Trip Region: Europe
Partners Trek? No
Trip Cost: $2815
Airfare Estimate: $1400
Nightlife: 8 • Activity: 5
Hello PortuGals and PortuGuys. Are you Lisbon-ing? This group of active degenerates, who undeservingly earned the title of leaders, will be leading the cream of the crop (you) to the tram-endous cities of Porto, Lisbon, and the Azores. Screeeetch. Never heard of the Azores? It’s only the soon to be number one insta hotspot two hours left of Portugal. We plan to eat, drink, port-y, and hike our way through these instagramable cities that are sure to get you the most *likes*. (Un)forgettable experiences include, but are not limited to, port winery tours and tastings, scenic tours, hiking, sunbathing, traditional Portuguese food sampling, pretending you live in a palace, and boozing and cruising on the water.
Travel Day — Friday, Aug 17
Congrats! You finished the (ever so) Impact(ful) Challenge and are ready to rock and roll. Say goodbye to all your new section besties and get ready to get close to your fellow trekkers for the next 10 days. You will take an ever so enjoyable redeye to Porto - so take your sleep meds and/or free in-flight booze and get your rest. You are free to depart Ann Arbor after 5pm when orientation activities are over.
Day 1 — Saturday, Aug 18
Welcome to Porto, Portugal’s most romantic city filled with beautiful bridges, cobblestone streets, and Port (that small glass of wine your grandfather always drinks post-dinner). Head to the hotel for a shower and a short nap, then join the squad for our first meal together. Welcome Meeting at hotel starts at 6pm local time. After dinner, we’ll fight through our jetlag and hit the town.
Day 2 — Sunday, Aug 19
Today is all about indulgence, and maybe a little over indulgence as we eat and drink our way through a walking tour of Porto, learning about its history through local fare. We start the day with coffee and Pastel de Nata (so quiche!), move on to Codfish and finish with a Francesinha (a food porn spectacle). Towards the end, we’ll sip port wine and stop at a local purveyor of a potent liquor called Ginjinha (think Jaegerbombs). If you don’t finish satisfied, we can make our way to the Balhao Market and continue gorging and imbibing. If you feel like you’re basically Portuguese by the end of the tour, test your newfound assimilation skills and head to the Lello Library, Serralves Foundation, or attempt to climb the Ponte da Arrábida bridge.
Day 3 — Monday, Aug 20
This lovely Monday will be spent being about as basic as we can get as we live the lush life of a unemployed student wine tasting in the Duoro Valley. We’ll visit two wineries and by the end of the day be either experts or sloshed, or both. Throughout the day we will see the villages of Sabrosa and Pinhão, where stepped terraces are about as common as selfie sticks. We’ll take a break midday from the strenuous work and enjoy a lunch at a traditional restaurant and then head back to Porto. Now is your chance to scratch that tourist itch one more time this afternoon because this is our last day in Porto.
Day 4 — Tuesday, Aug 21
Today we fly to the Azores - say it with us: AHHHH-ZORESSSSS. The Azores are a series of 9 volcanic islands a few hours flight from Portugal. Prepare to enjoy the natural beauty created by geothermal activity and untouched natural beauty.
Day 5 — Wednesday, Aug 22
Let loose the portuguese water dog we all have locked in ourselves. Get ready for some insta-perfect moments today as we tour the twin lakes of the Sete Cidades Volcanic Crater. While we relax in the naturally heated thermal pools, Mother Nature will be making our lunch. Today we’ll be feasting on traditional Cozida das Furnas, which is a meaty stew cooked underground with the natural heat of the volcano. If you can think of anything more badass than volcanic stew, we’re all ears!
Day 6 — Thursday, Aug 23
There are no planned activities today so you can spend our last day in paradise in whatever way you’ll most enjoy! While nothing is officially on the itinerary, we’ll present a few options like hiking, canoeing and maybe even whale watching for anyone who wants to join, but no pressure if you’d rather relax with a drink by the pool! This is your day, so you do you!
Day 7 — Friday, Aug 24
Lisbon, here we come! Today we’ll fly back to mainland Portugal and experience this hilly capital city. We’ll meander through the famous neighborhoods of Lisbon. By the end of the day, you will have wandered Alfama’s cobblestone streets, popped in and out of the cafes and markets, and after freshening up, experienced the city’s famed nightlife.
Day 8 — Saturday, Aug 25
ALL ABOARD!! Shiver me timbers, it’s time to hit the open water drinking anything but water. It’s booze cruise day and you’re the captain now (not really, we have a captain of said ship). We’ll cruise along the coast of Lisbon and hopefully by now Mike has finished using all his Sun-In. After the ship heads to PORT, we’ll enjoy a traditional Portuguese Fado performance alongside some delicious Tapas and once again hit the town.
Day 9 — Sunday, Aug 26
Today we follow in the footsteps of royalty as we leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and head to Pena Palace in the fairytale town of Sintra. After soaking up some stunning views from the Serra de Sintra Mountain range, we’ll continue on to Cascais. This former fishing village became the place to see and be seen for Portuguese elite (think late-night Ricks) after King Luis I chose this town for his summer retreat. Now a glamourous cosmopolitan center and holiday destination where many go (re)treat themselves each year.
Departure Day — Monday, Aug 27
As Aristotle once said, “you ain’t gotta go home, but you gotta get the heck outta here…”. We’re sad that this amazing journey has come to an end, but can’t wait to see all of our new best friends (that’s you) back home in Ann Arbor! Tack on a few extra days on your own in Europe, or head back home to get started on your scrapbook of what was undoubtedly your best trip ever!