I am writing this post as its snowing outside my window. Oh, how I miss the warm, beachy weather of the Portugal trip Bryan and I took in late August.
From its expansive mountains in the north to the untouched beaches of the south, there are endless places to explore in Portugal. When Bryan and I started planning the trip, we knew we would not have time to do both the northern wine country and the southern beaches, so we chose the southern part of Portugal for this short trip.
Our first stop: the wonderful seaside city of Lisbon. We flew into the city early on Wednesday morning and were greeted with lovely sunshine. Some cities sure know how to show off with the sun’s sparkle, and Lisbon, or Lisboa, is one of them. Amsterdam, take notes please!
After Bryan and I settled into our AirBnb in the Alfima neighborhood, we walked up to the São Jorge Castle taking in the views of the city.
The views from the top were incredible!
We loved walking around the castle and exploring the castle’s rich history. Bryan and I met another couple from Texas and chatted with them for a while before we headed back down to Old Town, popping into shops along the way.
On Wednesday evening, we grabbed dinner at a place called Taberna Moderna. It was the kind of restaurant you could sit in for hours gabbing about nothing in particular, but the time seems to pass quickly. Bryan and I agree while the food was delicious, the drinks were the best part of the restaurant. I am not even the biggest G&T gal, but loved their rosemary combination!
The next morning, we grabbed a late breakfast at the Mercado de Ribiera. A huge market with different food stalls and shops, it is a must-do in Lisbon. You must try one of the famous custard pastries while there!
After we headed to the Jeronimos Monastery outside of Lisbon in the small town of Belem. It is only a short train or taxi away.
The monastery was started for the Order of Saint Jerome and constructed in 1501. The whole place is incredibly beautiful — especially the intricate architecture . Bryan and I skipped the line by buying the combined pass, which allowed us into the archeological museum next door first.
On Thursday afternoon, we went on the Taste of Lisboa: Food and Wine tour. With the local guide, we explored nooks and crannies of the city we would never find on our own; plus, we ate until we almost burst.
Here is a short taste of some of the food we consumed:
Cured ham, bread and olive oil, tons of cheese, pork sandwich, canned fish, codfish cake, tomato rice, samosa, custard tart, and wine One of the most interesting and flavorful dishes was the canned fish, which has always been a staple meal for Lisbon locals. I would have likely never tried that on my own — supposedly it is trendy!
When we walked through the central neighborhoods on the tour, we learned there is a street artist in Graça who paints many of the residents of the community near where they live. I loved this special fun fact!
Thursday evening we were too stuffed for dinner so went on a long walk instead.
On Friday morning, we drove down to our beach adventure. Lisbon is located only a couple of hours north of Algarve, so we knew we needed to drive. The main “highway” was more like back roads through rolling desert hills. It was a gorgeous drive.
On our way down, we stopped at this tiny restaurant/wine shop called Restaurant Venezia. We were the only tourists there and it was perfect.
We asked the owner questions and took a look at their unique Portuguese wines.
During our time at the beach, we did a lot of nothing. 🙂
And two days of relaxing by the beach was exactly what we needed.
Our special trip highlight, and favorite meal in Algarve, was the restaurant on our final night: Al Quimia. The service was impeccable, and the food knocked our socks off.
As beach, wine, and culture enthusiasts, I know we will be back to Portugal very soon. Portugal’s beauty captured our hearts! Now, we need to go to the North.