November 20, 2015 at 9:34 AM
The season is not great in Britain, luckily the weather is more enjoyable in Portugal, so let’s drive there and enjoy the beautiful landscapes and the mild weather especially when you get close to the coast. Portugal is perfect to enjoy some winter sun and great food; depending on the region you may encounter huge differences.
Santander to Viana do Castelo
Sorry for not finding any closer port unfortunately ferry only goes to Santander, nonetheless the trip should be fairly nice and if you want you can even visit Santiago de Compostela on the way, allow 6 and ½ hours to 7 hours to reach Viana do Castelo (the capital of the region of Minho).
We recommend you to take the A-8, and then switch to the A-6 finally, continue on the AP-9 cross the border and follow the directions to Viana do Castelo.
Welcome to the region of Minho, one of the most northern regions of Portugal. A great starting point for our trip to Portugal: Viana do Castelo, this little town will probably help you to enjoy a smooth transition between the turmoil of Britain and the calm of Portugal.
Here are some must do:
- Praca da Republica
- The Castelo
- Santa Luzia Mount and the Basilica
- The Museu de Arte e Arqueologia
- The Museu do Traje
Don’t forget to have a snack at the O Marques if you want to discover authentic Portuguese cuisine. If you want to discover the local wines go to Melgaco and try to visit the vinho verde, if you feel more about relaxing go to Foz do Minho.
When you are done in the Minho hit the road to Estremadura and more specifically to Lisbon take the A28 then follow on the A1 to reach Coimbra.
“Bem-vindo a Coimbra” one of the historical capitals of the country from 1131 till 1255, the city is an important educational city of Portugal (equivalent of Oxford for the UK – only 41 years younger). Coimbra is also one of the hearts of Portuguese culture. Located on the banks of the Mondego river and inhabited since Roman times, the city has been home of several people such as the Sueves, the Visigoths, the Moors. During the Age of Discovery the city flourishes thanks to local and royal patronage.
The city still is a major cultural centre home of the Fado de Coimbra, a highly stylized genre of fado, nonetheless it also welcomes a boasting modern music scene.
When in Coimbra don’t miss:
- The University
- The Se Velha de Coimbra (Cathedral)
- Santa Clara-A-Velha Monastery
If you have kids the Portugal dos Pequenitos should be the perfect attraction for a family day.
When in Coimbra go eat a Chanfana, the traditional lamb stew of the region.
Once you’ve seen everything you want just take A1 and follow the signs to Lisboa, allow 2 hours.
Lisbon is at the same time the capital of the country and the capital of the region of Estremadura. This region is probably the richest in terms of culture of all Portugal.
When in Lisbon you’ll be able to see several beauties here are the spots you can’t miss:
- The Jeronimos Monastery
- The Belem Tower
- Sao Jorge Castle
- The Madre de Deus Convent
- The city of Alfama
- Museu Nacional do Azulejo
- Museu da Marinha
If you want to bring some souvenirs home we recommend you to go with some wine and azulejos (tiled art).
When you’re ready to go head to the Algarve region and let’s head straight to Evora you allow 1 and ½ hours via the A2 and A6.
Evora is said to be dating back more than two millennia, first inhabited by the Celts it saw many people inhabiting the region from the Romans to the Visigoths and the Moors. The Age of Discovery the city grew in wealth thanks to its slaves. The city also endured several battles such as the Battle of Evora in 1808 that led to the sack of the city.
When in Evora don’t miss:
- The Roman Temple
- The Cathedral
- The Paco dos Duques de Cadaval (Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval)
- The Paco Real Sao Francisco (The Royal Palace)
- Colegio do Espirito Santo/Colegio da Companhia de Jesus/Universidade de Evora
When in Evora we recommend you to try the carne de porco a alentejana (marinated pork and fried with clams), a real marvel…
Now let’s drive to our final stop Faro at the extreme south of the country, take the IP2 and A2. Allow 2 and ½ hours for the journey.
Welcome to Faro a small city of about 50,000 souls rooted in history. Inhabited since Palaeolithic times, the first official settlement was founded by Phoenicians and was known as Ossonoba, between the 2nd and the 8th century; the city was subsequently inhabited by the Romans, the Visigoths and the Moors following the conquest of the seizing of the city by D. Alonso III in 1249. The town became prosperous thanks to its salt and goods exports driven by the presence of its secured port. In 1596, the city was sacked by English privateers however it raised from its ashes in the 17th and 18th century.
When in Faro don’t miss:
- The Palacio de Estoi
- The Cathedral
- The Old Town
- The Marina
Don’t forget to have a seafood cataplana or a caldeirada de peixe at the 2 Irmaos restaurant.
We are leaving you here and wish you a good holiday.