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Beyond the photogenic castles and cathedrals, Ireland’s capital city brims with character: here, history flows along the cobblestone streets, swirls about centuries-old pubs, and evolves along with the arts and cuisine created by its youthful, innovative denizens. Explore Dublin Castle, Phoenix Park, and Trinity College on an included city tour to get a sense of Ireland’s past glory; spot the local deer herd at Phoenix Park; hit the pubs and listen to — or participate in — the craic, or everyday banter, intrinsic to Irish culture. With Dublin’s attractions right by your centrally located hotel, you’ll have an easy time getting to know this cosmopolitan city.
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Take off for Dublin
You’ll board an overnight flight to Ireland today, arriving on Day 2.
Arrive in Dublin
Welcome to Dublin! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Remember to take advantage of the hospitality desk during your stay, where you can plan activities; or, use our complimentary Concierge service to do so in advance. Dinner is included at the hotel tonight.
Discover the best of the Irish capital
After a hearty breakfast, you’ll set off on a coach and walking tour to see Dublin’s most renowned landmarks, including a stop at the entrance of Dublin Castle and at Phoenix Park, one of the oldest and largest urban parks in Europe. At the Library of Trinity College Dublin, you’ll set eyes on what is widely considered as Ireland’s finest national treasure: The Book of Kells. After admiring the pages of brilliantly colored illustrations and calligraphed manuscripts on display, enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Your Concierge can offer recommendations or even help you make reservations for lunch and dinner!
Get a real taste of Irish culture — and one of Dublin’s most amazing views — when you tour the recently reopened Guinness Storehouse. Honoring one of the Emerald Isle’s most famous beverages, you’ll step back in time and learn about the family that founded the brewery, their 999-year lease, and the historic St. James Gate neighborhood. You’ll sample plenty of this dry stout, and enjoy some time to relax in the stunning rooftop bar at the end of your insightful tour. Round out your tour with literary pub crawl, a walking tour of Dublin's most historic places to toast. A spirited actor will introduce some of the most famous works of literature from Ireland's storied history and perform scenes punctuating your on-foot explorations today.
Explore Dublin at your leisure
Enjoy a day to explore on your own. Perhaps you’ll go see the infamous centuries-old mummies housed deep in the crypts of St. Michan’s Church, take in the music performed by talented buskers on Grafton Street, or embark on a search for your long-lost Irish roots at the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum. And if you’d like to party like the Irish, make sure to schedule an after-dinner pub crawl!
Travel south of Dublin to beautiful County Wicklow, where you will explore the spectacular Powerscourt Gardens, a 45-acre extravaganza of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, exquisite statues, and ornamental lakes. With more than 200 varieties of trees and shrubs, Powerscourt has been described as one of Europe's greatest gardens. From here we visit Glendalough, one of Ireland’s oldest and most important monasteries, founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Set between two idyllic lakes, its most prominent feature is the iconic High Tower where monks stored precious manuscripts and artifacts. We’ll return to Dublin on a scenic route that features the Wicklow Mountains, Wicklow Gap, and Blessington Lake.
Fly to London and commence your base tour
After breakfast, we’ll check out and transfer from our hotel to Dublin Airport for our flight to London, where you will join Day 2 of your base tour program.
Featuring year-round balmy weather and a trademark fortified wine, the Portuguese island of Madeira also boasts a lushness that earned its label as the “Floating Garden of the Atlantic.” During your stay in the lovely capital of Funchal, you’ll enjoy a half-day city tour and immersion into local island life, plus a chance to peruse the covered market at the edge of the Old Town. You’ll also have the option of an espetada evening (complete with dinner and a folklore show), and a chance to explore Madeira’s natural wonders on an island and botanical garden tour. Raise a glass to this oceanic outpost — the perfect complement to your cruise across the mainland!
Fly to Madeira, and an orientation walk through Funchal
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Madeira, Portugal. Then, join your Vantage City Host for an optional short orientation walk in the capital city of Funchal. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps exploring the highlights of this lovely town, including its cathedral or the scenic Santa Caterina Park.
Tour Madeira’s marketplace and Old Town
Set out this morning for a half-day city tour. Cultural Discovery: Browse the fragrant stands of the marketplace brimming with produce carted in from all over the fertile island and stroll the cobbled lanes of the Old Town. Then ascend to the town of Monte, 1,800 feet above the sea. Splendid views greet you from here, but you might thrill more to the mode of transport you’ll use to return to Funchal: a traditional two-seater wicker toboggan or “basket sled.” A pair of pilots — skilled and expert carreiros — guide you downhill for the steep mile-long journey. Back in the city, enjoy the rest of your afternoon at leisure. This evening, join our lively optional tour, a traditional espetada evening of folklore music and dancing at a local restaurant, or experience more of Funchal on your own with a night at leisure.
Explore Madeira’s lushness on an optional tour
Today’s optional full-day tour provides an overview of this magnificent island’s interior. Admire the blooms at Madeira Botanical Garden and take in the panoramas from the 5,430-foot Pico do Arieiro. Visit a fascinating trout hatchery and the Laurel Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see the old thatched houses of Santana. Or, craft your own itinerary with a day at leisure.
This day-long tour is a great opportunity to see several faces of Madeira! Your first stop will be at the Botanical Gardens, where you'll have the chance to see examples of the fantastic flora from Madeira (weather permitting). After, you'll climb to the peak of Pico do Arieiro to take in breathtaking views. Then, descend to Ribeiro Frio to visit the trout hatchery, located in a valley amongst lush greenery. Continue your descent to the interior of the island, where you'll enjoy a typical Portuguese lunch. Your tour concludes with visits to Madeira’s Laurisilva laurel forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the town of Santana, home to old thatched homes.
After breakfast, depart for the Funchal airport for your flight home.
An overnight flight takes you to Madeira, Portugal, today.
Arrive in Madeira and settle in
Arrive today and settle into your hotel before a Welcome Briefing, where you’ll meet other travelers joining you for enriching discoveries. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Fly to Lisbon and join the base program
This morning, enjoy breakfast at your hotel before flying to Lisbon, where you’ll meet other travelers on your base tour.
Fly to Dublin, Ireland
After breakfast you’ll transfer to the London airport and fly to Dublin, Ireland. After transferring to your centrally located hotel, the rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy. Remember to take advantage of the hospitality desk during your stay, where you can plan activities; or, use our complimentary Concierge service to do so in advance.
Enjoy a day to explore on your own. Perhaps you’ll go see the infamous centuries-old mummies housed deep in the crypts of St. Michan’s Church, take in the music performed by talented buskers on Grafton Street, or embark on a search for your long-lost Irish roots at the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum. Dinner is included at the hotel tonight, but if you’d like to party like the Irish, perhaps you’ll celebrate your adventure with a pub crawl!
After breakfast, you’ll check out and transfer from your hotel to Dublin Airport for your flight home.