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The Enchanting Black Forest

A Wonderful 8 Day, 7 Night Tour including 5 Nights at the Hotel Schloss Hornberg

Portugal & the Picos Tour Itinerary

DAY 2 (D) - Early afternoon (12h15) arrival in Santander where you can spend some free time. Attractions include the Guggenheim Museum, designed by American architect Frank Gehry, the museum building represents a magnificent example of the most ground-breaking 20th-century architecture. With 24,000 m2, of which 11,000 are dedicated to exhibition space, the Museum represents an architectural landmark of audacious configuration and innovating design, providing a seductive backdrop for the art exhibited in it. Today the direct route to Cangas di Onis takes you via the AP-68, however we recommend the scenic coastal drive via Santillana del Mer and Ribadsella. Arrival at the Parador Hotel should be late afternoon. After some free time to relax and freshen up dinner is included at the hotel. Mileage approx. 150 miles.

Meal Basis - CO = Cabin Only / BB = Bed & Breakfast / D = Dinner Only / HB = Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

DAY 1 (CO) - Overnight ferry (15h45) from Plymouth to Santander.

DAY 3 (HB) - Cangas di Onis to Benavente via the Picos de Europa

Departing the hotel & Cangas di Onis after breakfast, today you'll enjoy a wonderful drive through the Picos de Europa via Sames, Casielles, Oseja de Sajambre. A highlight of the drive today is Riaño, the youngest town in the province with a tragic story of the forced relocation, some of the homes were moved brick by brick to the new town due to the flooding of the valley. Circled by Limestone Mountains, it truly is a stunning place to visit. In the sunlight the surrounding mountains reflect off the reservoir like a mirror; it is a beautiful place to hike, or to sit and take in the atmosphere. Your journey then takes you via Boca de Huérgano and Toral de los Guzmanes to Benavente and the excellent Parador Hotel. Dinner is included at the hotel. Mileage approx. 175 miles.

DAY 4 (HB) - Benavente to Longrovia, Portugal

Departing Benavente & the hotel travelling south via Zamora and Fermoselle before crossing the Douro river and the border from Spain in to Portugal. Your routing then heads south west via Freixo de Espada a Cintra following the spectacular Douro River Valley via Salto de Saucelle to Barca de Alva before heading on to Longrovia and the Rural Hotel & Thermal Spa where you should arrive late afternoon. After check-in and some free time to relax and freshen up dinner is included at the hotel.  Mileage approx. 185 miles.

riano panorama picos montage2

DAY 10 (BB) - Santillana del Mar to Bilbao

Departing Santillana del Mar and the Parador Hotel early morning for the drive back to Bilbao for a morning (10h30) Brittany Ferries sailing back to the UK. Mileage approx. 70 miles.

 

DAY 11 (CO) - Morning arrival (09h15) in Portsmouth.

Douro canyon by Boat

DAY 5 (HB) - Longrovia to Amarante

Departing the hotel after breakfast, today your routing takes you on the N331/N229 via Torre de Cerco and Castanheiro do Sul to Pinhão. From here you can take an optional drive on the N322-3 between Pinhão and Alijó before returning back to Pinhão for an amazing 27km drive from Pinhão to Peso de Regua on the famous N222. This road has been named the best drive in the world for its location, cutting through the heart of the stunning Douro Valley and the spectacular views it provides of the wine region below. The road includes 93 heart-stopping bends and jaw dropping scenery as it weaves its way along the River Douro and the picturesque regional wine towns of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Peso de Régua your scenic routing continues through Mesão Frio in the direction of Amarante where you should arrive late afternoon at the Monverde Wine Experience Hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy the hotels facilities including a variety of treatments and massages (extra coast). Dinner is included at the hotel. Mileage Approx. 120 miles.

Douro drive & porsche

DAY 8 (HB) - Amarante to Benavante via Bragança

Departing the hotel after breakfast, today your journey takes you north via Bragança. The town, stands proudly on a plateau only a matter of a few kilometres away from the Spanish border. Known in Celtic times as Brigantia and by the Romans as Juliobriga, its hilltop location has appealed to many a defending population and it was the royal seat of the Dukes of Bragança until the dissolution of the monarchy in 1910, indeed the royal consort of English King Charles II, Catherine of Bragança, hailed from here. The walls and castle which still stand date from the 12th century and boast a 33metre keep and various watchtowers. From Bragança you'll make your way back to Benavente and the Parador hotel for an overnight stay with dinner included. Mileage Approx. 190 miles.

Brittany ferries montage

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Douro River & landscape LR Douro Road Douro River & boats LR douro valley web panorama 2

DAY 7 (HB) - The Day at leisure

Enjoy a relaxing day and enjoy the hotel pool and wine facilities. Dinner is included at the hotel tonight.

 

OR - Enjoy a Day in Braga - the religious capital of Portugal. Braga is home to the oldest cathedral in Portugal, and a day’s sightseeing can provide a glimpse into the importance and extensive history of the city. Within the maze of narrow streets, Gothic churches back onto modern shopping streets and grand baroque buildings surround peaceful plazas. Mileage Approx. 90 miles (round trip).

Braga LR2 shutterstock_733506541 Braga LR1 shutterstock_733506541 Braga LR3 shutterstock_733506541 Braganca 3 LR Braganca 1 LR Braganca 2 LR

DAY 9 (HB) - Benavante to Santillana del Mar via the Picos de Europa

Departing Benavente and the hotel after breakfast, today your journey takes back to the Pico de Europa where you'll enjoy the eastern section of the Picos including the spectacular San Glorio Pass and the beautiful town of Potes before making your way back to historic town of Santillana del Mar and the Parador hotel for an overnight stay with dinner included. Mileage Approx. 190 miles.

San Glorio 1 LR San Glorio 3 LR Potes LR Douro Valley

DAY 6 (BB) - Porto

Enjoy the day in Porto, a fascinating and vibrant city that is rapidly becoming one of Western Europe’s most respected tourist destinations. The city boasts an extensive history, interesting tourist attractions and a buzzing nightlife. There is a lot to see and do in Porto and the city will appeal to a wide range of different visitors. The Ribeira district is the oldest district of the city and is filled with ancient houses, narrow cobbled streets and numerous family owned restaurants, cafes and bars. Port cellar and port tasting tours of the vast cellars provide an insight into the traditional brewing process and a chance to sample some of the finest Port vintages. The Douro River, which is the scenic backdrop to Porto and is crossed by magnificent bridges and the route for relaxing boat tours. Mileage Approx. 80 miles (round trip)

 

OR - Day at Leisure

The Monverde Wine Experience Hotel is located in Telões-Amarante. Covering an estate of 30 hectares, of which 22 are dedicated to the production of grapes for Quinta da Lixa’s green and sparkling wines, this pioneering regional wine hotel has added a passion for eno- and eco-tourism. Here you can enjoy a wine-tasting or wine-making experience (pre-booking is essential).