Portugal, December 2017


Portugal charmed us with it’s medieval castles, brightly painted towns, delicious wine and port, morello cherry liquor (ginjinha) served in edible chocolate cups and fresh seafood. 

Vinho Verde and Portuguese style sea bass

This palace in Sintra looks like a fairytale but it’s construction actually began in the Middle Ages as a monastery. It’s current appearance is due to the work commissioned by King Ferdinand II. The inside rooms have been restored to how they were in 1910 when Queen Amelia stayed there before fleeing to Brazil.

Palacio da Pena, Sintra. UNESCO World Heritage site

The coastal town of Nazare hosts the Big Wave Surf Competition every winter between October and February. Some of the world’s largest waves have been surfed here, including Garrett McNamara’s of 78 feet! We saw it on a mellower day :).

Jet ski and surfErs, NAZARE

We rented a car to have the freedom to visit some northern towns and cities. We ended our tour in beautiful Porto, where the Douro River flows into the sea and you can taste the best port in the world!

Enjoying the view from the castle walls in Obidos
Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal
Rabelo boats, used to transport port wine along the Douro River. Porto, Portugal

Travel Tip – the road map for Portugal can sometimes look like spaghetti and time can warp when the mists reveal castle turrets in the woods. We followed the advice given in Yann Martel’s novel The High Mountains of Portugal and when the road got to us, we drank wine!