Rail Journeys

Amazing Lisbon, Sintra and Evora

Tour Date: 22 to 29 June 2023
Location: Portugal

A seven-night railway holiday based for all 7-nights at a recently refurbished hotel in Lisbon.

A seven-night railway holiday based at a recently refurbished hotel in Lisbon. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience Portugal’s capital city and its historic trams and palaces, as well as having the chance to explore the central part of the country and travel by train to see three towns which hold important positions in Portugal’s history: Tomar with its UNESCO listed 12th century convent, the Royal Town of Sintra with its famous tram and palaces and the Roman city of Évora, crossing the iconic 25th April Bridge (a massive suspension road bridge that was subsequently fitted with a lower rail deck) by train. We also include visits to the hill-top Moorish Castle and Pena Palace, and the National Railway Museum in Entroncamento. There really is something for everyone on this trip.

We will have leisurely days with time for lunch at the places we visit.

Tour Highlights

  • All seven nights in the Marriott Moxy Lisboa Oriente
  • UNESCO listed Convento do Cristo in Tomar
  • The beautiful Royal town of Sintra
  • Cruise on the River Tagus
  • Pena Palace and Moorish Castle in Sintra
  • All travel is by rail (except short bus transfer in Sintra)

Tour Itinerary

This morning we shall explore Lisbon’s historic tram system using one of the tourist tram routes now in operation, covering much of the famous route 28 and the 25. After our tram tour, we shall join our river cruiser to first cross the River Tagus to Cacilhas where we can have lunch in one of the traditional restaurants near the pier. Later we continue our cruise down to Belém and see the city from the river. Belem is one of the most important areas of the city, with the Discoveries Monument, Belem Tower and the UNESCO listed Jerónimos Monastery. Here amongst many interesting areas we can see the Tomb of Vasco da Gama, the Cloisters and the tiled Refectory. You also have time to relax in the nearby Botanical Gardens. These were laid out on two levels in 1768 and include a 400-year-old dragon tree and geometrical box hedged gardens. Alternatively, for the tram fans, explore the modern tram system south of the river, which starts in Cacilhas. We start today at 10:00 and hope to be back at the hotel by 18:00.

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Torre de Belem (BigStockPhoto)

We will spend today in the Roman town of Évora, in Portugal’s Alentejo region. Sights include the Roman Temple of Diana built in the 2nd Century AD, the convent, the cathedral, the bones chapel and the aqueduct. We take an intercity train direct from Lisbon. On arrival at Évora we walk from the station into the walled part of the city to Geraldo Square from where the narrow streets radiate out in all directions. Make sure you sample the rich Alentejo style food at lunch time. Évora is one of Portugal’s more important cities and in 2011 the railway line was upgraded and electrified to allow 200 km/h running. We cross the River Tagus on the famous 25th April Bridge, giving yet another view of the city. We depart Lisbon Oriente station at 09:02 arriving into Evora at 10:35. Return from Evora at 16:57 arriving Lisbon at 18:36.

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Temple of Diana, Evora (ALAMY)

Today we head north by rail to Tomar. Tomar is one of Portugal’s historical jewels and more significantly was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction. Tomar was especially important in the 15th century when it was a centre of Portuguese overseas expansion under Henry the Navigator, the Grand Master of the Order of Christ, successor organisation to the Templars in Portugal. In 2013, the Guardian elected the UNESCO listed Convento de Cristo in Tomar as the most spectacular place to visit in Portugal.” Founded by the Knights Templar, it’s a beautiful, mysterious and magical place, wonderful to discover and enjoy.” We will have ample time to explore this town, including a visit to the Convent. Enroute we alight from the train in Entroncamento to visit the much expanded and improved rail museum. Join the main group in Tomar after your visit. We depart Lisbon Oriente station at 09:39 on a comfortable loco hauled Inter-City service to Entroncamento with 90 minutes to visit the railway museum before we take a regional train to Tomar arriving 12:42. During our visit we will have a 1-hour break for lunch with plenty of good restaurants to choose from. We depart Tomar at 17:39 and again change at Entroncamento onto an Intercity service back to Lisbon arriving 19:37.

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Convent of the Order of Christ, Tomar (ALAMY)

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Sintra Tramway (ALAMY)

Sintra is awash with beautiful and historic palaces and castles. Using the regular service bus we will visit two of the most interesting, Pena Palace and Park and the Moorish Castle. Located in the Sintra hills, Pena Park and Palace are the fruit of King Ferdinand II’s creative genius and the greatest expression of 19th-century Romanticism in Portugal, The palace was built in such a way as to be visible from any point in the park, which consists of a forest and luxuriant gardens with over five hundred different species of trees originating from the four corners of the earth. From the Moorish Castle you can admire a unique landscape that stretches to the Atlantic Ocean. Overlooking the Serra de Sintra, it consists of a fortification built after the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. There is also a tramway in Sintra with wonderful over tram cars for the journey down to Apple Beach! Trains to Sintra run every 15 minutes and we aim to catch the 10:18 service arriving into Sintra at 11:05. During our tour there will be a 1-hour break for lunch. We want a relaxed day so we aim to return from Sintra around 17:30 for 18:30 arrival back at our hotel.

Pena Palace (ALAMY)

Today is a free day in Lisbon. Armed with our transport ticket covering the metro, buses, trams and funiculars, we will have the whole day to explore this fascinating city. To begin, we suggest you catch the route 15 tram (normally operated by modern low-floor trams) for a journey along the waterfront to the area of Belém, whose Tower (Torre de Belém) was built between 1515 and 1521. After time for lunch in one of the local restaurants, you can take another vintage tramcar to the area of Ajuda. Here you find the Neo-Classical 19th-century National Palace of Ajuda. No expense was spared on this former royal residence, including the extraordinary Saxe Room in which every piece of furniture is decorated with Meissen porcelain.

Alternatively, from Praça da Figueira catch a vintage tram on route 12 to the Moorish Castelo de São Jorge. This castle, which dominates the city skyline, offers the best views of the city. Then explore the historic Alfama area of the old city.

For transport enthusiasts consider visiting the CARRIS tram museum at the tram depot in St Amaro (on route 15) where you will have the chance to ride on a tram dating from 1901. Don’t forget the three funiculars in Lisbon, all dating from more than 100 years ago, and the iconic Santa Justa Lift.

Another option is to travel on routes 25 or 28 to Estrela, with the 18th century Basilica da Estrela which can be seen from all over Lisbon. Across the road is Estrela Park, where you can mix with local families out for a stroll, and enjoy an oasis of peace and quiet in the middle of this bustling city.

Or take a train from Cais Sodré along the Estoril coast to the swanky seaside resort of Cascais. This is a very scenic line, running within sight of the sea much of the way. Indeed, the Estoril line was the first in Portugal to be electrified and for many years was operated as an independent railway.

Your tour manager will be able to advise you on these and the many other things to see and do.

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Lisbon Tram (Alamy)

Today we head north, by train of course, to the walled town of Obidos. Enchanting Óbidos is one of Portugal’s most beautiful destinations and one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval villages or walled towns. Everywhere you turn is a postcard view, and that has inevitably made it one of the country’s most visited sites. But tourism hasn’t ruined its authenticity, with around two thousand people still living in its pretty whitewashed houses with gothic doorways, potted plants and bougainvillea, all inside the crenellated walls of an ancient castle. Please note that there is quite a steep climb up to the town from the station so please opt out of today’s visit if you feel unable to walk up a hill for about half a mile (1km). We catch the 11:40 train which gets us to Obidos at 14:10. After time for a light lunch and your own exploration we catch the 16:21 train arriving back at our hotel by 19:20 (there is a train an hour later should you wish to spend more time in Obidos.

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Óbidos (ALAMY)

You are free to choose when to leave for the airport as we include a taxi transfer to the nearby airport (the airport in Lisbon is still very central and only 10-15 minutes walk from our hotel.

Eating out in Portugal is very reasonable and allow 10 EUR for lunch and 25 EUR for dinner each day will be plenty.

Prices & Options

Holiday Prices

  • Full 8-day holiday joining in Lisbon: £1,295
  • Full 8-day holiday including flights from the UK: £1,525
  • Full 12-day holiday by rail from St Pancras: POA


  • Single Room Supplement: £230


  • £600 with flights or £300 if joining in Lisbon

Transport & Accommodation


  • Hotel Regua Douro, Regua (5 nights)
  • Legendary Hotel, Batalha, Porto (2 nights plus another 3 on the Minho add-on)

Flight Options

  • FR8343 09.25 Stansted to Porto (arr.11.50)
  • TP1331 12.00 Gatwick to Porto (arriving 14.20)
  • EZ2097 07:20 Luton to Porto (arr. 09:45)
  • BA2872 14:15 Heathrow to Porto (arr.16:35)
  • EZ6147 18:10 Bristol to Porto (arr 20:20)
  • FR1175 18:55 Manchester to Porto (arr 21:15) – going out Wednesday
  • FR8514 06:55 Birmingham to Porto (arr. 09:15) – going out Wednesday