Join food writer and Oldie wine columnist Bill Knott for a tour of bustling Lisbon and the tranquil Douro Valley. For the first three nights, we will be staying at the Teatro B & B (http://teatrobb.com/en/hotel-o...), which claims to have “the best beds in Lisbon”, ideally located between chic, cultural Chiado and the lively, Bohemian Bairro Alto. On day 4, we will then take a train to Porto, and will be staying at the lovely Quinta de la Rosa in Pinhão (www.quintadelarosa.com), who hosted an Oldie staff outing four years ago.
We start in Portugal's characterful capital, with its grand squares, winding lanes, colourful markets and splendid restaurants: one dinner will be accompanied by the haunting strains of fado, Portugal's version of the blues. It is a short journey from Lisbon to Lord Byron's "glorious Eden": the wooded heights of Sintra with its royal palace, Moorish castle, riotously Romanticist Palacio da Pena and neo-Gothic Quinta da Regaleira.
We then take the train to Porto: more specifically, to Vila Nova de Gaia on Porto's south bank, home to the great port warehouses. We will tour one of the best known, Taylor's, and have lunch on their pretty terrace that offers splendid views over the Doro.
From there, we travel upstream to the lovely Quinta de la Rosa in Pinhão, the perfect base from which to explore - by cruise boat and on land - perhaps the world's most beautiful vineyards, with steeply-terraced vines leading down to the majestic Douro. We will, naturally, sample the finished product, too: not just the various styles of port, but the excellent table wines for which the region is becoming renowned, served with classic, hearty Portuguese cuisine.
Saturday, July 1 - arrival
Outbound Gatwick - Lisbon 10.25 - 13.05 (TAP Flight TP0339)
We check in to the Teatro B & B. Opportunity to explore the hilly streets of Alfama from the iconic No 28 tram, winding our way slowly up to the Castelo de São Jorge and its breathtaking views over the city. Introductory talk by Bill, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.
Sunday, July 2 - Lisbon
By train to Belem, on the Tagus river, home to the famous pasteis de nata (flaky custard tarts) which we will sample with coffee before visiting the 16th century Belem Tower, learning about its central role in the Portuguese Age of Discovery.
Then to the new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, housed in an old power station, and back to the Mercado da Ribeira to stroll around its plethora of food stalls and have lunch in the Time Out gourmet food court.
Dinner at the atmospheric Café Luso, serenaded by some of Lisbon's finest fado singers.
Monday, July 3 - Sintra
By coach to Sintra, visiting the Royal Palace, with its imposing conical chimneys; the extraordinary Palacio da Pena; then, after lunch at Tocado Javeli, we visit the neo-Gothic Quinta da Regaleira and its remarkable gardens.
Free time back in Lisbon, followed by a tasting of Portuguese wines and dinner at Grapes and Bites.
Tuesday, July 4 - Porto
Transfer to Porto by train, then transfer to Taylor's Port House in Vila Nova de Gaia where we will enjoy lunch on the terrace, followed by a tour of Taylor's, founded in 1692 and one of the most revered names in Porto..
We then take a charming train journey along the Douro to Quinta de la Rosa, a small, family-owned vineyard, winery and hotel on the banks of the river. Dinner at the Quinta.
Wednesday, July 5 – Day on the River Douro
A day on the Douro, taking a cruise along the river with snacks and drinks on board, followed by lunch at a riverside restaurant. Opportunity to visit Quinta do Bomfim, owned by Symington, who make Dow's, Warre's, Graham's and Cockburn's. Dinner at Quinta de la Rosa.
Thursday, July 6 - Relaxing day at the Quinta
A relaxed day, with a tour of the Quinta de la Rosa estate, and tastings of port, table wines and olive oils. Poolside relaxing and lighthearted Oldie quiz. Lunch and dinner at the Quinta.
Friday, July 7 - Back to the UK from Porto airport
Depart Quinta de la Rosa by coach.
Return: Porto - Gatwick 13.25 - 15.35 (TAP flight TP0338)
PRICE PER PERSON: £1,950 for two people sharing a double/twin room, including everything apart from flights and drinks before and after lunch and dinner. The single supplement for having a double room for single use is £300 for the week.
Do book with Katherine to guarantee a place on email@example.com. Her number is 01225 427311. She will require a non-refundable deposit of £500, and will send you a final invoice of April 6th, 2017, 2017. Final payment will be due by April 20th, 2017. See terms and conditions regarding currency rates below.
IMPORTANT NOTE RE CURRENCY RATES ON BOTH TRIPS
Due to the recent collapse of sterling, The Oldie needs to protect itself against further sudden falls, and, hence, reserves the right to change the price of the holiday. The Oldie is happy to maintain the current price until the euro drops below €1 to £1, using FairFX’s currency rates as the arbiter. The current rate is €1.08 for £1.
We will absorb and you will not be charged for any increase equivalent to 2% of the price of your travel arrangements, which excludes insurance premiums and any amendment charges. You will be charged for the amount over and above that, i.e. if the exchange rate falls below €0.98 to £1 before March 20th, 2017. However there will be no change after March 6th, 2017.
If this means that you have to pay an increase of more than 10% of the price of your travel arrangements, you will have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund of all monies paid, except for an admin fee of £100. Should you decide to cancel: 1) you must do so within 14 days from the date on your final invoice 2) We will provide a refund of insurance premiums paid to us if you can show that you are unable to transfer or reuse your policy. Should the price of your holiday go down due to the changes mentioned above, by more than 2% of your holiday cost, i.e. if the euro were to reach €1.10 to £1, then any refund due will be paid to you. However, please note that travel arrangements are not always purchased in local currency and some apparent changes have no impact on the price of your travel due to contractual and other protection in place.