In our opinion this is the perfect coach holiday combining as it does, a mini cruise, a trip through the mountains, a stay by a beach, interesting excursions, excellent hotels and the opportunity to see parts of Europe that few British travellers visit especially this very fertile and lush region of Portugal. The 4* hotel sits on the long, sandy beach and is an ideal base for the holiday. There are large grounds in which there are a swimming pool, tennis courts, mini golf, superb football pitch, paddling pool and inside the hotel are pool tables, table-tennis ,tenpin bowling, bar, poolside restaurant and fitness centre. The comfortable bedrooms are air-conditioned and most have a balcony The dining room overlooks the beach and each evening the main event is the spectacular disappearance of the sun over the horizon .Dinner is a buffet and offers a choice of menu and there is some form of entertainment most nights including a Folklore Show every Tuesday. The Staff are extremely courteous and helpful and, all in all, the hotel runs a most professional operation designed to give their guests the ideal holiday experience – we can’t recommend it enough and we go there ourselves! The hotel has lifts.
Sunday - We leave Plymouth at 1645 and cross the Channel to Spain
Monday - We arrive in Santander at 1400. After disembarkation we then drive across northern Spain and into Portugal to spend our first night at Chaves in the mountain region of Tras os Montes at the first class Hotel Aquae Flaviae with a superb Brazilian Buffet for dinner.
Tuesday - We resume our journey southwards with a short stop at pretty Amarante before continuing to the coast and our resort hotel at Ofir where we stay for the next five nights.
Wednesday - We travel inland to Braga which has more churches than any other town in Portugal. After sightseeing we continue to outskirts to visit the famous basilica of Bom Jesus and then return to the hotel.
Thursday - We plan a completely free day to relax and enjoy the facilities of the hotel. We recommend a stroll along the beach to nearby Apulia at lunch time to have an interesting lunch with the locals at one of the intriguing restaurants which back on to the beach.
Friday - We travel southwards to the main city, Porto. Here we will visit a Port Lodge on the river then have time for sightseeing and shopping. The “Ribeira” is in the Old Quarter and is a fascinating mix of old cobbled streets and quays along which are scores of restaurants and bars serving the freshest of local produce. The cruise ships which traverse the Douro start from here as do the harbour sightseeing boats.
Saturday - In the morning we make a short drive to the port and resort of Viana do Castelo where it is market day and usually a Folklore Group will be performing in the main square. In the afternoon we drive inland to the old Roman town of Ponte da Lima situated on the river of that name.
Sunday - We leave the hotel and drive southwards and then across central Portugal to the Spanish border at Vilarformosa. We stop at the lovely little town of Cuidad Rodrigo for sightseeing and refreshment. We then continue to the outskirts of Valladolid where we spend the night at the excellent Hotel La Vega.
Monday - We resume our drive to Santander where we catch the 1700 sailing to England. Enjoying the cruise we reach Plymouth in the late afternoon of the tenth day and then return to the original pick up points.
Cost includes: travel by air-conditioned coach with WC; ferry crossing with 2-berth cabin; seven nights’ 4* hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast and dinner with wine; all excursions as described; Tour Escort or local Guide.
Single supplement (room & cabin) £245 ; Guaranteed sea view £50 per room
Pick up points : Exeter - Newton Abbot - Torquay - Paignton - Totnes - Ivybridge - Plymouth