque. This is the only mosque in Dubai, which allows non-Muslims to enter. You are expected to cover your arms and legs while entering it.
Day 4: Lisbon
We have the morning free in Dubai before we connect with our early afternoon flight to Lisbon. On arrival into Lisbon, we will be greeted at the airport by our local representative and transferred to our hotel.
Day 5: Lisbon
Lisbon was once the centre of Europe’s longest-lived overseas empire and today we will learn about Portugal’s ancient empire and Lisbon traditions in our fully guided tour of the city. A visit to Sao Jorge Castle will provide us with stunning views of the city and the river. We will then take a walk through the cobblestone alleys of quaint Alfama, one of the most traditional areas in Lisbon where every evening you can still listen to Fado music in almost every ‘taberna’. We will visit the Jeronimos monastery, a masterpiece of “Manuelina” architecture style and see the Tower of Belem and the monument to the Discoveries! Fado, Lisbon’s mournful yet beguiling musical expression, a combination of soulful voice and melodic guitars is an integral part of Portuguese culture, and this evening to warm us up to this lovely tradition we enjoy a welcome dinner in one of the many Fado houses in Alfama!
Day 6: Sintra, Cape Roca and Cascais
Today’s full day guided excursion takes us to the fairy tale towns of Sintra, Cape Roca and Cascais. We visit the astonishing Pena Palace with its colourful exterior of towers, turrets and terraces perched on a mountaintop. We then enjoy some time exploring the small streets in the town below. Pastries and sweets are a must in Portugal; in Sintra, try a typical travesseiro in Piriquita – puff pastry with a delicious almond filling – or a Queijada de Sintra – a sweet cheese tart with a hint of cinnamon – absolutely delicious! The cliff of Cape Roca was known as ‘the end of the world’ up until the late 14th century and is the westernmost point in continental Europe, surrounded by small fishing villages hidden among the forests of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. We will spend some time here for pictures and then continue to Cascais enjoying the incredible landscape of the Praia do Guincho beach along the way. Enjoy some free time in the coastal resort before returning to Lisbon.
Day 7: Lisbon to Beja
We head inland to Evora in the Alentejo region and take a guided city tour of the medieval town. Evora’s quaint, cobbled streets are a delight to explore and are lined with traditional houses that have remained unaltered for generations. A massive wall surrounds Evora’s medieval centre, classified as a World Heritage site. We will visit the main sights and enter the macabre Capela dos Ossos – the Bone Chapel – lined with the bones and skulls of bodies exhumed from the crowded graveyards of Evora! We then travel to the Beja area for our overnight stay.
Day 8: Beja to Lagos
This morning we travel to the Algarve, the beautiful southern coastline of Portugal, blessed with stunning beaches, picturesque fishing towns and a glorious climate. The port city of Portimao is known for its old quarter, busy marina and close proximity to lots of beaches. We have time to explore the historic centre with its distinctively Portuguese ambience, plazas filled with open-air cafés which are connected by pedestrianised shopping streets and a series of religious buildings, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon we will embark on a 2-hour boat tour to visit the impressive natural formation of the Benagil Caves, probably the most famous of all the sea caves of the Algarve. We then continue to Lagos for overnight.
Day 9: Lagos to Santa Clara a Velha
Lagos boasts a rich seafaring heritage and is known for its ancient Moorish walls, a 17th century fort and extravagant Baroque churches. We enjoy a free morning to explore the town or enjoy sunbathing at one of the beaches. This afternoon we transfer to Sagres at the extreme tip of the Algarve, a town that nowadays is known mainly for its beaches and dramatic landscapes. In the 15th century a navigation school was established here. Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco Da Gama and Christopher Columbus all set out from this region bringing about Portugal’s age of The Discoveries and helped define the nation’s identity. We will then drive along the Vicentine coast (Costa Vicentina) making our way to Santa Clara a Velha for our overnight stay.
Santa Clara a Velha
Day 10: Santa Clara a Velha to Obidos
Transferring to the medieval town of Obidos, we are surrounded by a classic crenelated wall. Obidos’ fascinating historic centre is charming to explore; narrow cobbled streets, traditional painted houses and an imposing medieval castle. While in the area why not try a Ginginha de Obidos – a sweet alcoholic liqueur typically served in a chocolate cup!
Day 11: Obidos to Porto
Today we will head to Alcobaca a charming little town dominated by the magnificent 12th century Cistercian monastery, one of the most grandiose gothic monuments in the country. After visiting the monastery, we drive to the coast and visit the seaside town of Nazare, an old fishing town with its colourful wooden fishing boats rich in the tradition of the sea. Women still use the typical costumes and the town evokes a bucolic feeling of ancient times. Nowadays it is famous for having the biggest waves ever surfed; especially in winter when surfers from all around the world come to experience these impressive waves first-hand. From here we continue to Aveiro with its romantic canals and take a short guided tour of the city before heading to Porto.
Day 12: Porto
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, in the region famed for the production of port wine which is still stored and matured in the vast cellars that stretch along the banks of the Douro River. The old town, centered at Ribeira, was built on the hills overlooking the Douro River, and today is a World Heritage site. Our local guide takes us on a half day tour including visits to the exuberant Bolhao market and Sao Bento station, one of Portugal’s most striking railway stations, its beautiful tiles depicting episodes of Portuguese history. A stroll along Ribeira area with views of Don Luis Bridge will make the perfect picture postcard of Porto. The tour ends in the Gaia area with a port wine cave tour including tastings of this exquisite wine. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore on your own.
Day 13: The Douro Valley
The Douro Valley could easily be called the enchanted valley, such is the beauty and magic that the landscape offers. Nestled among the terraced slopes of the Douro Valley port wine-growing region, overlooked by an ornate shrine, the town of Lamego is elegant and infused with Baroque style. We will visit the striking Our Lady of Remedies shrine which stands gracefully above the town, flanked by twin bell towers. We continue our journey, to the town of Pinhao—famous for its incredible views and beautiful, historic train station. You’ll know you’re in the heart of port wine country – you are surrounded by vines, as the climate is ideal for the grapes that make port wine. We have lunch here, followed by a 1-hour Douro River scenic cruise before returning to Porto. There’s still time to enjoy a visit to a local winery with a tour and tasting.
Day 14: Porto to Lisbon
Today we will travel to Coimbra, once Portugal’s medieval capital for more than a century, and home to the oldest university in the Portuguese –speaking world. Established on the grounds of a former palace in 1290, the Coimbra University is famed for its baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina, and its 18th century bell tower. We take a tour of the university before continuing on to the catholic pilgrimage town of Fatima. It’s here where the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared in 1917 to three shepherd children and remains a famous pilgrimage site. We’ll have time here to visit the Chapel of the Apparitions with its precious statue of Our Lady of Fatima, should we wish. We then continue to Lisbon for our overnight stay.
Day 15: Lisbon to Dubrovnik, Croatia
Today we say ‘adeus’ to Portugal and ‘zdravo’ to Croatia as we transfer to the Lisbon airport to connect with our flight to Dubrovnik in Croatia. On our arrival at Dubrovnik we will be met by a local representative and transferred to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 16: Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well-preserved buildings range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace. Today we take a full-day guided tour of the city, taking in the city walls, the cathedral and Rector’s Palace.
Day 17: Dubrovnik to Korkula
We transfer to the pier at Orebic stopping en route at a local winery for a tour and tasting. From Orebic we take the ferry to Korkula where we transfer to our hotel on the island. Korkula is one of the biggest islands in the Adriatic. It is rich in vineyards, olive groves and small villages.
Day 18: Korkula
This morning we will take a guided tour of Korkula town with its beautiful St Mark’s cathedral. A tour of Korkula and Croatia would not be complete without exploring the seaside and beaches so we will enjoy free time at the Bacva beach in the afternoon.
Day 19: Korkula to Split
We transfer to Vela Luka pier this morning where we have some free time to explore the town before we take a ferry to Split this afternoon. Split is the second largest city of Croatia and is known for its beaches and fortress-like complex at its centre.
Day 20: Split
This morning we will take a guided tour of this exuberant city that has just the right balance of tradition and modernity. We will visit Diocletian’s Palace, an ancient palace built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the end of the 3rd century. For TV buffs, Split is also featured as one of the locations for ‘Game of Thrones’. We will also visit the cathedral of St Domnius. This afternoon is free for you to explore the pretty streets in your own time.
Day 21: Split to Sibenik
This morning we drive to Trogir, known for its mix of renaissance, baroque and Romanesque buildings, for a city tour including entrance to the cathedral. In the afternoon we will immerse ourselves in nature at the fantastic Krka National Park known for its series of 7 waterfalls. Our guided tour of this unique area includes a 2-hour cruise featuring a visit to the famous Visovak Monastery in the middle of the lake. We then make our way to Sibenik for dinner, where we settle in for the night.
Day 22: Plitvice Lakes National Park
The beauty of the Plitvice National Park lies in its 16 lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species. The national park covers a total area of 300 square kilometres, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of eight kilometres. Our tour takes us through this stunning World Heritage listed attraction.
Plitvice Lakes area
Day 23: Zagreb
This morning we transfer to Zagreb, Croatia’s north-western capital, distinguished by its 18th and 19th century Austro-Hungarian architecture. At its centre, Upper Town is the site of the gothic, twin-spired Zagreb Cathedral and 13th century St. Mark’s Church, with its colourfully tiled roof. We enjoy an afternoon guided city tour and view the main sights. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner at a restaurant near the hotel.
Day 24: Depart Croatia
Saying farewell to Croatia and Europe, we transfer to Zagreb airport to connect with our outbound flight to Dubai. On arrival we will be met and transferred to our hotel.
Day 25: Dubai to Australia
We have an early transfer to the airport this morning to connect with our ongoing flight back home. Sit back, relax and enjoy the services of the attentive international crew.
Day 26: Australia
We arrive in Sydney early this morning and after completing customs and immigration, we are met by the Potter coach and transferred home to Canberra. What a wonderful time away we have had!Booking Request Download Brochure Terms & Conditions