Why yes, it’s a brand new blog post for a brand new trip! I’ve wanted to go to Portugal forever and I finally found a reason! I had a little break in April and was able to work for the AMV Weddings Reatreats so I took a week prior to tour Porto, Lisbon and Sintra. I did Porto solo and a day in Lisbon before a gal pal joined me. It’s super easy to navigate the city alone. Most folks speak English and a ton of menus and street signs are in Portuguese and English. Uber works there and the Euro is pretty typical all throughout nearby countries. Here is my itinerary below:
Day 1: Redeye to Lisbon & Half Day in Porto
I took the redeye to Lisbon and a hopper TAP plane to Porto. You can easily take the train but since I was already in the airport, I took a cheap flight. I landed at around 2 in Porto and checked in to Se Cathedral Hotel. It was adorable and the perfect central location. Porto is a super walkable city so I didn’t need any transportation. In this little half day I saw the Porto Cathedral which was less than a block from my hotel. The inside had stunning tile work and the view from the top is stunning. I then walked to the Chapel of Souls to check out the exterior before heading to the Town Hall and walking down Rua do almada. Best dinner recommendation for this night is Cantina 32! Be sure to check out the Sao Bento train station. It’s STUNNING.
Day 2: Churches and Dinner
The second full day I had I started by checking out Igreja do Carmo and Church Ildefonso! If you’re into local eats, Cafe Santiago has these crazy sandwiches and Castro for their standard dessert Pastel de Nata. I passed on the Harry Potter bookstore and Cafe Majesti because the lines were long but there is cute shopping nearby! I grabbed a drink at the Vogue Cafe before heading to Palacio de Cristal. The view was INSANE and there were wild peacocks all over! I then walked back through the Praca do Infante D Henrique before catching dinner at Cafe de Cais on the waterfront! I ended the night next to the Se Cathedral on the square watching sunset and listening to live music.
Day 3: Duoro Valley Wine Tour
The final day in Porto I spent on a wine tour. We did 2 wineries, lunch and a cruise. It was lovely! It left at 8:30am and ended around 5. I grabbed sinner at this AMAZING sushi place Shiko and then walked over the bridge to Jardim do Morro to watch the sunset.
Day 4: Train to Lisbon & 1/2 Day
I caught the 9:30AM train to Lisbon out of Camphana. It was SUPER easy and only took 3 hours to get to Lisbon from Porto. With check in and waiting for a flight, this was the better option for me! Once I arrived, I checked into another Hilton (Double Tree Fontana Park) which was close to the airport and in a quiet part of town so it felt isolated and calming. I checked out Miradouro da Graça first and grabbed a quick drink outside. I then walked through Alfama snapping photos of quaint streets and amazing overlooks. I passed through Praça do Comércio on my way to the Santa Justa Elevator. It seemed like a waste to sit in the line but grabbed a bite at the bakery below! After eating my fill, I checked out Convento do Carmo which I think would’ve been better light and less crowded when it first opens. The area nearby has lovely shopping but I was ready again for more authentic quiet views so I walked back through Bairro Alto. It was beautiful and I walked by Jardim de Alcantara which was STUNNING with busts all over! I ended my day by walking up Avenue de Liberdade which felt like the Champs Ellyese of Portugal. Full disclosure: this was a TIRING day. Could’ve honestly split between two! Dinner rec would be Praia No Parque but you need reservations way in advance so we went to Sakura which was close to the hotel and had a cat robot serve us!
Day 5: Lisbon
We began the morning with Torre de Belem. We wanted to see it before tons of tourists! The Jerónimos Monastery opens at 10am so we headed straight there! I would suggest buying your tickets online beforehand. After exploring, we decided to do a Tuk Tuk tour which is very common and fun. We then tucked our heads in to Time Out Market and saw the Pink Street (made for me obvi). I wanted to show my gal pal Alfama so we wandered a bit there before grabbing drinks at Sky bar and dinner at a cute Mexican place called El Paso.
Day 6: Lisbon
We started our full day at breakfast at All Ways Cafe. It was insanely yum. We then toured St Vincent’s Church before heading to the Santa Clara market! This only happens on select days so for sure google it! It was full of vintage finds! We had lunch at Pharmacia which had a complete themed menu of all the medical terms and looked right out of a Wes Anderson film. We ended with dinner at Palace Chiado which was very boujee and Instagrammable.
Day 7: Lisbon
This day we had the best breakfast ever at Manifest before heading to H10 duque rooftop called Chill Out Limao! We shopped around a bit and then went on a boat tour with Splendida events! We ended up at SEEN rooftop before grabbing a bite to eat with our friends in town. Pateo Dinner would be my recommendation here but we hit up sushi again since we were tired and it was yum.
Day 8: Lisbon & Sintra
We began this half Lisbon half Sintra day with a tour of Pestana Palace. I think this is my favorite place I’ve ever been in the world. It was only a 15 minute uber from the heart of Lisbon! After we explored, we headed to Sintra which was an easy cab ride. We skipped Pena Palace due to the lines but went to tour Tivoli which did not disappoint. You can do lunch or tea there upon reservation! We then walked across to Quinta da Regaleira which was magnificent and had wisteria in full bloom! That night, we said goodbye to our vacation and hello to a 3 day workshop with AMV events in Sintra at the Penha Longa.
Day 9-12: Sintra
Honestly, I could’ve stayed longer in each place I went. I found myself googling “how to move to Portugal” before my direct flight out to IAD. One quick online COVID test and a sleeping pill and I was back home in no time! May this inspire your trip to Portugal! Maybe you’ll even make it to Lagos if ya have more time!
Below is a list of things by city! ENJOY!
Palacio de Cristal, Igreja do Carmo, Rua do almada, Town Hall, Chapel of souls, Church Ildefonso, Cafe Santiago, Porto Cathedral, Train Station, Cable Car or walk Jardim do Morro, Cafe Majesti, Duoro Valley Wine Tour, Shiko Sushi, Cafe de Cais, Vogue Cafe, Cantina 32
Santa Clara market, Jardim de Alcantara, Convento do Carmo, Praça do Comércio, Jerónimos Monastery, Torre de Belem (ocean monument), Boat Tour, St. Vincents, Time Out Market, Palace Chiado, Pharmacia, Pateo, Alfama (explore) Miradouro da Graça (overlook sunset), Limão, Rooftop Bars, Pestana Palace
Tivoli, Pena Palace, Penha Longa, Quinta da Regaleira & I’m sure much much more!!!