Adventures by Disney Portugal Journey Report


After two years of scheduled adventures, we have been lastly capable of take our fourth household Adventures by Disney (ABD) trip earlier this month. After three different European adventures, I had been hoping for a Portugal tour and was thrilled after they added it as an choice final yr. Finally, final yr’s journeys have been canceled, however this yr they have been on!

In case you are contemplating taking the Adventures by Disney Portugal journey, or are simply focused on Portugal generally, right here’s an outline of our expertise. As all the time, it was implausible, with so many nice surprises alongside the best way. Whereas I’ll present an outline of the journey, I’ll depart some particulars out to maintain some surprises.

Disclosure: This publish comprises affiliate hyperlinks and a purchase order via one among these hyperlinks could end in a fee paid to us at no extra price to you. We did attend a 2-night complimentary NYC AbD in 2018 however paid full value for our 4 European journeys.

Rua Augusta Arch with yellow building and white arch.

Adventures by Disney Portugal Journey Report

Pre-Journey Day

As all the time, we determined to remain an additional evening earlier than our journey started. Our flight to Porto, Portugal included a layover in Paris, France. We had an especially tight connection and principally ran to our gate, stopping solely at a frustratingly lengthy safety line. Whereas we might have missed the flight if it have been on time, it was fortunately a couple of minutes late and we made it with time to spare.

Sadly, our bags did not. We spent our first 24 hours in Porto with out them. Finally, we needed to return to the airport to get them the following day as a result of they have been so behind on delivering them that it might be a number of days to obtain them. It didn’t put a damper on our trip in any respect, nonetheless.

Porto tends to be foggy within the mornings, so we sat on the tarmac for a bit ready to get the go-ahead for our flight to take off. As soon as we have been within the air, the pilot requested that every one digital gadgets get turned off due to the visibility and vital reliance on flight gear. That was one thing I’d by no means skilled earlier than whereas flying.

After napping as soon as our room was prepared, we have been capable of discover the town a bit by foot. Our lodge, the InterContinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas, was in a central location proper within the coronary heart of the town.

It’s a hilly metropolis, however we loved strolling round to get a light-weight dinner, buy some necessities to interchange gadgets in our delayed baggage, and see the town. We additionally needed to cease to select up our first of many Pasteis de Nata, a ubiquitous custard tart Portuguese delicacy. As all the time on the primary day of a European trip, we had to fall asleep early when jet lag hit.

View of Porto from our hotel window with quaint buildings

Day #1

After a full evening’s sleep, we had breakfast on the intensive buffet at our lodge (included in our AbD keep). Then, we met our journey guides, Lori and Maria. They have been each useful in getting particulars on our misplaced baggage, particularly Maria who was capable of translate and get data sooner than we may. As soon as we had affirmation that our baggage had arrived on the Porto airport, we took a fast trip to select them up.

Once more, we got down to discover Porto, this time heading to the riverfront to have lunch by the water. We discovered Cafe de Cais, which had attractive views of the Douro River. It was a pleasant place to loosen up and luxuriate in some foods and drinks earlier than our journey began.

Within the night, we met up with the remainder of our group for our first official occasion. After a reception on the patio exterior the lodge, we loved a buffet dinner whereas assembly our journey companions for the following eight nights. Even after the primary evening, it was obvious that this was going to be a enjoyable group to journey with.

Up close view of the arch on the bridge climb in Porto

Day #2

Day two began early, however we had fortunately adjusted to the time distinction. After one other implausible breakfast on the lodge, we met within the foyer and walked over to the famed São Bento railway station, positioned throughout the road from the lodge. It’s crammed with attractive Portuguese tiles (azulejos), most of which inform a narrative.

We then went again to the lodge entrance to greet our Tuk-Tuk drivers for the following portion of the day. These may accommodate about 4 individuals (5 if vital). Our driver, Miguel, was nice, providing commentary concerning the metropolis and websites as he drove us with the group.

There have been a number of stops on the Tuk-Tuk tour, together with a go to to the Livraria Lello (Lello Bookstore), a bookstore that was rumored to be an inspiration for Harry Potter creator J.Ok. Rowling (a truth the creator has since denied). Though there was a line wrapped across the nook, we have been capable of skip the road as a part of our tour. It’s a lovely bookstore however was very crowded.

Our Tuk-Tuk additionally took us to the Church of San Francisco (the place we have been unable to take photographs), and the outside of the Monastery Serra do Pilar, the place we have been capable of get some gorgeous photographs of Porto from a distance.

Lunch was on the common Brasao Coliseu restaurant, the place they served the famed Porto sandwich, the Francesinha, which incorporates a number of sorts of meat, french fries, a fried egg, a beer sauce, and cheese. Our lunch included the half portion, which continues to be too massive for most individuals to beat at lunch.

Put up lunch was the proper time to do our Porto Bridge Climb. This is among the three actions on this AbD that had a much less lively different. Visitors who didn’t need to do the bridge climb may trip on the Teleferico de Gaia cable automotive.

Our group arrived on the bridge climb, bought into our harnesses, and was given an indication of the way it labored. It wasn’t too strenuous – it was primarily climbing numerous steps. We climbed as much as the middle of the bridge, after which circled and went again down. It was a novel expertise – I’d undoubtedly advocate attempting it should you really feel as much as it. It’s probably not scary – you’re a protected distance away from the ledge, and are additionally harnessed.

We then bought a break to bathe and alter for our night in Gaia, throughout the bridge from Porto. There, we did a tour and tasting at Cockburn Port Lodge. Dinner was at close by Vinum at Graham’s Port Lodge. It was a lovely location with some nice views of Porto and Gaia. General, it was an amazing evening and an exquisite finish to a full day.

View of Douro river, trees/shrubs and buildings in Porto with a bridge in the background

Day #3

Day three once more began comparatively early. On today, we ventured about 90 minutes by bus into the Douro Valley (the wine area of Portugal). Our day began with a kayaking journey with a ship cruise different. We had the choice of fixing garments and I might advocate bringing a change of garments though the altering services weren’t optimum.

These have been two-person kayaks, and everybody needed to put on a life vest. The surroundings was completely lovely – I want we had gone a bit slower so I may take photographs. If you wish to take footage, I’d advocate bringing a water resistant case to guard your telephone (you could find these on Amazon).

After altering and assembly the group members who didn’t kayak, we drove about 40 minutes to Quinta da Pacheca, a vineyard with a restaurant and lodging (you’ll be able to even keep in a big wine barrel!). This was such a lovely spot.

We began with a cooking demonstration/class, the place members of our group helped put together two chilly appetizers – cod and octopus. There was additionally a lamb appetizer dish. Some members of the group headed to the dessert desk to make sugar cookies. Our important entree, duck rice, was ready by Chef Marco.

The meals was implausible. Whereas I wasn’t certain about it, I actually loved the duck rice. Throughout dessert (creme brulee) one of many company in our group talked to Chef Marco about dinner concepts, and we ended up becoming a member of in on a dinner reservation to an area restaurant in Gaia for our “On Your Personal” time within the night.

Our afternoon within the Douro Valley ended with a cork craft that we accomplished at Quinta da Pacheca. Then, we boarded the bus to return to the lodge, the place we had free time for the remainder of the night.

After a while to clean up, six of us boarded an Uber to Taberna Do Sao Pedro in Gaia. This native scorching spot includes a chef cooking complete fish, shrimp, meats, and octopus proper on the sidewalk. We loved watching him cook dinner whereas we waited a couple of minutes for our reservation.

General, this was most likely my favourite dinner in Portugal. The meals was wonderful, and it was so enjoyable to be in an area restaurant, with freshly ready entrees. We requested the host for a advice for gelato, and he gave us the title of a spot we maintain us we “had” to go to. Though it was one other Uber trip away, we determined it was price our time to go to.

After I gave him the title of the gelato place, the Uber driver instructed me that it was a well-liked bar. After we arrived, nonetheless, it was a bustling dessert restaurant with a gelato counter – undoubtedly well worth the go to. The motive force translated the title of the restaurant – “O Gato Comeu-te a Lingua” as “The Cat Bought Your Tongue”.

After our gelato, we went again to the lodge to pack up for our transfer to Lisbon the following morning.

Train station in Porto with blue and white tiles

Day #4

Day Four had us saying goodbye to Porto as we headed south to Lisbon. It’s a few 3-hour drive, so we did have a cease mid-way at a service space with meals and restrooms. The Portuguese relaxation areas that we stuffed are crammed with meals, espresso counters, and extra, so they’re a pleasant place to cease.

As soon as we arrived in Lisbon, we instantly went to the Tagus River waterfront to board a luxurious yacht for a tour of the coast. This ended up being one among my favourite actions of the journey. The climate was good, and it was an effective way to see the Belem Tower, the Monument to the Discoveries, and the Christ the King monument.

When our cruise was over, we docked on the 5 Oceanos Restaurant, a waterfront restaurant providing seafood and nice views. I had Bacalhau a Brás, a standard Portuguese shredded cod dish, and it was one among my favourite meals of the journey.

After an extended, leisurely lunch, we returned to the bus for a fast guided tour from our guides. We visited Jeronmios Monastery, the place we had a fast tour to go to inside and take photographs. Subsequent, we headed again to the waterfront to go to each Belem Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries.

On the Monument to the Discoveries plaza space, the children determined to order freshly squeezed lemonade from one of many avenue distributors. You probably have time to only get pleasure from strolling round this space, I’d undoubtedly advocate it.

Subsequent, we went to our lodge, the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisbon to verify in and unpack. In typical AbD vogue, we have been led to a separate desk to verify in. Keys have been all prepared, so we simply had to supply our bank cards for incidentals.

This evening, our first evening on the Tivoli Avenida, was Junior Adventurer evening. Mother and father dined within the lodge’s restaurant whereas the children ate with the Journey Guides after which watched a Disney film. Though the vast majority of the children in our group have been youngsters, all of them collaboratively determined to take part.

Monument to the Discoveries from the Tagus River

Day #5

Day 5 was actually our day to discover the very best of Lisbon. We began our day with tuk-tuks once more – this time with a graffiti/avenue artwork tour all through the streets of Lisbon. Tuk-tuks are an effective way to discover these slender streets, and so they transfer surprisingly quick.

There have been numerous stops the place we bought out of the tuk-tuks and joined our native information Pedro for commentary concerning the particular paintings and neighborhoods. I actually loved this – it felt like one thing very distinctive to the town, and the children beloved seeing the artwork.

We ended at LX Manufacturing unit, a former manufacturing facility complicated now dwelling to modern retailers and eating places. We did a strolling tour of some items of avenue artwork there after which settled in at Taberna 1300 for lunch. After lunch, we had some free time to buy and discover the realm.

As soon as once more, we needed to work off our lunch, with a climb as much as the attractive Sao Jorge citadel. It’s a little bit of a steep climb, however we took breaks all through the journey to catch our breath and see a number of the native neighborhoods.

Though it’s a little bit of a hike, the views from the citadel grounds have been definitely price the additional cardio. Along with the views, we additionally noticed some gorgeous peacocks within the wild – one thing I’ve by no means seen earlier than.

We had a little bit of free time to discover the outside on our personal after which met up with the group for a a lot simpler stroll downhill. On the best way, we walked via the Alfama neighborhood and realized concerning the historical past of the realm.

After some free time to bathe and clean up, we boarded our motorcoach once more for a trip to the Bairro do Avillez restaurant within the Chiado neighborhood of Lisbon. From well-known Portuguese chef Chef José Avillez, this restaurant is definitely a number of ideas below one roof – together with a speakeasy. We loved dinner, and a few individuals within the group made plans to satisfy up at Sky Bar at SEEN, the swanky rooftop bar at our lodge.

Sky Bar is unquestionably a well-liked spot the place lodge company mingle among the many trendiest Lisbon residents. It does have an off-the-cuff stylish gown code, and flip flops, athletic shorts, and different extra informal clothes gadgets aren’t permitted. It’s a enjoyable hotspot, with nice views, and is price visiting. On this case, we had a late morning meet-up the following day, so it was the proper timing.

Beach front in Cascais with beach bar sign

Day #6

After the aforementioned late wake-up, we boarded our motorcoach to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost level of the continental Europe. It was a bit foggy, however there have been nonetheless some nice views from this location. There’s a monument commemorating the spot.

We then moved on to a waterfront restaurant, the place we have been handled to an enormous lunch at Mar Do Guincho. As soon as once more, we labored off our meal, this time with an eBike trip from Guincho to Cascais. These of us who handed on the digital bike trip took the coach to Cascais, the place we had extra time to discover the retailers.

Subsequent, we headed to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Web site most often known as the house of Pena Palace. We had some free time to discover the city and seize a fast dinner. As a result of lunch was so heavy, we opted to share a pizza earlier than assembly up with the group to tour Pena Palace.

Our tour of Pena Palace was simply essentially the most particular a part of our Adventures by Disney journey. It was after hours, and we have been the one ones there. Our information Maria led the tour, and all of us couldn’t cease taking footage. It’s such an iconic palace, and it was such an amazing alternative to have the ability to go to with no crowds.

It was a late evening, however we needed to pack up, as a result of the following morning, it was time to maneuver from Lisbon all the way down to the Algarve.

Pena Palace with yellow and red walls/buildings

Day #7

As we boarded the bus to the Algarve I used to be each excited to go to the seashore and a bit dissatisfied that we have been nearing the top of the journey. At this level, it had turn out to be apparent that this was going to be my favourite Adventures by Disney journey of those we had taken.

We began our day a bit exterior of Lisbon, the place our group cut up into two smaller teams. One smaller group went to learn to make cheese, whereas the opposite group realized about tile making and had the prospect to color our personal tiles.

My group began with cheese, however we shortly have been distracted by Cookie the canine, a miniature poodle who was very wanting to pattern any of our dropped cheese. Cookie was undoubtedly a spotlight of our day. After our cheese-making demonstration, we have been capable of pattern some cheeses, together with Moscatel wine.

Subsequent, we traded locations with the opposite group and headed to the tile-making store. There, we realized concerning the custom of hand-making tiles after which had the prospect to color our personal. There have been stencils that we may use, or we may decide to freehand our design. The tiles nonetheless needed to be fired, so we left them there after which boarded our bus.

Our subsequent cease was to By the Wine, a restaurant positioned on the Jose Maria da Fonseca Vineyard. We have been capable of pattern some native meals, together with steak sandwiches and chocolate mousse. Subsequent, we walked over to the vineyard, the place we walked via the attractive grounds to a historic wine cellar, earlier than doing another wine tasting.

After we have been achieved with the tasting, we boarded the bus for a three-hour drive all the way down to the Algarve. As soon as we arrived, we have been once more capable of verify in to the lodge at a non-public desk. We solely had a couple of minutes earlier than our dinner reservations on the lodge restaurant.

On this evening, we had two choices for dinner (included in our journey, however not along with the group). Visitors may both go for a tasting menu on the extra upscale restaurant, or the buffet on the informal restaurant. Most of us selected the buffet, so we’d have some free time on the resort. It was an amazing buffet with numerous choices, and the view was completely gorgeous.

Our third lodge, the Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort, additionally had a Sky Bar. This one, nonetheless, was very totally different – closing at 10 pm. It appeared like an amazing place to benefit from the sundown.

Hotel in the Algarve - with sunset view of pool, cliffs, and water

Day #8

After a late breakfast, we had one ultimate coach trip all the way down to Carvoeiro Seaside. There, we met up with some small boats to take us on our cave boat tour. For this specific exercise, we did should take off our footwear and put on a small lifevest. Boats accommodated about 6-10 passengers, and we needed to step in just a bit little bit of water earlier than stepping into the boat.

The cave tour was such a enjoyable a part of the journey. The smaller boats have been actually capable of get into the caves, and we joined bigger boats and kayakers on the water. General, it took about 90 minutes and included some slower time as we headed into the person caves, and a few sooner time as we traveled again to the seashore.

After some free time within the seashore city, we had the selection of both a cliff stroll again to the lodge from Carvoeiro Seaside or a trip again on the coach. Some company stayed on the seashore – it was a few 10-minute stroll to the lodge from there on the direct path.

After a principally free afternoon, we needed to get able to say bye to the group. This was particularly tough as this group bought very shut over the 9-day journey.

We had a lovely out of doors reception, after which dinner on the lodge’s restaurant Mare, which is usually closed at dinner. After dinner, a few of us went again as much as the Sky Bar for a bit extra time as a bunch.

Cave with a hole in the top, and kayakers along the water and beach

Day #9

I used to be unhappy to go away the Tivoli Carvoeiro – it was such a lovely lodge and we didn’t have a lot time there. Most company have been touring to the Faro Airport within the Algarve, about 60 minutes away. We, nonetheless, couldn’t get flight out of Faro, so we determined to journey to Lisbon for an in a single day earlier than flying again to Boston.

Initially, we had deliberate to take a prepare, however as our baggage grew on the journey, I noticed it might be tough to try this. As an alternative, we requested the lodge to help us in reserving a non-public automotive service again. Whereas it was costlier, it was such a easy trip – door to door without having for a cab. I used to be additionally ready to decide on a time handy for us to go away.

For this final day, we booked the Olissippo Lapa Palace, a stunning historic resort lodge. It has a lovely out of doors pool inside a backyard, which was the proper place for us to loosen up for the afternoon. As an Amex profit, we had a $100 meals and beverage credit score, which we used for a poolside lunch.

Dinner was on the Time Out Market Lisbon, a meals corridor positioned a few mile from our lodge. We met up with some native pals and loved our meal earlier than returning to our lodge to pack up for our return dwelling.

Fortunately, our return flight was straightforward, and our baggage arrived with us in Boston. We completely beloved this journey – and though it was the primary yr for Adventures by Disney in Portugal, it appeared fully seamless.

Algarve Cave, Pasteis de Nata, the Monument to the Discoveries, Pena Palace

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