At long last (and exactly a year since our trip came to an end), this is the last post in my series of photographs from a truly unforgettable three week father-daughter trip to Portugal back in December 2022-January 2023. I couldn’t imagine being on the road with anyone else but my daughter for so long a time. This trip was one I’m sure will only grow in value for us both as the years go by. And as this post gets published, we’re just arriving home from an even more remarkable 29 day, 6 country tour of Europe (those photographs will probably lead to another year-long series of posts!). SUBSCRIBE HERE to not miss them…
HOW DID WE GET HERE?Toggle
Our trip featured visits to eight Portuguese cities and one town (not including our Christmas trip to Santiago de Compostela, Spain) and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal. So with the 24th and final post from our trip, I decided to feature several photographs (and a few selfies) from the streets of all the wonderful places we visited.
For those that have been following our journey, I hope you enjoyed the photographs. Moreover, I hope these posts inspired you to travel to Portugal, a truly enchanting country with several awe-inspiring attractions.
In my very first post in this series, we said “hello” to Lisbon (where our journey started), the Belém district to be exact, a laid-back area on the Tagus River in western Lisbon. We arrived on December 14th and checked into the lovely Palacio do Governador (their Pastel de nata, do Governador off the dessert menu was one of the best things we ate in all of Portugal!).
We visited the Torre de Belém, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Museu Coleção Berardo (newly named the Contemporary Art Museum after José Manuel Rodrigues “Joe” Berardo, a Portuguese and South African businessman who the museum was named after, was arrested in June of 2021 by members of the Polícia Judiciária for alleged fraud and a number of other financial crimes).
After a few days in Lisbon, our journey really got started as we drove about 45 minutes NW to the city of Sintra and checked into the Sintra Boutique Hotel right in the heart of Sintra’s historic district. We visited the remarkable National Palace of Pena, Quinta da Regaleira, and the Castelo dos Mouros – all included in the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape of Sintra.
After two full days in Sintra, we drove about 40 minutes north, stopping at two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the majestic Palácio de Mafra before continuing our drive just over an hour north to the Alcobaça Monastery
After our two stops, we ended the day with an hour drive up to the city of Coimbra and checked into the Hotel Vitória, in the historical center of Coimbra. The city is home to the historic University of Coimbra, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alas, our plans to visit to the university were abandoned due to rain but we did manage to visit the Sé Velha (Old Cathedral) which was consecrated in 1184(!) and stroll the streets of Portugal’s fourth largest city.
After just a day and a half in Coimbra, we drove 90 minutes north to the “Second City” of Porto and checked into the stylish Se Catedral Hotel Porto, by Hilton, located in the Historic Centre of Porto, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visited the magical Livraria Lello Bookstore, the majestic Palácio da Bolsa, and the impressive Porto Cathedral.
After two and a half days in Porto we continued north, about a 45 minute drive to the city of Braga and checked into the Hotel Dona Sofia. In Braga, we visited the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the stunning Sé de Braga, the first Portuguese cathedral.
After Braga, we drove two hours north into Spain and spent Christmas with my family in Galicia, where my mother was born. We enjoyed Christmas Eve dinner with “miña familia galega”, visited the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and enjoyed a serving of pulpo a la gallega (you really haven’t eaten “pulpo a la gallega” until you’ve actually eaten it in Galicia) before heading back into Portugal to our next stop, the charming city of Guimarães.
Guimarães was settled in the 9th century(!) and is often referred to as the “Birthplace of Portugal” or “the Cradle City” because it is widely believed that Portugal’s first King, Afonso Henriques, was born there. We arrived in the city on December 26th and checked into the lovely Hotel da Oliveira in the Historic Centre of Guimarães (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). We then proceeded to visit the Paço dos Duques de Bragança (Palace of the Dukes of Braganza), the Castelo de Guimarães, which dates back to the 10th century, and the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos. Guimarães became my favorite city of the ones we had visited so far, it had charm coming out of its ears. Highly recommended (the hotel, too!).
After two+ days in Guimarães, we then embarked on our longest drive so far, 2.5 hours south to the 15th century Dominican Monastery of Batalha (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). After our visit to the monastery, we walked over to the nearby Hotel Lis Batalha & Restaurante for a bite to eat before an hour-long drive east to our next city, Tomar. We ordered the Arroz de Peixe & Camarão (which, like a paella, serves two) and let me just say it might have been the best damn meal we ate in our three weeks in Portugal. So make sure you stop in there after your visit to the monastery – you won’t be sorry.
In Tomar, we checked into the Hotel Dos Templarios and paid a visit to the absolutely spectacular Convento de Cristo (another UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its 12th century Templar Charola (Rotunda), Oratory of the Templars, influenced by Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre Rotunda. It’s a must-see attraction in Portugal. Nuff said.
After a day and a half in Tomar, we headed back to where our journey started, Lisbon – this time for our final six nights in Portugal. We checked into the lovely five-star Áurea Museum by Eurostars Hotel and proceeded to visit the neighborhoods of Alfama (Lisbon’s oldest and most emblematic quarter), Baixa, Chiado, and the modern Parque das Nações (Park of Nations). Oh, and we also spent New Year’s Eve watching the fireworks at a packed Praça do Comércio. Yeah, it was pretty epic.
And remember a few paragraphs ago when I said Guimarães was my favorite city of the trip so far? Well, then I returned to Lisbon. I mean, you can’t compete with Lisbon; it’s an enchanting city with an energy that no city we’d been to was capable of matching. And like most of Portugal, it’s up and down hills and stairs getting around the city by foot. It’s not a city for those with bad knees, hips or backs (fortunately, there’s Uber and plenty of trams, funiculars, and tuk-tuks to get you around).
We would go on to visit the Lisbon Cathedral, the Igreja de São Domingos (scene of the Lisbon Massacre of 1506), the eclectic Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, and the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum), one of the most important of the national museums by the singularity of its collection of “azulejos” (a form of Portuguese and Spanish painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework).
As for this young lady here (my grrrl), I couldn’t imagine a better travel partner than my daughter Miranda. Since her mother (my wife) passed away in 2018, we’ve taken memorable extended father-daughter trips to Spain and Mexico (twice), not to mention our regular trips to NYC. This three week trip to Portugal was our longest trip yet, and for a father and daughter to spend so much time together (from morning to night) and have the kind of fun we have on these long trips (it’s pretty much shits and giggles every day), I really can’t put into words how rewarding that is. And we both know that not only is Madelyn watching us – but she’s always with us. And she wouldn’t expect nothing less from us than our best.During our trip, I also managed to snap a few photographs outside Portugal’s many attractions. Street photography, “they” call it. It’s also a recap of our trip and includes many bonus photographs plus some of my personal favorites…
As I stated at the start of this post, we arrived today (January 4, 2024) from our longest and most ambitious trip yet – 29 days in Europe visiting six different cities in six different countries: Paris > Brussels > Prague > Vienna > Milan > Barcelona. And it really was our most enjoyable trip yet. I’m still working on the photographs from that trip but you might want to SUBSCRIBE HERE to not miss them when they go live. Just saying…
> I’m no Rick Steves but I’ve been to Europe enough times to be able to share a few travel tips. First of all, those European cobblestone streets that everybody loves? They’re very rough on your feet AND your luggage. That’s right, your luggage. I know it’s easy rolling that four-wheel spinner travel bag through the airport but when you gotta walk several blocks to get to your hotel, or get to a train/bus station or airport, those cobblestone streets are gonna eat up those tiny little wheels. We traveled with the Eddie Bauer Expedition 30 Duffel 2.0 which can handle the roughest terrain Europe can throw at you.
> Also, those same streets will chew up your feet if you plan to do a lot of city walking and like I said earlier, Lisbon (and pretty much every city in Portugal!) ain’t for those with week knees, ankles or backs – it’s up one steep hill then down another then up some stairs then up another steep hill then down again. It was the most challenging city (country!) I’ve ever had to walk around in. So get some real good shoes. My choice was the KEEN Men’s Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoes which can more than handle the rough city terrain (not to mention give me the traction to get up and down those damn hills). I also picked up the Targhee 3 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots when I saw most of our trip would feature some rain. So travel smart.
> I rented a car using discovercars.com which had plenty of different cars to choose from at reasonable prices, including a good selection of automatic transmission vehicles (I rented from SIXT® Car Rental).
> As for the Hotels we stayed in, I highly recommend them all. Friendly staff, great service (and yummy breakfasts) at every one of them. And why no Airbnb, you ask? I’ve used them in the past but quite frankly, I’ve always been somewhat to very disappointed with my accommodations – despite great looking photographs and great reviews. The way I see it, people who run hotels are industry professionals, while people who rent out their apartments/homes via Airbnb usually aren’t. I’ve rented both and I can’t remember, in all my travels, where I’ve been as disappointed in my Airbnb rental as with any hotel room I’ve ever booked. I’m sticking with the professionals. Nuff said.