If you've just returned from a tour we'd love to hear from you.
Lisbon, Oporto & the Douro Valley Tour
A most enjoyable holiday. We were well looked after everywhere we went. Our Tour Manager, John, was outstanding in his attention to detail, enhancing our tour with his knowledge of the area and giving fascinating historical talks about the places we visited. He also helped everyone to feel included in a friendly atmosphere, and his coming to the check-in desk to see us safely onto the flight home was much appreciated. The hotels were excellent, and the local guides and drivers were first-rate.
Review by Heather Moore on 26 October 2016
We have just returned from a superb Riviera Travel Holiday. We would like to say how much we enjoyed the holiday to Portugal especially when we met our Tour Manager John at Lisbon airport – what a surprise- we had him as our Tour Manager when we all did Classical Spain in April this year, we knew that everything would be first class. John’s knowledge of the history, culture, economy and infrastructure of the country was a bonus for the holiday, his story telling and his local knowledge re restaurants etc was also very informative.
He was so thoughtful organising access to places of interest on our visit as [Hilary] has to use a wheelchair for most of the time. John was so kind and thoughtful he also stayed with us at Lisbon Airport on our return journey almost to the time we boarded. We were so grateful for his support.
Our holiday reached heights above our expectations, due to John, our coach driver Bruno and local guides , the staff at all the super hotels we stayed in, and all our fellow Riviera travellers.
Thank you also staff at Riviera Travel for organising wheelchair assistance.
Our Tour Manager John is 5***** and a very great asset to Riviera Travel.
Review by Hilary and James Meadows on 20 October 2016
We have had another wonderful Riviera holiday, which exceeded expectations. In no small part this was because our tour manager John was outstanding. He has a deep and extensive knowledge of the Iberian Peninsula, its history, culture and people etc .and we learned so much.
He also went the extra mile by printing off everyone’s boarding passes, saving time and stress at Lisbon Airport. He kept us informed on places to eat, departure times and made the whole tour more enjoyable as we had nothing to worry about.
Thanks also to Bruno, our excellent coach driver.
Review by Carolyn Outram on 23 October 2016
We have just returned from a Riviera tour to Lisbon, Porto and the Douro.
Can I take the opportunity to thank all at Riviera for an excellent tour,well organised and showing us many sights in Portugal.
A special thanks to Francesca who looked after us every day.
This was our first Riviera tour but it won’t be our last.
Review by Mr & Mrs Whyte on 11 October 2016
What a fabulous holiday! All 3 hotels were of superb standard and had their own individual character. We visited some beautiful places in the Douro Valley that would have been difficult to get to on a self-guided visit but easy to reach by our coach which was safely driven by Bruno. How he got the bus into some of those streets and round those bends we will never know! The local guides were all informative and sometimes amusing, as appropriate. Our tour guide, John, was in a ‘tour guide class’ of his own. He was personable, seemingly knowledgeable about everything in the Iberian region and nothing was too much trouble for him. His very different, historically accurate and often charming anecdotes made the bus journeys in between various stops a pleasure, not an ordeal as is sometimes the case. We thought he was brilliant and look forward to hearing what tours he is leading next year. Many thanks from Val and Caz.
Review by Valerie Marden and Caroline Paige on 19 October 2016
Just arrived safely home from our best Riviera experience yet. Tour manager John Shaw was outstanding, his talks on Portugal’s history, geography and customs were greatly appreciated by all and enhanced our enjoyment of this beautiful country. We also appreciated John’s good management of our group and his humour. The hotels booked were excellent, many thanks to all concerned, especially to John, and to Bruno too, for his matchless driving skills.
Review by Colin and Wendy Butt on 18 October 2016
This was our eighth trip with Riviera and we weren’t disappointed!
The hotels, tours and travel arrangements were excellent, but the star of the show was Valerie!
She was quietly attentive and kept us amused during some of the longer journeys with her endless supply of stories and jokes.
She was particularly attentive when I became ill and I felt reassured that if I needed anything she would have been there for me, which is very reassuring when in a foreign country.
Please pass on our thanks, and we are very much looking forward to our next trip.
Review by Michael & Carol Reeves on 6 October 2016
This was our first trip with Riviera and we were delighted with the high standard of hotels and transport. For us, however, what made it so special was our tour manager, Valerie, who saw to everyone’s needs with the lightest of touches and the concern of a mother hen looking after her chicks. She was extremely well informed and kept us all going with her fund of stories and anecdotes. We are now looking forward to our next trip with you.
Review by Alistair and Ishbel McConnachie on 5 October 2016
Having just returned from the tour to Portugal would just like to express our thanks for a great experience. Having read some of the comments made previously it is obvious that you cannot please all of the people all of the time. For instance if you do not want to get up in the morning then book an all inclusive resort holiday. The early bird catches the worm, or misses the crowds. No negative comments, Valerie great fun and thanks to her for arranging a bottle of “fizz” delivered to our room on our anniversary.
I think all tours such as these are a taster for the country and should leave the visitor wanting to see more, which they do.
Review by Andrew and Carolyn Browne on 21 September 2016
Just returned from Lisbon, Porto & Douro Tour. One of the best helped by excellent hotels and the services of Annette who helped everything to go with a swing.
Review by Ian & Denise Kirkwood on 21 September 2016
Very enjoyable week enhanced by very friendly fellow travellers. Francesca facilitated the tour well and introduced a set of excellent local guides. The tour is very busy for the first few days but the pace slows down as the week concludes. The star must be Dario, the great driver!
Review by Ian, Helen and Louise on 20 September 2016
We have just returned from Portugal and write to congratulate the team on putting together a great package.
All the hotels were of exceptional standard, as was the coach Driver Paulo, and in particular Valerie Richman, who’s knowledge of the country and the tour was excellent and contributed so much to our enjoyment.
Review by John Gadd & Ray Howes on 14 September 2016
I would be grateful if you would convey to Valerie who was the wonderful tour guide for the above tour, my very grateful thanks for her help during the above trip and especially for her help at Lisbon airport which was invaluable. Many many thanks.
Review by David and Alicja Murray. on 2 September 2016
We have just returned from the Lisbon, Oporto and Douro valley tour.
May we say how much we enjoyed all aspects of the holiday with your tour manager Francesca a great asset.
The local guides were excellent and extremely knowledgeable. The coach driver Bruno was outstanding, his manoeuvring skills amazing.
We liked the fact that not all the hotels provided an evening meal and with the location of the hotel in Lisbon we were able to find three different restaurants within walking distance.
All three hotels were of a very high standard, the food at the Sheraton in Oporto and the Pousada Cascais was very enjoyable and good variety.
This is one holiday we have already recommended to friends and family.
Review by Mr & Mrs Berry. on 2 September 2016
We enjoyed this tour on the whole. Visited some lovely places and the hotels we stayed in were very good. However we found it very tiring especially having an early morning call each day at 6.45am. We were out of the hotel each morning by 8.30 not returning until 5.30 in the evening. We couldn’t make out whether this was down to our tour guide or the hotels wanting parties out to cater for other guests. Otherwise our tour guide, Valerie was very good, but we both felt shattered by the end of the tour and in need of another holiday!
Review by Pauline and Neil williams on 11 July 2016
Excellent tour very good value. Francesca our tour manager was knowledgeable friendly and helpful. I would recommend her and the tour wholeheartedly
Review by Penny Witham on 7 July 2016
Excellent tour. Three hotels with individual personalities; all first class. Tour guide Anette knowledgeable, approachable and well organised. Local guides witty and interesting.
Well done Riviera.
Review by Mary Hillman on 1 July 2016
Hello, my husband and I travelled with the above tour and I am writing to say how well planned it was and what a super guide we had Lilyana (?correct spelling) must be the best guide in all our 7 Riviera tours so far. She was very well informed but giving just the right amount of information at the right time. Her care and kindness to everyone, and especially to us two over eighties,was exceptional.We cannot praise her enough and just hope the guide on our 8th tour (to Chamonix in September) will be half as good.
Review by Pam McKinlay (Mrs) on 13 May 2016
The tour was very well organised with the tour rep Keith doing an excellent job. The content was good with the right balance between travel, sightseeing and free time especially in Lisbon. The Hotels were good, clean and well situated with excellent food, the only slight complaint I have was in the last hotel there were miles of corridors and you needed a map and a compass to reach your room, apart from that the hotel was clean, lovely rooms and the food good.
Review by Patricia Dickinson on 15 April 2014
I had misgivings when I saw the size of the group but Keith Hulse handled this trip superbly and he gave me every assistance as I was undoubtedly the slowest of the party. The weather was excellent and hotels good but the Porto Sheraton is not exceptional . At 85 I will try and come back in 2015.
Review by Arnold Battson on 12 May 2014
We particularly wish to commend our tour guide, Valerie, who was kind, thoughtful, knowledgeable and organised. Thank you Valerie! The hotels were good and all our rooms were very clean and comfortable. The tours were interesting and not too long. We preferred Oporto because it was less crowded. The tours in Lisbon were jam packed with other tourists and, although we enjoyed them, wondered if it would be feasible to devise visits to places to make the most of particular links with English history, which might be less busy. Overall, though, a very enjoyable holiday with far too much good food!
Review by Elizabeth Stubbings on 31 May 2014
We have just returned from this holiday and wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed it. Lily, our tour guide, was excellent. She knew so much, spoke extremely good English and was unfailingly helpful. Mr Riu (?) our driver was smart, punctual and steady. We enjoyed all the hotels and found the staff in all 3 locations friendly and polite. We saw some fascinating things and some beautiful places and will never drink port again without thinking of this holiday!
Review by Susan and Graham Newton on 1 June 2014
We have just returned from this tour and really enjoyed it. The hotels were excellent, the trips interesting and Keith looked after us very well. It was our 8th tour with you and they always come up to expectations. We are now wondering where to go next.
Review by June Martin on 21 June 2014
A very enjoyable trip. Keith was an excellent tour guide, very helpful and knowledgeable.
Review by Iris Ives on 27 June 2014
Keith was an exceptional guide with just the right amount of detail for us to take in. Good sense of humour, not overpowering. We had excellent food & history in the better than average hotels. We felt that the Oporto Sheraton was a little far out of city for evening strolls. We could have done with individual radio transmitters at the University of Coimbra as the rather large group of us couldn’t hear all the student guides remarks as all the corridors were very narrow & party was very spread out. Excellent week away & will hope to go with you again on another trip.
Review by julia chappell on 29 June 2014
Just arrived home from the Lisbon, Oporto & the Douro Valley. A very interesting trip with just the right amount of free time. Although it would have been nice to have spent a little more time at Cascais. The selection of hotels was inspired, the Pousada at Cascais was the star. The trips accompanied with the guides were very interesting and the guides knowledgeable. Francesca was helpful and had a good sense of humour. Looking forward to our next trip.
Review by Sheila Norman on 7 July 2014
This was a wonderful trip to Portugal. The hotels were exceptional and the weather was great. We saw so many wonderful places but yet had time to ourselves to explore more. We particularly liked Cascais, on our last day; we managed to keep ourselves occupied for about 8 hours whilst waiting to depart for the airport. Kim was a great tour guide as were the local guides, and as for the coach driver, well he was marvellous; how he managed the tight turns he made whilst in the Douro valley I can only thank him for getting us back safely. This was our third trip with Riviera and was not disappointed.
Review by M.Hirst on 9 July 2014
An excellent tour, Annette was very helpful as we were all seniors and 1 or 2 quite grumpy!! She couldn’t do enough for us. Good hotels especially the last one a Pousada Regards Jenny March
Review by Jenny March on 7 October 2014
We had a most enjoyable tour and liked the various places of interest. Both Lisbon and Oporto have much to offer in terms of history, architecture, portugese wines and of course port! The Douro valley is a steeper, larger version of the Moselle valley with some georgeous views. The local guides were informative, our driver - Antonio - very safe and extremely helpful, and our tour manager - Valerie - was invariably cheerful and had everything really well organised, right up to the last minute of checking in at the airport, to make sure everybody knew what to do and where to queue.
Review by Joan Reschen on 18 October 2014
We have had a very enjoyable week in Portugal getting to know a different country, with a friendly group of people. Our guide, Francesca, was always helpful and cheerful and tried to give a flavour of each place that we visited. The local tour guides were all knowledgeable and interesting, but the best guide was in Coimbra - we think his name is Tiago - he had a good way of imparting a lot of information while bringing the past to life. The hotels were all very comfortable and the food and wine amazing! We liked the Lisboa Plaza for the very comfortable bar with friendly staff and the complimentary port! The Pousada in Cascais was very interesting as it is built in an old fort and we felt we were surrounded by history; as it was only an overnight stay we will have to return in order to discover more about it! Our coach driver was brilliant, navigating some very difficult terrain with consummate skill in a drive through the Douro Valley which, in parts, was as interesting and challenging as the drive in Amalfi. It is a very busy week which can give no more than a flavour of Portugal but it was enough to give us some ideas to hopefully return and explore under our own steam in the future.
Review by Theresa Jessey on 21 October 2014
My wife and I have just returned from Portugal where we enjoyed yet another well- organised and varied holiday, much of which was down to the unique and colourful Valerie! We look forward to enjoying further holidays with you in 2015. Congratulations.
Review by Barrie and Barbara Pemberton on 21 October 2014
We very much enjoyed this tour. The 3 days spent in Lisbon gave plenty of time for exploring, as did the days spent in Oporto. Our excellent guide, Kim, was very knowledgeable and couldn’t have been more helpful. The hotels were inspired and the staff were very friendly. Our visit to Coimbra, en route to Oporto, was so interesting - a wonderful old university with a well-informed guide. Our guide in Lisbon, Claudia, also knew her subject and made the city tour very interesting. We very much enjoyed the special meal on our last evening in the Pousada hotel in Cascais. Thank you for a wonderful holiday.
Review by M Chenneour on 27 November 2014
On 30th September to 7th October, my husband I went on your tour of Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley from Edinburgh. This was an excellent trip, well organised and very nice hotels plus we were extremely lucky with the weather. Our tour guide Kim was lovely, friendly and very helpful and was able to tell us so much about Portugal. The young bus driver Sergei was a very skillful driver and negotiated some really awkward narrow roads very carefully with no problem. We have been on other tours with your company previously and would highly recommend them. Sorry I have taken so long to getting round to sending this email.
Review by Mrs Kathleen Wilkinson. on 12 December 2014
Just a short note to thank you for the wonderful trip you organized recently to Portugal. My husband and I are full of praise for your company, and have enjoyed a trip with you to Lake Como last September, and now this last one beginning on April 12th. The Courier Kim and Paul the Portuguese man, was excellent and Paul couldn’t have been kinder, always looking out for people in the party who needed time and help in keeping up on the walking tours. He was a great help to my husband and I. His English was perfect too. One lovely surprise was when the hotel Pousada Cascais made a kind gesture in recognizing our Golden Wedding anniversary and supplied champagne, etc to our room on our return from dinner on the last evening. That is something we will always remember. Thanks to all your staff for making our trip memorable. We look forward to travelling with you again in the future.
Review by Mrs. Theresa Dyer on 6 May 2015
We returned yesterday from this tour, our fourth Riviera Travel holiday and every bit as enjoyable as the others! As usual, the hotel standard was superb, the Inspira in Lisbon was a little quirky, with its glass bathroom and lack of hanging space, but it was spotlessly clean, breakfast was good and the staff were charming. The Sherraton in Porto was superb, the rooms large and comfortable and the service and food in the restaurant were excellent. We finished on a high with our last night in the pousada at Cascais, what a lovely spot and a really interesting hotel. Our tour manager, Keith was brilliant, he hit exactly the right note with his information, he was knowledgeable without being ‘over the top’ and such a nice and quietly efficient man. This must be a really difficult holiday to organise, with such long distances to be covered, but all the trips were well broken by visits to places of interest, in fact places we would never had otherwise visited had we not been on this tour. The only suggestion I would make is that it would have perhaps been more of a break to have done the Douro trip by train and back by boat. I know that we would probably not have seen as much as we did from the coach - it was a very interesting if scary (at times) ride! Thank you all at Riviera for your part in ensuring we had such a successful holiday.
Review by Sue Wareham on 3 June 2015
Just back from this trip. Riviera were most helpful sorting out problems with the airline, thank you. A good time was had by all. Francesca the rep knew just when to speak and when to keep quiet - she was very good and helpful. The day at Sintra was the best of the whole week. We stayed behind after the coach had left and visited the Moorish Castle, the Pena Palace and the National Palace all in a day. Then the train back to Lisbon only cost 1.60 if a ticket is bought from the kiosk - not the automated machine. Sheraton Hotel in Porto was just superb. Just the way a hotel should be. Then there was the Hotel Pousada in Cascais. An experience not to be missed, or repeated. This was a mixture of Portmeirion, Fawlty Towers and a Salvador Dali masterpiece. Almost beyond description, but interesting, very interesting! The itinerary could do with tweaking. We spent too long on the coach, either staving off sleep on long motorway trips or being jolted all over the place in narrow backstreets of Lisbon and Porto that were not made for coaches. General consensus was that Riviera are the best around for this type of holiday; roll on Rome in October.
Review by Frank Yates on 10 June 2015
This tour, ably managed by Francesca, was at least as good as my twenty previous tours with the company. Three excellent (and very different) hotels, and a fascinating programme for my first visit to Portugal.
Review by John Fidler on 13 June 2015
Just returned from another excellent Riviera tour, this time to Western Portugal. As usual all hotels were excellent, all tours were interesting and informative, and Francesca, our Tour Guide, was always on hand with useful local information, without being over intrusive. Well done.
Review by C.Gunn on 13 June 2015
This was our first tour with Riviera and also our first guided holiday so quite a change from independent travel we have always undertaken before. I can only praise Riviera for an excellently planned and managed trip with a perfect blend of group and independent time. We were most impressed with all the hotels and enjoyed the eco inspired Inspira Hotel in Lisbon. All guides were brilliant and in particular would like to thank our Tour Manager Keith who brought the country to life and provided much information on every conceivable topic. I have come away wanting to return to this lovely country and also explore new ones with your Company. Many Thanks indeed.
Review by Amanda Rumble on 14 June 2015
This was our third tour with Riviera, and again, it was very well organised. The calm approach of our leader, Keith, contributed to the relaxed atmosphere of this holiday, and his knowledge of the places we visited was much appreciated. The additional local guides who came with us on our tours of Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra were an added bonus! This was a wonderful tour for gaining a taste of Portugal… cities, villages,wine and port tasting, and was enhanced by the excellent hotels in which we stayed.
Review by Jenny Castell on 16 June 2015
A superb tour led by a Tour Manager, Francesca Taylor, who was excellent - enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Portugal, strong on organisational ability, good humoured, caring and good at recognizing particular needs within the group. Local guides were good, in particular Tiago in Lisbon (where each member of a large group benefitted from the use of a personal sound system.) An expert coach driver who on a number of occasions had to use considerable skill in tight traffic conditions in the cities and on the narrow Douro Valley roads. Hotel in Lisbon - Lisboa Plaza - a delight.
Review by Judy and Roger Burkey on 23 June 2015
Our first time with Riviera and the first time we have done a tour. Our rep. Francesco, was very good and the local guides were excellent, particularly Tiago in Lisbon, he used headsets to communicate with the group which was excellent and kept everyone in touch with the commentary regardless of any other noises. All hotels were very good, particularly the Sheraton in Porto. Like another reviewer, the trip to Sintra we decided to return by train to give us more time in this beautiful place, where we visited the Palace and the gardens and architecture of A Quinta da Reglaeira, a 20 minute walk from the centre. Would have liked a bit more time to explore Porto and Cascais. We will certainly consider travelling with Riviera in the future.
Review by John and Pat Poulson on 27 June 2015
This was our 9th trip with Riviera and it lived up to the high standards that we know and expect from your excellent company. The weather was wonderful, the hotels and coach drivers first rate and our tour manager Valerie was priceless! Her dry sense of humour, good choice of eating places and the ability to get us free port and cherry brandy were a bonus. Every waiter seemed to greet her as an old friend.
The town tour of Lisbon could be changed a little we feel, leaving us to explore the old town and cathedral on our own and keeping the coach tour just for the outlying parts. Similarly, in Porto, some of the more elegant parts of the city were missed out of the town tour when a little extra walking would have allowed us to see them more.
However, the trips to Sintra, Coimbra and the Douro Valley were all well organised and most enjoyable, all rounded off by a day at the seaside in Cascais.
Thank you to all involved.
Review by Richard & Eileen Hart on 17 July 2015
Well done Riviera! Really enjoyed the above tour and as usual everything was excellent. The Sheraton Hotel in Oporto was very comfortable and the food was excellent. Well taken care of by Annette and the whole trip was very interesting. Looking forward to the next holiday with your company.
Review by Mr & Mrs H Cameron on 4 September 2015
Have just returned from a tour of Portugal and just loved it. I’ve been on quite a few Riviera holidays now and have always been impressed with your guides but this particular one, Valerie, was a real star. We all just loved her.
Review by Maureen Hope on 11 September 2015
I would like to thank you for arranging a very enjoyable holiday. In particular I would like to say how good the tour guide was. Her name was Valerie Richmond. Her knowledge about the places visited was extensive, she was kind,caring and considerate throughout the time spent in Portugal, always putting her clients first. She made a point of getting to know everyone personally and was available almost 24 hours a day, dealing with any problems immediately where possible. Also, she had many amusing and entertaining stories which she related while we were travelling on the coach. I have been on many holidays with a variety of different tour companies but Valerie is the best guide ever!!! Hopefully we will meet her again on another tour.
Review by Mrs. Pamela Brown on 18 September 2015
Another wonderful holiday with Riviera. Yes, we would have liked more time in many places, but you can’t do everything in one week. The hotels were up to our expectations. Our room in the Pousada was like a mini-suite. It may have been a dungeon or a gun emplacement originally, but transformed beautifully, with a view over the marina. We enjoyed meals in local restaurants, and also those included in the hotels where we stayed. Everywhere we found people very friendly and helpful. Many thanks to our tour guide Paul, keeping us all in order and the schedule on time; Nuno, our driver from Lisbon to Porto and back, and the tours in between with all the twisting, narrow roads. He was amazing, and so calm. Thanks also to our knowledgeable local guides, who are very much appreciated. Once again we had great travelling companions, all with praise for Riviera. I could write so much more, but must stop here. Can’t praise Riviera enough for all the organisation that makes these tours so good, now that we no longer want to ‘do our own thing’.
Where next? Now that’s a problem!
Review by Joan Clark on 28 September 2015
This was my second 8-day holiday with Riviera. I only used to go on city breaks, but I have been converted to the style of holiday the company offers. I sense the efforts that have gone in to make the trips interesting and provide the value for money in terms of accomodation. Every person I spoke to on our trip seemed to me to be having an excellent time. Particular thanks to Paul for the way he looked after everyone and his interesting insight into Portugal.
Review by Douglas. on 11 October 2015
We have just returned from our 5th Riviera tour which we enjoyed immensely. Our guide, Valerie Richman, was excellent; hard working, caring, always smiling and helpful. She kept us entertained with stories and jokes on some of the longer bus journeys. All hotels were very good but we particularly like Hotel Inspira in Lisbon and the Pousada in Caiscais which was rather like a stunning modern art gallery. The visit to the Duoro valley and vineyard was spectacular. Personally I could have done without the shrine at Fatima but that is personal preference. A good introduction to Portugal which we have never visited. Please pass on our thanks to Valerie.
Review by Jane and Ray Craig on 25 October 2015
We would like to say that our tour of Lisbon and the Douro valley from the 14th to the 21st of October 2015 exceed all our expectations. The tour manager,Valerie was brilliant she had a wonderful sense of humour and had exceptional personnel skills. All the itinerary was fully explained and timings always prompt. Bruno was a great driver and always cheerful. We travelled as a group of 4 and will certainly travel with you again. I will be looking forward to the 2016 brochure!! Many thanks again for looking after us.
Review by Ray Pam Pete Cherry. on 3 November 2015
We have just returned from the Lisbon, Oporto and Douro Valley tour and would like to tell you how much we enjoyed it. It was well planned and the hotels were excellent, in fact they were the best we have stayed in. We would also like to mention our Tour Manager, Valerie, who apart from being well informed and well organised, was also very entertaining with her amusing stories, especially on the motorway journeys. We look forward to choosing our next tour with Riviera.
Review by Cherry Elloway on 3 November 2015
Fab holiday in Lisbon recently from Dublin Hotels fab food great & Valerie just the best guide we ever had what a lovely person - so nice we will travel with you again keep up the standards top notch thanks again. Well done Valerie xxxx
Review by Mary & Brian Fleming on 3 November 2015
Our calm and resourceful tour manager, Yasmin, helped make for an interesting and well organised holiday. It was a very good introduction to this part of Portugal but we could have done with some more free time to explore by ourselves eg at Cascais. Lots of safe coach travel (thanks to Nuno’s excellent driving skills) with a sensible policy of allocated seating. Good, contrasting hotels in lovely locations – decent food and facilities but the bar at the Sheraton (Oporto) was very expensive. On the other hand, the reception staff were extremely friendly and helpful in spite of some ‘computer’ glitches and the hotel was only a 7 euro taxi ride into Oporto. The guide at Taylor’s Port Lodge was passionate and informative; as was the farm manager in the Douro Valley but, according to several women on the trip, he was also very dishy. On that trip, one of our highlight meals, was when we discovered a back street restaurant in Peso da Regua and ordered what the locals were having for lunch. We enjoyed all the visits but it was a shame the park at the Sintra Pena Palace was closed because of damage caused by severe storms the previous day. When in Sintra, try to find time to visit the palace and park etc at the Quinta da Regaleira about 300 yards past the Tourist Centre and the Lawrence Hotel.