I had an amazing time on this tour. Louis, our guide, was very friendly and very well informed. Our day started when we were picked up at our hotel. I had booked through trip advisor/viator and told them that I needed two car seats. I should have double checked with I GO PORTUGAL when I spoke to them on the phone to confirm, and tell them where to pick us up. Luckily our hotel had some, or we would have had to wait while Louis went back to get them.
We had a short ride to Sintra to go to the Pena Palace. We quickly realized that there was no microphone in the van and the travelers in the back couldnt hear a word he was saying. Luckily, I was in the front, so I summarized for everyone when we got out. Trip advisor says this tour is guaranteed to skip the long lines here. I think, because of the inside knowledge of the crew, you will probably get to skip the lines. He told us that sometimes they switch the trip around if the lines are too long. But, you still must wait while he cues up to buy the tickets. We waited ten minutes which was perfectly fine. Make sure you have some cash for the tickets as credit cards werent an option. Louis went into Pena with us and gave us a private guided tour. The place was very crowded, but worth it.
The village of Sintra was where we stopped for lunch. We just grabbed a few tosta mista and other sandwiches so we could have more time to explore. I found the village to be overrun with tourists. It seemed like it would have been breathtaking years ago, before it was a stop on every tour. If postcard shops are your thing, spend lots of time there. I was perfectly ok with our short visit.
We went to Monserrate Palace and were blown away. It was completely empty on the first day of August! Again, Louis came inside with us and told us everything we wanted to know. He got some amazing pictures of my family. The grounds of this place are unbelievable. It was so pretty. Unfortunately, I did not realize that I was choosing between Monseratte and Quinta da Regaleira. I thought we would go to both, but we only saw Regaleira from the outside. I am disappointed that I missed it, but it gives me a nice excuse to visit Lisbon again!
We then headed to Cabo da Roca. I thought I was going to mentally check out after the architectural portion of the trip. I was wrong! The western most point of Europe is stunning. It was cool and breezy because it was so high up. Louis gave us information on every stop. He knows his country very well and is very intellectual in general. I am so glad we made that stop.
We had our last stop in Cascais. We all ran for the ocean to dip our feet in. I think Cascais would be a delightful place to stay for a weekend. I would have enjoyed a little more time there. We skipped Hellmouth because the water was angelic that day, so there was nothing to see. We had a little more time in Cascais because of it. On our return trip, Louis kept turning the air conditioning off so that we could hear him better. Mostly everyone in the back of the van got sick because it was too hot. I was sitting in the front with Louis. I know that he couldnt have known, because I didnt know. It was nearly impossible for them to hear with the air on and the air didnt work very well when it was on. The overheating happened after our last stop in Cascais, so luckily everyone could enjoy themselves before they got sick. I wish I could give Louis a 5 star review because he was a stellar guide and none on the issues we encountered were his fault. I cant say that the trip was 5 star when everyone in my party ended up sick, but he really was good!
A private tour for eight. This was excellent as it was tailored to what we wanted to do and at our pace. Great sites, good length, good transportation, I also liked that they picked us up at our apartment that we rented instead of having to walk to a local hotel.
My only complaint is that the tour guide spent to much time on the phone. He received no less than six calls and spent 5-10 minutes on each call and they often interrupted the narrative that he was providing on the tour.
This was an amazing day. Sonia, our tour guide, was personable and very friendly. - by the end of the day, we felt we'd made a new friend. She was very knowledgeable about the history of Portugal and about the sites we visited. She was very generous with her time and showed us many interesting places while describing each one with stories to paint pictures of what life was like for those who lived in the palaces. We had an amazing day and have come home with many happy memories of Portugal.
Well organized and thorough tour guide. He customized this trip to do things that we had requested and he was amazing from start to finish. We got a true taste of Portugal and this ended up being one of the highlights of our 18 day European tour. We had lunch in an amazing little restaurant on the beach. My only regret is that we didn't take a dip in the ocean, but we had the option and didn't. Our guide gave us plenty of time. Portugal is stunningly beautiful. Don't miss it and feel confident booking this tour. It is worth it.