From the blog


Brief post on a trip during my pre-blogging days


Lisbon, Sintra, Coimbra, Porto, Braga

One of Lisbon’s popular vintage yellow trams.

Fresh, great value seafood dinner at the always-packed Solar 31 de Calcada in Lisbon.

Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery in the Belem district of Lisbon, which you can enter with a joint ticket. If you only have time to enter one, the Monastery is an easy choice.

Get ready to push and shove for a pastel de nata, one of Portugal’s famous small custard tarts, from the legendary Pasteis de Belém, a few steps from Jerónimos Monastery.

A view of the Lisbon castle from the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, a great spot for panoramic views over the city.

My favourite meal in Portugal at Canto da Vila, a small cosy bistro in the Alfama district of Lisbon, close to the Castelo de São Jorge. We ordered à la carte instead of the daily super-priced set menu; my meat was cooked and seasoned to absolute perfection.

The ruins of Carmo Convent, a Gothic convent and church destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

Listening to some Fado, the hauntingly melancholic and poetic traditional Portugese folk music originating in Lisbon, is a must when in the area. Ditch the larger club shows with an exorbitant price for a smaller, authentic venue. We were lucky enough to stumble across the intimate Mascote da Atalaia and enjoyed a great night of Fado and Portugese wine, cheese and hams. Highly recommended!

After a long queue of University students, we really enjoyed one of Frankie’s fun and tasty hotdogs. Prices are cheap and portions large.

The climb to the top of the Castelo dos Mouros in Sintra is no walk in the park, but it makes the views all the more satisfying. It’s an ‘on-top-of-the-world’ feeling as you catch you breath at the highest part of these truly unique ruins.

The Pena Palace in Sintra is nothing short of magical; it feels like you’ve stepped into a fantasy land.

The famous Initiation Well at Quinta de Regaleira in Sintra. You could easily spend a few hours exploring this large estate.

Coimbra made for a pretty and relaxing short break from our adventures in Lisbon and Sintra.

All bookworms and Harry Potter fans will definitely appreciate Livraria Lello in Porto. While an entrance fee applies, this small, intricately decorated bookshop is worth viewing. It is said to have been the inspiration behind Flourish and Blotts and the Hogwarts library and staircases amongst others, with J.K. Rowling, then living and teaching in Porto, penning some of her first ideas on Harry Potter in the bookshop and neighbouring café.

Porto is famous for its Francesinhas, a sandwich stuffed with a variety of meats and smothered in cheese and a tomato and beer sauce. I had to taste one from the famous Bufete Fase, but (surprisingly) it’s not something I would go for again.

When in Porto, a Port tasting is a must. We thoroughly enjoyed a highly informative tour of Taylor’s winery, finished off with a tasting of one of their fabulous reds and whites.

I loved the create-your-own poke bowls at Ceviche & Poke Bowls in Mercado do Bom Sucesso in Porto.

View of Cais da Ribeira, the lively riverside promenade in Porto, where we enjoyed a lovely lunch at Fish Fixe right near Ponte Louis I.

The popular Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary in Braga, where penitent pilgrims would climb the 577 zig-zagging stairs to the top on their knees, makes a great half-day trip from Porto.

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