I am so excited to share my summer trip in Portugal and show you the reasons why this country should be added on your bucketlist in 2021.
We have visited Coimbra and Porto only, but believe me, these were enough to make me return anytime!
During the outbreak of pneumonia by the new Coronavirus, the Portuguese government has been taking all necessary measures to protect the population.
All travelers should obtain and confirm information about restrictions in the countries of origin and destination, from the airline company and from the foreign and border services.
Portuguese territory / Border restriction
There are no specific restrictions on mobility to cross land borders, hence the State of Emergency was decreed until 11:59 P.M. on 7th of Jan 2021.
For Christmas and New Year they cancel the ban on movement on the public roads and the obligation to be home between 11 p.m. Catering and similar establishments can operate until 1 a.m.
We booked our tickets with a month before this trip with about 75€/pers.
Our journey has started in Coimbra for about 4 days, then we took the train for Porto. The train tickets price may range between 12€ -15€/pers.
The average train ride time between Coimbra-B and Porto is 1 hour and 41 minutes, with around 18 trains per day.
Therefore you could enjoy a good book and relax!
We have chosen a cozy hotel right in the city center. Stay Hotel Coimbra Centro was an outstanding place with a modern design and with a delicious breakfast included. It was one of the cheapest hotels we've ever booked; the same with the one below.
The second hotel from Porto was a classy one. Seculo Soft is a hotel with mixed old and new impressive patterns which made us feel the real portuguese vibe.
I would recommend both of them, anytime!
What to do in Coimbra
Medieval houses "sobrado", Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, refounded in 1314 by Queen Elizabeth of Portugal, Arcos do Jardim, Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro, the Manueline façade of the Monastery of Santa Cruz, the interior stacks of the Joanine Library are just a few areas where you could find such inspirational, historical and impressive information about the culture and people.
The University of Coimbra was built in 1290, being the oldest school of higher education on the Iberian Peninsula, and one of the oldest universities in the world.
Food in Coimbra
Not to forget the food: bacalhau and a glass of wine is the perfect combo!
Bacalhau or Bacalao is probably the most typical dish in Portugal. The most common are bacalao dorado and bacalao à brás, thus this is the dish you don't wanna skip!
One of my favorite restaurants in Coimbra was Terraço da Alta. Here I ate the most delicious bacalhau and dessert e v e r. Love the place. Love the food!
O Se Nova is the second restaurant I wholeheartedly recommend! So cozy and they got lots of varieties of delightful food on the menu.
What to do in Porto
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal after Lisbon with such incredible history, impressive building and spots where you could take so many great shots.
We were impressed not only by the unique architecture of the buildings, but the wide variety of things you could experience in this amazing town!
Porto Cathedral, Sé do Porto, built in the 12th century, Foz neighbourhood, along the coast, Clérigos Church and Tower, Porto City Hall in the Avenida dos Aliados are just a few from the buildings I am talking above.
Sunset from Ponte D. Luis I
The first thing I was excited about was to catch the beyond compare Sunset right from the iconic Ponte D. Luis I of Porto. It was an astonishing view with a nice serenade on the background as a bonus.
The bridge connects the Port wine houses of the city Vila Nova de Gaia with the lively downtown Riberia of Porto right over the Douro River.
It was build with huge complex ironwork frameworks with the brilliant arch which supports the transit way; designed by the Eiffel's partner, Téophile Seyrig the astonishing project has a span of 172m and height of 44.6m with two levels: one on top of the arch and the other below.
Wine by the Ponte D. Luis I
After watching the Sunset, the next thing you don't want to miss is to enjoy a glass of an Authentic Red Sangria! Besides that, you could order some Dorado and that's it! You can call it a perfect evening!
Trams in Porto
One of the most popular and enjoyable activity in Porto would be to ride on one of the historic trams (Electrico in Portuguese). The trams were manufacturedlong time ago (in 1872 the Companhia Carril Americano do Porto à Foz e Mattosinhos opened the first mule tram line in Porto). They have polished wood interiour, brass controls and dials and a tiny loud bell.
The tram system of Porto has currently three regular tram routes with 30-minute headways. All are heritage tram routes, as they use vintage tramcars exclusively, and should not be confused with the modern Porto Metro light rail system.
The ticket price is about 4EUR/pers.
This part of Portugal I loved the most. I love art, I love street art, so being on the streets surrounded by so many talented people made me feel so proud and privileged. I was admiring every scketch of the bridge or of a random building and I wouldn't have had enough of it.
It was incredible starting from the tiniest unknown piece of art to the most popular ones and I would have bought them all.
Make a stop at the beach
Another thing you could do whilst being in Porto, is to spend at least a day by the mighty Altantic. You'll have some time for yourself to relax, to get tanned and to enjoy a wide beautiful beach with soft sand and warm water.
This is how our short journey in Portugal has ended; now, while sitting in front of my laptop I am already planning the next one for 2021 because this country has so much more experiences to offer!
Hope you've enjoyed and see you in the next one!