Captivating cultures, fascinating histories, mouthwatering cuisines, and spectacular wines – all packed in to one unforgettable trip exploring Portugal and Spain!

From gorgeous palaces to faded manors, from lush forests to terraced hillsides, from sunny vineyards to beautiful historic city centers, what’s not to love about Portugal? We meander through one of Europe’s oldest nations, exploring the wine meccas of Porto, Pinhão and the Douro Valley, historically charming Sintra, and the sun-kissed plains of the Alentejo wine region. All the while visiting vineyards, historic sites, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites….experiencing the wonderful food and wine every step of the way!

Portugal is well-known for its superbly crafted wine. Due to its magical combination of the right soil, with the right climate, and the right grapes, just a taste of a Portuguese wine makes it easy for even the most casual wine drinker to see why they have been heavily exported and traded for hundreds of years.

We then whisk you away to explore one of the best wine regions Spain has to offer, Rioja! We will get our fill of Tempranillo, Granacha, and Rioja Blanca, but we make sure to provide a well-rounded itinerary as we will taste both modern and classic wine styles, learn about a wide range of topics covering the complex history and culture of the area, and provide you with time on your own to make your own discoveries.

In the second half of the Spain portion of our tour, we’ll make our way to another one of Spain’s great food regions. The fiercely independent Basque Country, or País Vasco as it is known in Spanish, is a picturesque mix of beautiful beaches, verdant agriculture, and sophisticated cities and small towns located in northern Spain.  Perhaps above all, the Basque region is known as a true foodie paradise.  Rumored to employ more chefs per capita than any other part of the world, the Basque region is full of culinary delights.  It is also home to the indigenous Txakoli white wine, a crisp, lightly effervescent variety that naturally accompanies las frutas del mar of the northern coastline. Near the end of the tour, we venture out on a half-day side trip to the French side of País Vasco.

Curated Experiences

  • Explore multiple wine regions of Portugal and Spain
  • Stay at lovely 5-star and 4-star hotels
  • Contrast old world vs new world wines and enjoy intimate private wine tastings at famous  adegas and bodegas…and ones you may have never heard of!
  • Experience fun local traditions such as a tapas crawl with delicious traditional foods paired with wine and a culture-filled night of Fado music
  • Enjoy wine-paired lunches and picnics at several outstanding wineries
  • Take a private cooking class
  • Visit many UNESCO sites and historic places
Taste Vacations

Tour Details

Tour Details

  • Location: Portugal and Spain
  • Private Tour Dates: April 14 – 29, 2023
  • Trip Price Per Person: $9,600
  • Single Supplement: $1,700
  • Host: Francisco & Jenny
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Arrival & Departure

We meet you on April 14 in Sintra, Portugal in the early evening. You can arrive in the nearby city of Lisbon, Portugal that day at any time – we have only a dinner scheduled today, allowing you to recover from your travels.  If you desire, we can arrange for a private shuttle to take you from the airport to our Sintra hotel.

Our trip ends on April 29 in the afternoon.  We will drop you off in the city of Bilbao, at either your hotel or at the airport.

You should make your flight to arrive in Lisbon (airport code LIS) and depart from Bilbao (airport code BIO).

Tour Itinerary

April 14: Welcome to Sintra!

Sintra

Our first evening is spent near Lisbon in Sintra, a small and stunning resort town in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains.  It is a former royal sanctuary, and one of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever seen!  Its forested hilly terrain is studded with pastel-colored villas and palaces and it’s cultural landscape is even listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Today is a light day to help you recover from your long travels. Once everyone has arrived, we will have a lovely introduction to Portugal’s wine areas presented by our Portuguese guide and wine expert, Francisco.  Our hotel is in the charming walkable center of town where we will stroll our way to a delicious welcome dinner.

Guide: Francisco

April 15: Castles, Palaces & Gardens

Monsaraz Portugal

Today is a day of culture, with a bit of wine and music at the end! After breakfast, we’ll walk a few blocks to Sintra National Palace, the best-preserved medieval royal palace in Portugal. We love it as much from the outside because of its two unique massive white whimsical chimneys that are visible from almost everywhere in town.

From there, we’ll explore the beautiful Monserrate Palace and Gardens, with exotic plant species from around the world and a surprising and marvelous palace featuring Indian, Gothic, and Moorish influences.

We’ll then get out of town for a bit, stopping in the village of Colares to pick up snacks and the famous pasteis de nata to take with us to Cabo Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe.  (If you like, you’ll have the option to hike a bit on the nearby windswept coastal trails to a beautiful overlook along the sea).  In the afternoon, we will visit National Palace of Pena, arguably one of the most architecturally enticing buildings you may have ever seen, mixing vividly painted terraces, decorative battlements and mythological statues that stand out from the surrounding lush forest.

If you still have energy, we can also visit the Moorish Castle, built in the 9th century by the North African Moors to guard the town of Sintra. After falling into disrepair, it was restored in the 19th century and is very different from Sintra’s other palaces and homes. Tonight we’ll have a classic Portuguese dinner with wine at a tiny hole-in-the-wall adega with live Fado music.  Fado is a mournful genre of Portuguese music, filled with melancholy lyrics of life, poverty, and the sea…floating, ephemeral, and echoing.

Guide: Francisco

April 16: Setúbal, Alentejo & Evora

José Maria da Fonseca

Goodbye, Sintra, and hello Alentejo!  The Alentejo wine region was elected by USA TODAY readers in 2014 as the best wine region to visit in the world. It is vast –  one of the largest regions in Portugal, with delicious gastronomy and great wines.

After breakfast, we will depart for a tour, and premium wine tasting at the cellars of José Maria da Fonseca, in the tiny wine town of town of Azeitao.  After you are free to explore Azeitao and have lunch on your own. From there, we continue another hour to the town of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage city, and check into our luxury hotel, which is right beside and under a massive 16th-century aqueduct.

Evora is one of Portugal’s most charming and beautifully preserved medieval towns, complete with 14th-century walls around its center, and narrow, winding cobblestone streets.  This small city has the second largest number of national monuments of Portugal, second only to Lisbon, and sits upon a hill above the fertile Alentejo plain.

We’ll walk to a wonderful farm-to-table dinner at a tiny restaurant that features unbelievable food and wine.

Guide: Francisco

April 17: Evora & Monsaraz

Evora Portugal

You have the morning to do what you like!  We suggest taking advantage of some of the spa services available at the hotel.  We will be happy to book these for you (cost is on your own).

We will reconvene as a group to head to Herdade do Esporao for a special five-course paired wine lunch.  Afterward, we will make our way to the ancient town of Monsaraz for a captivating historical walk. Monsaraz is considered by some to be one of Portugal’s most picturesque villages, and it is also one of its oldest. It sits high on a hilltop and is the tallest point for miles around, surrounded by thick castle walls, overlooking the giant Alqueva reservoir — the largest manmade lake in Europe — that separates Portugal and Spain.

We will return to Evora this afternoon where Francisco will lead us in a lovely moscatel tasting and then you’ll have your choice of things to do (wander around town? sit by the pool? eat cheese in bed?).  Dinner is on your own tonight and there are many wonderful choices.

Guide: Francisco

April 18: Evora & Lisbon

Portugal Wine

This morning we start with a leisurely walk to Adega da Cartuxa just outside the center of town for a delightful wine tasting.

We will walk back to the hotel, check out, and set off to the ravishing wine estate of Monte da Ravasqueira with its carefully whitewashed exteriors and bright blue trim, for lunch and wine.

After lunch, we’ll transfer to Lisbon and check into our next hotel. We then head out for a fun night of culinary exploration at Mercado da Ribeira, a giant curated collection of indoor stalls featuring Lisbon’s best food. Drinks and dinner are on your own tonight.

Guide: Francisco

April 19: Fly to Porto + Pinhão

Portugal Wine Tour

After breakfast, we will check out of our hotel, say our farewells to Francisco, and transfer to the Lisbon airport to catch our morning flight to Porto. It is here where we will say hello to Jenny and remain under her guidance for the remainder of the trip. From the airport, we will shuttle to Pinhão (approximately 2 hours).

We’ll shake out our travels with a wonderful wine-paired lunch at Quinta do Crasto, a great Douro estate owned by the Roquette family for more than a century and dating far back into ancient times.

After, we will check into our hotel for some rest and relaxation from our travels. Optional light dinner at the hotel, if needed.

Guide: Jenny

April 20: Douro Valley & Pinhão

Rabelo Boat Portugal

We will start our day at our hotel’s dock ready to set out on a two-hour boat cruise up the Douro River on a Rabelo boat. The Rabelo is the traditional boat of the Douro Valley and looks like a cross between a Viking boat and a gondola from Venice. They were used to transport cargo, such as port wine barrels, down the Douro river from the valley to the Atlantic Ocean.  The section of the Douro north from Pinhão toward Pocinho offers stunning views of the steeply terraced hillside vineyards.

After our boating excursion, we will enjoy a vineyard picnic with wine at Quinta Seixo just across the river from our hotel. As you might guess, the views will be tremendous!

You’ll have the afternoon free to wander about Pinhão as you wish before we reconvene for a signature wine-paired dinner at Chef Rui Paula’s legendary DOC Restaurant in nearby Folgosa.

Guide: Jenny

April 21: Porto

Porto Portugal Taste Vacation

This morning we’ll pack up our things, check out of our hotel, and head back to the magnificent city of Porto.

First up, we’ll explore the Port Wine Museum, housed in an old 18th century warehouse just off the river and dedicated to the most important wine in the region – Port! We will learn about how it is made, its history, and its impact on today’s wine industry.

Next, we’ll check into our hotel for the next few nights. Before a casual dinner at a cozy, local restaurant, Jenny will lead us know an introducation to port wine tasting.

Guide: Jenny

April 22: Port Lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia

Ferreira Cellars Portugal

After breakfast, we will don our aprons and begin a cooking lesson!  In our private class, we’ll learn to make an egg dish with a traditional Portuguese sausage called alheira, Bacalhau à Lagareiro (cod prepared the local way) and the most delicious pastries you’ve (probably) ever had: Pasteis de Nata! The famous Portuguese egg-custard tarts are a sweet circle of chewy goodness and were first made by Catholic monks. They have influenced pastries all over the world, including the egg tarts found in Hong Kong and mainland China. And just to make things a bit more fun, we might drink a little wine while we cook!

This afternoon, we wander by foot across the iconic Dom Luis Bridge and visit Jenny’s favorite port lodges across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia.  We’ll start out with chocolate and port at Kopke.

From there, we’ll walk to Quinta do Noval, the only historic port shipper that bears the name of its vineyard, for a tasting. Afterward, we’ll do a tour and tasting at Taylor. Finally, we’ll taste the port at Ferreira Cellars. Established in an old convent, Ferreira is one of the most extraordinary wineries that you can visit in Gaia. Housed in a large building with high worn wooden ceilings, the cellar was founded in 1751 by a family of winemakers.  That’s a lot of port!

We’ve left tonight’s dinner as “on your own,” depending on how you feel.  You won’t have any trouble at all finding something wonderful to eat in this town.

Guide: Jenny

April 23: Vinho Verde

Aveleda Gardens

The morning is yours to explore, shop for a few souvenirs, or take in whatever sights you haven’t seen yet in Porto (the Porto Cathedral, the São Bento Railway Station, the iconic bookseller Livraria Lello, the Avenue of the Allies, or one of three funiculars to take into the surrounding hills)

This afternoon we’ll head to Vinho Verde, one of the largest wine regions in Portugal, for a fun wine tasting.  Vinho Verde is also the name of Portugal’s signature wine, a light, bubbly, and crisp white.

Tonight we will celebrate with wine and dinner and say farewell to Porto at perhaps one of its most famous places: Graham’s Lodge.

Guide: Jenny

April 24: Portugal to Spain

Spain-Wine-and-Food-Vacation

After breakfast, we check out of our hotel and transfer to the Porto airport. Goodbye, Portugal and Hello, Spain!

We arrive in Bilbao in the morning where you’ll have some time to grab lunch on your own or visit the famous Guggenheim museum.

We’ll then drive from Bilbao to Spain’s most iconic wine region, Rioja! We have our sights set on Rioja’s wine capital city, Haro. Haro is an ancient and beautiful town set on a hill above the River Ebro.

Our first stop is the Vivanco Wine Museum where we will learn about both the history and future of wine. We’ll top off our visit with a lovely tasting of the museum’s collection of wines.

Afterward, we head to the Hotel Los Agustinos, a lovely hotel with origins dating back to 1373!

We’ll have some time to rest and ready ourselves to participate in one of the most famous local customs: a fun pinxtos (tapas) crawl of our favorite tapas bars of the city – a great way to try many of the local specialties!

Guide: Jenny

April 25: Rioja: Haro

Rioja Vineyard

Today’s theme is Classic Rioja Wines. We’ll start out with a short walk to the prestigious Bodegas López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, or simply Viña Tondonia, a 137-year-old winery that offers one of the best tours and tastings we’ve had the pleasure to experience, as well as a funky, decanter-shaped tasting room.

Next, we’ll head to tasty lunch at Restaurante Terete, the #1 rated restaurant in Haro on TripAdvisor. Established in 1877, they are quite famous for their locally-sourced stew and even more so for their lamb cooked in a wood-fired stove. Additionally, they have their own cellar stocked with plenty of incredible wines to choose from.

After we’ve eaten our fill, you will have free time to explore (and perhaps walk off our hearty lunch) along the postcard-esque streets of Haro on your own.  Later, we’ll reconvene for dinner, this time at Bohedal Bodega, a winery where we will experience an informal and fun Riojan meal eaten outdoors. And as a special treat, we cap off the night’s meal with wine ice cream!

Guide: Jenny

April 26: Rioja: Haro & Laguardia

Bodega Marques de Riscal

Today’s theme is modern wines! We will explore the modern style of Spanish winemaking as we head to our intimate private tasting at Viña Real, whose parent CVNE (pronounced coo-nay) is legendary and whose architecturally innovative structure is shaped like a giant wine vat set into the hillside.

Afterward, we will shuttle to the nearby town of Elciego to lunch at the Marques de Riscal winery, world-famous for its architecture and hospitality. The incredible main building was designed by Frank Gehry and is intended to mimic the vines in the surrounding vineyards. We’ll eat in one of the two restaurants of the winery, both overseen by famous local chef Francis Paniego, and considered a must-stop destination for high-end food experiences in the region.

Later this afternoon, we will visit the small town of Laguardia, a walled village that hasn’t changed much since the 13th century! This is where Bodegas Carlos San Pedro, a hidden gem winery, offers a barrel tasting in the underground caves below the city, as well as a taste of their locally-produced olive oil.  We then let you free to plan your own dinner tonight — maybe you’ll be ready for an earlier night and more casual fare — dinners in Spain are typically quite late and last a while by American standards!

Guide: Jenny

April 27: Basque Country: Getaria

After breakfast, we say farewell to the wonderful Rioja region, and say hello to the delightful Basque Country and the town of Getaria, our home base for the next two nights.

Along the way, we stop for a tasting of delicious txacoli, a slightly sparkling, dry white wine with high acidity and low alcohol content produced in Spanish Basque Country.  Traditionally, the wine is poured into tall glasses from high above.

For lunch, we’ll enjoy a picnic of local delicacies while we look out into the Bay of Biscay.  If you like, you can walk the 6-kilometer seaside promenade between Getaria and the high-end surf town of Zarautz this afternoon. Our rooms at Hotel Saiaz face the rolling waves of the sea, a reminder that the Basques have a long tradition of being master fishermen, and tonight’s dinner at Kaia Kaipe includes the wonderful grilled fish for which they are famous.

Guide: Jenny

April 28: Basque Country: St-Jean-de-Lux + San Sebastian

MIMO San Sebastian

Today, we’ll cross the border into France and visit the major fishing port and beach resort town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, less than an hour away. There we will sample wonderful chocolates, breads, macarons, and other epicurean delicacies.

After, you’ll have free time to stroll along the crashing waves of the waterfront and to pick out the perfect restaurant to enjoy a lunch of seafood that has recently been plucked from the sea (we’ll provide recommendations, of course!) with the mighty Pyrenees mountains as a backdrop.

Then it’s back to Spain to the bustling city of San Sebastian.  Tonight will be a late night as we’ll take to you MIMO, where Michelin-star trained chefs-in-the-making create extraordinary dishes, for an incredible Chef’s Table experience. A perfect way to end our last night together.

Guide: Jenny

April 29: Basque Country + Departure

On our last day of the tour, you’ll enjoy a leisurely morning of free time on your own, perhaps walking on Getaria’s peninsula of San Anton, also known as “The Mouse” due to its characteristic shape.  After checking out of our hotel and having lunch on our own, we’ll continue our journey by completing our loop back to Bilbao, where we will bid one another farewell and to either travel onward or depart for home.

Guide: Jenny

What is Included

  • All local ground transportation
  • Double occupancy lodging
  • All meals except five lunches and three dinners
  • All scheduled activities
  • Wine during organized tastings and most meals
  • Professional tour host

Not Included: Travel to and from destination/meeting point, flights from Lisbon to Porto and Porto to Bilbao (we will invoice you separately), some meals (see above in What Is Included for details), personal expenses, and optional gratuities to local staff and your host.  Travel insurance is also not included, though we highly recommend it.  Check out our Travel Insurance page for more information.

While the general trip itinerary will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common — restaurants close or lose their amazing chef, a winery changes their visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, etc. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance.

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Tour Accommodations

Portugal Food and Wine Hotel

April 14 – 15Sintra Boutique Hotel / Sintra > Our small boutique hotel is as centrally located as it gets in this former royal sanctuary of Sintra – one has only to step out the front door to access it all by foot.

April 16 – 17 > Hotel Mar d’Ar Aqueduto / Evora > The Mar d’Ar is another luxury hotel (complete with a spa) and is located just outside the 14th century medieval walls of the old town next to the 16th century aqueduct.

April 18 > Memmo Alfama / Lisbon > Located in the heart of the Lisbon in the Alfama district, our luxurious boutique accommodations are just steps away from the Cathedral and São Jorge Castle.

April 19 – 20Vintage House Hotel / Pinhão > The Vintage House is a luxury property in the center of town on the Douro River with fantastic views of the terraced vineyards.

April 21 – 23 > Hotel Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel & World Heritage Site / Porto > This is the quintessential lodging in Porto in the heart of the Ribeira district and on the river, with views of the port lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia across the Douro.

April 24 – 26>Hotel Los Agustinos / Haro > The Hotel Agustinos dates back to 1373 when Don Diego Lopez de Haro built the licensed convent. Since then its incarnations have included a military garrison, hospital, prison, and school. Completely renovated in 2006, the hotel features a magnificent cloister which is covered in glass and wonderful accommodations.

April 27 – 28 Hotel Saiaz /Getaria > Hotel Saiaz is converted from Gothic houses in the historic center and located on a narrow street of cobblestone. The hotel sits over the ocean and is minutes away from a wonderful beach, perfect for a swim before breakfast or dinner. The owner Mikel and his staff take excellent care of us.