Dan Hodges, Canada, August 2016
“Hi Caterina, I’ll reply to you, and you can do what you wish, but might be helpful for ongoing projects.
Thankyou so much for the port wine bottle and the cookies = beyond expectations snd a nice touch.
The book was helpful even though we did not accomplish nearly all.
Loved Portugal and southern Spain,
Trip to San Miguel excellent and enjoyed the guides very much
The hotels were all excellent; really enjoyed the one in Evora by the Roman ruins (old monastery)
Tavira was great, and Lagos exceptional. We took a small boat tripamong the formations that was well worth it!!
maybe could have had a hotel in Seville to avoid a lot of driving
The guide in Saville was superb!!
Hint of a time change into Spain would be helpful as the cars add an hour expected driving..
We did not know the breakdown of how money was spent, but not so bad
The tip recommendations probably high, and they seemed surprised when we did, but we had no idea of how much we paid them.
The final dinner, which we had missed on our first day was extremely good and highly recommended although we again had no idea of what we paid, so tipping was more difficult
Please recommend that dinner to everyone, but I would recommend it be on the second night so as to avoid jet lag. if possible
Wine tasting good, and recommend the town near by Mon…old town with bull fighting fort; well worth it
The little waterfall near Tavira had dried up, but no worry.
Overall. a wonderful time in Portugal with great wine and food and people
Tom Edmonds, USA, June 2016
We had a great time on the trip. Can’t believe that we checked into 8 hotels, rented two cars with a transfer in between, went on at least 7 excursions and there were zero hiccups! Your organizational skills were amazing. I hope you don’t mind but I have copied Julie Beck on this email. She is traveling to Spain and Portugal and we would like to make her our first referral to you. There will be many more. Julie is a world class traveler and knows everyone so the word will spread fast about you if she is as happy with your services as we were.
I’ll try to summarize the high and low points below (there weren’t many lows)
Favorite cities – Porto and Seville
Favorite small towns – Pinhao (probably the highlight of the trip for us) and White hill towns (particularly Grazelema, Ronda, and Zahara) Evora would be next followed by Valencia and Malaga. Lisbon was okay but didn’t have any sites better than Porto or Seville and was more difficult to get around. The only towns we didn’t like were Jerez and Arcos de Frontera.
Best two spots were DOC in Douro and Carmen Mirador de Aixa in Granada (both with amazing food and beautiful), followed closely by a meal we had on the waterfront in the Triana area of Seville called Abades Triana. .
Best inexpensive dive would have to be Ora Viva in Porto ,1/4 Para as 9 in Evora or El Aji in Seville. We ate at lots of quality Tapas Bars in Valencia, Seville, Ronda (Tragatapas), Porto, and Lisbon. The only tapas restaurant I would not recommend would be Bodegas Castaneda in Granada. Service was horrible. We actually left after drinks and before dinner was ordered because they were so rude.
The meal at the Fada dinner at Mesa de Frades was authentic and a pleasant surprise.
A real highlight of the trip. All hotels were outstanding in their own way.
Best Splurge was definitely the Yeatman. Stunning hotel and worth the price. Only downside was long walk to town but it felt good to stretch our legs after the big dinners.
Slightly behind the Yeatman but still amazing was the Vintage House in Pinhao.
3rd through 5th place would go to the three posadas/paradors (Rhonda, Evora, and Lisbon, probably in that order).
Rounding out the stellar list would be the Hotel Becquer in Seville, the Suites Gran Via in Granada, and the Vincci Lys in Valencia (in that order). All were centrally located and roomy.
A. Planned activities – Our favorites would have to be the guided tour of Porto with Ricardo, who was outstanding, and the Alhambra tour (although the guide wasn’t great). A nice surprise was the wine tasting in Evora. The surroundings were not great but our guide was excellent. Patricia was a good guide in Lisbon but the city wasn’t as interesting as Porto. The Fado dinner was great. The singing was professional but we tired of it after a few hours and it was getting very late. The Flamenco night was a little bit of a disappointment. The singers were just so so and talked amongst themselves instead of interacting with the audience. We got the impression that they were very arrogant. We wished we had gone to a more authentic show in the Sacromonte district of Granada. The Douro cruise was relaxing but the views were better from the roads.
B. Unplanned activities – I’ll rate these by stars since we did so many.
5 stars – Hike down into Gorge in Ronda near Puente Nuevo. Electric Bike tour of Albaicin and Sacromonte in Granada. Bike Ride to Arts and Science Center in Valencia (spent half day in Oceanographic Sea Park, very nice). Personal walking tour of Seville (good during day but even better at night) including downtown, Plaza de Espana, and Barrio Santa Cruz. Visiting Livraria Lello bookstore in Porto.
4 stars – Picasso Museum in Malaga. Hike near Grazelema. Porto wine tasting in small Quinta Marrocos near Peso de Regua in Douro area. Visiting Bull fighting ring and museum in Ronda.
3 stars – Climbing towers in Valencia, Porto, and Lisbon. Walking tour of Evora. Wine tasting in Porto. Bike ride in Seville.
C. Activities we didn’t get to but kind of wish we did Vuelve Carolina Restaurant in Valencia – looked nice but fully booked.
Visit Murcia, Belmonte, Almarante, Guimaraes, Obidos, and Sintra which were all nearby.
Arabic baths in Granada
Watch flamenco in Sacromonte instead of Seville.
Take a tour of Alcazar and Cathedral in Seville (we passed because of recent visits to Alhambra and other cathedrals) Watch a bullfight – timing just did not work out.
Eat at Ode Porto Wine House and Majestic Cafe in Porto- just not enough time.
Visit Monastery and tower in Belem area of Lisbon.”
Warren & Johanne , Canada, May 2016
“So Filipa, here we are again back in Montreal. Vacations go too quickly.
The trip was great. We really enjoyed the east coast of Spain and all of the hotels were perfect in terms of quality and location. Walking tour was great, GPS well programmed and hotel/airport pick-ups on time. Finally the itinerary worked well. Perhaps Zaragoza could have been dropped as there is not too much to do, but it was interesting as it was a bit of an insight into the non-touristic part of Spain. Barcelona and Valencia were wonderful. Hotels in just the right spot made touring through the city easy. In Barcelona we were five minutes from the Gothic Centre and five minutes from the beach if we wanted to relax. Tarragona was very interesting. The Hotel, Mas La Bella, was out of the town, but so beautiful we took the opportunity to eat there (wonderful meals if a bit pricy). Finally Gerona was the perfect ending. We were ten minutes from the town centre, which is the most beautiful medieval city I have ever seen (mind you the hotel is on a mountain overlooking the town and while it was ten minutes down to the town, it was a taxi back to the hotel). The surrounding area was an adventure. As you recall I had a concern with driving through mountains. Well we went to Cadaques and Tossa de Mar. Not for the faint of heart! Having conquered the drive to Cadaques, I regretted not keeping your first itinerary.
Net net Filipa, we had a great trip. Thank you. We will happily send comment to your web site if you wish.
Warren & Johanne”
Janet and Greville, USA, September 2015
“Hello Joana we have been home for nearly one week now and the jetlag is disappearing though it has been quite bad. We want to thank you for your organisation of our holiday in Portugal which we think is a lovely country. Having drivers to pick us up from every arrival point and take us to our hotel is a luxury we have not experienced before but it certainly removes a lot of stress. Without exception the drivers were on time or early special mention please to Rosario who was very kind and I think conveyed to you our concern about the Lisbonaire Apartments. Their location was excellent of course but the noise was truly bad. We should have tipped Rosario but we are unused to tipping and do not want to insult people anyway please thank her.
The apartment you choose in Barcelona was excellent! The location was so convenient only 5 minutes’ walk from the Picasso Museum It was very large had an always changing look out to the street and we were told triple glazing!! Highly recommended.
I wish you Happy Holydays.”
Cathy Rosenberg, USA, December 2016
We want to thank you for providing us with an excellent vacation and experience.
We cannot overemphasize how well our itinerary was planned. Everyone and every location was efficient, professional and eager to help. We were especially impressed with the Britania Hotel in Lisbon. They were extremely helpful and professional (especially when you consider our luggage was lost in transit!) On our last morning, they even provided a cold breakfast for us before we left at 6:15 A.M.
Everything went extremely well, and we really enjoyed your beautiful country. I think we all agreed that Evora was our favorite location, with Fatima a distant second.
I can’t think of anything that could be improved upon except for maybe the hotel in Porta. While everyone was nice and helpful, the rooms were not as nice as any of the other hotels, and parking was atrocious. If there is anything that can be improved upon for this wonderful trip, it would be a better hotel in an easier location for parking a car.
We all would recommend your company for anyone who is interested in touring Portugal. Please feel free to use us as a reference, including any portion of this letter you think would be appropriate.
Again, thank you for a wonderful Portuguese experience.
Pat and David, Canada, November 2016
Just a quick note as we’re at the airport right now. Thanks so much for organizing such a varied and interesting trip in your beautiful country! I feel as though I learned a lot about the country and the wonderful people who live here.
Everyone we met related to your company and all of the facilities and tours were excellent. A special remembrance to our walking guides – Sophia, Roderigue, Carla and the wonderful staff at the Hotel Britania.
Thank you again for the welcome gifts – we are taking them home to enjoy!
All the best and thank you again,
Pat Penner and David West”
Victoria Corbett, Canada, October 2016
“Good morning Sofia,
Many thanks to you and Portugal Trails for organizing such an excellent trip for us. The support materials from the road book to the preprogrammed GPS made following the itinerary extremely easy. We appreciated all the excursions you organized and thoroughly enjoyed our time on the ocean and beside the ocean.
Thanks also for your careful selection of charming hotels. We enjoyed them all from Madeira to Cascais.
We also appreciated the restaurant recommendations with the programmed locations along the way.
We have done a number of self drive trips but the organization and attention to detail from you and Portugal Trails was particularly impressive.
We would highly recommend Portugal Trails to anyone.
Thanks again, Sofia”
Liz & Victor, USA, September 2016
“Good morning Nuno,
We are also back home safe and sound! Our trip to Portugal was very enjoyable. Your country is very beautiful and clean!!!!!!!!! We were happy to have our friends along with us on this journey especially on some of those long car rides!
We especially loved Sintra and wish we had more time there. After spending 3 nights in Lagos, we felt it was too long. The hotel was lovely but a bit too quiet for us. Our hike tour with Carla was incredible! She was the best! We bought some wine at the Fonseca Winery. The Churches and Castles we visited were beautiful!
The GPS was a great help and got us to our destinations without too much confusion. I must say though that we have never experienced so many round-abouts in our driving history! lol
Vanessa was great and available to answer any questions we had when needed. Our experience with you and Portugal Trails was great. I must admit, in the beginning we were unsure about having to pay for the entire trip up front, but seeing your professionalism and the package that was presented to us at the airport (thank you for the gifts!) was very comforting. Thank you for making our trip a memorable one. We will definitely recommend you to any of our friends and/or family!
Kirsten Betts, Canada, September 2016
I hope your boss knows how outstanding you are at your job! You booked us the most amazing tour. We loved every minute of it. The accommodation that you chose for us was truly out of this world. We could not believe how amazing the locations, the buildings themselves, the history of the buildings, and the great service. They were really amazing choices. The 2 walking tours were a huge highlight for us. We got to see and learn so much and we felt so lucky to be just the 2 of us when there were so many large tours around us. The guides were so knowledgeable, such nice people, so easy to spend 1/2 day with. Thank you. The drive through the Douro valley, to the winery, the castle at Marvao, all the out of the way places that we never would have seen if it weren’t for you. Our first evening there, we were feeling so tired, but the dinner and Fado were incredible. The drive there in the taxi through all those narrow winding streets was a thrill and the dinner was delicious and the service so great! I have heard people say before about a country: “ The people are so friendly”, for example people said that about New Zealand, however I didn’t notice any difference when I was there, however in Portugal, OH MY GOODNESS, you should be so proud to be Portuguese. My mom and I both felt that it was extremely noticeable and obvious that the Portuguese people were such great people. What a very nice trait for a country to have! I really can’t say enough. My mom wants to write you a note too because she just thinks you were amazing as well. Thank you so much! You were spectacular.
Darlene Nobre, USA, September 2016
“Cristina – once again we would like to thank you for putting together such a terrific itinerary for our recent trip to Portugal. We truly enjoyed every moment of it.
Having the preset itinerary along with the programmed GPS including points of interest gave us the opportunity to really explore Portugal. Also, the choices of hotels and their locations were perfect for us. We would have never found the hidden gems that you included in our itinerary. The tours selected for us while visiting the different locations were so perfect! They really gave us an understanding of the history of the areas we were visiting as well as the amazing landscapes.
We were very comfortable following our itinerary never questioning if we were going to stumble on some obstacles along the way, as we were confident that Cristina at PortugalTrails had taken care of every detail for us.
We look forward to working with you on our next vacation!
PS – Thank you so much for the beautiful soaps and cookies upon our arrival – that was very thoughtful!!”