|PIN me to travel later|
There are many wonderful options and places to see in Portugal. We decided to focus on the North. If you want crowds, beach and scorching hot sun, head to the south. If, like us, you'd rather see more culture while still enjoying the sunshine, then this is the right place for you.
Here is our 12-day Portuguese itinerary. For each of our stops, I listed some of our very favourite places to see, do or eat.
Days 1-3: Porto
|The riverside - Porto|
Eat: Just a couple of blocks away from our rental was a small traditional family restaurant called Restaurante Madureira. If you are after hearty family food (not tourist stuff), this is perfect. Portions are big (as is custom in Portugal) and you can even take-away. Not sure what to order, check this out for some family-friendly suggestions.
See/Do: Just strolling through the old city centre, the riverside is enough to keep you busy for a day or two. We loved spotting all of the different houses with beautiful tiles (azulejos). The Lello bookstore is wonderful, if a little too crowded. Highlights for the children was the old street cars and the little funicular that goes (up or) down to the river.
Sleep: I highly recommend our AirBnB rental. Situated in a quiet little street, where you can park a car, it is simple, clean and within walking distance to the centre. A perfect base for our stay. We didn't even need to take out the car.
Day 4: Tomar & Almourol
See/Do: On our way down from Porto to Lisbon, we stopped over at Tomar for the day. A medieval city, the last templar city, the 12th Century castle ruins and convent are wonderful for the whole family. Our kids loved running up and down the corridors and asking questions about the history. A little further down, we also stopped at Almourol: another castle in the middle of the river Tagus.
You can read more here about Tomar.
Days 4-9: Lisbon
We spent a lot more time in Lisbon because we have family there and there is lots to see and do. But you can adjust that if you prefer more beach time.
|Food at the market|
Eat: Lisbon is refurbishing a few of its old markets and turning them into trendy food outlets (street food indoors). The famous Mercado da Ribeira (Time Out market) is great but a little on the expensive side and full of tourists. If you want a more authentic one, go to the Mercado de Alges. More locals than tourists and delicious food. We also love going to Portugalia. it is a chain of restaurants but very family friendly, good food and lovely service. Our favourite one is the one next to the monument of the discoveries in Belem facing the waterfront.
|Pasteis de Belem|
See/Do:Where to start? I would go for our favourite place to hang out. The thing we do almost every time we go to Lisbon. We buy a little custard pastry, of course, in the original Pasteis de Belem and wander around the area: monastery, tower of Belem and monument of the Discoveries.
We also love Sintra. if you are looking for a little escape from the city, Sintra and its castles are enchanting and magical. And there are great cakes too in Piriquita.
Monument to the Discoveries - Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Sleep: Our AirBnB flat was most certainly one of the best rentals we have ever stayed. The flat was fully equipped for our kids' needs. Parking is often a problem in central Lisbon, but if you stay along some of the big avenues, it is much easier and you can then use public transport. The family who rents it is also a multicultural family, just like us, so we loved the selection of books too!
Days 10-12: Sesimbra
After visiting two large cities, we wanted a little bit of fresh air and relaxation. A very short drive out of Lisbon is Sesimbra. A perfect family weekend/holiday resort. Quaint little streets and majestic views of the ocean from high up on the hills.
See/Do: Our highlight is the secluded little hamlet of Portinho da Arrabida (in the Natural Park of Arrabida). A tiny beach and a couple of restaurants make the perfect location for rock pool fun and some fresh seafood. One of my favourite places on earth.
|Portinho da Arrabida|
You can find more images from our trip here.
There are many other options and many other beautiful places to see and visit between Porto and Lisbon. We love Coimbra, in particular, the oldest university town in Portugal.
We'd love to hear your recommendations also.
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