We blame it on Lisbon
Gary and I have been travelling together all through our working lives and for some reason or another, not once did we decide to visit Portugal.
Well, in 2017 we saw the error of our ways and headed to Lisbon for a mini-break. Now, we keep asking ourselves why we didn’t visit sooner.
So, we decided to go from one extreme to another and are touring Portugal north to south (and back again) for two weeks.
We love our road trips, and for us, nothing is better than packing up our own car and heading off into the unknown, from our driveway.
Here are just a few of our inspirations that lured us into this road trip adventure. However, before we even get to Portugal, we are catching a Brittany Ferry from Portsmouth in southern England.
Disembarking at Bilbao in northern Spain, and from here the venture begins.
Our chosen locations for the road trip were;
León (Ok, so we added a cheeky stop in Spain)
A reference guide
Our recent new found love is Portugal, it is such a beautiful country. While planning our trip, I used the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our north to south Portuguese road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.
I suppose this does go without saying really. However, as we only visited Lisbon, with a day trip to Sintra we haven’t seen much of the countryside of the rugged coastline.
Douro Valley: We’re particularly looking forward to touring the Douro Valley and the rolling vineyards around the wine-growing villages.
The Algarve: Hopefully having the hood down on our car and cruising along the picturesque Algarve shoreline.
Portugal’s ‘Little Venice’: Apparently, Aveiro is home to Portugal’s ‘Little Venice’, and I’m always one to enjoy a stroll along a waterway.
Convento de Cristo: Portugal has a wealth of history, some of which we discovered in Lisbon, but I’m interested to visit the Knights Templar in Convento de Cristo at Tomar.
On our travels, we have visited a few Templar churches, one of which we found in the heart of the legal district in London.
The birthplace of Portugal: I have since found out while digging deeper into Portugal’s history that Guimarães is known as the birthplace of Portugal. So there’s no better place to start our trip.
The Amoreira Aqueduct: It wouldn't be the same if we didn't search out an aqueduct.
We are close to the Spanish border while travelling north, so we're going to make a visit to the 16th century Amoreira Aqueduct in Elvas.
Art & Culture
Bom Jesus do Monte: During our trip, we are visiting the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary near Braga. The Baroque stairway looks incredible, not too sure about the climb though!
A Monastery or two: Also along our route, we will be taking a detour to the UNESCO sites of the Monastery of Alcobaça & the Monastery of Batalha. Important landmarks in Portuguese history.
Street Art: During our research of this trip, Portugal appears to have some incredible street art. This is always something I love to seek out.
Decorative tiles: One particular eye-catching point for me in Portugal is the blue and white decorative tiles that you often see within buildings or on the side of churches. These typically depict a story or a scene from day to day life.
Porto: Not only is Porto known for its delicious Port wine and the Douro River. However, the narrow, steep, lanes and the tiny terraces with wrought iron balconies look so intriguing.
Costa Nova: Is it true? are there really these attractive stripped houses in Costa Nova?
Stay local: Our philosophy is always “When in Rome” when it comes to food and drink and I’m sure Portugal will be no exception.
Pastries: After already indulging in Pastel de Nata in Lisbon, this is a firm favourite.
So we’ll be searching out those little treats.
A Seafaring nation: Fish will certainly be the order of the day on several occasions, but I will definitely try and have traditionally cooked piri-piri chicken, good memories from a small local eatery in Lisbon.
Ice Cream: Oh, is Portugal famed for their ice-cream, I truly hope so!!!
Port: Who could go to Porto and not try the local tipple of Port, well, certainly not us?
Vinho Verde: I know it's not to everyone’s taste, but I do enjoy a crisp, effervescent Vinho Verde on a sunny evening. So, it’ll be fun touring the hills of Minho in search of it.
Inspired to visit Portugal?
Jump in your car and tour the Douro Valley, Portugal is a wonderful country to uncover yourself and create those lasting memories.
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