Peter and I took an amazing trip to Portugal where we stayed in the Pousadas of Portugal, chain of historical and luxury hotels. Included in our trip was a rental car (our little Fiat was great but the GPS left a lot to be desired!) for five days and you could stay in one to five pousadas depending how much travelling you would like to do. This was our ‘third honeymoon’, and would definitely recommend this tour package for a first, third or tenth honeymoon!
Our first stay was in the small city of Viana do Castelo at the Pousada de Monte de Santa Luiza. After leaving the airport and getting to the pousada in the dark of night, we woke to the most stunning view of the Basilica de Santa Luiza. It is designed in the shape of a greek cross with granite and marble construction and gorgeous stained glass windows. We booked two days here and we enjoyed the sights and the beach in the northern part of Portugal.
Our second stay was in Guimarães, the ‘birthplace of the Portuguese nationality’. It was not a far drive… only about two hours, so we thought. We made a pit stop in Amares for lunch and we didn’t think it would take us too far off the beaten track. Oops… we had issues with the GPS again and had a round-about mountain drive for an hour. It was beautiful but I only took one photo, I thought we might be lost forever! Some of the roads we were on were only as wide as our tiny little Fiat. We were relieved when we reached our next stop, the Pousada de Santa Marinha, an ancient 12th century Augustinian Monastery. We found a quiet place to chill on the grounds… where monks once walked, we had a beer. 🙂
Poudasa number three was the Pousada de Rainha de Santa Isabel in Estremoz, a castle from the 12th century. Because of the previous day’s misadventure we decide to stay on the main road as we had a four hour drive ahead of us. The castle was a absolutely ‘marble-ous’ 🙂 in fact Estremoz is well known for it’s marble, even the cobble stones and white wash on the buildings were made from it.
Our final pousada was a short drive to Alcacer do Sal where we stayed in the Pousada D. Afonso II. This one was a mix of original structure of the 5000 year old castle with ultra modern updates. After a little pool time we walked beside the Sado River and had dinner under a strikingly clouded sky.
Our pousada tour was now over but we still had two days in Portugal. We drove to Lisbon and said goodbye to our trusty little car. We were now in the heart of the city and able to use the metro, buses and even a ferry to get around. One of the highlights was visiting Cristo Rei, the Christ Statue of Lisbon. Our hotel was passable but centrally located and we didn’t spend much time there. In fact we messed up on the reservation and arrived a day late. Since our flight home was early we decided not to book another day there. So our final day in Portugal we walked and saw every sight (and Peter managed to get a Euro Cup game watched) until midnight, then went and crashed at the airport… always an adventure. 🙂
Portugal you have my heart!