Cultural Tours to Portugal

A Taste of Portugal

Optional Pre-Trip Extension to Lisbon

May 3 – 6, 2020


Base Trip to Óbidos • Schist Village of Cerdeira • Porto • Douro Valley

May 6 – 17, 2020


A Taste of Portugal Trip Overview



Base Trip Overview

(see Trip Highlights tab below for additional detail)

Worth Noting: One of the beautiful things about Portugal is its relatively small size and so most distances are short and the times between locations are just an hour or so, sometimes less.

You’ll start your trip by flying into Lisbon (LIS), Portugal’s capital city and often on many well-traveled people’s list of favorite cities in the world.  Next you’ll enjoy a day trip heading west out to Sintra and Azenhas do Mar.

Moving north you’ll stay for 2-nights in the medieval village of Óbidos, then head to the coast to experience Nazaré, home to the highest recorded wave ever surfed, including a visit to a lighthouse and surf museum.

Continue your journey with a visit to Fátima which recalls its founding event, the apparitions of Nossa Senhora to the three shepherds. Next carry on to the gorgeous central region of Alvados with its olive groves, rocky landscapes and a stay at a wonderful hotel complete with spa services and a fun cooking class, even for those who don’t enjoy cooking, and in which you’ll get to dine on the results.

On your way to a unique Schist Village you’ll spend a half-day in the university town of Coimbra where you’ll have a walking tour and free time to explore and have lunch on your own.  This evening and the next you’ll spend in Cerdeira, a small village thought to be over 400 years old and that has been completely refurbished and has wonderful facilities for your stay.  The next day you’ll enjoy a demonstration of how to prepare chanfana (wait and see!).  Next is a 3 km (~2 mile) hike to the nearby village of Candal where you’ll partake in a truly amazing lunch prepared by the owner of a quaint restaurant frequented by locals.  This evening you’ll eat the results of the chanfana prepared earlier that morning and which has been cooking all day.

Continuing north you’ll stop at Aveiro Lagoon to see, meet and photograph the fishermen and -women, along with their boats and catches of the day.  Next is a short walk to the São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve to get a feel for the wonderful beaches in this part of Portugal.

After a most amazing lunch of fresh seafood you’ll carry on further north to the city of Porto, enviably situated on the Douro River and where you’ll spend 3 glorious nights.  Here enjoy several walking tours, a chance to shop and experience the waterfront Ribeira section of town, as well as Vila Nova de Gaia, port wine tasting, an optional night shoot and incomparable views of the Luís I bridge, plus so much more.

Those ending their trip in Porto will be transferred to the airport for their onward flights.


Extension Overview

After breakfast those participating in the extension will take a scenic morning train ride from Porto to Ferrão, experiencing fantastical landscapes along the way.  On arrival transfer to your hotel which is situated in a vineyard and clings to the hillside (you’ll probably not want to leave!).

Next visit another vineyard for lunch and wine tasting and after two nights in this region you’ll take another train from Ferrão to Pocinho where you’ll move to a boat that will gently glide from Pocinho to Barca D’Alva where you’ll be just in time to eat a wonderful outdoor picnic lunch.

Then you’ll be transferred through this gorgeous landscape dotted with olive groves, cork trees and old world farmhouses right out of a picture book.  The final destination will be your hotel in Castelo Rodrigo, an absolutely postcard hill town.

Finally, on your last day you’ll spend some time in each of the villages of Almeida and Castelo Novo, then be transferred to the airport for your flight onward.



Portugal is a fairly hilly country and so this trip does require a good amount of walking, both up and down steps and at times steep inclines and declines or on uneven and rocky trails.  Participants should be in good enough shape to walk upwards of 2 to 5 miles or more per day, on average.

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  • “I really liked the [small] size of the tour. It felt like traveling with friends from very early on, and continued to feel that way. That last hotel we stayed in, the one in Budapest, was such a treat! Those views were fabulous, and it ended the trip in style. Ralph is a good trip leader… He wasn’t hovering, but he did stop and give tips and I felt well-tended. The local guides were all outstanding!”

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    Brenda Hatcher Photography Boot Camp participant


Optional Pre-Trip Extension: May 3 – 6

Base Trip: May 6 – 17, 2020



Pricing for this trip is still being determined.


Please request the details of this trip by contacting us at this link.

To register, you can pay with a credit card via PayPal (click here to request invoice) or deposit a check directly into the PhotoEnrichment Programs, Inc. bank account at any Bank of America branch. Depositing a check affords a $50 per person discount.

We’ll send you all the payment details if you’ll contact us above.

Your participation is not confirmed until completed Reservation Form and Terms & Conditions, plus passport copy and payment in full, have been received.


Base Trip Includes:

  • 12-nights accommodations in 4- and 5-star hotels, several with pools, professional spa services, and other amenities in each location.
  • Private airport transfer in Lisbon (LIS) upon arrival and to Porto airport (OPO) at the end of base trip (so you’d fly into Lisbon and out of Porto).
  • Services of an English-speaking guide and driver throughout.
  • Photography instruction with your Tour Leader, Ralph Velasco.
  • Meals: Breakfast daily, 5 Lunches and 8 Dinners (including foodie tour in Lisbon, cooking class in Alvados).
  • Two bottles of water per person each day.
  • Transportation between all locations and for included group activities in a private, air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Entry fees for all included sites and experiences.
  • Wine tasting.
  • Orientation tours in each location with our local, English-speaking guide.
  • Tips for local guide, driver and included meals.


Optional Extension Includes:

  • 4-nights accommodations in 4-star hotels, both with pools.
  • Train from Porto to Douro Valley, plus boat ride to Barca Dalva.
  • Private group airport transfer at end of extension.
  • Services of an English-speaking guide throughout.
  • Photography instruction with your Tour Leader, Ralph Velasco.
  • Meals: Breakfast daily, 3 Lunches and 3 Dinners (including picnic in Douro Valley).
  • Two bottles of water per person each day.
  • Transportation between all locations and for group activities in a private, air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Entry fees for all included sites and experiences.
  • Wine tasting.
  • Orientation tours in each location with our local, English-speaking guide.
  • Tips for local guide, driver and included meals.


Trip Does Not Include:

  • Your flights to and from Portugal.
  • Alcoholic beverages other than those listed in the itinerary as group wine tastings or similar.
  • Items of a personal nature.
  • Anything not specifically outlined in the itinerary.

Small Group Tour to Portugal with Travel Photographer Ralph Velasco

Keeping our travel schedule in mind, our goal is always to put participants in the right place, at the right time, to explore and capture the best of Portugal.  This includes its people, food, castles, churches, markets, and other cultural wonders.

  • We’ll also visit a number of markets and off-the-beaten-path locations to meet and interact with the people, all while having a chance to photograph along the way.
  • Approximately 2- to 4-hours per day on average of instruction with travel photographer Ralph Velasco, including group photo walks and locally-guided walking tours in each location.
  • Assuming facilities are available, participants will have a chance to sit down with Ralph during a mid-trip image review allowing him to gauge each participant’s progress and to provide valuable feedback on their photography.



  • Lisbon and Surrounding Area: Early morning tour around Belém, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Alfama and Graça neighborhoods; you’ll also go to Sintra with visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pena Palace, Cabo da Roca and optional lunch in Azenhas do Mar, plus foodie tour and Dinner with Fado Show;
  • Óbidos: Visit to the Medieval Village of Óbidos with walking tours and free time to explore.
  • Fátima: Spend time at the Sanctuary of Fátima.
  • Alvados: Participate in an optional cooking class at our gorgeous hotel, as well as time out in nature to discover olive groves and the natural landscape in this picturesque region of Central Portugal.
  • Coimbra: Half-day trip to Coimbra with guide and free time to have lunch.
  • Schist Villages: Enjoy a cooking demonstration and short hike to the nearby village of Candal.
  • Aveiro Lagoon for landscape photography and visiting fishermen and their boats, as well as a stop at São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve.
  • Porto: Walking tours, Port wine tasting, shopping, plus optional night shoot.



Douro Valley: Train ride from Porto to Ferrão with stay at a gorgeous vineyard, including wine tasting and incredible food.  Plus train ride from Ferrão to Pocinho and boat ride from Pocinho to Barca D’Alva with a wonderful picnic awaiting.

Castelo Rodrigo: Just west of the border with Spain, marvel at the incredible landscape dotted with olive groves, vineyards, old farmhouses and Cristo Rei, an imposing statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the hill town of Castelo Rodrigo.  You’ll also make brief stops in the village of Almeida and Castelo Novo.


Ralph Velasco Bio Pic in BW - Copyright Jenny McMasters

Ralph Velasco is a U.S.-based travel photography instructor, author and international guide who has organized and led close to 100 international tours, including to Egypt, Morocco, the Adriatic, Central Europe, Iceland, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Spain, Romania, Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Turkey, and other locations (hover your mouse over the TOURS tab above for our currently available trips).  He’s also organized and participated in over a dozen fully-licensed Humanitarian and People-to-People programs in Cuba.

Ralph is an award-winning travel photography blogger and for the past 10 years he’s been the Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer) of PhotoEnrichment Adventures.  He’s also Creator of Tour Organizer Training, a free webinar and online course series designed to teach everyday people, step-by-step, how to organize and lead their own special interest trips, whether around the world or around the corner.  Click here to join the next free webinar.

All activities and itinerary details are subject to change, but rest assured we’ll make every effort to provide a comparable alternative in the unlikely event changes to our schedule need to be made.

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