Unveiling Portugal’s Treasures
In April 2022, my fiancé and I embarked on a 10-day adventure to Portugal, a journey tailor-made for us by myself. From the moment we landed in Porto, we knew this trip would be nothing short of extraordinary. Exploring Porto, Coimbra, Lagos, and ultimately ending in Lisbon, we savored every moment. This amazing trip was created by my self-guided tour, which uncovered Portugal’s captivating culture, delectable cuisine, and awe-inspiring landscapes.
Our first couple of nights in Porto were enchanting. Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal known for its splendid bridges and port wine production. The city’s vibrant spirit, coupled with its rich history, captivated our hearts. With my expertise, I designed the self-guided tour, and we explored Porto at our own pace. Wandering through the winding cobblestone streets, we discovered hidden gems and experienced the intimate atmosphere the city had to offer.
Porto, with its intimate and less crowded ambiance, won our hearts. We loved strolling through the old city, uncovering its rich history, and enjoying delightful port tastings. The Intercontinental Porto Hotel was a perfect choice with its excellent location and impeccable service.
After a short transfer, we found ourselves in Coimbra, a riverfront city in central Portugal and the country’s former capital. It is home to a preserved medieval old town and the historic University of Coimbra.
We stayed in a small luxury hotel property for one night, Quinta das Lagrimas. The hotel’s charm and elegance complemented the city’s historical significance perfectly. We relished the opportunity to immerse ourselves in Coimbra’s cultural heritage and explore its iconic landmarks.
The long transfer to Lagos was rewarded with a stop in the picturesque town of Tomar. Tomar is a charming town in central Portugal and is also popularly known as the Knights Templar City. The Order of the Knights
Templar was once a seat of Tomar from 1160 – 1314 AD or CE. The tour offered by Made in Spain and Portugal was exceptional, combining the best of both countries. We were captivated by the stunning landscapes and the fascinating stories that accompanied our journey. Lagos itself welcomed us with warm hospitality and breathtaking coastal views, making this leg of the trip truly unforgettable.
Our journey concluded in Lisbon, the vibrant and bustling capital city of Portugal, which offers a kaleidoscope of experiences. Splitting our time between the Barrio Alto and Corinthian hotels, we indulged in Lisbon’s diverse flavors, enjoying a tantalizing food tour with ten different tasting drinks and a day trip to the enchanting Sintra. The self-guided tour through Lisbon allowed us to dive into the city’s history and witness its transformation over the centuries.
The first Michelin-starred restaurant, Paparico, the delectable food tour, and the experience were among the most memorable moments of our journey. Driving through the Douro Valley, gazing at the vineyards and the river, left us in awe of Portugal’s breathtaking natural beauty.
A highlight of our trip was the dinner at Belcanto, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Lisbon. The exquisite dishes left us in awe, and the whole experience was truly magical. Another gastronomic delight we couldn’t get enough of was the famous Pastel de Nata—a Portuguese custard tart that we found impossible to resist!
If I were to do the trip again or plan this trip for one of my clients, I would reverse the itinerary. Reversing the itinerary to start in Lisbon and end in Porto turned out to be a smart decision, as it would have allowed us to gradually adapt to the pace of the trip. Overall, I highly recommend this itinerary to anyone who loves Europe and desires an immersive introduction to Portugal. Don’t forget to bring back some port wine—a delightful souvenir that captures the essence of this beautiful country.
Our 10-day escapade through Portugal was a captivating exploration of culture, cuisine, and natural wonders. From Porto’s intimate charm to Lisbon’s bustling energy, we fell in love with every city we visited. This extraordinary journey will forever hold a special place in our hearts, as it introduced us to Portugal’s alluring treasures and left us yearning for more adventures in this marvelous country.
Courtney Lavarnway Van Vleet