We had a fabulous trip from Portugal and I am finally getting around to recapping our trip! Whenever we travel, especially internationally, I love to read blog recaps of the places where we are going. They’re so helpful in planning a realistic itinerary. After failing to recap our amazing honeymoon in Istanbul and Santorini from last May (which I still hope to do!), I wanted to recap our Portugal trip before I forget all of the fine details. This post will serve as an overview of our trip, and I’ll be posting more detailed recaps of each area we visited.
After our honeymoon in Istanbul and Santorini last year, I realized that almost as much as traveling to awesome places, I love planning to travel to awesome places and the excitement and anticipation that comes with it. My Dad instilled in me my sense of adventure and desire to see the world. And I think I got my planning skills from my Mom (AKA the VRBO Queen before it was even a thing). I can spend hours and hours on TripAdvisor and reading travel blogs. So, instead of just a week of excitement of traveling, I actually get months of excitement from all the planning. Due to our love for traveling and my passion for planning, Luke and I decided to try to do a big trip every year. It may not always be international (Alaska and Hawaii are still on my “must go” list, as is Napa), but hopefully many trips will be overseas.
When it comes to choosing a destination, I love picking places with lots of culture, great food, and preferably a great wine scene. At this point in our lives, I also gravitate towards budget friendly destinations. Portugal fit all of the requirements! Our flight to Portugal, round trip from Boston, was $475 per person. To fly to Europe! Round trip! We are paying almost the same amount to fly to Arizona for my cousin’s wedding. In addition to that, we only spent about $450 on lodging for our entire week in Portugal. The food was very reasonable, though there were a few Michelin star restaurants you could splurge on if you wanted to, and you could get a good bottle of wine at dinner for under $10. One of my favorite glasses of wine from the trip was under a Euro. Portugal was absolutely gorgeous, had great food and wine, had friendly people who spoke English, and it was cheap! Take me back!
Day 1: Lisbon (arrived at our Airbnb at 9:30 AM)
Day 2: Lisbon (Belem)
Day 3: Sintra & Cabo de Roca (day trip from Lisbon)
Day 4: Douro Valley (drove from Lisbon and arrived at 2 PM)
Day 5: Douro Valley and Porto (arrived in Porto at 6 PM)
Day 6: Porto and Ericeira (arrived in Ericeira at 7 PM)
Day 7: Ericeira then flight back to the U.S (at 3:15 PM).
Because we were flying into Lisbon, we knew we wanted to spend a few days there. People call it one of the “hidden gem” cities of Europe, and it truly is! I also knew I wanted to check out Portugal’s up and coming wine scene. The Douro Valley has been called the most beautiful wine region in the world, so I had to add it to our itinerary (despite the three hour drive North!). Since we were already up North, Porto seemed like an obvious stop after the Douro Valley. Then, because I didn’t want to risk driving over three hours the day of our flight back to the U.S., we added on another stop in a cute seaside village called Ericeira. This allowed us to get a taste of Portugal’s beautiful beaches without traveling all the way down to the Algarve.
Lisbon: Airbnb (but no AC!)
We enjoyed Teresa’s apartment and it was as we expected from the pictures on Airbnb. However, I want to warn anyone visiting from April-October that there is no air conditioning! Somehow, I missed this when I booked the apartment. Luckily, the highs only got to about 80 degrees fahrenheit, so it wasn’t too warm in the apartment, but we were a little uncomfortable sleeping at night without AC. It was the perfect size for the two of us and had a great view of the Tagus river.
The apartment was in the Alfama historic district. I am so glad I chose to stay in Alfama! It was close to most of the tourist destinations and we could walk everywhere. Alfama was very charming and beautiful place to walk around in.
Pinhao (Douro Valley): Quinta de la Rosa
We really enjoyed out stay at Quinta de la Rosa. We stayed in the Sophia room that had a nice balcony with a sitting area that looked out onto the Douro River. We thought it was really cool to be in the older part of the hotel – like a room out of Downton Abbey! The bathroom was large and spacious, and the air conditioning worked well. The property itself was beautiful and we only wish we had stayed more than one night so we could explore the property more! There was a beautiful pool, many sitting areas and gorgeous gardens, and of course, the vineyards! Overall, we loved our stay and would recommend the hotel to friends. We did the 11 AM tour and tasting in the morning and enjoyed it. It was nice to sleep in, have a wonderful breakfast overlooking the Douro, and walk right over to our tour and tasting.
Porto: 6only Guest House
We loved our stay at 6Only! It truly is one of the hidden gem hotels of Porto. Mariana (the owner) was very nice and very helpful. She gave us many tips and booked us a reservation for dinner at a wonderful restaurant. Our room (#1) was very spacious and had a nice bathroom and sitting area. It also had tons of windows with partial balconies. The high ceilings and decorative ceiling in the room gave it so much character! Breakfast was good and we loved the little details such as a welcome glass of port and apples and water in our room. The hotel was situated in a great area to walk to all of the tourist attractions. We had a very short but fabulous stay in Porto and would strongly recommend 6Only!
Ericeira: Hotel Vila Gale Ericeira
The hotel was a little old, but the view off our balcony was amazing. We loved being right on the water and a short walk into town. Ericeira is a quaint fishing village with lots of charm and great seafood. You can also easily walk to the beach if it’s warm enough to swim. Breakfast was fabulous! There were so many choices, including champagne to make mimosas, and we got to eat outside overlooking the ocean. Talk about a breakfast with a view! Our only complaint was our bed. It was two twin beds pushed together and they seemed to be covered in some kind of plastic under the sheets, which made the beds a little uncomfortable. Apparently they have some king beds, but not many. Other than that, we really enjoyed our stay and would recommend the hotel, especially for such a great price ($80!).
And that’s a wrap for my overview of our trip. It was an absolute blast and I would go back in a heart beat! If you have any questions about our itinerary or hotels, comment here or email me. I’m looking forward to recapping each city in future posts!