Join us on this exciting Portugal Photo Tour and photograph fascinating Porto, lush vineyards in the Douro Valley, impressive 12th-century monasteries, the tile-covered town of Aveiro, and medieval Obidos.
Portugal is safe, very welcoming, and offers an amazing variety of breathtaking visual treats – a photographer’s paradise. On this Portugal Photo Tour, you will photograph trendy Porto, the lush wine terraces of the Douro Valley, the tile-covered town of Aveiro, medieval Obidos, a mysterious chapel in the surf, the impressive monastery in Tomar, and the fishing village of Nazaré.
Our Portugal Photo Tour begins in the north, in Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, and ends in historic and enchanting Lisbon. In between, we will visit and photograph the Douro Valley, Miramar, Aveiro, Obidos, Tomar, and Nazaré. We will encounter many wonderful photo opportunities along the way including colorful tile-covered buildings, medieval villages overflowing with bougainvillea, lush wine terraces, colored traditional fishing boats, 12th-century monasteries, wine cellars, and much more.
Join us for this 8-day Portugal Photo Tour for an experience of a lifetime in a region that you will not want to leave!
Two nights in Porto, which Magrit and I now rate as one of our favorite cities in Europe. Porto is newly discovered by the travel community and therefore experiencing a surge of great new restaurants and tasteful hotels. The vibe is youthful and exciting and the photo ops along the Douro River are incredible. We find it more intimate, interesting, and easier to photograph here than in Lisbon. For that reason, we will only spend one night in Lisbon. We love Lisbon, but more for its overall charm and ambiance than for photography. However, we encourage you to extend your stay at the end of this photo tour for a few nights.
Two nights in the heart of the Douro Valley, home of Port wine and the most incredible and photogenic wine terraces in the world. Great subjects for that long tele-zoom (I love the Canon 100-400, 70-300, or 70-200 for this area).
Two nights in the magical small town of Aveiro. The tile work on the house facades is a treasure trove for photographers. Aveiro reminds us of a cross between New Orleans, Venice (it does have canals), and Burano.
Two nights in the bougainvillea-covered medieval town of Obidos. This walled village follows strict covenants to preserve its historic architectural integrity. You won’t see satellite dishes or overhead power lines and when you are looking down on this fairy-tale town from its tall surrounding ramparts, you can just imagine what it must have felt and looked like 500 years ago. Based out of Obidos we will make excursions to nearby Tomar and its Convent of Christ Monastery and to the fishing village of Nazaré.
We will also take time during this Portugal Photo Tour to share images and learn post-processing and in-the-field techniques.
In addition to great photo opportunities on our Portugal Photo Tour, we will be lecturing (mostly in the field) on photographic topics including:
Depth of Field calculation
Blue Hour Photography
Filters, Neutral Density, and Neutral Density Grads
This sample itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the itinerary are always made to provide the best possible experience for our clients.
The Portugal Photo Tour begins at 1 pm at our hotel in Porto. There are cheap hourly flights from Lisbon to Porto all day long. Flight duration is 1 hour for roughly $30. There are also frequent trains between Lisbon and Porto (approximately a 3-hour journey). We will take time to get to know one another, go over the tour agenda, and do a shakedown of our equipment to make sure that we have the essential camera settings dialed in. We will then head out and photograph one of the most amazing spiral staircases in Europe, followed by an early dinner and an evening blue session, from a high vantage point looking out over the meandering Douro River and the charming section of old Porto.
We will spend this day exploring and photographing the vibrant city of Porto. Late afternoon departure via vans to the nearby village of Miramar for an early dinner and then a blue-hour session at the iconic Chapel of the Lord of the Rock.
May 29 & 30
During these two days, we will explore and photograph the rugged terrain of the Douro Valley with its lush graphic wine terraces. This area also features plenty of sleepy charming villages to photograph. Mid to long telephoto zooms are very useful here. We recommend the 70-200 on a full-frame or better yet the 100-300, or 100-400 (Canon) or 80-400 (Nikon).
May 31 & June 1
We leave the Douro Valley for the 2-hour drive to the small coastal city of Aveiro where we’ll capture wonderful images of buildings covered in ceramic tiles of many colors and patterns. On the agenda is also an excursion to the Aveiro Lagoon to photograph brilliantly colorful traditional fishing boats.
June 2 & 3
We leave Aveiro in the morning for our next destination, Obidos. We will spend two nights in medieval Obidos, capturing its wonderful “back in time” ambiance. Side trips to photogenic Nazaré and the immense Knight Templar monastery of Tomar.
Today we make our way to Lisbon but before we leave Obidos we will have one last chance to find good images and have a leisurely breakfast. If you have not experienced Lisbon before, we highly suggest that you spend a few extra days there. We love this city and think it is worth the extra time for general sightseeing. From where we drop off our rental vans, easy transport via taxi or Uber is available to nearby hotels or the airport. The approximate arrival time in Lisbon is 2pm.
Jim & Magrit’s expertise in guiding and photographic instruction
Level of physical difficulty: 2 out of 5
In many of the locations on this Portugal Photo Tour, we need to walk to our photo destinations. For example, in Aveiro, we will spend time walking the quiet lanes of the town photographing the wonderful home facades. Both Porto and Lisbon have steep hills and some walking is required. On other occasions, if the distance warrants it, we will take taxis or Uber. For most of the Portugal Photo Tour we will be traveling in a 9-passenger van (once we leave Porto) and you must be physically able to step in and out of the van under your own efforts — the step up into the van is higher than a typical home stair-step.
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Personal Items, Weather Conditions, Camera Equipment Special Notes. *
* For the Douro Valley: In my opinion, the money shots in the Douro Valley are the graphic patterns of the vineyards. I find that on my full-frame sensor, the 100-300 mm range is useful. I am using a 100-400 and occasionally use the 400 mm length. Magrit is using a crop sensor body with a Canon 70-200 f4. She has a 1.4 extender which can be handy.
If you have a 70-200, 70-300, or 100-400(80-400 on Nikon), I would suggest packing it. For a crop sensor Nikon, Canon, or Sony I would think the 70-200 would be plenty.
Temperature range for this time of year: 60º to 80º F. We may experience higher temperatures in the Douro Valley.
With global temperatures changing, it is hard to predict what we may encounter. With that said, please pay attention to the weather forecasts before you arrive and bring the appropriate clothing. We often see clients that are not prepared for cold and rain on some of our tours.
Average monthly rainfall for this time of year: 0.3″
Please pack light, as we will not have room in the van for more than one piece of luggage plus a camera bag for each of us. Restrict your main piece of luggage to no more than 26 inches. Magrit & I both travel for 4-5 months with 25-26 inch Travel Pro Max Lite luggage. Most airlines are now charging for more than one piece of checked baggage. Keep in mind that laundry service is available in most locations.
Two pairs of shoes: One sturdy pair for in the field that you can get wet and muddy. One pair for evenings.
Small umbrella for rain and shade. I use an umbrella often to block the sun from hitting the front element of my lens. Black is the best. I like this one.
Sweater or light jacket for a possible chill on early morning shoots. A light layer underneath a rain jacket can be surprisingly warm.
Hat for sun and rain protection.
Sunscreen and bug repellent.
Long pants and socks so that you can tuck your pants into your socks to avoid tick exposure while in the field. Short, lightweight gaiters are useful. Here is a fun brand, $20….you need to attach the included piece of self-stick velcro to the back of your shoe.