Northern Portugal 
  14 - 21 May, 2017

Can it possibly be two years since the happy band of holidaymakers went
to Croatia?  Well, we are off again, but this time to Northern
Portugal.  This will be a week with "many differences"! 
Firstly we shall be staying in an old MONASTERY, the Pousada De
Santa Marinha, Guimaraes - only coarse habits and sandals to be
worn!   This Pousada is set on a hill with wonderful views
and meandering gardens - but no streets to wander in the evenings.
We are scheduled to fly from Gatwick at approximately 11.50 a.m. on
Sunday 14th May, 2017,  and two hours later will be met by our
tour guide in Oporto and taken to our hotel in Guimaraes. 
After checking in we shall have a guided tour of the hotel, a
welcome drink followed by a buffet meal.
Next day we shall drive into Oporto for a full day visiting interesting
places such as the Cathedral, train station (for wonderful tiles),
lunch in a wine cellar (included), a short boat trip and back to
the hotel for the usual 7.30 a la carte evening meal.
Tuesday will see us heading north to fascinating places such as Valenca,
Caminha, Ponte do Lima with lunch, wine, coffee included.
Wednesday again travelling north, to Braga - in the 12C this was the seat of
Portugal's Archbishops.  Nearby is the religious sanctuary of
Bom Jesus do Monte - a Pilgrims' stairway to an impressive church. 
Once again lunch, wine, coffee is included this time in another grand Pousada.
Thursday is a shopping day!  We go to an amazing market in the historic
centre of Barcelos, here free time for a wander, lunch etc. then
returning to Guimaraes - the birthplace of the Portugese nation - for
an afternoon in the shoe capital of Europe!  Our hotel can be
seen high above the town but the coach will take us back.   
Friday is the day we travel into Spain to visit Santiago de Compostela, the
capital city of Galicia Spain.  We shall have a guided tour of
this important Holy city and main centre of Christian Pilgrimage. 
You will have free time to have lunch and explore.
Saturday, we drive through beautiful countryside in a different direction, to
visit a lovely old Port Cellar at Quinta da Pacheca, one of the first
to bottle wine under its' own label.   Here we shall have a
Port tasting, lunch, wine, coffee included followed by a stroll along
the Douro river.
Sunday, after a leisurely start we leave the hotel stopping at the little
seaside town of Vila do Conde for free time and lunch (places to be
recommended), before heading to the airport for a 7 p.m. flight home.