Portugal Unplugged

Portugal, Europe

Portugal has been topping every “IT” list for 2017 as THE destination to explore. From Lonely Planet* to Conde Nast* to Travel+Leisure* it has become recognized not only for its great value but also the striking beauty of so many different regions.”

“When it’s time to choose our Destination of the Year, we here at Travel + Leisure look to the places that feel exciting, that warrant rediscovery, that have come into their own and stepped onto the international stage in some new way.”

Beautiful Portugese Villages

On this Premier Walking Connection unique departure, Co-Founders Gene and Jo Ann Taylor will share an off the beaten path experience in two completely different regions of Portugal. With this combination we will make a point to include you in diverse local communities, introduce you to its people so that you may listen to their stories and share their secrets.

In the center of Portugal there are a small group of villages that still preserve their ancient traditions and ancestral customs.

We will walk along routes which link some of these villages and get to know this rich heritage by our serendipitous encounters with local communities. By sleeping in these villages, getting to know its people, learning and participating in some of their customs, tasting local cuisine, experiencing wines and walking on ancient routes of pilgrims and merchants that connect these villages we will leave with a better understanding of a life different from our own.

As an interesting contrast we will also spend time walking in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park with one of the most beautiful and yet enigmatic landscapes in Portugal.

The Sintra sierra, otherwise known as the Moon Hill has a unique forest with biodiversity and huge promontories bathed by the majestic Atlantic Ocean. Here we will mix hiking with a bit of wine tasting experiences and regional delicacies at local wineries, cellars and restaurants. Sintra untouched since the XIX century and World Heritage by UNESCO since 1992, is a cultural treasure that we will help you to discover.

*Trademarks are owned by their respective companies. NONE of these companies or publications are associated with The Walking Connection in anyway.

This trip begins in Lisbon on October 5, 2017
This trip ends in Lisbon on October 13, 2017

Day 1 – Cerdeira Village

Travel to the Cerdeira Village

Cerdeira Village will be our first destination. Hidden in a small valley at 2.296ft high, Cerdeira is a schist village that is about 300 years old. After the abandonment of the farming and pastoral activity in the mid-twentieth century, the population of the village almost disappeared. In the mid-80s a group of young people decided to settle in the village and thus began its’ recovery.

This traditional schist village, isolated in the Lousã Sierra, is one of the most amazing spots you will find in Portugal. Staying in this village is to travel back in time where we can experience old customs and culture.

Today, Cerdeira has new stories to tell from new residents that with persistence and will, have made it a place where artistic creation, through Artistic International Residences, training workshops and small creative experiences, together with the knowledge of the old ones, in a single mix, gave life and meaning to this place.

Currently, Cerdeira is part of the 27 villages that make up the network of Schist Villages. Cerdeira is an authentic place where time does not fly. First we’ll walk around the village to become familiar. Then, we eat, fresh, local and regional cuisine expertly prepared in a local restaurant. Welcome To Portugal

Meals included: Dinner

Overnight 1 of 3 Nights: Cerdeira Village – Our guests will stay in their own private sustainable traditional schist house, which has been remodeled in order to attain a balance between tradition and modern comfort. Some of these houses have been intervened by national and international artists, who were inspired to create unique pieces that underline the individuality of each Cerdeira house.

Day 2 – The “Levadas” Waterways

Today Starts With A Cooking Experience

We will test our skills in the kitchen by cooking the “Chanfana”. This is the most typical dish of this region. After seasoning the goat meat and placing it in the black clay “caçoilas”, we will light the traditional wood oven and bake the “Chanfana” for at least 4 hours.

While the “Chanfana” is being cooked we will go for our adventure in this mountainous region that is dedicated to the interesting structures of the “Levadas”. The “Levadas” are man made channels to bring water from the highlands for the agricultural land and thus ensure their support throughout the year. This particular “levada” also had the functionality to feed the local Power Station, the first of its kind to be built in Portugal.

In most of the path we will follow this “levada”, sometimes on it’s side, other times over its schist gangways. Together with the dense vegetation, the slopes help to recreate a unique and also very refreshing landscape of great beauty. In some areas it is possible to take a bath in the clear waters of the “levada”. Although cold, depending on the time of year the feeling is exhilarating.

The Oak, Cork and Pine Trees are the dominant species among the larger trees, especially in the areas near the villages we will cross.

Remember your morning cooking experience? After a great day exploring, it will be our welcome “taste” to this unique region of Portugal. (vegetarian options as well).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight 2 of 3 Nights: Cerdeira Village

Day 3 – The Route of the Millers

It is possible to take a bath in the clear cold, cold, waters of the “levada”.

“The Route of the Millers” is a journey through time and makes it possible for us to remember the route daily made by the millers who had access to the several water mills (from which we still can see traces of their existence), through it.

With the lush vegetation surrounding us all the way and the river our companion, this pleasant journey will be rewarded with the opportunity to cool off in one of the several waterfalls that we will find.

Alone the way we will visit one of the oldest villages in the region, whose construction comes from the remote presence of the Visigoths in the 7th century. This village is also known by it´s curious stone sculptures.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight 3 of 3 Nights: Cerdeira Village

Day 4 – Into the River and the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park

Tagus river – the biggest in Portugal.

Say goodbye to the Cerdeira Village as we travel South to the beautiful and surprising Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. Along the way we will make a small detour to have our lunch in a restaurant on stilts. Setting over the river Tagus, we will delight with the repast that this zone of “campinos” (riders who take care of the bulls), horses and bulls, full of tradition, has to offer.

After we will have time to explore the calm waters of the Tagus river – the biggest in Portugal, where is found the largest center of migratory birds in all of Europe. We will sail through the beautiful blue waters of the Tagus. In addition to the numerous species of birds, it is very possible that we will see herds of horses residing either in the islets or on the river banks.

This evening dinner is waiting for us in a local and cozy restaurant, known by the quality of the good traditional Portuguese food.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight 1 of 2 Nights: WHERE DO WE STAY TONIGHT Casa Miradouro – Room with a view! Our guests will stay in a charming Boutique Guest house in Sintra, originally built in 1890 for a family of army officers and lovingly restored. The name Casa Miradour, translates to Viewpoint House, so named because of the fantastic views towards the Atlantic Ocean and over Sintra to the Pena Palace and Moorish Castle.

Day 5 – The Unexpected Gardens

World Heritage by UNESCO.

Come Walk With Us. Today’s hike takes you to visit two wonderful gardens and its monuments. “Capuchos” is probably the most important testimony of the Sintra primeval forest, preserved by the brotherhood of Franciscan friars and their austere carved monument. Discover its secret sand mysteries, where even today it is said that “those who wish to penetrate the mystery of the convent must first die.”

After this visit we begin this hike through a pleasant and peaceful Pine Tree forest corridor with which links the Capuchos Convent to the Monserrate Gardens and Palace.

The Monserrate Gardens and Palace are one of the most beautiful creations of the Romanticism landscape. Immortalized by Lord Byron, “Monserrate” is also one of the most famous and exotic Europe “Victorian” gardens. In 2013 received the European Garden Award winner by the EGHN-European Garden Heritage Network. Besides the visit, it will also be here where we will enjoy our picnic in exclusive surroundings.

The way back will be much shorter but never the less equally beautiful, with the warm colors of afternoon sunshine, penetrating in the canopy of the trees and the reflection in the calm waters of the Lagoon of the Musketeers.

Dinner will be enjoyed in a local restaurant in the Sintra village

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight 2 of 2 Nights: Casa Miradouro

Day 6 – Sintra, Sierra of Secular Mysteries

World Heritage by UNESCO.

Sintra Sierra – meet a more mystical and occult side. Designated World Heritage by UNESCO, it is considered the most beautiful and mystical Portuguese sierra. On this experience we will meet its people and their customs. Enjoy some of the sierra’s highest points, like the “Peninha” shrine and marvel with the infinite views.

Along the way, meet the most typical village of Sintra, whose beginnings date back to the 16th century, “Penedo”, the “Holy Spirit” village. Known for its countless fountains and streams, it is here that we will take our lunch in a rural tavern where we can taste the local food. After lunch we will visit the most western vineyard in Europe. This local farm, built in the 18th century, stands between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sintra Sierra. Its wines are characterized by their aging-potential, character and complexity. After visiting the vineyards and the winery, we will have a wine tasting to try some of the most enigmatic
fine wines of Portugal. Thanks to the proximity of the sea, these wines have a strong savory sea note, being also very fragrant, fresh and balanced.

Tonight’s dinner is on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Wine experience

Overnight: (1 of 2 Nights) The Charm Of Cascais A charming place indeed! Our guests will stay in a luxury guest house with traditional Portuguese architectural features with beautiful large gardens. Located in a distinctive quarter the center of Cascais, the sea and the marina are all close by.

Day 7 – Route of Romanticism

Sintra village and Cultural Landscape.

Our route of Romanticism will take us into the heart of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra, UNESCO World Heritage and its fabulous architectural monuments.

The walk starts in the heart of the Sintra village. We will go by secular streets and their old houses full of tradition until we reach a path that goes up to the Moorish Castle. Along the ascent we have the opportunity to enjoy an amazing view, from where we can see part of the incredible Sintra cultural built heritage. In the visit to the renovated Moorish Castle we relive a thousand years of history. Step back even further in time, we also see the remains of villages from the Neolithic period that are about five thousand years old.

Our journey into the amazing 19th Century begins at the Pena Park with the intimacy of its’ gardens and large Victorian lakes. From here we will go to the “Pena” palace displaying its gorgeous architecture, the most important center of the Sintra Cultural Landscape, as well as its romantic botanical gardens. The originality of the Chalet of Countess “D’Edla” and the woods which are a tribute to the “Romanticism” movement, are a must for you to discover. Already in the Sintra village we will taste the “Travesseiro” a delicious sweet local delicacy.

Today our dinner will be in Cascais Village, at one of it’s modern restaurants. With the famous Cascais bay before us we will enjoy the well known mix between fusion cuisine and local Portuguese food.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: (Night 2 of 2) The Charm Of Cascais

Day 8 – Where the Land Ends and the Sea Begins

Ancient Fisherman’s Path.

Enjoy a free morning followed by an afternoon hike that begins at continental Europe’s western most point, Cape Roca, “Where the Land Ends and the Sea Begins”.

This ancient fisherman´s path leads us to discover the untouched beauty of wild Ursa beach, considered by Michelin Guide as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Continuing along impressive cliffs hugged by the mighty Atlantic, we will approach the Fojo, a natural well that connects to the sea and where the most daring can look to the 90 meters deep and find if the Romans had reason to believe that deep down there was a triton playing music in a conch.

This hike ends with delicious grilled fresh fish at Adraga Restaurant. Considered by Sergi Arola (2 Michelin stars), one of the most mediatic Chefs in the world, as “the best beach fish restaurant in the world”. Its’ location on a beautiful beach with the same name is considered by the Sunday Times one of the 20 best beaches in Europe.

From here we will move on to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, where we will sleep in the newly renovated Avani Avennida Liberdade Hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight 1 of 1 Night -OR- 1 of 2 Nights: Avani Avennida Liberdade A stylish modern oasis surrounded by old world beauty. This oceanfront city has much to offer, from lively cafés and nightlife to stunning beaches and architecture. Marvel at fascinating galleries and museums. Shop ‘til you drop. Unwind on your own private balcony looking out at urban paradise –– because it’s the details that matter.

Day 9 w/options – It doesn’t have to end! Lisbon, the City of the “White Light”

One more day that is dedicated to Lisbon.

The main itinerary ends with breakfast or continues on exploring with us another day.

Come Walk With Us! One more day that is dedicated to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. The “City Of The White Light” is named because of it’s intense and bright natural light. In this ancient city full of history we will take a morning walk with a local guide along its more traditional streets. Among the people and all of the delicious aromas and colors, life in Lisbon will be displayed before us.

After our guided walk, lunch is in a sui generis restaurant located in the vibrant “Bairro Alto”. You will taste delicious regional delicacies accompanied with a sample of some the main Portuguese wines.

The afternoon will be free for you to explore some of the most emblematic areas of the city of Lisbon, like “Bairro Alta, Chiaco or Belem.” Dinner tonight is integrated in a circus school, ((really) and with a stunning view of the city with the Tagus River at our feet, our farewell to Lisbon will be in one of the most unique restaurants in all of Europe. A bar and restaurant with a great view that is run by a circus school..only in lisbon! What an experience, people in costume (promoting a new play, perhaps) to greet you.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight 2 of 2 Nights: Avani Avennida Liberdade

Day 10 – Optional – farewell to Lisbon

After breakfast bid farewell to Lisbon and beautiful Portugal.

Meals included: Breakfast

*Itinerary: Please note that the details of this itinerary are subject to change. Many of the planned activities are organized according to availability, events or seasonal dates, appropriate weather conditions, and the discretion of our guides. We make every effort to provide the experience described in the itinerary with the understanding that some things may change.

Reservations for this private trip are available on a limited basis according to hotel availability.

Departures:


The main portion of this trip begins in Lisbon, Portugal & ends in Lisbon on. with a post tour option to stay another night in Lisbon.

Your Walking Connection Experience Includes:

  • Expertly planned custom itinerary exclusive to The Walking Connection including visits to little known destinations not typically frequented by tourist groups.
  • Entry into The Walking Connection High Mileage Club.
  • Hosted by Gene and Jo Ann Taylor.
  • 8-Night/9-Day Walking/Hiking/Sightseeing Adventure including all park fees, site entry fees, and sanctuary fees as listed on the itinerary.
  • 8-Nights premium accommodations with en suite bathrooms as designated in the itinerary.
  • All park fees, any sanctuary fees, government taxes.
  • Expert local guide throughout. (Provide alternative walks and hikes when possible and practical).
  • Daily Meals as indicated in itinerary: (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch and (D) Dinner.
  • 8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches and 7 Dinners.
  • Transfers and transportation to and from airport when arriving or departing on the scheduled day of the itinerary.
  • Luxury air conditioned transfer vehicles throughout.
  • Detailed “Know Before You Go” information including recommended website, reading lists, packing list, what to bring, weather and much, much more.

Your Walking Connection Experience does NOT include:

  • All international and domestic airfares with taxes not outlined in the above inclusions.
  • All items of a personal nature including beverages, guide gratuities, laundry and shopping.
  • All passport and visa application fees, vaccination and medical consulting fees.
  • All international departure taxes collected at airport of departure.
  • Gratuities for the local guides
  • Travel insurance
  • Early check in & late check out of rooms
  • Optional tours or items of a personal nature such as drinks
  • Airport transfers are NOT included.
  • Photographs & phone calls
  • No discounts or refunds on any unused portion of the tour.
  • Anything that is not expressly stated in the itinerary or on the inclusions page as included.
  • Travel Insurance is not included, we recommend CSA Travel Pro.

*Please note that both Gene and Jo Ann are designated hosts and escorts for this trip if the minimum of 10 guests is met. Another host or escort may be substituted if either or both are unable to lead this adventure for any reason.

Trip Price per person: $3998 USD per person (based upon double occupancy)
Single occupancy: Limited availability, $775 USD supplement

Deposits: A deposit of $500 USD per person is required to reserve your space. No space will be held without a complete deposit. Deposits may be made by check or credit card. Our tour prices are subject to change due to currency fluctuation at the time of final payment.

Payments: All payments must be made according to the schedule & are subject to the cancellation & penalty policy. Final payment is due on or before 90 days prior to the trip. We request that all final payments be made by check. If final payment is not received by the due date indicated on the final invoice a $45 late fee will be assessed.

Itinerary: Please note that the details of this itinerary are subject to change. Many of the planned activities are organized according to availability, events or seasonal dates, appropriate weather conditions, schedules of hosts, or the discretion of our guides. We make every effort to provide the experience described in the itinerary with the understanding that some things may change.

Special Supplier Gifts and Items: As a local custom, vendors, suppliers, ground operators, restaurants and hotel properties may offer complimentary beverages that may or may not contain alcohol. Should you elect not to accept this gift, complimentary water may not be offered as a replacement and may only be offered for a fee. This is a local custom beyond the control of The Walking Connection.

Travel Roommates and Single Supplements: If you have registered for double occupancy but don’t have a travel roommate, the Walking Connection will attempt to locate one for you. In the event that a roommate cannot be found, you may be charged for a Single Supplement for any portion of the trip where you will be rooming as a single.

Travel roommates are assigned in the order in which we receive deposited and confirmed reservations. Final roommate assignments will be made and you will be notified of any Single Supplement charges due 30 days prior to the due date of your final payment.

Air Arrangements: The Walking Connection does not typically make any airline reservations, either domestic or international: BEFORE YOUR MAKE YOUR AIRLINE ARRANGEMENTS, PLEASE RECONFIRM THE FINAL ASPECTS OF THIS TRIP. The Walking Connection will provide you with the recommended arrival and departure airports, times and any additional information you may need BEFORE YOU BOOK YOUR AIR for this trip.

Trip Minimum: 10 Full Paying Guests: Because the Walking Connection specializes in traveling in small groups, many times we stay in small boutique hotel properties, historical Inns, private homes and bed and breakfasts. For this and contractual related reasons, some trips may require a minimum number of guests traveling together to go. FOR THIS TRIP, an additional Small Group Surcharge of $200 a person may be assessed or the trip may be cancelled at the option of the Walking Connection if sign ups does not meet the 10 person minimum. This trip will be guaranteed to be conducted either when we have reached the minimum number of guests or evaluated 120 and 90 days prior to departure. Also, should the minimum not be met, the Walking Connection at it’s sole discretion may elect to operate the trip with just one Walking Connection host. Please do not make your international or domestic air arrangements until trip is confirmed.

Waiting List Policy: On occasion, Walking Connection tours sell out and a waiting list is formed. If this should happen, the following policy will apply. To be put on the waiting list, a fully refundable deposit is due with reservation. If space becomes available, you will be notified at that time and if you choose to go, the standard cancellation policy will then apply. If not, your money will be refunded in full.

Cancellation, Penalty & Refund Policies: Should you have to cancel your tour the following terms will apply: Due to the exclusive and small group nature of this adventure, all cancellation requests will incur a $300 per person administrative fee.
For cancellations from 91 – 120 Days prior to the trip: deposit is forfeited.
For cancellations from 61 – 90 days prior to the trip 40% penalty of the total trip cost.

For Cancellations and no shows 60 days before trip, no refunds.
No refunds will be made for any unused portion of the tour.
All cancellations must be made in writing and delivered to The Walking Connection via e-mail and/or United States Post Office. Your cancellation date is the date your notice is received and confirmed by The Walking Connection, not the postmark date.

All cancellations must be made in writing and delivered to The Walking Connection via e-mail and/or United States Post Office. Your cancellation date is the date your notice is received and confirmed by The Walking Connection, not the postmark date.

Should this trip be cancelled by The Walking Connection: 100% Refund.

Travel Insurance: Travel Insurance

*PLEASE NOTE that Gene & Jo Ann Taylor are the designated hosts and escorts for this trip. Another host and guide maybe substituted should they be unable to lead this adventure for any reason.