Sunrise at Ponta da Piedade

Algarve Cliffs & Beaches

Driving along the southwestern coast of the Algarve, we stopped at look-offs and beaches along the way. We visited cute  little beaches hidden between cliffs, and beautiful wide beaches accessible from the highway. Marko only took us down one questionable dirt road in the rental car. The  beaches were fantastic but I’ll remember the cliffs …

Dona Anna Beach in Lagos

Lagos

The metro in Lisbon is immaculate and very easy to use. Generally, it has been reliable…until today. We left with plenty of time to take the metro to the bus station. One stop before we had to get off the metro, it stopped. We sat there for about 30 minutes, until we only had 15 …

Church in obidos

Obidos

We woke early to catch a bus to Obidos, a medieval city about 1 hour away from Lisbon. We were certainly rewarded for our early start. The town was completely still; we didn’t hear anyone stir until after 9:00 am. Thankfully, the sky was clear, casting a beautiful morning glow.  Obidos is surround by a fortified …

Lisbon's Oceanarium

Christmas in Lisbon

Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends! Traveling is great, but I’d rather be on the other side of the Atlantic with my family today.  We celebrated Christmas in Lisbon. It’s been raining for a few days and transportation was  limited today so we chose to stay put. We took our time making and …

Porto Buildings

Porto to Lisbon

We spent the morning in Porto before heading back to Lisbon on the train.  The morning was spent wandering; we crossed the harbour on a pedestrian bridge so we could get a view of Porto from a different vantage point. We later discovered that we crossed into a whole other city called Villa Nova de Gaia. …

Aveiro

Aveiro & Porto

We travelled from Porto south to Aveiro today.  We decided that it would be easiest to base ourselves in the major centers and visit some of the smaller towns by train. It was a relatively easy trip by regional train.  Aveiro is a cute little town with canals running through the old part of the …

Amelie hiking Moorish Castle

Sintra

Sintra was one of the highlights of the trip so far. Cobblestone paths led us through  beautiful, lush forest. Today was part hike, part tour of the past. We explored impressive mansions and “palaces” from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The first stop on our hike was the  Moorish Castle (from the 9th century). …

Cliffs at Cabo do Roca

Cascais & Cabo do Roca

We left Lisbon to take a train to Sintra today.  Getting to Sintra was really straightforward and only took 40 minutes.  Sintra is known for its elaborate palaces and manors situated amongst forests and gardens.  Many people visit Sintra as a day trip from Lisbon but we decided to stay for a night.   We …

Sao Vicente Church

Sao Jorge Castle & Alfama

Considering that the forecast called for rain, we had a fantastic day with a little bit of everything. There  were light showers interspersed with sun and clear sky.  The highlight of the day was visiting the Castelo de Sao Jorge. While we were there, the rain cleared and the sun sparkled on the trees an …

Jeronimos Monastery

Lisbon and Belem

We arrived in Lisbon around 12:00pm, as planned. After taking the airport bus, we found our hotel with the help of the GPS. The hotel is cool; its decorated in a traditional-meets-contemporary style.   We dropped our stuff to go explore Lisbon.  The overcast sky combined with fog gave a fuzzy, dream-like effect to the …

Funchal Farmer Market

Last Day on Madeira

We returned the rental car this morning. Thankfully, we were able to return the car unscathed (both us and the car). It was now time to explore Funchal. Our hotel is in the city, so most of the sights were within walking distance. We started the day by walking along the ocean front, where we …

Ponta do Sao Laurenco

Madeira Coastline

I couldn’t wipe the goofy smile off of my face all day. We started the day hiking on the eastern-most tip of the island; a place called Ponta do Sao Lourenco.  It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  We hiked along the cape to the tip of the island with dramatic …

Descending Pico do Arieiro

Madeira Mountains

We had a wonderful day of hiking today.  We drove north from Funchal toward the highest point on the island.  After climbing up roughly 1800 meters in the Smart car, we arrived at a weather station and gift shop on the top of Pico do Arieiro.  That’s where we started the hike.   What a …

View from Camara de Lobos

A Hazy Day in Madeira

It was a hazy day in Madeira. We were surprised by a fantastic continental breakfast that included almost anything you could imagine having for breakfast.  We picked up our rental car (a Smart car) and then we were off!  The only problem was that we hadn’t planned where we were going or how to get there.  We …

Flying into a foggy London

Getting to Portugal

Travel  to Portugal went off without a hitch!  I got more sleep than I expected and our bags arrived on time and intact. We flew from Calgary to Heathrow, London over night on Wednesday (nine hours).  It was my first time in Heathrow; what a maze of an airport!  It took us a train and …