Framed by golden sands and impressive cliffs, Portimão offers a relaxing beach getaway for sun-seekers. For lovers of history and architecture, take a stroll through the medieval Castle of Alvor, and for those that enjoy the beauty of nature delight in the cultivated fields and slopes covered with pine trees and wildflowers. Visit the Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição that dates back to the 14th century. After a devastating earthquake it was restored with an altar made from walnut wood and the interior walls that feature religious depictions in azulejos tiles. Bring home traditional lace, ceramics, leather goods and baskets.

Port: Portimao
Experience

Portimao

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  • Panoramic Tour of the Algarve

    Enjoy a scenic drive through the unspoiled interior of the Algarve, seeing some of its most memorable towns and villages.

    After departing from the pier, you will enjoy a brief drive inland through the Algarve, a wild rocky landscape dotted with whitewashed houses and almond trees. Arriving in Silves, the region’s former Moorish capital, you will be treated to views of its most noteworthy landmarks, such as the 11th-century red sandstone castle and Gothic cathedral.

    Farther inland, the market town of Monchique nestles in rolling hills blanketed by forests of chestnut, pine and cork oaks. The surrounding hills trap condensation and mist from the sea, so the land is always lush and fertile. You may notice that much of it is terraced for crops, a farming method used since Moorish times. Fig, almond, orange and carob trees all flourish in this environment, as does more exotic vegetation that you will see during a brief visit to the city garden. Following a stop for coffee, you’ll travel on to nearby Foia, the highest point in the Algarve that offers up spectacular views. If it’s a clear day, you can see the coastline, both to the west and south.

    Then returning to Portimao, you will stop at the Fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar in the beach-blessed resort town of Praia da Rocha. Here, over a glass of fresh-squeezed Algarvian orange juice, you will enjoy sweeping views of the sea. Afterwards, you’ll re-board your coach and travel directly back to the pier.

    Please note: This tour is primarily panoramic in nature with limited walking at the stops. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Charming Lagos and Carvoeiro

    Revel in the natural beauty of southwestern Portugal and uncover its dramatic history by visiting two coastal towns on opposite sides of Portimao.

    After departing from the pier, you will drive west to Lagos, an ancient maritime town now known more for its magnificent beaches. During your guided tour through the cobbled streets and picturesque plazas of Old Town, you will see a number of historical buildings, some of which survived the devastating earthquake of 1755, which destroyed Lisbon to the north.

    In particular, there is the Church of St. Anthony, an exquisite Baroque building full of gilded carved wood. However, not all of the adornments are original, as the church was extensively repaired following the earthquake, when the dome and azulejo tile panels were added.

    You may also see the notorious 15th-century market where slaves were sold for labor in Europe until routes to the New World opened. Henry the Navigator helped established the slave trade in Lagos in 1444, and he received one-fifth of the selling price of every slave.

    Continuing on to coastal Carvoeiro on the eastern side of Portimao, the attractions are more naturally beautiful. The lighthouse perches atop a rocky spur of land offering extraordinary views, and many of the beaches are tucked into breaks in the steep cliffs.

    Still, the most spectacular setting is Algar Seco, a cluster of rock archways, grottoes and pools that can only be accessed by a long stairway of stone steps cut into the cliffs. After visiting, you will return to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately two hours of easy to moderate walking/standing. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Most areas of Algar Seco are not accessible to wheelchair guests or those with walking difficulties. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Historical Algarve and Wine Route

    Touch upon the dramatic history of the Algarve region in the hillside village of Silves and then visit an acclaimed winery to sample several of its finest offerings.

    After departing from the pier, you will enjoy a brief drive inland through the Algarve, a wild rocky landscape dotted with whitewashed houses and almond trees. In Silves, the region’s former Moorish capital, the colors are more earthen, especially its 11th-century castle made of red sandstone and mud which you will visit. It’s a remarkable structure with square turrets, wide ramparts and seemingly impenetrable walls. While in Silves, you will also see a Gothic red sandstone cathedral built about 100 years later.

    Wine has also played a prominent role in the history of the Algarve, as it has been produced here since 2,000 B.C. At Quinta dos Vales, you will have the opportunity to tour one of the newer wineries, which has already gained a sterling reputation and won countless awards.

    To better understand the acclaim, you will sample several wines while snacking on regional delicacies such as smoked ham, olives, cheese and fresh-baked bread. The exact vintages will vary, but you might taste a full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Trincadeira, a complex Viognier with intense tropical fruit aromas, and a fruity Rosé.

    You may also have time to wander the grounds, which are decorated with oversized sculptures molded in fiberglass, marble and even from boulders excavated on the property. Afterwards, you will return to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 90 minutes of easy to moderate walking that includes steps and uneven surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 18 years old. The tour sequence may vary.

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  • Sagres and Lagos

    Gain a historical perspective of southwestern Portugal by visiting a sacred promontory, 15th-century fort and a town where Portuguese explorers based their ships.

    After departing from the pier, you will settle in for an immensely scenic one-hour drive to the southwestern tip of Portugal. Beyond this point, known as Cape Saint Vincent, there is nothing but ocean for about 850 miles, until the Azores come into sight.

    The ancient Romans and Greeks considered this a sacred promontory and built a shrine atop the rocky cliffs. Today, there is a lighthouse from 1846 that is still one of the most powerful in Europe, as it helps to protect a busy shipping lane.

    Nearby, you will also see the Sagres Fortress that Henry the Navigator ordered to be built in the 15th century. With steep cliffs on three sides, the fort only needed a defensive wall between the headland and mainland, so it wasn’t designed like a conventional fort.

    Although it was repeatedly attacked by the likes of Sir Francis Drake and others, the greatest damage came from a tsunami after the earthquake of 1755. Now a national monument, the fort contains cannons, a church and a massive compass rose made of pebbles set into the ground.

    Then it’s on to Lagos, which the Portuguese used as a base for naval expeditions during the Age of Discovery. During your guided walking tour you’ll see the exquisite Church of St. Anthony and the notorious 15th-century slave market. Afterwards, you’ll have some brief free time to explore its quaint, pedestrian only center before it’s time to return to Portimao.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 90 minutes of easy to moderate walking/standing plus any additional walking at the guests’ discretion during free time. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Traditional Villages - Alvor & Ferragudo

    Enjoy a carefree experience visiting two fishing villages where life still revolves around the sea and traditions are revered and fiercely preserved.

    After departing from the pier, you will drive through town and across the Arade River to Ferragudo, which lies directly across the water on the east bank. The name probably derives from the Portuguese word “ferro” meaning iron, as the ore was once mined here along the beach. Today, Ferragudo still has the relaxed feel of a traditional fishing village with narrow cobbled streets and leafy plazas, which you will surely encounter during your guided walking tour and later during free time.

    Continuing on, you will soon arrive in Alvor, another lovely Portuguese fishing village with the ocean on one side and a protected lagoon on the other. However, Alvor is a bit more developed than Ferragudo because of its wide golden beaches, inviting shop-lined streets and flourishing arts. Following your guided tour, you’ll have some free time to browse the galleries for handmade jewelry, embroidered clothing and ceramics. Or if you have architectural interests, stop by the remains of the castle or the Igreja Matriz Divino Salvador church, which was designed in a traditional Manueline style. Like much of the village, it was rebuilt following the earthquake of 1755.

    Then returning to Portimao, you will stop at the 16th-century fortress in beach-blessed Praia da Rocha. Here, over a glass of fresh-squeezed Algarvian orange juice, you will enjoy sweeping views of the sea. Afterwards, transfer directly back to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 90 minutes of moderate walking plus any additional walking at the guests’ discretion during free time. There will be steps and cobblestone surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Sample the Traditional Tastes of Algarve

    Algarve’s distinctively flavored food and drink take center stage on this tour that includes stops for tastings in a winery, distillery and tavern.

    After departing from the pier, you will drive inland and soon arrive at Quinta dos Vales, one of the newer yet highly acclaimed wineries in the Algarve region. Here, you will sample several vintages that may include a full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Trincadeira, a complex Viognier with intense tropical fruit aromas, and a fruity Rosé.

    While still savoring the experience, you will drive on to Silves, the region’s former Moorish capital. Think of this stop as an opportunity to cleanse your palate while you view Silves’ 11th-century castle and Gothic cathedral, both made with red sandstone.

    Then, it’s back to food, specifically piping-hot bread from a wood-burning oven, which you will enjoy in the spa town of Caldas de Monchique. Caldas refers to the natural thermal waters so prevalent in this area.

    More gastronomic pleasures await you in Serra de Monchique, Algarve’s mountain range, where you will sample firewater sweetened with honey. Firewater takes its name from the burning sensation that comes from drinking a shot of this strong brandy, which is distilled from the fruit of strawberry trees.

    Finally, in the ancient maritime town of Lagos, you will relax in a tavern over a sampler plate of locally made cheeses and smoked ham before returning to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately two hours of moderate walking/standing that includes steps and uneven surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 18 years old. The tour sequence may vary.

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  • Portimao Highlights

    Delve into Portimao’s fascinating history by visiting the city museum and two landmarks left somewhat intact after the catastrophic 1755 earthquake that leveled Lisbon.

    After departing from the pier, you will drive into the heart of Portimao for a guided walk through Old Town. As you make your way through the narrow atmospheric streets, you will notice that only a few of the buildings date before the late 19th and early 20th century. The reason is the Great Lisbon Earthquake destroyed much of Portimao, and the city had to be rebuilt.

    The 15th-century Church of the Conception was one of the more fortunate survivors as parts of it were spared. The church’s Gothic doorway, buttresses and gargoyles are all original. The recent additions are still magnificent, including the signature 17th-century azulego tiles and the statue of St. Peter, which is adorned with ivory and wood crucifixes.

    The Jesuit College was also saved from total destruction in the earthquake, as you will discover by viewing its nave and multiple altars. Diogo Goncalves, the nobleman who funded the construction starting in 1660, is buried inside.

    You will enjoy free time to explore both churches further or shop in Old Town before rejoining your group and continuing to the Portimao Museum. It occupies a former fish-canning factory on the Arade River and authentically re-creates that industry. Other exhibits trace early settlements in the area and how Roman and Islamic occupations altered them. Following your visit, you will transfer back to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of easy to moderate walking/standing plus any additional walking at the guests’ discretion during free time. There will be some uneven surfaces and some steps to negotiate. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. The tour may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • 4 X 4 Exploration

    Hop into a 4x4 vehicle and enjoy an exhilarating off-road ride into the wilds of the Algarve region, a land of forested mountains, lush valleys and crystal-clear streams.

    After departing from the pier, you will soon enter the lush countryside on the outskirts of Portimao, a rural wonderland of exotic vegetation, terraced farms and gorgeous views. Here, you will stop briefly for driver introductions and an overview of the tour before settling in for your exciting 4x4 exploration.

    Your driver will take you off road, through streams and into the Serra de Monchique mountain range. Because the mountains trap condensation and mist from the sea, the land is lush and fertile. You may notice that much of it is terraced for crops, a farming method used since Moorish times. Fig, almond, orange and carob trees all flourish in this environment.

    In the higher elevations, cork oaks grow, and you will stop to learn about these valuable evergreens. Every 10 years, their bark is carefully peeled away for cork that is used for flooring, shoes and bottle stoppers. It’s a sustainable resource because the trees live for up to 200 years.

    At a nearby distillery, you will also see how a strong local brandy called “firewater” is produced from the fruit of strawberry trees. Firewater takes its name from the burning sensation that comes from drinking it, which you will experience firsthand by sampling the beverage. Afterwards, you will travel back to the pier in Portimao.

    Please note: This tour is primarily seated; however, participants must be able to enter and exit the 4x4 with limited assistance. The tour includes travel over rough, unpaved terrain which can create a bumpy ride. It is not available to wheelchair guests and not suitable for pregnant women, those who have had recent surgery or anyone with back or neck problems. Persons prone to motion sickness are cautioned to take the appropriate measures before departing on the tour. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Benagil Cathedral Sea Cave

    Life has always revolved around the sea in Portimao, as you will discover by taking a boat down the Arade River and then into the Atlantic Ocean to view the astoundingly beautiful sea caves at Benagil Beach.

    While still at the pier, you will learn how Portimao was first settled as a fishing village. Fishing still plays a role in the economy, as you will discover through an enlightening look at the traditional fishing boats and techniques used to catch octopus, squid and prawns.

    For an even closer exploration of Portimao’s long association with the sea, you will board a boat and cruise down the Arade River that runs through town. On the eastern shore, you will pass Ferragudo. The village’s name probably derives from the Portuguese word “ferro” meaning iron, as the ore was once mined here along the beach. As the river flows into the ocean, be sure to notice the coastal forts that guarded Ferragudo in medieval times.

    Continuing east along the Atlantic shoreline, you will be treated to spectacular views of Carvoeiro village and Algar Seco, a cluster of rock archways, grottoes and pools created through centuries of erosion. It’s a stunning sight, especially close-up from the perspective of the sea.

    Equally spectacular are the sea caves that lie just beyond at Benagil Beach. They are the largest and deepest caves on the Algarve coast, and if the conditions are favorable you will cruise inside these natural wonders, which often are likened to cathedrals. Afterwards, you will retrace your route back to the pier in Portimao.

    Please note: This tour includes limited walking; however, participants must be able to enter and exit the minibus and tour boat with limited assistance. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Persons prone to motion sickness are cautioned to take the appropriate measures before departing on the tour. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. For safety reasons, it is possible that on the day of this excursion there might be changes to the program due to weather and sea conditions that would require the cancellation of the tour or changes to the routing or planned visits.

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  • Cape St. Vincent, Sagres & Lagos

    Explore the villages and attractions on the extreme southwestern point of Portugal, a rugged landscape of seaside cliffs and haunting beauty.

    After departing from the pier, you will settle in for an immensely scenic drive of approximately one hour to the southwestern tip of Portugal, which is also the southwestern tip of Europe. Beyond this point, known as Cape Saint Vincent, there is nothing but ocean for about 850 miles, until the Azores come into sight. The ancient Romans and Greeks considered this a sacred promontory and built a shrine atop the rocky cliffs. Today, there is a lighthouse from 1846 that is still one of the most powerful in Europe, as it helps to protect a busy shipping lane.

    Nearby, you will also see the Sagres Fortress that Henry the Navigator ordered to be built in the 15th century. Now a national monument, it contains cannons, a water tower, church and a massive and mysterious compass rose made of pebbles set into the ground.

    Then it’s on to idyllic Baleeria Beach for photos before arriving in Lagos, which the Portuguese used as a base for naval expeditions during the Age of Discovery. As you walk its narrow streets, you may see the exquisite Church of St. Anthony and the notorious slave market that opened in 1444.

    Following a set lunch at a local restaurant, you will re-board your coach and head back to the pier, but not without stopping at the Point of Piety. This headland with precipitous sculptured cliffs offers one of the most stunningly beautiful views in all of Portugal.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of easy to moderate walking/standing. There will be some uneven surfaces and some steps to negotiate. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. The tour may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Algarve Castle, Silves, Monchique & Foia

    Behold the natural beauty so prevalent in the Algarve by visiting several hillside villages and the summit of Foia, the region’s highest point.

    After departing from the pier, you will enjoy a brief drive inland through the Algarve, a wild rocky landscape dotted with whitewashed houses and almond trees. In Silves, the region’s former Moorish capital, the colors are more earthen, especially its 11th-century red sandstone castle. You will also visit Silves’ characteristic Gothic cathedral, built about 100 years later.

    Farther inland, the market town of Monchique nestles in rolling hills blanketed by forests of chestnut, pine and cork oaks. It’s a fine place to enjoy a traditional lunch in a local restaurant and take in panoramic views of the Algarve. The land here is exceptionally fertile, and you might also catch sight of flourishing orange and carob trees and even maize growing on terraced farms.

    More spectacular views await you from atop the rocky summit of nearby Foia, the highest point in the Algarve. If it’s a clear day, you can see the coastline, both to the west and south.

    En route back to Portimao, you will stop in Caldas de Monchique, a town that the Romans developed around its curative thermal waters. Hot springs bubble up throughout the mountains, releasing water rich in minerals that may help treat respiratory and bone conditions. As you browse the shops during free time, you may find the famed water available in bottles. After a visit of approximately forty-five minutes, you will rejoin your coach and return to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes over three hours of moderate walking/standing plus any additional walking at the guests’ discretion during free time. There will be some hilly inclines to negotiate in Silves. There will also be some uneven surfaces and steps to negotiate. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. This tour is not considered suitable for those with walking difficulties. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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