Portugal is safe, very welcoming, and offers an amazing variety of breathtaking visual treats – a photographer’s paradise. 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 10-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.
- Three 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.
- One night in historic Lisbon where we end our photographic journey. We really like the charm of Lisbon and encourage you to extend your stay for a few days after our tour ends.
- 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 Netherlands Photo Tour, we will be lecturing (mostly in the field) on photographic topics including:
- Digital Workflow
- Panoramic Photography
- Depth of Field calculation
- Focal Blending
- Blue Hour Photography
- Filters, Neutral Density, and Neutral Density Grads
- Photoshop & Lightroom Tips and Tricks
- Nik software
This is a sample itinerary that 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.
May 21, 2023
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-hours 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 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 lofty vantage point looking out over the meandering Douro River and the charming section of old Porto.
We will spend these two days exploring and photographing the exciting city of Porto. We will plan in time for post-processing and rest during the mid-day. There will be one early morning and two evening blue hour sessions.
May 23 & 24
We will spend these two days in the Douro Valley scouring the rugged terrain of its lush wine terraces for beautiful graphic compositions. This area also features plenty of sleepy and 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 25 & 26
We leave the Douro Valley for the 2-hour drive to the small coastal city of Aveiro, exploring its grid of streets and capturing wonderful images of tile-covered houses in many colors and patterns. On the agenda is also an excursion to the Aveiro Lagoon to photograph brilliantly colorful traditional fishing boats.
May 27 & 28
We leave Aveiro in the morning for our next destination, Obidos. We will spend three nights in medieval Obidos, capturing its wonderful “back in time” ambiance with our cameras. Side trips to Nazaré and Tomar.
Today we make our way to Lisbon but before we leave Obidos we will have one last chance to find some good images and have a leisurely breakfast. We arrive in Lisbon mid-afternoon, check into our hotel, and will have some time to explore before an early dinner before our last blue hour photo session.
Our tour ends after breakfast. If you have not experienced Lisbon before, we highly suggest you spend a few extra days. We love this city and think it is worth more days for general sightseeing. Easy transport is available to the airport.
Dates: May 21 – May 30, 2023 (9 nights)
Cost: $6,295 | single supplement $695
A $500 deposit will secure your spot.
What is included?
- 10 nights lodging
- All breakfasts
- Daily van transportation to photo locations
- All entrance fees and tolls.
- Jim’s & 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 Ubers. 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″
Try to 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. Most airlines are now charging for more than one piece of checked baggage. Keep in mind that laundry services are usually available.
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.
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.
For equipment recommendations, please click here »