The Ambassador’s Tour of Portugal

June 11-23, 2018

Get ready for a unique experience and see Portugal like never before- through the eyes of a former U.S. Ambassador.  

The Ambassador’s Tour of Portugal is a 13-day exclusive experience that explores the inner workings of this peaceful Western European country that once dominated world trade. During the program, meet and participate in roundtable discussions with distinguished Portuguese politicians, business leaders, scholars, as well as American expats and diplomats. Enjoy direct access to the people who control the country’s most lucrative industries as well as those who implement some of the most successful social policies.

Spend time with local entrepreneurs, artists, fashion designers and musicians. Learn more about their life in Lisbon and how the city recently earned the title of one of Europe’s coolest startup hubs.   

Experience some of the country’s best food and wine scenes with local gastronomes and wine experts.  Explore the sacred kitchen and creations of a Michelin-starred chef. 

Learn how to shop for food at a typical farmer’s market and prepare traditional dishes with the help of a local chef.

Visit some of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches and stunning historical sites. Take advantage of this special access tour to visit private country estates, boutique wineries, private art collections and more.

Also enjoy free time to explore on your own with the help of IG Scholar’s customized city guides and local recommendations.     

The co-hosts for this unforgettable experience will be Allan J. Katz, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Portugal (ret.) and Travel Speaker and IG Scholar's Founder, Sheree M. Mitchell, MA

Experience Highlights:




Visit Portugal Like an Ambassador


Day 1: Bem-vindos a Lisboa! 

Arrive in Lisbon, Portugal and adjust to the rhythm of life in this vibrant capital city.

Get oriented to the city on a unique walking tour with one of the country’s most sought-after tour guides. Experience the magic of the famed vinho verde and pasteis de nata. Find out where the locals hang out. Learn how to use the public transportation system. 

Receive the clues for the city-wide scavenger hunt that you’ll participate in over the next seven days. The group that wins will receive a prize in Porto at the end of the tour!    

Enjoy a typical Portuguese dinner with a local family.  Overnight in Lisbon.

Day 2: Lisboa 

Spend the morning learning basic Portuguese phrases that you’ll need to maximize this experience.

Explore the Time Out Market, Europe’s coolest gourmet food court. Meet the well-known chef, Manuela Brandão, of Pap’Açôrda. Enjoy a typical lunch of Southern Portuguese cuisine.

Join Ambassador Allan J. Katz (ret.) and local university students and professors for an interactive roundtable discussion. Learn about Ambassador Katz’s experience as a diplomat in Portugal and how it shaped his views as a global citizen. Learn about the Portuguese system of government and how it fits into the European Union.

Enjoy dinner on your own. Recommendations provided. Overnight in Lisbon.  


Day 3: Lisboa/Cascais 

Spend the morning learning basic Portuguese phrases that will help you maximize this unique experience.

Explore the quaint seaside towns of Cascais and Estoril. Meet local superstar Chef Pedro Mendes for an introduction to the world of Michelin-starred restaurants. Enjoy an unforgettable food and wine experience in one of the region’s most prestigious seaside restaurants.

Visit Cabo da Roca, the westernmost extent of the European continent, and other popular sites in the area. Learn how Cascais served as a safe haven for many of Europe’s exiled royal families during World War II.

Spend the late summer afternoon swimming, sunbathing or people watching on your own on Carcavelos Beach.        

Return to Lisbon via train. Dinner on your own. Recommendations provided. Overnight in Lisbon.


Day 4: Lisboa 

Spend the morning learning basic Portuguese phrases that will help you maximize this unique experience.

Meet Naky Gaglo, a local blogger and tour guide from Tago who specializes in the African diaspora in Lisbon. Join him for a quick walking food tour where you’ll learn about Portugal’s long history with Southern African countries and sample some of the best African restaurants and cafes in the city.

Meet with Ambassador Katz, the former Minister of Finance, local business leaders, and startup geniuses. Learn about Portugal's most thriving industries and current and future opportunities for foreign investments and trade. 

Enjoy the evening on your own. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Lisbon.  


Day 5: Lisboa 

Spend the morning learning more basic Portuguese phrases.

Enjoy lunch on your own.  Recommendations provided.

Participate in an interactive photography class with a local professional photographer. Learn how to capture amazing images outdoors on your smartphone. 

After lunch, meet with Ambassador Katz and Former Primer Minister Pedro Passos Coelho for an interactive conversation about Portugal's past, present and future from the perspective of two very distinguished leaders. Enjoy a photo opportunity and cocktail hour with the Ambassador and Prime Minister.    

Enjoy the evening on your own. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Lisbon.   

Day 6: Alentejo 

Travel south to the Alentejo region, recently named Europe's "New Tuscany".

Visit the medieval town of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the well-preserved Roman temple and an early Gothic cathedral. Learn about this area's importance to the various groups that settled here over the centuries.

Enjoy lunch on your own in Evora. Recommendations provided.

Participate in an interactive workshop on the world of wine making with the Director of Wines of Alentejo. Learn about the region's prolific grape varieties and the terroir that make this region’s wine so unique.

Visit a typical winery that still uses the ancient terracotta amphora system to age wine. Learn how to taste and pair this national treasure from a well-known wine maker.     

Enjoy dinner on your own. Overnight in Alentejo.  

Day 7: Alentejo 

Enjoy a typical country breakfast that includes many locally-made products.

Explore the quaint little town of Estremoz in small groups. Visit the castle and the old town inside this impressive walled village. Lunch on your own. Recommendations provided.

Learn about Portugal’s second largest export, marble, directly from a family that has traded this beautiful natural stone for generations. Visit their private quarry and eclectic boutique hotel made entirely of marble. Explore the luxurious suites and spa designed for some of the world’s most extravagant marble professionals and collectors.

Enjoy dinner on your own. Recommendations provided. Overnight in Alentejo.  

Day 8: Alentejo/Lisboa  

After breakfast, travel back to Lisbon. Enjoy majestic views of the impressive 25th of April Bridge and the famous Cristo Rei statue as you approach the city. 

Get settled in the hotel. Enjoy lunch on your own.  

Early evening, join Ambassador Katz, the Minister of Health, a private physician, and the director of a local non-profit that provides services for the homeless for an interesting conversation about the challenges and the successes of the Portuguese health care system compared to that of the U.S.

Enjoy the rest of the evening on your own. Dinner on your own. Recommendations provided. Overnight in Lisbon.

Day 9: Lisboa/Sintra 

Spend the morning exploring Sintra, A UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn about the history of this magical place as you visit 8th century castles and find your way through the mindboggling collections of lakes, grottoes, waterfalls, fake doors and secret tunnels of a neo-gothic mansion.

Meet local fashion designer, Filipa Malho, and well-known photographer, Alipio Padilha, who will take you on an underground tour of Lisbon’s hippest boutiques, specialty shops and cool hangouts.

Enjoy dinner on your own. Recommendations provided. Overnight in Lisbon.  

Day 10: Lisboa 

Join a private visit to the Gulbenkian Museum, one of Europe’s most impressive private art collections.

Afterwards enjoy a coffee break where you will meet and speak with American diplomats and their Portuguese colleagues about the mission of the U.S. Embassy. 

Lunch on your own. Recommendations provided.   

Join the group again for an exclusive visit to the most extensive hand-painted tile collection in Europe: The Portuguese National Tile Museum. Participate in an interactive workshop with Dr. Ana Lima-Acevedo, Director of Special Collections. Learn how to make your own hand-painted Portuguese tiles to take home.

Join Ambassador Katz for a farewell sunset cocktail at one of Lisbon's hippest rooftop bars.    

Enjoy dinner on your own. Recommendations provided. Overnight in Lisbon.  

Day 11: Porto 

Visit a farmers' market with a local chef. Learn how to pick the best ingredients and later transform them (with the chef's help) into delicious regional dishes.

Meet city officials for an interactive roundtable discussion about life in Northern Portugal. Learn about the industries that dominate this area and the political and commercial relationships between this region of the country and Spain.

Enjoy the rest of the evening on your own. Dinner on your own. Recommendations provided. Overnight in Porto.

Day 12: Porto

Enjoy your last day in Portugal on your own. Recommendations provided.  

Early evening, join the group for a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant.  

Day 13: Departure for U.S.A. 

Boa viagem! 


Itinerary subject to change. 

The Ambassador's Tour of Portugal: June 11-23, 2018

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