Land of arts and unmeasured beauty, Portugal is the go-to place if you’re planning on taking some relaxed vacations. For the latest covetED issue, we’ve made a selection of the best places for you to go and have a blast! Fasten your seatbelts, inspire yourself and enjoy the ride!
Lisbon airport is close to the heart of the city and the best way to arrive at the capital. You can fly with TAP in first-class or with any other airline company like British Airlines or Emirates. The best way to fly comfortably around Portugal is by jet. Blue Heaven Portugal is an amazing option, it offers jets, private jets, helicopters, yachts and luxurious limousine rides throughout the country. Lisbon is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway: it’s a city with cultural diversity, passion and that will certainly conquer your heart with the most perfect mix between the old-fashioned and modern daily life. Nowadays, Lisbon is at the same level as other great European capitals, like London or Paris. There’s plenty of history on every street.
Manueline art, tiles and fado are unique expressions and genuine symbols of Portuguese culture but also a contribution to World Heritage. There are 24 classifications by UNESCO in Portugal, including monuments, landscapes and intangible heritage. Lisbon is the land of arts. In Lisbon, you can find ceramics, the typical Portuguese azulejo and even Murano glass in the Emmanuel Babled showroom, located in the heart of the Portuguese capital. To enjoy Lisbon to the fullest you just need two good days. It’s enough to get to know the heart of the city, the São Jorge Castle and the traditional neighbourhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto. The best drinks are at Cais do Sodré and we can’t forget about the food: Belém is the house of Pastéis de Belém and, for that reason only, a mandatory visit when in Lisbon.
The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz is the perfect place to stay. Located in the heart of Lisbon, this amazing hotel wears the cultural heart and soul of Portugal on its sleeve. The Memmo Principe Real Hotel, a five-star hotel, is also a great option. This last one is a boutique hotel just outside Chiado with one of the best views of the city. Eat at Alma, Eleven or Loco if you want to taste the best Portuguese flavours. These are some of the best Michelin starred options for what will be the best meals you will have. Alma Restaurant is signed by Henrique Sá Pessoa and is a fine-dining restaurant with signature cuisine served in a sophisticated ambience. Eleven is a unique restaurant that is considered one of the top addresses for gourmet cuisine in Lisbon, offering a concept of sophisticated Mediterranean food. As for Loco, it’s an organic project that values the national products and nature itself. It is inspired by the tradition, with references to the national cuisine.
Before you go South, and if you’re interested in the history of glassmaking industry in Portugal, then you should stop by Marinha Grande, that is just 2 hours away from Lisbon. There you can find the Glass Museum that gathers collections to testify the Portuguese industrial, artisanal and artistic activity, from the middle of the 17th and 18th centuries until modern times.
After learning more on the history of glass, we highly recommend you to make your way down to Alentejo through the Vicentina Coast. We can assure you that it will be one of the best car trips you’ll ever take. Stop at Comporta and understand why is it called “the Hamptons of Portugal”. Comporta is a dream come true. Sometimes compared to Saint-Tropez and now called “the Hamptons of Portugal”, Comporta is a relaxed and artistic community. It’s the chosen destination of Christian Louboutin, Jacques Grange, Farida Khelfa, the Espírito Santo family, François Dumas and Madonna. You can read about Comporta in one of the most beautiful side table books ever made from Assouline, ‘Comporta Bliss’. Stop by the Carvalhal beach and rest at the amazing Sublime Comporta, a hotel nestled on a stunning 17-acre estate, surrounded by undulating umbrella pines and cork trees, wild sand dunes, stunning rice fields and white-sand beaches. Also, don’t forget to stop by Louboutin’s favourite restaurant, O Dinis Restaurante dos Pescadores.
Just outside Comporta, exactly 30 minutes away, is Melides. The home of Christian Louboutin during the Summer and its go-to place for inspiration, you too should stop by and get inspired by the region’s coastline. After a more relaxed visit to Setúbal, drive around Alentejo and discover the home of the famous Arraiolos Portuguese rugs (carpets embroidered with wool on canvas of jute or cotton, traditional of the village of Arraiolos, in Évora). Traditional and bourgeois, Évora is home for one of the best restaurants in the Alentejo, Fialho. Take a walk in the city and discover the Evoramonte Castle, built in the 14th century, the Chapel of Bones at São Francisco Church, the Roman Temple or the cathedral, which is full of blue and white 16th-century azulejos (tin-glazed tiles).
Continue the trip to the South and go to the Algarve, an authentic paradise for those who love the sea and the sun. This privileged location has the most wonderful beaches and is perfect for those who love shellfish. Stay at the astonishing Vila Vita Parc, a hotel situated in the beautiful region of Porches. The dramatic, rocky coastline and the clear aquamarine water of the Atlantic Ocean surround the resort’s Moorish-influenced architecture and glorious white sand beach. Vila Vita’s restaurant, Ocean’s, is an amazing option. With two Michelin stars, this amazing restaurant offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the perfect combination of sublime cuisine, impeccable service and an elegant atmosphere. The Vila Joya restaurant, also in the Algarve, is another great option to experience.
After sunbathing in the amazing Algarve, let’s fly up North to Porto. You can use the Blue Heaven Portugal Jets from Faro to Porto’s airport or fly through TAP on a first-class voyage. Porto is the city that makes tourists happy, being the home of Port Wine and where Christian Haas has his showroom. Once you’re in Porto, feel free to stop by the Lello Bookstore, the famous library that inspired the Harry Potter books, or go to Ribeira and admire the breathtaking views of the Douro river and the infamous coloured houses. The Invicta is full of surprises! Don’t forget to eat at the amazing Michelin starred Antiqvvm, an amazing space with a privileged view and a magistral cuisine. The Invicta city is home for various Portuguese tiles, or azulejos, as they are called in Portugal, originated from traditional and ancient art that has been made popular in both Portugal and Spain. In short, it involves a specific way of hand-painting tin-glazed ceramic tile work in the most varied hues.
See this amazing art at the São Bento railway train station, Casa da Música, Ribeira Negra panel and the Porto Cathedral. Once you’re in Porto feel free to stop by the Covet Douro House, the ultimate experience of lived-design specially conceived for all design lovers worldwide. An ancient three-floor waterfront mansion in Porto, located in one of the most beautiful landscapes of Europe, Douro, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a truly whimsical escape for exclusive clients and partners to be inspired. Immerse yourself in this experience and get ready to fall in love. Sleep with the city of Porto at your feet at the Yeatman Hotel, located in the centre of one of the most important European capitals of wine, just a few steps away from the famous wine cellars. The Yeatman delivers a sophisticated wine and gourmet experience. In the morning, schedule a visit to the Port Wine cellars and fall in love. This wine is a natural and fortified wine, produced exclusively from grapes from the Demarcated Region of the Douro, that stretches from the North of Portugal to the east of the city of Porto. You can also go to Foz and sleep and the Villa Foz Hotel and Spa, an amazing hotel designed by the amazing Portuguese interior designer Nini Andrade da Silva.
After Porto, stop by Vila do Conde to see the amazing beaches and the renda de bilros. This amazing Portuguese art is produced through the successive crossing or interspersed of textile yarns, executed on the pike and with the aid of pins and bobbins. The pique is a card, usually painted in a saffron colour to facilitate the view from the yard where a drawing was made by specialists. Régua, Pinhão and São João da Pesqueira are the best cities for you to finish your tour. Douro Valley is Portugal’s answer to Germany’s romantic Rhine River Valley. But unlike the Rhine, the Douro was never a strategic military location. Rather than castles and stony ramparts, visitors encounter farms and sleepy villages. The only fortified thing here is… the wine. This Douro region, where Port is produced, stretches along the river of the same name. The best way to get to know the Douro Valley is to do it by boat, in a classic Douro river cruise, an amazing and luxurious trip from Porto to Pinhão. On the way up, there are many choices of Quintas with many wine cellars and houses where Port Wine is produced and where you can taste all the different types. Stop by the Quinta do Seixo Wineries, Quinta do Bomfim, the Internacional Parque Natural do Douro and drive along the national highway 222.
You can sleep at the Six Senses Douro Valley, a renovated 19th-century manor house set high on a hill overlooking the vine-covered rolling hills of the Douro Valley and the river below. A spa, a selection of rooms, suites and villas, restaurants, wine library, swimming pools and organic garden are a few of the many features offered. The Wine House Hotel is one of the other options in the valley. For those who are edgier, it’s possible to spend the night in the Wine Barrels, promoted by the Quinta da Pacheca’s team. You can enjoy the views through picnics in the vineyard, bicycle tours that extend to the Abraão Valley, wine tastings, guided tours of the winery or a special meal. Try the amazing food from Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House – Conceitus Winery Restaurant, inspired by the customs and traditions of the Douro region, privileging the local flavours and products of each era. It is the so-called “local food”, which has a strong character of sustainability and preservation of local food resources. The Wine House Restaurant is another great option, integrated into a tourism unit, where the owners of Quinta da Pacheca wines transformed the old warehouses and wineries into a modern and beautiful hotel, with a dining room with a privileged view of the river. Dishes such as cod with broa and octopus rice with fillets are some of the specialities.
After all this amazing fun and amazing views, you can go back to Porto with limousines from Blue Heaven Portugal, by car or by train, with the amazing historical train from Régua to Porto, for a trip to the past that you need to take.
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