Posts About 'Portugal Travel'

The 3 Best Daytrips from Lisbon for this August and September

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Chalet Condessa d'Edla, Sintra

Summer has barely begun in Lisbon, so whether you’re looking to combine sun and culture in the city with other attractions and activities elsewhere in Portugal, here are the three destinations to consider right now:

It takes less than 90 minutes to reach Evora, but many prefer to visit it on an overnight stay as part of a longer trip through Portugal. Still, those with only a few days in the country should consider this historic city as a daytrip from the capital. This year there are two big news. Staring this summer, trains depart from Lisbon’s Sete Rios station and now take only 1 hour and 21 minutes to reach Evora. Once there, you’ll be able to visit the landmark Roman Temple and the famous Chapel of Bones among many other attractions, but also see an Andy Warhol exhibition until November. There will be 41 works by the American artist from several collections, including the famous Marilyn portrait, the Campbell’s soup cans and the Coca Cola bottle. All of this iconic pop art can be seen in the Fundação Eugenio de Almeida, right in the center of the old city. Admission is just 1 euro (!) and can be seen every day from 9:30AM to 7PM.

Any tourist who does good research about Lisbon knows that a visit to the city is not complete without a daytrip to Sintra. This fairytale land of castles and royal palaces is perfect in the summer, as all the greenery cools down the temperatures. New this year is the reopening of a romantic building within Pena Park, right below the famous Pena Palace. That building is Chalet Condessa d’Edla, a cottage built for a countess (who later married the king) in the 19th century. After its recent restoration, it was open to the public last week, and will now be the occasional stage for concerts and other events (the first one was opera on the 29th).

With a location by the sea, Cascais is always a popular destination from Lisbon, but obviously more so in the summer. This year’s news is Blue Bar Baia, a bar inside Hotel Baia facing the beach. It’s one of the best spots to be at night, sipping a cocktail as you gaze out to the Atlantic. Nearby is the new Paradigma restaurant, open throughout the day for lunch, afternoon drinks, and dinner.

5 Reasons to Go to Porto this Summer

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

When in Lisbon, many travelers choose to then move on to the beaches of Algarve while others head north to the country’s second city, Porto. This summer you should go for the second option, as it also offers beaches nearby together with a major cultural renaissance. Here are the five main reasons to go now.

Café Astoria, Porto
Café Astória

There’s a new “wine hotel” that’s not only one of Porto’s top accommodation choices but also one of Portugal’s best. Facing the city’s majestic skyline on the other side of the river, The Yeatman‘s inspiration is the famous wine that Porto is famous for. In addition to the luxury of the rooms, it also offers a wonderful spa and restaurant. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you may experience its refined gastronomic choices at the Yeatman Restaurant. Outside, you’ll find countless centuries-old wineries offering free guided tours and wine tastings.

Downtown Porto (including the monumental Avenida dos Aliados) has undergone a major renovation over the past few years and is now a vibrant area at any time of the day. A new InterContinental hotel just opened a few days ago in a palace facing the city’s main avenue, and several café terraces and bars have given downtown a lively ambience. The new hotel also brought back to life an old café in the same building (Café Astória), and other hotspots to check out on the renovated avenue include Casal Lounge and the always-popular Guarany café.

The fact that a new Marc Jacobs shop just opened in the center of the city is the latest indication that the major labels have also begun to discover Porto. But the reason to shop here is for the local products and to admire some beautiful storefronts. Many of them maintain charming turn-of-the-century façades and inside you’ll find attractive classic products or surprisingly modern and alternative pieces. One example of the classic-meets-contemporary is the Taken Urban Culture Store which recently took over one of the city’s most iconic shops. More surprises are found at Lobo Taste, home to contemporary crafts. Also worth a look is the Porto home of one of Lisbon’s most famous shops, A Vida Portuguesa, right in the center of the city. More shopping options here: Porto Shops

Head to the upscale district of Foz where the Douro meets the Atlantic and enjoy the fresh air of the sea. The brand-new Deck Foz is just one option but there are also the already-classic Praia da Luz and Homem do Leme.

End your day (or night) at the latest hotspot in the city, the rooftop terrace Zenith Lounge. It offers moonlit views of Porto and its river together with cocktails and DJ sounds. Closer to downtown, the latest buzz points to Vila Porto, a club hosting the hottest weekend parties in town.


Deck Foz, Porto
Deck Foz

“Virtuoso Life” Magazine Recommends: Portugal’s Algarve for Luxurious Holidays Now

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Virtuoso Life Magazine

The current issue of luxury travel magazine “Virtuoso Life” (available worldwide) is entirely dedicated to Europe and presents “50 Reasons to Go Now.”
One of the main cover articles is about Portugal’s southern Coast, the Algarve, which the magazine describes as being “saturated with color” and “flavor,” “from the landscape to the table” due to its “plunging cliffs and golden beaches, the vast Atlantic and the arid inland plains, roses and orange groves.”
It recommends a luxury resort but also describes the small towns with the best historical or cultural offerings, such as Tavira (“the Algarve’s prettiest town”), Silves (with its Moorish fortress), and Sagres (where the “inspiration” from Prince Henry the Navigator’s school is “unmissable”).
As a “side trip,” it recommends the province of Alentejo and there’s also a tip for a visit to the Vicentina Coast north of Sagres, “an unspoiled piece of Europe.”

Virtuoso Life Magazine - Algarve

Lonely Planet Magazine Recommends Lisbon and Other Portugal Destinations for Easy Trips This Year

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Lonely Planet MagazineThe February issue of Lonely Planet magazine (on sale worldwide) recommends “52 best weekends away.” One of them, in the category of “history and culture” is Sintra. It suggests that readers “take a trip back in time to imperial Portugal,” a place “blessed with palaces, villas and churches” and for more information it recommends the GoLisbon website. So here’s the direct link to our Sintra guide: Sintra, Portugal.

In another section of the magazine, it highlights Lisbon’s historic kiosks that have been recently restored. It says it’s one of the city’s “oldest street-drinking traditions” that has been revived, offering perfumed milk, iced tea, and traditional lemonade, “bringing an element of old-fashioned class” to the “hot” Chiado district.

But Portugal is featured a third time in this issue, in an article titled “10 Easy Trips You Can Book Now.” One of the ten is “the edge of the Old World,” Sagres. It was chosen for being a destination where you can “find a beach away from the crowds,” a place that’s Europe’s most southwestern point and with “Atlantic waves crashing onto the dramatically rugged beaches.” It’s also “a good base for exploring the rest of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park,” it concludes.

The Luxury of Porto

Thursday, December 9th, 2010


The Financial Times’ monthly magazine “How to Spend It” always features a city in its “The Long Luxurious Weekend” column. Lisbon was highlighted in the February 2009 issue (as reported here: “Lisbon for a Long Luxurious Weekend“), and the December 2010 issue has chosen Porto.
The reason for the trip was the new luxury “wine hotel” The Yeatman, but the author found that the city is “increasingly home to design-savvy hotels” like the recent Hotel Teatro and the Palácio do Freixo Pousada.
In addition to the new sophisticated accommodation, the city also offers “original restaurants, world-class concert halls and chic boutiques.”
Porto is “now echoing with vibrant culture,” and among the featured attractions in the article are the Rem Koolhass-designed Casa da Musica and the Serralves Museum.
The city is also described as a “first-class walking city,” and a visit to the riverside Foz is recommended for its “signature boutiques” and “buzzing” restaurants.

A Visit to the Christmas Village

Monday, December 6th, 2010

The most spectacular Christmas-related activities in the Lisbon region are not in the capital but in the medieval village of Obidos. Known for its festivals throughout the year, the village is also home to the big “Christmas village” festival every December.
This year it happens from the 10th to January 2nd, and in addition to the annual ice skating rink and house of Santa Claus, the 2010 edition also features an ice bar and a “chocolate lounge” (Obidos is also the stage of an international chocolate festival in early spring).
The photos below show last year’s “Christmas Village” and the official website has more information:

Obidos Vila Natal

Obidos Vila Natal

Obidos Vila Natal

Obidos Vila Natal

Obidos Vila Natal

The New York Times Discovers the Old and New Portugal

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Portugal in the New York Times travel section

After Portugal’s Alentejo in its lifestyle magazine earlier this week, the New York Times now highlights the north of the country in this weekend’s travel section. Titled “Portugal Old, New and Undiscovered,” the article goes through the Douro region (the World Heritage wine country) after arriving in Porto, “a city of bold, sudden architectural contrasts.” The chosen hotel was the new Pousada which for the author was a surprise to find such affordable luxury. Dining was at two of the city’s newest “glossy design showcases,” although the favorite gastronomic experiences were at the more traditional restaurants. From the city the next destination was “Portugal’s Tuscany or Piedmont,” staying in the region’s newest accommodation and trying the “superb” food at two of its restaurants that pleased “immensely.” The rest of the trip was driving around this “majestic land.” Here are all the details in the full article: Portugal Old, New and Undiscovered

Take a Break in “Portugal’s Great Plains” Says The New York Times Style Magazine

Monday, May 24th, 2010

New York Times Style Magazine

It only takes a quick glance at the cover of the latest Summer Travel Issue of the New York Times Style Magazine to recognize that it’s highlighting Portugal. It’s the typical whitewashed architecture of the south of the country, and in this case it’s the province of Alentejo east of Lisbon. As is expected from the New York Times, it goes to still-undiscovered corners, places filled with character but not on the usual tourist path. In this issue it chose the upper Alentejo, recommending days traveling on “the slow lane,” enjoying “Portugal’s answer to America’s Great Plains.” That’s where you’ll find country inns and restaurants that are “highly personalized labors of love,” and the article recommends a few. You can read the entire article and current issue of the magazine here: New York Time Style Magazine

The World’s Most Extraordinary Organ Concert to Be Played Again Two Centuries Later

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Palacio-Convento de Mafra

It took eleven years and a one-million-euro restoration but this weekend Mafra Palace will once again have its basilica’s organs playing. They’re no ordinary organs, but a total of six which are unique in the world. While most churches, cathedrals, or basilicas have one or two organs (in some very rare cases, four), none in the world have six, and it’s not just the number that makes Mafra’s unique, but what they were intended to do. These six organs were strategically placed in a way to create a never-before-heard “surround sound” and had music written for them to be played simultaneously, meaning that those musical sheets can only be used here. When the Portuguese royal family moved to Brazil to escape Napoleon’s invasion in the early 19th century, the palace and consequently the organs suffered a period of decadence, with the instruments becoming inoperable. Only recently has there been an effort to bring them back to life, and 203 years after they last played together, this weekend there will be concerts that were never able to be performed since then. Because all six organs are necessary to hear the musical compositions, no one alive has heard the effect created by this unique assemblage but from now on all 12,000 tubes that make up the organs can emit the sounds King João V imagined would be a grandiose affirmation of his power in the 18th century.
The palace was built at a time when fortunes were pouring into Portugal thanks to the discovery of gold in Brazil, a precious metal that here transformed into a colossal monument of record-breaking proportions that has just been announced is a candidate to the World Heritage list by UNESCO.
This weekend’s concerts are at 9PM on Saturday and 6PM on Sunday, and are free. The palace is open every day except Tuesday for tourist visits. More info: Mafra Palace

ABC’s “The Bachelorette” Looks for Romance in Lisbon

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The Bachelorette on ABC

The ABC network (American Broadcasting Company) is coming to Lisbon to film one of its highest-rated shows. That’s “The Bachelorette” which has aired on the network since 2003 where 25 men compete for the love of an attractive young woman, with one bachelor being eliminated in every episode until one remains at the end (and who just may or may not be proposed to by the bachelorette).
This sixth season of the reality show will begin airing next month, and filming is going to take place in the upcoming weeks in Lisbon, bringing a crew of eighty people to the city. Because the show is all about love and romance, the chosen sites to be featured on the show will be the romantic ramparts of the Castle of St. George and of course Sintra which is recognized as one of the most fairytale places in the world.
This season’s bachelorette is a 25 year-old from San Francisco, so considering the similarities between Lisbon and that Californian city, she just may feel right at home, and perhaps even fall for “the one” in the Portuguese capital. To see whether or not that happens, you must watch “The Bachelorette” every Monday night on ABC if you live in the United States.