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By Ilona Kauremszky


Q: We are a newly retired couple (65 years old each) and we are now planning on doing that long awaited travelling we always talked about. We wish to visit Portugal this fall. Is it too late to book a trip with a tour operator now? We also don't have a clue on tour operators so we're hoping you can publish a list of some of them. I was interested in exploring their wine region. Also do you know how Portugal compares price wise to other European countries? We heard it was very affordable. Any information you have is helpful.

A: I checked with the Portuguese Trade and Tourism Commission recently on booking fall trips. Spokesperson Maria do Carmo Nogueira says packages to Portugal should still be available for that time, but you should check with your travel agency. “Packages are usually bought through a travel agency, since tour operators are the wholesalers,” says Maria and adds, “Travel Agencies should be able to do the research for their clients and advise them on what is on the market and still available.”

To help get you started, here are a few tour operators offering trips to Portugal you might wish to consult: www.turismotours.com (1-888-421-7961 or 416-535-6641); www.europatours.ca (1-866-870-1377 or 416-840-3448); www.sunmedholidays.com (1-800-263-0858); and www.eurosun.com (1-800-387-9927).

These companies recently had packages still available to Portugal but inquire with them directly for availability. For wine region exploration Guimarães is considered the country’s beautiful birthplace that has tremendous symbolic value for Portugal.

Discover a cultural and historic heritage that has been preserved over the ages. Continue to the city of Porto which is intimately connected to the River Douro and the world famous Port Wine. The city has a marked cosmopolitan and commercial feel that blends with old and modern architecture.

Make sure to travel to the Alto Douro winegrowing region in the heart of the Douro valley and feel its own unique character.

For details on this region log onto www.visitportoenorte.com.

As far as prices are concerned, Portugal is still one of the most affordable countries in Europe if not the most especially during low season.

For other travel-related information visit the Portuguese Trade and Tourism Commission online at www.visitportugal.com.

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