Portugal, a country with a rich history of seafaring and discovery, the old-fashioned traditional villages and its outstanding and very affordable seafood make it different from the rest of Europe.
We spent three days in Portugal and got to see a few of the main sights in that time. How much time do you need? That depends on how much you want to see.
Day 1- Lisbon & Belem
Lisbon is known as the City of Seven Hills (cidade das sete colinas) and 7 billion cobblestones are a major workout for the legs and feet!
Lisbon’s central area is easy to get around by foot, but if your feet are tired of walking, trams run around much of the city. It is a cultural fiesta, with more than 30 museums, it has a booming nightlife, with the fascinating districts of Alfama and Bairro Alto coming alive after dark, with buzzing restaurants, fado houses, and, later, bars and clubs to keep you going until daylight if you are so inclined.
Things to Do –
1. Barrio de Alfama – central area (Baixa, Bairro Alto, Chiado, or Alfama) 18th century Downtown (Baixa). Ruins of Convento do Carmo (Convent of Carmo). The views from the Castle of St. George.
2. Walk around Rossio square(good cafes).
3. Lift of Santa Justa.
4. Tramways and funiculars – Tram #28 takes around the city centre and on a roller coaster ride through the narrow cobblestone streets of Alfama. and on to Graca.
5. Water Museum (18th century Aqueduct, Amoreiras water reservoir and Barbadinhos pumping station).
6. Façades covered with tiles (azulejos)
Lisbon is exceptionally picturesque overlooking the wide blue expanse of the River Tagus (Tejo), with wonderful vantage points.
Tip: Enter the Metro station of Baixa-Chiado in R. Crucifixo, go across it, and use the automatic stairs that will leave you uphill
Parque das Nações
Resturants in Lisboa- Bairro Alto area
Casa do Alentejo
Hard Rock Cafe Lisboa
Cafes in Lisboa –
Lost In – Esplanada Bar
Get the taste of best pastries in the world! Pastéis de Belém (portuguese tarts) from Casa Pastéis de Belém. The Portuguese little custard tarts originated here.
The old port area of Lisbon is one of the most important parts of the city. Tram #15 which can take you out to the suburb of Belem from Praca de Comercio.
Things To Do –
1. See the 16th century creamy Tower of Belem (it used to be a fortress) the incredible wedding cake of a building that is the Hieronymite Monastery.
2. Historic buildings in Belem: Jeronimos Monastery and Tower of Belem , Monument to the Discoveries
3. Wander around the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
4. Belém Gardens (Jardins de Belém)
5. Coach museum
It you have time, walk along the river from Belem to Lisbon(6 miles).
Day 2- Sintra & Cabo Da Roca
Byron called it “the most beautiful village in the world” – the tiny town, stuffed full on 19th century Romantic architecture.
It was once the summer residence of Portuguese Royal family. The UNESCO World Heritage Site at Sintra is nothing short of extraordinary. It is home to the magnificent Pena Palace (Saint Maria viewpoint, the highest point of the Serra de Sintra and provides fantastic views over the palace).
There are trains to Sintra(30 km out of Lisbon) every 30 mins from Rossio Station
Tip: It’s well worth a visit but try to get there earlier than 10am.
Cabo Da Roca
Take #Bus 403 from Sintra station to Cabo Da Roca. The westernmost point of the European continent (Ireland is technically a little further west).
Cabo Da Roca is stunning, waves from the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the huge cliffs. As well as the natural beauty you’ll find a lighthouse on top of the cliff, as well as a shop selling certificates vouching that you’ve stood at the limit of Europe
Tip: Walk down the hill to get some good pictures with the light house in background.
On the way back from Cabo Da Roca, you can either take the bus back to Sintra or if you are not late take the Bus #403 towards Cascais, the beach area. There are regular trains to Lisbon from Cascais.
Day 3 – Estroil & Cascais
Natural beaches are the best places to rest swim or just get a little sunshine.
The seaside town is roughly 18 miles from Lisbon. It use to be a little fishing village but now its a harbor for private yachts, beautiful beaches and plenty of sports on offer, from golf to racing cars.
The place has plenty of cafes, restaurants and little shops. There is a traditional feel to the place with cobbled streets, tiled buidings. There are some good beaches where you can go to. Some of them are –
1. Praia da Conceição – It’s between the Albtroz Hotel and Charlet Faial (old court of Cascais). Because it’s very near by the train station it’s a beach that normally is full of people who just go by foot.
2. Praia da Duquesa –It’s on Bay of Cascais, side by side with Conceição’s Beach. This is the perfect beach for the ones who love diving, because the water is very clean. There are also very good conditions for sailing and windsurf.
3. Praia da Azarujinha – It’s near by the Poças’ Beach and it is surrounded by Cliffs which looks like a small natural theatre. This beach is sought because of its beauty. It’s a hidden beach and it’s behind the main cliff of the coast.
4. Praia da Rainha – This is another beach for the ones who go by foot because you can only access to it by stairs. It’s near by the center of Cascais and it’s quite hidden. It’s very near by the train station.
Right next to Cascais, Estoril is just as glitzy. It has a casino, for a start (it’s actually one of the biggest in Europe), and it’s known for sport – F1 used to be held here and the Estoril Open tennis tournament still takes place every April.
Next to the casino, the Hotel Palacio might seem familiar – you may have seen it in the Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. You can even get the “James Bond Martini – stirred not shaken” at the hotel bar.
Estoril is a residential area and apart from the casino there is nothing to do there.
I would recommend to walk between the two towns along a promenade. It is a pleasant, leisurely 30-minute walk along the beach between Cascais train station and Estoril train station and less than 2km (1.3 miles).
Jonas Bar – Great food, wine, sangria and music. A nice spot to watch people.
If you want to use buses and subway is better that you buy the Viva Viagem Card.
The Viva viagem card costs 0.50 € and can be reloaded unlimitedly during one year after purchase.