Enchanted Iberia

Northern Portugal and Galicia

  • Porto | the High Douro Valley | Rias Baixas | Pontevedra | Santiago de Compostela

Dates

September 5 - 14, 2022

Highlights

  • The city of Porto – the true birthplace of the Kingdom of Portugal, beloved for its eclectic charm, riverside views, and eponymous port wine
  • A scenic river cruise on a traditional rabelo boat through the stunning landscapes of the High Douro Region – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover the fascinating history of Galicia – deeply rooted in Celtic culture
  • Observe the triumphant arrival of pilgrims at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, as they complete their journey on the Camino de Santiago route
  • Our signature small group travel style - beautiful boutique lodging, delightful dining, and the fun and warmth of the small group!

Trip Description

In Search of The Iberian Good Life

Let’s explore beautiful parts of the northern Iberian Peninsula, as the summer heat fades and the wine harvest beckons!  We’ll spend 4 nights in northern Portugal, and 4 nights in the Spanish province of Galicia. Enjoy stays in lovely boutique lodging, including a country estate in the midst of a sea of vines, and a former pilgrims’ hospital dating to the 15th century.

Discover the vibrant history, culture, and landscapes of two of Europe’s oldest kingdoms. In Portugal, experience the soulful music of Fado, marvel at Porto’s colorful tiles and winding streets, and sample wine amidst the terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley.  Then, ramble through the autonomous Spanish province of Galicia – quietly brimming with medieval villages, ancient Celtic history, rolling green landscapes, and some of the world’s best seafood. We’ll wend our way through the coastal hamlets of the Rias Baixas region, including Cape Finisterre – once the end of the “known” world of the Europeans. Finally, like so many pilgrims, we’ll end our journey in the regional capital of Santiago de Compostela – the final point along the fabled Camino de Santiago route.

 

Porto

Porto, Portugal

Pinhão

Pinhão, Portugal

Pontevedra

Pontevedra, Spain

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Itinerary

Day 1 – 2

Depart the US on our overnight flight to Portugal, and arrive in the beautiful city of Porto.

Refresh over coffee and our favorite decadent Portuguese pastry, pastel de nata, or egg custard tarts. Then, enjoy a neighborhood walking tour to introduce us to our surroundings. Porto is the birthplace of the kingdom of Portugal, and we’ll find a wealth of fascinating history, eclectic charm, and hilltop vistas over the Douro River. Rest and relax after our travels with an early dinner of tapas-like petiscos; overnight, Porto.

Day 3

This morning, enjoy continued sightseeing, as we explore Porto’s lovely Baixa district, full of beautiful buildings and churches decorated with Portugal’s distinctive azulejo tiles. We’ll then wind our way through warren-like medieval streets to the colorful Ribeira riverfront, where we’ll soak in the atmosphere, and watch wooden rabelo boats pass – most laden with tourists, instead of the traditional wine. After lunch, we’ll walk across the elegantly arching Dom Luis I Bridge, built by a follower of Gustav Eiffel in the 1880s, and one of the city’s six bridges across the Douro River. On the other side of the river, we’ll find the city of Vila Nova de Gaia. This is the true home of the region’s eponymous port wine; its cool warehouses on the shady side of the Douro River are much better suited for the long aging process in barrels than on Porto’s sunny banks.  Enjoy a guided tour and tasting of several varieties of local port wine – after all, only the wine produced in the Douro Valley can claim the name of “port.”  This evening, enjoy a delightful local dinner, accompanied by a fado performance, Portugal’s soulful folk music.  Overnight, Porto.

Day 4

We’ll depart Porto this morning, and make our way up river into the Douro Valley. Enjoy soaking in the stunning scenery, as we uncover quiet villages, beautiful churches, and increasingly dramatic river vistas. We’ll find surrounded by a wonderful new world of terraced vineyards and sun-baked villages. Our new home for two nights will be an elegant estate, surrounded by a sea of vines. The family owners still live on the property – and we’ll soon feel right at home, as we explore the lovely grounds, complete with an ancient chapel and saltwater pool. Enjoy a warm dinner together, as we toast to the day’s adventures. Overnight, the Douro Valley.

Day 5 

We’ll continue to discover the majestic High Douro Valley today, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the charming little town of Pinhão, and enjoy a traditional rabello boat ride up this less-visited section of the Douro. We’ll marvel at the steep slopes of the vineyards all around, nearly ready for the fall harvest; a tasting on location is de rigeur. Overnight, the Douro Valley.

Day 6

We’ll depart the Douro Valley this morning, and continue our adventures north.  Enjoy truly spectacular drives through the mountains today, as we climb out of the Douro and cross the border into the fabled Spanish region of Galicia. With an autonomous regional government, a rich history that includes early Celtic communities, a wet coastal climate that sets it apart from most of arid Spain, and with its own native language and culture, Galicia remains a land unto itself.  We’ll break up our drive with several special stops en route, from a Victorian spa town to a hilltop monastery, before arriving in the Rias Baixas region, along Galicia’s Atlantic coast. Check into our lovely lodging, and relax with a local dinner. In a region acclaimed for its seafood, we’ll have opportunities to sample the best that the local fisherman have to offer . . . from fresh scallops to octopus. Overnight, Pontevedra area.

Day 7

Explore the beautiful Rias Baixas today – an area known for its network of estuarine rivers flowing into the Atlantic, creating countless inlets, sandy dunes, and lovely seaside towns. Here, the Atlantic is much more gentle than farther north, which makes this area a favored summer destination for the Galicians. We’ll enjoy the privilege of being among the relatively few American tourists who visit this part of Spain, as we enjoy relaxed pace exploration of our lovely coastal surroundings today, from picturesque fishing villages to a lovely medieval estate and gardens in bloom. Overnight, Pontevedra area.

Day 8

Today, we’ll make the drive north to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia. En route, we’ll pass through beautiful coastal landscapes, and watch for signs of ancient Celtic settlements and forts, or castros.  We’ll arrive in Santiago de Compostela today. Besides its role as the capital of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela holds an important place as the terminus of the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James, route, which has been traveled by pilgrims since medieval times. We’ll take in the soaring Cathedral of Santiago, and watch the weary walkers as they approach their journey’s end.  We’ll also be able to visit the fantastic Museum of Pilgrimage, which explains the significance of the journey through the ages. Meanwhile, our own lodging will be in one of the world’s oldest hotels – a 4-star parador situated inside a former hospital that dates back to the 15th century. Overnight, Santiago de Compostela.

 

Day 9 – 10

Today, those who wish may enjoy a scenic drive west to take in the view from Cap Finisterre – once considered to be the very end of the earth. This afternoon, enjoy continued exploration of Santiago’s storied streets, walk in the Parque da Alameda, or relax and soak in the ambiance with a glass of wine. We’ll come together to enjoy one last Galician dinner this evening, as we share memories from our time in this special part of the world. Overnight, Santiago de Compostela.

The following morning, we’ll depart for our return flight via Madrid this morning, and then back to the US.

Featured Experiences

Portugal's Douro Valley

Enjoy a stay in a beautiful family-owned wine estate, or quinta, that offers beautiful historic architecture, surrounded by a sea of vineyards, olive and fruit trees. Enjoy relaxing by the pool or terrace in this sunbaked place, and explore the grounds, chapel, gardens, and main house. Dinner on site is an experience unto itself!

Galicia's Rias Baixas Region

Enjoy a stay in a traditional Galician country estate hotel, surrounded by gardens and lush natural beauty. Relax in your spacious, charming room, by the natural pool, or in the lounge or library. This beautiful hotel was restored from an 18th century textile mill, and offers easy exploration for the nearby coastal villages, Roman ruins, and the estuaries of the Rías Baixas.

Santiago de Compostela

The Parador de Santiago, known as the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, was built as a royal hospital in 1499 to accommodate pilgrims traveling to Santiago. Today, it continues to invite visitors to enjoy this fascinating place. Inside this Parador Museum, considered the oldest hotel in the world, you will discover four beautiful cloisters, lovely guest rooms and a luxurious dining room that offers dishes prepared in the Galician style. Located in the heart of Santiago de Compostela, and perfectly situated to explore the surrounding streets, plazas, and parks on foot.

What's Included

  • Ground transportation in Portugal and Spain
  • Accommodation in high-standard boutique hotels for eight nights
  • Breakfast, 4 lunches and 5 dinners
  • All activities / admissions per the itinerary
  • Guide and concierge service throughout the trip

Trip Price

$4,400 / person (double occupancy; single supplement, $900)

What's Not Included

Price does not include airfare, alcohol, other meals, personal expenditures, or optional trip insurance.

Chumley really puts a personal touch (on) it. I don’t know anyone who takes better care of travelers.
I've traveled extensively and have never had a trip that felt as intimate and custom-tailored as this. The planning, flexibility, and attention to detail were second to none. A top shelf trip of a lifetime. Thank you, Caroline and Chumley!

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