Hamburg * Berlin * Hannover * Bremen * Dresden * München
Itinerary: Trip by bus from Berlin or Hamburg via Paris - Moliets Plage, France - Llanes, Spain - Salamanca, Spain - Porto, Portugal (excursion to Foz de Douro) - Coimbra, Portugal - Lisbon (excursion to Sintra) - Feragudo, Algarve Excursions to: 1. Carapateira (west coast); 2. Cabo Vincente; 3. to the mountain range of Monchique; 4. Portimao; 5. Sagres By bus back via Sevilla - Madrid - Moliets Plage - Paris to Hamburg or Berlin.
Accommodations: Depending on where you join the tour one night on our bus with reclining seats or futon-type sleeping area; in Llanes two nights at camping site; in Salamanca one night on camping site; in Porto three nights at camping site; in Lisbon three nights at camping site with swimming pool; in Feragudo nine nights at camping site; in Sevilla two nights at camping site; via Madrid one night on bus; in Moliets Plage one night at camping site; one night on bus in reclining seats or futon-type sleeping area via Paris back to Hamburg.
Meals: For your meals you should expect to spend approx. $15 per day.
At Your Disposal: We will provide camping equipment such as double-burner camping stoves, gas canisters, large cooking pots, fold-away tables and benches.
Tour Escort: Tour coordinator
Extra: Entrance fees, food, drinks, additional excursions by boat, canoe, horse, motor bike, bike, etc., unless mentioned above.
Climate: Summer: day 86 degrees, night 70 degrees, water 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Currency: 1 USD = 1,109 Euro; 1 Euro = 0,901 USD
Visa: A tourist visa is required for France
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Discover the Ocean Mystique of Portugal
For the Portuguese, the ocean has always been a mystical attraction. After a look at a map, you'll quickly see that they have good reason. On one side of their border is their traditional rival, Spain, on the other the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. In order to release the pressure of the Spanish expansion, they decided to turn to the sea, and so began the "Era of Discoveries" of the 15th century. Almost 500 years later, Alternativ Bus Reisen would like you to explore this fascinating country for yourself.
On our way from Germany, we'll pass through French cities like Bordeaux, and campsites like Moliets Plage, until we encounter the 11,000 foot-high Pico Mountain in Spain. On our right side, we'll witness the pounding waves of the Atlantic almost attacking the stone cliffs. Very soon after, we'll find ourselves between a kind of jungle forest and the small fishing village of Llanes. Here, we'll be able to see a calmer side of the ocean. There's a lagoon with a fresh green area of grass that almost demarcates the town line. In the morning, we'll say good bye to the Atlantic and head further south, in order to reach Salamanca by evening. This city is especially well-known for its university; still, you shouldn't miss the other wonderful buildings and churches of this delightful city. Here, we'll stay the night, and the next morning head west across the Spanish-Portuguese border. At this point, the ancient mysteries of Portugal will come to light. The unique culture of this people is combined with thrilling geographic splendor!
Although a glance at a map shows that Spain and Portugal lie together on the same land mass, Portugal is not just an extension of Spain! Portugal always has been, and always will be, a nation completely separate from its neighbor to the east. Its entire history has been an impressive story of a small nation trying to maintain its independence. Portugal's thoroughly independent culture and people give this impression from the very first look. For those unfamiliar with the economy of Portugal, keep in mind that 50 million liters of wine are exported each year. Quite a performance for a small country that for centuries stood as the largest sea faring-nation in the world!
The next morning, we'll pass through several different landscapes and climates before we arrive at the city of Porto. Porto is located at the mouth of the Douro, a river which has gouged its way over 300 feet into the earth. Three gigantic bridges span the river gorge. Porto is especially worth seeing for its many historical buildings. Wine is indeed a big part of the economy of this city. We'll be sure to take advantage of this by making regular visits to wine tasting seminars at the local vineyards. After a healthy amount of typically Portuguese food and drink, you'll probably be ready for a walk along the tranquil ocean shore.
Porto will also act as our strategic center of activity. From here, we'll be able to head off in a variety of directions. The coastline stretches from Porto to Lisbon, and we have it all to ourselves. These sandy beaches are only sparsely populated with native Portuguese sun-bathers. In fact, we'll probably be the only foreign visitors in the entire area!
And in no time, we'll also reach the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. In this city, the traces of present and past cross paths directly in the center of the city. Striking mixtures of modern architecture and mosaic paintings abound everywhere. This clearly attests to the continual renewal of culture in Portugal. Old, dramatic churches are blended in next to the newest landmark of the city, the Ponte de 25 de Abril. This bridge, named after the date of the Portuguese revolution in 1974, runs for two miles and reaches 600 feet into the blue sky. That makes it the largest hanging bridge in all of Europe.
And that's not all...since we're already in Lisbon, we should definitely go on an excursion into the outskirts of the city! We won't want to miss the millionaire coast of Estoril, or for that matter, a stroll into the romantic forest of Sintra. In this forest, you'll find an uncommonly rich assortment of buildings. The most striking is, of course, the so-called "castle of Dracula." For over three days, we'll enjoy the culture and sights of this remarkable city.
Directly after Lisbon, we'll soon come to our well-positioned campsite, here at the magnificent beaches of the Algarve. You'll have the chance to select your own intimate beach...to sunbathe and swim in complete privacy. In the midst of this intimate paradise, you'll have a lagoon that will give you the chance to scuba-dive and surf. Perhaps you'd like to take a trip to the western-most part of Europe, the Cabo de Sao Vincente. For all you can imagine, this might as well be the end of the earth.
Since we can't build our camp directly on the water, we'll settle for the next best thing - our camping site in Feragudo. Maintained in the cleanest possible condition, this camp is in a perfect location: just five minutes to the beach. The whole area is surrounded by huge trees, that provide us with plenty of shade. Nearby you'll find a restaurant, a pub, and a grocery store, in case you ever get hungry or thirsty.
This very central location also gives us the opportunity to go on an excursion into the Monchique Mountains. It'll take the slightest effort to reach a point where you'll enjoy a beautiful panorama of the entire coast, from Albufeira to Sagres. And right behind the mountains is yet another beautiful attraction: the largest reservoir in the entire country. You'll have the chance to swim in a playground with the cleanest and sweetest water imaginable.
Time certainly does fly when you're having fun, and unfortunately, it'll
soon be time to start heading back east. On our way back to Germany, we'll
be stopping for a day in either Sevilla or Madrid.
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