This month has been a whirlwind of travel activity for us. Festivals, road trips and the usual sightseeing covered across three European countries have left us little time to catch up on blogging, which explains my lack of updates. The temperatures are looking up and the worst of Europe’s fairly mild winter this year is (safe to say) over! Hurray!
We were in Portugal early this month and spent little over a week exploring the Algarve coast and up north through the cities of Lisbon and Porto. Here are some highlights:
Lagos in the Algarve coast was a standout for us. Stunning cliff faces and some of the best beaches we’ve seen in Europe propelled Lagos straight into our good books. Lagos also served up some of the best food we’ve eaten in Portugal (finger licking good peri peri chicken and delicious monkfish stew) so you can’t hardly blame us for the good time we had there.
We felt a little letdown by Lisbon having heard so much good things about it. It definitely had its charms and character but we probably had disproportionate expectations rocking up from the Algarve on a high. Lisbon did blow me away with its famous Portugese egg tarts, specifically the ones from Belem. This shop, Pasteis de Belem has been making these delicacies for decades and its reputation is unrivalled. Rightly so because they taste downright AMAZING.
Sintra, an hour’s train ride away from Lisbon is a magical place that must go into every tourist’s agenda in Portugal. It is jam packed with palaces, castles and sprawling royal estates that give this entire town an air of fairytale charm. One of our favourite sights was the Pena Palace. It is unlike any other castle we’ve seen. I’m at a loss of words to describe this palace, only that it evokes a childlike wonder within me. Not like the fairytale princess castles that I once imagined and envied, but akin to a happy place with happy colours and all sorts of fun and dreamy things like unicorns and rainbows. I guess that’s the best description I can come up with for now.
Oh, Porto! I could sigh about you all day long. Picture perfect waterfront buildings, freshly grilled fish coated with sea salt, beautiful blue skies that have us reluctant to leave and so much more. Porto stole our hearts. It was the best part of our time in Portugal. I would return to Porto in a heartbeat (ok, maybe not so soon) but I sure wouldn’t pass up the chance to visit again in the future.