Perhaps you recall my recent mentioning of fish heads? Or of fish-head hats? Of smoking sardines or curly green wigs? Of jubilant crowds to parades floating past while the beats and their throats formed the songs that were sung on the streets with some lyrics I could not work out but so ever enjoyed?
Does any of this ring a bell?
Quite serendipitously, I stumbled upon Lisbon’s Feast of Saint Anthony in late Spring of this year, to be precise. It was my first dabble into the Portuguese festival experience. And it was pretty bomb.
So when I learned — mid-way through our Rick Steves’ Heart of Portugal tour — that we’d be arriving in Porto the night of its patron-saint’s festivities, I could hardly believe my luck.
After fourteen days of intense travels through Portugal, I’ve decided to give an overview of the spots I enjoyed most, aka “Stef’s Five Faves: Portugal Edition!” If you’re planning your itinerary or just want to learn more about what Portugal has to offer, then this is for you! So let’s take a look at the very Best of the West — of the Iberian Peninsula, that is!
First, let me plot the course of our expedition.
Where I Laid My Head
My most-recent Europe trip started in mid-June with five nights in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The first two nights I spent on my own doing pre-tourindependent explorations. That was followed by three additional nights in Lisbon as part of a 12-day Rick Steves’ Heart of Portugal tour. Spoiler alert — Lisbon was a fave. More on that in a bit.
After those beautifully busy five days, it was time to say adeus to Lisbon. Our route continued on with a night’s stay in a town the Romans had occupied millennia before us:
Évora is cute! It’s a whitewashed UNESCO-World-Heritage town with Roman-aqueduct remains.
But the spot that gets the most visitors is Évora’s Capela dos Ossos: a Franciscan bone chapel that’s on the macabre end of the spectrum, but fascinating!