Since the first time we met, I made things clear with Roberto. For my B-Day I need to take at least 3 days to spend them as far as I can. Every single year. Our first B-Day trip together was a 4 days road trip to the Cote d’Azur and last year we spent 4 days in Tuscany.
The 2017 B-Day was supposed to be the hardest one to celebrate. I was going to turn 30 and I hated the idea.
We booked our flights to Portugal and everything’s changed.
We arrived at the Oporto airport on march 27th in the evening and we immediately found our shuttle ready to take us to the car rental. We booked a car online by Goldcar just a few days before leaving. It was not easy at all to find a car rental that would rent us a car without a credit card but we finally picked this one out and it was a great choice. We made a Pro Insurance and had no franchise even if paying with a debit card.
I took with me from Italy my TomTom GPS that’s almost necessary to drive around Portugal and we easily got to our first apartment in Oporto.
The Shining View Apartments are an amazing place to stay while in Oporto, they’re beautifully furnished, spacious and perfectly located in the city centre. These are apartments that will make you literally feel home.
Our first day started by visiting the Sao Bento railway station and its beautiful “azulejo” paintings.
Then we visited the Livraria Lello, a neo-Gothic gem from the beginning of the twentieth century.
In the afternoon we were really looking forward to see a magical place we planned to visit way before leaving to Portugal.
This intriguing Chapel is called Senhor da Pedra and it’s just a 10 minutes ride from Oporto. It was built on the top of a rock in 1686 and it’s right on the shoreline with a majestic view on the Atlantic Ocean.
If you find yourself in Oporto, don’t miss the chance to visit this amazing place and to take a walk on this beautiful wide beach.
We were not tired enough to go back to the city, so we decided to spend a couple of hours waiting for the sunset at the Farol da Foz and, as you can see, it totally worth it.
On March 29th, also my B-Day, we packed our stuff, took the car and started our roadtrip to Lisbon.
We took the highway and met almost no cars on the way so we decided to stop and have a rest on a beautiful beach just an hour drive to Lisbon.
[ Praia da Adraga ]
High waves and the almost empty beach was the perfect combination for us to sit down on a rock and admire the beautiful landscape while resting before heading to Lisbon.
Finally here we are, Roberto booked the cheaper apartment he found on Booking.com and it was an amazing choice. We did not know almost anything about the city so that you can imagine our surprise finding out to be hosted in the most beautiful and enchanted area in Lisbon, the Alfama district.
The Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, full of narrow streets and with the most historically important buildings such as the Se Cathedral, Lisbon Castle, National Pantheon and Saint Anthony’s Church.
In the past the Alfama district was right outside the city walls and was also known for being home for the poorest Lisbon’s residents.
Today Alfama, as often happens, converted itself in the youngest and most trendy area of the city and we literally fell in love with it.
Drived by the curiosity we took a TukTuk and had a little tour of the hills. Don’t ever do it! We spent 40 euro for a 1 hour tour and we didn’t enjoy it at all.
If you’re planning to go to Lisbon, you’ll probably know that the tram line 28 is defined the coolest attraction. Right, the tram route it’s amazing but you should be really lucky to enjoy the ride and the landscapes because of the crowd of tourists.
Same thing happens with the Elevador da Bica, a 2 minutes ride with the funicular that leads from the Baixa to the Bairro Alto. It’s beautiful but due to the flow of tourists they have to put too many people in a too tiny space that doesn’t allow you to enjoy the view.
We really wish you to find these kind of attraction free of the usual crowd and we’re sure that you will enjoy it a lot.
If you really want to actually see those narrow and uphill streets we suggest you to take a breath and a little time to walk up or down from the Bairro Alto to the Baixa following the same street of the Elevador da Bica. That’s the coolest (and also totally free) way of seeing things around you.
One thing that’s highly recommended to do is going to the beautiful view of the city from the different Miradouros.
Our favourite one was the Miradouro de Santa Luzia.
Our advice to visit the city ( every single city in the world actually ) is to lose yourself walking on the streets that mostly impress you. That’s the best way to find magical places that you might never see just following a tourist guide.
A place that we loved was the Ponte 25 de Abril and it’s beautiful to see from the both sides of the river.
PS: oh and don’t miss the occasion to drink the local drink, the Ginginha, I won’t say anything about it, just take it ( it’s super cheap ) and taste it. You will be bamboozled.
If you find yourself in Lisbon, there’s a place that you may not lose the chance to visit. The Belem tower is located a few miles from the city center but not having a car it’s not a problem, you can easily find some buses or tram that lead to this magical location.
We went to Belem early in the afternoon but we suggest you to go at sunset. It really has to be amazing colored by the warm light of golden hour.
Now it’s time to tell you about the most beautiful and suggestive place we thankfully had the chance to see. Cabo da Roca.
Cabo da Roca is the westernmost extent of continental Europe and is located about an hour drive from Lisbon, pretty close to Sintra ( another city you MUST visit if you’re in the neighborhood ).
We reached the cape in the afternoon and we couldn’t resist to that charm so we took a walk on the rocky cliff on both sides from the monument at the top, took some photos and waited for the sun to go down.
No photo can really express the actual blessing feeling of being there in that exact moment.
Cabo da Roca was the perfect conclusion for our days in Lisbon and we were ready to pack our things and head back to Oporto for our very last days in Portugal.
And here we are, back to the start, full of joy and new experiences made.
We loved Lisbon and its surroundings but we can’t stop thinking that Oporto really has that something more.
We enjoyed our last days visiting what we couldn’t visit the days before like the Casa da Musica.
I personally loved the modern architecture of the building and bought a ring with its shape : )
We found a new apartment in the heart of the city and it was a very good deal despite the fact it was super small but nicely furnished and perfectly organized.
We took our last 2 days in Oporto very easy permitting ourself to rest a little bit more.
We went out for all our meals and found wonderful places where to sit down, have a drink and chat about the magical days we were spending there together.
One of our favourite bar was the Café do Cais located just on the river shore.
It’s a tourist place and you will pay for that but the atmosphere was so magical and pure that we sat down for a glass of wine ( the Porto wine of course ) and eventually stayed for dinner.
We’re at the end of our travel story, if anyone was interested in more informations about the self-made tour we did, write me an email any time you want and I will be glad to tell you everything I know to help you building up a perfect trip.
– Love –
WATCH THE VIDEO : DESTINATION PORTUGAL
PS: the images you find in this blog page are both mine and Roberto’s