Lisbon and Porto make excellent bases for some fascinating full day excursions
The Portuguese cities of Lisbon and Porto make ideal destinations for those people who are looking for something a little more than a straightforward city break.
Lisbon is a wonderful city in its own right, offering the city break tourist a whole range of sightseeing possibilities during a three or four night break. The Alfama district, the Lisbon Story Centre and the Sao Jorge (St. George) Castle are just some of the sights that will be on many tourists’ must-see lists. For those who would like to spend a day out of the city (perhaps because they’ve visited the city before), a full day excursion to Sintra, Cascais and Estoril is ideal. The excursion includes a morning sightseeing tour of Lisbon including the Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery before heading out to the charming village of Sintra and then to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in continental Europe. The tour continues to cosmopolitan Cascais with its stunning coastal setting, before returning to Lisbon via Estoril with its casino and attractive gardens.
A city break in Porto gives the tourist the opportunity to explore an ancient port steeped in history and tradition. It is a great place for wandering around and in particular exploring the pretty old town area of Ribeira with its winding streets, beautiful plazas and houses with colourful tiled facades. The city is also an ideal base for a full day excursion by coach into Spain, to the famous pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela. The excursion retraces part of the Camino de Santiago or “St James Way” – a sacred route followed by pilgrims since the Middle Ages. The Camino de Santiago leads to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the apostle St James are reputed to lie interred
After the visit to Santiago de Compostela, the coach heads back into Portugal to the town of Viana do Castelo with its attractive medieval centre. It is worth paying a visit to the Basilica of St Luzia, whose design was inspired by the Sacre Coeur in Paris. The excursion concludes with a short drive back to Porto.