Evora, 2 Hours From Lisbon, Portugal

Évora, Portugal, with a population of almost 50,000 people, sits on the banks of the Tagus River in southern Portugal, only about 87 miles (140 km) from Lisbon. It's a drive of less than two hours between the two cities. Évora, with a continuous history of over two thousand years, has been the property of the Celts, the ancient Romans, the Visigoths and the Moors. In the 12th century, King Alfonso I of Portugal took control of the city.

The architectural styles used for buildings over the many centuries, from Romansque to Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque are all evident in the narrow streets, the large squares and the picturesque palaces and churches. The historical city center has over 4,000 buildings in an area only a half square-mile in area. Évora is part of the Most Ancient European Towns Network and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

'TEMPLE OF DIANA', EVORA, PORTUGAL The first place to explore in Évora is the Praça do Geraldo or Giraldo Square. It contains both the Estaus Palace built by King Duarte in the 14th century and the Font Henrique, a Rennaissance-style fountain built in 1570. You'll also find a unique Roman temple which survived only because it was encased within another structure built in the early Middle Ages. Constructed in Corinthian style from local marble between the first and third century, much of the structure still exists, with fourteen surviving columns each of which stand over 25 feet (7.6 meters) tall.

The next historical site is the most famous landmark in the city and stretches out for over nine kilometers. It's the Água de Prata Aqueduct or the Aqueduct of Silver Water, built to supply the inhabitants of the city with water in the middle of the 16th century by King João III. Numerous cafes and shops stand under the arches of the entire length of the aqueduct.

Restaurants are the other attraction of Évora, many of which serve the traditional Alentejo cuisine. Two of the best examples are the Restaurante O Fialho and the Dom Joaquim. Alentejo food is based on the local rural meals of the region, such as roast lamb or seafood soup made with water and olive oil, seasoned with coriander and garlic and enhanced with such items as cod, egg or clams. If you'd rather not indulge in a full dinner, there are many cafes, snack bars and bakeries scattered throughout the city.



Travel Back Into History in Santarem, Portugal

If you're planning a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, be sure to allow time for a day trip to Santarem. This 3,000-year-old city is about an hour away from Lisbon and is reached via a scenic 65-kilometer-ride on the A1 partial toll road.

Santarem is surrounded by open grasslands and countryside, where you'll see bulls and horses grazing freely. The city, which is known as the bullfighting capital of Portugal, hosts an agricultural fair in June, where visitors can watch bull-fighting and horse races. In the spring and fall, the streets of nearby Vila Franca de Xira are crowded by visitors for the Pamplona-style running of the bulls.

Almourol Castle on the Tagus River Outside, Santeram, PortugalBegin your exploration of Santarem with a stop at its center, where a number of Gothic and Romanesque churches cluster on the winding streets. The archaeological museum located inside the Church of São João de Alporão, which was built in the 12th century, houses a collection of ancient carvings and the tomb of a 15th- century nobleman. While you're there, you'll get a feel for the layers of history to be uncovered in this city.

Over the centuries, this city was home to Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Moors, and a dizzying array of architectural designs and monuments remain as a testament to their tenure here. Visit the Porta do Sol, where ancient castle ruins and lush gardens offer panoramic views of the city and nearby Tagus River.

If you have time, arrange for a guided walking tour. Whether you're interested in the religious architecture or the historical monuments to be found throughout the city, there's a tour service that will make sure you get to see the best this city has to offer.

Take a break for lunch at the famous restaurant, Adega do Bacalhau. Try their traditional seafood and meat dishes while resting up for the afternoon's exploration.

After lunch, go hunting for the marvelous and miraculous in the Santissimo Milagre Church, a Renaissance structure, which houses a small crystal flask reputed to hold the blood of Christ, and travel to nearby Fatima, a famous Catholic shrine and site of miracles.

Tour the Torre das Cabaças, where you'll discover the Museum of Time. This square, 26-meter-high tower was a defensive installation built on the city's surrounding walls in the 15th century.

When you're ready to leave, stop at the retail center, which is just out of town, for some coffee and snacks for the trip back to Lisbon. You'll also enjoy stopping at some of the small villages and towns, such as Alpiarca, that dot the countryside on the way.


Sines, A Pleasant Day Trip From Lisbon Portugal

Whether you are just visiting Lisbon or a current resident, a day trip to Sines offers a pleasant change of pace. By car, you can expect to arrive in less than 2 hours, if the 163 kilometre trip takes place during the off season. During the summer, expect more traffic as over 240,000 people make their way to the Sines World Music Festival. Though it is the city's largest tourist attraction, any time of year is good for seeing the historic architecture of Sines and the nearby village of Porto Covo. Visitors will find several restaurants to choose from for refreshment and a museum to learn more of the tribal and royal history of the area.


Castle, Sines, PortugalThe Sines World Music Festival is a multi-stage event that draws a wide array of artists. It provides an apt venue for world music artists, as Sines is the birthplace of Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, who is memorialized by a statue in front of the central castle. Three outdoor stages, with combined seating capacity in the tens of thousands, serve as stages along with the Sines' Art Centre. The outdoor stages can be found at the castle, on the beach near de Gama's statue, and in Porto Covo, which is located about 13 km to the south. Performances include jazz groups, rock bands, and many other styles.

Besides the arts and cultural centres, glimpses of the past can be seen in a visit to some of the city's historic buildings. The Sines castle is the most well-known example, but there is also the 17th century Fort of Revelim built as protection from Turkish pirates. Two forts from the same time period can be found in Pessegueiro, 30 minutes further south. This is a good choice for visitors to Porto Covo, which is located en route. Other attractions include the Pidwell Palace, Windmill of Monte Chãos, the town's lighthouse, and the wine cellar of Sines.

A trip to Since should definitely leave time for enjoying the local fare. The Varando Do Oceano offers traditional food with good value and the simple atmosphere befitting small town life. The Adega de Sines offers the same on a narrow and colourful street just north-east of the castle. With several other restaurants to choose from and more attractions waiting to be found, Sines makes for a great day trip from Lisbon.



Traveling To Beja From Lisbon, Portugal

Church in Beja, PortugalMany of the international travelers who visit Portugal head first to the well known city of Lisbon. This is where many tourists arrive by both plane and train to begin their journey in the wonderful country. It also serves as the ideal starting point for day trips around the area. Once settled into your Lisbon apartments, one of the most popular destinations for a quick trip from Lisbon is Beja. Beja is a beautiful town with a rich history and breathtaking scenery. Let this serve as your guide for getting to Beja and enjoying all that the area has to offer.

Getting to Beja: This beautiful town has plenty of transportation options, including buses and trains. The Beja Train Station generally has at least one high speed train heading to and from Lisbon each day, taking just under 2 hours each way. The train ride is relaxing and involves a handful of stops in the countryside. Enjoy refreshing drinks and tasty meals while onboard. By car, drivers can stay on the A2 highway for the entire way and arrive in 2 hours from Lisbon, making it the perfect day trip.

Historical Landmarks in Beja: This Portuguese city is believed to be one of the most historical destinations in the entire country. Full of Roman ruins, visitors can easily pass the time by strolling through the fascinating buildings and castles throughout the area. The top landmarks worth a visit include the famed Roman Arch of Beja, the Moorish Castle, the Queen Leonor Museum and the 12th century Saint Andre Church.

Attractions in Beja: The popular Arms Square is considered to be the cultural center of Beja. During certain times of the year, popular bullfights are held there. Surrounding shops cater to locals and visitors alike, and the area is the perfect place to get a glimpse of everyday life in Portugal. Other major attractions include the Casa da Cultura and the large Botanical Gardens and Museum.

Roman ruins near Beja, PortugalDining in Beja: As you might expect from a traditional Portuguese town, the food is hearty and authentic in most of the area restaurants. One of the most popular dining establishments in Beja is Entra Arcos, which features small plates similar to Spanish tapas. Also wonderful is Arbitro, which serves a typical dish from the area, Sopa de Cação. This dogfish soup is made from regional ingredients and is the pride of the area of Beja. Staff are attentive and friendly to guests as well.

When staying in one of the many hotes or apartments in Lisbon, travelers will have many choices for day trips outside of the city. Think about traveling to Beja on your next stay in Lisbon, Portugal


Your Portimao Day Trip From Lisbon

Just two hours south of Lisbon, you’ll find Portimao’s golden sand and turquoise seas that have lured centuries of mariners. Greeks, Phoenicians and Carthaginians were early traders to this port city that flourished under the Moors. The natural harbor has been home to pirates, fisherman, smugglers and tourists. Located on the southern coast of Portugal, Portimao is a city with a rich heritage, natural beauty and cosmopolitan flare that makes an excellent day trip from the capital of Lisbon.

Beach of Praia da Rocha, Portimao', PortugalEven though Portimao is only 2 hours from Lisbon, you might want to head out early from your Lisbon apartments to be able to take in a full day of exploring. Not a early riser, or would like to take a more leisurely trip to Portimao, plan on spending the night.

Portimao’s climate makes it a popular venue for water sports enthusiasts. Here you can spend the day on some of the best beaches in Portugal. You can swim, windsurf, scuba dive or watch modern day gladiators compete in off-shore powerboat races. As a main center for sport fisherman, Portimao’s charter boats offer the chance to catch swordfish, marlin, shark and other big game fish. The mix of coves, caves, cliffs, climate and Atlantic Ocean waters makes Portimao an excellent choice for those who want to spend a day on the water.

For those looking to experience more of Portugal’s history and culture, one of Portimao’s old canning factories has been transformed into the Municipal Museum. Here, you can see regular exhibits that display the art, history and culture of Portugal and the Algarve region. The aesthetically-pleasing footbridge from Faro is considered one of the most secure bridges built in the 19th century.

Visit the city’s 14th century church or travel to nearby Abicada to view a Roman archaeological site dating from the 1st century. You’ll see the ruins of an ancient villa and the beautiful rooms decorated with colorful mosaics, geometric patterns and other stylized designs. At nearby Alcalar, you can see well-preserved Neolithic and Chalcolithic burial grounds. The grave designs range from large stone monument chambers to burial vaults crowned with domes framed by side rooms.

For those looking to spend a day shopping ‘til they drop, there’s an eclectic mix of boutiques and vendors with locally-crafted pottery, jewelry and embroidered linens. After you dust off the sand and pack your treasures, dine in one of the city’s famous fresh fish restaurants such as the As Aves Restaurant or the NoSoLoAqua. Those on the go can just enjoy a quick meal of grilled sardines, the region’s local specialty, from a street vendor.

You can spend a day relaxing on the beach enjoying the natural beauty of the Arade River. Take the time to walk the pine-covered hills and view the luxurious wildflowers, alluring cultivated fields and panoramic vistas of the city below. You can spend the day playing a round of golf or taking a boat ride to watch the dolphins. Portimao’s local charm, exciting water sports and year-round good weather are just sure to make the 175 mile trip from your apartments in Lisbon worthwhile.


Sintra, A Nice Day Trip From Lisbon, Portugal

Travelers looking for a day trip from Lisbon do not need to look any further than, Sintra, Portugal.
Located in the Sintra Municipality and Lisbon region of Portugal, Sintra is about 20 km (14 miles) from Lisbon. Trains to Sintra leave from Lisbon’s Rossio and Roma stations frequently, sometimes as often as every fifteen minutes. Train trips only take about forty minutes as does driving. Although it is best to stay overnight in order to fully experience all Sintra offers, it is possible to see one or two palaces within a day. Staying in one of many Lisbon apartments? multiple day trips to Sintra are possible with the towns easy access from Lisbon.

Castle's in the Sky, Sintra, PortugalThe UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra is an ideal place for those who want to go to a fairy tale destination. It is complete with extravagant palaces, extensive villas and breathtaking vistas. One of the most popular sites in Sintra is the estate of Quinta da Regaleira. Within the estate lies a Roman Catholic chapel, a five floor palace and a massive park that consists of grottoes, wells and lakes. The estate reflects four different architectural styles: Renaissance, Romantic, Gothic and Manueline. It is also known as, “Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire,” after its first owner. Guided tours of the Quinta da Regaleira are available.

The Pena, Monserrate and Seteais palaces are also popular sites to visit in Sintra, and all are near Quinta da Regaleira. The gardens of the Seteais Palace host the annual Noites de Bailado festival every summer and overlook Pena Palace. Seteais was converted into a luxury hotel in 1955. Standing near Seteais is Monserrate Palace. The exotic villa was once the summer resort of the Portuguese court, but now there are plans to turn it into a museum.

Moors Castle Walls, Sintra, PortugalFinally, the Pena National Palace is probably Sintra’s most popular destination and considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It sits on a hill overlooking the town, and can be seen from Lisbon on a clear day.It is a beautiful example of 19th century Romanticism architecture. The palace is filled with artifacts that once belonged to Portuguese royalty, including Edwardian furniture, paintings, porcelain and ornaments. The building includes extravagant structures such as turrets, domes, a bastion, and even a drawbridge. Pena Park, which is full of exotic plant life, surrounds the palace.

In addition to fairy tale castles, Sintra has a bar and restaurant scene with options for every diner. The most popular dining spots are located near the main square. Many restaurants, such as Lawrence’s Restaurant, offer traditional Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, especially sea food. Shrimp and rice, grilled octopus and fish fillets are popular Portuguese dishes. There are also restaurants, such as Lojo do Vinho, that serve Spanish and Portuguese wines. The vegetarian-friendly cafe, Casa Bernardo, and even the Japanese restaurant, Midori can also be found in Sintra. Whether looking for chic, upscale dining with Spanish wine, child-friendly restaurants or even sushi, Sintra has something to offer.

From palaces, to gardens, to elaborate chapels, Sintra is the perfect location for those wishing to be whisked away on a fairy tale holiday.As you head back to your hotel or apartments in Lisbon you will be longing for a return visit to this magical city.


Popular Things To Do In Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal is an incredible, glorious, romantic place. It is a city of ancient streets and golden light. Travelers will have no problems finding and enjoying the many things that Lisbon has to offer. Visitors will also have available a variety of  Lisbon accommodation to suit every budget while still being able to enjoy the city.

There are a number of really fun things for people to do in Lisbon. Riding the number 28 tram is one of the most popular things to do in this capital city. Upon arriving in Lisbon, visitors will hear the iconic tram's trundle. Number 28 is by far the most famous route and the best way to see the city. It takes a circular trip through many of Lisbon's major areas. At the kiosk in Figueira Square, people can buy three day passes. It is so much fun to travel around on these trams. Enthusiasts will have a blast.

Historic Tram 28 Lisbon PortugalAn evening at a fado bar is another popular experience in Lisbon. Fado is Portuguese traditional music. Marisa is the most popular fado singer. The music involved women singing and are accompanied by guitars that evoke the traditional call of suadade. Alfama and Lapa are two great neighborhoods or districts of Lisbon to experince this sort of entertaining and exciting show.

Others enjoy day tripping to Sintra. The train takes forty minutes to get to Sintra from Lisbon. Sintra is a magical little village in the countryside of Portugal. The mountainous scenery is truly breath-taking. There are many palaces in this nobility-loved area. Quinta da Regaleira is a particularly romantic and mysterious castle.

Pena Palace, Sintra PortugalPeople love to visit Alfama. Aflama is Lisbon's ancient heart. It survived the great earthquake of 1755. The streets are like very interesting-looking mazes. There are things like iron balconies that are completely covered in flowers and even some museums, secret stairways, and other things.

Another popular attraction that people enjoy visiting is the Belém district. This is a great place where there are three really amazing historical sites: Belém Tower, Discoveries Monument, and Jeronimous Monestary. This place is filled with tourists during the summertime.

Santa Justa Elevator Lisbon PortugalPeople also love the Santa Justa Elevator. This is an incredible huge iron lift that sits in the center of the city. Once a person gets out of the wooden car, he or she will see an intense view of the city's skyline. Next, he or she can walk over to Carmo Monestary and its Gothic Ruins.

Food is another popular attraction is Lisbon. People love the salt cod. In fact, they have an entire 365 ways to cook the fish. Bean stew and green soup are also amazing traditional dishes.

Lisbon, Portugal is an exciting place. Need a place to stay on your next adventure to Lisbon? Check out this list of reasonably priced accommodation in Lisbon. For more information on traveling throughout the area, take a look at Beachcomber Pete travel guides on Portugal.

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Lisbon: The Historical and Cultural Hub of Portugal

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Algarve, Portugal’s Southern Region

The Algarve region presents one of the premier Portuguese holiday destinations. With its breathtaking cliffs, natural bays and grottos, beautiful beaches, luxury resorts, and picturesque whitewashed towns, foreigners flock to the region when summer arrives.

Coastline Algarve PortugalThe Algarve region is on the southern side of Portugal, within the province of Faro, a popular tourist destination all year. Enjoying a mild winter and warm, dry conditions during the rest of the year, the Algarve has several beach resorts where European visitors gather. The largest city in Algarve is Faro, a vibrant city with a busy airport where most visitors arrive to the Algarve region. Head east out of Faro, one will find along the east side of the Algarve is the Spanish border.

The Sierra de Monchique Mountains dominate the interior of Faro province, offering many hiking opportunities and places to enjoy the natural beauty. Several cities lie along the Atlantic coast, where the beaches of Falesia and Rocha get crowded. There are fishing and sailing charters, and a popular place to visit is the island of Tavira.

The name Algarve is a derivation of an Arabic word meaning “the west” and the Algarve was discovered as a tourist destination during the 1970s. Since then, a lot of new resorts have been built around central Algarve, in cities such as Albufeira and Carvoeiro, alongside medieval fishing villages. On the western side, there is a more traditional environment.

Quiet Beach Algarve PortugalThe Algarve region has something for every taste and budget, from top-flight ultramodern beach resorts to quiet, remote beaches to get away from it all. For accommodations, there are luxury resorts near the city center and marina or along the coast with beach front properties and large fresh water pools. Alternatively, choose Algarve hotels and villa accommodations occupying stunning cliff-top perches overlooking the beaches that are reached by winding paths. Find accommodation in Algarve here.

Trains and buses along the Algarve are clean and efficient, an easy way to get around for very little money. Rental cars and Limousines are available at many resorts. Restaurants along the Algarve coast offer a great variety of seafood, while those in the inland hills cook up delicious dishes made from locally grown produce. Local town restaurants and bars offer amazing value for the money.

All through the year, there are festivals and sporting events going on across the Algarve. The Mardi Gras festivities during February offer carnivals at several cities. Local celebrations are held on Liberation Day, April 25th. There is a Seafood Festival in the town of Olhao, and at Portimao is the Sardine Festival. Easter holiday festivals are held at Sao Bras de Alportel and other cities. Summer entertainment includes jazz festivals, open-air concerts, and beach parties. During Christmas and New Years eve, the entire Algarve coast lights up with fireworks.

Looking for more ideas on your next vacation in the Algarve region, check out My Destination Algarve
. With many places to chose for sun and relaxation, it can be difficult at times to decide where to go, one thing for sure, is you will not be disappointed with the Algarve region.


Lisbon: The Historical and Cultural Hub of Portugal

Lisbon PortugalThe beautiful capital city of Portugal, Lisbon, offers bountiful locations filled with culture. Also the largest city of Portugal, Lisbon is a bustling city with an estimated one million people traveling and working within its borders. The city is about 33 square miles large and contains 53 freguesias, or neighborhoods. Some of the more notable areas within this massive municipality are Alfama and Baixa, to name a few.

Considering the countless sights to see and nightlife to experience, Lisbon offers great transportation services to those commuting or just seeing what the city has to offer. If visitors are flying into the capital, the regional airport is Portela Airport. Portela Airport serves as a hub between major European cities and services a large number of airlines.  Number 28 Tram Lisbon Portugal Once in the city, most of the inhabitants use the reliable metro system. In addition to the metro, high-speed trains (Alfa Pendular) are becoming more commonplace. If travelers prefer a more leisurely way to get around Lisbon, then the trams are a fantastic option. Looking for alternatives when staying in Lisbon? consider living like a local with Lisbon Apartments.

In addition to being a city rich with opportunities and culture, Lisbon is also literally rich. Not only is Lisbon one of the most lucrative cities in Western Europe, but it ranks 32nd gross highest earnings in the world. Lisbon is easily the wealthiest region in Portugal. Evidence of the city’s main industries can be seen in many different locations. The Docas (Docks) of Alcântara display the strength of Lisbon’s shipyard and fishing industries as well as containing numerous pubs. Lisbon is also a big exporter of textiles. The fashion and textile influence in the city can be seen at the Museu Nacional do Traje e da Moda (National Museum of Costume and Fashion). Lisbon’s substantial industries are oil refineries and steel.

Lisbon’s Mediterranean climate makes the city a great tourist destination. Although it can get quite hot in months like August, Lisbon offers some of the warmest winters in Western Europe. Average temperatures during the day in the winter months are around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and reaching an average low of mid-40′s in the evening.

Lisbon offers a wealth of natural and culture sights to explore. One natural sight of particular interest is Monsanto Forest Park. The park is the largest in Lisbon and its landscape offers a nice contrast to the urban areas comprising the beautiful city. Those appreciative of architecture can also marvel in the Gothic, Romanesque and Modern buildings throughout the city. As a cultural center of Portugal, there are also many art museums throughout Lisbon. Some of the more notable museums are the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and the Berardo Collection Museum for those interested in modern art. Lisbon is also home to a magnificent opera house named, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, for patrons of the performing arts.

Although Lisbon is a particularly old city, it offers any traveler a wide array of activities and breathtaking sights for those seeking to witness its historical beauty or see more contemporary sites. Need a place to stay on your next adventure to Lisbon? Check out this list of reasonably priced  accommodation in Lisbon. For more information on traveling through out the area, take a look at Beachcomber Pete travel guides on Portugal.

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