Before I started the Camino Portugués, I traveled with my mom throughout Portugal on our annual Mother-Daughter trip. Six years ago, we celebrated Mother’s Day by taking a tour together in Europe, and we have been doing so ever since. It’s always been with Trafalgar Tours, my mom’s favorite tour company. She’s done twenty-plus tours with them and loves all that they offer. She lives in Las Vegas, and I live in the Bay Area. And although we get together with family for the holidays, we both look forward to this one-on-one quality time with each other. She will be eighty-one in October and fortunately is still mentally sharp, though physically she is slowing down. I cherish every moment with her.
Bus tours aren’t for everyone—some people consider them binge traveling—but I have learned to appreciate them thanks to the customer service and care with which the Trafalgar Tours directors provide their guests. Plus, that’s exactly what my mom wants to do at this stage in her life, and I want to honor that for as long as she’s able to travel. Trafalgar’s good quality hotels, diverse dining experiences, interesting excursions, and reasonable prices keep us coming back. So far we have been on the following tours: Spanish Wonder, Northern Italy, France, Northern Spain, and Croatia. We had a blast each time! After a few of these tours, my husband met me at the final destinations, and he and I traveled to Sardinia, Ibiza, and Sicily. (We seem to gravitate toward islands.)
My mom and I take turns choosing the itinerary. It was my turn this year, so I chose the Best of Portugal tour, because I thought it could be a good starting point for a portion of the Camino Portugués. The tour was incredible thanks to our tour director Pedro Pinto. Needless to say, it was a great way to learn about Portugal’s people, culture, history, cuisine, and wine before I started my Camino.
Porto Memories Series
Six Bridges Cruise and Porto at Night
J. K. Rowling Hangouts, Majestic Café and Livrario Lello
São Bento Railway Station
Porto Walking Tour
Stock Exchange Palace
Ferreira Port Cellars Tour and Tasting
Coastal Stroll along the Atlantic
Below you will find highlights of our first few days on the “Best of Portugal” tour. If you are planning to walk Camino Portugués, chances are you will fly through Lisbon. And it so happens that many of the places my mom and I visited during the tour can be seen on day trips from there. If you have time to explore the country before you start your Camino, you absolutely should, as it is bound to enhance your overall experience. It is also a great way to work off the jet lag and to transition into the local time zone before you start walking.
Day 1 Lisbon
We have arrived!
Day 1 wrap: Lunch was 9€ for omelette and ridic amount of french fries + coffee. 6€ for my umbrella. That’s about $17 in USD. Dinner and wine included at the welcome reception. We’re off to a good start!
Day 2: Belém, Cascáis, Sintra and back to Lisbon for Fado show
A big day that started rainy in Belém, then sunny for our excursion to the coastal resort town of Cascais, and palace at Sintra.
Pedro’s Favorite church and Fado dinner show
If you would like to see more photos and video clips of the rest of the tour or have specific questions, let me know in the comments below or email me.
To see my detailed posts on my Camino Portugués, start here:
My Camino Portugués Stages.