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The Best of Portugal: From the Age of Discovery to Today

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Road Scholar
Program #20983RJ

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10 Days | 9 Nights
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding, and rewarding, programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for a more flexible schedule with ample independent time and several meals on your own, then our FLEX learning adventures are made for you.
Amy from Arnold, MD Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 11/14/15 - 11/23/15
Oh Portugal! We were charmed by this beautiful country, the people, the food, the amazing displays of culture and art, and most of all by an excellent group leader that made this our most memorable trip! Obrigada Road Scholar!

Borden from West Hartford, CT Number of programs attended: 20
Date attended: 10/31/15 - 11/09/15
A well organized and well led introduction to a friendly and fascinating country.

Susan from Carrollton, TX Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/31/15 - 11/09/15
Wonderful trip. Luisa, our tour leader was great.

Sharon from Brimfield, MA Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 10/17/15 - 10/26/15
This is a wonderful program that shows the diversity of Portugal. From its' explorers to cork trees......you won't be disappointed.

Lynne from Flourtown, PA Number of programs attended: 28
Date attended: 09/26/15 - 10/05/15
I enjoyed this program very much and learned a lot about a country I really hadn't given much thought to. I found its history interesting and its present to be delightful. Wonderful sights and sites, delicious food and plentiful wines, congenial companions, and a very competent leader. Great program!

david from Wheeling, WV Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/26/15 - 10/05/15
Great tour leader, very nice accommodations, great seafood and wine, and a truly photogenic country with a fascinating history.

Charles from El Cerrito, CA Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 09/19/15 - 09/28/15
Road Scholar has proven to be the best VALUE available for senior citizens. . On each of the four past Tours, Road Scholar has consistently performed with excellence.

Sandy from Novato, CA Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 05/30/15 - 06/08/15
For any of you with dietary issues who feel they cannot eat well or safely on a trip, please read on. Our guide Helena was very conscientious of our food issues. Personally, my gluten and dairy intolerances were addressed well. Helena worked with the kitchen staff on all our dining venues to make certain that I ate as well as my fellow travelers. Also, it is not uncommon in Portugal to find hotel restaurants offering gluten free breads and cereals. One even provided lactose-free milk and yogurt. I have never experienced this attention before, not even on Holland America Lines. So go and enjoy!

Paul from Columbia, MD Number of programs attended: 25
Date attended: 05/30/15 - 06/08/15
Previous reviewers have commented on the group leader, Helena Balthazar, and it is all true. She is a gem. The trip is very interesting; learning about the age of exploration and the booms and busts it produced; interesting tile work throughout the country; Obidos, a walled mountain village with the single archway still the only way in or out; two types of fado performances; a counter tenor performance in a monastery chapel that had people tearing; who knew that a visit to salt pans would be so interesting; bats in the Coimbre historic library; visit to a school where the kids eat fish 3 times a week for lunch; visiting a Romanesque church with 3 altars from different centuries. Good pastries, good food and with it Port and Vinho Verde wine. First time I had white Port that is served cold as an aperitif. We visited the Aveleda winery where the refreshing white Vinho Verde in produced. I found it in the Baltimore area for $10 a bottle. So buy a bottle and you can start your RS Portugal trip at home. You will have a great time.

Kay from Columbia, MD Number of programs attended: 25
Date attended: 05/30/15 - 06/08/15
Helena was a superb Group Leader, an unusual combination of scholarship, compassion, and enthusiasm. Portugal boasts some spectacular views, especially the view of Porto from the River Douro as you arrive by boat. Much of the countryside looks like southwestern France. On top of that, Portugal is probably the least expensive country in Europe so you can bring home a few goodies, especially the azulejas (handmade ceramic tiles) for which the Portuguese are known. You can also sample the baked goods in the many family-owned bakeries--as good as anything I've eaten in France! The people are extremely friendly and helpful, and everyone now studies English as a second language in school. Except for one unseasonably hot day, the weather was very comfortable on the first week in June. Portugal is a photographer's dream and the best kept secret in Western Europe.

Judy from Sudbury, MA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/30/15 - 06/08/15
The Best of Portugal is the best trip with Helena Baltazar as the best guide. I recommend it to anyone who wants to have an amazing vacation. Great food, music, beautiful scenery and interesting experiences. It's educational, plenty of wine and much more. It's a thoughtfully planned trip and I had a wonderful time.

Laura from Decatur, GA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/02/15 - 05/11/15
Our time in Portugal provided a great insight to the culture and the history of a beautiful but relatively less known country. Helena made sure that we were taught as much history and information as our week allowed. She is an extremely knowledgeable and well organized leader, and included many extras that made this trip so good. For instance, she went the extra mile to insure that we got the real patisserie Belem and not one from another bakery. She also enlisted her personal childhood friends to host us in a dinner at their home. Aveleda was a highlight for us as well as the salt pans. Who knew that farming salt would be so interesting? The food was outstanding and I returned feeling that I got good bang for my buck on this trip.

Janet from Stratford, CT Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 05/09/15 - 05/18/15
I went to Portugal because it was a relatively unknown quantity, I always like to visit a place that is a little off the usual tourist route. The trip was everything that I hoped it would be--interesting, informative, good food, a diverse group of visits and a wonderful leader in the person of Isabel Burney.

Marion from Larchmont, NY Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/09/15 - 05/18/15
The Best of Portugal is an excellent program. Portugal is a lovely country, interesting history of which I knew very little. Highlights were the Quinta Aveleda gardens, the Maritime Museum, having dinner with a Portuguese family, and other sites we saw.

Curtis from Fort Mill, SC Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/02/15 - 04/11/15
A perfect way to experience Portugal. Helena is great! She poured her love of Portugal into us. Helena's smile and charm are infectious. She is so efficient at taking care of every need, and she enjoyed every experience as much as we all did. Her introducing us to many local people and places that would not be accessible to other groups really made the trip for us. Our group of 17 travelers became friends and came away with an understanding of the Portuguese culture and history. This was our first Road Scholar trip, but it certainly won't be our last!

Jo Ann from Richmond, VA Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 10/25/14 - 11/03/14
Jo Ann from Richmond, VA Number of programs attended:4 Date attended: 10/25/14-11/03/14 My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip especially with the guidance of our leader Helena. I have taken a variety of trips with Road Scholar both on my own and with my husband, and I have been impressed with their quality regardless of the activity level, whether they are domestic or international, etc. They do a great job!

Carlos from Indianapolis, IN Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/11/14 - 10/20/14
I thoroughly enjoyed the Portugal Tour (Oct. 11-20). I'm hooked on Road Scholar - it's the best deal in town. Isabel was outstanding; make sure you hold on to her. She only told us significant information that was of interest to me, and I assume it was the same with the other members of the group. I've had tour guides before who tell you every detail including the kitchen sink. We covered a lot of ground in seven days, but some days were a bit hurried and we hardly had time for lunch. I think the same tour should be extended to two weeks, and thus be more leisurely. We met people who were, in general, upper middle-class. At the last meeting I mentioned to Isabel that I would have liked to meet a working-class family. Isabel argued that the latter don't speak English and would be suspicious of her translation. I trust that Road Scholar could find a working-class family who doesn't have this concern.

Peter from Tucson, AZ Number of programs attended: 15
Date attended: 10/25/14 - 11/03/14
Linda and I have been on more than a dozen Road Scholar trips. this was unquestionably one of the very best. Our leader Helena was outstanding and was a major reason the trip was so very very good. We learned a great deal about Portugal. My only suggestion to make the trip better would be a map of Portugal so we could follow on the map all the places we visited.

Edmund from Strafford, VT Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 10/25/14 - 11/03/14
Portugal is a gem to visit for its relatively unknown history, the beauty of the towns of Lisbon and Oporto with their narrow streets, gorgeous and artistic tile decorated pastel covered walls, etc. etc. Wine country an additional huge plus and Roads Scholar covered everything well due to program and our exceptionally well-qualified leader Elena Balthazar. My only criticism is that the program suffered from being reduced in length from prior year(s) and I think many felt exhausted by pace. I would strongly recommend addition a couple of days.

Melissa from Newton Center, MA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/25/14 - 11/03/14
Amazing program!! everyone must visit Portugal and learn about its rich history and culture. Plus Helena is an amazing educator!

Richard from Galloway, NJ Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 10/11/14 - 10/20/14
Trip was jam packed with wonderful experiences. Most of us felt we needed more time. I suggest before you go, make a list of what you feel is most importsnt and then cross out those that the program will visit. Then try to plan what free time you have with what is left. The art museum, the castle, the tram, most of the major churches, the tile museum are NOT included. So it is important that you be prepared.

Lois from Chicago, IL Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 09/20/14 - 09/29/14
This Portuguese adventure was a busy, rich, enthralling joy. The Group Leader was a passionate native and so proud of her country and wanted to show us every inch. She came close to succeeding! We ate, drank, breathed in all this beautiful country has to offer and soaked in the history, heritage, sun and sky. We are SO glad to have gone and hope to head south of Lisbon on a second adventure to the Atlantic's western coast!

Sharon from Chico, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/11/14 - 10/20/14
Wow! What a trip! All the mundane details were taken care of so we could concentrate on the sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Road Scholar really goes that extra mile and delivers; accommodations in the heart of the city; fine dining experiences with wine and desserts; comfortable, clean coaches to transport us from location to location, top notch educational opportunities and Isabel, our wonderful tour guide! Thank you so much!

Margaret from Merritt, BC Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 10/11/14 - 10/20/14
I truly feel we saw the "Very Best of Portugal" thanks to the comprehensive and competent program provided by Isabel Burnay. It was a perfect mix of organized activities and flex time to fully enjoy the warm hospitality of the Portuguese people, food/wine, natural beauty and cultural sights of the country. Highly recommend the program and Isabel to anyone planning a trip to Portugal.

Cathy from Sacramento, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/11/14 - 10/20/14
This is a great program. Informative, fun, beautiful and active. Great food and wine. Our tour guide, Isabel Burnay, was the best. Portugal is a beautiful country, with welcoming people and a very interesting history.

Susan from Salt Lake City, UT Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/11/14 - 10/20/14
I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and only wish it could have been a couple of days longer. Some days felt very full, but looking back, I am amazed at how many places we visited in just 8 days. Learned to absolutely adore the Portuguese people and discovered the excellent pastries and wine! Thanks to Isabel Burnay for introducing us to her land and people in such a remarkable way.

Marian from Flat Rock, NC Number of programs attended: 18
Date attended: 10/04/14 - 10/13/14
Portugal in a nutshell. History to the present day explained in all different ways. Interact with Portuguese families and understand how they think, work and play. Fall in love with the Douro wine region and see the beauty of the countryside. Visit LIsbon, Porto and also enjoy a lovely seaside hotel. Great trip with a leader who has such a love for her country.

Patricia from Lancaster, PA Number of programs attended: 12
Date attended: 10/11/14 - 10/20/14
Our trip to Portugal was a wonderful learning experience, it could not be done as well with any other travel group!

Toni from Glenside, PA Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 09/20/14 - 09/29/14
This program had one of the very best RS leaders we have ever encountered! Helena is a gem! The program offers some free time, and we liked that. We learned a great deal, from locals, from our guides, from excursions and on our own. The program was very well designed. Bravo Road Scholar!

Pamela from Chicago, IL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/20/14 - 09/29/14
The Portuguese people I met were uniformly friendly, polite, soft-spoken and warm. The Douro River Valley vineyards richly deserve their UNESCO World Heritage status, but our wonderful guide, Helena, made the entire trip an extraordinary experience. I did not want to go home.

Margaret from Latham, NY Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/20/14 - 09/29/14
This was my second Road Scholar trip and it was even better than the last one to Venice, Italy. Helena Baltazar was an outstanding leader. I highly recommend this adventure in Portugal

Robert from Schuylkill Haven, PA Number of programs attended: 22
Date attended: 09/20/14 - 09/29/14
This was my 22nd program and the most outstanding to date. Helena Baltazar is a gifted leader who provides a multi-dimensional look into her country and its culture. The icing on the cake is the warm temperament of the Portuguese people combined with the lovely landscape.

Ann from Oak Park, IL Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/10/14 - 05/19/14
The Best of Portugal was my first Road Scholar trip, and my first trip oversees. Traveling is one of my retirement goals and this trip had made me hungry for more. Our tour guide was most enthusiastic and displayed a true love for her country, Portugal. The participants were most friendly, and very easy to converse with. I loved every moment!

Richard from Tomball, TX Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/24/14 - 06/02/14
We had a great time with the land package. Meals & lodging were quite good, adding to the overall enjoyment of our first experience with R/S. Helena, our guide, made it all the more interesting as we learned & saw Portugal first hand. I highly recommend the land package!!

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at no additional cost on this date ...
8 nights of accommodations
18 meals: 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners
3 Expert-led lectures
13 Field trips
3 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances


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