Small group tour in Portugal
Description of Small group tour in Portugal
On this eight day small group tour in Portugal you’ll visit one of the friendliest and most beautiful countries in Europe. Once upon a time home to a powerful kingdom that spawned an equally powerful empire, the country is full of testaments to that former wealth, in the form of elegant palaces, museums, monasteries enchanting historic cities. You’ll explore many of these, starting in the colourful city of Porto and ending in lively and enchanting Lisbon.
You’ll also get to explore the country’s beguiling landscapes, including the hills and valleys of the Douro wine region. A real highlight of this trip is a stay in the remote, rural and communitarian village of Penela, where you’ll spend two nights with the locals and learning about their traditions, including the fascinating art of cheese-making.
You’ll travel with a small group of like minded travellers and will have expert guide to show you the way as you traverse the country. Accommodation is in small, locally run hotels and guesthouses.
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PlanetAccommodation and Meals:
On this trip, we will spend nights in a variety of locally owned hotels, where they employ local staff and source for local produce whenever possible. This not only ensures that our money spent stays within the local community, but also provides local staff an opportunity to share and advise clients on the local traditions, culture, practices and share hidden gems of the country that only locals are familiar with. In the rural village of Penela, we will stay in Casa do Ze Sapateiro, a renovated schist house that has a Bikotel certification. This means that it is a lodge that offers specific amenities to address the needs of those who are considering cycling during their stay. They actively promote walking and biking tours as it is the best way to take in the beauty of Portugal and a more environmentally friendly alternative in the tourism industry.
Water is a really important issue with trips such as this and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle for this purpose.
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.
PeopleLocal Craft and Culture:
We will explore the heart of Port wine, Douro Valley, which is classified as a World Heritage Landscape by UNESCO and also considered as the 7th sustainable tourism destination in the world by National Geographic. There, we visit a winery farm and learn about the production steps of one the best Douro wines. Clients also get to try some delicious traditional food in a famous “Quinta” while drinking a glass of wine where everything is homemade and locally produced.
During our time in Penela, we have the chance to interact with a group of locals whose goal is to revive this small communitarian village in the Schist Mountains. This interaction allows us to learn about their tradition and foster cultural exchange. Additionally, we also get to learn to make goat cheese and bread with the locals.
In all of these regions, we encourage clients to buy local crafts to help the region and the community. Of course, our local guides will be able to advise clients on what to buy and what to avoid as there are forbidden items such as leather products made from turtle, crocodile and snakes.
Our local partner is dedicated in providing financial contributions to local charitable organisations. They donate 1% of their revenue to grassroots, social and environmental groups that make a difference in their local communities. They have supported several projects in Portugal, Chile as well as India and are constantly accepting comments and thoughts from their guests and local partners to maintain an open dialog to improve social and environmental practices.
A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help clients understand how they can help reduce their impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from our visit.
When meals are not provided, our local guides encourage clients to eat out at local restaurants and cafes as a form of support and appreciation towards Portugal’s culture. The Douro and Alentjo regions are well known for their meat dishes such as roasted goat with rice and potatoes, porco preto (black pork cooked confit-style), posta mirandes (veal steak) and cozido Ã portuguesa (boiled meat, sausages and cabbages).