This blog post is for sharing a bit of our most recent Adventures in Portugal, our first big trip since the pandemic began. When COVID-19 first came about, we were planning a trip to Switzerland. We were set to leave in May. We were hesitant on canceling, hoping that this thing would get under control and we could continue on with our travels. That was not meant to be as the world shut down only days later.
We love to travel to Europe, as Dina’s father emigrated from Greece, beginning a life in New York before finally settling in Florida. Over the past ten years we have traveled and connected with family in Greece, and have traveled to his mountain village. We’ll save that story for another time, but it was quite the adventure getting there and we definitely would not have made it without the Greek family’s help.
We opted for a visit to Portugal and this set of images is a sampling of what we saw, ate, and experienced while there. Please feel free to CONTACT US and send us an email with any questions or comments about Portugal and the areas shown below. And, since we did our traveling in the spring, we are back in Breckenridge for the summer and ready to help buyers and sellers in the Summit County Real Estate market!
When you fly to Portugal, travelers usually choose the capital city of Lisbon. After reading other itineraries being shared in an online forum, I saw that others chose to fly into Porto, which is up north, and then would travel south, eventually departing the country from Lisbon. We spent a few days in Lisbon, Cascais and Peniche before starting our hiking adventure. We enjoy wandering around neighborhoods and seeing how the locals live. On the last day before leaving, we did a tuk tuk tour and I would actually recommend it at the start so that you can see the city quickly and then walk to the areas that interest you most. We used UBER and taxis in the cities and then traveled by bus and train when we went south towards the Alentejo and Algarve regions.
CABO DA ROCA
“Cabo da Roca or Cape Roca is a cape which forms the westernmost point of the Sintra Mountain Range, of mainland Portugal, of continental Europe, and of the Eurasian landmass. It is situated in the municipality of Sintra, near Azóia, in the southwest of the district of Lisbon.” Wikipedia
I found a good article that explains the history and background of all the colorful tiles you see on buildings and I’ve put an excerpt below, but you can read the full article by CLICKING HERE.
“These polished painted tiles — called azulejos after the Arabic al-zulaich, meaning polished stone — were introduced to the country by the Moors, who had learned the craft from the Persians.
The Persians likely were influenced by Roman floor mosaics that they encountered in the 7th century when moving into parts of North Africa that had once been ruled by Rome.
After the Portuguese took over Ceuta in Morocco in 1415, they started working with this form of tile work themselves. The historic Moorish art mixed with the 16th century Italian invention of “majolica” — painting colors directly onto wet clay over a layer of white enamel — made the tiles bright and vibrant and the Portuguese fell in love with the art form.”
One of our favorite things was to explore the different restaurants, and what we found was seafood and more seafood! Of course there was a famous roasted chicken dish with a spicy sauce, Pri Pri, but we seemed to be fans of the local octopus. We had different kinds of fish along the way, sardines, cod, and even a swordfish for one meal. We were recommended to a small restaurant in Lagos, Casinha de Petisco, from our sea kayak guide, and it was probably the best meal of the trip. A large dish filled with mussels, shrimp, scallops and vegetables was absolutely AMAZING. The lamb shank in the picture below was mouth watering and so so good. After walking miles and miles around Lisbon, Lagos, and on the trail, it was very nice to have such fresh food waiting for us.
Known for its castles and fairy tale like setting, we knew to expect crowds. We opted for one that we thought we would enjoy the best and skipped the others. Some of you that visit this area will want to hire a guide to minimize logistics and wait times. They can help navigate the crowds and provide the history and backstory of the area. There are many other areas that we did not allow enough time for, so we will have to go back and revisit this magical place. You can find out more information by CLICKING HERE.
A highlight and extra special treat of our time in Portugal was connecting with clients turned friends who sold their homes in the US and moved their family to Peniche, a popular surf town o nthe coast north of Lisbon. We were picked up at the airport and after a few days in and around Lisbon, they picked us up again and we spent time with them in Peniche and even took us to picturesque Obidos. This small town had a tall castle like wall surrounding it and was very charming. We explored the town and enjoyed a fabulous meal with the family before departing to the southern region of Portugal.
This was probably the highlight of the trip for us. An off the beaten path kind of hike, and soft adventure combined. Dina did some research and found this 13 day trek and after talking with one of the outfitters, suggested a couple of days for us get the best views, avoid the deepest sand (which we still had plenty of) and enjoy the route. They even arranged to transport our gear, while we hiked with only a day pack with layers, food, water and our electronics. I always carried a back up battery if we needed it, which we did, as we navigated with the help of offline maps on my phone. I usually prefer paper maps, but this route didn’t have anything simple, and I didn’t want to pull out a book as we hiked along. The All Trails offline maps were great, and I highly recommend them if you do this trail.
We hiked a couple of legs of the Rota Vicentina before taking a taxi to Lagos. There we sea kayaked and walked around the small alleys of the downtown area. We then spent a few nights in Carvoeiro, a spot near the famous Benagil Cave. We opted for a boat tour that day, as I anticipated lots of boat traffic and I was right. We dipped in and out of sea caves, as we had on our sea kayak tour only days before, and we hike the seven hanging valleys trail the following day before taking the train back to Lisbon. We ended our last day by meeting up with our friends for lunch and for a quick walk around the downtown area. We really enjoyed the warm weather, fabulous food and gorgeous scenery of Portugal. Put it on your bucket list and if you have any questions or comments, please use the form at the bottom of the blog to send us a message! Travel safe and be well.