The Authentic Experiences
The Authentic Experiences
Cultural Tours
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8 reviews
Very good

Canandaigua, NY8 contributions
Jan 2020
As a tour operator in the states, naturally my first inclination was to seek out a food tour knowing I was going to be abroad for (10) days in a new county. First time ever to Portugal! Considering myself most fortunate to discover The Authentic Experiences and its owner Francisco; I could not have asked for a more apt tour. Meeting me right at my hotel in Cascais, I could see/hear Francisco's immediate passion for his beloved Portugal. He hit upon the perfect blend of Cascais history, its culture and most importantly its unique foods.
This tour was so good in fact, that upon ending the tour in Cascais, I knew I needed to learn and experience the city of Lisbon with him as well. To categorically say which tour I liked better, I cannot. What I can say though is, you will not leave Cascais or Lisbon without knowing a bit more of each city's history, culture and sights, while having tasted some of their finest foods & wines. Francisco is as warm, generous and knowledgeable as it gets. I'll forever have a place in my heart for: "The Authentic Experiences in PORTUGAL"!!!
Written 25 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kerry M
Wyckoff, NJ8 contributions
Aug 2017 • Friends
We spent a half day with Pedro visiting two wineries outside of Lisbon. A private tour with such a knowledgeable person was such an amazing experience and the wineries we visited were phenomenal. We then added a full day tour with Pedro from Lisbon to Porto stopping at 3 wineries in the Bairrada region along the way. Portuguese wine has a very special place in my heart and I hope to see more of it available in the US soon. I would book another tour with Pedro at my first chance and I highly recommend this company if you are looking for a special/personalized/unique experience.
Written 22 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Meredith M
20 contributions
Aug 2017 • Friends
Spent A great day with my friend and Pedro touring wineries outside of Lisbon. Pedro was very knowledgeable and an excellent tour guide. I would highly recommend this company for whatever type of experience you would like them to put together.
Written 14 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Winnipeg, Canada7 contributions
Jun 2015 • Friends
A private tour is the way to go. Francisco showed us everything we had hoped to experience and more. From cork trees, to olive groves, to wineries, to picnics, historic sites, recreational areas, castles...we simply could not have done this on our own. Francisco was fun, flexible, very knowledgeable, and went out of his way to help us with anything we needed. Obrigado Francisco! Manuel, Doug, and Dom
Written 6 August 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Toledo, OH2 contributions
Sept 2014 • Couples
This past Sept. we took a trip to Portugal and stayed in Bairro Alto, an area of Lisbon. Francisco took us on a tour of Obidos which is about 45 minutes from Bairro Alto. He picked all 4 of us up in his car and drove us there explaining the different areas and history. While in lovely Obidos Francisco walked the entire walled city with us while explaining the history of Obidos, and the farming and industry in the area. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to go to the seaside for dinner. That was an extra bonus since we never planned on seeing that part of the country. Francisco chose a wonderful restaurant, and we all ate well while enjoying his company. I highly recommend a trip to Portugal and booking a trip through Francisco at The Authentic Experience.
Written 31 October 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Saint Louis, MO105 contributions
Sept 2014 • Couples
How wonderful it was to not have to worry about getting lost, pulling out maps, stopping people for directions and driving on unfamiliar roads. Our group consisted of myself, husband, brother and sister-in-law. We all were able to relax, enjoy the scenery, ask questions and learn about the area from our guide, Francisco. He picked us up at our rental apt. in Lisbon and off we went to Obidos. It was wonderful to see the countryside and learn about the different crops and economics of the region and above all, the history etc. He found a great place near the seaside for us to eat dinner on the way back and kindly suggested what to order there. The food was great and the ride back was just as entertaining as the earlier one. We could tell how much Francisco loved his country and was happy to show his Portugal to visitors. I highly recommend booking with him whether for an extensive experience or a day trip.
Written 27 October 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Arthur S
Miami, Florida201 contributions
Jun 2014 • Couples
My wife and I recently experienced a truly wonderful exposure to what Portugal has to offer through Francisco at The Authentic Experiences. Francisco was able to show us Portugal through the eyes of the Portuguese. For 16 of our 20 day holiday in Portugal we were fortunate to take in most of the high points that Portugal has to offer. We started our holiday in Madeira where we hired another tour company.

Our travel style is relaxed comfort always wanting to maximize our time. While many who travel to Portugal take day trips and do not hire private guides we have found that the loss of time and the guides knowledge and experience far out way the cost. Portugal is not just the large cities but smaller towns that offer the true personality and spirit of the country. Travel times between cities is relatively short but offers many spectacular sites. Personality is always a concerned with hiring a tour guide, especially one that you are going to be with for over two weeks. We offered our initial thoughts on the cities we wished to visit Lisbon, Cascais, Sintra, Porto, Douro Valley, Evora, and the Algarve area. We provided hotel options in each city. We later added Cadiz in Spain to visit relatives. Francisco took it from there.

Our final itinerary consisted of the following:

Cascais- two nights at Onyria Marinha
Porto- two nights at Intercontinental
Douro Valley-two nights at Quinta do Vallado
Evora- three nights at Convento De Espinheiro
Algarve- two nights at Bela Vista Hotel
Cadiz- two nights at Parador
Lisbon- three nights at Palacio do Ramalhete

Joao Dickmann our guide and later our friend met us at the airport and we began our mainland holiday. No problem with our luggage or our comfort in a new Renault van. After our hotel checkin we soon learned the experience and knowledge that Joao had was going to make this a very special holiday. Also stating we are not on any timetable eased our minds. We hate to rush. Being a Sunday and having a street fair, Joao suggested a routing that included some nature Boca de Inferno and Praia da Rainha. Being early he then suggested coffee and pastry at Pastelaria Garrett. First day and already the best pastry and coffee. Very proper atmosphere. With cooler temperatures and less of a crowd on to Old City to walk off brunch. Presenting interesting information not in the books and not making it a history class we spend several hours walking the city and listening to the local music. Santini could not be done due to lines extending to the outside. Joao’s not to worry was still to soon to still have some concerns. Our day ending in early evening back at our hotel.

Our next day we started realizing this holiday was going to met another of our prime wishes, relaxation. While we have no concerns in starting our day at 5am if you do not have to why. Joao picked us up at 10 to begin our day. This became our normal start to all of our days while in Portugal. A full night’s sleep and relaxing breakfast, the best way to start your day. Joao inquired concerning my attire, shorts. From the weather and seeing it was already sunny and in the 80’s I was perplexed. He highly recommended me to change into light pants with a sweater or jacket. On our stop at Cabo da Roca it was apparent why. Micro weather in this area clouds and cooler temperatures. Shorts would have made the trip not as comfortable. Before we start visits to castles we stop at a tourist office to purchase tickets in advance. We are the only ones their. No waiting in lines. What a novel idea. With all the time saved we estimated it being almost two hours for all the sites. Again interesting information provided, questions answered and not made up. When Joao did not know the answer to any of our questions which was rare he quickly found the answer for us. Another full day with no rush. On our way back we learned when Joao says not to worry he means it. We are are Santini.

Again after a relaxing breakfast on to Porto. While most would travel directly to Porto. We made stops in Obidos, sampling many varieties of ginja, chocolate and of course pastries, Fatima, taking in a mid day mass, and lastly Bussaco, sneaking our way into a converted hotel from an ancient castle. We arrived into Porto with time to walk the downtown area.

A great day in Porto. One of the more unusual stops was the Livraria Lello. Pictures only before 10am. Most unusual staircase we have ever seen. Boat tour with more churches, railroad station, bridges and of course Port wine and Port wine and more Port wine. Joao showed us the best way to cook and eat Chorizo. We also learned the importance of the daily siesta. Most everything was walking so we took advantage of the local custom. We rendezvoused later at the Zona Ribeirnha for late night drinks and witnessed a spectacular fireworks display. Walking the streets of Porto late at night, no problem.

On to Douro Valley but of course stops along the way. This time Amarrante. Just another one of the most beautiful cities that Portugal has to offer. And what better way to experience it, coffee and pastries. With more stops to check the landscape by taking the local roads instead of the highway, we were able to see the extent of the Douro Valley. Oh what it must have been like to live here in the 1800’s. Grand estates that have lasted the test of time with some better than others. This is the way to experience what the Douro really has to offer. Finally, Quina do Vallado after a road stop by the local’s finest. Breath analysis in the afternoon. We now see why Joao limits himself to just sips of wine even with our encouraging. After checking into the modern section and walking through the apple, lemon, and orange orchards the pool. And I do mean The pool. Soon with some of the vineyards finest another siesta but this time poolside. Late night dinner in town was divine arriving back at the hotel for wine tasting the next day.

Another civilized late start to wine tasting. First our vineyard. One of the most modern structures for any vineyard in the world. Just a few years old. Joao picked us up and another spectacular day. Lunch at DOC was the bomb. Why it is not Michelin starred I do not know. This entire area should not be missed if in Portugal. This is Portugal. Everywhere you go you sense and feel the grape and the history behind it.

We are off to Evora. Again what has made this trip was the part my wife had no idea about. Lamego, Tarouca, and Visiu all before Evora. Words can not describe these travels the people, the churches, the culture you can almost feel it and most definitely fast it. The church at Tarouca made us speechless. The sad and happy part was we were the only ones visiting these places. Visiu is a small but highly sophisticated town. We arrived in Evora late but the Convento held the dining room open for us to a wonderful meal.

Evora proper has much to offer and our entire day was spent walking and sightseeing. Its nice to play regular tourist for one day.

Next day on to Estremoz and Monseraz with a stop at Esporao vineyard for lunch/dinner and yes wine tasting. Joao is able to find everything with no issues. Estremoz can be skipped but Monseraz is very very special. Joao told us to have a light or no breakfast at all today. He picked us up earlier than usual and took us to Pastelaria Conventual de Rala. You guessed it more of the best pastries in Portugal. What a combination between the mother and the daughter. Old world vs. new world. Life does not get any better. Esporao was also very special. Excellent reds. Amazing, they told us NOT to buy any wine from them. Told us to buy it back home in the states. Do not know how but prices were only pennies different. We get back to Convento to see the stars out.

Straight shot to Algarve and Bela Vista. On the way a Joao pit stop at a vineyard for us to buy some more wine. Customs is going to love us. We head right for the beach. Typical beach area with tourist shops and restaurants. Joao recommends a restaurant and Ana has an outstanding fish dinner. She still comments on it today. Never would have gone there without Joao.

Next day Joao takes us to Sagres, Ponta de Piedad and Silves. Of course Joao finds some restaurant that we would never pick that turns out to be great. During our entire trip we had no meals that we regretted. All excellent. It still amazes us how we can start our day relatively late but see so much and still have the night free to see and do other things. We end our day with gelato on the beach.

Next day on to Cadiz to visit cousins of my wife. Joao makes himself welcomed by all and actually assisted us in sightseeing one of the days. On our way back Joao suggested we stop in Sevilla and take in the Cathedral. What a sight. One of the most spectacular Cathedrals we had ever seen. This was never planned by us or requested. On to Lisbon.

Lisbon is definitely a very special city and one or two days is just not enough. Staying at the Palacio put us in the mood of Portugal of old. This is the place to stay even if it is just for one night. Having someone who has lived their entire life in Lisbon makes all of the difference in the world. Francisco’s recommendation of Belcanto was perfect. What made it even better was the night on town afterwards with Joao and the rooftop bars. Walking the streets late at night you witness another Lisbon. One that is young and vibrant and alive. This is the way to see Lisbon. Its just not churches, museums, and gardens it is so much more. Joao showing us the ocean side deserted church in nearby Setubal was so unusual. Of course only locals visiting the beach were present. The old covenant mountainside was another not to be missed spot. Yes of course we saw all of the “typical sights” but they took on so much more meaning with Joao’s little stories and in the order we saw things. We have to end our trip but on the last day on our way to Belem instead of going to Casa Pasteis De Belem, he takes us instead to a residential area nearby to Paselaria Do Restelo. We are the only tourists there. Only local residents. We have our last breakfast in Portugal being our best. This one experience sums up what The Authentic Experiences is all about.

We cannot say enough about Francisco and Joao. Simple words, they made our trip to Portugal one that we will never forget and one that we wish to do again. We can now say they are both our friends and will be seeing them again in the future. For something special and unique choose The Authentic Experiences.
Written 24 July 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.