5 Essential Outdoor Sports Gear For A Portuguese Adventure

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If you like sports and adventure then Portugal is the right destination for you. Make your trip to Portugal even more fun with some of these items which you can get on Amazon.co.uk.

1. Inflatable Kayak – Wherever you go in Portugal, you will for sure be very close to either a river, a lagoon, a beach or a swimming pool. And this is why you should definitely bring one of the coolest items on Amazon at the moment. An inflatable kayak complete with paddles! On sale for £90.26 and it’s from Intex.

2. Hiking GPS – If hiking and trekking are your thing, the Garmin eTrex 20x Outdoor Handheld GPS will be your best companion on these adventures. Its bright colour display is easy to read under any lighting conditions, it’s waterproof and has a long battery life. It costs £157.13.

3. Action Camera Ultra HD Camcorder – If you’re into action sports and like to keep track of your progress and study your techniques, nothing better than packing your own 4K Sport Action Camera Ultra HD Camcorder. The resolution is 4 times better than HD, it’s got a wireless wrist remote control, a long battery life, built-in wifi & HDMI and it’s waterproof. Perfect for capturing your surfing or swimming moves. At the moment on Amazon, it costs £59.99.

4. Gold Travel Bag – Some of the best golf courses in the world can be found in Portugal. So, if you’re visiting us and travelling with your clubs by plane, don’t worry about the handling of your precious gear by the baggage handlers. With the Macgregor Men’s VIP Deluxe Wheeled Travel cover your clubs will be safe. The wheels make it easy to carry and the extra padding around the top will protect your clubs. It’s going for £39.95.

macgregor

5. Snorkel Face Mark – This snorkel mask has an 180 ° view, perfect for adults or children who want to snorkel without having to worry about having salty water on their faces while trying to breathe through the mouth. The Vapercombo has anti-fog and anti-leak technology and it comes with a waterproof bag for your phone so you can take pictures in the water. It costs £32.80 on Amazon.

16 Items You Should Pack For Your Trip To Portugal

Planning to visit Portugal in the summer? These are the essential items you should consider packing.

  1. Have your own personal guide with Lonely Planet Travel to Portugal

As fun as it can be to just go with the flow with no real plans on what to do or see, most of the times it’s helpful to have a guide who’s in the know. And Lonely Planet Travel to Portugal does that and more. Not only does it offer a comprehensive guide of Portugal’s top spots, it also gives you tips about what to visit in each area, insider tips on where to eat or sleep and itineraries and maps so you can tailor your trip to your liking. Costs $17.01 and you can buy it here.

2. The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Lisbon is filled with top suggestions on how to make your trip unforgettable.

 

If you’re just visiting the capital, this is my favourite. The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Lisbon, is light, pocket-sized and packed with the best suggestions. It costs only $9.80 on Amazon.

3. Portable Wi-Fi for smartphones, tablets and laptops from Tep Wireless

wireless tep

In Portugal, free Wi-fi connections are usually available in most hotels and even some bars and restaurants in the most popular touristic areas. But, if you can’t live without an internet connection on your phone Tep’s wireless dongle is your best travel companion. All you have to do is rent the device and enjoy the super fast internet on your phone. The battery lasts for 8 hours, it’s light so you can carry it in your bag and you can connect up to 5 devices to Tep. The best part of it all? There are no data limits so you can surf away without worrying about getting an astronomical bill at the end of your trip. Rent it for 10 days and pay only $99.50.

4. A hanging toiletry bag from Mr. Pro

Portugal in the summer means lots of sunscreens, after sun lotions and even mosquito repellent, depending on where you go.  This super organiser is perfect for keeping all your toiletries together and has multiple pockets so things are easy to find, it’s also water resistant and odor-free so no need to watch out for that mouldy smell. The hook is strong so you can fit in the toilet with no worries. Buy it for $12.95 here.

5. No pain in your shoulders with the Ultra lightweight backpack

In Portugal, you will do a lot of walking and this versatile ultralight backpack is just what you need. You can take it to the beach, it’s water resistant, you can take it when hiking or even when you’re just shopping. At the airport, you can fold it and put it back inside your luggage and voilá, no surcharges. It’s priced at $15.99 on Amazon.

6. Liquid containers leak proof and portable

 

When I travel far and for more than 1 week I like to buy shampoo and conditioner in the country I’m visiting but there are some things that I end up inevitably having to take like hair mask or contact lenses liquid. This little bottle container bag costs only $6.99.

7. Eye modelled sleep mask with stars 

Houses and hotels in Portugal usually have blinds, so most of the time you will be able to keep your room dark if you want. But packing this mask might prove useful in the plane or when taking an afternoon nap by the swimming pool. The best thing about this mask is that it doesn’t touch your eyes and it fits around your nose. Buy it here for $9.99.

8. 4 in 1 USA to European Plug Adapter

plug

This is a safe bet if you’re travelling with lots of electronic devices. This adapter has two USB connections so you can charge your smartphone or tablet and a normal plug adapter. Just remember, this is not a voltage converter so your devices need to be compatible with the 250v capacity. The price tag is $8.99 and you can buy it here.

9. Happy feet with compressed socks for the long haul flights

These socks are incredible for when you just know you’re going to be stuck on a plane for more than 5 hours. They promote the circulation, minimise swelling while reducing fatigue. Perfect for long bouts of sitting and walking, which you will do a lot of in Portugal. They’re selling for $14.60 on Amazon.

10. A soft travel pillow that supports your neck

No more neck pain with this pillow. I don’t know about you but the number of times I just end up throwing the plane pillow to the side and give up on having any neck support is ridiculous, so I was amazed when I found this alternative. It soft and it holds your neck in an ergonomic position. It’s also small and light compared to other travel pillows. You can buy it for $29.99 on Amazon.

11. Puncture and water resistant beach and picnic blanket

How cute is this? You can carry a large blanket in your pocket without even noticing it. There are three different sizes available and it even has small weights in the corners for those windy days. It goes for $11.99 for the small size and $19.99 for the larger version. Buy it here.

12. A mini usb humidifier for those hot Portuguese summer nights

Apparently, Mariah Carrey can’t live without humidifiers nor should you, especially not during the Portuguese summer. You can attach almost any water bottle or even Pepsi and Coke bottle. It’s small, it has a timer and it works with batteries if you don’t want it connected to your computer. It’s on sale at the moment which means you can buy it for $23.99.

13. Tide Travel Sink Packets

The laundry service in hotels is usually expensive and it’s still very uncommon to find self-service laundries in Portugal. But don’t worry, with this packets you won’t have to worry about dirtying your favourite items of clothing when you’re travelling. Just wash them in the sink and problem solved. It costs $3.95 on Amazon. 

14. A small travel charger for your smartphone and tablet

travel charger

Nothing’s more annoying than running out of battery midway through a day exploring. That last sunset picture, that wrong turn that left you not knowing which way you needed to go. A mobile phone is an essential travel companion and this small travel charger will give you the breather you need before you get to the hotel. It’s on sale now and going for $17.99.

 

15. Lightweight, slip-on, memory foam sneakers from Skechers

Skechers-Performance-Mensskechers

They’re slip-on, they’re grippy and flexible, perfect for someone planning to do a lot of walking, which as I mentioned extensively will happen a lot when you visit Portugal. Size 7 on the women shoes is $37.67 at the moment. And the men’s version is at $40 for size 10.

15. Pack of portable reusable bottle protector sleeves

wine protector

If there’s one thing you won’t want to leave Portugal without is wine. You might want to take it for yourself or to offer friends, regardless, after you try the Portuguese wine you will for sure crave for more. And this is the perfect way to carry it back home without risking any breakage. You can buy it on Amazon for $15.97.

And that is the end of the list, do you have any other suggestions of what you might want ot pack in your bag when travelling to Portugal?

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 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.

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

 

 

The Best Hotels In Guimarães

I needed some rest, so nothing like a few days in Minho, the most northern region of Portugal, the land of green wine and of great people to relax and de-stress. When looking in the map, Guimarães seemed to be the best spot where to stay since it has a lot of history and places to visit and it’s quite close to all the other cities I wanted to visit. So, here I am and since I have some free time, here’s a list of my carefully selected hotels in Guimarães. Enjoy!

  1. Santa Luzia ArtHotel 
Swimming Pool
Santa Luzia ArtHotel Swimming Pool

I’m writing this as I’m sitting down at the nice hotel living room, with a warming fireplace in front of me. I am going to be biased on this one since this is the hotel where I’m staying on this trip. The Santa Luzia ArtHotel is a 4-star hotel with a 5-star treatment. I got an upgrade, luckely enough, which meant a bigger room in the first floor, with a robe and slippers waiting for me, a big bathroom and a large bed. If you like spending some time with a book by the swimming pool like me then you can’t fail with this hotel. The swimming pool is an amazing alternative for those days when you just want to take a break. There’s also a Turkish bath, a sauna and a steam room to release all those toxins of city life.

Explore it here.

Average Price: £69 | $113

Address: Rua Francisco Agra, 100, 4500-157 Guimarães

 

2. Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães

This is the only 5-star hotel in Guimarães and even if you don’t stay here this is a place that it’s really worth a visit. The Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães is part of a group of historic landmarks around the country that were transformed into hotels. This hotel, in particular, is located inside a 12th-century convent and the rooms are set in what used to be the cloisters where the monks used to stay. The Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães is not right in the center of the historic old town but at the top of a mountain overlooking the city. If you want peace and quiet while staying in a luxurious setting this is the place to be.

Average Price: $100 | £81

Address: Largo Domingos Leite de Castro, 4810-011 Guimarães

Explore it here.

3. Hotel da Oliveira

Hotel Oliveira
Located in the old town

This hotel is located in the historic center of Guimarães, a city considered UNESCO World Heritage. From the Hotel da Oliveira, you can visit all the hot spots in this city by foot or even with a bicycle which you can rent at the hotels’ front desk. For those lazy rainy days, when you just want to sit with a good book, this hotel has a library, so you can just pick a book and sit by the bar with the latest novel.

Average Price: $78 | £51

Address: Rua de Santa Maria, Largo da Oliveira4800-300 Guimarães

Explore it here.

4. Hotel Toural

Toural Hotel

Again, another little gem in the heart of Guimarães. Located in a square where the cattle fair used to take place in the 17th century, hotel Toural is surrounded by history. This hotel is a walk away from all the touristic spots in Guimarães and only 150 meters from the famous medieval castle built in the 10th century. As for the hotel, the rooms here are big but cozy and the breakfast absolutely delicious.

Average Price: $60 | £49

Address: Largo A L Carvalho, 4800-153 Guimarães

Explore it here.

5. Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Club

Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Club
Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Club

Two swimming pools, a luxurious spa and tennis courts, make up for the fact that this hotel is a bit further away from the city center. The Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Hotel Club, has free parking as well, and at the restaurant, you can try the best of what Portuguese cuisine has to offer.

Average Price: $57 | £44

Address: Travessa da Ribeira 629, Mesão Frio, 4810-235 Guimarães, Portugal

Explore it here.