THE TO THE POINT NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION
Here’s a question – how many New Year’s Eves have you had? They come and go, some better than others.
But how many New Year’s Eves have you had that were so extraordinary you’ll never forget them as long as you live?
If you’re able to join Rebel and me on our To The Point New Year’s Celebration in Portugal, this will be one of them.
In so much of the US, New Year’s is cold – but not in sunny Portugal. It’s one of the many reasons Portugal is “California in Europe” – with thousands of years more history and culture. It’s utterly captivating, and we’ll show you why.
Portugal is the authentic Europe, unknown and unspoiled. It’s legendary for its weather, wine, and food. And for the friendliness of its people. It’s an exploration and it is also a celebration!
For we, as rational conservatives, have so very much to celebrate at the end of 2017. It’s been a long long time since Americans have had this much to celebrate, so much to look forward in the coming year.
Rebel and I want to celebrate all this with our fellow TTPers in a way, in a place, that will be a life-memorable glorious experience for all of us.
I hope you’ll join us. You’ll never forget it as we bring in the New Year of 2018. We all have much to be grateful for and to celebrate, so let’s do it together.
Here’s our schedule. Enjoy the pictures! Jack
The To The Point New Year’s Celebration
Designed and led by Wheeler Expeditions
Part 1 – 6 Day New Year’s Lisbon
Wednesday, December 27 – Tuesday, January 02, 2018
Parts 1 & 2 – 10 Day Best of Portugal Exploration
Thursday, December 27 – Saturday, January 06, 2018
Day 1 – Wednesday, December 27, 2017 – Arrival Day
Note: Most everyone will arrive in Lisbon by Wednesday, December 27thby noon. (However, due to the Christmas holidays, if you must arrive on Thursday, the 28th, this can easily be arranged.) You can get there however you want and there are non-stops from several U.S. cities (Newark, JFK, Boston, Miami) that are easy and fast. Currently tickets are surprisingly well-priced as low as $700 from the East Coast. It takes less time to fly from New York to Lisbon (6 hours flat) than it does to fly from New York to Los Angeles (over six hours). From the West Coast, you may change planes in Philadelphia, or a European city such as Paris, Madrid, etc.
We have a travel agent who can assist you if you like.
When you arrive at the Lisbon airport, you will be met at airport and transferred to our hotel, the Sintra Tivoli Hotel located in the famous historical city on a hill where will stay and tour the extraordinary World Heritage Site of Sintra.
We’re staying the classic hotel Tivoli in historical Sintra, with a panoramic view and walking distance from everything in the village. Nearby are many beautiful and historic sites and attractions.
After a hearty Portuguese lunch, we can explore this afternoon, visiting the Quinta da Regaleira …
We’ll see the Palace of Monserrate which has a history that goes back to 1540, and was completely renovated several times over the centuries to its current pristine condition. In 1809, Lord Byron visited the place and described it as the “first and foremost beautiful place in the Kingdom.”
Day 2– Thursday, December 28, 2017
After a breakfast with a view at the Tivoli’s buffet we’ll explore more of Sintra.
Today we visit the magical fairy-tale Pena Palace, the summer residence of the Portuguese royalty during the 19thcentury:
We visit the Castle of the Moors first built in the 8th century and captured by Christian knights in 1147. After exploring its ramparts (notice Pena Palace in the background) –
We descend to the famous Lawrence’s Hotel for afternoon tea and pastries. This is where Lord Byron stayed in 1809 to write his poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, in which he praised Sintra as a “glorious Eden… palaces and gardens rising in the midst of rocks, cataracts and precipices; convents on stupendous heights.”
You’ll have some free time in the late afternoon to visit the shops and wander through the tiny winding cobblestone streets.
Tonight we’ll have dinner at a favorite Sintra restaurant, tucked away hidden from most visitors. If you love to eat, Portugal is your place.
Day 3–Friday, December 29, 2017
After a breakfast buffet, we’ll head to the bustling capital city, Lisbon. Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe, founded by the Phoenicians as Allis Ubbo (Safe Harbor) over three thousand years ago (1200 BC).
Today, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most charming, timeless, and elegant cities. It is very clean and one of the safest cities in the world. (We can discuss how Portugal has fortunately managed to avoid the immigration situation faced by many European countries today.)
After historic Sintra, we’ll be staying at the chic Jupiter Lisboa Hotel in city center, a four-star rated hotel in TripAdvisor. It is conveniently located near the roundabout featuring the Marques do Pombal and Avenida Liberdade, a tree-lined street with many fine shops.
We can have lunch and a glass of wine at an open air café at the Rua da Prata…
…and while we are, reflect that archaeologists have excavated a 2,000 year-old Roman street directly underneath us, with shops and cafés just like what we’re enjoying right now. I told you Lisbon is old – a thousand years old by the time of Rome.
We’ll ride the cable cars…
Have a snack and pastry or glass of wine at open air cafés…and have fun discovering it together.
This is the Praca do Comercio, “Commerical Plaza” near the water.
Dinner will be delicious Portuguese cuisine nearby at a highly rated restaurant with a classic Fado Show. Those who are still energized may take a stroll, or visit one of Lisbon’s most popular clubs.
Day 4 – Saturday, December 30, 2017
This morning anyone who’s up early and wants to visit the Lisbon farmer’s market can check it out.
We’ll begin with the breakfast buffet at the hotel and set off to see the sights.
We will visit St. George’s Castle, Lisbon. The hill was used by indigenous Celtic tribes, then by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and finally the Portuguese themselves. In Portuguese it is called Castelo de São Jorgeand overlooks the city –
We will visit the famous Se Cathedral …
There’s much to see and do in Lisbon.
After a delicious lunch, the afternoon will offer you a choice of hosted activities, including the following:
Art lovers can become immersed in a visit to the world famous Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, which displays art from 2000 BC to the early twentieth century.
Or, you may opt to visit the National Azulejo Museum showcases the development of azulejos, or ceramic tiles, in Portugal over the centuries. The magnificent collection is housed in the fifteenth-century Madre de Deus convent. These beautiful and distinct tiles found all over Portugal, in churches, homes, palaces, restaurants, they reflect themes from religious, nature, and art.
You may want to walk around the city on your own or see Rossio Square, which has been one of Lisbon’s most popular public squares since the Middle Ages.
When we meet up again for our cocktail reception, we will be joined by Portuguese friends who are experts in living, working, investing, or retiring in Portugal. You will be able to get answers to any questions you happen to have — and have new friends at the end of the evening.
This evening will be a special in highly-rated restaurant which offers a wide variety of wonderful dishes. Again, if you are a food lover, Portugal is your place!
After dinner there’s the option of checking out the nightlife in Baixa-Chiado, which is extremely popular, or just relaxing as you like.
Day 5 – Sunday, December 31, 2017–This morning we leave Lisbon to reach nearby, Belém, considered the “capital of the Portuguese Discoveries.”
The Torre or Tower of Belém is the landmark of Portugal, built in the early 1500s at the height of Portugal’s great Age of Exploration. We’ll enjoy breathtaking views along the Tagus River,
It’s across from the World Heritage Site of the Monastery of Jerónimos, one of the most magnificent buildings in Europe and housing the tomb of Portugal’s greatest explorer, Vasco da Gama. It is a solemn moment to be in the presence of such epic history.
And then there is the incredible Museu de Marinha, or “Navy Museum” which houses original ships from Portugal’s Age of Exploration. (These are not replicas, you will be seeing the real deal.)
Now, on to Cascais for lunch and a view like this! Cascais is Portugal at its most captivating, with picture post card scenes everywhere:
It’s only 20-30 minutes up the coast to the beautiful Cascais. This aerial photo shows you why many say that is Cascais is the jewel of the Portuguese Riviera.
The first photo below shows our hotel, the elegant Miragem, and the second photo shows the view from the hotel.
Cascais is teeming with cool and quaint little shops, cafes, and bars. Beer lovers can walk over to O’Luian’s Irish Pub for a Guinness or Kilkenny. In your free time this afternoon, you can enjoy Cascais village.
We’ll enjoy a fabulous gala party with a delicious dinner, entertainment, and music followed by the city’s midnight fireworks in Cascais Bay in front of our hotel.
Day 6 – January 1, 2018 –Happy New Year. There’s a fantastic buffet brunch, but you can still sleep in. Today we’ll relax in the morning and enjoy free time in Cascais.
Stroll along the Cascais-Estoril Promedade …
This afternoon you won’t want to miss this outing early afternoon. It’s a spectacular scenic drive up the coast where we’re likely to see surfers at Guincho Beach, we’ll go just about 35 minutes up the coast and see beaches at Guincho, the kitesurfing capital of Europe…
Then we continue drive a bit farther on to our stop at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of land in Europe. You can have your photo taken here:
For dinner, we’ll enjoy authentic Portuguese cuisine and wine in a top-rated restaurant, which you will love.
Tuesday, January 02 – Portugal New Year’s Part 1 is complete. We hope you continue on to see more of Portugal. However, if you must return, airport transfer arrangements will be made.
Bon voyage — we’ll miss you!
Day 7 – Tuesday, January 2, 2018–Best of Portugal Post Trip continues. This optional 4 day extension allows you to see more of beautiful and diverse Portugal, even more World Heritage sites, and a river cruise of the wine country.
We leave Cascais and take a drive the historic walled city of Obidos. All of Obidos has been declared a national monument. It is known as the “Wedding Present Town” because it was a gift King Dinis gave to Queen Isabel on their wedding day in 1282.
Next we head up the coast to the town of Nazaré, boasts a famous fishing village and world-famous attraction for surfers. This wave below was a record breaking 100 feet, the biggest ever surfed. Who knows what we’ll see but winter is the time to see the big ones.
We stay at the Hotel Batalha Mestre Afonso Domingues which is a lovely 4-star rated hotel near the World Heritage site Monastery. We’ll have a wonderful dinner and get a good night sleep to be rested for our last day.
Day 8 –January 03, 2018
Early risers can photograph Batalha in the morning light.
We all leave Batalha this morning to drive 30-45 minutesto visit the wondrous Grutas Parque Natural das Serras de Aire, and walk through theGrutas Mira d Aire.
Next we drive to the World Heritage site ofTomar, where we will have lunch.Tomar is a small Portuguese town of about 40,000 people with many surprises…such as a17th Century Aquaduct.
The town of Tomar was born inside the walls of the Convento de Cristo, constructed under the orders of Gualdim de Pais, the fourth grand master of the Knights Templar in the late 12th century. Its extraordinary architecture is called Manueline, after King Manuel I (1469-1521).
Leaving Tomar, we depart for Coimbra, the original capital city of Portugal during the High Middle Ages. It is known for its University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe. There are many archaeological structures dating back to the Roman era, when Coimbra was the settlement of Aeminium.
On the University we find the World Heritage site of the magnificent Joanine Library with its rich baroque décor a work of art. It has over 300,000 books and over the centuries served as a model for other libraries in Europe and the Portuguese-speaking world.
You may enjoy the beautiful and famous 18th Century Botanical Garden of Coimbra University…
And the beautiful and ornate, Chapel of St. Michael,(Capela de São Miguel).
Day 9 – Wednesday January 3, 2018
This morning we leave Coimbra and drive to the second largest city, Porto.
We’ll visit “Livraria Lello”, the historic bookstore that was quite a sensation when it opened in Porto in 1906.
More recently, it is known as having been the inspiration for the bookstore in Harry Potter, Flourish &Bott’s.
We are staying at a unique and highly-rated hotel called the Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel and World Heritage Site. The historic rooms have been tastefully redecorated and maintained.
Day 10 – January 5, 2018–One day Douro Cruise – Today our finale is a magnificent boat trip. Our Douro and Wine Tour focuses exclusively on the Douro Delimited Region considered World Heritage by UNESCO.
Our guide will show us the key places in Douro, such as, Mesão Frio, Peso da Régua, Pinhão, typical villages, and much more. We’ll get to see the real life of the local people; seeing much more than typical touristic trips.
We visit the Quinta of a worldwide known wine producer and you will find out about the different stages of wine production. We will have a wine tasting. In Pinhão we enjoy a typical lunch at a traditional restaurant where you’ll taste the wonderful flavors of the Douro region – like Douro olive oil on their delicious handmade bread. We see the more of Douro traditions in a wine village and a small museum of traditional wine production. It will be a true journey into the past before heading into 2018.
Once back in Porto, we return to Lisbon. You will have discovered first-hand, what makes Portugal such a unique and unforgettable place. In less than 3 hours we’ll be in Lisbon and at our hotel in Lisbon by 9 pm tonight to be ready for flights out in the morning.
We hope you join us…this will be high on your list of Best Trips. For details or more information, email me at [email protected].
Only eight – 8! – TTPers can join us the most fun, most memorable New Year’s celebration of your life. To be among them, please email me at [email protected] . Thanks – and I’ll see you in Lisbon for New Year’s! Jack & Rebel