Welcome to Art & Culture Tours. Do you enjoy the art & culture of unique places around the world? Join us. We will paint and explore, giving you new experiences in places off the usual tourist map.
Bring your sketch book, make and talk about art, or just enjoy the ambience & local culture of some of our favorite places.
2014 & 2015

Join Paul Rodrigues & Amy Stark on a 12-day trip to Northern Portugal. Explore Portuguese culture, art, food, music & museums. The tour begins in historic, colorful Porto, situated on the Douro river and center to the port wine trade. From Porto, our private bus will take us to the wonderful medieval ‘World Heritage Site’ town of Guimarães. Enjoy day trips to Barcelos for the famous market day, and Citânia de Briteiros, Portugal’s oldest Iron Age settlement. There will be opportunities to sketch, paint, photograph or just relax in cafés and enjoy the atmosphere. Price to be determined.
If you are interested, and would like to be kept informed about this trip, please email us at ArtCultureTours@ebold.com
What our clients have said:
PORTUGAL  “Amy and Paul are incredible guides and provided us with history and anecdotes that enriched our experience. We talk about our trip frequently and recommend Art & Culture Tours to our friends at every opportunity!” — Zee & Jim
“We so appreciated the in-depth treatment you both provided for our trip. As I look back I realize how much information we gained from the two of you. You chose such interesting and diverse types of activities and provided so much information on them. We've been looking at our photos and realize how many places we went and how much there was to see.” — Linda
GREECE  “I wanted to thank you again for a wonderful trip. I think I'm spoiled for future travel. You took care of everything, with patience and a smile and were an enjoyable companion. I'd love to go again.” — Lois
“I sit and dream about our trip. It was one of the highlights of my life! Thank you again and again.” — Dale

Our trip begins as we all gather at our 4-star hotel in Porto for a "Welcome to Portugal" get-together,
followed by a short orientation walk and dinner.
Arab room.jpg

Day 2: Porto 
We begin our explorations at the 12th century Sé do Porto: cathedral and cloisters, with a rich history and great views over the city. We will tour the sumptuous rooms of the Palacio da Bolsa, including the ornate Arab Room, an oval chamber that attempted to copy Granada's Alhambra Palace. Next, we head down to Porto’s riverfront Ribeira district. With traditional boats, colorful ancient houses, cafes & restaurants, this is one of the most picturesque spots in the city, and designated a World Heritage site.

Day 3: Porto/Vila Nova da Gaia
In the morning, we head to the Museo Nacional de Soares dos Reis.
Founded in 1833, it is Portugal's first national museum. It displays one of the finest collections of Portuguese art. Then we head back down to the riverfront, this time crossing the Dom Luís Bridge, a metal arch bridge designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel that spans the Douro River, to Vila Nova de Gaia. This is the port wine center of the world. There are a multitude of lodge tours you can take that include tastings and explanations on how port wine is made and stored.
The view of Porto from this side of the river is wonderful. This is an opportunity for the artists among us to spend some time painting or taking photographs. Then top it off with some port!
Guim plaza.jpg

Day 4: Depart Porto for Guimarães
Our bus takes us to another wonderful World Heritage site. Guimarães was chosen by the first king, as the first capital of his Portuguese nation in 1139. Our 4-star hotel forms part of the original walls of the historic town center. Here we can explore this medieval village, relax in outdoor cafes, enjoy sketching or painting, museums, good restaurants and shops.

Day 5: Day trip to Barcelos
Today we travel to the nearby town of Barcelos for Market Day! This is Portugal’s largest weekly market, selling everything from chickens to ceramics. The town itself is also fun to explore, with gardens, an octagonal church, and the ruins of a palace belonging to the Dukes of Bragança, destroyed in the 18th century and now a small open-air archeological museum. There are stones and sculptures dating from the Roman period to the Middle Ages, one featuring a 15th-century cross depicting the famous story of the Barcelos cockerel.
Guim castle.jpg

Day 6: Guimarães
Free Day to catch up with your postcards, paintings or shop & explore.

Day 7: Castle & Palace in Guimarães
In the 10th Century this town was ruled by a woman named Mumadona. She constructed a wooden castle from which she successfully defended her estate from the Moors and Normans. We will visit the 15th century castle and nearby medieval Palace of the Dukes of Bragança. From here, the beautiful cobbled Rua de Santa Maria, which has remained essentially unchanged for centuries, leads back down into the heart of the old town, where we are staying.

Day 8: Guimarães
In preparation for our day trip tomorrow, today we visit the Martins Sarmento Museum, to see the objects gathered by local archaeologist Francisco Martins Sarmento when he excavated the Iron Age Celtic settlement, Citânia de Briteiros in 1875. The archaeological museum includes fascinating finds, from jewelry to Lusitanian granite warriors.

Day 9: Day trip to Citânia de Briteiros
Today we explore the excellent Citânia de Briteiros archaeological site.This Iron Age Celtic hill settlement dates back an incredible 2,500 years. It was inhabited from about 300 BC to 300 AD and was the Celtiberians last stronghold against the invading Romans. The site comprises
the foundations of more than 150 circular stone houses, two of which have been restored, and beautiful views to the surrounding countryside.

Day 10: Guimarães
Today is our final day in Guimarães. It is a Free Day to enjoy as you wish. This evening we will host a Group Dinner at one of the local restaurants, to celebrate the food, wine and culture of Portugal.

Day 11: Amarante & Porto
On our way back to Porto, we will stop for an afternoon in beautiful Amarante. Situated on the river Tâmega, this is one of the most picturesque towns in Portugal. With a medieval stone bridge, and the 15th century Church of Sao Goncalo, the riverside setting makes a great stop for photos or a quick sketch. We will have lunch here and visit the small art museum of Cubist/Avant-Guarde artist Amadeo Souza Cardoso.

Day 12: Porto
Time to wander the city, revisit your favorite spots, or find some new ones. Go to the marketplace, or take a tram or a river boat ride out along the Atlantic coast. Or paint down at the river.
A Farewell Happy Hour at our hotel.

Day 13: Departure
Boa Viagem!

ABOUT US: Paul Rodrigues and Amy Stark have been visiting and taking travelers to Portugal since 1994. We have traveled throughout the country, from the south to the north. Our hands-on experience will provide our group tours with unique experiences not available to most group travelers. In addition to basing ourselves in only one or two locations for several days at a time, we will structure our time in ways which also allow individuals to explore on their own, or just relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the locations.
We like to stress that every hour of every day on our trips is not strictly programmed. While visiting the major historical monuments, art and cultural museums and other attractions, our hope is that travelers will have time to experience the cultural character of the places - interacting with the people, eating unique food (markets are always a special cultural experience), practicing language phrases, listening to local music, etc.
Our local knowledge, experience and pre-trip planning will give our travelers the confidence to experience Portugal not as a tourist but as a visitor. Our hope is that after our tour our clients will have gained experiences and memories that will last throughout their lives.

If you’d like to be on our mailing list for future trips let us know!
Portugal Postcard.jpg
Art & Culture Tours outline.jpg