Portugal Travel Extraordinaire - Sep 9 - Sep 24, 2021
We have traveled a great deal in our lives, but concerns about handling our own arrangements in light of the ever changing Covid restrictions led us to Kimkim, Espiritu Travel and Karin Exkhard our travel consultant. We were so pleased with every aspect of our trip, the attention to details, response time, selection of tours, guides, and flexibility when changes were either necessary due to inclement weather, or we decided to add a tour mid trip, or change a destination during the final days of our trip. Karin and her team were exceptional and we will without question return to them again, and use Kimkim in the future for other destinations.
We loved our time in Portugal, the care being taken regarding Covid-19, the warmth, friendliness and knowledge of everyone we encountered. Hotel selections, tours and guides were all spot on, reflecting a genuine understanding of the interests we expressed for our trip.
Our exploration of the walled city of Evora, in the Alentejo region, was enhanced by the knowledge of Martin, our guide. Our visit to a Cork Estate and Vineyard in the Alentejo region with a 4 x 4 Jeep tour, was an excellent way to deepen our understanding of the growth and production of cork, the numerous products made from cork, and the importance put on the preservation of these trees. We really enjoyed learning about the Alentejo region and the exceptional wines produced in this large region of the country.
We also, with Martin, visited several of the impressive megalithic monuments discovered in the Alentejo region. These standing stones, which you can walk among, predate Stonehenge by 3000 years. This day also included an olive oil tasting at a small organic farm, that has been in operation for three generations. They create an extraordinary olive oil, Amore é Cego "Love is Blind" and truly witness the love this family has for the trees, the olives themselves, and the creative process used to protect the olives and create this extremely high quality olive oil through the use of sustainable agricultural processes. The opportunity to sit among the olive trees for our tasting and to share a beautifully prepared lunch with the family, (both teachers) and their beautiful daughters, was a high point of our trip.
From Evora we traveled by private transfer to Lagos, which we used as a base for our exploration of the Algarve. The recommendations on what to do in this area while on our own were also spot on. We explored many of the beaches on foot, even walking from town to Ponta da Piedade shortly after our arrival in Lagos.
Although we'd planned a trip inland to explore the Western Algarve, inclement weather prompted our guide Pedro Marreiros to propose an alternative coastal tour, which turned out to be the perfect decision. Pedro's knowledge of the area, and our opportunity to see some of the smaller and more wild coastal areas and to visit Cape St. Vincent was a perfect day.
The next day as rain was intermittent, our planned Catamaran trip was cancelled. We were informed as soon as this decision was made, and a refund was promptly issued. With proper rain gear, we walked the long beach in Lagos and set off on foot to explore many of the other beautiful beaches, some quite close to town.
Our last day in Portugal we requested a transfer from Porto to Lisbon with a stop off to visit the city of Aveiro, often described as the Venice of Portugal. Our driver Anna was excellent and she took the time to show us around the city, encouraged us to take the canal tour even when rain was threatening (it held off until we finished our boat trip) and then she took us to another nearby community, Praia da Costa Nova, to show us the beach and exceptional tile work on the houses. She was delightful, and offered us a truly memorable last day in Portugal.
A big thank you to everyone who helped to make our first visit to Portugal truly memorable. We look forward to returning!