Gardens & Palaces of Lisbon and Sintra

Discover grand mansions, extensive gardens and elaborate palaces built by the Portuguese elite


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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Coastal
  • Flora
  • History

Holiday overview

New at HF Holidays

Explore the palaces and parks of Lisbon and Sintra, the rich heritage of Portugal’s capital and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visit old palaces which have been carefully restored as well as modern gardens – a striking balance of old and new. 

Holiday Highlights

  • Quinta de Regaleira with its mysterious gardens which represent ancient orders
  • Discovering hidden viewpoints in the romantic style gardens of Palacio Nacional da Pena
  • The harmony between the gardens and architecture of Palacio de Queluz

Price includes

  • 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)



Hotel Vila Gale Ericeria in Ericeria, Portugal

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.


Your room

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

Each room has:
  • Air conditioning
  • WiFi
  • TV
  • Telephone
  • Room safe
  • Minibar
Hotel Vila Gale Ericeria bedroom


Hotel Vila Gale Ericeira lounge-bar 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 WiFi.


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.

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.

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.
Hotel Vila Gale Ericeira dining-room

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 Ereceira 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.


During your Gardens & Palaces Tour you'll have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places. The following is our provisional programme, and your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times, or other events. This holiday includes active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet.

Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.

Day 1: Arrival day

You will be met at Lisbon airport and taken to your hotel in Ericeira. Settle in and meet your holiday leader and fellow guests before dinner.

Day 3: Sintra Royal Palace and Park & Palacio de Monserrate

Enjoy a day in Sintra visiting the Royal Palace parts of which date back a thousand years. There is a heavy Moorish influence born out in the glazed geometric tiles throughout the 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 and the garden has species from around the world and is planted by geographical origin.

Day 2: Palace de Fronteira and Palacio de Queluz

Enjoy the beautiful gardens of Palace de Fronteira created in the 1660s before traveling on to Palacio de Queluz which was built in 1747. This National Palace was a favoured royal residence until 1807 and illustrates a beautiful link between the landscape and palatial architecture of the palace.

Day 4: Belem Jeronimos Monastery and Tropical Garden

Today you visit Belem in western Lisbon and the grand vision of Jeronimos Monastery. The Monastery was originally associated with early explorers and is one of the most decorative religious buildings in Portugal. Enjoy the cool contrast of interiors with vast vaulted ceilings and the fascinating tropical gardens located nearby.

Day 5: Free day

Enjoy a free day at leisure exploring the area or relaxing at our seafront hotel with well equipped spa and outdoor swimming pools.

Day 6: Lisbon Eduardo VII Park – Estufa Fria and Gulbenkian Foundation Gardens and Exhibition

You can explore he Eduardo VII Park is the largest public park in Lisbon and offers a stunning view of parts 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.

Day 7: Sintra Palacio Nacional da Pena and Quinta de Regaleira

A visit to the Pena Palace and Park is a stunning end to the week. Lush green forests encircle this hilltop romantic style palace. Wander through the park to discover hidden pathways leading to breath-taking view points. The gardens of the decorative 20th century mansion of Quinta de Regaleira are a real treat! They were styled to represent ancient secret orders and have concealed symbolism and mysterious hidden tunnels.

Day 8: Departure Day

In the Evenings

The friendly atmosphere of our Gardens and Palaces Tour continues into the evening. We’ll enjoy a leisurely meal and then you may also like to listen to local musicians, relax with a book in a quiet lounge or enjoy a drink at the bar.



What to bring

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

Local area


The beautiful town of Ericeira has its roots in the fishing industry, when it was only a small village. Today, the town has grown and is a popular surfing destination, with stunning beaches, and a variety of shops and cafes to explore. Surfing tuition is also available on the beachfront.


Lying at the mouth of the river Tagus, Lisbon is an ancient city, and one of the oldest in Europe. Its origins are believed to be when prehistoric tribes settled here and built funeral monuments and megaliths. The area has been settled by many people, from Phoenicians to Romans to Moors. It later became Capital of Portugal in the 13th Century. Nowadays, the city is a centre for economic trade, and became European Capital of Culture in 1994.

Take an express bus from Ericeira to Lisbon and use the city’s efficient Metro system to explore attractions such as St George’s Castle, the Cathedral, historic churches, the aquarium, fine shops and several world class museums including the Gulbenkian.  A ride on a vintage city tram is also good fun.


Mafra is a small Portuguese town, in which there is a large, elaborate palace. The Mafra palace was traditionally used by the Portuguese monarchy as a second home, due to its proximity to royal hunting grounds. It is one of the largest palaces in Europe and contains a basilica and library. The town itself has a museum, churches and shops.


Sintra is a small town, which historically attracted the nobility of Portugal, due to its mild climate. The town has several world heritage class buildings in this historic town with its former royal palaces, mansions and Moorish castle. The National Palace with its impressive state rooms and kitchens with their distinctive conical chimneys and the fairy-tale Pena Palace is well worth a visit. The town can be reached by bus or taxi from Ericeira.

Did you know?

Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of mainland Europe at 9° 30' west. Tearaght Island, Co Kerry is further west at 10° 39'


We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.


Travel by plane


‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option

Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Heathrow or Manchester flights to Lisbon airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.

If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 45 minutes to the Hotel Vila Galé Ericeira.




Driving to us

‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option

Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.

If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:

  • We can book you a seat on the HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Lisbon airport. This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £18.00.
  • Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer at a cost of £70.00 per single taxi journey?

Transfers must be pre-booked.  Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details

* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach


Jim Hart

Jim is a professional horticulturist with more than 35 years' experience working in local authority parks departments and commercial nurseries, in Britain and abroad. For more than 15 years he was a lecturer in plant production and landscape management. He has also run his own nursery and landscape design business. Jim combines visiting gardens and plant spotting with hiking and sightseeing in various countries. Jim leads Walking, Discovery and Garden Tours in Europe.


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