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Insight Vacations: The Country Roads of Portugal

Insight Vacations: The Country Roads of Portugal

From the instant the group gathered at Gatwick airport you were welcomed as part of the group. Laden with Insight Vacations branded tote bags, a deluxe leather-bound notebook, zip-cases for our travel documents and our own personalised itineraries we became the Insight Vacation’s tour group.

 


Upon arrival at Lisbon airport, our Luxury Touring Vehicle driver met us to take our bags and load up the LTV. The vehicle cannot be confused with a coach - its features included WiFi, a roomy toilet, the ability to stretch out your seats to the side and to recline them, with plenty of leg room even for the taller person. The vehicle was the perfect host for the luxury tour, ensuring that you arrived in style. The vehicle was equipped for any occasion, with bottled water for hot days and Insight branded umbrellas for rainy days. So all you need to worry about is soaking up the culture.


The first hotel, the Dom Pedro Hotel in Lisbon, was adorned with traditional gold-leafed décor and painted with authentic Portuguese scenes on the walls and with a generous buffet each morning. In true Insight Vacations style, you never needed to take your bag anywhere. With the IV VIP tag, your bag would be taken to the vehicle in the morning as you ate breakfast and would arrive in your room at the next hotel.


Although each step of the journey was luxurious, it still retained the authentic aura of Portugal. From an evening in an evocative Portuguese restaurant in a back street of Lisbon, listening to traditional and impressive Fado music, to a guided tour of the wine cellar Vila Nova de Gaia, or a traditional Alentejo lunch at an old Olive Mill in Monsaraz, the tour doesn’t just show you the sights of Portugal but introduces to you the smell of the sea, the taste of traditional Portuguese food and the evocative emotions of Fado music.

   


For culture buffs, Portugal offers so much in art, architecture and religion. From the Manueline architecture of Jeronimos Monastery, the sombre skull lined walls of the Capela dos Ossos, designed to remind us of our mortality, and the awe-inspiring baroque library of Coimbra University with its triumphal arches, painted ceilings, golden flourishes and walls of ancient tombs, to the preserved Castle of the Knights of the Templars in Tomar with its crumbling ruins, Gothic chapel, ornate winding staircases and stunning views.


The key difference that Insight Vacations offers compared to other tour operators is that you will always stay in the best hotels, not just once on the trip - every hotel you stay in will be phenomenal. From the whitewashed converted palace in Evora to the grandiose Dom Pedro in Lisbon, the ornate hotel in Tomar with the winding lagoon pool to the modern and chic hotel directly in the heart of Porto with a balcony that looks over onto the square. This means that in your free time to enjoy the beautiful spas or pools, wander the short distance into the city centre or simply relax in luxurious surroundings.


Although I was apprehensive about my first time on a group tour, I needn’t have been. Over the course of the week, what used to be an LTV full of strangers became friends.  There were enough people for you to socialise with new people every day, and getting to know people from different countries and cultures was such a lovely experience. By the end of the week, I had made new contacts and new friends that promised to meet up - the Insight Vacations troupe of guests felt more like a group of friends. Coming together as a group like this made visiting the sights more enjoyable, discussing our favourite parts, the most interesting facts and sharing excited looks over amazing platters of food.


Travelling with a group ensured that we never missed a fact about Portugal, which made the trip more enjoyable and gave me a hassle-free trip. So if you want to travel solo or with a partner, Insight Vacations may be a good option for a hassle-free trip.  You still have plenty of free time but you will stay at the best hotels, enjoy authentic experiences, regional flavours, private travel and leave the stress behind so that you can enjoy your trip in pure luxury.


For more information on Insight Vacations tours, call us on 0800 707 6229 or visit the Insight Vacations tour page >>

 

  • 8th November 2017