15-day trip to Portugal
An itinerary that included a visit to Lisbon (Alfama, Baixa, Bairro Alto, Estrela, Belem, Sé Cathedral, Elevador de Santa Justa, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Belém Tower, Castelo de Sao Jorge, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Sao Vicente de Fora, Miradouro da Graça, Santa Cruz, Elevador de Santa Justa, Rossio Railway Station, Casa do Alentejo, Praça dos Restauradores, Sao Roche, Igreja do Carmo, Chiado, Padrao dos Descobrimentos) and Queluz, Sintra, Estoril, Cascais, Cabo da Roca, Palacio da Pena, Mafra, Obidos, Nazare, Alcobaca, Batalha, Fatima, Tomar, Coimbra, Porto (Oporto), Braga, Escadaria de Bom Jesus do Monte, Guimarães, Vila Real, Solar de Mateus, Lamego, Viseu, Guarda, Monsanto, Portalegre, Alentejo, Elvas, Estremoz, Evora, Beja, Serpa, Mertola, Serra de Mertola and the Algarve with Vila Real, Tavira, Olhao, Faro, Parque National da Ria Formosa, Ilha da Barreta, Albufeira, Lagos, Armaçao de Pera, Ferragudo, Portimào, Sagres, Cabo Sao Vicente, Inguina, Zavial, Salema, Burgan, Luz, Porto da Mos.
Lisbon: districts of Estrela, Rossio, Alfama, Bairro Alto, Baixa and Monument to Discoveries and typical trams
Lisbon is very attractive with beautiful monuments such as the entrance of the Rossio Railway Station and its characteristic districts (Estrela, Rossio, Alfama, Bairro Alto, Baixa) .
The city is crossed by coloured trams (it is famous the “Number 28”) which follow the wavy routes of the roads.
Lisbon: Belem Tower on Tagus river and Monastery Dos Jeronimos in Manueline style
The Belém Tower, a wonderful monument in Manueline style on the bank of the Tagus river, was built to be the starting point, and so it became the symbol, of the navigators who sailed to the discovery of faraway lands.
Nearby there is another monument of 1500, still in Manueline style: the Dos Jeronimos Monastery which is characterized by beautiful interiors and a very nice portal and cloister.
Surroundings of Lisbon: Estoril, Cascais, Cabo de Roca, Queluz Royal Palace; Sintra with the National Palace, Castle dos Mouros and Pena Palace
Finally, the “Castelo dos Mouros” (Castle of the Moors): the remains of a Moorish castle ramparts from which we could enjoy beautiful views of Sintra and Lisbon.
On the top of one hill of the Serra, above Sintra, we visited the Pena National Palace, a strange and colourful summer Royal Residence, dating back to the late 1800s.
From Mafra to Alcobaca: Mafra Royal Palace, Obidos, Monastery of Santa Maria in Alcobaca with Cloister of Silence
After visiting the monumental Mafra Royal Palace, we went to Obidos which is a charming town surrounded by well-preserved walls and is dominated by a castle from where you have a beautiful view of the white houses of the village.
The church of Santa Maria is amazing.
The Monastery of Santa Maria in Alcobaca has the largest church in Portugal.
We visited the church, the tombs of Pedro and Ines de Castro, the Cistercian monastery and the cloister known as the Cloister of Silence.
Batalha: Dominican abbey of Santa Maria de Vitoria
The Dominican abbey of Santa Maria de Vitoria (Monastery of Saint Mary of the Victory) in Batalha, considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, contains a Royal Cloister characterized by arches and finely crafted Manueline decorations.
The decorations of the Unfinished Chapels are very beautiful.
Fatima and Tomar: place of apparitions and chapel, Tomar with Convent of Christ and chapel of the Templars (Charola)
Fatima welcomed us with its huge square where the faithful gather in prayer in the anniversary days of the Virgin’s apparitions. On the same square, where the apparitions took place, there is the homonymous chapel (Chapel of Apparitions).
Another monument in Manueline style is the Convent of Christ in Tomar.
It was founded in 1162 by the Master of the Knights Templar in order to celebrate the knight monks.
It is very beautiful the chapel of the Templars, called Charola, the cloister and, in particular, the huge Manueline window.
Coimbra: university city, Iron Gate, Joanina library, Chapel of Sao Miguel and Sala Grande dos Actos
The seat of the University is in the Royal Palace, in the upper part of the city; it is possible to enter through the Iron Gate. The Joanina Library, the Chapel of Sao Miguel (Saint Michael’s Chapel), the “Sala Grande dos Actos” (Ceremonial Hall) are very beautiful.
Porto (Oporto): Cathedral, Ribeira district, Sao Bento train station, Stock Exchange Palace and Clergymen’s tower
The city of Porto (Oporto in Portuguese) is the second-largest city in Portugal. It has characteristic quarters as the one of the Cathedral, which dominates the upper city, and the Ribeira district, on the bank of the Douro River.
Many churches and many monuments are decorated with large panels of azulejos (blue tiles) (as in the Cathedral and in the Sao Bento Railway Station).
It is remarkable the beauty of the “Palácio da Bolsa” (Stock Exchange Palace) and the “Torre dos Clérigos” (Clergymen’s tower).
Braga: Sanctuary Bom Jesus do Monte, Guimares medioeval quarter, Monastery of Santa Signora da Oliveira and Castle of Sao Miguel
In its surroundings, we visited the famous Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte; the sanctuary can be reached through a long and spectacular stairway along which there are many chapels. Into the chapels, there are life-size terra cotta sculptures, as well as fountains and symbolic decorations.
Guimarães has a small but beautiful medieval quarter.
On the square, there are the Monastery of Santa Signora de Oliveira, beautiful houses and spectacular religious niches.
In the outskirts, there is the Castle of Sao Miguel with the homonymous Romanesque church.
from Douro to Alentejo: Solar de Mateus, Elvas, Forte de Santa Luzia, Forte de Graca, Estremoz and Evora
On the green and nice hills of the Douro region, in the midst of extensive vineyards, we visited the beautiful Solar de Mateus (the Mateus Palace is represented on the labels of the homonymous wine), with a large swimming pool in front of it, characterized by very original gardens (in particular the tunnel formed by cedars).
We entered the Alentejo region with rural landscapes enriched by nice sight of large areas of wheat fields, with olive trees alternating with cork oaks.
We visited three small towns: Elvas, Estremoz and Evora.
The ancient Elvas, with the usual white houses, is situated on top of a hill surrounded by its fortifications.
Two other Fortresses stand on the tops of two nearby hills: Forte de Santa Luzia and Forte de Graca.
It is spectacular the aqueduct of 1600 built outside the walls.
Estremoz and Evora: Torre das Tres Coroas, Capela da Rainha Santa and Convento Dos Loios now Posada
We arrived in Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a town of Roman origin and, in fact, its most significant monument is a Roman temple of the third century A.D.
It is important the Lóios Convent which now is a Posada (hotel) where guests sleep in cells and dine in the cloisters.
Le Algarve: Albufeira, Ferragudo, Portimao, Sagres, Cabo Sao Vicente, Laguna di Faro and Parque National da Ria Formosa
There are some places untouched by the building speculation as Sagres and Cabo Sao Vicente (plus the lagoon of Lighthouse with the Parque National da Ria Formosa and Ilha da Barreta (Barreta Island) ).
Portugal: places visited during the trip