Porto was the last stop on our 10 day trip around Portugal. After a quick 24h stopover exploring the medieval streets of beautiful Coimbra, we quickly hopped on the next train to Porto and arrived in Estação de São Bento in just over an hour. The second biggest city in Portugal welcomed us with one of the prettiest railway stations in the world. An incredible hand painted tilework by Jorge Colaço featuring more than 20,000 tiles covers the main hall’s interior. These portray scenes of some of the most important moments of Portugal’s history. I couldn’t help but admire the meticulous 20th century artwork that was in front of me.
Was Porto going to be this beautiful everywhere? Uhm, YES! Porto is vibrant, colourful and full of history waiting for everyone to explore it. Here are our top 10 things to do in Porto.
After some incredible days exploring Lisbon and Cascais, the beautiful city of Coimbra was the next big stop on our trip around Portugal. Located halfway between the Portuguese capital and Porto, our final destination, Coimbra seemed like the perfect location for the quick stopover we were looking for.
With backpacks full of pasteis de nata, we hopped on the first train from Lisbon to Coimbra. The former capital of Portugal from 1139 to 1250 is famous for its notable University and historical library. It was now ours for just over 24h. Here’s what to see in Coimbra in a day.
Welcome to Lisbon, the gorgeous city built on seven hills! There are many ways I could describe Lisbon. It’s bohemian, yet it screams romanticism all over. Lively and spirited in nature, yet life seems to go calm and undisturbed. It’s Baroque, Gothic, Romanesque…all at once! There’s always something spectacular to marvel at in Lisbon and its magic and charm seem to have persisted throughout the years. Every corner, colourful building and cobbled street hide unpredictable surprises. I’d be lying if I said that Lisbon isn’t one of my favourite dots on the map.
As you can see, Lisboa is a very special place. Of course, I couldn’t resist encapsulating everything we love about the city of Fado in a travel guide. Grab a cuppa, sit down and get comfy, this is going to be a lovely long one…
Madeira has to be one of Portugal’s best kept secrets. I honestly can’t begin to describe how beautiful this small volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is. Stupendous green landscapes cover the entirety of Madeira, turning it, somehow, into a floating garden. On one hand, the rocky mountains, moist laurisilva forests and vineyards cover the higher peaks and valleys. On the other, the subtropical palm trees and rough cliffs crown the coast. And overall, the sense of relaxing atmosphere will hit you as soon as you step on the island. Like me, you probably won’t help but think if you should just ignore your return flight and settle in a beach house in Funchal instead. Oh well.
But there is more. Madeira is full of incredible places to explore. Not to mention the exquisite gastronomy and a singular history that still lives up to this day. So where do you start? Check our list on things you must do in Cristiano Ronaldo’s birthplace.
I must confess brunch is hands down one of my favourite meals of the day. Why? Because not only do you get breakfast, you also get lunch, of course. Two for the price of one! Bargain. Plus, it’s quite a millennial chic thing to go for nowadays and it can be very healthy if you make it properly.
This is exactly what we needed on our last day in Belgium. We’d only stayed 24 hours in Brussels, but I was already feeling the after-effects of eating too much chocolate in one go. We’d heard wonderful recommendations about Peck 47, a cute little brunch spot close to Bourse de Bruxelles where we were staying. We decided to give it a go and once we got there, we couldn’t resist popping in. Cosy, centric and cheerful, there seems to be a reason this brunch place is often busy.
Woah. That was some gooood food. So good, I think I am still full from those frites in Bruges. We promised we’d do the same in Brussels and here I am, true to our words, thinking of the countless chocolate pralines I engulfed in under 24h. Who am I kidding? I am certain we finished a bag (or two) in just half an hour. But it is all for the sake of taking advantage of the time spent in Belgium and bringing it closer to you. Plus we burn the calories by endless walking while exploring each city, right? Does that work as an excuse? Please say yes.
With a bod now far from that of Jean-Claude van Damme (he’s known as ”The Muscles from Brussels” for a reason), we have put together a little guide of some of our favourite places to get immersed in the best of Belgian food in Brussels (and some other extras). Enjoy!
Quite surprisingly and despite its size, Bruges has an enviable gastronomy that matches the variety and quality of that in larger cities. For those with a sophisticated palate, this small city is actually the home of several Michelin star restaurants. Many others can also be found along Bib Gourmand and GaultMillau listings. Impressive!
However, and despite our little fancy moments (and of those we have many), Sam and I try to go local whenever possible. We love going back to the roots and get the most of each regional cuisine as much as we can. In this case, Belgian cuisine seems to reflect that of neighbouring France, Netherlands and Germany. Say hello to moules, fries, waffles, chocolate and beers galore!
It has been difficult to pick among all the cute little places in Bruges, believe me! However, we think these are the places to eat traditional Belgian food in Bruges. Along with where the best pubs in Bruges are, to wash it down with a Belgian beer. Enjoy!