Porto & Art Noveau - Arte Nova in the Douro River Valley

Prices from £2,150


31 Mar 2020 - 5 Apr 2020
Duration: 5 nights
Ref: 20PORT
With: Dr Anne Anderson


Prices from £2,150
Single Supplement: £295
Deposit: £200

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As is the case for so many of Europe’s greatest cities, Porto owes much to a mighty river. The Douro, which flows through the city, has ensured not just lucrative trading deals but fertile ground for the production of world-famous wines. A consistently buoyant wine trade has meant that Porto has long been able to invest in architecture, and a handsome mix of architectural styles can be seen in the city today. However, it was from the 18th century onwards, when Porto entered the Industrial Revolution, that the city underwent its greatest expansion. Buildings were erected in line with the latest fashions, with one such style becoming particularly popular towards the end of the 19th and early 20th century. Art Nouveau, or Arte Nova as the movement was known in Portugal, offered a new and elaborate way to demonstrate wealth and innovation. A distinctively Portuguese twist on the movement was the frequent incorporation of traditional azulejo tilework, colourful tin-glazed ceramic tiles. This new Art Pursuits Abroad tour gives special focus to the unique Art Nouveau architecture of Porto and the surrounding area, but there will be plenty of chances to explore the city’s many other rich and varied architectural treasures, with time for a glass or two of local port along the way!


“The view across the river Douro to Vila Nova de Gaia and the famous Port Lodges is simply breathtaking; all the Lodge signs twinkle at night. The bravado of the iconic double-deck Dom Luis I bridge spanning the river is truly awe inspiring.”

Anne is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster with a background in archaeology, who is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. As an art historian, Anne specialises in art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly the Aesthetic movement, Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism. She lectures widely for many organiastions including the Arts Society.

DAY 1:

Early afternoon flight from London Gatwick to Porto. On arrival we transfer by private coach to our four star hotel in the heart of charming Porto, before we reconvene for a group meal.

DAY 2:

A morning devoted to discovering the Art Nouveau gems of Porto. Beginning in Vila Nova de Gaia, we enjoy a special private tour of Barbot House, the best example of Art Nouveau architecture in the area. Crossing the iconic Luis I Bridge we re-enter Porto, where our next stop is the handsome Sao Bento train station with its azulejo-tiled vestibule. The Art Nouveau aesthetic was allowed to flourish throughout the city and we will see examples of its application on civic and residential architecture. Well-deserved refreshments in the glamourous Majestic Café, the architectural epitome of ‘la belle époque’, are a fitting treat along the way. In the afternoon we transfer by coach to the Palácio da Bolsa, the city’s Stock Exchange Palace. Built in the 1840s to signify Porto’s prosperity and power, the serious Neoclassical façade hides an astonishingly lavish interior. Our final stop of the day is the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, the oldest public museum in Portugal with a fabulous collection of Portuguese art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.

DAY 3:

Transfer by coach to the Vista Alegre complex, home of the famous Vista Alegre Porcelain Factory, which was founded in 1824. Our guided tour will take in the Vista Alegre Museum, offering, a visit to the factory’s hand-painting workshop, and the chapel Nossa Senhora da Penha de França. Travel on to nearby Aveiro, another important city in the development of the Portuguese Art Nouveau style, for an afternoon of exploration. The Art Nouveau Museum, itself a spectacular example of the movement, documents the city’s Art Nouveau architecture and, after a group lunch, a walking tour will allow us to see many of these buildings up close. We return to Porto in the late afternoon, where the evening is yours for independent exploration or relaxation.

DAY 4:

Morning excursion to the Serralves Foundation, one of Portugal’s most important cultural institutions. Our first stop is the museum, dedicated to contemporary art and housed in a striking minimalist building designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira. The Serralves Villa was built in the 1930s and is a wonderfully romantic example of Art Deco architecture, with interiors incorporating both neo-classical and art deco elements, while the surrounding park harmoniously fuses formal gardens with woodland and a traditional farm. We return to the hotel in the early afternoon, the rest of the day is free for your own activities.

DAY 5:

A special excursion today will be a full-day cruise through the picturesque Douro wine region. We start by travelling east by train from Porto to Régua, where a coach transfers us to Pinhão quay, taking us along what is supposedly one of the most beautiful roads in the world. We join our cruise in Pinhão and as we wind our way along the Douro river, there will be ample opportunity to sample the produce of the lush valley that surrounds us. We will pause for a Moscatel wine tasting with local winemakers, and to enjoy a traditional lunch from the Douro. We will also visit the village of Favaios, home to the Museum of Wine and Bread, a celebration of the village’s most abundant produce. Our cruise delivers us back to Porto in the early evening, where we enjoy a farewell group dinner.

DAY 6:

After breakfast we leave the hotel on foot to explore some more of Porto’s architectural highlights. Free time for an early independent lunch will allow for some last-minute souvenir shopping before we transfer to the airport for an early evening flight back to London Gatwick.


Twin/double share: £2150 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £295
Price of the tour without flights: £1950 per person
Deposit: £200 per person


  • Return flights
  • Private coach transfers and excursions
  • Six nights’ bed and breakfast in the 5* Pestana Porto - A Brasileira
  • Guided visits to sites listed in the programme.
  • Services of the Lecturer and Tour Manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes & gratuities for coach drivers & waiters


Pestana Porto - A Brasileira is the newest 5 star hotel located in downtown Porto. Built in the famous A Brasileira Café, the first to serve coffee in a cup in the early 20th century, the hotel has preserved the building’s original architectural features. The 89 rooms and suites are distributed across several floors; each being thematically tied to the produce imported during the Portuguese maritime expansion on the 15th and 16th centuries: Anise, Coffee, Cinnamon, Tea, Chocolate and Pink Pepper. The air conditioned rooms are fully equipped and feature complimentary Wi-Fi, TV, tea and coffee making facilities, a hairdryer and safe.