This trip to Portugal was extra special for me. In another quick, 4-day excursion, we were able to visit the capital city of Lisbon and the striking southern coastline, with enough time to spare to swing by some majestic castles in Sintra (which is like something out of a dream). See below.
Getting there: Not much to detail here. Getting into and out of Lisbon was very easy. We flew with TAP, a Portuguese carrier. Service was great, but my one complaint is that you can’t pick your seat until 24 hours before your departure time when you book a standard flight and don’t pay extra. If you’re flying solo, or don’t have a seating preference then pay no mind to this, otherwise, be aware!
Once again, we opted to rent a car. Something I always recommend (when appropriate) if you want to see and do more and not be limited to just public transit.
Where to stay:
Valverde Hotel. Why? The location is great. It’s right along a beautiful main artery in Lisbon: Avenida da Liberdade. The rooms are modern and elegant and the entire hotel has a dark and sexy aura about it. Our standard room had a tiny balcony which overlooked the pool area and a decent part of the city. This is a boutique hotel, so if that’s something you enjoy– I recommend it!
Hotel H10 Duque de Loulé. Why? While the location takes you a bit farther from the main attractions of Lisbon, the rooftop bar totally makes up for it. This hotel is relatively new, so everything is still shiny and clean. The rooms are well-appointed and styled with modern but charming accents. Bonus: Champagne upon arrival!
If you head down to the southern coastline, consider the Bela Vista Hotel & Spa. Why? Well, this is actually an early 1900’s mansion (renovated) with a lot of it’s original charm and elegance preserved. There is the historic main house, and an additional building on the property with guest rooms that offer seaside views. Attached to the mansion is a beautiful pool with sunbeds and cabanas, all just steps away from the beach.
Where to eat:
Noobai Cafe, in Lisbon, is a cool place to catch the sunset. It’s perched up high, overlooking the city and the water. The setting is very casual and relaxing. Seems like most people come here for the view, so there may be a long wait and service might get slow during peak times. Still a great place to try!
O Pescador Benagil is an absolute must-try if you get down to the southern coast! The food is fresh, delicious, locally-sourced, and in our case: made right at the table. We ordered the catch of the day. It was filleted, grilled and plated right on the spot and it was outstanding.
If you happen to spend some time in Lagos, and find yourself craving some Mexican cuisine (I know, I know.. this is Portugal).. but! …there is a great spot in town called The Green Room. You can drop by for a drink and sample some Mexican with a Portuguese twist. It’s a fun place to check out if you want to try something different.
What to do:
Quinta da Regaleira is a gorgeous, old estate right in the center of Sintra, and a UNESCO heritage site. You can tour the inside of the mansion/palace, but what really blew me away were the grounds. This place is a real-life secret garden. A magical, mystical, perfectly manicured sanctuary. Just grab a map… or maybe don’t, and just get lost along the seemingly never-ending trails.
Pena Palace is worth visiting for the view alone! I found the structure itself a bit gaudy and too much like a theme park, but the climb up to the top is worth it. This is also a UNESCO heritage site. You can walk up to the peak, but there are shuttles that run up and down every few minutes as well.
The Benagil Cave is one of those natural wonders that will just take your breath away. Years of erosion have created a large opening in the earth, which allows sunlight to beam down into a massive cave that is now home to a secluded little beach. Make sure to sign up for a boat tour to get access to the beach to snap photos and enjoy the beauty.
Finally, Lagos- both the town and the beaches. There are several of them along the stretch, each one a little different but all so incredibly beautiful. My fave: Praia do Camilo. You can visit them all, even in one day; to see which one you like best.
Before you go….be sure the check out the video diary below! Thanks for stopping by and safe travels!