Gardens & Palaces of Lisbon and Sintra

Monserrate Palace Sintra
Duration: 7 nights
Interests: Heritage Tours

Based in Ericeira on the Atlantic coast in a seafront hotel, just outside Lisbon, this trip ventures to the area’s most opulent historic palaces and stylish gardens. We’ll follow in the footsteps of Portuguese royalty at Queluz Palace and Sintra’s Royal Palace and explore the beauty of the formal gardens of the Fronteira Palace. There’s time to admire the ornate architecture of Jerónimos Monastery and to uncover the secrets of the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira with its unique ‘initiation well’ and extensive network of tunnels. The trip also includes a visit to the romantic hilltop Pena Palace and its surrounding gardens.

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore the mysterious gardens of Quinta de Regaleira
  • Discover hidden viewpoints in the romantic gardens of Palacio Nacional da Pena
  • Experience the harmony between the gardens and architecture of Palacio de Queluz
  • Enjoy the Monserrate Palace Gardens, planted with species from around the world and planted by geographical origin

What’s included

  • Good quality en-suite accommodation in one of our European partner hotels
  • Half Board – continental breakfast and evening meal
  • The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • All transport to and from gardens on a comfortable, good-quality mini coach
  • All gardens admissions costs (please note this does not include entrance to private homes or castles, for which there is a separate admission fee)

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

Once you arrive at Lisbon Airport, you will be met and taken to your hotel in Ericeira. There will be time to settle in and meet your Tour Manager and fellow guests before dinner.

Enjoy a day in Sintra visiting the Royal Palace, parts of which date back a thousand years. The heavy Moorish influence plays out in the details of this distinctive building. You’ll also be delighted by the Monserrate Palace – often overlooked as it lies just outside the historic centre of Sintra. This stunning ‘summer house’ is a blend of Indian, Gothic and Arabic styles. Its garden contains a variety species from around the world and is planted by geographical origin.

We begin today with a visit to the beautiful gardens at the Fronteira Palace, which were created in the 1660s. The formal gardens’ most eye-catching feature are the richly decorated walls adorned with coloured, glazed tilework following a blue and white theme. There are also many statues, stairways and fountains plus a large area of box hedging laid out to make geometric patterns. The gardens surround a sumptuous 17th century building which is privately owned by the Marquesses of Fronteira. Next up is Queluz Palace, the exquisite national palace which was one of the last great Rococo buildings to be designed in Europe. The palace was once home to Queen Dom Maria and her husband (who was also her uncle!) Dom Pedro III; the queen sadly suffered from mental health issues following the death of first her husband and then her son. The palace is surrounded by French influenced formal gardens complete with lakes, fountains and statues; the Tiled Ceramic Canal is decorated with typical 18th century scenes in glazed tiles.

Today we discover the incredible 14th century Jerónimos Monastery – one of the most decorative religious buildings in the country and historically associated with the early explorers. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses the tomb of famed explorer, Vasco de Gama, and features a cool contrast of interiors with vast vaulted ceilings. The ornately decorated cloisters are magnificent; each column is adorned with a different carving, with scenes of sea monsters, coils of rope, coral and other nautical themes. The monastery gardens date back to 1940 and feature hedges cut in the shape of various municipal coats of arms plus a large fountain. We’ll also visit the nearby tropical gardens which house a wide range of tropical and sub-tropical species from around the world. 

Each week there is a free day which gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or relax at our seafront hotel which has a well-equipped spa and outdoor swimming pools.

Ericeira: Go for a wander through the narrow, winding streets of Ericeria and perhaps sample some of the delicious pastries on offer in its patisseries. You could then make your way to one of the sandy beaches and watch the surfers bounce over the waves.

Lisbon: If you would like to do some exploring on your own in Lisbon, it can be reached using an express bus along the motorway and then get around using the city’s efficient Metro system. You could explore attractions such as St George’s Castle, the cathedral, aquarium and several world class museums including the Gulbenkian. Take a ride on a vintage city tram to view more of the city - an experience not to be missed!

The Eduardo VII Park is the largest public park in Lisbon and offers a stunning view of the city. You’ll also visit the Esufa Fria or ‘cold greenhouse’ which was built in the 1930s before we move on to Gulbenkian Foundation Gardens and Exhibition.

A visit to the Pena Palace and Park makes for a stunning end to the week. Lush green forests encircle this romantic-style hilltop palace. Wander through the park to discover hidden pathways leading to breathtaking viewpoints. The gardens of the decorative 20th-century mansion of Quinta da Regaleira are a real treat! Uncover the maze of hidden tunnels and learn about the concealed symbolism and connections with ancient secret orders.

Depart after a leisurely breakfast.

Hotel Vila Galé Ericeira - Lisbon Coast

Located in a traditional village in an enviable sea front location, the historic 4-star Hotel Vila Galé Ericeira is a local landmark building, listed for its unique green tiling. Low tide exposes the rocks immediately in front of the hotel and a lovely sandy beach. Guests can relax at the health club which offers sauna, Turkish bath, hot tub and spa treatments. Rooms with balconies and sea views are available. 


All the 202 en-suite bedrooms are spacious and offer a high standard of comfort. 

Each room has:

  • Air conditioning
  • Wi-Fi
  • TV
  • Telephone
  • Room safe
  • Minibar


Outside the hotel is a swimming pool overlooking the sea and attractive gardens.

Inside, there are several bars, main restaurant and a wellness centre with a sauna, Turkish bath, gym and Jacuzzi, which are free of use for guests of the hotel. A wide range of health and beauty treatments are also available for a small charge.

The hotel also offers a laundry service and free Wi-Fi.

Food & Drink

Our holidays at Ericeira are on a Half Board basis and include breakfast and evening meal.


There is an extensive selection of hot and cold options for breakfast from a self-select buffet. 

Lunch (payable locally)

You can buy ingredients for your picnic lunch in the nearby shops. On some days it may be possible to visit shops on the walk, or eat in a local café; your leaders will advise you of the options.

Evening meal

The evening meal is served in the open, airy restaurant, which offers a varied buffet catering for most diets, including vegetarians. If you have any special dietary requirements, please speak to the hotel staff on arrival.


The hotel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.

Your Evenings

The friendly atmosphere of our Guided Walking holidays continues into the evening.

Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer before hearing about the next day's walks. On most evenings you can enjoy the hotel's entertainment programme or take a walk on the beach. Alternatively relax in the bar with a drink and chat with your fellow guests or walk into Ericeira for an ice-cream or coffee in one of the many pavement cafés.  

One evening we have arranged for a speaker to come and talk to our groups about this very interesting region.

Portugal - Ericeira - Hotel Vila Galé Ericeira - VG_Ericeira_Aerea 3.jpg

Getting to Hotel Vila Galé Ericeira - Lisbon Coast

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

Guests should bring stout, comfortable footwear for rough, wet or uneven terrain in gardens.

Jim Hart

Jim Hart has been travelling for many years, across four continents so far. He leads European Special Interest and Guided Walking holidays. When not leading Jim is usually busy researching new tours, with a keen eye to create interesting holidays. He is looking forward to sharing his interests with HF guests.

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is a university academic, specialising in geology and environmental sciences, and has written books on these topics. She is particularly interested in the origins of landscape, both natural and human-made. With her wealth of experience, she leads a wide range of HF Holidays’ Walking and Leisure Activities holidays in the UK, Europe and worldwide

Brilliant - made everything so interesting and her local knowledge was really appreciated. 

Guest Reviews

7 nights
Heritage Tours

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