Word on the street is that Portugal is “the” place to be at the moment! From beautiful beaches and turquoise lagoons, to mountain tops and vineyards surrounded by orchards, plus some of the hippest cities to be seen in right now, Portugal really does have it all. For those after a semi-adventurous honeymoon with all the luxuries of a traditional honeymoon then why not try Portugal for a road tripping good old moon?!
Where we stayed: Pensão Agrícola – a hip, laid back, farmhouse retreat with luxury rustic charm and welcoming staff
What we did: The Algarve is perfect for chilling out as well as being more adventurous. We stayed towards the east and enjoyed sight seeing in Tavira, exploring little villages and coastline on bikes and lazing on the dunes and islands of the Ilha de Tavira. For adrenaline junkies, nearby Lagos in the west has beautiful sea caves to explore and waterspouts (and nightlife!) aplenty.
Where we stayed: Brown’s Central Hotel – super central, trendy boutique hotel with small yet well equipped rooms
Where we ate: The BEST tacos we have ever tried at Pistola y Corazon (get there at opening time to nab a spot for dinner); super delicious vegan grub at Ao 26; tasting a world of food and sipping on local wines at the Time Out Market (where in our humble opinion the best pastéis de nata are to be found).
What we did: Lisbon is perfect for exploring on foot – getting lost in the pastel coloured back streets of Alfama, flexing those calf muscles on the uphill climbs, hunting for street art and soaking it all in. Don’t forget to hop on one of the cities beautiful old trams (especially to get up some of the hills! Number 28 is world famous but gets VERY busy so get there early). We loved the hipster LX Factory for quirky one off shops and eateries. For those wanting to see some touristy sights the views around the castle are spectacular and a trip up the Elevator de Santa Justa is a fun way to see the city. One of our favourite spots was Park – a rooftop bar situated at the very top of a multi-storey car park. Perfect for watching the sun set and enjoying a cocktail or two. P.S. Driving in over the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge is also super fun!
The Wine Region
Where we stayed: Vidago Palace – a restored gem of a building (reminded us of the Grand Budapest Hotel!) with fantastic facilities (the spa! the golf course! the restaurants! that staircase!) Although very grand, we found the staff to be so welcoming and the whole experience not pretentious at all.
Where we ate: Being in a small town we mostly ate at the hotel where there was a range of options from fine dining in the ballroom, casual and cosy in the bar and poolside treats for during the day.
What we did: with such a fantastic hotel to stay in we admittedly did spend most of our time there! We enjoyed an intimate wine tasting for two with the hotels very own sommelier, the spa facilities are fantastic and the outdoor pool is perfect for a lazy day. We also enjoyed a hike around the town and into the hills as well as a trip out to local Chaves – a picturesque spa town where you can take the local waters. One of our highlights was on the drive to Porto where we stopped for some wild swimming in the the plunge pools of the Fisgas de Ermelo waterfalls – magical.
Where we stayed: 1872 River House – a tiny boutique hotel located right on the river front. Fantastic friendly service and brilliant breakfasts, all with uniquely individual rooms.
Where we ate: Cantina 32 our favourite meal from our short time in Porto which we accidentally stumbled upon. When our hotel hosts found out where we ate the couldn’t believe it as it is so tricky to get a table! Head there early when evening service starts to bag a spot and enjoy delicious Portuguese cuisine and hip surroundings.
What we did: Wandering Porto is an activity all in itself. Taking in the sights, sounds and people. The river is wonderful to stroll along and watch daring locals dive in from the grand Ponte de Dom Luis I bridge. The port houses are also definitely worth popping into – we loved the secluded garden at Taylor’s.
I really can’t stress what a brilliant time we had in Portugal and for those seeking an alternative to two weeks on the beach a road trip is certainly a honeymoon to look back on with amazing memories! Have you got any Portuguese recommendations? Let us know in the comment below!
Note: Photos in this post are our own. This post is not sponsored. The opinions are all our own – we just love these hotels, spaces and places and want to share the Portugal love – it got us bad.