Portuguese Explorer

From £1,399 per person // 14 days
Take in the best of Portugal on this sun-drenched holiday, starting out from London and travelling via Bordeaux to vibrant capital Lisbon, pretty Porto, historic Coimbra and Faro, the gateway to the Algarve.

Portuguese Explorer

From £1,399 per person // 14 days
The Essentials
  • Train travel to Portugal with a night in Bordeaux and another on the Sud Express sleeper train
  • Lisbon, the Portuguese capital majestically draped over seven hills overlooking the Tagus Estuary
  • Porto and Coimbra, historic cities in a stunning setting
  • Medieval Faro, capital of the Algarve
Tailor make your holiday
  • Decide when you would like to travel
  • Adapt the route to suit your plans
  • Upgrade hotels and rail journeys
  • Add extra nights, destinations and/or tours
What's included
  • Standard Class rail travel with seat reservations
  • 12 nights’ handpicked hotel accommodation with breakfast
  • Sud Express sleeper from Hendaye to Lisbon in Gran Classe
  • Flight from Faro to London in Economy Class
  • City maps and comprehensive directions to your hotels
  • Clearly-presented wallets for your rail tickets, hotel vouchers and other documentation
  • Complimentary delivery of your travel documents

Suggested Itinerary

Portuguese Explorer

Depart on a Eurostar across to Paris or Lille today and connect with a TGV along the new high-speed Atlantique line, which takes you to Bordeaux the heart of French wine country. Here, you will check into the Mercure Gare Saint Jean (or similar), conveniently located opposite the station.

There’s time this evening for a late meal along the Rue de Saint Remi in the heart of the city, accompanied by a glass or two of the local wine.

Enjoy a free morning in Bordeaux to explore. Then, in the afternoon, take a comfortable TGV down to Hendaye, just short of the Spanish border. Here, you pick up the Spanish-operated SudExpress overnight train that will convey you all the way to the Portuguese capital.

Settle into your private double compartment and perhaps saunter along to the restaurant car for a spot of dinner, then let the rails of Northern Spain rock you to sleep, and don’t forget to put your watch back an hour, as Portuguese time is one hour behind that of Spain and France

You arrive into Lisbon’s Santa Apolonia station in the morning and transfer through to the Heritage Avenida Liberdade (or similar) for a 3-night stay.

Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal’s capital is built on seven hills, watched over by the medieval Castelo de Sao Jorge. Lisbon enchants visitors with its limestone buildings, picturesque alleyways, and an easy-going appeal that makes it a favoured destination all year round. Don’t miss a tram ride up to the old Alfama district for stunning city views with a glass of Ginja.

This morning it’s time to bid farewell to Lisbon, as you board a Portuguese Intercidades (InterCity) train from the national operator, CP. Settle into your reserved seats and relax as the train takes you north out of the capital, and up to Portugal’s second largest city, Porto. On arrival, check into the Eurostars das Artes (or similar) for a 3-night stay.

Straddling the Douro River, Porto is an important maritime city that is well known as the home of port. Vila Nova de Gaia’s wine-cellars are a must-visit (and must-taste!).

Spend a full two days in Porto. The district known as Ribeira is one of the most picturesque historic quarters you’ll have ever set eyes on. With a similarly hilly topography to Lisbon, there are many places from which you get a majestic view of the Douro River, which is traversed by the iconic iron Dom Luis I bridge connecting Porto with Gaia.

TMR RECOMMENDS: Take a day trip along the world-famous Douro Valley by train or boat and taste some of the fine produce at one of the vineyards that adorn the riverside.

Just a short rail journey will bring you to Coimbra, where your home for the next 2 nights will be the Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas (or similar).

Coimbra is a picturesque riverside city with a UNESCO World Heritage listed university and a fascinating history going back to Roman times. Coimbra also boasts a wonderful collection of impressive churches, serene monasteries, and vibrant cultural institutions and a tantalising choice of restaurants and cafés.

Catch the once-daily direct train service and travel 275 miles south to Faro, the capital of the Algarve. Check in for 3 nights at the Hotel Faro and Beach Club (or similar).

Faro boasts a beautiful walled old town and is the gateway to the Ria Formosa Nature Park, with its tranquil islands and unspoilt beaches. Inside the city walls, you can go up to the Sé (gothic cathedral), Paco Episcopal Palace and the convent of Nossa Senhora. You can also easily access other parts of the Algarve coastline whilst you are in Faro. Popular destinations such as Portimao, Lagos and Albufeira are a short train ride away.

After another morning in Faro, make your way to the airport for your flight back to London. We can also look at other airports in the UK if you would prefer.

ALTERNATIVE ROUTE: If you want to extend your holiday, why not travel back to the UK by rail? We can look at a route back through Spain with stops in Seville and Girona. This will be around an extra £300 per person, with 2 nights hotel accommodation en route.

Typical hotels on this itinerary

Portuguese Explorer
Mercure Bordeaux Gare St Jean

The Mercure Bordeaux Gare St-Jean is located a short walk from the main station of the city. All spacious rooms come with a courtesy tray, air-conditioning and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. The hotel also boasts an a la carte restaurant with a terrace. The Place de la Bourse is around 25 minutes’ walk or 3 stops on the tram.

Heritage Avenida Liberdade

Located on Lisbon’s main avenue, Avenida da Liberdade, this stunning hotel occupies a 18th century townhouse is designed by the Portuguese architect Miguel Cancio Martins. Guestrooms feature DVD players and Molton Brown bathroom amenities. There is also a welcoming bar, a library and a fitness centre.

Eurostar das Artes

The Eurostar das Artes occupies adjoining buildings, one modern, one an historic palace, in the centre of Porto. The bedrooms are designed in a contemporary style with hardwood floors and air-conditioning. Breakfast is served daily in the hotel’s restaurant, using seasonal ingredients and in the evening there is a bar and garden area where guests can enjoy a glass of port.

Quinta das Lagrimas

One of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Quinta das Lagrimas occupies an 18th century palace surrounded by 12 hectares of botanic gardens. Guests can enjoy a choice of two restaurants, a state-of-the-art spa and both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.

Hotel Faro and Beach Club

Located in the centre of Faro, just a 5-minute walk from the train station, this modern hotel overlooks the old town, marina and the Ria Formosa Natural Park. All bedrooms are air-conditioned with complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. The hotel also boasts a rooftop restaurant and swimming pool.

From £1,399 Enquire Now
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From £1,399 per person

Low season (November-March) from £1,399pp

High season (April-October) from £1,599pp

These prices are based on two people sharing a twin or double room. Single supplements will apply for sole occupancy. It is based on Standard Class rail travel with a Gran Classe cabin on the sleeper train and includes seat reservations as necessary. It is based on the best fares on the trains. If you travel during a peak period, particularly at short notice, then supplements may apply.

Upgrade your travel

Upgrade all rail journeys on this holiday to First Class from £150 per person.

If you prefer, we can upgrade individual elements of the journey.

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