Experience Portugal's cities, mountains, and volcanic islands on this luxury 10-day trip. Discover the capital, Lisbon, with private city tours and fado performances, then drive yourself to a retreat in Serra da Estrela Geopark, home to glacial valleys and Portugal's highest mountains. Finally, fly to the tropical island of Madeira, where you'll sail the coast in a lavish catamaran, travel across the rugged interior by 4WD, and hike UNESCO-listed laurel forests on the famous 25 Fontes Trail.


  • Discover Lisbon's historic landmarks, food scene, and traditional Fado music 
  • Explore glacial valleys and Portugal's highest peaks in Serra da Estrela Geopark
  • Tour the beaches, mountains, and levadas of Madeira in a private 4WD 
  • Enjoy a sunset cruise along Madeira's sun-blessed coast in a luxury catamaran
  • Hike through UNESCO-protected laurel forests on Madeira's 25 Fontes Trail

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon, Evening of Fado Lisbon
Day 2 Tour Lisbon with a Local, Free Afternoon Lisbon
Day 3 Scenic Drive to Serra da Estrela Nature Geopark  Serra da Estrela 
Day 4 4WD Tour of Serra da Estrela's Landscapes & Villages Serra da Estrela
Day 5 Drive to Lisbon, Cooking Class or Dinner with a Michelin-Star Chef Lisbon
Day 6 Fly to Madeira, Funchal Food & Cultural Tour Madeira
Day 7 4WD Tour of Madeira  Madeira
Day 8 Madeira Leisure Day, Sunset Catamaran Cruise  Madeira
Day 9 Guided Hike on the 25 Fontes Trail Madeira
Day 10 Fly to Lisbon, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon, Evening of Fado

Arrive in Lisbon and enjoy an evening of traditional fado music

Welcome to Portugal! Touch down in Lisbon, the vibrant capital, which is full of winding cobbled streets traversed by yellow trams, with medieval towers, Baroque palaces, and dome-topped monasteries. That's not to mention world-class restaurants, buzzing markets, and a busy bar scene.

Your driver will be waiting to take you to Praça do Municipio, where you'll check into the luxury 4-star hotel AlmaLusa Baixa/Chiado. Settle into one of the boutique rooms or suites in this 18th-century building, which offers everything from original fireplaces and flagstone floors to supreme city views.

End the day with dinner and a fado performance, a Portuguese music form that dates back to the 1820s, in the Bairro Alto. You'll dine on local dishes at one of Lisbon's top restaurants, accompanied by the sounds of traditional singing and guitars. 

Day 2: Tour Lisbon with a Local, Free Afternoon

Ride yellow trams around Lisbon's steep streets

Discover more of Lisbon today, starting with a private tour of the city. Stop at the Elevador de Santa Justa, a thin iron elevator built in 1902, which you can ride to the top of a 150-foot-tall (45 m) tower showcasing city views and the sea beyond. Pass through the grand archway, Arco Monumental da Rua Augusta, which leads into Praça do Comércio, and discover the colorful Chiado district and bohemian Bairro Alto for hilltop views over the city.

Your guide will end the tour with restaurant recommendations, and you can spend the rest of the afternoon exploring independently. Stop for a coffee and pastel de nata, Portugal's signature egg-tart treat, and head out to the Belém neighborhood to visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Torre de Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a formidable monastery built in 1501 in a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles.

Spend the rest of the day roaming Lisbon at your own pace. Trawl for treasures at the Feira da Ladra flea market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, where you can find everything from vintage clothing to quirky antiques. Then there's the daily Mercado da Ribeira and all kinds of food under one roof at the Time Out Market next door. 

Day 3: Scenic Drive to Serra da Estrela Nature Geopark 

Enjoy panoramic mountain views from Casa de São Lourenço

Pick up your rental car this morning and make the scenic, four-hour drive northeast to the Serra da Estrela. This UNESCO-designated Geopark is home to the tallest mountains in Portugal; the highest is Torre, with a 6,538-foot (1,993 m) peak. Hikers are drawn to the Serra da Estrela for its challenging trails, which pass through rural villages, glacial valleys, and forests scattered with waterfalls. 

Check into the luxurious Casa de São Lourenço, a traditional Portuguese pousada established in 1948, which has been renovated into a 5-star hotel. The prime attraction is the views; floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the jagged peaks of the Serra da Estrela, the mountain town of Manteigas, and the Zêzere Glacier Valley

Settle into the hotel's cozy alpine vibe with decor by renowned Portuguese designer Maria Keil. Relax with a coffee on the outdoor terrace or curl up on a sofa in front of the flickering fireplace in the indoor lounge. The hotel offers complimentary daily afternoon tea and a spa with a sauna and a large heated indoor pool leading to an outdoor whirlpool tub with mountain views.

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Day 4: 4WD Tour of Serra da Estrela's Landscapes & Villages

Marvel at waterfalls on a private 4WD tour of the Serra da Estrela

Take to the mountains on a private 4WD tour with an expert guide. Follow rugged trails to the sky-scraping peak of Torre, where you'll enjoy 360-degree views of the mountainous landscape. Pass through valleys carved in the ice age, stopping to marvel at crystal springs, waterfalls, and the Zêzere River along the way. 

Visiting Covão d'Ametade is a highlight, a birch forest on the banks of the Zêzere, set in a glacial depression 4,921 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. The site offers views of the Cântaros granite outcrop and is the starting place for hikes and rock climbing. 

Continue to mountain villages, where you'll taste local dishes paired with wines from the nearby Dão area and learn how the region's famed burel wool is produced. Afterward, return to your hotel for a final evening in your mountain retreat, savoring elevated Portuguese cuisine at the on-site restaurant, with untamed views of the Geopark.

Day 5: Drive to Lisbon, Cooking Class or Dinner with a Michelin-Star Chef

Learn to make classic Portuguese seafood dishes in a cooking class

Leave the mountains this morning and embark on the four-hour drive to Lisbon, where you'll check back into the hotel AlmaLusa Baixa/Chiado. Spend the afternoon as you please, wandering the city's historic praças (plazas), riding trams to eclectic neighborhoods, and sipping coffee in streetside cafés.

Tonight, enjoy a private cooking class where you'll learn to prepare a Portuguese meal, complete with both a fish and meat dish, followed by dessert. Alternatively, opt for an exclusive fine dining experience, where you'll have a meal prepared by a Michelin-starred chef in their culinary lab, who creates new recipes for award-winning restaurants. 

Day 6: Fly to Madeira, Funchal Food & Cultural Tour

Fly to the volcanic island of Madeira, known as the "Garden Island" for its mild climate and lush flora

Say goodbye to Lisbon this morning and fly 2.5 hours southwest to Madeira. This small volcanic island lies off the northwest coast of Africa and enjoys a warm, springlike climate. Its diverse scenery ranges from black-sand beaches to organic vineyards, laurel forests scattered with waterfalls, and botanical gardens bursting with flowers. 

Arrive in the capital, Funchal, where your driver will be waiting to take you to Reid's Palace, a luxury Belmond hotel. The 5-star property lies among gardens dotted with a heated freshwater and saltwater pool that offers views of the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. Check into your room in this historic hotel, which dates back to 1891 and has hosted famous guests like Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw, who both have suites named after them. 

Relax in your elegant room or suite, which features a marble bathroom, hand-painted wallpaper, and a balcony or patio with ocean views. Later, you'll embark upon a private food and cultural tour of Funchal. Join your local guide to visit the city's most popular eateries, sampling 15 types of food and drink while learning the city's history. 

Day 7: 4WD Tour of Madeira 

Discover Madeira's mountainous interior on a private 4WD tour

Experience Madeira's astounding beauty on a private 4WD adventure tour. Head inland, passing through forests to viewpoints, traveling along sections of the Caminho Real, the 105-mile-long (170 km) royal path commissioned by the king of Portugal in the 19th century. Spiral upward, reaching 3,281 feet (1,000 m) above sea level, through forests of pine and fir trees, to the Abrigo do Poiso family restaurant, which offers sweeping island views.

Afterward, head to Pico do Arieiro, Madeira's third-highest mountain, which soars 5,965 feet high (1,818 m). From here, you'll soak up panoramic views of the island's central mountain range, with the glittering Atlantic Ocean beyond. Next, continue to Ribeiro Frio, a village in one of Madeira's 20-million-year-old laurisilva (laurel) forests, which are protected for their rare flora and fauna. 

Walk along one of Madeira's iconic levadas, a network of stone waterways built to funnel water south across the island. Follow a 1-mile (1.5 km) trail through the forest to the Balcões viewpoint, which overlooks the striking Ribeira da Metade Valley, carpeted with laurisilva forest. Hop back in the 4WD next, journeying inland along an exhilarating off-road track to Santana, a region famed for its quaint stone houses topped with spiky thatched roofs.

You'll return to Funchal along the east coast in the afternoon, pausing to sample local rum at the Engenhos do Norte distillery en route. You'll enjoy photo-worthy stops along the way, including at Guindaste and São Lourenço, which offer a dramatic glimpse of the coastline. 

Day 8: Madeira Leisure Day, Sunset Catamaran Cruise 

Opt for afternoon tea with a view on the Reid's Palace terrace

Today is yours to explore Madeira at your leisure. If you want to relax, lounge by your hotel pool or dive into the turquoise water from the oceanfront platform. Head to the hotel spa for an indulgent massage, savor Michelin-starred dining at the on-site William restaurant, or enjoy a decadent afternoon tea on the terrace. 

For city sightseeing, stroll into the capital, Funchal, where you can duck into the ancient Funchal Cathedral, famed for its intricate carved wooden ceiling. Wander along the harbor to the imposing São Tiago Fortress, which now houses the Contemporary Art Museum filled with Portuguese works. 

Venture farther afield to laze on volcanic beaches or tour sleepy villages like Curral das Freiras (Nun's Valley). The steeply-situated village—once the sanctuary for a convent of nuns hiding from pirates—offers a network of foot and mule trails with scenic overlooks, as well as local delicacies to try, like chestnut cakes and a cherry-infused liqueur.

End the day with a private sunset cruise off the coast of Madeira. Board a catamaran to sail along the south coast, looking for whales and dolphins playing in the waves. Your expert crew will point out cetaceans along the way, hoisting the sails as you glide across the ocean. Sip drinks while you watch the sunset, extinguished by the topaz water.

Day 9: Guided Hike on the 25 Fontes Trail

Hike through lush laurisilva forest to the 25 Fontes Waterfall

Lace up your hiking shoes today to tackle Madeira's famous 25 Fontes Trail with a private guide. This 7-mile (11 km) round-trip hike is one of the island's most popular, leading through lush laurisilva forest with impressive views over the Ribeira da Janela Valley and towering waterfalls. The pinnacle is a wall of 25 streams that cascade into a pool.

Begin at 3,281 feet (1,000 m) above sea level in Paúl da Serra, descending through Rabaçal Valley, where you'll follow a gushing levada to Risco Waterfall. Take a break to admire the water, which tumbles 328 feet (100 m) to the rock below, before continuing to the 25 Fontes Waterfall, where spring water cascades into a fairy-tale lagoon surrounded by giant ferns. 

During the trek, your guide will highlight flora such as rare besom heath and mountain mocano, features of the UNESCO-listed laurisilva forest. Watch out for exotic birds in the treetops, including the long-toed pigeon. After the trek, return to your hotel for a well-earned rest. Gorge on Italian cuisine at Ristorante Villa Cipriani and enjoy cocktails beneath the stars to celebrate your last night in Madeira. 

Day 10: Fly to Lisbon, Depart

Say goodbye to Madeira as you fly back to Lisbon

Today, your luxury Portuguese adventure comes to an end. Spend a final few hours by the pool or shopping for souvenirs in Funchal before your private transfer to the airport, where you'll catch a flight back to Lisbon and your onward connection. Safe travels!

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Map of Luxury Portugal Escape: Lisbon, Serra da Estrela & Madeira - 10 Days
Map of Luxury Portugal Escape: Lisbon, Serra da Estrela & Madeira - 10 Days