Portugal is the oldest nation-state in Europe, ancient in history and rich in maritime culture. We'll enjoy the view from the westernmost point of Europe, and soak in Portugal's diverse landscape by hiking along white sand beaches, through thick forests, and kayaking along the coast. We will explore fascinating historic sites including ancient castles, a lavish palace, two abandoned monasteries, and the sites of two sets of dinosaur tracks. We will immerse ourselves in this unique culture with walking tours in some of Lisbon's oldest and most interesting neighborhoods. Along the way we'll experience Portugal's cuisine and have the opportunity to indulge in some Portuguese wine. Maximum group size: 12 participants.
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Not included: Airfare to and from the Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), transfers to and from the trip hotel, alcoholic beverages, gratuities, and travel insurance.
This trip is designed for women who enjoy hiking and want to explore Portugal on foot. Hiking is generally 3 - 6 hours with elevation changes on dirt trails, rocky paths, and occasionally uneven footing. A rating of 3 requires some aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. The area of Portugal we will be exploring is hilly, we recommend that you include stairclimbing in your fitness routine. Rating: 1 2  4 5.
This trip is designed as a hiking exploration of the natural beauty and diversity of Portugal's landscape, while immersing ourselves in its culture, cuisine, and historical relevance. We will be hiking 3-6 hours a day along the cliffs, beaches, and forests of eastern Portugal and a half day of kayaking along coastal cliffs.
All accommodations are quality inns or guest houses. The trip cost is based on double-occupancy. We will pair you with another traveler unless you specify a roommate or request a single supplement. There are a limited number of single supplements available at additional cost. Availability of each room type is noted on your registration form.
Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.
I expected to see more and learn more about Portugal and its history.
This adventure was so incredible! The walks and hikes were all so varied, occasionally challenging, always beautiful. The cultural excursions to castles, convents, and palaces were educational and enlightening, as well as beautiful. The food was amazing, especially the seafood and cheese! and the impromptu picnics along the trail were a delight. The accommodations were top notch, with the highlight being the small hotel in Sintra, with views of the Moorish Castle and wine on the lovely patio.
Of the five previous AGC trips I have taken, this one was disappointing. The local leader, Annabelle, was not very forthcoming with information about what to expect each day. After we had arrived at the trailhead one day, I asked Annabelle what the hike would be like. She told me it was flat. It was uphill for most of the hike. It was not a difficult or steep uphill hike, but it was not flat. After that, I didn't ask her what type of hiking to expect because she had lost a bit of integrity. Annabelle would stop at some points during the hike to provide those who were close behind her with information about what they were seeing. Those who were not at the front of the hike did not receive the information. She also did not speak up, so it was not easy to hear her. She didn't show passion or enthusiasm for the information she did share. Sometimes Annabelle would stop to wait for the hikers at the back of the group to catch up. When those at the back did show up, she continued to hike. Those at the back didn't get a chance to rest.
The challenge! Our hikes and kayaking pushed me. I am healthy and active but was amazed at how well I was able to navigate the terrain. I did not know that the Level of a trip was based more on length or distance than degree of difficulty. The scenery was breathtaking. The food Annabelle arranged was always fantastic. I have never eaten such fresh fish, the bread cheese and pastries she pulled out of her backpack each day was beyond wonderful
I loved the long, hilly hikes along the coast and in SIntra. It was a great workout. Really enjoyed the kayaking in Sesimbra. The accommodations were also great, especially the hotel in SIntra. I love fish so couldn't be in a better place for fresh fish.
Beautiful scenery, food and wine was wonderful, accommodations were great ( especially the hotel in Sintra)
Beyond my expectations. The guides were top notch and the participants were so fun. The places we visited were spectacular.
Loved learning about Portugal via the guides, tours and experiencing the country one on one by the hiking and kayaking trip.
Great group of people, great guides (Anne and Annabelle were awesome). Food was outstanding. Hiking and kayaking were exactly what I wanted - gave me a runner's high!
The people - everyone on this trip contributed to make it an amazing experience. The guides were amazing (I loved not having to think about where to go/what to eat) and the itinerary was exactly what I wanted - lots of activity and exposure to the local culture.
Reconnecting with people I had traveled with before with AGC. The kayak trip was fantastic. Wish it had been longer.
I loved the community in our group that was developed in a very Short time. The hiking was challenging yet doable. The scenery was spectacular. Our guides were very perceptive and alway went above and beyond to acomodate everyone's needs and wants.
Oh so many each day. Just loved our group, our guides, the variety of locations, staying in a hotel for three nights at a time.
So much to see and do. Everything was already planned out and taken care of. All I had to do was show up! Amazing, considerate guides who cared for us all.
The organization and flexibility provided by the guides, the hotels and food arranged ahead of our arrival, the beauty and the history of country all provided for a superb trip. Everything was perfect!
Loved the crazy kayaking. The hikes were beautiful. The company was wonderful.
Once again it was a great trip but even better were the group of women that were on the trip. Didn't get to try the paddle board but things were rearranged and all went smooth. Kudos to Annabell and Debra for all the work they did behind the scenes.
Loved the Pena Palace and beautiful grounds around it. Any time we got a spectacular water view was always appreciated. Would have liked to spend more time at the first Franciscan convent. Most of us didn't know the guide was going to give such a detailed explanation of everything and we missed the beginning of his talk. The view from the monastery that day was beautiful but it was disappointing we couldn't go in. We could have skipped the forest hike portion of that day but I wouldn't have wanted to miss the rock section where we had lunch. If you cut out part of that hike it could be replaced by a tour of the estate Anne Marie went to.
I really didn't know too much about Portugal before the trip, and I ended up falling in love with it! The guides were wonderful, as were all the other women.
Cabo de Roca hike The hike on the last day in Sessimbra
I'm not sure I had specific expectations for this trip, except to read and look at photos of the Portugal trip immediately before ours. One minor disappointment was the weather, which made the kayaking less attractive for me (would have liked it but not really comfortable on rougher water in a small craft!) and that was completely beyond human control.) The previous week the weather had been perfect. However, we had a great group of women, yet again, great guides, beautiful coastal hiking--all in all, great experience. A highlight for me was the last night's dining and Fado music at the small neighborhood restaurant where our waiter was one of the excellent performers! This experience was so much more meaningful and enjoyable than a more "commercial" production done for tourists. Just loved that evening.
I enjoyed everything about the trip. The hikes, the women, the food. Debra and Annabelle were both great guides too.
Loved the high cliff, coastal hiking around Sesimbra. A nice variety of trails and challenges. I always love to see ancient architecture and we had many opportunities to see old monestaries and convents.
I try not to have expectations when I go on these trips. That way I am never disappointed. It's all pure experience!!!!!
When one leaves the detailed trip planning to others (an attraction to this type of trip for me), it is always a plus to see the unexpected. For me the dinosaur tracks were not even a draw to me initially as I envisioned tiny, cryptic patterns on a flat surface. To see the large, very prominent tracks actually sent shivers through me. The scenic hikes were better than I had anticipated as well.
The international mix of the participants was great. The highlights of the trip for me besides the awesome hiking was the private tour of Franciscan Monastery and the town of Sentra.
Issues with guides and some restaurants. The guides were both lovely, not that. Just that neither was particularly effective. A couple of restaurants were not all ready for groups and the second last (in Sesimbra) was definitely not welcoming and should not be reused.
Amazing hiking, views, kayaking and overall trip. Oh!! and the food!!! The only not perfect part was it being a "first time - work out the wrinkles" trip.
Excellent guides and food. The group was very pleasant overall, cared for each other and looked out for one another. The country was beautiful and we couldn't have asked for better weather. I definitely enjoyed hiking along the coast the most. The Portuguese guide added a good variety to the trip, like taking a tram ride, a variety of castles and convents, little things that made the trip unique. The morning of kayaking seemed disorganized. We seemed to waste a large portion of time waiting at the port for the guides to prep the kayaks, which was a little frustrating and disappointing, because I feel like we could have used that time to kayak longer. Instead of her picking us up that morning, she maybe could have sent a transport for us, so she had the time to prep and have everything ready when we got there. I know this was the first trip so the kinks still need working out, but that was probably the biggest issues I saw. There was a night that our dinner restaurant could take us so
Lived the scenery and hikes - but itinerary did not match daily miles (way off), frequent steps (would change training routine) or daily elevation gain
I loved seeing the variety of terrain and landscape, walking the cobble stone streets and learning more about Portugal. I also liked the fact that most of the restaurants had a truly local flare. I would have appreciated more culture/history/information from our local guide.
Highlights: hikes on the coastal paths; kayaking; great pastries!; excellent guides; mostly good food; small hotels