When planning a trip, I usually make a wide list of places I want to go and see. Then I mark these destinations on a map and eliminate excessive places, so that we will be left a convenient route to drive during our stay there. Our Portugese roundtrip turned out like this:
Our plane arrived in Lisbon and the next morning we headed straight toward our first destination, Porto, with some stops on the road:
*Alcobaca, where is located a monastery that was established in 1153 by the first Portugese king, Afonso Henriques;
*Batalha with another monastery, one of the most important Gothic sight built in 1385;
*Leiria Castle, also built by Afonso Henriques.
A lots of history seen that day, we arrived in Porto, where we stayed for few days. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, after the capital ofcourse. The city has it’s own rythme and feeling. This is probably the place what we would say is a MUST SEE when visiting Portugal. Enjoy the architecture and city landscape, have a port wine and delicious meal.
Our next destination after Porto was Evora. On our way there we had two stops:
*The city of universities – Coimbra. We took a stroll to see central, where basically one university is followed by another. We also peeked a botanic garden there, which by the way is the biggest in Portugal.
*Lamego where we went to see Nossa Senhora dos Remédios – Our Lady of Remedies. To the cathedral leads a stairway with 686 stairs, which many pilgrims pass on knees in autumn. That’s outrageous, even walking was quite an effort.
In Evora we wanted to see Roman Temple of Evora. It is believed that the ruins of the temple has remained from the 1-2 century A.D. What amazed me was that the monument is not bounded with any barrier, people may go and touch the walls of the temple. Quite spectacular.
From Evora we drove to Tavira, where we went to beach. Through Tavira flows river Gilao where fishing boats float on the water.
And finally we headed back to Lisbon and stayed there a few days. From there I suggest to take a tour to Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and Castle, we took a whole day for that. The next day we went to Lisbon Oceanarium (the largest indoor oceanarium in Europe) and Old-Town; and on our last day there we went to see Cristo Rei monument, 25 de Abril Bridge and once again Old-Town to take a ride with a cable car.
Lisbon Old-Town is beautiful, but for some reason, Porto left deeper impression. We would rather visit Porto again than Lisbon. But I guess that’s just our taste and preference.
Portugal produces about half of the cork worldwide and there are so many different accessories made of cork to bring with you as a souvenir.
Portuguese are very proud of their ceramic tiles, they also sell these in souvenir shops. If it’s possible to carry liquids, then port wine is excellent gift for wine lovers. Portuguese cheese and canned sardines are also something to take with you.
Like in many Southern-Europe countries, bakery products are widely consumed in Portugal.
To compensate eating so much white bread we ate lots of salads. Though don’t forget that Portuguese cuisine is famous for seafood!
When buying coffee, they may assume you want to have an espresso. Ask for flat white, americano, cappuchino etc if you prefer light coffee.
And finally, port wine. We saw locals drink port wine from the early morning hours until late night. They just enjoy that beverage. We approve their taste!