Planning our big around-the-world trip was a ton of fun. We used to spend evenings at our home in Woodland Hills with a huge map on our table, some background music, wine, and of course a pen and paper (and sometimes the show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown). Our list of countries to visit started growing as we would write places down we knew little of, but wanted to explore. Portugal was a surprise for us both. The only thing we knew about Portugal was that they make port wine near Porto, Portugal… and we love port wine. So why not visit the country!? Our first stop in Portugal… Porto!
When we arrived to Porto in December, we were shocked at how busy the city was! We mostly use Airbnb for our accommodations, but will stay at bed and breakfasts or even hotels if they are reasonable. We stayed at Hotel Moov in what seemed like the very center of Porto (it is at the end of the street in the picture below). It was an interesting sight to see us squeezing through the crowds with our massive backpacks on trying to get to the hotel!
The ceramic tiles you see below is a type of Portuguese tilework called ‘azulejo.’ It was everywhere in Porto and Lisbon, including churches, apartment buildings, kitchens, bathrooms, and more. Many Portuguese people are very proud of the azulejo in their country, and for a good reason too!
Another beautiful church we visited called Igreja do Carmo with azulejo:
And a ton of gold!
The Dom Luís I Bridge on a beautiful, sunny day:
We loved walking around the shops and having drinks at the cafes along the river:
The Clérigos Church:
The colorful and sometimes very pink buildings of Porto:
Livraria Lello is a famous, beautifully designed bookstore in Porto opened over 100 years ago:
More food markets! This one is called Mercado Bom Sucesso:
You can find lots of different things here including smoothies, sushi, wine, craft beers, and dessert!
Natas. Natas. Natas. These are delicious. They are a traditional Portuguese custard-y egg pastry that are sweet and soooo good. They don’t look as good as they taste, trust us:
We loved visiting Portugal in December because it seemed like everyone was in the holiday spirit! See the guy with Santa ears?
We couldn’t go to Porto and not go wine tasting! Although we did visit an actual winery earlier in that week, we enjoyed wine tasting at a smaller shop in the city so much more. What started out with just a few tastings at the store, turned into making friends with the owners of the shop and spending hours and hours enjoying more tastings after closing and a late-night dinner with them. They could not have been more happy to share stories (and a ton of wine) with us. We learned so much more about Porto than we ever would have. The love they have for each other, their city, and their country was so beautiful to hear. If you are ever in Porto, go to Saboriccia… they have an awesome selection of wines and really great people who work there.
After Porto, we headed to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. Lisbon has an amazing food culture and is one of the all-around trendiest cities we’ve been to. Our visit to Lisbon started off with our amazing Airbnb host, Sergio. We shared stories over wine, cheese, and other goodies at his beautiful apartment in the city. He recommended a restaurant called A Cevicheria and oh my goodness it is probably Deena’s favorite restaurant in the whole entire world and one of Cody’s top favorites. They have this really cool octopus hanging from the ceiling too!
The above picture was taken from Portugal Confidential
We ate so well in Lisbon. The food was not only delicious everywhere we went, it was also always colorful and beautifully displayed!
The Christmas decorations all around the city, the views, and the sunsets were not too bad either.
Pink Street (what used to be Lisbon’s red light district):
We took a day trip to Belém, a city right outside of Lisbon, to see two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Belém Tower and the Monastery of Jerónimos. We stopped at a river-side restaurant on the way to enjoy the gorgeous view!
The Belém Tower is almost 500 years old, still standing tall and beautiful in the Tagus River.
The Monastery of Jerónimos is over 400 years old and from 1833 to 1940, it served as an orphanage. The church and grounds are stunning!
On our way back to Lisbon that day, we stopped at the LX (pronounced ‘el-sheesh’) Factory. The LX Factory is like a miniature, artistic city that contains trendy cafes, restaurants, shops, a bookstore called Ler Devagar, and small, local company offices.
All of the buildings in LX Factory are interestingly painted, graffitied, or contain some other type of art on the outside of them. All of the art is created by the public. You can find clown faces that cover the bathroom walls, alien-like images, a massive bee, the words, “until debt tear us apart,” and other interesting things on the buildings, and so much more.
The entrance to LX Factory:
Ler Devagar bookstore:
Upstairs, at the very top of Ler Devagar and above the cafe, are tons of different little machines that look like they came from a mad mechanical scientist. The artist who created them turned out to be this sweet gentleman named Pietro Proserpio. He showed both of us what each machine did and had a comedic story to go along with each one.
We were so happy with our decision to visit Portugal. Porto and Lisbon are both culture-rich, yet modern cities with so much to offer. Maybe one day we’ll head back and explore more of the country!
Hope you enjoyed the post!
Deena & Cody