My clients’ first question is, “What’s outside of the US, in Europe but not too far by plane?” My response: Portugal!
Portugal is continental Europe’s westernmost point, and its Iberian half is bounded to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the north and east by Spain, the only country possessing a land border with Portugal. Its area has been constantly occupied, conquered, and fought over since prehistoric times, making it one of Europe’s oldest countries.
Portugal made numerous discoveries and marine voyages outside the North Atlantic, and by the 15th and 16th centuries, it had constructed one of the longest-lived maritime and commercial empires, becoming one of the world’s major economic and political powers.
Portugal has so much history, seaside views, mountains, valleys, rivers, and gorgeous towns to offer. We’re sharing a few details of a custom itinerary to provide a peek into some of the many experiences that Portugal has to offer when booking with Melted&Moved. This journey was chosen to take place in Lisbon, the Douro Valley, and Porto.
Portugal shines in the Spring (March-May) and early autumn (September-October). Portugal blooms after winter, and the temperature is nice without the extremes of summer. This sweet spot between dormancy and peak season gives you access to bustling tourist attractions while avoiding the crowds that take up seats in restaurants and on the trolley cars that run around Lisbon.
Lisbon, known as the City of Seven Hills, is full of vibrant culture and stunning architecture.
Rossio Square has charming restaurants, trolleys that pass through it, steep hills, and open-air markets. The Time Out Market was founded by a group of journalists and has the coolest ambiance in a massive industrial warehouse. There’s music, drinks and plethora of food from a well-curated selection of more than 20 restaurants.
A must is sampling the world famous Portuguese Pasteis de Nata (i.e. custard tart) and Nannarella ice cream. A trip to Lisbon would be incomplete without a day excursion to taste best pasteis de nata around! Actually called Pastéis de Belém here, for the region where they originated, are so delicious that they have their own name.
A private tour of the Pena National Palace with a driver guide is highly recommended. Tickets are purchased in advance, and the tour guide will even keep your place in line if you want to grab a coffee. The tour offered a deep dive into the rich history when the king consort D. Fernando II acquired the ruins of the Jeronimo Monastery of Nossa Senhora da Pena and started its adaptation to mansion. The Baron of Eschwege was inspired by Bavarian palaces to construct this amazing 500-meter-high structure.
It’s truly amazing how much of the palace is outside, with vast terraces running through the middle and sides, providing plenty of fresh air. There were no doors in the kitchen, just magnificent arched brick and a nice view for the chef.
An exclusive private outdoor picnic in the gardens of Palacio de Seteais can be arranged. My well-traveled clients described this as “one of the most extravagant experiences encountered.” Complete with enough of a feast for the driver and tour guide to be offered to join, expect French sparkling wine and juices, country tureen with dried fruit chutney, chef’s salad, portuguese pastry, bread basket and charcuterie. The setting is magnificent and this tends to be an itinerary highlight!
Book with Melted&Moved and we’ll propose a unique stay full of elegance and history in the heart of Lisbon. Just imagine staying in an 18th century Palace with a Rooftop Bar where while enjoying your favorite cocktail you’re immersed in a breathtaking 360º view over the old town and the Tagus River.
Walking among the locals, tasting the food they eat, and even better – doing it with a local, is the finest way to enjoy a city. Our guides take you to “hole in the wall” bars and eateries with many locals standing, eating and chatting. Client’s loved it and said “We would have never went in, without our tour guide because this was as local as local gets. And, it was one of our favorite experiences. Ham hanging from the ceiling, tasting sweets and snacks and toasting with a glass of ginjinha liqueur in an old tavern – awesome!”
When you can’t get enough of the water, you book a sailboat tour. Toasted with a frame of golden light bathing the blue and green waters of the mouth of the Tagus, it is the perfect setting for sailing and letting your imagination run wild. And if you like to take the reins, steer away. Always a client favorite, a sailboat ride is hard to beat. The unique view of the city’s main monuments, a charcuterie board and wine while sitting on the bow of a sailboat with no engine in use, is the perfect evening.
A four-hour private journey with the finest drivers who effectively handle the cities but more significantly took well to the mountain and cliffside routes that lead to the Six Senses is greatly appreciated. These are the kinds of trips that require a driver. One driver told me he became such good friends with a client during the trip that he shared a bottle of his family’s homemade Port!
The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and what use to be a farmhouse has been extensively rebuilt and made into a hotel with 60 rooms, suites, and villas. The farmhouse from the nineteenth century has a modern interior design that combines aspects of traditional Portuguese architecture and the inimitable Six Senses style. The hotel is located 125 kilometers from Porto Airport and is accessible via one of Portugal’s most picturesque routes.
The Grand Maison Albar Hotels – Le Monumental Palace is located in the historic heart of Porto, where the transition from Art Nouveau to Art Déco begins. Behind its neo-Gothic façade, supreme elegance reigns in its 63 rooms and 13 suites. The luxurious decor includes custom-designed furniture and high ceilings in every room.
An absolutely fantastic experience is dinner at Le Monument Restaurant showcasing the talent and excellence of chef Julien Montbabut’s “Indulge in a delicious journey,” where French know-how enhances the delights of Portugese dishes.
A unique way to begin an evening: an introduction to the chef in his kitchen, with amuse-bouches on the way to being seated. Then one great dish after another. Service was equally amazing, with detailed explanations of each dish. They also gift a small, well-designed booklet describing the entire meal. Top rated by guests who have visited 60 Michelin star restaurants.
Travelers adore Portugal for its friendly locals, rich history, and stunning scenery. Golden beaches alongside rolling vineyards, charming towns steeped in ancient stories, and delicious treats make foodies really happy. The music, especially soulful fado, is mesmerizing, and the pace of life is relaxed and welcoming. Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply want to soak up the sun and good vibes, book a discovery call with me to get started.