09
Oct

Photo Journal: Portugal

Posted By Heather

DSC04838When thinking of Europe and all the countries that are on my wishlist to visit, Portugal was never at the forefront of my mind. But after Trav’s sister, Gale, moved to Spain, we immediately planned a trip to explore both Spain and Portugal.

If you are a person inspired by bold colors and beautiful architecture than you might be as pleasantly surprised with Portugal as we were.

IMG_4452We started our Portugal road trip at the bottom of the country and stopped in Lagos – a beautiful and quaint seaside town with gorgeous cliffs and turquoise water. 
The main thing to do in Lagos is hike along the coast to the Ponte de Piedade to see the beautiful grottos popping out of the crystal clear water.
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IMG_2616After hiking along the trails by the cliffs and eating lunch in the picturesque old city we headed to Lisbon.

IMG_4385You might have sensory overload when arriving in Lisbon because every corner of this historic city is absolutely gorgeous.

We walked through one of the main squares in Lisbon to our accommodations – the Lisbon Destination Hostel, which was located in an operating historic train station.

Lisbon Destination HostelThis hostel is one of the most fascinating places Trav and I have stayed and has made both of our top ten lists!

Lisbon has a similar feel to San Francisco because of the steep hills, proximity to the ocean, distinct districts, and even the cable cars that run through the charming Bairo Alto quarter.IMG_2677

Portugal Blog Pics

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After spending a few days in Lisbon we made our way north to Porto, but not without stopping at what was soon to become Trav’s favorite castle in the world – Palace da Pena in Sintra, which is only thirty minutes outside of Lisbon.

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IMG_2854The Pena National Palace sits high upon a hill above the city of Sintra – which is an amazing town to visit on it’s own and we did wander around and have a late lunch there after exploring the palace.

DSC04846We drove up the cobblestone road/path at about 5km/mile without shifting from first gear (there are also buses available if you don’t have a rental car) and it was a surreal experience.

On either side of the narrow road there is a moss covered forest which makes one feel as if they have been transported to some medieval castle.

When you finally reach the top you must walk or take a trolley even further up to the castle entrance. And then it is there – in all of its glorious color and bizarre architectural styles that somehow work together.

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DSC04856 A few hours later we pulled ourselves away and continued the road trip to our final destination in Portugal – Porto.

IMG_0426The romantic city of Porto is situated on the Douro River which makes for a beautiful city landscape. The same architect who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris designed the Luis I bridge in Porto.

It is very reminiscent of the Eiffel tower and at night it casts an enchanting glow around the river.

IMG_2878Our unique accommodation in Porto, Casa dos Guindais, was located in a great spot with scenic views of the river and the bridge.

IMG_0412-2We spent three short days exploring the city, tasting Port wine, visiting the famous Majestic bookstore, and eating excellent local cuisine at numerous cafes and bakeries.

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We reluctantly left Porto for the trek to Madrid. Now that we have been to Portugal, we cannot wait to go back and explore the areas we missed out on the first time.

12 comments

  1. TonyM says:

    How many Belem tarts did you eat? Did you try Ginjinha in the little chocolate cups?

    1. Trav says:

      @Tony M- Not sure if we ate any Belem tarts…at least I don’t remember eating any. Those chocolate cups though…let’s just say “a few”!

  2. RobRob says:

    Oh wow! Pena National Palace might be our new favorite castle too! What an awesome, story-book-looking place. You’ve set the hook – I’m sure it won’t be long before Portugal reels us in! Thanks for sharing the great photos.

    1. Trav says:

      @RobRob- Yeah, it is truly incredible…and Portugal is sooo great. Can’t wait to hear your own take from when you inevitably venture there!

  3. Jorge says:

    Glad to know that you’ve enjoyed my country. It’s really small, but beautiful. I can’t believe you didn’t try any Pastel de Belém or Pastel de Nata as they’re widely known. Now, you have to go back (: Safe travels!

    1. Trav says:

      @Jorge- Yep, guess it’s time to go back! Portugal is definitely one of my favorite countries in the world.

  4. StephenEamonn says:

    Portugal far surpassed my expectations too! The Sintra area is simply amazing. You could spend a few days there alone!

    1. Trav says:

      @StephenEamonn- Totally agree!

  5. Oh, I can’t wait to explore Portugal in May! Thank you, guys, for saving me so much time by finding all these awesome places to stay, eat and visit! :) I’ll be posting about my adventures for sure!

    1. Trav says:

      @Tristanne – Awesome, be sure to let us know when the post goes live!

  6. Karl says:

    Just discovered your podcasts and loving them. Portugal has always been on my bucket list and love their wine (not the Port) – so awesome to see/hear a podcast about your travels there.

    Question – in your experience is it better/cheaper to fly into Lisbon or Porto direct or into Madrid and drive?

    1. Trav says:

      @Karl – honestly, it just depends. There are generally more flights in the Madrid, and it’s pretty easy, fun, and cheap to drive to Porto or Lisbon. But…I’ve also seen some great deals in to Lisbon too, so just check the dates you want to go and go from there.

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