Portugal is the next big place. So, what is next? What’s opening? What’s new? Here are a few travel secrets in Portugal that only insiders know...
Guimarães, a breathtaking city in the Northern Portugal and Portugal’s birthplace, has now a 4-star Hotel – the Santa Luzia ArtHotel – with a unique design resembling an Art Gallery.
As for the North’s Douro wine Region, same continue to highly charm any visitor, and has been enriched with “The Longroiva Rural Hotel”, located amid ancient walled towns and presiding over an amazing landscape. This resort hotel houses a unique Spa, sort of a copy of the former historic thermal spas.
Another very special attraction in this Region towards exploring it with a nice, a different ‘touch’: The Historic Steam Locomotive. Same, will run, once again, this Summer, on the Douro River Line, from Tua to Porto.
No doubt a ‘Must’ a stop in Porto, Portugal’s second-city, a beautiful and most vibrant one. And why not stay at the new hotel “The House Ribeira”, a former ‘Dance and Drama School”, with a lovely panoramic view over the Douro River?
Should you cross the bridge from Porto’s Ribeira delightful area to Vila Nova de Gaia, you may opt to overnight at the new Apart Hotel “Oh! Porto”, facing the Douro River and the iconic D. Luís bridge. All of its six fully furnished apartments, are named after each Porto’s bridges.
While in Porto, taste its traditional local food, of course! “Porto Sentido”, is a new restaurant enjoying the special touch of a Portuguese well-known Chef, and “The Cork House”, a brand new wine bar, where the Portuguese famous cork, dominates the decoration.
The Paiva Walkways - in the Arouca Geopark – reopened to the public, and this 5-mile trail is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, extending from the river beaches of Areinho and Espiunca. In between, the Vau beach. Still in the Centro de Portugal, but towards the south, the very first Jewish hotel in Portugal opened last April. It is the “Belmonte Sinai”, in Belmonte. It caters to Jewish tourists, and its restaurant is one of the very few in Portugal that holds a Kosher certification.
Back to the coast of Portugal, the “Forte de S. Miguel Arcanjo”, in Nazaré, after some renovations, reopened to the public with new exhibits.
Lisbon will have 13 new hotels – most of them in Baixa, Chiado, Avenida da Liberdade and Bairro Alto. In one of the upmarket areas for shoppers, Avenida da Liberdade, 2 new ones: “The New Lisbon Concept”, where guests are invited to sleep in "capsules-shaped" beds, and the four-stars “Vincci Liberdade”, a former historic building dating back to 1910.
Located near the airport, “Hoti Aeroporto”, with 180 rooms, will be the biggest hotel to open this year, in Lisbon.
In another part of the city, the Chiado area, “Palácio Chiado”, nowadays a very popular foodies’ place, was also, at one time, an historic building that survived the 1755 earthquake. place. Therein, one can find 7 different restaurants and bars. For a taste of international food, available all kind of sausages in “Maria Wurst”, or a French snack in the “Goûter”. As for Portuguese food, the choices are: “Portugal Puro” – All You Can Eat – “Bacalhau Com Todos”- several codfish dishes available - or “Choco Loco”- where you can try the famous “Choquinho Frito”, from the Alentejo Region.
The Alentejo is a warm, dry, Region, south of Lisbon and north of the Algarve, that has seen a 44% jump in American visitors last year. Its wines and cuisine are to die for. There is a new and the very first 5-star hotel near de amazing medieval village of Monsaraz: The “São Lourenço do Barrocal”. It offers 40 accommodation units, a wine cellar for the production of exclusive brand wines and a restaurant to serve them.
Around the aforementioned area, there is the “Ervideira”, a producer of Alentejo wines, that plunged 32 000 bottles of wine in the waters of the Alqueva Dam. After the official launch session, the “Ervideira” sent the very first orders to Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland, having already waiting orders from all over the world.
Many efforts are being conducted in Porto to recover some of the abandoned downtown buildings. Two examples are the recovering of the old “A Brasileira” or Pensão Monumental.
The luxurious “Monumental Palace” will take the place of a former famous café from the 30s, in one of the biggest abandoned monuments of Avenida dos Aliados.
In the plans for 2017, a new hotel from “Pestana Group, located where “A Brasileira” café, dating back from 1903, used to be.
Focusing on a healthy life-style, the first Biggest Loser TV Show chain-brand Hotel in Portugal, will open in Leiria: The “Monte Real Biggest Loser Resort”.
In Ponta Delgada - in the Azores Islands – the “Azor Hotel” will open this coming June and 2 new hotel openings are scheduled for 2018.