Delayed but worth the wait - 12 months after the original planned dates, Eagle E-Types’ tour of Portugal in June did not disappoint.
12 days, 11 beautiful cars and endless stretches of ever-changing Portuguese countryside provided the backdrop for a magnificent tour carefully curated by our partners, Tour de Force. Well known for their unique ability to unite a wonderful mix of 5 star hotels, fabulous meals, amazing roads and quirky surprises, Tour de Force have once again outdone themselves with Eagle’s latest tour of Portugal, ‘Iberian Eagle’. Joining us on this trip was renowned photographer Amy Shore and a two-man team of Eagle mechanics to provide backup should the need arise.
The hilly streets of Porto were the starting point for this adventure with all of the cars prepared, fuelled and delivered to The Yeatman Hotel ready for kick off on 2nd June
Porto to Douro Valley
Day two’s driving saw the bustling streets of Porto thin out to pockets of little villages and stunning vistas over the Douro river. Winding through the hills of the Douro valley, tiered vineyards and snaking country lanes led the way along the river to our next stop for two nights, the Six Senses hotel. A rest day at this beautiful 19th Century manor house gave everyone the chance to make new friendships, reacquaint old ones and make the most of this fabulous hotel and spectacular setting.
Douro Valley to Longroiva
The Douro River continued to lead the theme for Day four with the route continuing eastwards before heading into the lesser travelled ‘Alto Douro’ and our lunch stop at Quinta do Vesuvio. Not normally open to the public, this traditional winery owned by the Symington Family is still one of a handful where grapes are still crushed underfoot. A tour, Port tasting and traditional Portuguese lunch completed this welcome interlude before a short drive over the hills to the next Hotel in the small village of Longroiva. If the day had not been special enough, another TDF surprise awaited us with an alfresco dinner overlooking the Douro river.
Longroiva to Serra da Estrela
Vineyards and valleys gave way to mountains and stunning views on Day five as the tour made its way up and over the mountain of Serra da Estrela. The roads of the National park wind up and around beautiful valleys, steep drop offs and dam walls to the summit where our route lopped around to make the most of these stunning roads. Descending into the village of Manteigas, a fascinating tour of the Burel factory where they still use traditional machinery to produce woollen products was our next stop before a short drive to our hotel for the night, Casa de São Lourenço.
Serra da Estrela to Cotas
Day six leaves behind the chilly mountain air and back down into the more familiar valleys and rolling hills. Cobbled streets and stone houses lined tiny villages along the route before making our way west along the river Alva towards our destination for the next two days, the wonderfully quaint village of Cotas. Once an abandoned village, Villa Pedras Natural Houses have been tastefully renovated into a small community of homes with a traditional Portuguese feel. Another rest day in this stunning rural setting allowed for exploration of the nearby town of Coimbra as well as the popular option of some tracking shots with Amy during the afternoon.
Cotas to Monforte
Another scenery change for Day 8 as we headed through quiet country lanes and gentle hills covered with Eucalyptus trees. With the heat increasing as we headed south across the Tejo river and into the Alentejo region, the landscape changed yet again into wide open spaces dotted with cork trees. The cars were coping with the mid 30 degree heat masterfully although their owners a little less so - the welcoming pool of our next hotel gave much needed respite and a relaxed BBQ dinner gave everyone to catch up with the days adventure.
Monforte to Monsaraz
Alentejo continued to be our focus for Day 9 and with the heat increasing (42 degrees showed after another wonderful traditional lunch) we trailed onwards through an area with important Megalithic history towards our hotel for the next two nights, São Lourenço do Barrocal. Combining the best of the old and new, the hotel was a fabulous back drop to explore the Dolmens, Menirs and Cromlechs of the Megalithinc period with Tour de Force gem Eddi as well as venturing into the near-by hill top village of Monsaraz. Another TDF ‘special’ dinner awaited as we enjoyed another alfresco dinner in the old ‘Bee-Hive’ followed by a star gazing experience with a local astronomer making the most of the pristine dark skies.
Monsaraz to Lisbon
Our final drive on Day 11 said farewell to the heat of the Alentejo and headed to our final destination, Lisbon. With the cars safely loaded, the afternoon was free to explore the vibrant city, so different from the calm and laid back atmosphere of our starting point in Porto.
Our final dinner at the wonderful Prado restaurant ended a fabulous tour - firm friendships made, adventures shared and members of the Eagle family united by the cars doing what they were designed to do...