Portugal was a country I had always overlooked when thinking of holidays but when I decided to research I couldn’t believe I’d never been. Tom and I booked an amazing villa and started planning our trip. This was a particularly exciting trip as we’d never decided to go to a country and travel around so much. It was also the first time I was going to drive in another country other than the UK, so I was excited and slightly nervous to try driving on the other side of the road.
We picked a nice apartment which was just outside the adorable town of Obidos. Situated along the west coast in the middle of Portugal, we wanted this to be our base so we could travel up north and down south. Obidos itself was a picturesque town which is inside a medieval castle and its grounds.
Our villa was about 10 minutes drive away from the town and had its own beautiful gardens and beach. Such a great base for the next 2 weeks. The grounds them self were very quiet, as we were about to discover we basically had our own private swimming pool for the duration of the trip. It almost seemed deserted as we were expecting the poolside to be busy with other guest but as it turned out we never had to panic over getting a sun lounger!
After a good nights rest we woke up and decided to find the local food shop to stock up. Later that morning we visited our beach, it was beautiful and very peaceful. Because it was private it wasn’t overcrowded and felt very secure, which meant both Tom and I could venture off together. As its the west coast it is quite windy which worked to our advantage as it was very hot. The ocean however was not hot, it’s the North Atlantic Ocean so be warned! Very handy to paddle in to cool down but I wasn’t brave enough to go swimming.
After a relaxing and rather lazy day, we decided to venture into Obidos the following day. It was lovely wondering around the quaint streets inside the fort and discovering all the local shops. There was a rather nice chocolate shop I enjoyed.
We strolled across a charming courtyard where we stopped to have a light bite and a drink. It had a very relaxing and chilled out vibe which we enjoyed. Once we had quenched our thirst we wondered up to the top of the fort to take a look at the views.
The following day we went on our way to Sintra which was about an hours drive away from our apartment. Sintra itself is a picturesque town surrounded by greenery. We parked up and started to stroll around until we came across Quinta da Regaleira, a world heritage site. This is a must see if you visit Sintra! It was beautiful – so quiet and relaxing, we walked around for hours discovering the underground caves and enjoying the pretty gardens.
After travelling quite a bit we chilled the next day by the pool and planned our visit to Lisbon. I was extremely excited to be visiting Lisbon, I had been hearing such great things about it. Friday morning we set off early to get a full day in the capital. We arrived and somehow miraculously ended up parking in the centre of Lisbon – this was a total fluke and we were so lucky! You may have noticed already, but one of my favourite things is just arriving somewhere and setting off to explore it, so that’s exactly what we did.
Our top recommendations if you are visiting Lisbon for a short time – take a trip on a tram, see Praça do Comércio, Parque Eduardo VII, 25 de Abril Bridge, Jardim Botânico (lovely landscaped botanical garden) and make sure you eat at Pharmacia Restaurant – it serves small tapas style dishes and has amazing views of 25 de Abril Bridge from it’s lovely terrace. It is situated in an old pharmacy and has a wonderful quirky interior.
The following day we decided to stay closer to our temporary home and visit an oriental garden – Buddha Eden in Quinta dos Loridos. Filled with Buddhas, pagodas, terracotta statues and various carefully-placed sculptures alongside its lakes, this was such a tranquil place.
After a relaxing couple of days by the pool and beach we had planned our final trip to Porto. This was the longest trip out of all of them, around 2 and a half hours away from the apartment. Porto has a very different feel to it than Lisbon or anywhere else we had visited so far. We enjoyed wondering around the hillside gardens and looking down to the beautiful riverside below. Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without lunch by the river and a walk over one of the breathtaking bridges.