Drown in all the colors of the rainbow at Porto

Don’t you dare overlook Portugal’s second city…


This 4th-century port and commercial centre founded by the Romans at the mouth of the river Duoro, actually lent its name to its country, and rightly so. Look deeper and you know how Porto (or Oporto) is the very essence of Portugal. Its a hilly town sans the elan of European cities. It gives the impression of being old and neglected. But its magnificent mansions, opulent churches and a picture-perfect riverside captures the heart. Old Portuguese women cheerfully advertise roasted chestnuts outside colourful building facades, classic tramlines run through broad hilly boulevards and iconic black-white mosaic calcada (flooring) adorns streets and there’s ornamental tile-work everywhere you look. So how about a colour theme to explore this quintessentially vibrant Portuguese city?

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Are you fired up for lively, lovable and laid-back Lisbon?

Feel the vivacious vibe of Portugal’s capital…

If you’re arriving in Lisbon from South Portugal by coach like us, you will probably be riding the cable-stayed 17 km long Vasco Da Gama bridge straddling the Tagus River. While you make a mental note of the fact that you’re on the longest bridge in Europe, are you unconsciously cooking up an image of Portugal’s capital? Don’t do it…let it reveal itself in all its glory!

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Feel the irresistible allure of the Algarve

A lazy, laid-back vibe…

Moorish legends, an exotic coastal countryside, trailblazing Portuguese voyagers of yore, and a name shrouded in mystique (from Arabic al-Gharb, meaning ‘the West’). How can anyone dare to skip Algarve from their Portugal itinerary? 

We picked Portimao as our base. So much less touristy than the nightlife hub Albufeira and the golf mecca Villamoura. And perfect for its proximity to Lagos, Sagres, and Monchique…which were our other lures. Missed Tavira, but you can’t have it all, can you? Multiple queues at the coach counters on Faro airport seemed like a setback until we reminded ourselves that October is off-season. An hour-long wait for the next bus or a seventy euro taxi. Hmm…devil or the deep blue sea, we pondered, before a taxi driver offered a shared ride with three other passengers. Five minutes, coffee and bags of munchies later, we were on our way. 

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The fascinating mystery of the seven skirts

Witnessing an old Portuguese tradition that lives on…

We stared across the waist-high parapet, dumbstruck by the glorious view of Nazaré and the Atlantic Ocean below. From the large Sitio Square at a mountain ridge over 100 meters above sea level, the softly curved sandy shores, the curling white waves on the beach and the tranquil blue-green shaded waters seemed unreal, untouched, perfect.

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I was shocked to see graves under my feet

Tombs on cathedral floors…

I craned my neck to marvel at the grandeur of the Gothic 225-feet high western twin towers of the 700-year old Westminster Abbey. Steps away, across the road, were the stately Big Ben and the illustrious Houses of Parliament. It was difficult to decide which was more impressive…London’s premier worship portal or the political powerhouse.

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