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Are you planning your dream trip to Portugal? The country is full of magical castles, breathtaking coastlines, fascinating history, and exquisite wine. But for those of you with a particularly refined palate, a grandiose sense of adventure, or a desire to fully embrace the culture, we have come up with a list of the top 10 over-the-top luxurious experiences in Portugal.
1. Private Douro River Dinner Cruise
Number 1 on our list of the top 10 most unique experiences in Portugal is the discovering Porto’s romantic and mythical city by boat. Cruise along the Douro River with a glass of local wine in hand as the rich colors of sunset cast their shadow over the soaring bell towers, Baroque churches, and stately buildings. Enjoy a traditional Portuguese meal as your private boat glides past the twinkling lights of this magical city. In addition to dinner cruises, many top European cruise lines offer outstanding week long Douro River Cruises. If cruising interests you, have as look at some of the different options offered throughout Europe, and make Portugal one of the many countries you visit.
2. Lunch at a Private Home Hosted by a Princess
Join the princess at her home as you tour with her the lush gardens and stunning Portuguese decorated rooms. Enjoy a regional lunch in her dining room as you discuss what life is like for a modern-day Portuguese nobility. If you want more of a history lesson ask about her family’s veritable past. In order to secure this unique and luxurious experience while in Portugal, booking through a travel agent is a must!
3. Oyster Tasting Boat Experience
Enjoy a unique evening cruising along the Ria Formosa channels to Culatra Villages. Learn about the stories of this region with ancient history while experiencing unforgettable flavors of wine and oyster tastings.
4. Private Yacht Exploration to Benagil Caves
Additionally, one of the most sought after luxury experiences in Portugal is the Benagil caves. Board a beautiful 50-foot yacht and explore the Algarvian Sea. As you sip your champagne and enjoy the gourmet finger foods, the boat will cruise along the coastline of the famous and beautiful Benagil Caves. Then, take a smaller boat to get into the caves and see the beautiful rock formations for a closer look. Along the way, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or snorkeling.
5. Private Excursion to local wineries in Evora
Privately tour the grounds and gorgeous walled garden where aristocrats once spent hot summer afternoons within the cool walls. Enjoy some of the most beautiful examples of Portuguese tile and regional marble works within the home. At the same time, the owner invites you to enjoy a wine tasting and traditional lunch for a holistic sensory experience.
6. View (or ride) a 100-foot wave off the coast of Nazare
Next on our list of the most luxurious experiences in Portugal, be sure to visit Portugal between October and March and get a chance to view uncertain Giant Waves. This small fishing village attracts visitors with its charm and opportunity to view the world’s most fearless big-wave surfers. After strolling the seaside town, sit and observe these heavy, powerful, and unpredictable waves while sitting next to the famous lighthouse.
7. Live like a Local in Porto
Meet your local host for the day, explore along the Douro river, and get insider access to the locals. Journey through Porto’s culture and traditions by visiting some of the most renowned families and local artisans in the Porto wine world. Hop on a classic fishing boat for lunch and cross over to a traditional fishing village full of local culture and colorful Azuleijo tiles lining the streets. Visit an open-air market to pick local produce and grill your fish freshly plucked from the ocean.
8. Private Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Alentejo
Step inside your magical hot air balloon and take in the sights as you drift over the rolling hills of the Alentejo countryside. Pass over olive groves, vineyards, and cork forests. Spot one of the famous free-range black pigs and enjoy delicious local wine and hors d’oeuvres as you pass over the historic towns of Evora and Beja. Be sure to connect with your hot air balloon guide and get to know the city of Alentejo even better. The hot air balloon rides are a great option if traveling with family. If you happen to be traveling as a family to Portugal, be sure to check out our 10 day Portugal family itinerary suggestions.
9. Take a ride on the steepest cable car in Portugal
Hop on track of a cable car that used to be the most vertical of its kind in all of Europe. Then, continue your adventure on one of the seven cable cars on the Island of Madeira to brave the 98% grade ride. Spend your time enjoying the wide range of opportunities for leisure on this unique island off the coast of northwest Africa, including sailing, fishing, water skiing, surfing, and marine life sightings. For enthusiastic divers, explore the Garajau coastline and experience one of Europe’s first underwater nature reserves.
10. Stroll the beaches of Alentejo on horseback
Last, but surely not least on our list of the top 10 most luxurious experiences in Portugal is visiting the Alentejo region. The Alentejo region of Portugal is arguably its most rugged, wild, and beautiful. It retains an air of understated superiority, home to untamed beaches, miles of forests, and jaw-dropping cliffs. The best way to explore the area is on horseback. Saddle up and ride into the hills above Grandola. Going up through cork trees and pine forests before descending to the beaches and dunes of the beautiful coast below. This experience is like no other!
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