In August 2019, Prem and Cheridy had an amazing getaway to Portugal.
Here is a highlight video that really shows off the trip:
We are off to a great start! Our flight landed very early in the morning. Unfortunately we only had a couple hours of restless sleep on the plane but that didn’t stop us. When we landed, we got our rental car and headed for downtown Lisbon.
We first went to Castelo de S Jorge which has a beautiful view over the city with the bridge in the background (Golden Gate replica). The old castle was fascinating to walk around.
Next we went to Monesterio dos Jerónimos which was spectacular architecture. The detail carved in Stone was amazing.
Then we went to Belém tower and had lunch with a view of the tower.
We are quite exhausted so now it’s time to find a hotel and take a nap!!
Tonight we had a wonderful dinner at a beachside restaurant. After that we drove up to explore the nearby Pena Palace but the clouds rolled in and it was shrouded in fog so we will go back in the morning. We then went back to the coast for a pretty sunset.
Definitely looking forward to sleeping in a bed tonight as opposed to an airplane seat!!
This morning we had an amazing breakfast at our hotel and then we drove back to the Pena Palace near Sintra. The Palace is built on a hilltop on massive park grounds so we went for a really nice walk. It was hard to see and appreciate it from up close so we found a trail that led farther away and then rock scrambled up to get an amazing view over the tree tops. Low clouds passes over the top towers.
Then we drove inland to the walled city of Evora where there are some incredible Roman ruins among with an incredible old church.
We just made it down to Lagos on the south coast. It’s about 20 degrees cooler here than it was in Evora. Time for some dinner and relaxation!
This morning we did a whole lot of nothing. We slept in, had breakfast, took a nap, then drove down the coast to the farthest southwest point of Portugal.
There was a food truck called “last sausage before America”. Lol.
We spent the majority of the day today at our hotel. It was nice to have a day of rest. Our hotel is right on the Praia da Rocha which is one of the most popular beaches on the south coast of Portugal.
Losing our parking spot is one of the other reasons why we decided on a day of relaxing and doing nothing. Lol.
We went for dinner at one of the restaurants on the beach which was an interesting experience. We had a very drunk waiter and also witnessed a parade of some of the most bizarre swimwear we’ve ever seen.
But then we went for some gelato and that made up for it.
What a day!
We started on the south coast in Portimao with a boat tour of the caves and coastline. It was spectacular! Gorgeous weather, amazing caves, and a fun boat captain.
We then drove 3.5 hours north to Tomar and walked around the Convent of Christ which was a stronghold for the Knights Templar in the 12th century. Wow! There is some serious history here.
Next we drove another 2 hours north to the city of Porto.
So far, this is my favorite city in Portugal. We found a hotel with an amazing location and incredible view from the balcony for only 60 Euros per night. The city is built on the Duoro River and has incredible culture, history, and night life.
This morning started early with some walking around the city. We walked up to the highest point which is the 12th century Porto cathedral.
Next we went to the Livraria Lello which has to be one of the most famous bookstores in the world. Made famous by JK Rawlings who wrote the Harry Potter series who was inspired by this place. It now has a line two blocks long, all day long, just to get in and see it.
Next was the Clerigos tower and we also passed a beautiful old trolley, a VW beetle car convention, and a 5 story painting of a blue cat.
We then toured the Bolsa Palace and was amazed that much of the wood and stone in this place was fake. It was painted plaster that nobody would know the difference. There is also an Arabic room with carvings and writing all over the wall but it’s all meaningless because none of the artists involved in the project could speak Arabic so they made up words and letters.
Then we went for a boat cruise along the Duoro River to take in the sights of the city.
That was followed by lunch (they put eggs on EVERYTHING). Then we walked over the upper deck of the bridge and back to the hotel for a long nap.
For our last night in Porto, we had another spectacular dinner spot right on the river and got to watch the changing colors as it turned from day to night.
What’s better than any of the places that we are visiting is that we are doing it together.
This morning we started the day driving up towards Braga to see the Chapel at Bom Jesus Do Monte which is an incredible hilltop setting. However, we ended up in the wrong place and found another beautiful hilltop chapel at Santuário do Sameiro. Today was the first day that wasn’t too windy to fly my drone.
There was another gorgeous smaller chapel that we passed driving down the mountain.
Next we visited Guimarães Castle which is about as stereotypical medieval castle as you can get. One of the interesting things about Europe is that often towns were built right around these fortresses so you’ll have a new condo complex next to a 10th century castle.
From there we drove back down towards Lisbon and toured the Mafra Palace. It’s always interesting to see how the King and Queen used to live.
They had one of the most amazing chapels I’ve ever seen connected to the Palace. However, the only other thing that really blew me away was the Library hall which was probably the biggest I’ve ever seen. It was incredible seeing thousands of books dating back hundreds of years all in one room.
Time to head home!!