4 Best Summer Music Festivals In Portugal 2017

Taken from: http://www.festivalkoning.nl/festival/nos-alive-alges-portugal/
  1. NOS ALIVE 7, 8, 9 July 2017

Location: Algés, Lisbon

This is one of the most famous festivals in Portugal. It’s cheap, the three-day pass costs €129, easily accessible, close to Lisbon and the train will leave you right at the door, and the lineup is usually one of the best. It offers an eclectic mix of pop, rock and indie music. You can stay in Lisbon and travel daily, stay by the beach in one of the beaches of the Cascais area, or even camp in Algés. Now for the bad news, the normal 3-day pass is sold out, but you can still buy the 3-day pass that includes camping for around €20 euros more, €146 or a daily ticket for €59. Find all the info at the festival’s website here. And if by the time you check, they’re sold out, you can always try and find second-hand tickets on Facebook. Troca e Venda de Bilhetes and Bilhetes.

LINEUP (so far)

6th July 7th July 8th July
Heineken Stage
Ryan Adams  Warpaint Cage The Elephant
 Blossoms Wild Beasts
Spoon
Rhye Parov Stelar Peaches 
Glass Animals Savages Fleet Foxes 
Royal Blood Local Natives  Floating Points (solo live)
Bonobo (live) Benjamin Booker 
The Avalanches
NOS Stage
Alt-J Foo Fighters Depeche Mode
The xx The Cult Imagine Dragons
The Weeknd The Kills Kodaline
Phoenix Courteeners
Tiago Bettencourt

2. Super Bock, Super Rock 13th to 15th July 2017

Location: Lisbon

It’s a rock festival, born in the nineties. It’s the only one on the list that doesn’t include camping since it’s right inside the city of Lisbon. The three-day pass €109 or the daily pass for €55. If you’re into something fancy you can always buy the three-day VIP pass for €250. Check the festival’s website for more info. Tickets can be purchased here.

LINEUP (so far)

13 Julho 14 Julho 15 Julho
Palco Carlsberg
Tuxedo
Palco Super Bock
 Red Hot Chili Peppers London Grammar Deftones
 Capitão Fausto Foster The People 
Palco EDP
Boogarins  Tyler, The Creator James Vincent McMorrow
Kevin Morby Slow J Bruno Pernadas
 The Orwells Seu Jorge
TaxiWars 

 

3. Festival Sudoeste 1st to 5th August 2017

Location: Zambujeira Do Mar, Alentejo

The Sudoeste Festival is a 5 day event that takes place in Alentejo, more precisely Zambujeira do Mar. There will be three stages with different artists playing simultaneously. Ticket prices start at €48 for one day. And €105 for 5 days. You can camp on location or rent a house around the area. You can buy the tickets here.

1 Ago 2 Ago 3 Ago 4 Ago 5 Ago
Palco MEO
The Chainsmokers  DJ Snake   Crystal Fighters
Jamiroquai
 Richie Campbell
 Two Door Cinema Club Lil Wayne  
Mac Miller Mishlawi Martin Garrix  
Marshmello Dua Lupa

 

4. Vodafone Paredes de Coura – 16th, 17th, 18th 19th August 2017

Location: Paredes de Coura, North of Portugal

This is one of the oldest festivals in Portugal, it started more than 20 years ago, and it’s still one of music lovers favourite because it tends to mix big famous bands with relatively new bands who sooner or later are going to become big. It takes place in the North, in Paredes de Coura, on the grounds of the fluvial beach of Taboão. As for the price, you can buy the full festival ticket for €90. Find out more on the Festival’s website. Buy the tickets here or here.

LINEUP (so far)

 16 a 19 Agosto
Future Islands
At the Drive In
Beach House
!!!
BadBadNotGood
Foals 
 Benjamin Clementine
 Car Seat Headrest
 TY Segall
Nick Murphy
BEAK>
HO99O9
Sunflower Bean
Manel Cruz
Moon Duo
Foxygen
Young Fathers 
Andy Shauf 
YCWCB 
Mão Morta
King Krule

 

Top 5 Best Hotels in Lisbon 2017

In 2015 Portugal won 14 Awards at the World Travel Awards, in 2016 Portugal won an amazing 24 Awards. No wonder the capital of this small country in Southwest Europe has been so much in the spotlight in the last few years. Even more surprising is how unspoilt it is still and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 best hotels in Lisbon for your 2017 holidays. This selection includes mostly cosy boutique hotels so you can feel at home when visiting Portugal.

  1. Hotel Avenida Palace

This boutique style hotel is in the perfect location if you’re planning to explore the old town by foot since it’s located right in the heart of the city.

Being in a 19th-century building meant the hotel kept much of the romantic classicism in its style. If you’re renting a car, there’s free valet parking at the hotel. There’s also a gym on the 5th floor and even a library with books in many languages. The staff is known to be beyond attentive to your every need and the breakfast is fantastic.

Tip: Try the afternoon tea served on Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoons.

Location: Restauradores

Room rates start at: $176 | £141

Find more here.

2. Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites

Travelling with children isn’t always easy but it could be if you book one of the 37  five-star apartments at Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites.

Why? Not only do they have a free Kids Club, open from 9.30am to 11.30pm, running activities every day of the week but they also have babysitting services if you prefer your children to be looked after in your apartment. And, if this isn’t enough, there’s even a pyjama club so parents can enjoy a date night in Lisbon. As for the five-star apartments, they were made to accommodate families so there are high chairs, bunker beds and even well-stocked kitchens for those who want to cook.

Tips:

  • Kids Club is free of charge in the low season from 1st of November to 30th of April. From the 1st of May, small fees are applied.
  • The kids club covers babies as young as 6 months and goes up to early teens.
  • The hotel is next to the Time Out Market, the hub of new and renowned chefs stalls and a dream for foodies.

Location: Alfama

Room rates start at: $200 |£160

Find out more here.

3. Bairro Alto Hotel

If you want to stay in the heart of Lisbon, next to the enchanting nights of bohemian Bairro Alto and trendy Chiado, also close to all the fashionable restaurants, this is your hotel. The rooms are classical, the staff works hard to make you feel at home and the hotel restaurant is just amazing.

Bairro Alto Hotel also has an awarded terrace on the top floor, voted 4th best hotel terrace view in the world, from where you can have some light bites while enjoying the view.

Location: Bairro Alto

Room rates start at: $234 | £188

Find out more here.

5. Santiago de Alfama

Of all the hotel selections we’ve introduced this is the newest of them all. Open only two years ago, the Santiago de Alfama is the king of attention to detail.

The service, the rooms, the breakfast and the staff, all work together to make your stay incredible. The area where the hotel is located also helps on making your stay special. Alfama, the oldest and the most picturesque district in Lisbon, home of narrow streets and history filled cobblestones. A maze of squares, courtyards and streets filled with history, with small cafes and typical restaurants where you can relax and have some pestiscos and vinho tinto.

Location: Alfama

Price:$174 | £140 

Find out more here. 

5. MYRIAD by SANA Hotels

Imagine walking up with nothing but the peaceful flowing waters of the Tagus river in front of you? And what if waiting for you there’s a lovely breakfast with fresh fruits, bread and cakes just out of the oven? And a Spa with a list of massages and treatments to enjoy between all the walks in the city.

Unlike the other hotels, we suggested this is the only one that is not in the historic part of Lisbon and the only one that is not a boutique hotel. But fear not since this is also a very sought after place for those who like the most modern, futuristic side of cities, the hotel has an innovative design with two lateral sail-shaped bodies and it’s really close to Lisbon’s Oceanarium, Europe’s largest indoor acquarium.

Location: Parque das Nações

Price starts at: $206 |  £165

Find out more here.

Top 5 Fun Hostels To Stay In Lisbon in 2017

Lisbon is known to have some of the best hostels in the world and if you’re travelling light and looking for fun, here is my suggestion of the best places to stay and still have the privacy of your own room.

  1. The Independent Hostel & Suites 

The nightlife in Lisbon is distributed around 3 main areas: Bairro Alto, Santos and Alfama. Lets start with Bairro Alto, this is the party hub of the town. This area consists of an amalgam of labyrinthic parallel streets, each with their unique bars, restaurants and even boutiques. Side note: Walking in cobbled streets is not easy, even less so if you had a little too much to drink, so take care and take some good walking shoes.

At the Independent Hostel & Suites you can either stay in a dorm, there are mixed, male and female rooms, or have your own room.

This hostel used to be the Swiss Embassador’s Art Deco residence, so be ready to be impressed by the magnitude of the place. Your bill will include free wi-fi, towels and bed sheets. Breakfast is delicious and free. Also, there’s an amazing, award-winning restaurant where you can try some classic cuisine and a beer garden to relax and have a drink after a night out.

Price for a basic room in 2017: $14 |£12

Tube Stop: Baixa-Chiado

Location: Bairro Alto And Príncipe Real

Book The Independent Hostel & Suites here.

2. Lisbon Destination Hostel

Lets start with the perks on this one. There’s a free billiard table, free table tennis, free luggage storage, free breakfasts with pancakes included, wi-fi, cinema room. And, to top it off, this hostel is in a brilliant location, inside the Rossio Train Station, a historic place designed between 1886 and 1887.

This hostel offers activities every night, has an amazing sky room where you can people watch, play a game or just relax with a book. If you want to explore the city, this is the best location you could choose, from here you can walk to national monuments, walk to party town Bairro Alto, or take the tube, bus, electric tram, all within 1 minute from the hostel. Since your hostel is located inside the train station, it’ll be even easier to go on day trips to hotspots like Sintra from here.

Location: Rossio

Prices start at: $15 | £12

Tube stop: Rossio

Book the Destination Hostel here.

3. Travellers House

This is the place to come if you want to make friends from all over the world. The staff is really nice, there are lots of events and tours on offer, location in Praça do Comércio leaves you at the steps of Bairro Alto and Alfama if you don’t mind walking a bit more. The rooms are really big and the bathrooms spotless. They offer free wi-fi and there are two computers in the common room. The breakfast is amazing, the pancakes with hot chocolate are particularly nice.

There’s no elevator so please ask for a room on a lower floor if you plan on having heavy luggage.

Prices start at: $23 | £18

Tube: Baixa-Chiado

Location: Rua Augusta

Book the Travellers house here.

4. Home Lisbon Hostel

This hostel has been highly praised for the fantastic decoration, the spotless and clean areas and, most important of all, how home the staff makes you feel. There’s even the mamma’s dinner prepared for you every night if you want. But if you want a single room, this is not the place for you since they only have dormitory rooms (mixed and female only).

The location is very central, Rossio, São Jorge Castle and Bairro Alto, are all walking distance. The Home Lisbon Hostel also offers a free English/Irish breakfast, there’s free evening entertainment, movies and games as well as iPads for guests in the living room.

Prices start at: $15 | £12

Location: Santa Maria Maior

Metro Station: Baixa-Chiado

Book the Home Lisbon Hostel here.

5. Lisbon Calling

This artsy hostel is in a very central location and the private rooms are airy and well decorated, with a 30s vibe. The breakfast is delicious and varied.

Prices start at: $18 | £14

Location: Misericórdia

Metro Station: Cais do Sodré

Book the Lisbon Calling Hostel here.

Top 5 Best Glamping Experiences In Portugal

After trying glamping for the first time I became an enthusiast for these types of holidays. Always checking into hotels, after a while, can become a bit “same old, same old”. Staying somewhere surround by nature can be so much more adventurous and fun. Glamping will, for sure, lead to interesting and exciting holidays. So here are the places I suggest you try quickly before they get discovered and spoilt.

  1. Natura Glamping
Natura Camping – Glamping

I would suggest this park for those who are planning to do a road trip in Portugal and want to explore beyond the main touristic areas. This park is located in Alcongosta, in the central region of Portugal, in the heart of the Gardunha mountain. Guests can stay in a tent in the shape of a pod, which has all the amenities of a hotel room, including a private bathroom (complete with organic toiletries), a tv, a fridge, a kettle and wi-fi. And then, there’s the view, from your bed you can see the sky, the mountains and the valley. It’s all very peaceful. Rooms have a terrace and there’s even an outdoor jacuzzi. There’s also a shared lounge with a games room and a tour desk.

Hiking, bike riding, segway rental are some of the adventures you can partake in this area. I would suggest you book them in advance.

Distance from Lisbon: 2h17m

Location: Alcongosta, Fundão

Prices for upcoming dates: $114 | £91 | €105

Book it here.

2. Casa Tuia 

Located in the Algarve, more precisely in Carvoeiro, and only 20 minutes from the beach, you will find this amazing wooden tents. They’re called the Safari tents and they can host up to 5 people in each. All units come with an equipped kitchen, including a microwave and dishwasher! They all have a private bathroom, terrace and barbeque.

You can play tennis at the property, table tennis, darts, hiking, all for free, and there’s even an amazing swimming pool on site. There’s also windsurfing, diving, golf and horse riding activities around the area.

Distance from Lisbon: 2h35m

Distance from Faro Airport: 47min

Location: Carvoeiro, Algarve 

Prices per night for upcoming dates: $102 | £82 | €95

Book it here.

3. Nomad Planet 

This could be your view

Right in the northern region of Portugal, you will find Nomad Planet, a camp with only four yurts and a bungalow, all decorated with brightly coloured furniture, spacious beds and a view difficult to surpass.

From your yurt styled tent or bungalow, you will have a panoramic view of the Peneda-Gerês Park, Portugal’s only national park.  The bathroom facilities are shared and there’s a lounge with a kitchen and barbeque. Activities like canoeing, parasailing and cycling are also available for those who would like to add a bit more of adventure into their holidays.

Location: Fiães do Rio, Montalegre

Distance from Lisbon: 4h30m

Distance from Porto Airport: 1h53m

Prices per night for upcoming dates: $47  |£37 | €43

4. Quinta M

Part of the Splendia, a series of hand-picked luxury and boutique hotels, Quinta M has the most glamourous yurts I’ve seen so far. Each yurt has a private bathroom and all the amenities you would expect from a 5-star hotel room, plus a fantastic sky view at night.

All yurts face the beautiful swimming pool and there are plenty of activities in the campsite and around to keep you going. Horse riding classes, including dressage, pilates, a boot camp and even a personal trainer for those interested in working the mind and the body. This site is also very close to many iconic cities in the area like Óbidos, Nazaré and Tomar.

Pets are accepted for an extra €10.

Prices per night for upcoming dates: $157 | £125 | 145€

Distance from Lisbon: 1h41m

Location: Várzea de Baixo, Casével, Santarém

Book it here.

5. Aterra

It’s in Alentejo that you’re going to find this small, family-oriented, camp resort. You can stay in a tipi and enjoy the vegetarian cuisine, cooked onsite, the breakfasts made with local produce are served either in your room or the communal room. There’s a barbeque area and lots of animals for kids to play with.

There’s also a beautiful lake, where you can swim or take the canoes, which you can rent for free.

Prices per night for upcoming dates: $65 | £52 |€ 60

Location: São Teotónio, Costa Alentejana

Distance from Lisbon: 2h43m

Book it here.

How Can American Tourists Be Safe Abroad?

Have you heard of the Smart Enrollment Program? It’s a free service provided by the American bureau of consular affairs which allows U.S. citizens who are planning to travel abroad to enrol their trip with the nearest U.S Embassies and the consulate.

The Benefits of Enrolling in STEP:

You can enrol here.

The U.S. Department of State also has a very complete page, with all the info you might need when travelling abroad. All you have to do is write the name of your destination. There’s also a page with constant updates, alerts and warnings about short and long term events.  Follow the alerts here.

You can also follow the Travel – State Department on Twitter for live alerts here.

Finally, for those planning to visit Portugal, here are the details of the American Embassy & Consulate in Portugal.

U.S. EMBASSY    

Avenida das Forças Armadas

1600-081 Lisboa

Phone: 351-21-727-3300

Fax: 351-21-726-9109

U.S CONSULATE PONTA DELGADA – AZORES

U.S. Consulate Ponta Delgada

Avenida Príncipe do Mónaco, 6-2 F

9500-237 Ponta Delgada

Phone.: 351 296 308 330

Fax: 351 296 287 216

 

 

My First Glamping Experience

Let me just start by saying that this kind of holiday may not be fit for those who don’t like bees or any other insects and reptiles. I returned safe and sound, despite the quite considerable amount of time running, jumping, relocating and screaming involved, mainly because of bees. Now back to my fabulous glamping weekend. As you know, glamping is an alternative for those who want to have all the freedom of camping minus the back pain and the gymnastics of trying to get dressed in small spaces. And freedom and nature was what I had at my glamorous yurt at the ecological farm Quinta de São José dos Montes.

I left Lisbon on a very hot Friday afternoon and arrived at night time at Olalhas, a small town close to Tomar, where we were going to stay. As I got to the reception I was given a key to my yurt and told how to get there. The yurts were located 5 minutes away (by car) from the main hotel, and to get there we had to go through a bit of a rocky path, into the woods until finding a glade. It was night time, so it was both incredible and scary being in the middle of nowhere and just hearing owls, crickets and dogs barking in the distance (I’ve seen too many horror movies, I know). The area where the camping was set was beautifully decorated, there were wooden pathways, connecting all the yurts together and mushroom shaped lamps, illuminating the space at night. Just gorgeous and magical.

The first thing that struck us when getting into our Mongolian tent, was how spacious and well decorated it was. But the most awe moment was when I looked up and saw the dark sky above us. We could see the sky from our bed. How amazing is that? The bed was really comfortable and all the space absolutely done to perfection, with a couch, a desk and a boiler for those winter days.

Wondering around the camp I found a tent in a shape of a globe which I later found out to be a training centre, used for yoga workshops, spiritual retreats, trance dancing, amongst other things. There was also a cabin with a fully functional kitchen and living room. Now the bathrooms, this was a special challenge of its own. Since this is an ecological camp, the showers are outdoors, the men’s urinals are outdoors and, you guessed it, the ladies toilets are outdoors. And, despite being really clean, there were spiders and friendly bugs walking around. There’s also no flush, so you do your thing into a hole (there’s a toilet bowl yet no flush) and then you throw a mix of wood bark chipping inside with the help of a small shovel. It was a challenge but it was really fun at the same time. When it comes to the shower, if you want a hot one you’ll need to make a small fire. It’s all good and all explained to you when you get there. We ended up always showering with cold water or in the bathroom by the swimming pool, which is a normal bathroom.

View from the swimming pool

Breakfast and the swimming pool are all in the main house area so it meant we ended up staying a lot of time here, my partner reading and me running from bees mostly and also enjoying the pool. The view to the countryside, the horses in the fields next to us, it was all so relaxing and peaceful. There was also a table and a barbeque for those who want to cook outside. I mean, the owners of this place thought of everything, it was amazing. Surprisingly enough, despite how cool this place was, there were no other guests in the yurts, this space was just ours, even the swimming pool at the farm.

Insider tips:

  • If you’re not taking a car or even if you are I would suggest you take food and drinks with you, the location of this Farm is remote so it’s not like you can just walk to a cafe and ask for food.
  • I don’t know if it was the lovely ceiling opening but there were a lot of mosquitos in the tent, they didn’t bother me that much but my partner seemed to have been a feast for those hungry creatures. Take mosquito repellent or if you prefer a more natural solution like eucalyptus leaves which you can find in the woods around the yurts.
  • If you don’t want to have the full ecological experience you can always shower in the bathroom, next to the swimming pool in the main building.
  • If you’re staying in a tipi or a yurt, take a lantern, at night you might want to go to the bathroom and it’s easier if you have one.
  • At this farm, you can also stay at a tipi, a cone-shaped tent used by indigenous people in America and also Europe and Asi. If you’d like a more conventional holiday we can also stay at an apartment or even rent a bed in a dorm.

In terms of activities, there are lots things going on at the Farm. From star gazing with experts to renting paddling boards, to horse riding classes, hands-on biological agriculture, equestrian therapy, visiting the pedagogical farm. Once you book the trip the hotel will contact you giving you all the options.

Curious about the farm? I found a video.

Distance from Lisbon:

2h32min

Activities on the farm:

Horse riding

Paddle Boarding Rental

Star observation (advisable for bigger groups). Book it here www.+ciencia.pt

Courses, retreats, workshops and more here (pt version only).

To book the same adventure I had click here.

A Weekend Away In Alentejo – Grândola

I love to plan mini-breaks, it’s actually been proven how good they are for our general health. To be able to just drive somewhere with a few items of clothing in a bag and not many plans except lounging by the pool and venturing in small towns.

And that’s why I decided to take a warm September weekend to go to Alentejo and explore a little bit of this region, an undiscovered region for me and many other travellers. I chose Hotel Rural Santa Bárbara dos Mineiros in Lousal, a pyrite mining village part of the Grândola municipality. The reason? It was close to Lisbon yet felt isolated enough. Also, the price was great and the swimming pool seemed delicious.

Hotel Piscina

The hotel’s decoration was inspired by the mining and rural traditions of the area, at the reception you can even find a cows’s bell, sitting there, waiting for you to ring it and alert the receptionist of visitors. As for the location, it was exactly what I expected, remote yet easy to access, with a few cafes, a restaurant and beautiful gardens surrounding the area. The swimming pool looked as appealing as in the pictures and next to it an outdoor bar with foosball, table games and a paintball machine. By the pool there was also a gym with lots of aquatic accessories for children and adults. I really enjoyed a nap on the pool mattress, there were also badminton racquets and free bikes to explore the area (note: If you decide to take the bikes, be wary of the many dogs wandering outside the hotel, they were all nice to us but they did bark and follow us around). For those who want to stay in, the living room at the hotel has a DVD room and even more table games. As for the rooms, they were decorated with a simplicity that really reminded me of an old Alentejo house.

What to do?

  • Friday evening
The parade in the medieval fair

There are parties all year round in the little villages surrounding Lousal. You can ask at the front desk for information. In our case, since we went in September, we got to go to a very fun Medieval Fair, taking place in a village called Alvalade. The entrance cost was €3.50 and it was worth every single coin. There were actors re-enacting medieval times, walking around in horses, selling medieval food and drinks, traditional games, including shooting real arrows, and lots of handicraft articles on offer. We even joined in on a medieval banquet. Click here to see videos of previous years.

  • Satuday
Badoca Safari Park

We started the day with an amazing breakfast, fresh orange juice, toasts with jam, Alentejo hams and homemade cakes. Feeling full and happy, we headed to the Badoca Safari Park, an animal park merely 40 minutes away. There were barely any signs pointing to the park so it was a bit tricky to find it but with the help of the GPS and with a lot of asking around we got there. This is a great adventure if you have kids, but even if you don’t it was so much fun. Doing a safari with a guide, we got to travel around the park, stopping by the animals and learning fun facts about them. Being close to giraffes, buffalos, lions, flamingos, gorillas and baboons was wonderful. But the highlight of the day was the trip down the rapids. For €2,5 extra you can “descend the river” on an African raft. We did it twice and ended up soaking wet which was very refreshing after a hard day in the sun. I wouldn’t recommend it on the winter thought. Returning to the hotel we stopped for a quick bite in a bakery in Santo André and then back to the hotel for some swimming pool time and a Trivial Pursuit challenge. We ate at the hotel since we were tired and didn’t want to go too far. I would suggest this if you just want to enjoy a night in and don’t want to take the car.

  • Sunday

We decided to go and explore the Centro de Ciência Viva. For €4,50 we got to see minerals and learn more about rocks and the mines, in times the epicentre of the region. The tour was great but I would recommend more for children. There are lots of interactive areas with things to test and play with, exactly my type of museum. We ended up not visiting the actual mines.

Porco

We had lunch at Armazém Central, right by our hotel, the restaurant had excellent reviews on Tripadvisor and was highly recommended by some friends. The best part of the whole experience was hearing the Cante Alentejano group singing as we ate. The funny thing was, the singers were by our side, eating lunch with their wives and they would get up every now and again to sing. Beautiful idea.

Summing it up, the weekend felt like a week’s holiday. We went back in time right into medieval times, we ate really well, slept late, pedalled away, running from dogs, discovered the science of mines and even went on a Safari. All in 2 and half days.

 

Travel Time

From Lisbon to Lousal 1h26m

Cost

Tolls and Gas: 50

Hotel: €96 with breakfast included

Badoca Safari Park: €17,90 per person + 2,5€ rapid descent

Centro Ciência Viva – Science Centre: 4,50€ per person

Lunch: Armazém Central – 32€ with drinks and one dessert

5 Best Business Hotels in Lisbon

1. Corinthia Hotel Lisbon 

Corinthia Hotel Lisbon

This is the perfect hotel if you are looking for a relaxing stay while doing business in Lisbon. The best thing about the Corinthia Hotel Lisbon is that, for an extra fee, you’ll be able to be part of the exclusive Executive Club which will open the door to you for some special amenities.

What it offers: Breakfast buffet, including live show cooking, at the sky lounge on the 24th floor away from the other guests. Free drinks and small bites served up until 10 pm, every day. A selection of international newspapers. Private boardroom at the sky lounge and a guest concierge available to you at all times. As an Executive Club member, you can also request a chauffeur. Finally, did I mention the Spa? 3,500 square meters and 13 treatment rooms for those tough days after a whole day of meetings. This hotel is located in Lisbon’s business area.

Average price: £95 | $118 per night

Book it here.

2. Pestana Palace Lisboa Hotel & National Monument

One of the rooms at the hotel

Part of the Leading Hotels of the World group, this hotel was home to Madonna, Prince, David Beckham and even former US president Bill Clinton when they visited Portugal. The Pestana Palace is luxurious and opulent, everything you would expect from a 19th-century palace converted into a hotel. It has 193 rooms, four of them royal suites, and there are several business rooms, with different sizes ready for your needs.

What it offers: Guests have access to a butler, a driver with a limousine and a private chef. From the hotel, you’ll have a stunning view of Lisbon, the Tagus River in Lisbon and the 25th of April Bridge, twin of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The location is also amazing, Rossio Square, close to some of the most important monuments in Lisbon and the night out hub.

Average price: $194 | £156 per night

Book it here.

3. Bessa Hotel Liberdade

Modern and central

It’s a boutique style hotel, for those who are travelling to Lisbon for business but still want to enjoy a bit of luxury while being close to the touristic spots.

What it offers: The indoor pool and spa are great for some well deserved time in-between meetings. As for the rooms, the beds are big, the sheets really soft, the rooms spacious and the breakfast buffet mouthwatering.

Average price: $144 | £138 per night

Book it here.

4. EPIC SANA Lisboa Hotel

A 20-minute drive from the airport and you’ll be right in the city centre, a mere 700 metres from the Marquês de Pombal statue, which marks the start of Avenida da Liberdade, one of the most iconic Portuguese avenues. This avenue extends for 1100 m, it’s 90 metre-wide and it’s full of restaurants, theatres and all the best designer stores.

What it offers: The hotel has two swimming pools, one in the roof for the summer, a spa, the rooms are big, the wi-fi excellent and there’s a chance you’ll be welcomed with complimentary cakes and champagne upon arrival. Babysitting, laundry and ironing services available.

Average prices: $144 | £124 per night

Book it here.

5. Pousada de Lisboa – Small Luxury Hotels Of The World

This hotel used to be a historic building used for governmental purposes. One of its rooms used to be the Portuguese dictator Salazar’s office. It has been restored to reflect the grandeur of other times and it now gives visitors the chance to stay in one of the most iconic spots in Lisbon: Terreiro do Paço.

What it offers: The Pousada de Lisboa is part of Small Luxury Hotels Of The World. The rooms are elegant, the hotel staff is attentive and the breakfast served in the courtyard, includes champagne for those who want to start the day with some sparkles.

Average price:$270 |£218 

Book it here.

One Day In Guimarães

Following my stay in Guimarães, I had a few days to discover the city and see why it’s so special. Here are my suggestions of places to visit, eat and hang out.

One Day In Guimarães

The historic centre

In The Morning – Start your day with a visit to the historical center, classified by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Lose yourself in the narrow cobbled streets and you’ll feel like you’re back in medieval times. While walking around the center I ended up at a leather tannery from the XIX century. There were no tourists and no English explanation of what it was but it was great to make guesses of what it could be while walking around and taking pictures of the area.

Rua dos Couros

In the meantime, I made a little research and it was interesting to find out that all the tanks belonged to a factory called Mirandas, Ferreira & Carvalho, Lda that stopped working in the XX century. It started with a small conglomerate of small industries which got together and formed the company. They would also rent the space to individuals who wanted to treat their own animal skins and produce leather. If you want to know more about the process used to transform animal skin into leather you can go here but let’s just say it involved having the animals’ skin dipped in urine and then soaking it in animal feces, in particular dog and pigeon feces, also called dung.

In the afternoon – Right, after this lovely description and if you are still up for lunch head up to O Histórico, it’s one of the most known restaurants in the city. Here you’ll be able to sample some of the flavors of Minho.

Tradicional cuisine

After a big meal which I am sure they will serve you, it’s time for a sesta, portuguese for nap, at least that’s what I would do. But if you still have some strength to keep going, I would suggest you head to the palace of the Dukes of Bragança. At the front desk, you will be able to buy a ticket for the three of the attractions in the area. For 8 euros you will get an entry to this palace, the Castle and the Alberto Sampaio Museum (they offer discounts for children). Starting at the Palace of the Dukes de Bragança, here you will see Decorative Arts from the 17th and 18th centuries, armors and weapons, tapestry and porcelain from the Portuguese East India Company. What struck me about this palace was the fact that it was built around 1420. The palace was also used as a military building during Napoleon Invasions and it was the official residence of the Portuguese dictator Salazar. And this is just a brief glimpse of what you can discover inside.

After the palace, head up to the Guimarães Castle. Built in the 10th century, it was intended to protect a monastery from the Moors and Norsemen (scandinavian vikings) and eventually was the birthplace of Portugal’s first king Afonso I.

Very close by, is the Alberto Sampaio Museum. This museum features classical religious art and inside you can find a beautiful garden.

If you’re anything like me, at this time you will be tired of so much history. If you want to take a break, and experience history in a different way, visit the Pastelaria Clarinha. Nothing beats the quintessential Portuguese experience of stopping at a bakery and enjoying an expresso or a meia de leite (half a cup of coffee and milk) with a delicious cake. You can stop by at any bakery, most of the ones I tried were great, but this one was highly recommended by everyone.

Nighttime – I know I’ve just mentioned stopping to get some food but here we go again. I would start the night with dinner at the Real Plazza, which is a no-frills restaurant with endless choices of francesinhas.

Northern cuisine at it’s best

The francesinha, which in English means “the frenchie”, is a sandwich made with bread, cured ham, chorizo, roast meat, fresh sausage, melted cheese and covered in hot tomato and beer sauce, which is usually a secret, served with french fries. It’s a dish originally from Porto but if you try it here you won’t be disappointed.

Guimaraes by night

End the night at the Largo do Toural, trying some drinks in some of the bars in this area. I did kind of a pub crawl around here and I had a lot of fun.


What to Put on your phone GPS

The Tanneries

Rua de Couros or Largo da Cidade for the Leather Tannery (Zona dos Couros in Portuguese)

For Lunch

Restaurant O Histórico

R. de Valdonas 4, Guimarães

Palace of the Dukes of Braganza – R. Conde Dom Henrique, 4810-245 Guimarães

Alberto Sampaio Museum – Rua de Alfredo Guimarães, 4800-407 Guimarães

For a snack

Pastelaria Clarinha (The Bakery) – Largo do Toural 86-88, Guimarães 4810-427, Portugal

For Dinner

Real Plazza  Rua Fernando Pessoa 101, Guimaraes 4800-176

Night out 

Tour the several bars in the square – Largo do Toural

 

 

Planning to move to Portugal from the United States?

The simpsons

Portugal is beautiful, it truly is. The weather is great, most of the year, the food is delicious and, the Portuguese are really nice and welcoming. That’s why it’s easy to fall in love with the country when visiting. I think that’s one of the reasons why I see more and more Americans on Facebook groups asking for advice about a potential move. Inspired by that I’ve compiled a list of tips and potential rocks in your path that you might find when moving to Portugal.

1. Find a job before moving here – After the crisis, unemployment is still up and wages down. It’s very difficult to find a good-paying job with a long term contract so, if you’re coming with nothing but good will, you might struggle a bit.

2. The language barrier shouldn’t be an issue – Portuguese is a difficult language to learn especially if you don’t know any other latin languages, like Italian or Spanish. Don’t despair, though, you can get by without knowing Portuguese if you live in the capital or any of the big cities. Plus, people here really make an effort to speak your language or try at least.

3. Portugal is all about driving  Public transports are reliable but they’re not frequent like in all the big cities so prepare to drive everywhere.

4. Houses are cheap – Portugal hasn’t recovered from the crisis and the market is still depressed and undervalued. As much as this impacts negatively people living here, this is a great chance for anyone with money to buy property or to set up a business (since salaries are low).

5. It’s normal to work overtime here – I would say it’s actually the rule if you work for the private sector. People tend to arrive late in the morning but then they put in the extras hours at night. Leaving at 7/8pm or even later is expected.

6. Double kissing everyone – You will kiss a lot of cheeks once you move here. In Portugal, you kiss your friends, your acquaintances, your co-works. If you see someone you know on the street, or if you’re seeing your friends for dinner, you are expected to kiss them on both cheeks. Posh people tend to kiss only on one cheek though and they will leave you hanging if you try to kiss them twice.

7. Casual chic at work – Dressing for work totally depends on what your job is but in most places, people tend to dress in a relaxed way with a casual chic style.

8. High-quality healthcare – Healthcare is free here, once you’re a citizen you can apply to have a general doctor and you will be able to have consultations for almost free. The same with going to the hospital.

10. Appointments rarely start on time and people tend to take their time talking –Meetings rarely happen on time. Get ready to wait and wait and wait and once you’ve finished waiting, get ready for a lot of talking. When you go to the hairdresser, to the doctor, to the pharmacy, to the post office, to the real estate office even to the dentist, you are expected to wait and then to have a long conversation.

11. Loving Jesus – Catholicism is the most prominent religion in Portugal and although people don’t tend to go to the church that much, many still want to get married or baptized at the church. If you switch on the Portuguese TV on Sundays you will even be able to watch a the mass live.

12. The world stops when there’s a football game – Doesn’t matter what type of competition it is. If Benfica, Porto or Sporting are playing (Portugal’s biggest teams) and especially Portugal’s National Team, the traffic will go into a halt, the shops will be empty, the sick leaves will jump off the roof.

13. We’re obsessed with food – Just like with football, there’s a national obsession with eating. Wherever you decide to move, there will be cafes stocked with different dishes to offer you and restaurants in every street corner.

14. We might sound like we’re fighting but we’re not – We’re just talking. Believe me. We’re passionate people and we tend to talk loudly and gesticulate a lot but, most of the time, we’re just excitedly telling a friend how dinner was last night.

15. Portuguese coffee is tiny and addictive – A coffee tall or grande will be difficult to get here. Portuguese love their expresso, a tiny cup of coffee that they will have in the morning with their breakfast, in the afternoon after lunch and at dinner before going to bed. Starbucks is a rare find, so get ready for these small shots of energy.

16. Taxi drivers might try to fool you – If you call a normal cab Portugal, chances are, the cab driver noticing you’re not from here, might try to take the longest route. If you can, call an Uber instead or keep your eyes on your phone GPS.

17. Public services are slow, the bureaucracy is immense – So be ready once you get here for the amount of time you are going to waste waiting to talk to someone only to realize you still need 3 more documents no one ever told you about.

18. It’s not always warm and the water is pretty cold – Brace for some cold water and possibly big waves, this is the Atlantic Ocean after all. If the temperature is hot outside it will be easy to get into the water though and in the summer the water temperature can get to 73.4 ºF/23 ºC. As for the general climate, summers are hot but in the winter the temperature goes down. It’s rare to snow in most parts of the country but it can happen.

19.  Neighbors can be really noisy – There’s something about the building construction here that makes the noisy neighbors a total nightmare to live with. I would suggest you investigate your neighbors before you move in.

20. Dinner at 10 pm, party at 2 am – The whole culture in Portugal leans towards a late start of the evening. It’s normal to start working at 9.30 am or later and leaving at 7 pm or 8 pm, so dinner ends up happening quite late and the same with a night out. Unlike other cultures in Portugal, it’s normal to leave work, go home, have dinner, have a shower and then get ready to party.