Portugal is a beautiful county from top to bottom, with some of the most beautiful scenery and friendliest people I've come across on my travels. I visited Porto, Evora, Lisbon, and Luz in the Algarve with my family, and can't wait to return to explore even more.
Before heading to Portugal I did a little bit of research into the gluten free scene in the country. From all accounts Portugal was painted as a country that is not very aware of what gluten free really means, and that there are few options available for the gluten free traveler. I found it hard to pinpoint stores or restaurants offering safe options, and even read about places that claimed to offer gluten free options, but then the food came out served on top of bread or something similar.
It was with both excitement and a bit of sadness that we returned to Porto to end our trip. I have to admit that while I really loved every place we visited in Portugal, Porto is the city that really stole my heart. It's small enough to really explore most of it on foot, the Douro is mesmerizing, and Villa Nova da Gaia is right across the bridge where the port cellars are located. What more could a girl want from a city?
Lisbon is a city of such contrasts that although we spent a week there in two completely different neighbourhoods, I still feel like I missed so much of it! It's a city of contrasts between old and new, modern and traditional, touristy and chic. There are small shops and large malls, wide avenues and narrow lanes, steep climbs and sweeping vistas. It's impossible to take it all in over the course of a week.
After leaving Evora, we took the train to the Algarve for a 5 day rest. We booked a vacation apartment in Praia da Luz, close to the larger resort town of Lagos. My husband and I have a hard time taking vacations that are meant solely for the purpose of relaxing, but we managed to budget in a few days during our three weeks in Portugal to do little besides spend time at the pool and the beach with the kids.
We arrived in Evora, a small city in the Alentejo region of Portugal, in the early evening. Evora's train station is located outside of the historical walled portion of the city, but boasts some really pretty azulejo murals. We took a cab to our hotel, and the sun was just setting as we got our first glimpse of what is left of an ancient Roman temple. Unfortunately the kids were hungry and tired, so sightseeing would have to wait until the next morning.
I'm writing about our first experience in Porto, Portugal, while on the train to Evora. It's not the first time I've been on a train with wifi service, but it's the first time it's actually been fast enough to use to get some work done!
We took an EasyJet flight into Porto from Paris, and the flight went really smoothly. Despite the traffic getting into the airport being insane (it took 1 1/2 hours instead of the usual 30-40 minutes), the check-in and security went really quickly.
That's right! This August my family and I are making like the Europeans and heading on vacation! We'll be spending three weeks in sunny Portugal, and I will of course be writing about it along the way!
Since this family never met a road trip it didn't like, we are not simply visiting Lisbon or soaking up the sun in the Algarve. Nope, we have an epic (well, as epic as three weeks can be) journey planned, with stops in both expected and maybe not so expected places.