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A boat in Porto

This is a type of boat known as a Rabelo, floating on the Douro River in the Ribeira area of Porto, Portugal. These traditional cargo boats were originally used to transport barrels of Port wine from the wine producers in the upper Douro Valley to the cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from the old Porto.

Covered Walkway in Évora, Portugal

Located just about 90 minutes east of Lisbon, the peaceful town of Évora is the heart of Portugal's Alentejo region. It gets a fair number of day trippers, but relatively few overnight visitors, so I like to spend a few nights here and use it as a base to visit the surrounding area. There are plenty of sights in the town to see in the morning, before the day trippers arrive from Lisbon.

The Roman Temple

The Cathedral

Church of São Francisco and the Chapel of Bones

To avoid the throngs of day trippers during the late morning and early afternoon, head out into the countryside, where plenty of of interesting sights await. You'll need good directions to find this group of standing stones, known as a cromlech, complete with pre-historic engravings. It's Évora's own little Stonehenge.

Nearby is a grove of cork oaks, where you can see how the bark has been stripped from the trees to produce wine corks and other cork products. The bark can only be harvested every 8 to 10 years, so cork producers have to have a lot of patience.

And speaking of wine, the Alentejo produces some of Portugal's best wines, so be sure to include a visit to a winery, but you'll need to make an appointment in advance. Very few wineries in Europe are open to walk-in visitors, and this is true for Portugal, as well.

You can even have a picnic in the vineyards, while tasting the local wines.

Évora is just one of the many hidden gems you can discover – with the help of Hand Crafted Travel – on a trip to Portugal. Whether you want a guided tour with a small group, a private tour, or want to do it on your own with a self-guided trip, Hand Crafted Travel can create a trip that will become a lifelong memory. Contact Bryan to start planning your 2021 adventure.

Iberian Inspiration

Spain and Portugal offer a heady mix of treasures, from Arabic palaces and Roman temples to Catholic cathedrals. Join this small group tour for a rural road trip, in search of hidden Iberia. Experience the historic charm of Córdoba, Granada, Baeza and Estremoz and Ronda from old-town boutique hotels. Watch black Iberian pigs roam in the Sierra de Aracena and taste famous Jamón ibérico. Spend the night in Seville and enjoy a traditional Flamenco show. Get more details on the Iberian Inspiration tour here.

Small group tour of Portugal

From cosmopolitan Lisbon to Porto’s medieval cobblestone streets, Portugal is a country of glittering contrasts. The remote natural gem of the Douro Valley, Roman ruins and world-famous pilgrimage sites are guaranteed to impress on this tour, which gives us a taste of the real Portugal, still basking in the glow of ancient customs. Find out more about touring Portugal with a small group.

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