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If you only had just 5 things to see – here is what we recommend in Portugal

Insiders: Must-sees in Portugal: If you only had 5 things to see – here is what we recommend

Portugal, about the size of Maine, 100 million inhabitants, 4,000 years of culture to explore. What to do? So we racked out brains on what would the 5 don’t miss things – and we thought outside of the box. So, if we had just 5 things to see they would be….

  1. Cacilheiro in Lisbon

So, you could spend a week in Lisbon and just scratch the surface – and certainly a lot of guides rightly say to ride the #28 Trolley – but for those in the know, we say – catch a Cacilheiro ferryboat– from either Cais das Colunas or Cais do Sodre – for about a euro you can take this ferry boat across the Mar da Palha (Sea of Straw) or Tejo Estuary and get one of the best views of Lisbon around. Pretty good deal – and some of the older boats have been restored and now offer dining and sightseeing trips.

Tejo-1623315_960_720

  1. The Village of Monsaraz

Portugal has a lot of walled towns, all pretty cool and fun to explore. But our money is on Monsaraz – set on imposing hill in the central eastern flank of the Alentejo. Maybe it is the lack of souvenir shops, or the cool medieval frescos, the great local food, the sweeping vistas, or the ancient castle that doubles for a bull ring in the summer – but this is one place that you just want to return to time and time again.

Reguengos de Monsaraz T09ASH3F - photo credit to John Copland

  1. The University of Coimbra

“Coimbra, “ the old Fado says “Is a lesson of dream and tradition, the course is a song, the teachers the moon…” This 13thcentury institution is one of the most fascinating places to explore in Europe – built on a Roman underground, the University has 2,000 years of history to explore – from an 18th century library to a 16th century chapel, to a great hall for the ages. And the views, food, wine, and pottery are not bad either!

TorreCoimbra

  1. Sagres

Where the land ends and sea begins, here to began the 15thcentury adventure of Portugal’s exploration of the globe. From the ruins of Prince Henry’s fort – to some of the best beaches in Portugal, to sea caves, surf, fresh fish, and golden sands- this a one place you won’t wan to miss!

Promontorio_sagres by Associacao Turismo do Algarve

  1. Douro River Valley

It is breathtaking - no other way to say it – a meandering river, with terraces climbing up the steep hillsides. And you can explore it by car, train, foot, and river cruise boat. So, you have world-class wines, grand manor homes, ancient riverside towns, really good food – and all around you scenery that is gorgeous… ‘nough said?

Douro river . Photo - Rui Cunha

 

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