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Discover the Ribatejo

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The Discover of the Ribatejo
  • The Discover of the RibatejoThe Discover of the RibatejoStart Time: 09:00Available: 6 seats
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Full Day
Availability : Jan 20’ - Dec 20’
Min Age : 10+
Max People : 6

The Ribatejo can be considered, for its location, the heart of Portugal. Crossed by the best roads and railways, it is in this region that Portugal is from north to south, with the Tagus River as a union link.

The beauty of the landscape combines the monumental and architectural heritage and traditions of the Ribatejo, where bull, horse, campino and Fandango are a must. All this accompanied by its delicious gastronomy and wines of excellence.

The course of time left in this region a remarkable trail of medieval castles, manor houses, churches, chapels, convents, sanctuaries that allow a meeting marked with the representation of the world of the time. And at the bottom of this story, the vestiges of the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Iron Age reveal the beginning of the human adventure, its initial gestures and the challenge of survival, celebrations of moments that the history maintained and the future wants to preserve in the many museums of the Region. And we have a lot to say, between times and places that shape the Portuguese soul.

The lezíria corresponds to the plain flooded by the river Tagus, of rich lands. It was there that the Portuguese bullfights originated and where still today there are typical peasant figures. The district, on the right bank of the Tagus, has a more pronounced relief and mixed soils, where many olive trees coexist harmoniously with the vine, wheat and corn. The “heath” extends along the left bank of the Tagus, where the soil is poorer and the vineyard needs to divide the existing resources with the eucalyptus and pine trees.

When crossing the Ribatejo, the region is divided into three very different landscapes and designated by “lezíria” (“campo” or “seafront”), “Bairro” and “moor”. The fame of the wines of Ribatejo was born even before the founding of the country. The wines were mentioned by D. Afonso Henriques in 1170, in the letter of the city of Santarém. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the monarchs D. Pedro I in 1384, D. Afonso V in 1450, and D. João II in 1487, were concerned to protect the region by prohibiting the entry of wines from abroad. The literature of Gil Vicente immortalized the wines of Ribatejo in the car “Pranto de Maria Parda”, where there are references to the wine of the region of Abrantes. The Letters of Law published in 1907 and 1908, during the dictatorship of João Franco, considered these typical regional wines.

Here, wines generally have a higher alcohol content because of the warming of the berries by the reflection of the sun on the white sands where the vine is planted. In common, these areas are influenced by the proximity of the Tagus and the temperate sub-Mediterranean climate. From this combination are born wines with a lot of personalities.

Due to the appearance of bullfighting in this region, it is customary to compare the behaviour of these wines in the mouth with the elegant ballet of the horses in the bullring. The young wines are very lively, do not lose their composure and have a sharp aroma of ripe red fruits with a light touch of vanilla from the wood.

It was for the quality and importance of the vineyard in the rural economy – and for the diversity of characteristics of this region – that the Ribatejo was recognized as Denomination of Controlled Origin.

Tour Details

This Itinerary begins with a visit to the salt mines of Rio Maior. This mines come from far distant, where reference is made to the year 1177, as the beginning of the exploration by the Order of the Templars, although there are traces that go back to the prehistoric age and its architecture identify with the Roman age. Yolk salt is a hundred percent pure product with a high chloride content and, according to experts, much healthier than sea salt. The entire manufacturing process is natural. Some products are made from it, like salt cheese much appreciated in cooking. For those who visit the salt flats, special attention is drawn to a longitudinal set of rustic wooden houses, where salt is stored during a “maturing” phase, before entering the commercial circuit.

After the salt, comes the olive oil. To the north of the region of Santarém called Bairro, in clay-limestone soils and typical Mediterranean climate with mild temperatures, the olive groves and the winery produce one of the best olive oils in Portugal, Quinta do Juncal Olive Oil.

There are about 176 hectares of traditional olive grove with the Galega variety, 23 hectares of intensive olive grove with the Galega, Cobrançosa and Picual varieties and 6 hectares of super intensive olive grove with the Arbequina variety.

Olive oil with excellent characteristics, slightly thick and fruity. The limestone soil and the Mediterranean climate of the region make it very suitable for olive growing.boat ride at the islands in Escaroupim – Salvaterra de Magos course are some of the surprises that Tagus River gives us. We visit Ilha dos Cavalos (Horses Island), Ilha das Garças (Herons Island), Ilhas dos Amores, Palhota Island, Ilha das Cabras (Goats Island), Mouchão dos Caracóis, Mouchão da Casa Branca, among many others.

we will continue on the route of the passion for wine and, more than that, the constant dedication to the wine business has been going through the Candide family for several generations. The vineyards are planted in clay-limestone soil, a dry Mediterranean climate with southern exposure of the vineyard. Combining innovation and technology with the knowledge and experience passed down through the generations. The vines grow in an integrated production system where the use of chemicals is minimal, safeguarding the environment and human health. It is currently undergoing a process of gradual conversion of the old vineyard in order to improve quality and production. The main varieties are Trincadeira Preta, Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Fernão Pires, Verdelho and Alicante Bouchet. A space that integrates a pleasant traditional restaurant (installed in an old olive press) and a point of sale of typical products of the region, from the crafts to the gastronomy and the wines.

The human occupation of the present area of Almeirim is very old. It will have been the proximity of the Tagus river and natural wealth that will have contributed to the installation of men in this region. There are traces of human presence from prehistory to Roman times throughout the Tagus Valley. Examples of the human presence in the county are the epipaleolithic conchairo of the Fonte da Moça valley, the recently identified milestones, belonging to the Roman route that linked Lisbon to Mérida and the Roman villa of Azeitada in Benfica do Ribatejo.

With its magnificent hunting huts, which stretched for a long time, the vicinity of Santarém, near the Tagus and even Lisbon, with easy access by river, Almeirim became, in the first place, kings of the 2nd dynasty and the winter resort frequented by numerous members of the Court, in such a way that it was considered the “Winter Sintra” in the 16th century.

So, when visiting Almeirim, we do not forget to taste the soup of stone. This is a typical Portuguese soup, particularly from the city of Almeirim, considered the capital of the soup of the stone that has turned it into a tourist attraction, so much that most restaurants prepare it .

Finish the Tour at Santarém. Thsi city was to become one of the favourite cities of the Portuguese monarchs as early as the first dynasty. During the Middle Ages, the intense trading activity that took place here, coupled with the establishment of the nobility in the city, helped Santarém to reach its period of great social and economic development, as can be seen in its various monuments and buildings. During this period of great artistic and cultural opulence, Santarém was a royal residence and the capital of the kingdom of Portugal (1325-57), and, until the 15th century, it was frequently the meeting place of the early Portuguese parliament (known as the Cortes).


Departure & Return Location

Pick up at 9am at hotel in Lisbon.

Drop off at 7pm at hotel in Lisbon.

Price Includes

  • Professional Driver
  • Private Tours in a Luxury car or Sedan
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Mandatory Insurance
  • All transportation in destination location

Price Excludes

  • Guide Service Fee
  • Entrances or Tickets not referred
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Meals not referred


  • Umbrella (if necessary)
  • Bottled Water
  • WiFi
What to Expect

We invite you on a mouth-watering journey through the region’s products and through the skills and art that originate the cuisine and wines of this immense region. On both sides of the river Tagus.

But Tagus River is much more than just water. Is full of magical places, full of Life, Culture, History and Nature. Our Tagus is the one of Escaroupim, Salvaterra de Magos, which passes by Ribatejo and already has freshwater, green shores. A river full of life, with a great natural, landscape and ecological wealth and unique biodiversity.

Here the Tagus still has the effect of tides, high and low. There are unique and secret places known only by those who were born and live here. We have chosen these places for you in the most beautiful courses of Tagus River, populated by horses, birds and fish, where the sky is bluer and the river greener. Where nature is generous.

Follow you can use participate in olive picking, breathe the unmistakable aroma of the mills in operation and taste the olive oils. You may spend a few hours picking and treading the grapes and learning how to combine different varieties to make good wine.

You may find out about the rice cycle, from the flooded fields to the drying centres. Or even become a home-based mushroom producer. Visit ancient family farms with promising future visions. Taste cheeses and jams at the houses of local producers. Eat well and drink even better. Find out when food and wine events are being held and taste the best regional products as they come from farm to table.

  • Rio Maior
  • Comeiras de Baixo
  • Almeirim
  • Quinta da Ribeirinha
  • Santarém

MorningRio Maior

The Natural Salt Pans at Rio Maior are the result of two phenomena: the fact that the sea once covered this land and the limestone of the Serra dos Candeeiros. The fissures in the limestone cause rainwater to infiltrate and form underground watercourses. One of these passes through a large, deep deposit of rock salt, formed millions of years ago and feeds the well which is at the centre of the salt pans. Water extracted from this well is seven times saltier than the sea.

The detailed history of the salt pans is best left for your visit, but it is worth noting that until quite recently most of the salt workers were farmers who were involved in salt panning between May and September. In view of the low profitability of this activity and the difficulties in selling the salt, they decided to join forces and form the Association of Rio Maior Salt Workers which led to the creation of the Cooperative of Rio Maior Salt Producers in 1979.

The challenge was to keep the salt works running and respond to changing demands and technological developments in the industry, without losing the typical characteristics and organic nature of the product. Other interested parties joined them, namely Rio Maior Town Council and the Serra d’Aire e Candeeiros National Park Authority, and the salt works are now run by a team hired by the Cooperative, and it is duly landscaped to make it a place well worth visiting.

A chalet was erected as a tourist information office, and several salt collection houses were rebuilt complete with their characteristic wooden locks. Various initiatives were introduced to allow better circulation of salt workers and greater hygiene in the production process. The Cooperative, in conjunction with Rio Maior Town Council, organises guided tours of the salt pans to observe the whole production process. Products on sale at the salt pans include the Gama Gourmet comprising a cake of salt, fleur de sel and salt & seasoning (salt with garlic, Piri Piri, pepper or oregano).

MorningQuinta do Juncal, Comeiras de Baixo

After salt comes olive oil. They always go hand in hand and here at Lagar da Quinta do Juncal we shall sample Fio Dourado. On this Quinta estate, there are 155 hectares of olive groves of the traditional Galega variety, 45 intensive olive groves of Galega, Cobrançosa and Picual and 15 olive hedges of Arbequina and Arbosana.

The production cycle and oil extraction follow the rules of Integrated Protection, to ensure healthy olives are harvested at peak maturation and milled on the day they are picked.

This company, whose business covers the entire oil production cycle, from the olive grove to packaging and marketing of the product, has three quality certifications (ISO 9001, 14001 and 22000, for management, the environment and food safety respectively). It belongs to the Olive Oil Route, an initiative run by the Confraria do Azeite, with the aim of highlighting and rewarding mills which reflect best practice in olive oil processing and extraction of the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
On this Quinta estate, you can visit the vineyards and the olive oil mill and do an olive oil tasting.


A meal in Almeirim and tasting of stone soup, called by the locals as Sopa da Pedra, is a must. Not doing it would be like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. In August the Festival da Sopa da Pedra and Petisco (Soup and Tapas Festival) is organised by the Confraria Gastronómica de Almeirim in partnership with the Municipal Council. It includes live cooking demonstrations in the Showcooking area, lots of tapas, stone soup and wine tastings.

TardeQuinta da Ribeirinha, Póvoa de Santarém

At Quinta da Ribeirinha you will find a family-based business. It was set up by the head of the family, José Cândido, who started farming at a young age and made wine production his main source of income. As the head of the company, he was obliged to adapt: he has been a grower, winemaker, warehouseman and salesman, always with the same concern for quality in everything he does.

His example has been inspiring. In 1995, his son Joaquim Cândido, a doctor passionate about winemaking, decided to support his father’s activity and develop the business: he extended the area of the vineyard, built a winery and introduced new methods and technologies to the production process. Soon afterwards, two of his children joined the team that now runs the company: Mariana and Rui, an economist and biochemist respectively. And the business has continued to prosper.

Today Quinta da Ribeirinha is a wine tourism facility producing wine, extra virgin olive oil and jams. You can visit the vineyards and the winery, do wine and olive oil tastings, take part in the grape harvest and have wine lunches or dinners. They offer a great programme: visit the Quinta and have a wine lunch in the restaurant which is in a converted olive press that doubles as a dining area and tasting room for the wines and olive oils. Because the building and essential equipment have been preserved, it is a museum not to be missed. This Quinta produces the following wines: Vale de Lobos (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, White, Rosé, Red, Reserva White, Reserva Red, Late Harvest and Sparkling White, Rosé and Red); Rota de Cabral (Red, Reserva Red, White); Rapadas (Red and White). The Olive Oil, Extra Virgin, is
extracted from Galega and Cobrançosa olives.


Since prehistory, the region of Santarém has been inhabited, first by the Lusitani people and then by the Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and later Portuguese Christians. Of the various legends related to the foundation of Santarém, the most famous tells of the Visigoth Saint Iria (or Irene), who was martyred in Tomar (Nabantia) and whose uncorrupted body reached Santarém. In her honour, the name of the town (then known by its Latin name Scalabis) would later be changed to Sancta Irene, from which Santarém would eventually be derived.

Santarém city centre has several monuments, including the largest and most varied ensemble of gothic churches in Portugal. These include fine examples of transitional Romanesque-Gothic, mendicant (plain style derived from the mendicant orders) and late (flamboyant) Gothic. In addition, the city has nice examples of Manueline, Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque architecture.

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Brad Spink

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One of the best tours services I know of !! Thank you!

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