This full-day insider tour is a journey to locations lost in time. We start in the Belém area of Lisbon where your guide can skip the ticket lines and take you inside the S. Jerónimos Monastery to explain the secret messages hidden in the exuberant Portuguese, “Manueline-style” architecture. Unlike budget tour operators, we will not leave you to wander inside of any of the sights on your own.
After this we drop-in next door to see the Church of Santa Maria with its breathtaking ceiling that spans overhead like a massive spiderweb. Inside are the important tombs of Vasco da Gama and King D. Manuel. From there we pass by the Discoveries Monument where the ships of great explorers set sail to trade with India and the Orient. Then to the Belém Tower, a formidable stone customs house, prison and sea gate to Lisbon fortified with 17 cannons. There is also an essential stop for our world famous custard pastries served warm from the oven at Pastéis de Belém, renowned for their savory and delicately light-sweet pasty in a light phyllo pie cup.
Then along the scenic Tejo River to the medieval fishing village of Cascais for a look at the crescent-shaped beach and colorful wooden fishing boats in the bay. The charming cobbled streets of the historic centre seem an unlikely place to hear details on James Bond, but this area has been steeped in military and espionage activity throughout history.
A short drive up the coast and we arrive at the surfers paradise of Guincho with its wide swaths of golden beaches and wind blown dunes. Towards the mountains we reach Cabo da Roca where rocky cliffs over 100 meters high give us an excellent view of jagged-crystalline megaliths jutting from the blue sea below. During the great Age of Discovery this dramatic, western most point of Europe was literally “the end of the world” to both the explorers who set sail for unknown destinations, and for the slaves who were brought back for distribution throughout Europe. The famous Portuguese, Poet Laureate, Luis de Camoes wrote, "As onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa" (where the land ends and the sea begins).
Then our adventure reaches its apex as we wind our way through the Serra de Sintra mountain range, known to the Romans as "Lunae Mons" (Mountains of the Moon). A mystical place that is the perfect setting for a fairytale village carved from the moss covered boulders, with cork lined roofs and walls. The Convento dos Capuchos, (Convent of the Capuchin Monks), built in 1560 was a primitive home for friars who led monastic lives in perfect harmony with their natural surroundings. The half-sized doors and tiny stone corridors could easily double as a hobbit-like shire in a Lord of the Rings movie.
Then it’s a relaxing ride back to Lisbon as we meander our way through the mountains with Sintra’s dream like Pena Palace and Moorish Castle visible on the peaks around us.
why do we use a dedicated driver and a separate guide?
We provide a luxury modern vehicle with heat and air conditioning, a driver, and an official guide who can take guests inside the monuments. Many budget tours have the guide double duty as the driver. This is something we would never do, and you will have a dedicated driver for 3 reasons.
starting at €435 total, not per person
8-hour private driving & walking tour • skip ticket lines • our guides go inside the monuments with you • reservations required
belem, cascais, guincho beach, cabo da roca and convento dos capuchos
You guide will suggest lunch at a local owned family fish and seafood restaurant that will meet your tastes, and budget. There are a variety to choose from with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Skip the ticket line with an offical tour guide.
Round-trip transfer in a luxury vehicle with a dedicated driver at all times.
Authorization to enter sights.
80% level ground with some upstairs and inclines. 20% in vehicle. No elevators available. Some cobblestones and unpaved paths on tour route. Many places to sit along the route.
Wear comfortable athletic shoes. Bring windbreakers or umbrellas.
There are stops for clean restrooms, and food & beverage breaks if needed.
Hotel, apartment, or ship dock.
Meetings at hotels or apartments located outside of Lisbon can effect tour price because of fuel and time expenses.
Tuesday to Sunday, year round.
Morning: 9:00am, 9:30am, or 10:30am
No additional start times available.
Entry fees vary by season and age, but general prices are:
€10 Combo: Jerónimos and Belém Tower and €5 Convento Capuch
Children under 6 years are free
Ticket fees are additional.
Lunch is additional.
Audio headsets when required for parties of 12 or more. Headsets are €3.00 per person.
• S. Jerónimos Monastery: Exuberant Portuguese, “Manueline-style” architecture
• Church of Santa Maria: A stunning ceiling, over the tomb of Vasco da Gama and kings
• Belém Tower: A formidable customs house, prison and sea gate to Lisbon
• Discoveries Monument: Departure point to explore and trade with India and the Orient
• Pastéis de Belém: World famous custard tarts warm from the oven...we skip the line
• Lunch at a restaurant popular with locals for Tejo river and Atlantic views
• Cascais Village: A quaint fishing village where the Tejo River meets the Atlantic
• Guincho Beach: Surfers paradise, with broad golden beaches and windswept dunes
• Cabo da Roca: Dramatic cliffs demarcating the Western most point of Continental Europe
• Convento dos Capuchos: A hobbit-like monastery carved from rock and lined with cork
• Serra de Sintra Mountains: The lush green forest of Sintra with palace toped mountains
Beware of budget tours
We use authorized guides, and you will skip ticket lines. Many budget tour operators do not take their guests inside the monuments, because they do not have authorization as guides, and they cannot skip the ticket lines. They will simply park outside and wait while guests wonder the inside the sights on their own.
December 25 and 31
1. We don't want guests to wait for a guide to find a parking place before they lead guests inside the monuments.
Parking can be hectic and there are often waits during the high season.
2. We don’t want our licensed and insured drivers to be distracted by conversation. Because Portugal has the highest
accident fatality ratio per capita in the EU. It is very important that we keep our guests safe on the narrow mountain
coastal roads, while our guides explain the sights, culture and landscape.
3. The weather conditions in the Atlantic mountains makes a very unpredictable micro-climate. The temps can
change very quickly with rain, wind, fog, or hail. We like our guests to have the convenience of leaving their unused
personal items, packs, coats, or umbrellas inside of the vehicle with the driver monitoring it all times. Vehicle
burglaries are common in the parking lots of monuments in Portugal.