WE started our vacation in Ponta Delgado, on Sao Miguel Island on July 18, visiting our daughter's husband's family, the Ferreira clan. Our first experience with the Portuguese life and country side in the Azores. We drove all over this island, as guests of the Ferreira family.
Then we flew on July 31 to Lisbon. The greeting from Cesar and Sofia from Splendid Evasion, was wonderful. The Neya Eco Hotel was wonderful. The next day tour was wonderful, as we encountered many historical landmarks, including a trip to the Belem area, all in just one day, and walked many kilometers. We picked up our automatic rental vehicle with GPS, and headed to Coimbra on Aug. 2, with the most amazing tour of the Mira de Aire Caves, and a second stop to Tomar for the Knights Templar Castle and Convent of Christ. We missed the University of Coimbra, but our Tivoli Hotel was very good.
WE then travelled from city to country, really old country, and visited the Schist Village with a walking tour in 40 to 45 degree heat, near Lousa. again the guide was amazing with his knowledge We swam in the pool and the mountain springs water at the bottom, which was a relief from the heat!!
Then we drove to The Wine Estate of Quinta de Marrocos, which was explained earlier, a little disappointing. No way of cooling off, no beer, just wine, port or water. Poor meal planning, with a very limited meal options. (not recommended to others).
The next day was in Pinhao, in extreme heat, with little to do and no cooling off option, (only a 1 hour boat ride) unless Port tasting, and being from Canada, we are committed to No Drinking and driving, for everyone's safety! This day was not fun, or productive at all, and not recommended.
Aug. 5, and we drove to the International Douro Nature Park, which was a fantastic afternoon kayaking with Pedro Cordeiro in the Miranda do Douro Valley or canyon. In Genisio, we found a hidden gem in Casa De L Cura. We were concerned at first, then pleasantly surprised with what Pedro had found for us from our local agency. Every hotel we visited, had excellent breakfasts, not all had evening dinner menus, as one had to drive for half an hour to find an alternative restaurant. Thanks to Pedro and Sofia for their dinner suggestions, many were enjoyed.
Then we came to Porto, and again, an excellent day on Aug. 6 and Aug 7, with an excellent tour host Deiogo, and we were visited by Pedro and Cesar, as well. WE have seen so many neighbourhoods and points of interest, with comfort, along our Portuguese tour, that most tourists would not have the opportunity, with our thanks to the local agency and Evaneos for this special concept of travel. Our day was completed with a tour of the Port Wine Cellars of Ferreira, and loved the bridge walk and touring in Porto. Yes, again our hotel was unique, small, yet efficient, and the staff were very courteous at HF Fenix. We had another day of many kilometers.
The flight from Porto to Barcelona was the ONLY big complaint we have.
The staff at both our Portugese and Spanish local agencies were exceptional!! Very Good at communication and customer care and courtesy, which will get our full recommendation to Trip Advisor. All bookings were easy to follow, and we had no headaches, except the driving portion in a foreign country, and even that, got easier with practice with our GPS and our short time in Portugal. All people we met in our journey were wonderful, from the agents, to the tour guides, to the hotel staff, and in addition the local Portuguese people were also kind in assisting us.
We will inform and recommend to our friends, of this new way to travel, with Evaneos concept of vacations!!! God Bless All !!
Peace, Joy, Hope and Love;
Doug and Loraine Purdey
My wife and I are from Canada, and we loved the nature side of our tours; but we are also a couple that love human history and religious history. We found both in our tours of mainland Portugal, from Lisbon to Porto over 10 days. All our Tour Guides, selected by our local agent Pedro Zenha, explained hours of history to us, in every town and city we visited, and they took us on some amazing tours of caves at Mira De Aire, near Coimbra, and tours in the Schist Village near Lamego, and kayaking in the International Douro Nature Park. Even though we could not speak Portuguese, we found everyone in our travels from the travel agents, to our tour guides, to local citizens assisted us with kindness along our journey, with their knowledge of English to communicate with us. The history tours were excellent, and all tour guides explained so much information, with lots of patience, as we took many videos to share.
We are so grateful to Pedro, Cesar and Sofia, of our local agency, for being excellent communicators with us entirely through our Evaneos experience!!!
We will be telling our story to everyone we meet, in our travelling circle of friends about Portugal and Evasion Vacations!!
First, if someone is from Canada or US, strongly recommend vehicles for rental, with Automatic transmission. WE Did, and it was so wise!! The agency helped us with this change from standard trans. to automatic. Secondly, strongly encourage one's rental to have GPS! WE DID, and it was imperative to the success of our vacation. The roads and countryside and towns, are much easier to navigate with these additions. Without them, you will be in stress, for many hours and days!! Thanks to our agency for adding to their tour book, the GPS coordinates, allowing us to find our way, without too much stress.
Also, we had an awkward reception and stay at Quinta de Marrocos, poor signage, very few staff, poor small showers, poor communication for meals, and insufficient means of cooling off, in the heat. We missed our Port/Wine tasting at Quinta de Marrocos and the next day the Rabelo Boat tour, or any boat tour was too short and could have been longer than the 1 hour tour to appreciate the Douro Valley, other than driving through it. Meals at this location, were too limited in selection. We had no desire to drive to Pinhao, for meals.
Also, Evaneos staff, please inform everyone in your network, to CEASE doing business with Vueling Airlines, of Spain!! WE were one couple of 200 people, removed from our plane at 9:00 am, set to depart at 9:15 am, as the Pilot informed us that their management has assigned this plane for another application. All the passengers luggage had to be removed, and we were not informed from where to pick them up! WE were later informed at 12:30 to take a 2 hour bus ride to Vigo, Spain and at 2:30 pm. our bus arrived at Vigo. We were informed that the flight supposed to depart at 22:45, was further delayed to 12:30 pm.. We arrived in Barcelona at 2:30 AM, and our hotel in Barcelona at 3:00 AM!! We had informed our two travel agent companies, of our delay and frustration, and they shared our disgust for Vueling. Action to Cease doing any future business with them is strongly recommended. Ana, from our Spanish local agency, accommodated our booked tours, in Barcelona. It was compressed and tiring, but still fulfilling in the walking history tour of Barcelona.
These two tour companies, communicated extremely well with us, and should be praised for their customer care. They could not change the airline problems with such short notice. Save your future clients from future headaches with Vueling. We have applied for fair compensation (x 2 passengers) from Vueling, for their failure to deliver our flights on time, as per their Customer Care Policy.