Portugal & Madeira Organised Trips

25 Fontes Walk

The paths that follow the vast network of irrigation channels known as levadas, created over the centuries by Madeira’s farmers, have rightly become popular with those looking to immerse themselves in the island’s most impressive landscapes. This 11km walk, which takes about four hours, kicks off at Paul da Serra, a high plateau where you’ll find extensive areas of rare subtropical laurel forest that UNESCO describes as of “outstanding universal value”. From here, you’ll head downhill towards Rabaçal guesthouse, a popular pitstop that seems almost lost amid the surrounding scenic grandeur, and on to Risco waterfall. You’ll continue on down to the Levada do 25 Fontes, reaching a small lake at the bottom of a cliff fed by 25 natural cascading springs. Picking up another track towards the finish, you’ll pass through a tunnel that carries water to the south side of the island.

• Departs on Tuesday and Thursday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The 11km walk is graded as moderate. Wear suitable clothing plus walking shoes or boots.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 8.15am
End time: 12.15pm

A Walk Through Paradise Valley

A walk beside one of the many man-made irrigation channels, or levadas, that crisscross the interior is a quintessential Madeira experience and a great way to explore the island’s spectacular scenery. This gentle morning stroll is the perfect introduction to this unique way of hiking, which takes you along a particularly beautiful stretch of the 100-year-old Serra do Faial. The 5.5km walk starts in Vale do Paraíso - which translates as Paradise Valley - and ends in the pretty village of Rochão. Along the way, you’ll have time to see how generations of farmers have carved out terraced fields from the steep hillsides, admire some glorious gardens and enjoy the panoramic views over Camacha, also known as “the village of basket makers”. It’s a brilliant way to get some exercise without even noticing, and is suitable for all ages.

• Departs on Tuesday and Friday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The 5.5km walk is graded as easy and is suitable for all. Wear suitable clothing plus walking shoes or boots.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 8.30am
End time: 11am

Afternoon Tea at Reid's Palace, A Belmond Hotel

Afternoon tea at Reid’s Palace has been an island institution almost from the moment the hotel opened its doors in 1891, and it’s a wonderfully indulgent way to celebrate a special occasion or just treat yourself. Sitting on its elegant shady terrace, gazing at the panoramic sea views, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to a more leisured era when guests arrived by steamship and stayed for weeks. The effect is enhanced by the meal itself: dainty finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with cream and jam, and beautifully crafted cakes and pastries served on delicate china plates. The only difficulty will be choosing which tea to have from the 24 on offer, from China Green Sencha to Darjeeling Second Flush. Reid’s house blend is available to buy at its in-house boutique and makes a suitable reminder of a wonderful experience.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
The dress code is smart casual, as befits a five-star hotel: no shorts, no T-shirts and definitely no flip-flops. Transfers are not included.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 3pm
End time: 5.30pm

Albufeira Wine Tasting

At Adega do Cantor in Albufeira, on Cliff Richard’s Quinta do Miradouro estate, they aim to make high-quality wines using a mix of traditional and cutting-edge techniques. On this guided tour, you begin in the heart of the vineyards, where you’ll learn some of the secrets of successful viticulture, including how the climate, weather, soil and types of grape affect the final product. After that, you’ll head to the winery to see the production process and follow it through the various stages from pressing the grapes to ageing the wine in barrels ready for bottling. The tour ends with a tasting session where you’ll be able to try four of the award-winning red, white and rosé Vida Nova and Onda Nova wines for which this boutique winery has become known.

• Departures Monday-Friday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included.

Duration:

2 hours

Start time: 10am or 2pm
End time: Midday or 4pm

Algarve Art & Wine Experience

Quinta dos Vales is not just one of the best wineries in the region, it’s also a cultural centre and colourful outdoor sculpture park. On this visit, you’ll be given a fascinating overview of Portugal’s wine industry, which includes a tour of the cellars. You’ll learn about the different varieties of grapes that grow here, such as Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Aragonez and Viognier, and taste some of the highly regarded still and sparkling wines that are made from them. You’ll also discover some of the 100-plus sculptures that are dotted around the estate’s 44 hectares. Most of these are designed by owner Karl Heinz Stock and realised by local craftspeople in everything from fibreglass to Alentejo marble. Look out for the delightful and eye-catching “Dance of the Bears”, a project that brought together 26 painters and mosaic artists from around the world.

• Departs Monday to Saturday
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included. Participants must be over 18.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9am
End time: 6pm

Algarve Cultural Evening

Experience old-style Algarvian hospitality on an evening that combines good food and wine with some typical entertainment. You and your fellow diners will head to a characterful 18th-century farmhouse for a meal that showcases Portuguese cuisine, including several local specialities: think hearty dishes such as chouriço and black pudding, caldo verde soup, baked cod and roast leg of pork. Those with a sweet tooth will particularly enjoy the Algarvian pastries that bring the meal to a delicious conclusion. As for the entertainment, there’ll be a performance of fado, that quintessentially Portuguese music characterised by its soulful tunes and lyrics, and a colourful display of local folk dances.

• Departures on Tuesday
• Year round
• Group experience

Duration:

Evening

Start time: 5.15pm

Blandy's Wine Tour

Madeira’s namesake fortified wines can trace their development back to the 15th century, and learning about their unique history and ageing process from one of its best-known makers is something that wine lovers are sure to appreciate. At Blandy’s Wine Lodge, the heart of a family-run wine business established in 1811, you’ll get a fascinating insight into the difference between Madeira and other fortified wines as you tour the different areas of the establishment. You’ll tour the warehouse, filled with wooden barrels, where the finest vintages are aged to perfection by the traditional “canteiro” method. You’ll visit the museum, whose collection of artefacts includes letters from Sir Winston Churchill, coins from Blandy’s bank and a 17th-century wooden trough where grapes were once trodden. The visit ends with an enjoyable guided tasting so you can appreciate the end product for yourself.

• Departs on Monday to Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
At the tasting, children will be given the choice of a bottle of water or fruit juice.

Duration:

Half day

Cultural Algarve

Spend a day immersed in the history and culture of the Algarve. Start by exploring the many highlights of Silves, a charming small city that was the capital during the period of Moorish rule. You’ll have time to visit the imposing red-brick castle, from whose towers there are spectacular views of the town itself and the surrounding rural landscapes, and the splendid gothic cathedral, built on the site of a vast mosque. You’ll continue to Caldas de Monchique, a charming spa town in the mountains that’s been famous for its healing water since Roman times, and was once a favourite retreat of the Portuguese royal family. From here, you’ll up through the Serra de Monchique to Fóia, whose summit is the highest point in the Algarve. Providing breathtaking views of sky, sea and mountain scenery, it’s a memorable setting for a wine tasting to round off the adventure in style.

• Departures on Monday and Wednesday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fees are not included.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 12.15pm

Discover Western Portugal

Discover the wild west of Portugal on this full-day tour of its dramatic coastline and historical villages. First, we’ll visit the medieval town of Óbidos and explore its well-preserved castle, before heading to Batalha and the Batalha Monastery, one of the best examples of late Gothic architecture in the country. Travelling onwards to the coast, our next stop is Nazaré, known as a surfer’s paradise thanks to its huge waves, and on to Fátima, the centre of Portugal’s catholic faith.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fees are not included.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9am

Dolphin Discovery Cruise

Seeing dolphins in their natural environment is always a thrill and something you have a good chance of experiencing in the Western Algarve thanks to its underwater topography. Just offshore, there are several deep canyons cut into the seabed which help to produce nutrient-rich currents that lure in all sorts of marine life. On this 90-minute adventure, you’ll head out on a 12-passenger vessel from Portimão, home to one of these rift valleys, to go in search of some of the area’s most frequently sighted cetaceans: common, bottlenose and Risso’s dolphins, harbour porpoises and even minke whales. Dolphins, in particular, are known for their inquisitiveness, and if you do spot any there’s a good chance that they will come in for a closer look and to surf the boat’s wake - so get ready to film that perfect souvenir video clip.

• Departures on Monday to Friday (November-March) and daily (April-October)
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included. Please arrive at Portimão pier at least 30 minutes before departure.

Duration:

One and a half hours
11:00-12:30 (November-March), 09:00-10:30 and 11:30-13:00 (April-October)

Douro River Cruise

Step aboard a traditional rabelo boat and sail along a particularly peaceful part of the Douro River, drifting past terracotta-roofed towns and satisfyingly neat rows of vines carved into steep hillside terraces. Your two-hour river cruise will show you the ancient vineyards and farms of this UNESCO World-Heritage landscape, and a free audio guide will be available for those who’d like to find out more about the locations and buildings. There will be time for a picnic and Port wine tasting, as well as sunbathing and swimming if conditions allow.

• Daily departures from Pinhão
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included. Guests must arrive at Magnífico Douro Pier at least 10 minutes before departure for check-in procedures and briefing.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 10.45am or 3pm
End time: 12.45pm or 5pm

Douro River Cruise – Porto to Pinhão

Spend a whole day on a voyage along the Douro River from pretty Porto to Pinhão, a village surrounded by verdant rolling hills. Pass by vines growing on terraces cut into the steep hillsides and characterful villages where white buildings are topped with terracotta roofs. You’ll pass through locks where the river is dammed and rises into the hills, and have plenty of time to take in the stunning valley landscapes from the open-air deck. Following your arriving in Pinhão, you’ll return to Porto by train or bus.

• Departs Monday to Friday
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

Good to know
Breakfast and lunch are included. Transfers are not included; meet at 8.30am at Douro Acima Pier in Ribeira do Douro for check-in and boarding.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8.30am
End time: 11.30pm

Douro Valley Hike

Hit the trails and take in the spectacular rolling landscapes of the Douro Valley on foot on this full-day adventure. There’s a choice of three routes to choose between, from two to five miles and you’ll have the company of a knowledgeable guide. Other highlights of the day include a visit to the charming Pinhão Railway Station, where you can see some typically Portuguese tile frescos, and a riverside picnic that’s packed with locally produced specialities. No Douro tour would be complete without sampling the region’s most famous produce, so a wine tasting is also included.

• Daily departures
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9am
End time: 5pm

Embroidery of Madeira

Madeira has a rich tradition of hand embroidery, which brings together influences from across Europe to exquisite effect. One of the most highly regarded makers on the island is Bordal, founded around 60 years ago, at whose small factory you can spend a few hours learning the history and techniques of this exacting craft. You’ll discover how each piece begins with a unique design hand-drawn on tracing paper, and how the design is transferred to the fabric using tiny perforations and a sponge soaked in special blue ink. From here, the marked-up fabric is passed on to the skilled embroiderers to do their delicate stitchwork - satin stitch, pulled thread fillings, appliqué and the like - before the workshop completes the process with cutwork, washing and ironing. You’ll end the session with a real insight into the amount of hard work that goes into creating every beautiful tablecloth, pillowcase and handkerchief.

• Departs on Thursday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
This isn’t a hands-on experience, but Bordal makes kits for beginners who want to try doing Madeiran embroidery for themselves.

Duration:

Half day

Explore Northern Madeira by Jeep

Get off the beaten track on an expedition by 4x4 to the undeveloped north of the island. On this day-long trip, you’ll travel through some spectacular verdant landscapes dotted with picturesque hamlets surrounded by orchards and vineyards. The imaginative itinerary takes in several small towns and villages known for everything from their dramatic settings to their distinctive local culture: São Vicente with its volcanic caves, Ponta Delgada, sleepy São Jorge, Faial and Poiso. You’ll have time to explore Santana, whose distinctive triangular thatched stone houses are a photographer’s delight, and walk through the UNESCO-listed laurel forest at Queimadas Park keeping a lookout for endemic species such as the Madeiran long-toed pigeon. It’s perfect for anyone who is looking to discover the authentic way of life on the island, and enjoy some of its most unspoiled landscapes.

• Departs on Friday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The trip is suitable for all ages.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8.45am

Explore Sintra

Step into a real-life fairy-tale at the unique village of Sintra, where tropical gardens, storybook houses and glistening palaces tumble down the hillside to the Adriatic Sea. On this full-day trip, you’ll discover some of Portugal’s most beautiful historical monuments, before continuing to the westernmost point of continental Europe at rugged Cabo da Roca. Our final stop will be the village of Cascais, where there will be time to explore and take in the panoramic views of Estoril.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9am

Explore Southern Madeira

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of southern Madeira with a memorable trip by open-top 4x4. The day begins with a scenic drive up to Paul da Serra, the largest and highest plateau on the island, from where there are incredible vistas. The plateau is home to extensive areas of laurisilva, the indigenous subtropical laurel forest that’s so special it’s UNESCO-listed. From here, the route continues down to Ponta do Pargo on the westernmost point of Madeira - the ideal place to put a lighthouse - and along the coast to fishing villages such as Paul do Mar and Jardim do Mar, both magnets for intrepid surfers. Passing by Calheta, one of the few sandy beaches in Madeira, you’ll conclude the day’s activities with a stop at pretty Ponta do Sol, famous as the sunniest spot on the island and the place where the best bananas are grown.

• Departs on Sun
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8.45am

Folklore & Flavours of the Algarve

See a side of the Algarve that many visitors miss on a private tour with a delightfully foodie theme. Setting off in style in a Land Rover Jeep, you’ll head inland to São Brás de Alportel, a typically sleepy Algarve village of low whitewashed houses. The surrounding area is home to plantations of cork oaks, and you’ll visit a factory where the raw bark is prepared and treated for use. From here, you’ll stop off at a bakery renowned for its delicious traditional products, such as carob bread, almond cakes and honey cakes, and have a taste of carob liqueur. At the fascinating little São Brás Ethnographic Museum, you’ll be able to check out displays devoted to everything from local traditional costumes to the history of the cork industry, before heading to Salir to explore the ruins of its ancient castle. The final stop is at a large organic farm, where you’ll learn how they make their popular preserves and sample some of them.

• Departures on Monday and Friday
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
Entrance fees and meals are not included, and nor is a guide.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 7.50am

Hidden Madeira by Jeep & Catamaran

Experience two of Madeira’s most scenic environments on a south-coast tour that combines a jeep safari with a boat trip. In the morning, you’ll start at Câmara de Lobos, a charming fishing village that was a favourite painting spot of Winston Churchill and many others; as you’ll quickly discover, it’s also the birthplace of poncha, a heady mix of lemon juice, honey and sugarcane spirit. Continuing on, passing through banana plantations, vineyards and cherry orchards, past tiny rural villages and dramatic viewpoints, you’ll make a stop for a picnic lunch at Funchal’s Santa Catarina park. Afterwards, it’s time to head for the harbour to board a catamaran for an afternoon on the water. Madeira is on the migratory route of many species of whales and dolphins, as well as having a resident population of sperm whales, so you’ve got a good chance of spotting some as you motor gently along the stunning coastline.

• Departs on Tuesday and Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8am

Hidden Porto

Porto has a different pace to most European cities and is best explored on foot. On this four-hour walking tour, you’ll have plenty of time to discover the city’s lesser-known spots and learn about local stories. It’s an ideal experience for those who’d like to learn more about the local lifestyle, history and architecture, giving you an insight into the people and traditions of the region.

• Daily departures from Porto
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers, entrance fees and meals are not included.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9am or 2pm
End time: 1pm or 6pm

Highlights of Douro

The best way to get to know a region is to immerse yourself in it, and this full-day private sightseeing tour packs in the Douro Valley’s top attractions. Hop into a minivan for a guided tour exclusively for you and your travel companions. Highlights include learning how Douro wine was transported in wooden barrels by boat or train to the cellars of Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia, as well as a one-hour river cruise aboard a traditional rabelo boat and a visit to a vineyard with delicious wine and olive oil tastings.

• Daily departures from Douro Valley
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9.30am
End time: 5.30pm

Highlights of Lisbon

Portugal’s capital is one of Europe’s most enchanting cities, and you’ll be introduced to its great monuments on this insightful half-day tour. A visit to the Palace of Ajuda – a designated National Monument dating back to 1795 – is a highlight, where you’ll get to explore its ornate Neoclassical rooms and hilltop botanical gardens. We’ll then continue to one of the most traditional quarters of Lisbon: Alfama, where you’ll experience one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritages. UNESCO established this list to protect important cultural representations. In Lisbon, this is Fado, and there are traditional Fado houses (small eateries or larger restaurants where singers perform emotional, nostalgic songs) on every corner.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Meals and entrance fee to the Palace of Ajuda are not included.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9am

Hike the Paiva Walkways

The Passadiços do Paiva (Paiva Walkways) is a beautiful wooden walkway that zigzags up and down the hilly banks of the Paiva River in the Arouca Geopark UNESCO Geological site. We’ll head to Arouca by private minibus to reach the walkway start point. Then it’s time to venture through a region of breathtaking natural beauty to see the incredible biodiversity, geology and archaeology. After your hike, you can enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

• Daily departures from Porto
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
This walking tour is around 8km long and takes roughly 2.5 hours. Guests will need a good level of fitness.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9.30am
End time: Noon

Historical Algarve

Explore the Algarve’s fascinating past on a full-day guided adventure to some of its most scenic places. You’ll visit the dramatically located castle at Silves, a former capital blessed with a wealth of historical architecture. From here, you’ll continue up into the Serra de Monchique to enjoy the verdant landscapes, the cool mountain air, the sense of peace and the breathtaking views from the summit of Fóia, the highest point in the Algarve. Your next port of call is Lagos, a coastal city with a rich seafaring history that’s known for its walled old town, where you’ll have time to see the glossy modern marina, the 17th-century fort and the fabulous baroque interior of Santo António church, among other highlights. The day concludes with a stop at Sagres and its unusual sea fort, and windswept Cabo de São Vicente with its tiny lighthouse, the most south-westerly point of Europe.

• Departures on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fees and meals are not included.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 7.15am

Jeep Safari & Arade River Cruise

Get off the beaten track on an adventure that features a jeep safari to the interior, a river cruise and a stop at one of the Algarve’s golden beaches. You’ll begin by heading out in convoy for an off-road experience along earthen tracks to the heart of the countryside. Here you’ll be able to drink in the unspoiled scenery, learn about the local fauna and flora, and observe a way of life that’s hardly changed over the decades. You’ll discover the traditional Algarve way of beekeeping and how the locals make Medronho, a potent spirit distilled from the fruit of the strawberry tree which you’ll be able to taste. After lunch at a typical restaurant, it’s time to switch modes of transport with a tranquil boat cruise along the Arade river, formerly an important trade route and now a great spot for birdwatching. You’ll disembark at the beach, with time for a refreshing dip, before returning to the start by jeep.

• Departures on Tuesday or Thursday
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
Depending on weather conditions, the day’s timetable may be reversed.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8.55am

Landscapes & Villages Walk

Stretch your legs and discover Madeira’s rugged north on a levada walk that features an appealing blend of glorious landscapes and picturesque villages. You’ll set off from Queimadas, in the heart of a protected ancient laurel forest, to trek beside the 18th-century Levada da Serra de São Jorge, from whose heights you’ll be able to drink in the magnificent views over the villages below. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for local birds such as firecrests, long-toed pigeons and even buzzards. Passing cascades and cutting through small tunnels, you’ll arrive at one of the island’s beauty spots: the waterfall of Caldeirão Verde, the “green cauldron”. It’s the perfect venue for a picnic, far from the bustle of modern life. From here, you’ll continue on through pastureland to Santana, a village known for its unusual colourful triangular thatched cottages.

• Departs Friday
• Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The 13km walk is graded as moderate. Wear suitable clothing plus walking shoes or boots.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 8.15am
End time: 12.45pm

Landscapes & Wineries Of The Algarve

Enjoy a skillfully curated selection of the Algarve’s natural and manmade delights on a private tour by Land Rover Jeep. This fascinating day begins at Porches Pottery, founded in 1968 by two artists - one Irish, the other Portuguese - who were determined to show that handcrafted ceramics still had a place in the modern world. Here, you’ll be able to watch its talented artisans at work, and perhaps pick up one of the workshop’s beautifully hand-decorated pieces as a stylish souvenir. From here, you’ll make your way to Benagil, Carvoeiro and Algar Seco, where you will be able to check out the amazing sea caves carved out of the limestone cliffs over the centuries. Afterwards, you’ll stroll the cobbled streets of Ferragudo, a traditional fishing village at the mouth of the Arade river. The last visit is to a winery, where you can have a guided tour and sample some of the wines produced in the region.

• Departures on Tuesday and Thursday
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
This private tour doesn’t include a guide.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8.45am

Madeira Dolphin Observation

Madeira is on the migratory route of just under 30 species of whales and dolphins, as well as being home to a resident population of sperm whales, and there are few experiences to match the thrill of seeing them in their natural environment. On this two-and-a-half-hour adventure, you’ll have an excellent chance of spotting some of these captivating creatures, along with a host of other marine life including turtles. Starting with a short introductory talk, you’ll head out to sea on a trio of nippy semi-rigid boats with Rota dos Cetáceos’ team of marine biologists, keeping your eyes peeled for the tell-tale glimpse of a fin, tail or blow. In this, you’ll be assisted by lookouts on land who have up-to-the-minute information as to likely locations. It’s a brilliant way to spend a morning or afternoon that will appeal to families with older children as well as couples.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The species you’re likely to see depends on the time of year, so do your research if there’s a particular one you’re keen to spot.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9am, 12.30pm or 4pm (June to September); 9am or 1.30pm (October to May)
End time: 11.30am, 3pm or 6.30pm (June to September) or 11.30am or 3pm (October to May)

Madeira Dolphin Swim

With a resident population of sperm whales and its position on the migratory route of almost 30 species of whales and dolphins, Madeira is an excellent place to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. On this two-and-a-half-hour trip, starting with a short introductory talk, you’ll head out to sea on a trio of nippy semi-rigid boats with Rota dos Cetáceos’ team of marine biologists, keeping your eyes peeled for the giveaway glimpse of a fin, tail or blow. In this, you’ll be helped by lookouts on land who have up-to-the-minute information as to likely locations. As a bonus, you’ll swim in a safe, controlled way with dolphins for 10 minutes or so - a truly memorable experience that will leave you grinning for hours afterwards. It’s a superb way to spend a morning or afternoon that will appeal to families with older children as well as couples.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Be sure to follow the instructions of the crew when interacting with the dolphins to keep the experience as stress-free for them as possible.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9am, 12.30pm or 4pm (June to September); 9am or 1.30pm (October to May)
End time: 11.30am, 3pm or 6.30pm (June to September) or 11.30am or 3pm (October to May)

Madeira Nights

Sample the delights of traditional island hospitality with an evening of good food, wine and music. You and your fellow diners will head to a typical Madeiran restaurant where you’ll enjoy a three-course meal of local specialities. After a light starter - tomato and onion soup, perhaps, or caldo verde - you’ll have a chance to try one of the islanders’ favourite dishes, Espetada, a skewer of tender marinated beef cooked over hot coals or wood chips. It’s usually accompanied by milho frito (fried corn) and bolo do caco, a type of bread roll made with sweet potato and served with garlic butter. During the meal, there’ll be local wines to sip and savour and live music provided by a folkloric group playing traditional instruments such as the guitar-like rajão and the colourful jangling brinquinho.

• Departs on Friday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Duration:

Evening

Start time: 7pm

Monte Botanical Gardens

Madeira is known for its lush vegetation, and a visit that takes in one of its best-loved gardens provides a perfect insight into the species that grow here. You’ll head first for Monte, perched in the hills above Funchal, which was once a popular health resort and still retains an air of elegance. Nowadays, it’s better known as the starting point for a rather unusual toboggan ride in a two-seater wicker sledge that’s on many visitors’ must-try list. A little closer to the capital, the Botanical Garden opened to the public in 1960. Once part of an estate belonging to the founder of Reid’s Hotel, it was set up to conserve Madeiran plants that were becoming increasingly rare in the wild. Bursting with colour and scent, its six zones are a delight for gardeners and non-gardeners alike.

• Departs on Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Note that this trip does not include a toboggan ride.

Duration:

Half day

Porto Cooking Class

This immersive cooking class will introduce you to some of Portugal’s staple dishes, including the likes of seafood cataplana and the mouth-watering pastel de nata. First, we’ll visit the Municipal Market de Matosinhos to buy our fresh ingredients for the cooking class. Then, under the guidance of a chef, you’ll learn about the importance of the quality of the ingredients and whip up a starter, main course and dessert. Finally, you’ll get to tuck into your dishes, accompanied by Portuguese wine.

• Departing Tuesday to Saturday from Porto
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 10am
End time: 3pm

Porto Gastronomy

One of the best ways to get to know a place is by trying the local produce. Wander through the streets of Porto and get a taste of the city at five different culinary venues. Begin with coffee and a pastry from a highly rated coffee shop before trying a typical Portuguese appetizer – codfish cakes – accompanied by a chilled Vinho Verde. You’ll also sample cured cheeses and meats and a bifana (grilled pork sandwich) before concluding the trip in the best possible way: at a port wine tasting with a local producer.

• Departs Monday to Saturday
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included; the meeting point is C’alma Speciality Coffee Room, Rua de Passos Manuel 44. Please advise us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 10am or 3pm
End time: 1pm or 6pm

Porto Street Art by E-Bike

Porto is full of surprises – it’s one of Europe’s top street art locations. On this fun excursion, you’ll take an e-Bike tour through the hilly streets of the city to see the likes of ‘Look at Porto’ by Vhils, ‘Mural da Trindade’ by Mr. Dheo and ‘An.fi.tri.ão’ by Frederico Draw, as well as ‘Half Rabbit’ by Bordalo II – a remarkable street art installation made of out recycled materials.

• Daily departures from Porto
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 3pm

Private Douro River Cruise

Set sail along a particularly peaceful part of the Douro River on a private cruise aboard a traditional rabelo boat. This is a charming way to explore this UNESCO World-Heritage landscape, with plenty of space and seclusion as you glide past small towns and vineyards carved into the steep-sided valley. Your private river cruise will introduce you to the ancient vineyards and farms that line the river, and a free audio guide will be available so you can discover more about what you’re seeing. There will be time for a picnic and Port wine tasting, as well as sunbathing and swimming if conditions allow, to round off a tranquil couple of hours.

• Daily departures from Pinhão
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included. Guests must arrive at Magnífico Douro Pier at least 10 minutes before departure for check-in procedures and briefing.

Duration:

Half board

Start time: 10.45am or 3pm
End time: 12.45pm or 5pm

Scenic Catamaran Cruise

Head out aboard a sleek catamaran to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Algarve’s coastline. Departing from Albufeira, you’ll head out across the water to explore hidden sea caves, grottoes and secret beaches, with time for a relaxing swim or two if the weather’s good. You’ll pass dramatic rock formations carved out from the cliffs over thousands of years: the perfect scenic backdrop to a relaxed picnic-style lunch on board. As you glide through the waves, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, several types of which call this part of the Atlantic home.

• Daily departures
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 10.30am
End time: 4pm

The Craft Beer of Porto

You may be surprised to find that there’s a growing craft beer movement in a city where wine is usually the tipple of choice. On this four-hour walking tour, you’ll learn about the history of the industry and the process of producing beer from the hops to the mill to the glass. Of course, the tour concludes with the obligatory tasting.

• Departs Monday to Friday from The Yeatman or Villa Foz
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
Any entrance fees and meals are not included.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 2pm
End time: 6pm

Traditional Lisbon

Get to know Lisbon after dark on this cultural evening tour. We’ll walk through the city’s narrow streets, squares and avenues, seeing its monuments bathed in twinkling lights, before dining at a traditional Portuguese restaurant to experience Fado. You’ll tuck into classic dishes while listening to a Fado performance: a haunting and nostalgic musical style that is one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritages. After the show, we’ll wander through the pretty Belém district on the Tagus River, known for its colourful houses and seafaring landmarks.

• Departing on Wednesday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fees are not included.

Duration:

Evening

Start time: 7.30pm

Traditional Villages of the Algarve

See a slice of Algarve life away from the coast on a tour through unspoiled rural landscapes dotted with traditional villages. You’ll start by soaking up the cool clean air and stunning views in one of the highest parts of the Serra do Caldeirão mountains, before making for various villages known for their handicrafts. You’ll visit Querença, set on a hilltop that marks the transition between the inland barrocal zone and the mountains. It’s a picturesque spot, with steep cobbled streets lined by small whitewashed houses known for their blue-trimmed doors and windows and ornate chimneys. Your next stop is Salir, the site of a late Islamic castle that’s now a romantic ruin in a dramatic setting. The last port of call is Alte, a typical Algarve village tucked away in a valley in the Serra do Caldeirão, where you can admire quaint cottages with lattice chimneys, check out the blue-and-white-tiled church and dip your toes into spring-fed pools.

• Departures on Monday and Thursday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fees and meals are not included.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 7.15am

Walk & Cruise The Algarve

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is one of the highlights of the Algarve, winding its way for around 6km through stunning coastal scenery. Your walk will take you along the top of limestone clifftops, eroded by wind and water over thousands of years into weird and wonderful shapes, whose colour changes from pale yellow to burnt umber and all shades in between at different times of the day. Along the way, look out for the wildlife that makes its home in the dense undergrowth beside the path: everything from mongooses to several types of butterflies. After a light snack at the end of the walk, you’ll board a boat to get a closer look at one of the natural wonders of this part of the coast, the Benagil Cave, a much-photographed sea cave with a natural skylight and a hidden beach.

• Departures on Monday and Wednesday
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
The 5.7km walk is rated as of moderate difficulty and takes around three hours.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8.45

Wine Tour of Madeira

Madeira has a long history of wine-making, and on this eight-hour adventure, you’ll travel across the island touring its vine-growing areas and learning about everything from the terroir to how various vintages are produced. Starting in the south and heading north, you’ll become familiar with names such as Câmara de Lobos, São Vicente, Seixal and Porto Moniz. You’ll visit several producers - and have a typical Madeiran lunch in the house of one - and taste what they make, from whites, reds and rosés to the famous fortified wines we think of when we hear the name “Madeira”. Along the way, you’ll get to enjoy scenic landscapes in parts of the island that most visitors never reach, making it a fascinating way to spend a day whether you’re a wine connoisseur or not.

• Departs on Wednesday
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The tour is not recommended for children.

Duration:

Full day

Wines of Evora

Get a taste of Portugal on a full-day trip to Alentejo, one of the country’s main inland regions known for its top-quality wines. In the historic capital of Évora, you’ll explore the old town centre and see the Roman Temple as well as Évora’s Cathedral – one of the most important Gothic monuments in Portugal – and the chapel of bones: a small chapel where the walls are adorned with human skulls and bones. To complete the tour in style, we’ll enjoy wine tastings at one of Portugal’s oldest wine estates.

• Departing Tuesday and Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9am

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