|Private tours in Lisbon & surroundings||
Lisbon, the millenarian city of the seven hills, with the classic views they command, like at the top of
Eduardo VII park. From here we see the wide estuary of Tagus river and Sao Jorge castle.
Cross the central Marques de Pombal square and go down by the XVIII century boulevard called
Liberdade avenue to the popular Restauradores and Rossio squares; it's the heart of Lisbon since Roman
times, and the Pombaline downtown which has been the shopping area for more than 2000 years.
The majestic waterfront Comercio square, facing the extraordinary estuary of the river, once the welcome
gate to seafarer and caravels. Close by is the nucleus of ancient Lisbon. Drive by the oldest quarter, Alfama,
with the structure of the medieval city, with labyrinthine narrow streets, steep stairways and alleys, tiny
squares. If possible, we'll stop in a handicraft shop for a taste of Port wine.
The XVI century "pointed stones" palace - renaissance building with its uncommon facade, Santo Antonio
de Padua church – where Saint Anthony of Padua was actually born, the very ancient Cathedral - stop to
see the church, symbol of Lisbon Christianity.
Go up the hill to the picturesque Bairro Alto, section of Fado singers, bohemian haunt of artists and
writers, passing close by Chiado, the elegant shopping area.
Pass by Estrela basilica - marble construction with an outstanding dome, one of Lisbon's most eye-catching
landmarks; the Parliament of Portugal – an outstanding neo-classical palace.
The tour continues along the riverside by the harbour with sights of one of world's leading cruise
On the way to Belem, the most monumental and historical quarter, we pass by Belem palace, official
residence of the President of Portugal. Stops at Belem Tower – icon of the Age of Discovery (stop for
photos, drinks and toilettes), the Monument to the Discoveries – evoking the maritime expansion. Close
by is Jeronimos Monastery, magnificent example of the Manueline style, the most impressive symbol of
Portugal's power and wealth during the Age of Discovery (stop to see the church).
We leave Lisbon passing by the scenic harbour and the estuary of the river and its seashore.
The Estoril coast, incorporating holiday hotspots offers great beaches and a choice of historic sights.
Cosmopolitan seaside town of Carcavelos is popular for its long stretch of sandy beach and its XVII century fortress - the biggest in Tagus
Other beaches on Estoril's include Parede. Waters here are rich in iodine and have therapeutic qualities. Around Sao Pedro, Sao Joao and
Santo Antonio do Estoril the beach scene gets more cliff like, but there are small beach bays with aristocratic palaces, manor houses and deluxe
villas, a safe haven of exiled kings and politicians.
The cosmopolitan casino town of Estoril boats pretty Tamariz beach which is good for bathing and the biggest casino in Europe, its gardens,
cafes and esplanade.
Cascais fishing port swiftly expanded to an elegant, cosmopolitan, coastal resort. Once stop of navigators like Columbus and Vasco da
From the harbor there’s a nice view of Estoril bay and one can watch the typical fishing boats unloading the catch, a flash marina and a castle.
Drive across the luxuriant Sintra Mountain and its gardens - "The Glorious Eden" - by twisted roads bordered by several plants, its mystical
hills dotted with fairytale palaces and extravagant villas that have bewitched visitors for centuries.
Sintra’s historical town centre is a listed UNESCO world heritage site. It is made up of a charming maze of steep, narrow streets lined with
fine examples of old palatial homes hiding behind lichen-covered walls, while local pastry shops provide the famous Sintra ‘queijadas’ (cheese
pastries), ‘travesseiros’ (egg and almond pastries) and local wine. The town is also full of shops that carry many of the local crafts like
pottery, ceramics and lace.
Go up to one of the highest peaks of the mountain through a narrow and crooked road crossing Sintra forest, passing by the mysterious
Moorish castle. Fairy tale Pena palace and its surrounding park are billed as "a consummate specimen of Portuguese romantic architecture",
with a profusion of eclectic styles, 500 meters above sea level, on a rocky promontory that looks purpose-built for a castle. The delightful
Parque da Pena offers walking paths, fountains, lakes, follies, belvederes, exotic trees and other specimens. From the palace, one has a
spectacular outlook onto the mountain and its surroundings.
On the way back to Lisbon, we pass by the XVIII century Queluz palace, reminiscent of Versailles.
|...Lisbon’s history dates back to 300,000 years ago and ranks as one of the world's longest founded cities.|
As the legend tells, it is a city founded and named by Ulysses, which has its origins in the Phoenician
words "Allis Ubbo", meaning "enchanting port". Lisbon was a battlefield for Phoenicians, Greeks and
Carthaginians, however it was Romans who started their two-century reign in Lisbon in 205 BC. In 714,
the Moors arrived and stayed till the 12th century. In the 13th century, Lisbon became the capital of
Portugal. The 15th century was the point of departure for the Portuguese Discoveries, an era during
which Portugal enjoyed abundant wealth and prosperity through its newly discovered off shore colonies
in Africa, the Americas and Asia.
||... Described by Lord Byron as “Glorious Eden,” Sintra’s charms have long been celebrated. Once the
summer residence of the kings and Moorish lords, today Sintra is a romantic getaway for people from
all around the world. Inhabited since the pre-history period and by Celts and the Romans who called
this area “The Mountain of the Moon”. In the 8th to 9th century, Muslims built a castle here. During
Medieval times, the Portuguese royal family, overflowing with the pomp and riches from their colonial
triumphs abroad, first came here to escape the heat (and stench) of the summer in Lisbon. Beginning in
the 14th century, the Portuguese aristocrats followed the royals to Sintra, a dwelling place for hunting
and relaxing. Stormy and mysterious, the mountain is covered by more than 1000 different species of
plants. Several artists from different countries came here to work, inspired in the beauty of this place,
extolling its beauty: “The Garden of Paradise”, “Garden of Europe”, “Glorious Eden”…
|...One of the most beautiful parts of the Estoril Coast is a succession of hills dotted with pine trees and|
houses, sweeping down to the sea and the local villages with their typical houses and the old palatial
villas along the sea front. Villas from the Roman period have been excavated and inscriptions found of
family names, names of the Gods they worshipped and names chosen for their sons. Cascais became a
lookout for Lisbon in the great maritime era of discovering new worlds. It was the first place the navigators
saw when they returned from long and adventurous voyages seeking their homeland. It was in Cascais
during the latter part of the XIX century, that the Royal Family first began to bathe. It was a custom which
was becoming popular in Europe and Cascais was an ideal place owing to its mild climate.