THE 2020 PENINSULAR WAR PORTUGAL CAMPAIGN TOUR
The future Duke of Wellington destroys three successive French Invasions of Portugal
We include Castles & Forts, Monasteries, Palaces & Port, Vineyards & Tastings, Gastronomy & more
We visit the historic treasures of Lisbon, Belem, Sintra, Obidos, Coimbra, Porto and the Douro
ALL-INCLUSIVE SMALL GROUP TOUR
Cinematic Scenery, Fabulous Battlefield Sites, Classic Tastes
“I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me.”
The Portuguese campaigns of General Arthur Wellesley, who rose to become the Duke of Wellington, marked the true start of his fame, as he drove no fewer than three French invasions out of the country, prior to his successful campaigns across Spain, France and Belgium, culminating at Waterloo.
Visiting his 1808-11 battlefields we journey through countryside of stunning beauty, historic cities, towns, villages, ancient castles, sumptuous palaces and great cathedrals, alongside dramatic unspoiled scenery that time simply forgot.
Historic Lisbon and Porto are well recognised as must-visit cultural holiday destinations. Away from the crowds the outstanding countryside between the cities and across to the Spanish border is only lightly populated and, fortuitously, is where most of the best wine is grown and the greatest battles were fought!
Our tour begins in Lisbon. We visit the great squares steeped in Napoleonic tales, see where soldiers stepped ashore and great fleets anchored, the castle where many French prisoners were held, historic Belem where the wounded convalesced, and from where, centuries earlier, brave Portuguese adventurers left the known world behind on their voyages of navigation, exploration and conquest. The military museum is particularly strong on its ordnance and a true delight.
Our exploration takes us to the battlefields of Roliça, Vimiero, Bussaco, Sabugal, Fuentes de Onoro, the Coa and Oporto, two of Wellington’s HQs, great fortifications along the Lines of Torres Vedras and the astounding border fortress of Almeida.
We also visit the mountain retreat of Sintra, scene of much British interest over the years, from Napoleonic friendships to WW2 film-stars and spies, after a day admiring Wellington’s vast secret engineering project, along the Lines of Terras Vedras, constructions that stopped a French army in its tracks.
En route we dine and sleep beside the beautiful walled town of Obidos with its castle and traditional little shops. A historic monastery awaits us in medieval Coimbra, and we stay in the great Palace of Buçaco surrounded by its fabulous gardens and famous ridge-line battlefield.
Our drive to the border takes in rugged scenery, virtually unchanged since Napoleon’s troops passed through, and two of Wellington’s close-fought battles, at Sabugal and Fuentes de Oñoro. We then spend a truly evocative night in the ancient border fortress, now hotel, of Fort Concepcion.
We visit the impressive Vauban fortress town of Almeida and the beautiful scenery of the Coa River, followed by the picturesque Douro valley, taking in vineyards, tastings and a night overlooking the meandering river.
Then on to our final destination at Oporto, with the two battles of Porto, then to a private tour, tasting and dinner in one of the most famed port houses. From our riverside hotel we gaze up to Wellington’s viewing point as he took Porto by storm.
There is ample opportunity to sample the hearty Portuguese cuisine, from their famed tarts to regional cuisine, to the best casual international fare through to fine dining. We will enjoy a wonderful range of Portuguese wines, whilst along the Douro and at Oporto we also sample some of the finest ports.
Our Small Group tours are carefully designed to minimise travel time between each destination, increasing the time available for visiting, exploring battlefields, cultural history and landscapes in depth, with time to absorb, enjoy and relax.
We’ll be delighted to talk you through any aspect of the tour and explain our approach to top quality battlefield tourism, so please do get in touch.
Day by Day Summary
Wednesday 15th April PM: Meet & Greet
We gather at our top 4* central Lisbon hotel with a welcome, tour introduction, outline of the history of the era, and to receive your unique leather campaign journal. We enjoy an acclimatisation tour visiting Belém’s Monastery, Tower and Explorers Monument. We dine-in on the first night, enjoying the comfort of Superior rooms throughout our 3 night stay.
Thursday 16th April: Cultural Lisbon
We walk the historic Squares and Waterfront of Lisbon, sharing soldiers’ amusing first-hand experiences in Lisbon as we head to the Military ordnance Museum, São Jorge Castle and our first tutored wine tasting. We dine out.
Friday 17th April: Cultural Cintra & Fortified Lines
We head up the River Tagus to begin our exploration of the famous Lines of Torres Vedras; the monument, Wellington’s Pero Negro HQ, a series of glorious hill forts and the mighty Sobral Monte Agraco. On to Sintra’s romantic marvel Montserrat Villa, and back to Lisbon for our last night in the capital, dining out.
Saturday 18th April: Battlefields, Coast & Castellated Town
We start at the visitor centre at beautiful Forte de S.Vicente set above Torres Vedras, before heading on to the battlefields of Vimeiro and Rolica. We see, explore and discuss British, Portuguese and French viewpoints. Checking in to our 4* hotel beneath the castellated walls, we have time to explore the Obidos skirmish and UNESCO Heritage town before dining in the castle.
Sunday 19th April: Medieval Monastery, Exceptional Battlefield & Palace
We head to the tremendous heights of Bussaco for a detailed and fresh re- interpretation of the battle from numerous French, Portuguese and British viewpoints, some well known and others that you won’t find mentioned elsewhere, taking in the Portuguese military museum and Wellington’s monastery. We check-in to our Superior rooms at the 5* former Royal palace, with time to walk the wonderful gardens before a magnificent dinner.
Monday 20th April: Battles & Border Country Beauty
On to the Castle & Battle of Sabugal, where Wellington pushed the French from Portugal. We then stop at his Freineda HQ and the ancient villages and broad battlefield of Fuentes d’Onoro. We head just over the border into Spain, to the exceptional experience that is the 4* Fort Concepcion hotel with its own unique Napoleonic stories to tell.
Tuesday 21st April: Starred fortress, Roman bridge & Port wine
A great day awaits! We walk the magnificent Vauban fortress of Almeida, study the French siege and the famous action on the Coa. We then head to the Douro, enjoying Croft Port’s flagship wine estate with a guided tour & tasting, before relaxing at our 4* Douro valley Wine House Quinta hotel.
Wednesday 22nd April: Battles, Beauty & Porto Wine (Oporto)
To Porto for the tale of two battles, the famous crossing, the Bishop's Seminary, Wellington’s Mosteiro da Nossa Serra do Pilar, a private wine lodge tour and tasting, before reposing at our 4* hotel with Superior rooms and the very finest Napoleonic river view.
Thursday 23rd April: Travel home
Choose to stay on in Porto, fly home from Porto, or we can return you to Lisbon to stay on or fly home from there, just as you wish.
A Blend of City, Historic, Palace & Fortress 4-5 Stars
Our tour takes in 6 top quality hotels, carefully tried and tested for quality and comfort, reflecting the best character of each location.
This adds to the variety of your experience and, critically, shortens our travel times during and at the end of each day.
From modern to historic, charming to boutique, each is a special place designed to give us a great end to the day, a good night's sleep and a refreshing start.
At most hotels we book superior rooms to ensure the very best of comfort and views.
We believe that these carefully selected hotels offer the best facilities in each location, and we’ve hand-picked each one to best suit your enjoyment on tour.
The evening food experience is just as critical to the tour, dining A La Carte, whilst in Lisbon and Porto we enjoy some of our favourites amongst the very best casual fine-dining international restaurants.