LISBON & surroundings
Lisbon is the stunning capital city of Portugal, and one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities in Western Europe. Set against the ever-present backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and located at the mount of the Tagus River, this dainty sun-kissed city lives in a Latin fairytale of timeworn manners and traditions. Lisbon is a city that effortlessly blends traditional heritage with striking modernism and enchants travelers with its white-bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways and easy-going charm. Check out the century-old wooden trams and iron funiculars that still lurch and rumble their way through the city or witness the best of this bygone heritage by wandering through the Baixa district, where age-old herbalists, haberdashers and tailors rub shoulders in the baroque streets of the ornate city centre.
Lisbon is blessed with breath-taking viewpoints, a gorgeous climate, extremely friendly people and the passion of fado.
Lisbon is a year-round holiday destination and there is so much to love about it. We recommend to spend at least four days to immerse yourself in the city, enjoy one of our culture & gastronomy walking tours to discover the highlights and take a day trip to explore the nearby stunning surroundings of Cascais coastline, Pena National Park & Palace and the cultural landscape of Sintra, listed by UNESCO in 1992.
You could certainly stay longer in Lisbon and take day trips to other areas either North (i.e. Fátima, Óbidos or Nazaré) or South (i.e. Sesimbra, Setubal or Costa da Caparica) within less than 2 hours drive. However, we deeply suggest experiencing other regions such as the Alentejo, central Portugal, the Algarve or Porto.
Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal known for its stately bridges and fortified port wine production. With its medieval heart, contemporary buzz, magnificent gold-leaf-laced churches – oh, and a rather nice signature tipple – Portugal’s second city merits a visit at any time. Carved in two by the Douro river, downtown Porto has a faded sophistication, while the seaside suburbs have witnessed something of a renaissance in recent years, home as they are to a burgeoning collection of bars, restaurants and cafes, which offer an authentic slice of local life.
You could spend two days to fully explore the city of Porto but there are many enjoyable day trips to discover some great nearby destinations which can easily extend your stay to a week:
The hidden gem of Aveiro, known as the Venice of Portugal and famed for its canals, Art Nouveau architecture and colourfully painted Moliceiros boats. If you wish to explore further and get a taste of the Atlantic coast, the iconic beach town of Costa Nova, with its traditional rainbow-striped fishermen cottages is a must.
If you are more interested in history and architecture, then your option would be a day trip to Guimaraes to visit the castle and the palace and Braga to visit the impressive baroque churches.
A bit further south of Porto and heading towards central Portugal, another must visit is the historic city of Coimbra, home to the oldest university in Europe. It still carries the pride of being the medieval capital of Portugal back in the 12th century.
Coimbra, located in between Lisbon and Porto, makes a great base to explore Central Portugal and this includes Fatima, Nazaré and Tomar. Fátima is the location that the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherds and since become an important pilgrimage destination. Nazaré is charming resort town that is famed for its incredible surfing waves, having produced the largest wave ever surfed on. Tomar was the ancient religious centre for the Knight Templar.
At this point of your trip, you haven’t made all the way to Porto if you are not interested in wine, right? So, for nature and wine lovers, another full day escape from the city of Porto will be to explore one of Portugal’s most beautiful regions: The Douro Valley is a mandatory visit for those who travel to Porto. It’s one of oldest wine regions in the world, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2001. We can arrange different unique experiences to explore this region, either as a day trip from Porto, by extending your holiday taking a river cruise or simply relaxing at some of the amazing wine resorts.
The Alentejo is the largest region Portugal that lies between the Algarve and central Lisbon region. Home to some of the most beautiful villages in Portugal such as Evora and Elvas, this rural region boasts everything that a traveler would expect from Portugal: sun-soaked olive groves, stunning vineyards, wild beaches and infinite crop fields. Alentejo is still quite undiscovered and one of our favourite spots in Portugal, specially the coastline which is full of treasures such as Troia or Comporta or Vila Nova de Milfontes. They still preserve the wildness of endless beaches with pristine waters, where the traditional fishers’ shelters and cottages help preserve the authenticity.