Portugal – from Porto, to Lisbon, to the Douro Valley

One destination that I am so looking forward to returning to is Portugal. From Porto to Lisbon to the stunning Douro Valley to the beautiful beaches and quaint villages, this country is filled with stunning architecture, delicious food, and incredible culture to discover. I traveled through Portugal by car from South to North, and it was fabulous. A great add-on to this holiday would be to cap it off with an exciting river cruise through the stunning wine country.

           Starting in Lisbon, I quickly realized this is a great town for foodies. This coastal town has access to fresh seafood, and its proximity to Spain and Morocco brings a delicious mix of rich flavors to the local fare. One of my favorite places to eat was the Time Out Market Lisbon, a Food Hall-style eatery with 40 different local vendors of all different flavors and backgrounds. For the traveler who can never decide what meal to pick, it is a cool way to get extensive options. Another notable spot in Lisbon was the Portuguese Late Gothic architecture of the Jerónimos Monastery. This exquisite monastery has stood the test of time since 1495 and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While in Lisbon, I stayed at the gorgeous and welcoming Bairro Alto Hotel and had a great experience.

           After enjoying the food and architecture in Lisbon, I made my way North to the second-largest city in Portugal, Porto stopping at vineyards along the route. Porto is located on the Douro River estuary and is a great place to begin a River Cruise through the spectacular scenic valley and head east into wine country. Porto is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is filled with architecture dating back to the 1100s.

If you take a river cruise East, you will have panoramic views of the beautiful valley the whole way up the river. Before you cruise, I would recommend staying at the Six Senses Douro Valley for an unmatched level of service and luxury and some fun activities such as hikes, cooking classes, spa, and yes, even more, wine tasting. Additionally, there are historical sites dotted around the valley, including some Roman architecture dating back to 200 BCE!

Whether you cruise, drive, or fly to the various areas of Portugal, this is a country that I look forward to returning to in the future. If you would like to start planning a trip to Portugal for late 2021 or 2022, I would be happy to start working on the plans for you!