The restaurant has the finest clams near Lisbon and a view of one of Europe's most beautiful beaches. The journey there has captivating views of Serra da Sintra and the coastline. Spend a day at the beach then slide into the restaurant for a late lunch of ameijoas de bulhao pato (clams in garlic sauce) and camaroes (prawns) washed down with vinho verde (Quinta da Aveleda). On your way home stop off for dinner on the coast road between Guincho and Cascais at either Porto da Santa Maria (where presidents and football managers dine) or the Faroleiro
Take the train from Cais do Sodre in Lisbon to Cascais, jump in a cab towards Guincho beach, a 2km sweep of fine white sand. Drive along the coast road, passing Sintra range on your right and the coastline on your left. Drive past Cabo da Roca and Pe da Serra towards Almocageme. This beautiful village will lead you towards Adraga road. Follow it to the end.
Google map: bit.ly/10fjL7j
Just over the river from Lisbon is the Setubal Peninsula. Take a full day there, and head to the Arrabida Natural Park area. It has one of the most beautiful beaches in the region, Portinho da Arrabida, where green hillsides drop dramatically down to white sandy beaches. As it is protected by the curve of the Sado estuary, the water is warmer and much calmer than the Atlantic coast, perfect for sunbathing and swimming. There are also plenty of activities - diving, sea-kayaking, walking - all in the middle of the natural beauty of the Park. Have some of the best seafood in Portugal by detouring for lunch in Setubal, where there are dozens of low key restaurants dotted around local squares, and finally visit the quaint village of Azeitao for a wine-tasting at the Jose Maria de Fonseca quinta, including the regional sweet wine, Muscatel.
Portinho da Arrabida - www.getportugal.com/en/poi-praia-do-portinho-da-arrabida-14032
Outdoor activities - www.vertentenatural.com/index_lang.php
Winetasting - www.jmf.pt
Portinho is a tiny village hugging a white sandy beach. There is a calm sheltered bay with turquoise waters- great for snorkelling. Behind Portinho rise steep limestone mountains, all part of the Arrábida nature reserve. Unspoilt, undeveloped and natural, the park is a wonderful area to explore- by car or on foot. Reminiscent of the scenery in Monaco, there are curving mountain roads, Mediterranean forest and views from on high over the bay. There are monasteries to visit as well as the village of Azeitão, with its vineyards and renowned wineries: José Maria da Fonseca and Bacalhôa. Great as a day trip from Lisbon, it takes about 45 minutes to get here, by car over the iconic 25 de Abril bridge. Otherwise, you could easily spend a week's holiday in Arrábida.
A couple of charming little B&Bs on the seafront in Portinho, great as a base for the area, and very reasonable, can be found here: www.hideawayportugal.com/modules/property/city-200.htm
Google map: bit.ly/ZURuD4
The Convento de Cristo in Tomar is probably one of the most spectacular places in Portugal. founded by the Knights Templar its a beautiful, mysterious and magical place. Just a wonderful place to discover and enjoy. Tomar is a bit of a trek from Lisbon and an overnight stay would be even better.
Just a short train ride from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre station is Cascais where sun lovers can enjoy the beach but for those seeking something more energetic pick up one of the free bikes for hire at the BiCas scheme located close to the station. You will need to show ID card or passport before heading off on the dedicated 16k cycle path out of town and down the coast. Perhaps purchase a picnic first, store it in the handy bike basket and stop off at Guincho beach, beloved of surfers. On the way back make a short and worthwhile detour to Museum Casa Historias das Paula Rego, Avenida de Republica 300, where entry is free. Here you will dazzled by the largest collection of paintings, drawings and etchings from the vivid imagination of Paula Rego, Portugal’s finest living artist.
These tasty custard treats can be found in one sole bakery at the edge of the city. The recipe is hundreds of years old and is a closely guarded secret. The bakery is open till late and is very popular among locals and tourists alike.
A day trip to Sintra is a must - don't forget to take a torch and visit the gardens at the Quinta de Regaleira.The first time I went I didn't take a torch and cut my nose on the wall of a cave much to my husband's amusement. It is a magical labyrinth of caves and tunnels that make you feel like you are in a fairytale grotto. If you have time you can climb the hill to the Pena Palace which is a fabulous, brightly coloured castle with extensive gardens to explore.
Less than an hour from the bustle of Lisbon, you can be in the rolling hills and vineyards of Estremadura, where some of Portugal's top wines are produced. Guided day tours of the vineyards are offered by Vitis-route: the guide owns a vineyard himself, and will take you to his favourite local villages and restaurants around Alenquer and the fishing village of Ericeira.
+351 912 002 847
This tiny, idyllic 16th century Franciscan Monastery in the Sintra Hills was built entirely from natural materials. It becomes part of the surroundings with boulders forming parts of the walls, and the small, sparse monks cells are designed so that it is impossible to lie down at full stretch. The only concession to comfort is the cork lining for some of the walls, hence its name. There are beautiful fountains and fascinating naturally sourced art works.
From Lisbon take the train to Sintra, and then catch the bus 'Turistico Monserrate and Capuchos'.
Estrada dos Capuchos, 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal
+351 219 237 300
Google map: bit.ly/18b8x4p
The Algarve has many good beaches. You will find the picture postcard type, with grottos, cliffs and golden sand at low tide, around Lagos. However, when you want something different, head 30 miles north-west to the small town of Aljezur, close to the wild Portuguese Atlantic coast, which is designated as the Vincentina Coast Natural Park. Aljezur is a good looking and interesting historic town with a Moorish castle set in a productive green valley. It has a nice hostel, a market (to buy picnics) and good places to eat, but the real treat is at the end of an attractive five mile drive along the winding road west following the valley of the Ribeira de Aljezur. This takes you to Praia da Amoreira, which has all the components of the perfect beach, but with no crowds and commerce, other than a nice looking shack which, by reputation, has excellent fresh fish in season. You will be able to enjoy the fantastic, weirdly contorted, rock formations in the cliffs and on the foreshore, explore hundreds of rock pools, watch the ever optimistic local fishermen perched in precarious positions rods in hand, ride the surf, run free on the wide expanses of sand, picnic amongst the dunes or splash around in the quieter waters of the estuary.
If you are driving, 1/2 mile north of Aljezur, on the N120, turn left (by the swimming pool) and follow the narrow winding road along the river valley. Praia de Amoreira is at the end of the road. Alternatively up to eight buses a day run from Lagos to Aljezur.
Google map: bit.ly/12OE8vz
Stunning cliffs of yellow ochre and burnt sienna rise steeply from the golden sands of Portimão’s Praia da Rocha in Portugal. Stroll from the marina along the boardwalk to where you think the beach ends. There are tunnels eroded from the wind and wild Atlantic swell leading to further delightful beaches (if you catch the tide right). Watch the surfers, swimmers and beach casters from a beach bar. Sip a glass of Vinho Verde with just a prickle of fizz. Mosey further along to climb the steep wooden steps for a view from above. Sample freshly caught grilled sardines. Have a galão and local cake. At the end of the day join the lovers who stroll the breakwater to watch the sunset.
Long and wide, with rock formations to add interest, this beach will always offer something for the senses.
Portimao - Western Algarve
Google map: bit.ly/Xsnujm
This beautiful sandy beach on Tavira Island is reached by a minature train which runs through sand-dunes and marshes - children love this novelty. Where the train stops there are cafes and other facilities open all the year around. If you walk either east or west from here the crowds thin out, and the warm sea, together with the spacious sandy beach, make this an ideal place to spend a day.
To reach Barril take the N125 from Tavira in the direction of Olhao. Before you reach the village of Luz de Tavira, you should see signs on the left for Barril and Pedras d´el Rei. Follow these, and after passing the holiday village you should find somewhere to park. Then cross the footbridge and either take the footpath or the train to the beach.
Cabanas is situated on the edge of the Rio Formosa nature reserve. Although property is springing up it has managed to retain the charm of an authentic Portuguese fishing village. The beach is accessed by water taxi which run frequently during the summer months. A boardwalk connects you to the beach which stretches for miles in either direction. The location makes you feel you have been dropped into your own little paradise.
A walk across mudflats following the tracks of a miniature train (that runs daily in high season) gave us the spooky surprise of a graveyard of huge rusting anchors wedged into the dunes, particularly atmospheric at dusk when we arrived. Beautiful quiet beach sheltered by the dunes and calm warm summer water. An Algarve find that stayed with us.
Access to the beach is a walk (or train trundle) across the Ria Formosa nature reserve, car park and bus stop at Pedras d'El Rei, 4 km from Tavira.
Google map: bit.ly/Yj3md3
'Beaches aren't just for surfing' was a phrase I didn't believe before my first visit to Praia da Bordeira. The extensive sand dunes go on for miles around the beach, making them perfect for everything from romantic picnics, to all-day hikes. There are so many beautiful beaches in Portugal that it was so hard for me to choose one. But with it's fishing, relaxation, sports and beauty, I had to pick Praia da Bordeira. It has something for everyone but always seems to be spotlessly clean and never too busy. The accomodation in the town has everything from surf camps, to family apartments. I've also eaten the best seafood in a small cafe not far from the beach, which sources all the fish and shellfish from the beach. I can't wait to take my family there this year.
Carrapateira, Algarve Portugal.
Google map; bit.ly/XxKOKw
With three young, energetic children finding cheap accommodation by the sea with sunshine can be tricky. Last Easter we had a fantastic break over the river from Porto, in the lesser known Vila Nova de Gaia. We stayed in a family room at welcoming Hotel Davilina, next to a tram stop which took us into Porto, or more importantly, straight to beautiful white sandy beaches! Stop at Miramar to see the church in the sea, Igreja do Senor da Pedro, then have lunch at the beach cafe before strolling one tram stop along the boardwalk to the village. Then head back into town, for a pastel de nata and glass of something Portuguese at one of the friendly local cafes and bars.
Thank you very much to Jose for a fantastic afternoon we will never forget.
This horse riding activity for all levels is a must for anybody visiting this wonderful area of Portugal and there is no better way to see the marvelous mountain range of the "Serra de São Mamede".
We will certainly repeat the experience and next time Jose I promise we will try galloping!
The Azores are the last European port of call for yachtsmen crossing the Atlantic. Peter's Cafe Sport, near the port of Horta (on the island of Faial) has for years been a popular watering hole there, famed in particular for its refreshing gin and tonics.
Sit at a cafe table in this small quiet square by the church and watch the storks fly to and from their nests on the church steeples.
Travessa do Ferrador, Alcácer do Sal, Setúbal 7580, Portugal
Google map: bit.ly/Rn4nOz
A warm welcome after a marvelous walk in Lisbon! Cafe Pois is a very relaxing and friendly place, just what you want after a hot morning of walking around the historic Alfama district of Lisbon. The food is not the traditional Portuguese, it is salads with couscous, smoked salmon and hummus, these are just a few of the delights on offer. I will definitely return to this restaurant on my next visit to this charming area of Lisbon.
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