McCann Travels: 10 Days in Portugal with Katie Henry, Integrated Producer
If Portugal is not on your list of places to travel in the world, I highly recommend you add it immediately. This past April, I was extremely fortunate to visit this gorgeous country to watch my good friend get married in what felt like a fairytale wedding. Since I’ve returned, I feel bad for my friends because I honestly can’t stop talking/thinking about this beautiful country.
Our plan for the 10 days were to spend time in three different cities. We started off a few days in Lisbon, moved our way west to Sintra for the wedding then ended our time up north in Porto. Lisbon was a city I couldn’t get enough of and craved more after we left. Sintra was a mystical town with even narrower streets and amazing castles and Porto gave us the home of Port wine, grilled cheese sandwiches on steroids and a bookstore that is in some relation to a little book known as Harry Potter.
The people were great, the food is amazing, the streets are a photographer’s dream and the wine, sweet baby Jesus, the wine is good.
I’m not one for long blog posts so I’ll leave you with some recommendations for when you visit and some photos as well.
- Time Out Market Lisboa - This place is amazing, fish, meat and booze options for days. It’s a huge warehouse full of all the amazing restaurants around the city. It’s like a big-ass Eataly, which was doper than I thought it was going be. Get on line for A Cevicheria (no reservations).
- Park Bar - super scene-y but gorgeous views. Great for sunsets! It's a little hard to find and it is randomly on the top floor of the parking garage.
- Pasteis de Belem - you have to go here just to get a desert called Pasteis de Nada- they are famous for it. You’ll find this desert everywhere, however this is the birthplace of those amazing pastries and they are deliciously crispy. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Don’t just order one either, you’re going to want more than one, I promise.
- Belem Tower - This is a very game of thrones tower that lies on the coast and is pretty dope.
- Padrao dos Descobrimentos - This is just a statue near the Belem Tower on the water. It’s a pretty dope statue to see and take pics but that’s about it.
- Sao Jorge Castle- up on the hill, gorgeous views, you have pay to get in but it’s worth it. Walk around and look at the ruins.
- Lisbon Cathedral- it’s on the hill up to the Sao Jorge Castle so you should stop in and take a look inside.
- If you are going to eat one thing while in Porto, please eat aFrancesinha. It’s an insane "sandwich" born in Porto. It's basically a grilled cheese with steak and sausage drowning in tomato beer sauce with a side of a heart attack. The best recommendation for this is at Bufete Fase.
- Port Wineries are a must - That’s the side of Porto that has all the Port wineries. They open late, close early and close for a few hours in the middle of the day, so find out their schedules and then go back to hop from winery to winery.
- There’s a small beach/fishing town at South part of Porto that is cute to stop by but super tiny so there really isn’t much happening, just pure beauty.
- Sao Bento Railway Station- yes, it’s just a train station but it has the traditional blue tiles around and it’s pretty cool to take a few pics of.
- Dom Luis Bridge- you can walk on the top portion of this bridge from one side of town to the other side of town. Do this at sunset, it’s incredibly gorgeous to be smack in middle of bridge over the river watching sunset.
- Pena Palace - If you have a full day and car or driver that can get you here…Go. It’s a gorgeous palace with vibrant colors on the top of a mountain with huge gardens. There is a lot of history inside and filled with interesting rooms to walk around and offersgorgeous views.
- Take at least 1 or 2 subway rides from place A to place B so you use the super new subway system and discover how beautiful and clean it’s down underground.
- Take the old school yellow trolley ‘buses’/’trains' above ground that run on the metal tracks on the street, just for the experience.
- Eat as much of the traditional food everywhere as you can. Indulge in the seafood/ fresh fish.
- Drink cerveijas (bottled beer) or imperial (draft beer) at cafes and ask if they have tramossos to eat while drinking your beer (tramossos are salted lima beans, come with skin and you only eat the inside, not the skin, goes super well with the beer).
- There are also incredible beaches you should go to. Unfortunately, it was too cold when I went but I have heard great things.