Portugal – Gardens around Lisbon and the Sintra Hills

We arrange bespoke tour itineraries for small groups of friends or colleagues wishing to travel together to a special destination or for specialist horticultural groups. The minimum numbers are eight guests who will be accompanied by Susan or her specialist guides. We have the experience, know the good hotels or lodges and the best itineraries to offer. The itineraries below are examples of bespoke tours. Tailor-made programmes can be arranged for your personal preferences.

To know more please contact us on info@susanwornertours.com or +44 (0) 1423 326 300.

Portugal – Spring Gardens around Lisbon and the Sintra Hills

The combination of formal gardens around Lisbon, and Sintra with its own microclimate, gives a contrast in landscape, style and vegetation. The arrival of the Moors in Portugal produced great garden architecture with colourful tiles, pools and citrus trees enclosed by high walls. In Lisbon, the major development of gardens came in the eighteenth century, though some suffered in the great earthquake. The gardens around Sintra came later in the following century, when natural landscape design was used.

For the first few days we stay just outside Sintra in the delightful Hotel Palacio de Seteais, surrounded by beautiful gardens. We then move to the historical centre of Lisbon to enjoy the atmosphere, to a hotel with superb views of Sao Jorge Castle and the river Tagus.

Our travel is by minibus covering only short distances. Some days we are on foot from the hotel.




Morning departure from London Heathrow, arriving mid-afternoon at Lisbon airport. Transfer to the hotel near Sintra. After arriving we take a walk around the original parterre gardens with views to the sea. Welcome drink with Gerald Luckhurst, a notable garden designer working in Portugal and Madeira. Gerald will give a talk on gardens in the region before dinner together in the hotel restaurant.


Full day in two famous gardens in Sintra, accompanied by Gerald Luckhurst. The extensive gardens of Quinta de Monserrate were restored in the mid-nineteenth century by an inspired English owner, Francis Cook. The gardens are currently overseen by Gerald after recent restoration work. Lunch-time in the garden restaurant. We continue to the woodland walks of Pena Palace where Gerald will take us to the restored area of camellia and rhododendron planted in the nineteenth century. We return to the hotel for dinner.


We leave for the gardens of the former Royal Palace de Queluz to visit the extensive formal gardens with parterres, statues, vistas and glazed tiles. Gerald Luckhurst is involved with the restoration programme and he will accompany us. We then enjoy lunch in the old palace kitchen restaurant. On the outskirts of Lisbon are the gardens of Palacio dos Marqueses da Fronteira with its striking house overlooking a formal garden. A guided visit of both the interior and garden with its parterre and beautiful seventeenth-century azulejos tiled walls. The blue and white designs on the tiles are reflected in the pool. Dinner together in the village in a typical local restaurant.


Leave on foot to visit a nearby privately-owned garden recreated recently with great flair. The owner herself shows us her superb garden and then invites us to enjoy a delicious buffet lunch. In the afternoon we visit the nearby Quinta da Regaleira. The sub-tropical hill-side garden is extensive and was laid out in the late nineteenth century on terraces, with statues, impressive stone structures and plants from around the world. Dinner in the hotel restaurant.


We leave Sintra in the morning to take the coastal road through Cascais to Belem in Lisbon. Visit to the beautiful cloister of Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in Belem, overlooking the River Tagus where Vasco da Gama spent the night before his voyage of discovery. Check in to Hotel do Chiado in the historic centre of Lisbon. Light lunch available before enjoying an interesting guided tour of the Alfama district towards the Castle Hill. Evening at leisure.


Morning visit to the Gulbenkian Museum which hosts a superb private art collection. The museum is surrounded by extensive and well planted contemporary gardens. Lunch-time in the museum. In the afternoon we visit the botanic gardens of Estufa Fria in Lisbon, with its rich collections of both local and tropical plants. Dinner together in a local restaurant with fish specialities.


We leave for Lisbon airport for the lunchtime flight to London Heathrow.


Map of Portugal

Tour Costs

Airflight, Hotel and Itinerary Costs £1985
Accommodation based on 2 people sharing
b&b, dinner on 5 evenings, 2 lunches
Supplement – single use of double room £490

Activity Level:

Terraced hill-side gardens, some fairly large.

Additional Information:

Fascinating insight into gardens of Monserrate and Queluz with local garden designer Gerald Luckhurst.

If you are interested in finding out more information about one of our bespoke itineraries, please give us a call on 01423 326 300 or email info@susanwornertours.com. Alternatively, click here to use our general enquiry form.