19 February 2019

A Wine Lover's Dream Tour from Lisbon, Portugal

During my recent week in Lisbon, one of my top highlights was doing a Setúbal Region Wine Tasting tour with Taking U There.

This private guided tour is a true wine lover's dream and it was a fantastic day out visiting two different wineries and a special liqueur producer in the Setúbal region. I absolutely loved learning about and trying the high-quality (and very well-priced!) wines and seeing more of Portugal's picturesque countryside.

Incredible Winery Tour

I was travelling in Portugal with my father and booked this tour as a special surprise for his birthday. All he knew was what time to be ready by! We met our friendly guide, Rodrigo, at 9 am at a pre-arranged meeting point that was a close walk to our Airbnb.

We jumped in his clean and comfortable car and headed towards the region of Setúbal, which is south of Lisbon. Rodrigo chatted to us the whole way, telling us interesting facts about his city and about the winery region.

Stop #1: José Maria Da Fonseca

After a scenic forty-five minute drive, we arrived in the town of Azeitão, an area well known for its wines and cheese. We had a little time before our guided tour began so we went for a morning treat across the road at a quaint cafe.

Rodrigo ordered us an espresso, a Pasteis de Nata each (a delicious Portuguese custard tart) and a Torta Azeitão, which was a speciality of the region. Everything was so tasty and delicious and it was the perfect start to the day.

All set, we went through to our first winery of the day, José Maria da Fonseca. This grand winery was founded in 1834 and is one of the oldest in the country. It is family owned with the sixth and seventh generations running it.

We began with a guided tour through their museum where we learnt a lot about the history and walked through their lovely gardens. We learnt about their wine ageing process in their large mahogany barrels and we got to view a special private collection.

We then tried two of their specialities, a red and a Moscatel. The red was a super premium wine and was velvety and smooth. We followed with the dessert wine which was exceptionally good, probably dangerously so!

I highly enjoyed both wines but the latter was our favourite. Rodrigo even sneakily bought a bottle for my dad which was to be a birthday surprise at the end of the tour.

It was a fascinating winery with almost two centuries of family history. It was absolutely wonderful to see and learn about. We then visited the town's famous grape sculpture before venturing on.

Stop #2: Quinta de Alcube

Only a ten-minute drive away, set in the centre of the Arrabida mountains was our next stop, the boutique winery, Quinta de Alcube. It was in a most beautiful property, with guesthouses and farm animals roaming around.

This is also a family-run business since 1903, with the third generation running it. Like the one before, a beautiful table was set and waiting for us, this time with five different tastings.

We had a fantastic time sampling the different kinds of wine, including a refreshing white and an unoaked red blend. I forgot to note down my favourite red but it was the fourth one and also Rodrigo's favourite. I happily purchased a bottle of it and couldn't believe it only cost €5! It tasted like a €20 bottle at least. I cursed myself for not having more room in my suitcase...

We also visited their vat room and got to see more behind the scenes of making the wine. We learnt that it's a traditional cellar producing only 300,000 litres a year. The wines are only sold directly to customers at the winery, making them hard to find in shops and even more special.

Stop #3: Tile Shop

Our next stop was a wonderful surprise not on the usual itinerary. Rodrigo took us to visit a traditional tile-making factory and shop and we got to see firsthand the skill and hard work that goes into how they are made.

Ever since I arrived in Lisbon I had been obsessed with all of the beautiful, colourful tiles so it was very cool to see. My dad bought a stunning tiled plate which is now proudly displayed at home.

Stop #4: Lima Fortuna

A short drive away, our final visit of the day was at a small family-owned business specialising in spirits and liqueurs, Lima Fortuna. They produce the well-known Arrabidine liquor which I was most excited to try.

We were invited into their most beautiful tasting room from the 1750s. Before trying four liqueurs that are made from a 300-year-old recipe, we got to feast on their one-month cured Azeitão cheese, freshly made woodfired bread and sweet handmade preserves. Everything was exceptional and I particularly favoured the tomato jam with the bread.

After learning about the liqueurs we tried a cherry grappa and a coffee flavoured brandy, both very tasty. We then got stuck into the two Arrabadine tastings, a white berry and a red berry one. 

Arrabidine is a special digestive liqueur with a bold character. It's made in an old, traditional way, with a minimum ageing period of 3 to 5 years. I truly loved them and thought they tasted like "medicine for the soul". I can't give a higher praise than that!

Lima Fortuna also has a wonderful family history and an interesting story of Arrabidine and recovering the secret of Arrábida’s Monks.

We couldn't believe how fast the time had gone, it was such an enjoyable day. We headed back towards our Airbnb in Lisbon and on the way, Rodrigo kindly told us a bunch of food recommendations and tips for the rest of our time there.

My dad was presented with his surprise bottle of wine at the end of the tour and we both can't thank Rodrigo enough for making his birthday such a special and memorable one.

The Details

Reviews: 5/5 stars out of 139 reviews on Trip Advisor

Price: €85 per adult for a private tour (minimum two adults)

Times: Every day except Sundays at 9:00 am

Final Thoughts

I highly recommend this tour, from start to finish the entire day was an incredible experience. As a wine lover, it was a dream to visit these special wineries and cellars, all family-owned with their own unique histories.

I can't rave about Portuguese wines enough and I highly enjoyed the large variety we got to try. It was the perfect way for us to celebrate an occasion and it's an amazing day out regardless.

Our guide Rodrigo was absolutely fantastic, he was so friendly and easy going with a great sense of humour. It felt like being shown around by an old friend. We also learnt so much from him about wine and his passion for what he does really shone through.

Included in the six-hour tour is having a professional and private guide, pick up and drop off, all of the wine tastings, food and entrance fees, making it excellent value for money. It's a must-do tour for anyone visiting Lisbon who appreciates wine and having a good time!

It was so nice venturing outside of Lisbon and seeing more of the beautiful country too. It was a wonderful highlight of my time in Portugal.

Check out their other range of tours available in Portugal and Morocco too!

Happy Travels,

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