27 September – 04 October 2021
Our tour of formal gardens around Lisbon and Sintra, which has its own microclimate, offers contrasting landscapes, styles and vegetation. Historically, the arrival of the Moors brought remarkable garden architecture and species to Portugal, with properties enclosed by high walls and the introduction of colourful tiles, pools and citrus trees. In Lisbon the major development of gardens came later, in the eighteenth century, although the city suffered significant damage in the great earthquake of 1755. The gardens around Sintra were laid out in the following century, when natural landscape design was fashionable. Our tour culminates in the Douro Valley with its rolling hills covered with rows of vines.
For the first few days we stay just outside Sintra in the delightful Hotel Palácio de Seteais, surrounded by superb gardens. We then travel north to stay on a beautiful wine farm overlooking the Douro Valley, the centre of port wine production, where we discover gardens and history of this important region.
Gerald Luckhurst, a notable garden designer who has worked in Portugal and Madeira for many years, will accompany us on visits to a number of gardens he knows well.
The climate in September will be warm and mellow. Lightweight clothing is recommended, with a waterproof jacket in case of a shower, and good shoes. Smart casual for the evening.
Meals included are shown as B (breakfast), L (lunch) and D (dinner). Guests often meet for drinks before dinner (optional).
Wifi is available in all hotels.
Good walking ability for a minimum of two hours visiting gardens.