Category: Portugal

Porto, Portugal Should Not Be Missed

Porto, Portugal

As the country’s second largest city, this more of a working class city offers a different vide than the more fashion focused Lisbon.  Portugal continues to grow as an affordable travel destination. Many first time travelers often focus on Lisbon, but don’t ignore adding Porto to your travel itinerary.

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São Bento Station

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São Bento Station, Porto

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During your visit to Porto, consider exploring the São Bento Train Station, which is located in central Porto. This gem of a train station is perhaps one of the most beautiful stations you will come across in Portugal. This is because of its mansard roof and the  Renaissance stone façade. The station was designed by  José Marques da Silva and completed in 1903.

The French inspired architecture of this station depicts the history of transportation in Portugal, the landscape of the country, and specific defining history events including the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385) and the Battle of Arcos de Valdevez (1140). There is over 20,000 tin-glazed blue and white tiles to view and visual the scenes.  One caution during your visit.  Watch for those who will take the opportunity of you being distracted to pickpocket.

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Outside the São Bento Station

Harry Potter Fans- May Enjoy A Visit

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The outside of what seems to be just another small seller bookstore is rather deceptive. J.K. Rowling once taught English in Porto and is said that this little bookstore is what inspired Hogwarts. Consider explore Livraria Lello  I would say that the staircase inside is well worth a quick visit, if nothing else.

Restaurant Choices

You will not be disappointed with the choice of evening and nighttime activities in Porto. These can include a visit Capela Incomum, a chapel from the 19th Century that has been converted into a wine bar.  If you want to take in the view of the city center, consider heading to the rooftop pub known as Guindalense.  This is near Gustave Eiffel’s great creation, the Dom Luis I Bridge.  If a dinner and a conversation is more for your liking, then consider Xico Queijo.

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Dom Luis I Bridge

Cruising the Douro River

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A pleasure cruiser on the Douro River | Apexphotos/Moment/Getty Images

I recommend taking a Douro River Cruise to explore further this UNESCO World Heritage  site- the Duoro Valley. If you have the opportunity to visit during the harvest season (September to early October), you may wish some old-fashion grade stomping (treading or lagar) barefoot in a large stone basin.

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A Visit to Lisbon

A couple of years ago, we visited Portugal that included Lisbon and Porto. For one of our trips this year,  I have scheduled another trip back to Lisbon for a stopover option offered via TAP Air Portugal . I highly recommend considering this option to explore two countries and more during your stay.  Today’s blog post is reviewing this past trip, recommending some travel tips, and planning for the next visit.

Lisbon, Portugal

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Fast Facts: Lisbon wasn’t always the capital of Portugal. The city has a total of 53 districts with the Alfama district being the oldest. This district is still remarkably intact, surviving the 1755 Earthquake due to its many narrow streets and compact squares.

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There is quite a bit to see in such a large city that overlooks the River Tagus and the Atlantic Ocean.  So, please plan to wear one comfy shoes as Lisbon is very hilly, with some steep climbs up narrow streets for those wishing to capture stunning views over the city

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River Tagus

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Stairs and Fruit Trees In Lisbon

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Places of Interest– Rossio Square (Praca do Rossio)

The largest square in Lisbon is known as Rossio Square (Praca do Rossio). This nerve center of the city has been active since the Middle Ages and where you will find many of the Lisbon’s most famous restaurants, bars and shops. In this square, you will find various monuments and landmarks including the following:

Column of Pedro IV

In the centre of Rossio Square sits the Column of Pedro IV of Portugal or “the Soldier King”.  Examining the base of column, you will find four female figures. These figures represent the King’s various qualities: Justice, Wisdom, Strength and Moderation.

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Dona Maria II National Theatre

Founded in 1842, the National Theatre D. Maria II replaced the old Estaus Palace, headquarters of the Portuguese Inquisition since mid-fifteenth century. On top of the Theatre’s façade is a statue of Gil Vicente, a Portuguese playwright and father of the country’s theatre.

D. Maria II National Theatre

Dona Maria II National Theatre

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Fountain in front of Dona Maria II National Theatre

Rossio Railway Station

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One of the main wonderful  architectural wonders in Lisbon is the late 19th Century style building is the Rossio Railway station. The entrance way has these horseshoe shaped arches and a clock inside (wish I could find the photo….) and is main transportation hub for trains, buses, and taxis.

Coimbra university

University of Coimbra-  A UNESCO World Heritage Site

The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in the world dating back to 1290 and is the oldest educational institutions in Portugal. It’s medieval structure and style makes for some viewing pleasure. The university’s location about the medieval city of Coimbra and that the city was once the capital of Portugal only adds to more interest to the history in this region. In addition, the University of Coimbra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Courtyard of The Royal Palace at the University

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The Courtyard of the Royal Palace at the University

Getting Around

We often take advantage of Uber or Lyft as a transportation option, if the city is not too large. The alternative is using public transportation. For the Lisbon trip, you will have two main options when arriving to the airport. These are as follows:

1) taxis to your stay option  for a very reasonable price or

2) Uber (Lyft was not readily available during our travel)

The Uber option was convenient and affordable costing around 3-6 Euros depending on traffic and distance.

Stay Option

Dare Lisbon House– is where we stayed during our last visit to Lisbon and we highly recommend this boutique hotel with it’s flare for contemporary and modern style. The hotel is located in the Rua dos Sapateiros, which is right in the heart of the Baixa district with your choice of restaurants, shops, and nightlife.

Other choices can also be found at  Booking.com for your next travel advantage.

Tour Options

Lisbon Guided Walking Tour

DiscoverWalk – Free Walking Tours

Lisbon Small Group Food and Wine Tours 


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