The Ponte de Dom Luis (The Dom Luis I Bridge) is a double-decker metal arch bridge that connects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia across the Douro River. The Dom Luis I Bridge is the iconic image of Porto and was the longest bridge of its type when it was built in 1886. The bridge has two levels – the top level is for the Porto Metro trains and pedestrians (watch your step as the train and pedestrian walkway are very close to each other!
The bottom level is for auto traffic and pedestrians as well. Many people like to take the Teleférico de Gaia tram to get to the top level of the bridge, which provides one with a great view of the Douro River and the Porto waterfront. Make sure to walk across the bridge to Porto for amazing photo opportunities! Once across in the Ribeira area in Porto, consider taking the Funicular dos Guindais, out to the Batalha district to continue exploring Porto and its surrounding areas.
MOSTEIRO DOS JERONIMOS, LISBON
CITANIA DE BRITEIROS
Nazaré is only 80 miles north of Lisbon, heavily influenced by its roots as a fishing village, but firmly a beach town and the world capital for massive surfing waves. Known for its beaches, stone buildings, orange roofs, and great views. The main beach is Nazaré is the Praia da Nazaré and has been voted one of the best beaches in Portugal. Praia da Nazaré is a crescent-shaped beach with golden sand that is largely protected from the Atlantic winds. Nearby lies the Nazaré underwater canyon which is the largest in Europe and creates the huge waves where surfers regularly break records. The North Beach or Praia do Norte lies just to the north but feels like a completely different place because of the strong winds that make sunbathing and other beach activities more difficult. The O Sitio portion of Nazaré is on top of the cliff – a steep walk or a fun ride on the funicular – take your choice! O Sitio provides one with great views and is a little less hectic than beachside during the summer months and more affordable lodging and dining. Check out the city square and nearby areas for hand-made souvenirs.
Sintra is a beautiful town in the hills of the Serra de Sintra in the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais one of Portugal’s most popular national parks. You will feel like you have stepped back in time to a fairytale town ruled at different times by the Celts, Romans, Moors and the royal family of Portugal in the 19th century. Sintra is an easy day trip from Lisbon and can provide a welcome respite in the summer months with its cooler mountain climate. The area around Sintra is known for hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Above all, make sure you visit some of the amazing castles such as the Quinta da Regaleira, the Pena Palace, recently named one of Portugal’s “Seven Wonders” and the Castelo dos Mouro occupied in turn by the Romans, the Moors and the Portuguese after the Reconquista.
Óbidos will make you feel like you are experiencing an episode of the Game of Thrones! The historic part of Óbidos truly feels like it belongs on a movie set and no cars are allowed on the streets within the main walls of the medieval castle. This town was the home of Portugal’s queens starting in the 1200s and many historical buildings, statues and monuments were built by one of the different queens. The Óbidos Castle was originally built by the Moors in the 700s and then further improved and fortified starting in the 1200s by the various queens that have lived there. Óbidos is full of artisan shops, museums, and history and makes a great day trip from Lisbon via train or rental car. Don’t forget to visit the Praça de Santa Maria, the city square and take in the living history. Beneath the fountain in the square is the town’s aqueduct. In the 1570s, the Aqueduto de Óbidos was built by Catherine of Austria and served Óbidos for more than 200 years. The most impressive stretch is just at the southern entrance to Óbidos.