Portugal Travel Tips # 1
Get lost in Lisbon’s old town
Welcome to Lisbon, Portugal’s eternal longing! No travel tips Portugal without the capital. Cosmopolitan and dilapidated down to every single brick. So graceful, so full of alleys that meander over hills trying to bring order to this rampant romance of walls and marble. A cloudless dream on the Tagus. The capital of light is a place of reverie and poetry.
One would rather be unhappy here than happy, but without this view elsewhere. Fado already sings about it! Inferiority complexes of a proud seafaring state put into melodies and its high gloss, humbled by the earthquake. A sound of lament at the highest level. Lisbon cannot be reduced to its sights, the city is in between. Whoever gets lost in it is on the right path.
Portugal Travel Tips # 2
The vast nothingness of the Alentejo
In the vastness of the Alentejo, summer lovers can go on into autumn. Across golden fields on which lone green trees grow that can be seen from hotels that lack stars because so far south everyone is needed for the night sky. Everything gets better the further you go inland. More daring, more carefree.
An environment that doesn’t ask for anything other than feeding happy cows. A cozy scent of cow shit that can relieve tension and one of the largest reservoirs in Europe, smooth as glass, suitable for days of boating and mooring and what you always wanted to say to each other.
Portugal Travel Tips # 3
The giant waves of Nazaré
Nazaré is beautiful and dark and heavy. Two hours by car north of Lisbon, it is due to a topographical natural phenomenon that is divided by a headland protruding into the ocean. On the one hand, Nazaré is a popular holiday destination with a fishing tradition. The tourists buy, the fishermen fish. Nothing new.
On the other hand, the eighth wonder of the world wakes up in winter. A wave monster, a paradise for superlatives, which creates the biggest waves in the world at the end of the foothills of a huge deep sea trench. As soon as a low pressure area is approaching, the world elite of big wave surfers gathers between October and March and thousands of onlookers make the cliffs on the headland the largest big wave stadium in the world. Waves of up to 30 meters in height were measured here. For good money you can book the Nazaré Surfing Experience with world record holder Garrett McNamara.
Portugal Travel Tips # 4
Rendezvous with Coimbra
The former capital of the country – it should definitely not be missing from the travel tips Portugal – has everything a southern city needs to be beautiful: It is southern and it is beautiful. There are places with statues and cafes around them and 300 year old trees. The pigeons are aggressive in Milan and the yellow lantern light goes on in the steep streets of the old town after sunset. Coimbra is a proud World Heritage Site, despite the pigeons, it has even been the Capital of Culture.
Joanne K. Rowling got her Harry Potter here. So actually she has him and his wizarding school Hogwarts from Porto, but the ones from Porto have them from Coimbra. The university in Coimbra is over 700 years old, one of the oldest and most beautiful in Europe. In Coimbra the people suffer from revolutionary precociousness, here the resistance against the Salazar regime formed as early as the end of the 1950s and from here literary movements set out to finally herald this damn modernity in the rest of the country.
Portugal Travel Tips # 5
The most beautiful road in the country
The Estrada Marginal is the most beautiful coastal road in the country and leads out of the heart of Lisbon towards the open sea, past the Jeronimos Monastery, very close to the Tejo, until it turns into the enchanted N224 in Cascais. It is one of the main traffic arteries that repeatedly suffers from a heart attack around the evening hours.
Once you have left Cascais behind you, the sand turns into rocks that eventually become cliffs, between which a beach is squeezed every now and then, offering unbelievable panoramas that invite you to enjoy the view and to have rear-end collisions. Behind the surfer’s paradise Guincho, the Sintra Mountains rise proudly, which are surrounded by a royal national park and take the coastal road up to Cabo da Roca, mainland Europe’s westernmost point. It goes deep through a tropical, majestic vegetation that leaves romantic villages free and markets and seduces to drive on until its climax is reached: Sintra. On the way you should definitely go swimming at Praia da Ursa (parking at Cabo da Roca, a 15 to 20 minute walk).
Portugal Travel Tips # 6
Arrábida, Portugal’s Garden of Eden
Portugal is a proud woman who doesn’t let everyone get close to her. Protected by high temperatures and a rigid sensitivity that follows a bizarre collection of old-fashioned rules behind the linen shirt facade. Drunk with friendliness that is not needed for survival and closed like a dusty bottle of hard, homemade schnapps. Conversations lurk around every corner that lead nowhere and make you cheerful, until you think that life consists only of lunch breaks and good red wine.
From fat olive oil mothers waving from large, romantically overgrown driveways whose gates lead across carefree avenues to the fulfillment of southern dreams. A life more curve than straight. Through a landscape that you always want to water. A car driving in the distance. Silent. Next to it a bay. A water color overflowing with the sea with boats on it, which suddenly falls off the cliffs as if it had hardly seen the coast coming. Ride a bike and eat cheese, water the roses and catch stunned trout in a clear stream, that’s Arrábida.