Lisbon and the Alentejo: 17 April – 27 April
I chose this holiday for several reasons: the multi-centre arrangement, my first trip to Portugal and visiting local restaurants each evening to indulge in true Portuguese cuisine. The holiday started in Lisbon (3 nights) where we explored the city and surroundings, 3 nights in Evora, a town which dates back to the Roman era, and finally we finished at Castelo de Vide (4 nights), near the Spanish border.
Highlights of the holiday included the visit to the Maritime Museum on the outskirts of Lisbon, which gives the detailed history of Portuguese exploration over the past centuries. The displays are impressive which includes full sized vessels. The town of Sintra near Lisbon has the fairy tale style Palace of Monserrate which has some intricate architecture and engaging history. Also in the area was the attractive, arboretum style Monserrate gardens.
Evora’s Roman background made the town an intriguing location where some of the remains of ancient constructions could be explored. Our final destination of Castelo de Vide, the trip to the town took us into more mountainous scenery and once again the town was a former Roman settlement. Its castle was most impressive and the small museums, including a disused synagogue, added to its heritage.
The walking was very well planned by our leader Mark Riley and there was no shortage of variety in the terrain and scenic views. Some of the walks included following medieval cobbled tracks, mule tracks and some of the gentle climbs allowed us to really appreciate the views.
The success of a Ramblers Holiday is judged by the enthusiasm and organisational skills of the leader, and Mark didn’t let us down at all. His knowledge of the area was exceptional and he always put the customer first. His choice of restaurants was very good, and he ensured that we could experience Portuguese cuisine in authentic establishments.
If you are interested in a walking holiday with a balance of walking and sightseeing then this is the one for you.