Our tour begins in Lisbon, where the riverside Bélem neighborhood tells the story of Portugal's seafaring history. We'll explore the Bélem Tower (once a lighthouse for passing ships) and the Maritime Museum, home to more than 17,000 artifacts collected during countless voyages abroad. In Alfama, the imposing São Jorge Castle and citadel offers a window onto Lisbon's medieval history and a stunning panorama of the city below.
The Algarve, Portugal's southernmost region, delights visitors with its windswept cliffs, pristine beaches, and sleepy hillside villages. We'll tour Faro, capital of the region, before venturing out to the inlets and barrier islands of the Ria Formosa lagoon. The inlets of Ria Formosa were initially established to provide easier access to the port of Faro; today the more than 17,000 hectares provide an ideal resting place for migratory birds.
Beyond Faro, we'll lace up our hiking boots for a walk in the Serra de Monchique, where sea breezes mingle with the scent of eucalyptus, peach and pine. In Sagres, we'll tour the Fort where a school established by Henry the Navigator once prepared up-and-coming sailors for expeditions abroad. And finally, we'll stop in Cabo São Vicente, the most southwesterly point of all Europe and a waypoint for ships en route to the Mediterranean. Standing atop salt-sprayed cliffs that rise 75 feet above the Atlantic, we'll begin to understand why the call of the sea has been so irresistible to generations of Portuguese.