Portugal Journals

Sunny Portugal: Castles, Beaches & Beautiful Tiles

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A June 2003 trip to Portugal by JenLara

Rossio Square in Lisbon Photo, Portugal, Europe More Photos
Quote: My little sister and I went to Portugal for 10 days, to celebrate her high school graduation. We had a great trip, but not necessarily in all the ways we thought we would!

Sunny Portugal: Castles, Beaches & Beautiful Tiles

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Overview

Rossio Square in Lisbon Photo, Portugal, Europe
Quote:
Portugal is a relatively small country, and it seems reasonable to think that with a car you could cover a lot of it in 10 days. Think again. Try not to be overly ambitious about seeing too many cities and towns in a short time: either plan on spending a few weeks exploring, or else limit your focus to just one or two regions. That said, Portugal is a fascinating place to explore. Lisbon is an absolutely beautiful, cosmopolitan, and amazingly colorful town that charmed me much more than I ever expected. Some of the cathedrals, like Alcobaca and Batalha, are extraordinary examples of a form of architecture I knew almost nothing about--the Manueline style that is e...Read More

Residencial Avenida Alameda

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Hotel | "Hotel Avenida Alameda"

Quote:
The Hotel Avenida Alameda was not really a great choice. It wasn't the worst I've stayed in, it was just kind of dismal and dark without much character: not at all a good introduction to such a bright and vibrant city! Location-wise, it's not too bad: either a fairly long walk to the historic and beautiful parts of Lisbon, or a 5-minute subway ride. While neither option is terrible, later in the trip we found accommodations for the same price that blew this place away and were in the heart of the city. On the positive side: * The woodsy park across the street was nice, and there happened to be a book fair going on while we were there, which was kind of interesting * The room...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 7, 2004

Residencial Avenida Alameda
Avenida Sidonio Pais 4
Lisbon, Portugal 1050

Pensao Residencial Geres

Hotel | "Pensão Residencial Gerês"

Pensao Residencial Geres Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
Our last night in Portugal, we decided to try a pension right in the heart of the pretty, lively Baixa district, and we came across the Pensao Geres. You can't beat the location: just a few yards off Rossio Square, with great views peeking around the corner toward the plaza. The hotel is great - lots of character and interesting architectural detail, and filled with the beautiful Portuguese tile I love so much. Our room cost about $75 US and had two beds, very high ceilings, a private bathroom, a TV, and absolutely beautiful floor-to-ceiling french doors that opened out to a little juliet balcony, the gauzy curtains blowing in the breeze. It was a VERY hot day in late-May, and we spent qui...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 7, 2004

Pensao Residencial Geres
Pensão Gerês
Lisbon, Portugal
+351 (21) 8810497

Albergaria Josefa d'Óbidos

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Hotel | "Albergaria Josefa d'Obidos"

Albergaria Josefa d'Óbidos Photo, Obidos, Portugal
Quote:
We loved our hotel in Obidos and I'd highly recommend it as a great mid-range budget choice. Our room was only 65 euros and was wonderful! We had two large beds, french doors that opened out to views of the stone walls of Obidos and surrounding tiled rooftops, and an incredibly beautiful tiled bathroom. It had tons of Portuguese character, plus was very clean and spacious. The location of the hotel is great -- just steps away from the main entrance into town. There's a restaurant downstairs which feels like a giant old-fashioned wood-paneled tavern. While we never really liked the food in Portugal, and this place unfortunately was no exception, it was still a pleasant space in which to rel...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Albergaria Josefa d'Óbidos
Rua D. joão de Ornelas
Obidos, Portugal 2510-074
+351 262 959 228

Lisbon

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Story/Tip

Alfama Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
For some reason, I had it in my head that Lisbon would be just your average fast-paced, industrial and overcrowded city with little charm. Happily, I could not have been more mistaken! Lisbon turned out to be one of my favorite cities in Europe so far. It's colorful, lively, cosmopolitan, full of interesting sights and neighborhoods, with what felt like an incredible view around every corner; great for long walks and hours of exploring. Some personal highlights of Lisbon are below.The heart of the city seems to be Rossio Square, which is very lively and colorful, with the signature Portuguese patterned tiles everywhere you turn. The square is filled with outdoor cafe...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 7, 2004

Town of Sintra

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Attraction | "Sintra"

Town of Sintra Photo, Sintra, Portugal
Quote:
The day we left Lisbon, we rented a car and headed northwest to Sintra, which we'd read was beautiful. It turned out to be worth the visit, as we really enjoyed exploring around both the Castelo do Mouros and the Pena Palace. We started at the Castelo, which is a crumbling heap of rocks in the vague formation of what used to be an obviously impressive fortress. There are no real walls and certainly no ceilings to speak of, and it's fun to climb on and around the ruins of the Moorish castle, and up to the ramparts to see the incredible views of the lush green countryside below. From the Castelo, it's a very short drive to the entrance to the Pena Palace. This place is...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 8, 2004

Town of Sintra

Grand Lisboa, Sintra

Alcobaca & Batalha

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Attraction | "Alcobaca & Batalha"

Alcobaca Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
Although these are two separate towns and cathedrals, I've grouped them into one entry because they are quite similar. Alcobaca and Batalha boast two incredible cathedrals built in the Manueline style, which I was completely unfamiliar with, and which is pretty amazing! The town of Alcobaca comes first if you're driving up the coast from Lisbon, and it seemed like a busy, cosmopolitan medium-sized town, with not all that much to see there but the cathedral. We spent about 45 minutes admiring the unique ornate structure and the beautiful mausoleums within its walls. Next we headed north again toward Batalha. As we drove, we kept feeling like we should be there a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 8, 2004

Obidos

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Attraction

Obidos Photo, Obidos, Portugal
Quote:
Obidos was one of my favorite places in Portugal, and it's not really surprising! It's one of those real "crowd-pleaser" types of European towns: very charming, small, picturesque, and historical. The town is surrounded by very high stonewalls that you can (and should!) climb, and you can walk a good long distance around the perimeter. There are nice views of the flat countryside surrounding Obidos, and even better views of the town itself: orange tile rooftops, white-washed houses and teeny alleyways spread out in a perfectly photogenic jumble. A unique thing about Obidos is that while the main color of the walls is white, which reminded me of some of the villages in the Greek isl...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Porto

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Attraction

Porto Photo, Porto, Portugal
Quote:
We arrived in Porto in our rental car, after circling the city for hours on the frenetic highway, unable to figure out how to get into it! A VERY frustrating and exhausting experience. Once we got there, we drove around the manically-paced city trying to locate our hotel. No luck, not even close. We pulled up to the curb to ask a guy if he knew where the Paris Hotel was -- we showed him the address. He motioned for us to let him into the car! My sister and I sort of looked at each other doubtfully, and I said "Hey, what are the odds that out of all the people, we chose the axe murderer to ask for directions?" In he came. Sure enough, he directed us in Port...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 9, 2004